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Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's Nice to Be Here - Original Indian Name for Roosevelt Island


The Main Street Wire has compiled a Timeline of Roosevelt Island History. From time to time I will be posting portions of that timeline beginning with the 17th Century. Image above came from Harpers Magazine via Roosevelt island Historical Society.

XVII Century

  • 1637 - Dutch Governor Wouter Van Twiller buys Minnahannock from two Chiefs of the Canarsie tribe. Minnahannock means It's Nice to Be Here or Long Island, the latter readily explained by the dimensions: 107 acres (later expanded to 147), 2 miles long, 800 feet wide at its broadest. It runs North-South, opposite what will become 40 Manhattan blocks from 46th to 86th Streets. The Dutch raise hogs on the island, so it becomes known as Varcken (Hog) Island.
  • 1639 - A succession of Dutch farmers works the Island under land grants from the Amsterdam Chamber of the West India Company.
  • 1642 - Farmer Jan Claessen Alteras makes a claim for improvements costing 300 guilders: a house, goat-pen, garden. Over the years, he is succeeded by Francois Fyn, Jonas Bronck, and Laurens Duyts.
  • 1652 - Governor Stuyvesant declares the Indian sale to Van Twiller void. The Island is granted to Captain Francis Fyn. The Island is seen as "particularly useful for the [West India] Company in the imminent or any future differences with the English, being adapted for fortifications to be built thereon."
  • 1658 - Laurens Duyts defaults on his lease for the Island and, in a separate scrape with the authorities, is banished from the province "for selling his wife into immoral slavery and for gross immoralities committed by himself."
  • 1666 - After Dutch capitulation to the British, Captain John Manning acquires the island and it becomes known as Manning's Island.
  • 1667 - Manning is appointed, on July 24, Sheriff of New York. In the absence of Governor Lovelace, he commands Fort James.
  • 1671 - Manning moves to the island.
  • 1673 - While in command of Fort James, on August 9, Manning surrenders the City of New York to the Dutch.
  • 1675 - Manning is court-martialied, accused of treachery and cowardice. He is publicly disgraced, his sword borken in a City Hall ceremony, and he retires to his Island. The Rev. Charles Wooley later notes in his journal that Captain Manning is condemned to exile "to a small island from his name called Manning's Island, where I have been several times with the said Captain whose entertainment was commonly a Bowl of Rum-Punch."
  • 1676 - Manning's step-daughter, Mary Manningham, marries Robert Blackwell. Manning appears to have lived until at least 1685. The will of Matthew Taylor of New York, dated February 20, 1687-8, there is mention of "a mortgage of John Manning, his Island."
  • 1686 - Manning's son-in-law, Robert Blackwell, becomes owner of the Island and gives it his name.

4 comments :

Ann Rubio said...

Hello! What an interesting blog! I came across it this morning while doing an internet search for books pertaining to my family history and noticed your bit about Laurens Duyts and the history of Roosevelt Island - he is my 11th great grandfather! Yes, he was banished from New Amsterdam for selling his wife - (who later legally married the man she was sold to!). An interesting story and quite fun to see it on your blog. My daughter happens to be writing a paper about this now and I was poking around for some stuff for her when I came across this. Cool! You made my day! :) Annie Rubio annrubio0811@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.
A great read. I will certainly be back.

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