Much has already been written about Catalyntje Jeronimus Trico and her husband, Joris Jansen de Rapalje, who were some of the first settlers in New Netherlands. And I am certain that many,many people in the United States are descended from this couple. So I can't claim her as mine solely. But I do believe that she deserves to be recognized as a true "Fearless Female".
Catalyntje & her husband Joris were married Jan 21, 1624 in the Walloon Church of Amsterdam, just before emigrating to New Netherlands. They were from Huguenot families who had fled from France and settled in the Netherlands. It is difficult to understand how they could be convinced to leave the safety, cleanliness & religious tolerance of the Netherlands--which was considered one of the most desirable places to live in the 1600s. But despite that, Catalyntje & Joris chose to leave the relative comfort of Amsterdam and emigrate.
After what must have been a grueling voyage on the ship "Unity" from the Netherlands to the New World, Catalyntje & Joris were first settled at the primitive and remote Fort Orange (now Albany, NY). However, in 1626, the Dutch authorities abandoned Fort Orange (it would be resettled later) and relocated all Dutch settlers to Fort Amsterdam, on the south end of the island of Manhattan. Catalyntje & Joris built a house on Pearl St, near the fort, and lived there for many years. In 1636 Joris purchased land in what is now Brooklyn, and his son-in-law, Hans Hansen Bergen, secured the parcel next door. Catalyntje & Joris lived in the area that became Brooklyn until their deaths.
Life in New Amsterdam must have been very challenging, especially early on. It was an incredibly lawless place, full of drunkeness, licentiousness, & criminal activity. It's difficult to believe that anyone would find it a suitable place to raise a family. But that is exactly what Catalyntje & Joris did. They had eleven children. I descend from two of the daughters: Sarah, their eldest, who married Hans Hansen Bergen, and Judith who married Pieter Pietersen Van Nest. Both are ancestors of my grandfather Alonzo Cox Huber.
The most amazing thing about Catalyntje Trico de Rapalje is that, in an era and place where people did not expect to live long, she survived to a ripe old age of 84, and according to depositions of the time, still had a strong mind and heart long into her later years.
Have a great day!
© Betty Tartas 2011