Oloff Van Cortlandt was the first Van Cortlandt to set foot on America’s shores. He arrived in New Netherland on March 28, 1638, on the ship “Haring”. He was on the same ship that brought the recently appointed New Netherland Director Kieft to the colony of New Netherland. Van Cortlandt was an employee of the Dutch West India Company [DWI], and had the title of officer. It is not clear if he was a military officer or an administrative employee, i.e. an officer of the DWI. He came from a well to do family in Amsterdam, and he brought with him a family seal with the Van Cortlandt arms on it. He was also well educated, so it appears that he came over not just as a lowly servant, but as an administrative employee with some influence. Also at that time he already was in his late thirties, not a young age at that time period.
In 1639, Van Cortlandt was appointed by Director Kieft to Commissary of Cargoes or Customs Officer. Four years later, in 1643, he became the Keeper of Public Stores of the DWI, a position that among others involved the collection of the DWI revenues---in essence taxes--- that were due DWI from the various traders, fur traders, land owners, etc. Most of the income was in the form of furs, a valuable commodity in those days.
In 1648, he became a freeman, and commenced being an entrepreneur in the growing economy of the new colony. Initially he was a merchant and brewer. He became very successful as a brewer, and eventually became one of the wealthiest men in New Netherland. Later he also would enter into other enterprises including shipping, money lending, manufacturing, and land ownership.
In 1649, Van Cortlandt was chosen to be a colonel of the burgher guard, a sort of sheriff of the community. Earlier, in 1645, he was appointed to be a member of an advisory body to the director of the colony, called The Body of Eight Men. In 1649, he was again appointed to another advisory body which consisted of nine men, and was called The Body of Nine Men. In 1654 he was elected to be the Schepen, or Alderman, and in 1655, he was appointed to be the burgomaster, or mayor of New Amsterdam. He held the office of mayor continuously until the arrival of the English in 1664. He was one of the commissioners appointed by director Stuyvesant to negotiate the terms of surrender, and was active in the settlement of those terms.
Van Cortlandt married Annetje Loockermans [?-1689] on February 26, 1642. Annetje was the sister of Goovert Loockermans, an official with the DWI, who had arrived with Director Van Twiller in 1633. The couple had seven children, five daughters and two sons. The oldest son was Stephanus [1643-1700], and the youngest son was Jacobus [1658-1739]. Both would become prominent in the State of New York and especially in New York City, where each one would become mayor, not for one term, but in each case for two terms. The two sons also would become the progenitors of all the Van Cortlandts thereafter, at least in what would eventually become the U.S.A. Stephanus founded the ‘Van Cortlandts of the manor of Cortlandt’ branch with its geographic anchor around Peekskill, New York, and Jacobus founded the ‘Van Cortlandts of Westchester’ branch with its geographic center around what is today Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York City.
Oloff Stevense Van Cortlandt became one of the wealthiest people in New York City. His main source of wealth was the beer brewing business. But he was also active in many other enterprises and accumulated considerable land holdings not only in Westchester County but also farther north along the Hudson River.
Oloff passed away in 1684. If his birth date of 1600, which is an estimate, is correct, he lived to the ripe old age of 84 years, a long time in the seventeenth century.
Note: The author has recently written and published six non-fiction E-books which are available for $2.99 each on the Amazon Kindle web site. Google Amazon Kindle Store, Pegels.
Oloff Stevense Van Cortlandt, Famous Amercans
E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON; GOOGLE: Kindle Store Pegels
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS, CURRENT AND HISTORIC
EIGHT PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE ROOSEVELTS, VANDERBILTS AND OTHERS, 2015
FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, 2015
DUTCH PEGELS INVOLVED IN WARS
ALLIED EUROPE CAMPAIGN—1944/1945: TACTICAL MISTAKES, 2017
THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017
FRENCH REVOLUTION, NAPOLEON AND RUSSIAN WAR OF 1812, 2015