Notes on the
A Study of Several Branches With Allied Families
compiled by Harry M. Cleveland
Roelof Martense Schenck
Roelof Martense Schenck
Roelof Martense Schenck was born at Amersfoort, Utrecht, Holland about 1630. He came to New Amsterdam in 1650 with his brother, Jan Martense [1630 - 1680 married Jannetje Stevense Van Voorhees in 1673], and sister, Annetje [married Adrian Ryersen on July 29, 1659]. In 1661, he settled at Flatlands (part of Brooklyn). Roelof died prior to August 3, 1705 when his will was probated in New York City. In 1660, he married Neeltje Gerritse Van Cowenhoven, daughter of Gerrit Wolfertse Van Cowenhoven (around 1642 - about 1674). They had 6 children. In 1675, Roelof married Annatje Peirerse Wyckoff, probably the daughter of Pieter Claesen Wyckoff (the first American ancestor of the Wyckoff family). They had 4 children. On November 9, 1688, he married Catrina Cregier, widow of Christoffel Hooglandt, Sr., who was several time a Schepen in [New] Amsterdam and prominent in city affairs. Roelof and Catrina made a prenuptial contract on November 9, 1688 and married on November 30, 1688.
Roeloff took his oath of allegiance to the English in Kings county (at Flatlands) on September 30, 1687.
The prenuptial agreement was quite common when widowed persons remarried. The wife usually dispersed all personal property belonging to her children and agreed that her children shall not share in the estate of her new husband if she survived him. The translation from the original contract written in Dutch reads:
To-day, date underwritten, Mr. Roelof Martensen Schenck, widower of the late Anneke Pieters, on the side, and Mrs. Catherine Creugiers, widow of the late Christopher Hoogland on the other side, declare that they had agreed between themselves, to the honor of God, to enter into matrimony; but before the solemnization thereof, they had convened that the same should be confirmed in the following manner, to wit: That the aforesaid bridegroom shall bring for the maintenance of himself and future wife such property as by the blessing of God he has become possessed of; nothing excepted; but he shall not acquire any ownership in the estate and property of the aforesaid future bride nor in these which she shall obtain hereafter; and that the future bride shall bring nothing into the wedded state for the maintenance of the couple, but out of the estate and property of her future husband she and her son Hermanus Hoogland, shall be supported and maintained in board and clothing as is decent and proper. It is further conditioned and stipulated that her property, moveable and immoveable, present and future, nothing excepted shall be held in commonalty with the estate and property of the aforesaid bridegroom, but that she shall keep and administer her estate separately, either personally or by others, and dispose of it as she shall think fit without the future bridegroom having or claiming any guardianship, order, or administration over her estate against her will or pleasure, but that all this property with its increments and gains shall remain her own forever and subject to testamentary disposition; and after her decease to her children and their lawful descendants.
Subject to the above-written conditions, an inventory shall be taken of the property of the
future bride and signed by both the attached hereto; which inventory the future man and wife
desire to be so binding and inviolable as if the same was herein mentioned and inserted. It is
further stipulated and conditioned that if the bridegroom should first die the aforesaid future bride shall throughout her life, whether she remains single or marries again, remain in full possession and usufruct [?] of his bowery bought from the widow and heirs of Govert Lockermans with the house, orchard, Negroes, one half of the horses and cattle found there; provided that out of the revenue thereof she shall keep in good condition without being held responsible and accountable in any manner for misfortunes; provided further; that she shall maintain and support, educate and have instructed in reading and writing, and taught a trade to which they are adapted, the minor children now living who then shall live, and the child or children which the may beget, and after the death of the said bride all the property, viz: Bowery, said house, farm, orchard, Negroes, horses and cattle shall be subject to the disposition and order of the aforesaid bridegroom; but in case the future bride should die before her aforesaid bridegroom she shall have no right to claim anything beyond her clothing of silk, woolen and linen and her jewels which she has used and owned during her lifetime, out of the estate and property of her aforesaid bridegroom, than a decent burial. It is further expressly conditioned and stipulated, that on account of any debts and obligations contracted before the date of the proposed marriage by either of the parties hereto, the other one shall not be dunned, molested or called upon, much less shall they be legally collected, as all community of property and debts between the parties aforesaid is hereby expressly excluded and disclaimed. This Contract of Marriage has been agreed upon and concluded under the above conditions; and the bridegroom binds himself, his executors, administrators, heirs and descendants that it shall have full effect under the aforesaid stipulations and conditions, and to make it still binding, the aforesaid bride has chosen for her assistant and Trustee in this matter her son Derick Hoogland with his heirs and descendants to receive the above for the behoof of the said bride and heirs and for the behoof of nobody else; and furthermore, the said bridegroom binds himself and promises for himself and for his executors, administrators and heirs and descendants to give, satisfy and allow to enjoy, the said Derick Hoogland as chosen Trustee of the aforesaid bride or his heirs and descendants all which has hereinbefore been convened and agreed for and to the behoof of the aforesaid bride or heirs and for the behoof of nobody else, anything heretofore done
or agreed upon to the contrary notwithstanding, either law or outside of law thereto appertaining. This done, agreed and concluded at New York and for its further confirmation, it is signed and sealed by them the 9th November, 1688.
Tradition holds that the Schenck's arrived in New Amsterdam in the ship "de Valckner" on June 28, 1650. Roelof owned 2 Negro slaves in 1683 and 4 in 1698. He held office under both the Dutch and English. He was a magistrate in Flatlands in 1662, 1663 and 1664. During the brief reoccupation of the Dutch, he was appointed schepen by governor Colve on August 18, 1673 and became a lieutenant of militia on October 25, 1673. He was a deputy to the council held at city hall on March 26, 1674. On December 12, 1689, Lt. Gov. Leisler appointed him a Justice of the Peace of Kings county. He held that office as late as 1692. Leisler also appointed him Captain of Horse on January 13, 1690. The following order was issued by Gov. Jacob Leisler to Major Gerardus Beekman [or Beckman ?], Esq. respecting Captain Schenk's command:
Whereas, Gerrit Elbertse Stoothof, Lieut. of ye troop of horse of Kings County, on Long Island, has in a Contemptuous manner denied ye Command of his Capt'n Roelof Martense Schenck, especially when ye enemies were Invading and Committing several outrages on this coast by w'ch it evidently appears ye sd. Gerrit Elbertse Stoothof has ill affection to this his Maj'ties Government and is not to be trusted in Command.
These are therefore to will and require you in his Maj'ties name to dismiss and discharge the sd. Liuet. of having any further Command of sd. troop of horse and to deliver my Commission for Lieut. to Peter Jansen of Brookland for doing whereof these are yo'r sufficient Warr't. Given, &c, this 29th July, 1690.
In the Supreme Court Province of New York 1691 - 1704 Volume 2 pp. 149-152, Roeloff was listed as being a Justice of the Peace and Circuit Court Judge of Kings County in 1703.
Roelof was a deacon or elder or both of the church at Flatlands as early as 1665. In 1686, Roelof and his sons were the largest contributors towards the procurement of a bell for the church.
In the rate list of Amersfoort dated September 25, 1683, Roelof is first in wealth in the town.
Roelof has a lengthy will written September 4, 1704 and proved on July 26, 1705. He mentions, "First, recommending my soul unto Almighty God who gave it, and my body to ye earth to be buried in such a decent and Christian like manner ..." and "Item - I give, grant, devise and bequeath unto my loving wife Catharine Schenck, for and during her natural life all my farm or tenement at Flatlands aforesaid, now in my possession and whereon I now live with ye House, Garden, Barne, orchard, and premises thereunto belonging. To have, hold, occupy, and enjoy for her use only, without impeachment of waste - for and during her natural life - and according to a contact and agreement made between my said wife Catherine and myself before marriage, bearing date ye ninth day of November, 1688, reference being thereunto had, may at large appear. Provided, always, that if my said wife Catherine happens to re-marry after my decease, then my gift, grant, devise and bequeath above said, to be null and voyd to all intents and purposes." After the death or re-marriage of Catherine, Roelof's son, Martin, is to receive all Houses, Lands, Tenements, orchards, Gardens, meadows and hereditaments.
On January 29, 1661, Roelof obtained a patent for 23 morgans of land at Flatlands. On April 3, 1674, he bought of the Heirs of Govert Lookermans 200 acres in the same town with buildings, a village lot, meadows, etc. On April 20, 1688, he bought one half of the mill and one half of the island on which the mill was located (Flatlands) from his brother Jan Martense Schenck
From the Schenck genealogy - Roelof's grand uncle, Sir Martin Schenck van Nydeck, was heir to the castle and estate of Blynbeek, but his title was contested by a cousin, and, by the decision of the courts and the actions authorities, Sir Martin was besieged in his castle and finally forcibly ousted. losing the greater part of their fortunes and possession in Holland, their descendants sought others in the then new and wonderful Nieu Netherlands. Roelof, Jan and Anetje came to New Amsterdam on a ship with approximated 200 people (100 farmers and farm servants and 100 such as the Amsterdam Chamber usually send over). It was an agreement with the West India Company dated March 19, 1650. After Roelof's arrival in new Amsterdam, he lived for a time in Breuklyn (Brooklyn). Around 1660, he and his wife, Neeltje Geretsen Van Couwenhoven, removed to Flatlands (formerly Amersfoort), Long Island.