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Indian Deed to Kilian Van Renselaer, 1631

Document Description
Confirmation of Indian deed to Kilian Van Renselaer for lands on the North [Hudson] River, August 6, 1631.
Whereas Bastiaen Jansz Crol, commissary at Fort Orange,
when here at the Manhatas, mentioned to the council of this
place that the land located near Fort Orange could not be
purchased from the owners thereof this present year and al­
though it was done afterwards, it was sold by the natives only
for as long a time as he, Crol, should continue to live at
the Fort; and whereas, Wolphert Gerritsz who had also been
directed by the noble Superiors to inform them of the situa­
tion there, asked him, Crol, expressly, what information he
should give to the noble Lords and he answered, that there
was no chance or means to obtain any land this year, repeating
the same several times, according to the deposition made by
the said Wolphert Gerritsen; and whereas, it happened after­
wards, that Ghillis Hosset sailing up the river came on the
27th of July 1631 to the place, where Jan Jansse Meyns camped
with men to cut timber for the ship, there came also by
accident Cottamack, Nawanemit, Abantsene, Sagiskwa, Kanamoack,
owners and proprietors of their respective parcels of land,
stretching along the river, north and south, from the fort
to a little south of Moenemines Castle, belonging to the said
owners jointly and conjunctly and the land belonging to the
said Naswanemit in particular called Gesmesseeck located on
the east side from opposite Castle Island to the said fort,
also from Secktanock, the mill creek, northward to Nejagonse
about 3 miles distance and when the said Gillis Hosset came
and proposed to the same owners of the said land that they
should sell, convey and transfer their respective parcels of
land, the same declared in the presence of Jan Jansz Meyns,
Wolfert Gerritsen and Jan Tysz Trompetter, that they were
willing to sell, transfer, cede and convey their respective
pieces of land, as on the 6th of August following before us
director and council in New Netherland, residing on the
island of the Manahatas at Fort Amsterdam under the juris­
diction of their High Mightinesses, the Lords States General
of the United Netherlands and the Chartered West India
Company, Chamber of Amsterdam, they voluntarily and advisedly
for a certain quantity of goods, which they acknowledge to
have been paid to and received by them before the passing of
this act, by virtue and under the name of a bargain, transfer
cede and convey hereby to and for the behoof of Mr. Killiaen
van Renseler, in whose absence we accept the same ex officio
under the usual stipulations, to wit: the respective parcels
of land, here above specified with the trees, appendencies
and dependencies thereto belonging, also all the actions,
rights, and privileges etc...
Done on the aforesaid Island the Manahatas in Fort Amster­
dam, on the day and year above written.
Considering the wording of this document, do you think the Indians were active participants in these meetings?
What types of goods do you think the Indians got in exchange for these lands? Do you think it was a fair trade?
Why is the Hudson River called the North River in this document?
Why would land along a river be valuable?
Historical Challenges
Map the historical forts and locales mentioned in these meetings. Considering the relative geography, why would the Dutch Council be interested in securing these lands?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a deed transferring a piece of property to a friend. (It could be a paperclip or an eraser.)
Avakian, Monique. A Historical Album of New York. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1993. ISBN: 1562940058, 0585263302
Fradin, Dennis B. The New York Colony. Chicago: Children's Press, 1988. ISBN: 0516003895
Gibson, Karen Bush. New Netherland: The Dutch Settle the Hudson Valley. Hockessin, DE: Mitchell Lane Publishers, 2007. ISBN: 1584154616
Linehan, Stephen. New Netherland: An Exploration of Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum for the 4th Grade. Albany, NY: New Netherland Museum, 2004. ISBN: 0974822302. (Available at
Parker, Lewis K. Dutch Colonies in the Americas. New York: PowerKids Press, 2003. ISBN: 0823964728

Historical Context
The Mohican proprietors of lands along the upper Hudson River met with the director and council of New Netherland at the fort on Manhattan Island on July 27, 1631. In the presence of those officials, the Mohicans conveyed their lands to Kilian Van Rensselaer in return for a quantity of goods paid to them prior to the meeting.

See also "Translation of Indian Deed to Killian Van Renselaer," pages 2 and 3.

Essential Question
What are the economic, cultural, and political effects of human migration?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this document and explain the effect of this document on the Indian community.