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Sarah Lorene Gatling, southerner, lover of life.

April 20, 2009

Warning: the history nerd in me is about to come out full-fledged. What can I say, I’m from Charleston.

If there’s anything I can say about waiting tables, it’s this: you’ll never have a day that’s the same as the last. Which is the one thing I love about it. As fun as it is, it’s certainly Not what I want to be doing for much longer. Which begs the question, if I could do anything…how would I want to be remembered?

Well, while waiting tables the other day, I made the most AMAZING discovery. The restaurant I work at, The Dubliner (come visit!), is down in the Financial District of Manhattan, on a very old street called Stone Street. I just didn’t know how old. We’re talking seventeenth century old here. Stuffed behind the wine glasses were a pile of papers–maps of the area as it was during the 1600’s! A gift from the heavens if I’ve ever seen one.

In 1660, the area used to be “The City of New Amsterdam on the Island of Manhattan in the Colony of New Netherland.”  I was hooked. Even more golden, the maps included a list of citizens of New Amsterdam, and showed where they once lived. Ironically, where the Irish pub I work at now stands, there used to be a brewery!  In fact, it was the house and brewery of Jacob Wolphersen van Couwenhoven.

I can’t share all of the names, of course. But here are a few that stood out to me. This might be the only trace of evidence these people ever lived. This is all there is to remember them by, remember what they did, what the were. I wonder if, 350 years later, it’s how they would want to be remembered by the ages?

Greitje Dircks, wife of Barent Gerritsen.
Pieter Andriessen, tavern owner and chimney-sweep.
Cornelis Hendricksen, drummer and laborer.
Hendrick Jansen Sluyter, solider and watchman.
Meindert Barentsen, master carpenter.
Evert Duyckingh, glassmaker and limner.
Dominie Joh Megapolensis, first protestant missionary to Indians.
Augustine Herrman, artist and merchant, and from Prague.
Pieter Schaefbanck, jailor.
Wessel Eversen, skipper.
Teilman van Vleck, notary, a founder of Jersey City.
Reindert Jansen Hoorn, businessman.
Geertie, widow of Andries Hoppen and mother to 5 children.
Varrevanger, surgeon.
Hendrick Willems, baker.
Reynout Reynoutsen, master shoemaker.
Jacob Steendam, New Amsterdam’s first poet.
Dr. Hans Kierstede, first regular physician.
Johannes de Decker, notary and lawyer.
Hendrick Hendricksen Obe, drummer at the fort.
Egbert van Borsum, operator of ferry to Breuckelen.
John and Ann Vincent, children of Adriaen Vincent.

If I had to sum up my entire life in a few words, how would I?


One Comment leave one →
  1. Alicia permalink
    April 21, 2009 8:45 am

    This is AWESOME!! I wanna see these papers…I love this stuff too.

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