In the Notarial Archives of the Dutch West India Co. in Amsterdam, "Corst Pietersz, van Langerheer" is recorded on May 11, 1638 as due about 160 guilders[?] for service on Killaen van Rensselaer's ship Rensselaerswyck in the West Indies. On January 5, 1639 he is recorded as due the same amount, apparently for transporting three people to New Amsterdam.
The first record of Cors in New Amsterdam was in October of 1638, when he testified that he bought a hog from Anneke (Jans) Bogardus with enough purple cloth from the public store to make a petticoat. Soon after he was charged with stealing cloth from an Indian and throwing him overboard. It becomes apparent in subsequent records that he was a trader for the West India Co. At times he skippered the yacht de Vreede, and traveled with other traders on other yachts. While on the yacht Good Hope in July of 1644, Cors testified that while sailing south from Fort Orange (now Albany) past Behrens Island, Nicholas Coorn, fiscal at the fort, yelled to skipper Govert Lookermans to have him bring the boat ashore. He wanted a "stapleright," or duty paid to the Rensselaerswyck Colony for the passage. Lookermans, grasping the flag of the Prince of Orange, refused. Coorn responded by firing a cannon ball at the yacht, which shattered the mainsail. Another shot missed, but an Indian fired a musket ball by Lookermans and through the flag.
Cors had acquired a knowledge of some of the native language. For that capacity, the court called on Cors to testify that Puncas, a Marechkawieck Indian and traveling companion, told him that an enemy tribe had not burned a local farm.
Although he had close dealngs with the local tribes, there often was tension with the European government imposed upon them. The Dutch claimed the New Jersey coastline as their own, although the Raritan or Algonkian tribe traditionally went there between May and August to fish, hunt and gather fruit. New Netherland Colony director Willem Kieft demanded a tax on this use of the land. Cors and two others were sent on the de Vreede to collect. The following is Cors' version of what happened. Passing by one of the temporary villages by the shore, he noticed piles of pelts. They went ashore (presumably in row boats or canoes) and were taking the pelts when they were attacked. They fled back to the yacht. The Raritans followed and boarded the yacht with tomahawks, rapiers and other weapons. Cors testified that "instead of showing the customary friendship and disposition to trade with our people, [they] began to scoff, and having brought squirrels on board which they offered to sell Cors Pietersz, they at the same time slapped his face with them." As they sailed down river, others followed in canoes. The Raritans demanded to be put ashore. The Dutchmen anchored the boat and told them to go back in the canoes. After some saber-rattling, they took the Dutchmen's canoe and headed back to the shore. A storm had been passing through at the time, and while the Raritans fired off arrows as they left, wind, lightening and hail dampened their affect.
Willem Kieft declared this a hostile act, and when Indians were wrongly accused of killing pigs on Staten Island, he declared war on them. Years of hostility ensued, resulting in the near decimation of the local tribes and the senseless deaths of such people as the religious exile Anne Hutchinson and her family in Westchester County.
Cors married Tryntje Hendricksz about 1639. "Trijntgen Hendricz van Grol" was bound to serve Jochem Pietersz in a contract made April 29, 1638. For three years work in his house and garden and sundry assistance to his wife and family she was to receive 40 guilders a year for the first two years and 50 guilders for the third. Her marriage perhaps only a year later would likely have broken her contract, but Cors apparently was Jochem's brother, and it can be imagined that little fuss was made. After Tryntje's father died, Cors released his claims on his estate. Tryntje's mother married Adam Roelantsz, a schoolteacher and busy-body who had numerous legal troubles. Among his court appearances was Aeltje (Douwesz) van Ditmarsen's accusation that he called her a whore, but more momentous was his banishment from the colony for lewd behavior, crowned by fondling his neighbor's naked breasts. The court pardoned him for the sake of his four young children.
Cors was granted a house and lot on the north side of Pearl St. in Fort Amsterdam in 1645, and another grant was made in 1647. His neighbors in the fort were Gillis and Jochem Pietersz. Both sponsored baptisms of Cors' children, strongly indicating they were brothers. By 1653, Cors was listed as a cadet in the burgher militia. Cors died by September of 1657, when his widow asked the court to settle his estate where it concerned their children before she remarried. She apparently had someone in mind, since in October she married Frederick Lubbertsz, a trading associate of Cors, and they had two children of their own.
Cors was never called Cornelius nor did he use the surname Vroom. These are mistakes perpetuated in the 20th century.
children of Cors Pietersz and Tryntje Hendricksz:
Hendrick Corsz, bap. 30 November 1653
all text and photographs © 1998-2005 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted