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View Tree for Cornelius Barentsen SlechtCornelius Barentsen Slecht (b. Abt. 1616, d. September 16, 1690)

Cornelius Barentsen Slecht (son of Barent Corneliszoon Slecht) was born Abt. 1616 in Woerden,Holland, and died September 16, 1690 in Kingston,Ulster Co. N.Y..

 Includes NotesNotes for Cornelius Barentsen Slecht:


Cornelius Slecht

Cornelis Barentszoon Slecht (spelling from original Woerden records - the "sz" is an abbreviation for "szoon" meaning "son of"; Dutch do not indicate abbreviations with periods) lived in Woerden, Holland, where he is mentioned in records of 1640-1653 as a distiller and brandy maker. Records show the Slecht family were substantial landowners in Holland. Most of the emigrants from Holland and the Netherlands to New Netherland were financially well off. Land in Holland was not expressed in square yards or in acres, but in "morgen", a word meaning "morning". A "morgen" was therefore the amount of land that could be ploughed during a single morning - and not by mechanized means, which was about two and a half acres.
Fairly extensive genealogy and court records exist in Holland records, the earliest dating from about 1463, the latest in the early 1700's. A number of court cases involving the Slechts have been recorded in Woerden which make compelling reading (see earlier Slechts).
Cornelis lived close to his parents in Woerden. In 1640, Cornelis took over the land of his father in Snelle. In 1645, he paid 500 guilders for a bordering parcel of land of one morgen, 47 rods. A few tile makers had purchased the rights to remove the clay. In July, 1649, he sold the feudal rights to the land to the orphanage in Amsterdam. In January, 1650, he paid 2100 guilders for a house in the Voorstraat in Ijsselstein, paying half in May, 1650 after taking possession, the rest in 1651, but he actually stayed in Woerden to live.
Planning to emigrate, Cornelis made arrangements with a solicitor in Leiden, giving him power of attorney on March 19, 1652 to collect his claim from the buyer of his pigs.
Cornelis emigrated from Woerdon, Holland to America with his wife, Trijntgen Matthijsdochter Bosch (spelling in old Dutch records in Woerden), and at least four of his children after March, 1652/1653, arriving in New Amsterdam but did not stay long. The last mention of Cornelis in Woerden records was a legal document, now in the Dutch archive, which he signed on March 17, 1653, where he, as partner of Trintje Tijsse Bosch (she also used this middle name), gave power of attorney to Jan Corszoon Rietvelt, one of the earliest named brothers, to collect the receipts and titles from the sale of her portion in the sale of goods from the estate of her father. Not long after that, they sailed with their children to New Netherlands. When his son Hendrick applied for citizenship on September 26, 1687 he said he had arrived 35 years before.
The Slecht family left Holland, likely from Amsterdam to New Amsterdam, and from there they likely sailed up the Hudson to New Orange (now Albany), and shortly afterward settled as one of the orginal families in Esopus, now known as Kingston, New York. Esopus which was one of the nation's first settlements and as Kingston was the first capitol of New York, later moved to Albany due to threats from the British Army during the Revolution.
From the beginning, Cornelius took a prominent and active part in the affairs of the New Reformed Dutch Church and the new settlement, was appointed a magistrate, and as the town brewer, was an indispensible member of the community. Slecht's house stood at the mill gate and his brewery was on the south side of the mill gate.
Kingston has an interesting history. In 1609, the Dutch ship Half Moon sailed up the Hudson River and passed by the creek, later named Rondout Creek, near which the future Kingston, in a beautiful area, surrounded by the Catskill Mountains, two creeks, and the Hudson River, would be built about 90 miles from New York City. In 1652/1653 (old calendar), a handful of settlers, likely including Cornelis Slecht, from Holland moved down from Albany, landing along the creek to the south but settled by the creek to the north where the land was rich. Thomas Chamber, the founder of Kingston, settled in Wiltwyck at Esopus (Kingston) on June 5, 1652 (Dutch patent finally given on November 8, 1653).
They were attracted by the fertile flood plains of the Esopus Creek and, in 1653, they arranged to purchase land from the Esopus, a tribe of the Delaware Nation, and to farm near them along the creek to the north. On the slight promontory overlooking the flood plains, they built Dutch-style houses, using some English carpentry techniques learned from Thomas Chambers, of the local stone (some are still being used) in a village that they first called Esopus, and later Wiltwyck (Dutch for "wild woods", the third town of the Dutch colony, after Manhattan and Fort Orange, later Albany.)
The settlers did a good business with the local Indians: for just a few colored beads a trade could be made for fine pelts of mink, beaver, bear, deer, etc., as the Indians were fine hunters. However, they had trouble with the Indians for several years over such matters as settler's farm animals destroying Indian gardens of corn and such and be shot, whereupon the settlers would become angry. Peter Stuyvesant advised the settlers to band together in a permanent town within a protective stockade and arranged to have soldiers help build the stockade. Several sources say Cornelis Slecht was a sergeant of the military company [General Register of the Society of Colonial Wars 1899-1902, Constitution of the General Society, Published by Authority of the General Assembly, New York, 1902] and is said to have supervised the construction. The palisades stood eight feet above the ground and protected what is now an area of about eight square blocks. (The perimeter of the old stockade can be seen today in the streets which follow its perimeter. This first settlement comprises the present uptown district. The lower downtown district was not settled until much later, beginning in 1825.)
In 1659, several settlers came upon some Indians lying drunk in a meadow and shot some of them, causing the Indians to retaliate with an attack on the settlement. Cornelis, intelligent, a leader, and one of the few who was literate, wrote a letter to the Director-General which was signed by himself and the Dutch burghers. Cornelis wrote that his son Jan was killed during an attack on the town stockade. Some histories claim that Jan was among those captured by the Indians outside the stockade and subsequently tortured, forced to run the gauntlet, and killed, but this is not so. A letter written by Andries Laurens, the sergeant who was among those captured, names Jacob Jansen as the man captured and killed by the Indians. Other sources name the son of Barent Slecht, which may be Cornelis, but no son of Cornelis was captured and tortured by Indians (records mention that Barent Slecht was on a ship to America about 1669, so he possibly made a trip back to Holland). A truce was arranged and an uneasy peace with some skirmishes was maintained until another war erupted, the Second Esopus War. After winning the war, the Director-General made an agreement with the Indians to move further away from the settlers to avoid further bloodshed.
Director-General Stuyvesant chose Cornelis and three others as Commissaries (civil magistrates) to administer law and justice for Wiltwick, and they were so appointed on May 5, 1661. In 1663, he was granted a lot for a brewery and bakery.
In 1664, Wildwyck was renamed Kingston by the English, who took New Nethelands in a treaty with the Dutch government after winning the war with Holland. Cornelius was a strong supporter of his church and community and was appointed to various offices in the settlement, including commissioner, sergeant, and judge.
When the British under Richard Nichols won control over New Amsterdam, the subjugation over the whole of the Dutch colony was a foregone conclusion, but not in the eyes of some of the Hudson Valley settlers like Slecht. The Dutch community was harassed and mistreated by the British. On February 4, 1667, the people of Kingston took up arms against the English in revolt [the British called the revolt against tyranny a "mutiny"] against their authority in response to the imprisonment of Cornelis Slecht after he was brutally and severely beaten for defending himself and his family against a small detachment of British soldiers under the command of Captain Brodhead who had entered his brew house and harassed his family. During the confrontation, Captain Broadhead threw a dish at Cornelis and threatened to draw his sworn on him, whereupon Cornelis struck him down with a blow to the head, drawing blood. He was then beaten severely by the soldiers and thrown in the guardhouse.
The Dutch burghers marched on the British garrison, demanding Cornelis' release and the court ordered his release, but Captain Brodhead defied them all,, saying he would keep Cornelis "as long as he wished," and implied the threat of violence from his soldiers should the matter be pressed.
Later, during hearings on April 25, 16, and 27th, 1667 on the "Esopus Mutiny," Captain Broadhead admitted his actions and was suspended from his command for disobeying the orders issued by the British governor of New York forbidding harrassment of the Dutch citizens, dying in Kingston three months later. A few "mutineers" were banished for a short time, but Cornelis was not among them, contrary to some histories. The actual court records show that Cornelis Bransen (or Brantsen, Barnson) Vos (see p. 122 of Fried's history of Kingston), not a relative, and apparently a farmhand of Cornelius Slecht, was the person banished for violent actions during the uprising and who is the person confused with Cornelis by both scholarly historians and subsequently, family historians who relied on the erroneous information.
Cornelis' wife died in September, 1664.
On April 12, 1669, Cornelius purchased property from Titus Syrachs (De Vries) in Flushing, New York [Lib. C. of Flh rec., p 53]. He may have gone there to escape British harassment. Three years later he sold it, according to Flatbush (Brooklyn) Deeds A-64.
Cornelius married Elsje Janse Van Bresteede, the widow of Hendrick Jochemsen Schoonmacher, of another prominent family, on September 26, 1684.
They had no children.
Cornelis Slecht was a strong man who stood up for his beliefs, a brave man who never hesitated to defend himself, his family, and his country. Several of his descendants fought the British in the Revolutionary War. The Slecht's were strong supporters of the Dutch Reformed Church. As they were among the first ten communicants of the church in Kingston, their names are inscribed on a marble plaque in the vestibule of the old Dutch Church in Kingston.

1. Dorothy Exley (e-mail at 70544.723@CompuServe, also
at, 2447 N. Quantico St., Arlington, VA
22207, phone: 703-534-5931. Dorothy has an immense
amount of family history on the Slecht (Slack) family and
their relatives.
2. David O'Connor (e-mail at 5543-14th Rd N
Arlington, VA 22205; phone: 703-532-3124, fax: 203-260-8497
provided information from "Cornelius Barentse Slecht and Some
of his Descendants" by Rev. Lawrence Slaght.
3. Janice (e-mail at, Tim Paulsen, her husband, is a
descendant from Elsie Slecht and David Coriell, provided
information from "6,474 Slack Relatives" by Roscoe C.
Keeney. Mr. Keeney's phone: 304-346-2036
4. "A History of Ulster County Under the Domination of the Dutch"
by Augustus Van Buren
5. Archives of the State of New York, vol. 1, p. 473, vol. 3,
p. 81,116-119
6. "Jaarboek van het Central Bureau Voor Genealogy", Deet 50, Den Haag, Central Bureau Voor Genealogy, 1996
7. "Early History of Kingston and Ulster County" by Marc Fried
8. Museum at the old Reformed Dutch Church, Kingston, New York

Books available at Hope Farm Press & Bookshop, 1708
Rt. 212, Saugerties, NY 12477, phone 914-676-6809

Fact 1: March 17, 1652/53, Cornelis signed legal document in Woerden; was a distiller & brandy maker130,131
Fact 2: Aft. March 1652/53, emigrated from Woerden, Holland with wife and at least 4 children132
Fact 3: settled at Kingston,NY; regarded as one of early founders133
Fact 4: Cornelius supervised building of the Kingston stockade.134
Fact 5: one of first three appointed to Board of Schepens by Gov. Peter Stuyvesant.134
Fact 6: appointment was before New York was yielded by Dutch to the British.134
Fact 7: occupation listed as brewer; owner of land in New Paltz Grant134
Fact 8: first wife served as a midwife in the new land134
Fact 9: 1666, active in mutiny against British, beaten in his brewhouse - not banished134
Fact 10: Old Dutch Church in Kingston has his and 1st wife's name on marble plaque.134
Fact 11: marble plaque in church vestibule lists those first communicated at the church134
Fact 12: 1669, purchased property in Flatbush (Brooklyn), sold it 3 years later
Fact 13: September 26, 1684, Will V 1 191, Anjou, New York: last will and testament.135,136

Children of Cornelius Barentsen Slecht are:
  1. Jacomyntie Cornelius Slecht, b. July 25, 1645, Woerden,Holland, d. date unknown.
  2. Jan Slecht, b. 1643, d. date unknown.
  3. Annetje Slecht, b. 1647, d. date unknown.
  4. Hendrick Slecht, d. date unknown.
  5. Mattys Slecht, d. date unknown.
  6. Petronella Slecht, d. date unknown.
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