Sketches of the Mayors of New York From 1665 to 1834 Part III

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William Dervall, Mayor in 1675.

This gentleman was originally a Boston merchant, who had been somewhat interested in the trade with New Amsterdam, and about the year 1667, removed here and engaged in trade. His brother John accompanied him, and they set up a store, principally of dry goods.

William married a daughter of Thomas Delavall, (a wealthy citizen, who had been mayor of this city,) and occupied a house and store much finer than any which had before been in the city, in the vicinity of the present corner of Whitehall and Pearl streets. The stock of goods kept by Mr. Dergvall, was superior in fashion and quality to what had been customary among the old fashioned Dutch merchants, and he had a prosperous competition with his brethren in trade. He acquired considerable wealth. He likewise inherited a handsome property from his father-in-law, among which was Great Barn Island, and a considerable estate in Harlem.

In the time of his mayoralty, the city contained about 3,000 inhabitants.

Nicholas De Meyer, Mayor in 1676.

Mr. De Meyer came to this city from Holland, to seek his fortune, while a youth. In 1655 he married Luda, daughter of Hendrick Van Dyck, who had been one of the chief officers of government, and then resided in Broadway, on the banks of the Hudson, some distance below Wall street. At De Meyer's wedding, as was customary among the Dutch, great entertainment was had. Mr. De Meyer's residence was on a road along the East river shore. It became known afterward as the Hoogh straat. The spot may be now pointed out on the northerly side of Stone street, nearly opposite Coenties alley. His premises ran through to a street, or road, in the rear, which was afterward commonly called the "Slygh Steegh," now South William street. In his day, he was counted among the leading men, in point of wealth and character. he was a schepen in 1664, alderman, 1669, 1670, 1675, assistant in 1685, and held various other offices of public trust.

Mr. De Meyer's trading operations were extensive, and connected with most of the settlements on the coast, and up the North river. he owned a considerable real estate in this city, near his place of residence; also a farm at Harlem, and other interests in lands, mills, &c., in this province. He also held property in England and Holland. He died in 1690, leaving six children, viz., William, Henry, Anna katrina, Deborah, (married to Thomas Crundall,) Elizabeth married Philip Schuyler, of New York, merchant. His son Henry, married Angenita Dekay, and died in 1692, leaving a young daughter, Lydia.

In the time of the mayoralty of Nicholas De Meyer, this city contained about 3,500 inhabitants.

Stephanus Van Cortland, Mayor in 1677, 1686, 1687.

This gentleman was a son of Oloff Stevenson Van Cortland, an ancient and conspicuous citizen of the early Dutch times. Stephanus Van Cortland was the first mayor of this city who had been born in America, the date of his birth being 7th May, 1643. His first step in public life was at an early age, in the year 1668, when he was appointed ensign of one of the militia companies of the city. In 1671 he married Geertruyd Schuyler, of Albany, and established his residence at the "Waterside," on the present line of Pearl street, near Broad, where he engaged in business as a merchant. His appointment as mayor, in 1677, at the age of thirty-four years, was a high compliment to his intelligence, and social position in the community, coming, as it did, from the English Governor. This favor, however, he returned, by remaining an adherent of the aristocratic party, in the time of the "revolution," or the Leisler affair. When Delanoy, the Leisler candidate, was elected to the mayoralty, in place of Van Cortland, the latter refused to deliver up the city seal. A committee waited on him at his residence, but his wife shut the door in their faces.

After the death of the venerable Cloff Stevenson Van Cortland, the large estate of that citizen placed all his children in comfortable circumstances. The division of the property was made in 1684. and soon after a part of the ancient homestead and brewery, in the "Brewer's," or Stone street, was sold to Anthony Lepinar (or Lispenard,) who had formerly resided in Albany. Amongst the real estate owned by Mr. Van Cortland, was a field called "Claver Waytie," lying on south side Maiden lane, a large farm over the "fresh water" towards Corlears Hook. He likewise purchased, in 1671, a parcel of land through which the present Cortlandt street runs, on the west side of Broadway (then a mere road.) This property was about two hundred and fifty feet front on the road, and extended down to the North river shore.

Stephanus Van Cortland continued an eminent man in the province until his death, which happened in 1701. His wife was then living, and also eleven children, viz, Johannes, or John, who, in 1695 had married Mary Van Schaick; Margaret, who, in the year 1700, had married Samuel Bayard; Ann, Olive, Mary, Philip, Stephanus, Gertrude, Elizabeth, Katharine, and Cornelia. he left a large estate, among the rest, the land afterward called Van Cortland Manor, near Peekskill. He acquired here two extensive tracts, one known by the Indian name Meanagh, consisting of the neck jutting into the river opposite Haverstraw, and just at the entrance of the Highlands; and another, called Appamapagh, upon a creek more inland.

In the time of his mayoralty, the city contained from 3,000 to 4,000 inhabitants.

Francois Rombouts, Mayor in 1679

Mr. Rombouts was a Frenchman by birth, but emigrated, at an early age, to this city, where he established himself among the Dutch and engaged in trade as a merchant, while yet a youth. In the year 1658, he enrolled himself among the burghers, or citizens, though he had been for several years previously a trader here. His trading operations as a merchant were tolerably extensive, though he did not rank among the wealthiest of the inhabitants. He was probably worth, as near as can be estimated, about ten thousand dollars, which was then, however, considered an independent fortune. Mr. Rombouts held several offices of trust among his fellow-citizens. In 1673, 1674, 1676, 1678, 1686, he was an Alderman. Afterward, in 1687, the city having been divided into wards, he was returned as Alderman of the West Ward. he afterward held the office of Justice of the Peace, until his death. His political principles were of a liberal character, and his manners and address grave and dignified.

Mr. Rombouts' dwelling was on Broadway, west side, near Rector street, extending to the North river shore. it embraced a large garden and an orchard.

His wife, Helena, was originally named Teller, but had been a second time a widow at the time of his marriage. Her own family, as well as those of her two former husbands, Bogardus and Van Bael, were of the most respectable class. Mr. Rombouts left one child, a daughter who, at the time of his death, was a minor, but afterward married Roger Brett, a merchant of this city. The name of Rombouts thus became extinct in this city. Mr. Rombouts died in 1691. His widow survived him, and died in 1707.

In the time of his mayoralty, the city contained about 3,500 inhabitants.


Website: The History
Article Name: Sketches of the Mayors of New York From 1665 to 1834.Part III
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From My Collection of Books: Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York by D.T. Valentine 1853
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