Jan Martense Van Alstyne


According to traditional sources, Jan Martense Van Alstyne was born in Drenthe in 1623. About 1652, he emigrated to New Netherland to work for the West India Company. He returned to Europe and came back to stay a few years later. By the mid-1640s, he was married to Dirckie Harmens. Their marriage produced at least nine children born in both Europe and America.

He was the patriarch of the Van Alstyne family of early Albany and greater Albany County.

In 1657, he was in Beverwyck and was identified as the owner of a lot on the east side what became Broadway - beyond the original stockade. He may have held that lot until the 1690s. He seems to have owned land in what became Ulster County and in the area around Kinderhook - his primary place of residence.

He also was known as "de wever" - but he may not necessarily have been a weaver. Janny Venema has carefully chronicled his Beverwyck days calling Jan and his wife "tavernkeepers" who lived north of the settlement.

He was the co-owner of a yacht that carried cargoes on the Hudson.

By 1669, he was associated with the settlement and development of the lands that became Kinderhook. In 1679, he was named assistant deputy sheriff for Kinderhook.

His wife may have died at Kinderhook in 1682. A "Jan Martense Van Alstyne" is said to have died there in 1698.

The patriarch's son, Martin Janse, married and raised a family in the Albany hinterland.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Jan Martense Van Alstyne has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 10/15/07