VT Documentary History

The Van Tassel Family History Homepage

"A Pedigree Partly Indian, Partly Batavian"

Catoneras - A Sachem's Legacy to Her Descendants:
Native American Heritage and Ancestral Homelands

A Documentary History

NEWS FLASH 2005!! Righting the Wrongs of History - Restoring Catoneras' Legacy - Van Tassel descendants are currently seeking congressional action to right a wrong of history. Your support is essential! Read the evidence below and write your representative.

1658 Jan Cornelisen VT comes to blows after being called "Indian Dog" (text) [actual document destroyed in 1911 New York State Library Fire]
1685, ?April 14? Jan Cornelissen petitions government of New York for Crab Meadow (Huntington, Long Island) based upon rights of inheritance from his Native American mother, Catoneras. (text or actual document)
1685, July 13 Orders on petitions of John Cornelissen*1 [relevant portion of actual document mostly burnt]
1685, October 8 Memorandum of payment for transfer of Crab Meadow parcel. Two illiterate Native Americans who do not appear on the petition show up at Judge Palmer's house and receive "payment." Witnessed by Frederick Phillipse. (text or actual document)
1685, October 10 Deed transferring Crab Meadow parcel. Government recognizes Jan Cornelissen as rightful owner, but two above Native Americans names are mysteriously added. Document is "signed" by the two newly added illiterate Native Americans only. Jan Cornelissen does not sign the document nor relinquish his claim to the land. Primary recipient of land transfer is Judge John Palmer, second only in power to Governor Dongan. Witnessed by Frederick Phillipse and Stephan Van Cortlandt. (text or actual document)
1685, October 13 John Cornelissen granted land at Apomapo, [now Amawalk, Westchester County] next to S. van Cortlandt. *2
1685, December 23 Crab Meadow Patent conferred by Governor Dongan to Judge Palmer et. al. (text)
1686, June 10-19 Dongan dispatches Palmer and West to Pemaquid, Maine to settle disturbances. While there, they tore "all in pieces" the old grants and settlements of Andros. (text)
1686, November 24 Huntington residents (after much agitation) decide to enter into discussions with Governor Dongan for a new Huntington Patent. (text)
(same day as above) Huntington residents vote to accept Judge Palmer as a patentee. (text)
1687, April 4 Huntington residents vote to NOT accept Judge Palmer as patentee. (text)
1687, June 6 Huntington residents vote to re-accept Judge Palmer with soil rights only. (text)
1688, June 21 Judge Palmer returns from a mission to London, is named a counselor in New England by the King. (text)
1688, August 2 The last New York patent under her recent provincial seal from James the Second was issued by Dongan to the Town of Huntington. *3
1688 "It was especially galling that West, and Farewell, and Graham, and Palmer, the chief subordinates and "confidents" of Andros, had come from New York. Many of the acts of these experienced officials were selfish and oppressive. Land titles were questioned, perhaps that fees might be exacted for new patents."*4
1689, April 18 Insurrection in Boston. Andros, Palmer and other officials imprisoned. (text)
1689, May 26 News of the accession of William and Mary reached Boston. Andros and his "most obnoxious servants" (to include Judge Palmer) kept prisoners without bail. (text)
30 July 1689 Royal letter arrives to Massachusetts directing Andros, Palmer and others be sent back to England. (text)
1690, Feb Andros, Palmer and others sent back to England to answer charges. (text)
1690, April 14 With Palmer somewhat preoccupied, Huntington residents decide to "exclude" him and revoke all previous rights. (text)
1705, July 30 As Jan Cornelissen VT is "recent deceased," Jan's children petition Governor Cornbury to take possession of Crab Meadow based upon their Native American inheritance. (text) (actual document)
1705, October 6 Draft of survey of land petitioned by Cornelius van Texel called for.*5 [Although this petition was apparently approved as a survey was ordered, there has been no further information uncovered concerning this particular petition.]
1712 Almost 30 years had passed since Jan acquired the small piece of land surrounded by the expansive manor of Stephanus Van Cortlandt in Westchester County. Despite the family twice successfully petitioning the Governor for the family's inheritance, the government failed to turn over the Crab Meadow property. Approximately 10 years after Jan's death, his widow Anetje is forced to sign over the family farm to the widow of Stephanus Van Cortlandt for debts owed. (text) (actual document)
1713, May 15 The family farm in Westchester County now swallowed up by the Van Cortlandt Estate, Jan's children petition Governor Hunter to claim their hereditary rights to the Crab Meadow land on Long Island. (text) (actual document)

1713, May 27

"27th of May 1713 read and referred to the Gent of this board or any five of them" (actual document)
1714, April 6 The board recommends the governor grant the warrant of survey (text) (actual document)
1714, April 22 Governor Hunter orders survey of lands (text) (actual document)
1771, March 6 Will of Hendrick Van Tassel (grandson of Jan Cornelius) - mentions "an estate depending on Long Island of some land now in dispute of the Law..." (text)
1771, December 22 Will of Johannis Van Tassel (grandson of Jan Cornelius) - mentions "a share of a tract of land at Long Island called Crop maddow..." (text)
1776, July 4 "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." [except] "....the merciless Indian Savages..." U. S. Declaration of Independence
1777, July 7 Van Tassel Family Houses Burned, Five "mongrel" VT Brothers taken as British P.O.W.s* (text)
1777, November 22 Peter Van Tassell, "commonly stiled the Indian King" taken British POW. (text)
1778, Sept 1 General George Washington notifies Governor Clinton of the murder of a Van Tassel family member at the hands of one of his officers. Gen'l Washington offers to pursue the murderer. (text) (actual document)
1778, Sept 7 Governor Clinton responds to Gen'l Washington: "... his Family have afforded many Proofs of their Attachment to the Cause of their Country in which some of them have been great Sufferers"...[but]..."Until it can be discovered to what place he has gone I think it will be most prudent to make as little stir about the Matter as possible." (text)


*1. New York (Colony) of Council, Calendar of Council Minutes, 1668-1673, compiled by Berthold Fernow, Preface by A.J.F van Laer, Introduction by Peter R. Christoph, Harbor Hill Books, Harrison, New York, 1987, (p. 43)

*2. Ibid. (p. 45)

*3. History of the State of New York, John Romeyn Brodhead, Second Volume, First Edition, New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, Frannklin Square. 1871 (p. 510)

*4. Ibid (p. 527)

*5. Calendar of Council Minutes (see *1)



Back Home