Cornelis Steenwyck


New Netherland pioneer Cornelis Steenwyck is said to have been born in Haarlem, North Holland in March 1626. Although this notable founder still lacks an adequate biography, this sketch focuses on his time in Beverwyck/Albany.

He acquired and parlayed extensive real estate holdings on Manhattan and its environs into one of the more substantial fortunes of his generation.

He was in Beverwyck by July 1655 when he represented "Gabriel Leendertsen" and others in a real estate transaction. At that time, he was identified as a "trader at Amsterdam, New Netherland."

In June 1658, he married Margarita de Reimers in New Amsterdam. She was the eldest daughter of a prominent Manhattan merchant. By 1676, the couple had christened at least seven children.

Prior to September 1664, Steenwyck held a number of public positions in New Amsterdam.

In 1679, his name was among those that appeared and the end of a list of Albany householders with the identifying notation "The following have not yet any lot." Nevertheless, he was assessed for "3 rods," a burden comparable to that of the community's substantial traders.

In 1668 and again in 1683, he was named mayor of New York. Each time, he held the office for a few years.

Cornelis Steenwyck died in New York City in 1684. Governor Dongan probated his will in April 1685. His extensive estate was described in an inventory in 1686. Steenwyck's widow (and heir) married Domine Hendricus Selyns.

Manhattan mogul Cornelis Steenwyck was one of a number of outsiders who held property and conducted business in seventeenth century Albany. To cateqorize him as an occasional resident and stakeholder (more than a visitor) may not be in-appropriate.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Cornelis Steenwyck is CAP biography number 137. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. IRS: Wikipedia; Ancestry; GENI;

This sketch strives to focus on his time in Albany and its predecessor. Most other information presented relies on standard sources.

"Inventory of estate of CORNELIUS STEENWYCK by order of Mayor's Court, July 20, 1686: 1 House and lot in New York, to the north of the houses of Sarah Kierstede and Paul Richards, to the west of Colonel Morris, to the south of the Bridge street, and to the east of the Fort, 700; 1 House and lot to the east of the Fort, to the north of the Bridge street, to the south of the house of Peter De Reimer, now in tenure of Jonathan Champion, together with a small strip of ground lying to the east thereof, with a small cottage thereon, all valued at 300; 1 Garden on the north of the Bridge street, between the houses of Peter De Reimer and Stephanus Van Cortlandt, 70; One small strip of ground in the Broadway on the back part of the lot of Leendert Van der Grift, in length about 22 feet and in breadth about 15 feet, 7; One half of the farm lying over the Fresh water, now in occupancy of Andries Cornellisen, with all utensils, etc., 316; One farm on Staten Island at Smoakers Point, formerly of George Lockhart, and now in tenure of Richard Tattershall, 125; A tract of land in Bergen, New Jersey, bought of Samuel Edsall by deed of May 3, 1682, 200; 37 Ducatoons, at 7s. 10 1/2 each; 11 Rix Dollars, 3. 8s. 9d.; Old England money, 23, at 3d. per shilling advance, 29; Spanish gold, 112 pieces of 8, 33. 12s.; 4 Gold rings, 6; 1 Gold chain, 1 round Gold medall, and 1 "gold childs whissell," 1 pair Gold buttons, 49. 19s.;"1 Gold chain broke, used at her husband's funeral," 723 ounces of Plate, at 6s. per ounce; 1/4 of the ship "Beaver," 180; 389 gallons of Rum from Barbadoes, at 21d. per gallon. The inventory is very long, covering 14 pages, enumerating a vast number of articles. Total, 4,382. Also a very long list of book debts, covering 16 pages and showing accounts with almost every man in the city, 1,588. Showing that Cornelis Steenwyck was one of the richest men of his time." Copied from an online printing and included here for consistent accessibility. By that time, his Albany holdings were no longer considered.

first posted 8/10/13