Hilletie Van Slyck Van Olinda
Stefan Bielinski

Hilletie Van Slyck was born in the Mohawk Valley during the mid seventeenth century. She is believed to have been the daughter of frontier trader Cornelis A. Van Slyck and a Mohawk woman. She was raised by her mother and lived among the Indians.

By the 1670s, this legendary historical character had become the wife of Albany businessman and regional property holder Pieter Danielse Van Olinda and the mother of several of his children.

In 1697, Van Olinda's Albany household included an adult woman and three children.

Well known in the country west of Albany, Hilletie's special talent was that of the interpreter. In 1667, she is said to have been given five islands in the Mohawk at Niskayuna in payment for her services. During the 1690s and possibly afterwards, she was paid by the provincial government as the "interpretess to the Indians at Albany."

She was able to secure a number of parcels of land in the region in payment for her work as interpreter. A number of visitors mentioned her in their narratives. Chief among them was the missionary Jasper Danckaerts who wrote extensively about Hilletie's life and character. Most subsequent accounts of her life make fundamental use of the Danckaerts narrative.

Hilletie Van Slyck Van Olinda is said to have died in February 1707.



the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Hilletie/Alida/Aletta/Ilettie Van Slyck Van Olinda is CAP biography number 6732. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Must-see ethnographic exposition by Donald M. Parrish, Jr. See also Lorine McGinnis Schulze, The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk wife Ots-Toch, including the story of Jacques Hertel, 1603-1651, Father of Ots-Toch and Interpreter to Samuel de Champlain (Midland, Ont., Canada: Olive Tree Enterprises, 1996) and then her Wiki Tree.

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first posted 10/25/02; last revised 10/25/17