Wilhelmus Beekman Page 2

History of the
Beekman Family

Wilhelmus Beekman, Continued

    At the East River end, at Pearl Street, was a fort called Water Poort, and at the Broadway end was antoher called the Land Poort. In the same year Wilhemus was appointed one of the five Schepens of New Amsterdam. He served between 1652 and 1658 as Lieutenant of the Burgher Corps of New Amsterdam and then in 1658 he received, through the influence of the Dutch West India Company, the appointment of Vice-Director or Governor of the colony of Swedes on the Delaware or South River, where he resided until 1663. He moved to Esopus, now Kingston, New York, to assume the duties of his new appointment as Schout (Sheriff) and Commissary of Esopus. He took the oath of allegiance to Charles II on October 18, 1664.
     His jurisdiction as Commissary at Esopus and its dependecies extended from the Katskill, where that of Fort George terminated, to the Dans Kamer, a few miles above the highlands, which was the northern limit of the jurisdiction of Fort Amsterdam. His home at Esopus was the scene of many memorable gatherings of distinguished men. He entertained Governors Cartwright, Nichols and Lovelace. According to
Broadheads History, he resided there until 1672.
     In 1670, he purchased property along the East River from Thomas Hall, now known as Pearl Street and bounded by Nassau Street on the west. The southerly boundary of the farm was where Fulton Street is now located and the northerly boundary was Kripple Bush, now called Beekman's Swamp. According to
Valentine's History of New York, Beekman's Swamp was sold in 1734 to Jacobus Roosevelt for two hundred pounds by the corporation.
     The Beekman homestead in New Amsterdam was built near the present corner of Pearl and Beekman Streets by Wilhemus Beekman in 1670. Wilhelmus was Lieutenant of the melitia in 1673, and Deputy Mayor of New York from 1681 to 1683. In 1686, he and four other Dutchmen purchased 2,200 riverside acres on the Hudson River from the Sepasco and Esopus Indians. The price was 6 buffaloes, 4 blankets, 5 kettles, 4 guns, 5 axes, 10 cans of powder, 8 skirts, 40 fathoms of wampum, 2 drawing knives, 2 adzes, half an anker of rum and one frying pan. He built a stone house on the Hudson River in Dutchess County and called the estate "Ryn Beck" which is the present site of historic Rhinebeck, NY. He was alderman of the east ward in 1691. He occupied the Beekman homestead on the estate purchased from Thomas Hall until his death on September 21, 1707, at the age of eighty-five years.