Pointing to the large
windows in the 1663 stone house that face East, Mattice said those friendly
relations with the Mahicans allowed Dutch settlers, who could afford it, to buy
or trade for luxury goods, such as glass.
“Pieter did not live in fear
of attack on his farm. He and Helletje placed the glass windows, facing East,
to take advantage of the early morning sun on the hearth,” she said.
Mattice said Pieter, a
sailor from Jonkoping, Sweden, and Hilletje Jans from Quakebrugge, Holland,
posted their marriage banns at Ridderstraat, Holland in 1645.
“They were both 28 and about
to embark on a new life in the prosperous Dutch colony of New Netherland,”
Mattice said. She said, by 1653, the couple had settled at Beverwyck, a fur
trading village on the western shore of the Hudson River, at what is now
“Pieter and Hilletje became
tavern keepers and brewers, a wise choice of occupation since beer was a staple
in everyone’s daily diet,” Mattice said, adding, the Dutch were not vineyard
Wheat was their staple crop, she said.
Mattice said, with some
amusement, that the ups and downs of the frontier economy, and what seems to be
Pieter’s contentious personality, resulted in a problematic income stream.
“By the early 1660’s, Pieter
and Hilletje were considering another move and he purchased a small tract of land about
approximately 20 miles south of Beverwyck, near what is now the village of
Coxsackie from the native Mohicans,” Mattice said.
Mattice said, in January
1662, Pieter Bronck entered into a contract to purchase from them a tract of
land known by the Indian name “Koixhackung.”
“We know from documents of
the time that Pieter saw, from the Kalkberg Ridge, a small clearing in the
distance, by a stream, and that’s where he placed the house,” Mattice said.
She said on a small hillock
adjacent to the stream, the couple began the construction of a typical rural
northern European style dwelling that had sheltered people from the Middle Ages