Colendonck and the Youncker’s Plantation

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    • #3529

        I have posted a new article on the Articles page of the site.  It relates to a period of history that I find totally fascinating, the 17th century, which brought the first interactions of Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans in our area.  Ever since I read The Island at the Center of the World, I have been fascinated by Adriaen van der Donck, the first colonial settler in the northwest Bronx.  And I noticed something funny as I read early local histories: that various people claimed to have discovered his house in different places and at different times.  That led me wonder how that could be and this article is basically my hypothesis.

        I wrote it with the hope of informing future local histories and archaeology in Van Cortlandt Park, where there are still many secrets buried beneath the ground.

        Here it is:

      • #3530

          This is a really wonderful article, Nick.  It’s incredibly well researched and documented (yay endnotes!).  I especially love the dynamic maps!  And as someone who also does a lot of deed research, I can attest to how challenging it can be to reconstruct past landscapes from antiquated documents.  Well done.

          In terms of the archaeology at the Van Cortlandt House, folks might be interested to see what has been found there during previous excavations.  Here is the link to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Archaeological Repository for the property.  There are 15,723 artifacts in the database, and many of them have been photographed.  However, it does not appear that any of the artifacts, based on their date ranges of manufacture, were clearly associated with the 17th century occupation referenced in the article.  Here’s hoping that future work may uncover some materials from the early Dutch settlement on the property.


        • #3531

            Thank you, Julie.  I think it is wonderful that the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Archaeological Repository is preserving and cataloguing these artifacts.  This Delft tile stood out to me:

            It was excavated from a pit of 19th century garbage but we have that exact tile in the Van Cortlandt House Museum flanking one of the fire places.  I think this one may have been thrown out by the Van Cortlandts in the mid 1800s because it was damaged.

            It would be great to know the whereabouts of the artifacts from the excavations conducted in the early 20th century.  That’s when they were converting the Van Cortlandt estate into a park so there was a whole lot of digging.  When you read old histories, they wrote about finding amazing stuff but no one knows where any of it went!

          • #3532

            In 1964 I played Little League baseball on a field not far from the Split Rock in the Eastchester section of the Bronx.  Near the field,  bulldozers dug up a deep section of vacant property for a warehouse.  As a kid, this was the best place to explore. I remember as if it was yesterday picking up pieces of  broken blue and white glass and thinking….too bad all these pieces are broken.  I now know that it was shards of Delft  pottery.  I like doing puzzles, but I figured that I would never get them all, so I did not keep any.  Many years ago by and I read that Anne Hutchinson may have lived near the Split Rock and that started me exploring Bronx History.  That Baseball field is no longer there,  parts remain, just east of the Hutchinson River & Parkway, it was called ” Hutchinson Field”  Hutchinson Field 2023

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