Lambert Jochemse van Valckenburch
of New Amsterdam

From The Washington Ancestry and Records of the McClain, Johnson and Forty Other Colonial American Families

Prepared for Edward Lee McClain by Charles Arthur Hoppin. Greenfield, Ohio - Privately Printed 1932

Contributed by Karl J. Van Valkenburgh

Nieu Amsterdam

LAMBERT JOCHEMSE VAN VALCKENBURCH (Valckenburgh, Valkenberg, Valckenborch), born at Valkenburg in Dutch Limburg, on the Geule River, seven miles east of Maestrict, in Holland, appears first of record in America, July 29, 1644, when he purchased of Jan Jacobsen, a house and plantation on the island of Manhattan, with twenty-five morgens of land adjoining. [Register of the Provincial Secretary of New Netherland, II, 121.] (Evjen's Scandinawan Immigrants in New York (page 406) erroneously places Lambert as a German from Falkenburg in Germany, having been misled by the similarity of place names). The grantor was Jan Jacobsen Stille van Vreelandt who died or left New Amsterdam soon after this sale.

Many years later the land became a part of the farm of Colonel Nicholas Bayard who died in 1707 -- This land is on the west side of the present Bowery from Canal Street to Broome Street. There is no record of the disposal of these twenty-five morgens (fifty acres) of land and the house of Lambert van Valckenburch. It is stated in The Iconography of Manhattan Island (VI,72) that he "may have surrendered this farm to the [West India] Company when he acquired the tract opposite to Kip's Bay plantation," later known as the Samler farm.

This latter property was of twenty-four morgens, granted by Director General Peter Stuyvesant to Lambert van Valckenburch, on May 15, 1649 -- It embraced what are now nine city blocks on the west side of Lexington Avenue from Twenty-Ninth to Thirty-Fifth Streets, and extended, westward, across what are now Park and Madison Avenues beyond Fifth Avenue from Thirty-First to Thirty-Third Street, and included the corner of the present Thirty-Third Street and Fifth Avenue, on which stood, until 1929 the southeastern part of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and wherein 1931 was erected the Empire State Building, then the highest building in the world.

The confirmation of title to this property issued in 1668 [Libci- Patents, III, 43, Albany] by Richard Nicolls, Governor of the Province of New York, refers to the ground-brief from Stuyvesant to Lambert van Valckenburgh, dated May 15, 1649, covering 48 acres (24 morgens), and recites that the land was conveyed to Claes Martensen. This later owner is identified in the Iconography of Manhattan Island (VI,138), viz.:

Claes Martensen van Rosenvelt, the ancestor of the Roosevelt family, occupied the farm originally granted to Lambert van Valckenburgh, at least as early as 1635. Probably he sold his farm to Claes Martensen when he went north [1652]. Dingman Versteeg identified Martensen as Nicolas Martens, mentioned in a court record as early as August 26) 1638. He is said to have been the direct ancestor of Theodore Roosevelt who was born less than a half-mile distant.

The surname of Roosevelt was adopted by the children of Nicolas Martensen, in place of Nicolsen and Martensen, because Roosevelt was the name of the place in Holland from which their father had come to America.

On January 25, 164.4, a declaration of Olaf Stevensen van Cortland and Gysbert Opdyck refers to a statement of Lambert van Valckenburch respecting property of Peter Livesen deceased. {Register of the Provincial Secretary of New Netherland, II, 95-] Lambert Van Valckenburch seems to have resided upon the fifty-acre farm he purchased of Jan Jacobsen, at least until March 16, 1647, when he was granted, by the Director General of New Netherland, a patent for a lot on the south side of Fort Amsterdam, Manhattan Island.[ Land Papers of the Province of New Netherland, G.G., p. 192.]

Here he may have lived until he removed to Fort Orange about 1652, as his second farm, acquired May 15, 1649, was over two miles northward in a region sparsely settled, not well developed, and far beyond the defensive wall built across the island at Wall Street to protect the village around Fort Amsterdam from Indians and others. The house and garden location close under the southern wall of Fort Amsterdam was of such prominence and interest as to merit further notice.

The fort stood on the southwestern half of the site of the present U.S. customhouse. The distance from the fort to the harbor was much less then than it is now. This land patented to Lambert van Valckenburch was nine rods and one foot long (north and south) by one rod and three feet wide. The northern end of this lot would be about fifty to sixty feet south of the southwestern corner of the U.S. Customhouse; the southern end was directly upon the Strand, the narrow open space between the lot and the harbor. This position gave an unobstructed view, from the lot, over the entire harbor. The grant of the lot was made for the creation thereon of house and garden.

It was a corner lot bounded by open public ways on three sides. This land is outlined as lot No. 1, in Block H of the key to the famous ancient Castello plan of New Amsterdam. This plan depicts a house upon the southern end of the land, exactly in the east-and-west center of the southern end of Manhattan Island. As Lambert van Valckenburch was the first grantee of this land, and, as when he sold it in 1656 to Isaac Gravenraedt (Greveract), his house thereon was sold with the land, It is conceived that he built the house. This lot was one of the only three (all granted in 1647) south of the fort.

The lot next to the west was granted to, and patented by, Jan Evertsen Bout, the interpreter of the language of the Indians, and the other to Sergeant Huybertsen (the Englishman, James Hubbard). Lambert van Valckenburch removed to Fort Orange and Beverwyck (Albany) about four years before he sold this house and land to Gravenraedt in 1656, and, also, seemingly before his farm of forty-eight acres was entered upon by Claes Martensen in 1655 -- Gravenraedt sold the house and lot beside Fort Amsterdam to Pieter Jansen Clott of Mingaquy in New Yarsie March 23, 1670, when the house was described in the deed of sale as "an old Tennement." In 1673 the English commander of New York (New Amsterdam), Captain Colve, confiscated this house and lot, with the two others aforesaid, for military purposes. These houses are depicted in several of the earliest pictures of New Amsterdam.

The site of the original lot would be now a strip 148 1/2 feet long by 19 1/2 feet wide, beginning opposite the southwestern corner of the U.S. Customhouse in State Street, and running southward to near the center of Battery Park. A drawing in The Iconography of Manhattan Island [II, 273,274, 388) outlines the bounds of this land, as well as the boundaries of the farm bought in 1644 of Jan Jacobsen and of the farm secured in 1649 of Director General Stuyvesant.

Lambert Up the Hudson


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