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A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times
7: Adult Freeholders — Willem Teller

Prof. Jonathan Pearson

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[This information is from pp. 152-154 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.)]

Willem Teller was for nearly 50 years a trader in Albany. In a deposition made by him in 1698, being then about 78 years of age, he said that he arrived in this province in the year 1639, — was sent to Fort Orange by Gov. Kieft, served there as corporal and was then advanced to be Wachtmeester of the Fort; that he had continued his residence at Albany from 1639 to 1692, with some small intermissions upon voyages to New York, Delaware and one short voyage to Holland.

From Albany he removed in 1692 to New York, with his sons save Johannes, who settled in Schenectady. He was one of the first proprietors of Schenectady [though never a resident here] and one of the five patentees named in the first patent of the town in 1684.

He died in 1701 in his 81st year. (153-1)

His house lot was the west quarter of the block bounded by Washington, Front, Church and Union streets, and in his patent dated June 2, 1667, was described as "a certain house lot in Schenectady on the north-east side of Gerrit Bancker's, on the southwest of Pieter [Jacobse Borsboom] de Steenbakker, being in length and breadth on both sides 200 feet." (153-2)

In 1700, he conveyed this lot to his son Johannes, who by will gave the same to his sons Willem and Jacobus, the later taking the westerly half and Willem the remainder, which he left to his son Jacobus in 1752. At this time Gerrit A. Lansing owned the northerly half and Cornelis Cuyler the southerly half of Willem's portion. (153-3)

In 1801, the original lot was owned by Abraham Oothout, John Porteous and Jacobus Teller. About this time the corner lot came into possession of James Murdock who had a storehouse upon it; after his death in 1812, it was sold by his administrators to Dr. Archibald Craig. (153-4)

Willem Teller's bouweries on the Great flat are described in the confirmatory patent dated June 29, 1667, as "two pieces of land at Schenectady both marked No. 5, the first lying to the west of the first creek [Willem Teller's Killetje] (153-5), to the east of No. 6, a line cutting between south west somewhat southerly and so going forward on the other side of the creek into the woods, in bigness with the hoek about 26 acres or 13 morgens 95 rods." ... "The other lying on the hindmost piece of land by the woodside, to the west of No. 7 to the east of No. 1, a line cutting again from the small creek [dove gat] to the woodland South west and by west, — its breadth 72 rods and contains about 20 acres or 10 morgens 165 rods; in all 46 acres or 23 morgens and 260 rods, as granted by Governor Stuyvesant June 16, 1664, to Willem Teller." (153-6)

June 20, 1700, Willem Teller conveyed the above mentioned two bouweries to his son Johannes, "in consideration that he was much reduced in property in 1690, at the burning of Schenectady by the French." (154-1)

These two parcels of land remained long in the Teller family, but have now passed out of the name either by sale or marriage.

Willem Teller also had a pasture on the north side of Front street, comprising two and a half morgens lying between the pastures of Adam Vrooman and Pieter Jacobse Borsboom, which in 1700 he also conveyed to his son Johannes. This lot commenced 194 feet Eng., west of North street and extended easterly along Front street to a point 114 feet, Eng., east of North street. (154-2)

Johannes Teller, by his will made May 15, 1725, devised to his son Johannes "a parcel of land at Schenectady No. 5, being the hindmost part by the woodside to the west of No. 7 to the east of No. 1 containing about 20 acres or 10 morgens and 260 rods with all the pasture round and upland thereunto belonging, also my third part in the saw mill:" — to sons Willem and Jacobus "a certain lot of land in Schenectady being the foremost lot No. 5 over the first creek, to the east of No. 6; it is in bigness with the hook about 26 acres and 95 rods, together with my housing and lot of ground in the town of Schenectady now in my possession being in length and breadth 200 feet. (154-3)

Johannes Teller, son of Willem, was born in 1659, and married Susanna, daughter of Capt. Johannes Wendel, of Albany, August 18, 1686. By the destruction of the village in 1690, he was not only greatly impoverished, but was carried away to Canada by the French. He had six children, — three sons and three daughters — living at the date of his will. He died May 28, 1725.


(153-1) N. Y. Wills, II, 150-162; Albany Annals, VII, 87; Deeds, IV, 466.

(153-2) Patents, 491.

(153-3) Deeds, IV, 209; VI, 359.

(153-4) Schenectady Deeds, I, 467; Albany Deeds, XVII, 464.

(153-5) Now sometimes called the Poenties kil.

(153-6) Patents, 491.

(154-1) Deeds, IV, 209; VII, 359; XIX, 56; — Willem Teller's will.

(154-2) Deeds, IV, 209.

(154-3) Johannes Teller's will.

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