TTHE SETTLEMENT AT SCHENECTADY
In 1661, Willem Teller appears as one of the associates of Arent Van Curler in the formation of the settlement at the Groote Vlachte (or Great Flat), the site of the present city of Schenectady. Some settlers had already squatted on the lands in the Spring of that year, and Van Curler, who had great influence with the Iroquois, reported that "truly the way is now open, the savages being inclined to abandon the land for a moderate price, the more so as trade is so slack and meagre." After permission had been received from the West India Company, the lands were purchased on July 27, 1661 from the Mohawks.
Each proprietor received a lot in the village of Schenectady, a farm on the Great Flat, some pasture land east of the village, and a garden lot on the low land east of Mill Creek. Willem Teller possessed five lots, as will be seen from his deed to his son Johannes, the additional one being a second lot of farm land on the Flat.
Willem Teller, in 1663, was one of the signers of a protest against the action of Governor Stuyvesant, who, at the instigation of the traders of Rensselaerwyck, had required the Schenectady settlers to sign an indenture pledging themselves not to trade with the Indians, with confiscation as the penalty for the third offense.
(Pearson's "Schenectady Patent.")
PETITION FOR A SURVEY
Since for three years, in spite of the requests and petitions of the settlers, no survey had been made of the Schenectady lands, a petition was addressed by three of the proprietors. Williem Teller, Harmen Vedder, and Alexander Lindsay Glen, to Director Stuyvesant, asking that a surveyor be sent. Thistime the petition was granted.
(Pearson's "Schenectady Patent.")
WILLEM TELLER AND HIS HEAD FARMER
Willem Teller was not a resident of Schenectady; his lands there were cultivated by employees, or were leased; later, they were put in charge of his son, Johannes, and were finally deeded to him.
The following is the contract of service with his head farmer, Cornelissen Switz;
"On this day, the 13th of January, 1663, Mr. Willem Teller has engaged, and Claese Cornelisz, head farmer, had bound himself faithfully to serve him, Tailler, on his farm lying at Schenechtede, to him, Claese Cornelisz, known: namely, to take good care of the plowing, mowing, thrashing, winnowing and whatever else belongs thereto, in which work he promises to do his utmost duty and effort. Said service shall continue for the term of one year, commensing on the date hereof, in consideration of which service Willem Tailler promises to pay (besides proper food and drink) the quantity of thirty-six good, whole beaver skins reckoned at eight guilders each. For the performance and fulfillment of this contract, the parties hereto mutually bind their respective persons and estates, nothing expected, subject to all courts and judges.
Done in Beverwyck, dated as above. (Early Records of Albany).
This mark X was made by Claes Cornelisz, aforesaid.
D.V. Schelluyne, Not. Pub.
Witnesses---G. Schwart. Hermen Vedderen.
LEASE OF THE SCHENECTADY LANDS
Next year, Willem made the following lease of his Schenectady lands:
"This day, the 16th of June 1664, Mr. Willem Tailler acknowledged that he had let and Claes Fredrexse Van Petten and Isaack Cornelises that they had jointly hired of him a certain farm of the leasser, consisting of dwelling house, barn rick and arable land in two parcels, number respectively No.5 at the survey by the surveyor, known to the lesses, and for the term of six consecutive years beginning on the date hereof, on the following conditions:
"The lessor delivers now to the lessees for use on the farm six draft horses, namely three gelding and three mares, with a one year old stallion colt and another of this year, five milch cows, two heifers and two bull calves of this year, one heifer in her third year, two cows with five pigs four months old and a hog one year old; which said horses and cattle, the lessees during this time shall have for the use of the farm one half the increase, according to the usage in the colony of Rensselaerawyck, and the increase to be divided every three years, but with respect to the said hogs, the lessees are holdent to deliver in the autumn a hog fit for slaughter, and so on every year during the lease, and at the end of the lease to deliver over again to the owner the same number of hogs and of the same age as at present.
"The lessor has also delivered to the lessees two plows with their appurtenances and wagon while another wagon shall be delivered next harvest time; also a pot, kettle, churn, milk tubs, two sleds, three Flemish saythes with two saythe blades, and a grain winnow.
"Moreover, the land is now sown with twenty-two skipples of winterwheat, three skipples of white peas, three skipples of buckwheat, and also forty-nine skipples of oats, which said quantity of sowed grain the lessees promise to leave sowed opon the said land at the end of the lease, for the behoof of the lessor, and also said delivered agricultural implements with house, barn, rick and garden in fence to deliver over again at the end of the lease shall be taken over by the lessor at an appraisal by impartial persons in discount of the promised rent. For the hire and use of the said farm, they the lessees, in accordance with the above-written conditions, promise jointly and severally, not pro rata but in solido, as principal, to pay every year four hundred guilders in wheat reckoned at ten gulders the mudde, to be delivered her in Beverwyck free, besides forty pounds of butter in 1665 as additional rent (toepacht) and every year the like quantity; likewise every year three days work drawing wood; and in case of war, or an incursion of enemies (which God forbid), the lessees shall have none of the burden thereof to bear; but all expenses shargeable upon the village and land, so far as the lease of the aforenamed farm during this lease is concerned, shall be borne by the lessees. For the performance and execution of what is above written, the respective parties bind their persons and estates, nothing excepted, subject to all courts and judges. All in good faith, done in Beverwyck in New Netherland, dated as above.
Claes Frederickse Van Petten
This mark X was made by Isaac Cornelisx,
Lournes Van Alen
Gerrit Janse Hertten berch
in my presence
D. V. Schelleyne, Not. Pub.
(Early Records of Albany, vol. 3, p.285).