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A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times
7: Adult Freeholders — Douwe Aukes [De Freeze]

Prof. Jonathan Pearson

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[This information is from pp. 83-85 of A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times; being contributions toward a history of the lower Mohawk Valley by Jonathan Pearson, A. M. and others, edited by J. W. MacMurray, A. M., U. S. A. (Albany, NY: J. Munsell's Sons, Printers, 1883). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 974.744 P36, and copies are also available for borrowing.]

[Copies of this book are available from the Schenectady County Historical Society.]

[The original version uses assorted typographical symbols to represent footnotes. To improve legibility, the online version uses the form (page number - note number.)]

Douwe Aukes came over in 1663 in the ship Stettin from Arnhiem [Arnheim?], being then a young man of twenty-four years. He early settled in Schenectady as an innkeeper or victualler, either as successor or partner of Cornelis Vielè. He married Maria Arnoutse Vielè, widow of Matthys Vrooman of Albany, in 1685.

Leisler made him justice of the peace in 1689. When the village was destroyed in 1690, his wife, two children and negro woman Francyn were killed and his brother-in-law, Arnout Vielè was carried away to Canada.

His inn was on the southerly corner made by State street and Mill lane next the church and it was here that the traditional merrymaking was going on, on the fatal night of Feb. 8, 1689-90. In the Groote Schuldt-boek (among the Common Council records) it is said of the dimensions of his house lot, Douwe syn erf by de kercke daer syn huys op staet is breet lang de weg [State street], 140 en lang [deep] thirty Voet. The depth of his lot is here limited to thirty Amsterdam feet or twenty-eight English feet, i. e., from the street to the palisades, which in early times extended from Ferry street to Washington street, at this distance from State street. Later he had an extension of his lot southerly on the low ground in the rear and across mill creek. (84-1)

On the 20th July, 1718, the patentees of Schenectady confirmed to Douwe Aukes, Victualler, the aforementioned lot, with "two houses thereon on the south side of the street that leads from the east gate to the Dutch church [standing in front of the late G. Q. Carley's store], bounded on the north by said street [Albany road] on the west and south by the commons and on the east by the lot of ground of Robert Wendel," being 140 feet front and fifty feet deep, thirty of which and the whole front were formerly granted to said Douwe Aukes De Freese by Reyer Schermerhorn, Feb. 15, 1702/3. (84-2)

In 1708 Aukes owned a lot on the north side of State street of fifty Amsterdam feet front, which he had parted with in 1716 to Abraham DeGraaf. This lot now belongs to the estate of William McCamus, deceased, and is comprised in numbers 131 to 137. (84-3)

On the 10th of April, 1704, he conveyed to Arent Danielse Van Antwerpen, "a lot in Schenectady by virtue of transport from Jan Luykasse [Wyngaardt] of date 13 Feb., 1702/3, bounded west by Giles Fonda, east by Gerrit Gysbertse [Van Brakel], south by the highway [State street], length on the east side 385 feet, on the west side 433 feet, breadth on the south [State street] 78 feet, on the north 90 feet." This lot is now occupied by Givens' hotel, save what was taken in opening Wall street in 1803. (84-4)

Aukes also owned a pasture on the east side of Ferry street between Union and Green streets described in the Groote Schuldt-boek as "syn erf by het vort lang aen wee [west] syde 540 en aen eene sy [end] 211 en aen de andre sy 220 voet." This lot is still well defined, the front upon Union street extends from Ferry street to the Presbyterian church lot, the west line is Ferry street, 540 feet Amst. or 495 feet Eng.; the east line is the westerly bounds of the Presbyterian church lot and the north line, 220 feet Amst. or 202 feet Eng. is 93 Eng. feet south of Green street. This lot comprised the Episcopal church and parsonage lots.

On the 10th Feb., 1718/9, Aukes, being then eighty years of age, conveyed to Cornelis Vielè, son of the former owner and keeper of his inn, and uncle of his late wife Maria Arnoutse Vielè, whom he called his son, all his estate in the village, that is to say:

"1. One house and lot wherein he [Aukes] now lives.

"2. One other lot of ground and barn behind or on the west side of the lot aforesaid near to the grist mill yt belongs to ye Dutch church. (85-1)

"3. One other lot of pasture ground lying on ye south or west side of the creek whereon said mill stands.

"4. One other lot of pasture ground lying on the east side of the street that leads directly up to the ffort gate [Ferry street] near to the fort." (85-2)

His farm was what was then called Poversens lying about the first and second locks west of the city. (85-3)

Notes

(84-1) In 1710 Douw Aukes petitioned the Governor against Capt. Fletcher Matthews, who in company with others at his house in Schenectady, "behaved scandalously and broke and defiled his furniture and goods." Col. MSS., LIV, 184.

(84-2) Church Papers.

(84-3) Deeds E, 114.

(84-4) Deeds, V, 187.

(85-1) This grist mill stood upon Mill lane near the brick wool warehouse standing there.

(85-2) Old deed.

(85-3) See Jan Hend. Bont and Cornelis Vielè.

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