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"A Pedigree Partly Indian, Partly Batavian"

The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow

The following is taken from "First Record Book of the 'Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow' Organized in 1697 and now The First Reformed Church of Tarrytown, N. Y.," An original translation of its brief historical matter, and a copy, faithful to the letter, of every personal and local name, of its four registers of members, consistorymen, baptisms, and marriages, from its organization to 1791, by Rev. David Cole, D.D., Yonkers, N. Y., Published by The Yonkers Historical and Library Association, 1901.


I have now completed the four registers of members, consistorymen, baptisms, and marriages.  What remains of the old volume is divided into these three "Books."  They are of no present utility, and contain very few matters of interest.  Some things in them, however, require attention, and I will give them a little space here at the end of my work.

The Sixth (Het Seste) Book contains the accounts of the Church Treasurers from 1697 to 1777.  The treasurers were always the Deacons.  ALmost every Deacon's name in teh register of Consistorymen given above comes out in this Sixth Book, as he makes his report at the end of each year, and especially as he renders his final money account at the end of his entire two-year term of service, and hands over his balance to his successor in office.  And there are even a few Deacon treasurers found in this Sixth Book whose names do not appear in the register of Consistorymen, or even on the member register down to 1716.  Notably is this the case with Joost Palding, who will figure conspicuously in what will come out below.  The yearly reports were no doubt made out and presented with minuteness of detail, and properly examined with their vouchers.  As a rule, however, the balances only are given in the record.  Yet there are some exceptions to this, as will come out in my statements.  The main current expenses of the church, of course, were the salaries of the Domines and Voorlesers, the care of the property and the needed material supplies.  Down to 1745, Holland money was used in the region, and the reckoning was in guilders and stivers, the value  of a guilder being equal to about forty of our cents, and the stiver being the twentieth part of the guilder.  From 1745 to the end of the book, the accounts were kept in pounds, shillings, and pence.

The Seventh (Het Sevende) Book, comes no further down than 1716, and is written in Dirck Storm's hand throughout.  It is confined wholly to the accounts of the Arme-kas or poor chest.  The church fund and poor fund sometimes borrowed from each other, but were always properly balanced at the ends of Treasurers' terms.  From 1716 down, the church current incomes and outgoes, and those of the poor fund, were kept in the Sixth Book.

The Eighth (Het Achtste) Book, when it was started, was intended, of course, to be carried forward indefinitely as a table of contents of the whole growing record.  The great Record, as we have seen, began with such a table, but the plan of this one is fuller.  It is carried out, however, only to April 17, 1716.  So far as it goes, it is quite a painstaking resume of the contents of the sixth Book, and also of the seventh, which latter, as just stated, closes at the same date.  Yet it adds nothing to the value of the record to us, this value being wholly confined to the first five books, which I have already given in full, translated and copied with such painstaking care.  The only thing I want to add, a thing of real interest, about this "Eighth Book," is that it is closed and attested with the veritable signature of Dirck Storm, under date of APril 17, 1716.  This gives us his autograph for the fourth time in the great record.  He has written it in each of his tow lists of early members, and twice in attest of the correctness of documents.  This fourth writing of his name brings to an end his work with the whole book.

It must now be added about the sixth, seventh, and eighth Books, that they do not contain the name of a single minister who ever officiated in the church, except in the three cases given below.  They are constantly paying salary money to Domines, but never give their names.  This is a sad trial to us, who would be so glad to know who preached for them between Domine Bertholf's time and the days of Domine Ritzema.  The following are the only ministers' names brought out in the three Books:

Domine Bertholf is mentioned on folio 9, Book VI., as having received 29 guilders and 10 stivers on the 10th of August, 1709.  We shall have occasion to speak of this again a little further on.

Domine Ritzema, on folio 18, Book VI., signs a report of collections with words, "Quod attestor, J. Ritzema."  This is the only occurrence of his autograph in the whole record.

Domine Van Voorhees signs his full name, "Stephen Van Voorhees," as an attest to entries made in his presence.


Much has been said about two passages in the Dutch book which were misunderstood by Mr. Jacob Brinckerhoff, and wrongly represented by him in his translation of 1876.

The first of these passages, found in the old book on folio I, Book VII., he did not aim at all to translate, but condensed what he supposed to be its meaning into the following statement:

"It appears, from the accounts of Joost Palding, Johannis Van Texel, Abram Van Dyck and Abram de Vouw, that they paid to Domine Selyns at various times

guilders stivers













The original passage, whose meaning this statement is meant to represent, contains four times the phrase "Domin's salaris" (English-Domine's salary), but not once the name of a Domine.  The work "salaris" is very fine, but yet plainly discernible by a good eye.  Besides, Domine Selyns died in 1701, while these four transactions, as Book VI., folio 9, shows, were dated August 9, 1709, and March 22, June 7, and August 16, 1710.  Then, too, the same folio shows that the 29 guilders and 10 stivers were paid to Domine Bertholf, as stated above.  The money, we are told on folio I, Book VII., was borrowed from the Arme-kas.  Of this practice I have already spoken, and we shall meet another case of it further on.

The second original passage, misapprehended by Mr. Brinckerhoff, is found on folio 2 of Book VII.  It is as follows:

"By Slodt van Reeckeninge wegens Joost Paldink, als blykt in het Seste Boeck op foly 10, en oock reeden op de voorige omstaende zyde daer Domns Luhtelyck veel eenige rechte oopeninge van sal connen doen hoe veel daer van voor syn salaris ontfangen heeft en voor soo veel dit belangt, soo is by slodt en balance tot credit van de kas, in gelde tot
guilders stivers



This paragraph Mr. Brinckerhoff, as before, does not aim to translate, but gives what he understands it to mean, in a statement as follows:

"The Chest (he means the Poor Chest) should also be credited with money paid by Joseph Palding to Domine Luchtelyck--87 18."  (These are his exact words and spellings.)

The main point of this putting, viz., that the amount named should, in the making up of Mr. Palding's balances, be credited to the Poor fund, is in accord with the Dutch passage.  But that the passage may be understood, and Mr. Brinckerhoff's real mistakes  seen, let me show what the general facts were.

Joost Palding, though omitted by Dirck Storm from both the member and consistory registers he made out in 1715 and 1716, was deacon and church treasurer in 1712 and 1713.  In the latter year he brought in his financial report to the Consistory, and, being about to remove to New York City, asked for letters of dismission for himself and family to the New York church.  His request was of course granted, and he was dismissed with commendation of his record as Deacon and Treasurer.  This statement is made on folio 10 of Book VI.  The family returned to the Tarrytown CHurch again in 1753, and then for the first time on the entire member register the names of Joost Palding and his wife appear at Nos. 291 and 292.

During his treasurership he had borrowed, as the accounts show, from the poor fund, 87 guilders and 18 stivers, to pay a Domine's salary.  So when his balances came to made up it was shown that this money was due to the "poor chest."  No censure of him is implied in the record.  The thing is put upon the book simply as a matter of business.  The Dutch passage I have given means this:

"In balancing accounts with Joost Palding, as shown in Book VI., folio 10, and also stated on the previous page of details, one will be able to come at a correct explanation as to how much of the receipts (i.e., of the poor chest) went lightly for salary to the Domine.  And as this turns out to be, so is the balance due to the chest in money, viz., 87 guilders and 18 stivers."  

But again.  In this Dutch passage a word is used which Mr. Brinckerhoff mistook for a name, which it is not. It begins with a capital, and is spelled "Lyhtelyck."  Before it stands the word "Domns," a contraction for "Dominus," meaning Domine.  Perhaps it is not surprising that the combination should have been mistaken by Mr. B. for Domine Luhtelyck, or, as he gives it, Luchtelyck.  But, in the first place, the word should not have begun with a capital.  It is the Dutch adverb, properly spelled "luchtiglijk," meaning "lightly," in the sense of "loosely" or even "carelessly."  As before said, it is not here used as a censure upon Mr. Palding, who had only done what was common with the church treasurers.  Perhaps it may have expressed the Consistory's, or simply Dirck Storm's, feeling that the borrowing from the poor chest was not desirable, and it would be a good thing if it could be avoided.  The principal thing for us to know, however, is that no such minister as Domine Luchtelyck was ever known to the Tarrytown Church.

I have no further comment to make on Books, Six, Seven, and Eight, and so my work of translating and copying the old volume is finished.  It will be my aim now to supply this extremely valuable record with a perfect alphabetical glossary of its baptismal names, and perfect indexes of the full personal names found in the four registers.  There will be three of these indexes, one double, for the members and the Consistorymen, one for the baptisms, and one for the marriages.  These will make the study of the whole volume easy, and leave nothing to be desired for the completeness of the work.  



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