Stokes, I. N. Phelps The iconography of Manhattan Island 1498-1909 (v. 2)

(New York :  Robert H. Dodd,  1915-1928.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 115  

SECOND PERIOD OF DUTCH SURVEYING                     iij

represents a confused memory of the coast of New Jersey, with its many inlets and

The other names given on the map—"Godenis Bay" (Latin form; Buchelius was
an accomplished scholar), "Conratz bay," and "Pauwe bay"—explain themselves.
The Delaware is here caUed "Wilhelmus rivier," a name which is found also on a
manuscript map of Delaware Bay belonging to the same period, which can be
pretty definitely ascribed to David Pietersz. de Vries. [^+] The modern Passaic
River, during the early period called "River Achter Kol," is named here "de cleine
rivier" (the small river).


The earliest known survey of the Island of Manhattan, and the only document
recording the "layout" of the little settlement of New Amsterdam that has come
down to us from the early period of Dutch occupation, is the Manatus Map, of 1639,
preserved through two contemporary manuscript copies, one in the Villa Castello,
near Florence, and the other in the Library of Congress, a bequest of the late Henry
Harrisse. These most interesting and important documents, which constitute the
basis and starting-point of our local topographical knowledge, are reproduced and
described in detail in Appendix, II.


Through the unlucky circumstance of the loss of the West India Company records,
we have at our disposal comparatively few documents which throw light upon the
history of Manhattan Island prior to the records of the burgomasters and schepens,
which begin in 1653. Most of these documents are included in the collections made by
O'Callaghan, in 1856-8, and known as New York Colonial Documents (Dutch, English,
and French). We have also the Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, of which
the earliest which has survived dates from 1638, and the New York Colonial Manuscripts
and the Land Papers, the Calendar of which was prepared by O'Callaghan in 1864.

In the Dutch Colonial Documents, we find the names of the early official surveyors
recorded, and even some maps cited, but the latter cannot be positively identified with
maps known to us, and it is, of course, difficult to determine the authorship of such
maps as have been preserved.

From the very inception of the settlement, down to the year 1632, the "ingenieur
ende lantmeter," Crijn Fredericksz, appears in the records, and he evidently con¬
tinued to practice his profession in these parts until about this year. On April 22d,
1625, special instructions were given to him for the building of a fort and houses in
New Netherland [^5] and, in November, 1626, the fort is said to have been staked
out by him on Manhattan Island. [^^] In 1632, KiUaen van Rensselaer, in a letter
to Dirck Cornehsz Duyster, dated July 20th, mentions having received "the [map

of the]  other  [land]  which Mr.  crijn   measured"  (evidently  a reference to Crijn
Fredericksz). [^7]

[24] Reproduced in the new edition of De Vries's Journals, published by the Linschoten-Vereeniging.    That it
should have been so named after Willem Usselincx, as Innes suggests, seems more than doubtful.
[2S] Catalogue Van Rappard, cited above, I79SE.           [26] Wassenaer, Vol. Ill, part. 12, p. 37b.

[27] Van Rensselaer Bowier MSS., p. 217.
  Page 115