Women's Rights in Early New York
Marriage Contract of Brant Peelen and Marritje Pieters, widow of Claes Pietersen
Because this original document was written in Dutch, we have included a translation of the document into English.
You can examine this document more closely in our Digital Collections.
In the year of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, one thousand, six hundred and forty three, before me Cornelis van Tienhoven, admitted secretary in New Netherland for the General Incorporated West India Company, personally came and appeared Brant Peelen from Nykerk, widower of the late Lubbertje Wouters, and Marrietje Pieters, widow of the late Claes Sybrantsen, (with Jan Schepmoes her chosen guardian herein,) who declared that they intended to enter together into the holy state of matrimony, for which reasons and causes he, Brant Pelen, the present bridegroom, promises to pay from his first ready goods, means and effects immediately to his three children by his first wife, the sum of three thousand Carolus guilders, to wit: To his daughter Lysbet Brants, one thousand guilders; to Geert Brants, one thousand guilders, and to Gerritje Brants, a like thousand guilders. She, Marritje Pieters, present bride, promises to give and pay to each of her two children named Sybrant Claesen and Seltje Claes, as their paternal inheritance and property, the sum of Two hundred guilders; which aforesaid four hundred guilders he Brant Peelen shall be at liberty to use four consecutive years without interest, and if he Brant Peelen use the aforesaid money longer, he shall annually pay as interest of the hundred guilders five per cent, but on the express condition and stipulation that they, the bridegroom and bride, remain bound, with the help of God, to bring up Seltje Claes, the youngest child, to clothe her, to send her to school, to let her learn reading and writing and a good trade in such manner as honest parents ought and are bound to do, and as they can answer before God and men.
In this their marriage contract it is, with the will and pleasure of the bridegroom and bride, expressly agreed and stipulated by them, considering that there is nothing certain but death, and nothing more uncertain than the hour thereof, in order to provide against all such uncertainty of death by their joint will, they both, the bridegroom and the bride, declare that whenever Almighty God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, whom they pray that it may be His holy will to bless them in this their marriage so as it shall be necessary for them here temporarily and hereafter eternally, Amen, shall call the first of them both out of this world, the longest liver of them shall remain in full occupation and possession of all the temporal goods that God hath granted, or shall grant, in this world jointly to them the bridegroom and bride; it being well understood that there should be no difference in regard to the property, but the property of both of them being common, it is computed of the same value, as no inventory is made on either side and it is assumed on both sides as of equal value, which is this concluded and contracted with their joint mature deliberation, wishing and requesting that this shall have full effect after the death of either of them.
It is further covenanted that whenever either of them dies, a proper inventory shall then be made of all the property that the both shall possess at the time, so that the lawful heirs may obtain pertinent [ ], and whenever the survivor shall have departed out of this sorrowful world, the lawful heirs on both sides shall then equally divide and each side receive a like portion of the estate; likewise, that the survivor shall be bound to manage the property as profitably as possible, expecting, with the help of God, only that it may not be squandered needlessly or improperly. If this occur, those whom it interests shall be at liberty to interfere, and that with cause and good reason.
Wherewith he, Brant Pelen, bridegroom and she Marritje Pieters, present bride, conclude their contract of marriage, and request that this may have effect and be valid before all Courts and judges, to this end renouncing all exceptions of what sort soever which may anywise contravene these presents, pledging themselves, in like manner under bond of all law for the payment of the sum of money promised to their children on either side. In testimony this is signed by them respectively, with Everardus Bogardus and Hendric Kip, witnesses hereunto invited, the 3d July AD 1643, in Fort Amsterdam, New Netherland.
Hendrick Hendricksen Kyp
Ian Iansen Scepmoes
This is the + mark of
To my Knowledge, Cornelis van Tienhoven, Secretary.
Short Answer Questions
In what year was this document written?
Was this during the time of Dutch colonization or English colonization?
- What kind of agreement does this document describe?
- Do we still have agreements like this today? What are they called?
This DBQ is available as a printable worksheet in PDF format.