Myth of Trijntgen’s Death and Abram’s Second Marriage

 Trijntgen Jochems has been the focus of much controversy. One error has been the stating of her death in a fire at Abram Staes’s farm in Claverack (Klaverack) during an Indian raid on July 7, 1664.48 The error over Trijntgen’s alleged death in Claverack has resulted in mistakes about the number and names of Abram’s and Trijntgen’s children as well as the suggestion of an alleged second marriage of Abram to the widow Catrina, wife of Albany baker Jochem Wesselse.

Editor's Note: The following section is being replaced:

  Records clearly show that Abram Staes did indeed own a farm in Claverack, but he was an absentee landlord. He rented the farm on August 17, 1660, to two Swedish farmers, Christoffel Davidts and Hendrick Eets. The lease states:

  On this day, the 17th of August 1660, appeared before me, Dirck van Schelluyne, notary public, and before the hereinafter named witnesses, Mr Abraham Staets, trader in Beverwyck, of the first part, and Christoffel Davidts and Hendrick Eets, farmers, of the second part, who acknowledged, he, the aforesaid Mr Abraham Staets, that he had leased, and they, Christoffel Davids and Hendrick Eets, that they had hired of him a certain farm belonging to the lessor, lying in the Claverack, . . . next last day of September A. 1663:49

  During the Indian attack in 1664, it was one of the Swedish farmers, Christoffel Davids, who was killed. The wife and child of the farmer were carried away by the Indians.50 The farmhouse which had been burned, however, being of stone with walls two feet thick, was later rebuilt and still stands.

Editor's Note(cont.): The following section contains the corrected information:

Abram Staes was an absentee landlord of a farm in Klaverack.  On March 12, 1664 he rented the farm to Jan Anderiesaaen de Iersman.49.1  In a letter to Olaff Stevenson van Cortlandt, dated July 17, 1664 by Skipper Jan Joosten, with the yacht De Eendracht:

“[69] thereafter they burned Mr. Abraham Staets’ house in the Klaaver Rack.   The farmer was found in the burned house; his wife and boy are missing.  The Indians who are said to have done this had said to two Maguas that the English had ordered them to do so…….”49.2

 That Trijntgen did not die at Claverack is demonstrated by the following records. On April 19, 1671, she entered into an indenture of service for Johannes Hubertson and, on April 10, 1676, entered into an indenture of service for Johannes Dyckman.51 Moreover, on March 26, 1683, Geertyrud Hierymonious, the wife of baker Jochem Wessels, deceased, sold a house belonging to her and her deceased husband.52 Although Wessels had been married previous to his marriage with Geertyrud, she never remarried after his death, nor is she ever referred to as Trynte or Catrina Wessels.53

  Wessels never had a wife named Catrina nor a daughter named Catrina. Following Wessels’ death, his widow, Geertryuud, proved his will in 1683. In addition, in that same year, 1683, the Dutch Reformed Church of Albany created a list of members of the congregation. Both “Abraham Staets” and “Tryntje Staets” appear on this list. 54

  In addition to these records, Abram Staes wrote his last will and testament in April 1683; he lists his wife, Trijntgen Jochems, his living children, and the widower of one daughter who had died as his beneficiaries. Trijntgen filed the probate in 1693, and Abram’s will is proved on October 23, 1694.55 This documentation leaves no doubt that Abram Staes remained married to Trijntgen his entire life until he died in 1693.

  The approximate date of death of Abram Staes is evidenced by a drawing done by Henry Newman Staats III while on a family vacation in about 1970. The drawing is of a “memorial” stone at Staats Island Cemetery, whose wording has since completely weathered away. The memorial commemorates Abram Staes and is dated Oct 23, 16–, with an unreadable poem inscribed. While there is no evidence that Abram is buried in Staats Family Cemetery on Staats Island, the age of the stone and the partial date seen in 1970 on the marker are coincidental with the date of the probate of Abram’s will.56

staats house at claverack stockport new york 2009

48 Stefan Bielinski, People of Colonial Albany, http:// (as of May 2010).
49 Early Records of Albany Notarial Papers 1 and 2, 1660-1696, 3: 29.
49.1 Fort Orange Records 1654-1679.  Page 324 Entitled:  Lease of a farm at Klaverrack by Abram Staets to Jan Anderiessen.  Translated by Charles T. Gehring and Janny Venema.  Syracuse University Press. 2009.
49.2 Correspondence of Jeremias van Rensselaer page 355-356. Translated and edited by A.J.F. van Laer. Albany, The University of the State of New York, 1932.   Letter to Olaff Stevenson van Cortlandt, dated July 17, 1664 by Skipper Jan Joosten, with the yacht De Eendracht.
50 Jeremias Van Rensselaer to Oloff Stevensen Van Cortlandt, July 17, 1664, in A. J. F. Van Laer, Correspondence of Jeremias van Rensselaer (Albany, 1932), 356.
51 Ibid., 379.
52 Contract of Sale of house and lot in Albany between Geertyrud Hierymonious and Bay Crovelt, ibid., 553.
53 David M. Riker, Directory to Persons in New Netherland Supplement (2004), 375.
54 Year Book of The Holland Society of New York, Henry L. Bogert, ed., (New York, 1904), 1.
55 Abstract of Wills, Liber 14A, Collections of the New- York Historical Society (New York, 1893).
56 Drawing by Henry N. Staats III, 1970. Date inscription from memorial stone in Staats Island Family Cemetery, Collection of Henry N. Staats IV.