aaaDouwe calls himself a yoeman (farmer) in his will.(1) He bought land in Jamaica, Queens Co., on 5 April 1687 (1688, New Style?), perhaps in preparation for his marriage.(2) He and his family had moved to Jamaica probably by 1698, when he does not appear in the Kings County census. In a deed dated 17 May 1705, John and Ida Monfoort purchased five acres of salt "meadow" or marsh in Jamaica "east of Great Haw Tree Island between the meadows of Jacob Ramsen, John Lambertson and Douw van Ditmersen joining to the [Jamaica] Bay."(3) On 2 April 1706, Douwe was voted one of Jamaica's "townsmen" by the landowners of the town, probably giving him voting rights.(4) There was a stone in the Wyckoff-Snediker Cemetery in Woodhaven, Queens(5) that has the initials D.D. and what looks like a livestock mark carved on it.(6) This may have been a property marker. He is supposedly on a Jamaica tax list of 1709.(7)
aaa Douwe had contributed 6 pence toward the Flatbush minister's salary in 1694.(8) The minister at Flatbush served the people of Jamaica until a Reformed Dutch Church was established in the latter place. Douwe promised to help fund the construction of that church on 29 April 1715 and to contribute two lbs. - one of the highest amounts - for a box pew on 18 November 1715.(9)
aaa Jamaica was among the Long Island towns settled primarily by the English beyond the concentration of "Dutch" villages nearer to New Amsterdam. Some "Dutch" Jamaicans feared the increase of interfaith marriages and conversions, especially to Quakerism and Anabaptism. Although they established their own church in the town in 1715, they shared a minister with Flatbush for over ten more years. Douwe was among a group of petitioners who called for Jamaica's own minister on 7 June 1727.(10) His commitment continued in 1732 with his contributions toward the construction of Reformed Dutch churches in the primarily English towns of Oyster Bay and Newtown, where in the latter place he owned land.(11) Douwe transferred his pew in the Jamaica church to his son-in-law Willem van Duyn in 1733.(12) Both men were among the church wardens in 1735.(13)
aaaWhen Douwe apparently inherited his father's plantation at Flatbush about 1718 he deeded it to his son Johannes.(14) A child of Douwe and Catryntje was baptized in 1697, the name of whom is illegible in the damaged record of the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church. The name ended with an "e," allowing the possibility that it was Douwe or Ariantje. Comparing the number of known children with the span of time between 1690 and 1701, when Abraham was baptized, Douwe and Catryntje may have had an additional child who doesn't appear in later records. If it was a daughter she would likely have been named Grietje after her maternal grandmother, providing another possible name ending in "e." Catryntje Ditmars paid the Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church for a grave in 1713. The was most likely for a child of Catryntje (Lott) van Ditmarsen that didn't reach adulthood.
In the Name of God Amen, the first day of July in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred and fifty two, I, Dowe Ditmas of Jamaica in Queens County in the province of New York, yeoman, far advanced in years and labouring under my bodily deseases besides
the infirmities of old age but through the abundant goodness of Almighty God of sound mind and memory being mindfull of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following principally and first of all I bequeth my soul unto God my great creator who gave it me trusting in his meer mercy through Jesus Christ the only mediator for salvation my body I recommend to the earth from whence it was taken to be buried in a decent manner at the discretion of my executors hereinafter named and as touching my worldly estate I give and devise and dispose of the same in the following manner
Imprimis I do will and order that all my just and lawfull debts and funeral expences be duely and punctually paid and satisfyed by my executors out of my estate before any other distribution thereof be made
Item it is my will and order and I do give to my over grand daughters children daughters of my son Peter Ditmas, decease, the sum of three hundred and eighty pound current New York money when the shall become of lawfull age, to Peter Monfort Juor ninty five pound and to Antie Monfort ninty five pound and to Sarah Monfort ninty five pound and to Catrina Monfort ninty five pound all of them to be paid by my executor hereafter named but if either of them should happen to dye before the shold be of lawfull age then it shall coum to them that is living
Item it is my will that I order the restof my persuneal estate shall be for my son Douwe Ditmas juer and to the heirs of my son Johannis Ditmas deceased and to the heirs of my son Abraham Ditmas deceased and to the heirs of my daughter Arieantis the wife of William Van Duine deceased to be equal divided amongst them and their heirs within tow years after my decease
Lastly, I do nominate, authoreys and appoint my son Douw Ditmas Junr and my grand son Johannis Ditmas juener to the executors of this my last will and testament and I do hereby revoke and make void all others by me heretofore made and declaire this to be my last.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set and put my hand and seal the day and year herein above first written
Douwe his mark Ditmas
Signed, sealed, published, declaired and delivered by the said Dowe Ditmas as his last will and testament in the presence of us
The will was presented to the Queens Co. Surrogate Court on 1 December 1755.
children of Douwe and Catryntje (Lott) van Ditmarsen:
i. Johannes, m. Jannetje Remsen
ii. Pieter, m. Sarah (prob. Remsen)
iii. Ariantje, m. Willem Cornelisz van Duyn
iv. Douwe, m. Marritje Remsen
v. Abraham, m. Bregie Remsen
1. New York Surrogates Court, Abstracts of Wills
3. Queens County deeds [QCD], liber B2, folio 31.
5. behind St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 96th St.
6. paper on Cypress Hills Cemetery, NYGBS Library. The author assumes this was a gravestone.
11. He bought two parcels in Newtown on 2 August 1701 (QCD, liber B1, folio 137) and 7 October 1706 (ibid, liber B2, folio 104-5). Both are described as being on or very near the border between Newtown and Jamaica.
15. NY Surrogates Court, Abstracts of Wills, vol. 5
all text and photographs © 1998-2005 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted