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Marie Du Trieux

 

"A woman of such persistent and daring courage as became the mother of pioneers." The Wallons were French speaking inhabitants of the Low Countries who in the later part of the sixteenth century fled from their homes on account of religious persecutions. Under the leadership of Jesse de Forest some of the Walloons who had gone to Leyden sought to emigrate from there to Virginia, but finally came over to Manhattan in 1623 with Capt. Cornelis Mey. These were the first settlers of New Netherland. Philip du Trieux seems to have been one of these earliest settlers, for he was here in Minuit's administration (1624-28) and was in 1638 Court Messenger for the West India Co in New Amsterdam. Philip appears to have been murdered by the Indians, together with his son Philip, before 1653. Philip's daughter was Marie Du Trieux.

The first mention of Marie du Trieux is in 1640 when the record of the baptism of her son, Aernout, appears on the church register in New Amsterdam. There is mention of her Husband, Cornelis Volkertszen in 1639.

From that may day in 1640 when Marie herself brings her son Aernout to baptism in New Amsterdam to the third of January, 1664, when her energetic and often spirited career in that city came to an abrupt end-- she shows herself as tavern keeper, property owner and Co-trader with her two husbands, to have been a woman of much enterprise, of considerable shrewdness and business ability and of some education--a woman of such persistent and daring courage as became the mother of pioneers.

The only mention of Marie on the records during the life time of Cornelis Volkertszen is in the suit of the wife of Jan Evertsen Bout in 1642, before referred to, which showed her as a Co-trader with her husband and in another suit in 1646 where she is fined for selling beer to the Indians -- an offense which she repeated once too often. On Feb 2, 1649, Maria together with Philip and Sara du Trieux stand godparents for child of Evert Jansen (Wendel) and Susanna du Trieux.

On Feb 20, 1650, Maria du Trieux, widow of Cornelis Volkertszen, Married Jan peek in the Dutch Church in New Amsterdam. Jan assisted her in the conduct of the tavern and from all accounts that tavern must have been the gayest spot in the little town. Maria must have made it very popular and contributed to the limit of the law -- and beyond -- to the pleasure of its guests. In 1654, the authorities are so scandalized by the frequent "tappings" after nine P.M. and on Sundays that Jan Peek's license is taken from him. On Nov 9th of the same year the court records as follows: "On the instant request, both oral and written, of Jan Peek to be allowed to pursue his business as before, inasmuch as he is burdened with a houseful of children and more besides, the Court having considered his complaint and that he is an old Burgher, have granted his prayer on condition that he comport himself properly and without blame and does not violate one or the other of the plackards on pain of having his business stopped without favor and himself punished as he deserves should he be found again in fault." As the marriage record says Jan was a bachelor when he married Marie du Trieux the "houseful of children," obviously included the Viele children. In 1653 Jan Peek is on the Muster Roll of the Burgher Corps of New Amsterdam and in 1665 he received the appointment of broker to the New Amsterdam merchants, "because he spoke English and Dutch." In 1655 he had acquired real estate in Beverwyck (Albany). This was doubtless for the purpose of obtaining the right to do trading there. He probably spent much time going up and down the Hudson and he put in often at a point where there was a little kil or brook which came to be call for him --Peek's Kil. the town of Peekskill still bears his name.

On March 23, 1652, Maria de Truye, wife of Jan Peek gives testimony as to what she has heard from an Indian concerning a trivial matter. On Dec 17, 1654, Maria brings a suit against Arent Jansen, provoost Marshal, demanding payment according to writing of fl. 14.8 and also for one cask Spanish wine and a wine glass fl. 12.8, making together fl.27.6 Deft. acknowledges the debt, but pretends to have discharged it by a certain fine which he had imposed upon the plaintiff. Defendant is condemned to pay within 14 days the fl 27.6 which he acknowledges to owe with the privilege should he have an action to institute the same. Maria thus frustrates his attempt to evade his debt. (observe she had thriftily added the wine glass to the bill!) There is much more reference to Maria du Trieux on the records than to Jan Peek, which is doubtless due to his frequent trading trips. In 1657 Jan contributed 20g. to the city treasury in common with other burghers. About this time he was arrested for beating and wounding a soldier, but said he did it only in defense of his home as the man was annoying his wife.

Maria, as the years go by adds to her family till four Vieles and four Peeks seem to compose it. She keeps ahead also with her business and gets more inclined to evade the law -- which increases in severity -- regarding the proper times for "tapping" and the more serious offense of selling liquor to the Indians. This last gets her into real trouble i 1663-4. But before then there are several interesting entries to record. One is that a petition of Maria du Trieux (June 8, 1660) was referred to Govert Lockermans and Isacc de Foreest, guardians of the minor children, which is corroborated when the next year ( 8, 1661) Mary de Truye and with her Isaac de Foreest, Old Schepen of the city and Gover Lockermans, also Old Schepen, guardians of her minor children appear before the Orphan Masters of New Amsterdam. Mary asks permission to receive the interest on 500 fl. settled on her children and secured on Peek the house of Andries Joginsen. Granted. At this time Jan was alive, so this refers to he Viele children and their patrimony. Nine years later (Feb 28, 1670), Isaacq de Foreest, as guardian of the children of Mary Peek requests the Court in New Amsterdam to be empowered to discharge a mortgage.

On Nov 9, 1654, Marritie Trompettus (Bugler) brings a suit against Maria de Truye to recover fl. 3.11 for the sale of fish to the defendant. Maria acknowledges the debt, but says she sent the money by the servant and it fell into the ditch; that she has now no more money but will pay it at the first opportunity. "The plaintiff is satisfied and the two women are reconciled."

In 1660 (Sept) the Sheriff, who seems always to have his eye on her, accuses her of "tapping" after nine P.M. She defends herself saying "two sat at her house who counted their money which she owed them and she did not tap a drop." The Court believed her and the case was dismissed.

In 1662 Maria brings suit against a carpenter, Marten Clasen, to whom she had advanced money to build her a house requiring him to give her back her money or to build her the house. In this same year (1662) she brings suit against a Ritzert Airy, whom she says owes her 54g. on which he is to pay her 12g. She produces her book to prove her position. This show she could read and write and had business methods.

On Jan, 1663, Maria brings suit against Herman, the soldier, saying that 15 legs of venison were stolen from her sister and that defendant visited her house. Defendant denied it saying he was sent by his master to fetch his wife. This is interesting, because of her reference to her sister, probably Sara, wife of Isaac de Foreest.

No trouble came to Maria de True that she did not bring her grievances to Court and in general she was right. But she was not French in vain and knew how to evade difficulties. On one occasion brought into Court about some affair in which her husband was concerned, she replied "that she does not trouble herself about her husbands affairs" (Jan, 1660), that the plaintiff must "look to him." A little later she is confronted by a man who does not like the beavers she has sold him; in this case her answer is: "she must speak with her husband." This constantly appearing in Court was the habit of the town, where no two women had a trivial quarrel but the Court must decide between them. Probably " the Court" sat on his front "stoep" waiting to adjust any simple matter that needed attention.

On Dec 18, 1663, it is requested of the Court that Maria de Truye be fined 18g. heavy money or 36g. in light money for selling liquor at forbidden hours and 50g. because her chimney is out of order. The Court fines her 18g. in zeawart for tapping on Sunday and orders her to have her chimney cleaned.

On Dec 30, 1663, Maria de Truye, wife of Jan Peek, is prosecuted for selling brandy to Indians. This in spite of the warning given her husband in 1654. For this offense on Jan 3, 1664, she is sentenced to pay 500g. and to banishment from the island of Manhattan. On Jan 24, 1664, Maria Peek, "one of the oldest inhabitants of New Amsterdam," asks for remission of her sentence and for leave to remove to Fort Orange (Albany). From Albany she retired to Schenectady where two of her Viele children and two of her Peek children settled. In Schenectady she lived on West corner of Front and Church Streets. She died before the year 1684. There is no record of the death of Jan Peek nor mention of him after Jan, 1663.


"He put in often at a point where there was a little kil or brook which came to be call for him --Peek's Kil. the town of Peekskill still bears his name."


 

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