Skip to main content

For Find Out Friday - Who Was John Jay’s Famous Great Uncle?

Last Saturday I spent a really lovely day in Katonah, New York. The highlight of that day was visiting a historic landmark that has long been on my annual to do list (; John Jay’s Homestead. 

While that blog will post soon, I learned something fascinating about his family ancestry during that tour. John Jay had famous ancestors on both sides of his family. His mother Mary was a member of the Van Cortlandt family; a very powerful political dynasty in New York during the 1700s. But his famous ancestor on his father’s maternal line exceeds even that fame. The relative we are talking about is Peter Stuyvesant.

Considering that Peter died over seventy years before John Jay was born, these men clearly never knew each other. In fact, the family tree is a bit confusing but essentially Peter was John’s grandmother’s great uncle. If you don’t follow, no worries. Truth be told, it took me more than a moment to comprehend it as well. 

What I found most ironic about this piece of family connection is that I have been wanting to do a deep dive into the legacy of Peter Stuyvesant. I took finding out about this relationship as a sign that the time to share this information was now. 

Peter (Pieter or Petrus) Stuyvesant was born in 1592 in Peperga, Friesland, in the Netherlands. His father Balthasar Stuyvesant was a Calvinist minister. In the years before moving to what we know call New York City; he went to Amsterdam for schooling, worked for the Dutch West India Company, and was the Governor of two Dutch colonies in the West Indies. During that last position he led an invasion of St. Martin and lost his right leg below the knee from a cannon ball. After his injury he returned home to recuperate. A year later it was decided he would come to New Amsterdam (NYC) as Director General (Governor) and finally arrived in 1647. 

Once here, Director General Stuyvesant held the position until the land was given to the English in 1664. He had a great deal with the name change - from New Amsterdam to New York City - and created many projects beneficial to the city. 

He built a protective wall downtown; although no longer there Wall Street still stands. He also created the canal that became Broad Street and Broadway.  

Stuyvesant believed that God spared his life during the war in order to bring morality and civility to this colony. He is thought to have said: “I shall govern you as a father his children”. 

Though Stuyvesant was a promotor of education: there was a grammar school, two free elementary schools (including twenty-eight teachers), he had his faults. He was not a believer in the right to religious freedom and has even been said to have tortured some for practicing outside of his faith. 

Peter married Judith Bayard in 1645 and together they had two sons.

Peter Stuyvesant retired in 1665 and lived on his land with his wife until his death in 1672. He and his family are buried at the Stuyvesant tomb at St. Mark’s Church in NYC. 

Besides this blog, there are many places that pay tribute to the last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam. In Manhattan there are parks, a housing complex, as well as an apartment building, and high school. 

If that were not enough the land where his farm once stood was renamed as “The Bowery” paying homage to its former name, “Bouwerij” which was simply Dutch for “farm”. Both the neighborhood as well as the farm land are approximately sixty-two acres that now lead from the East Village all the way to Stuyvesant Town. 

In Brooklyn the neighborhood named “Bedford-Stuyvesant” was also designated to reflect Peter Stuyvesant’s influence on the city. 

Not bad for a guy with a peg leg.

For More Information:


Popular posts from this blog

For Find Out Friday - Why Do Emery Boards Make My Skin Crawl?

You know that sound a fingernail makes when it scratches against a chalkboard?  You know that feeling the sound of that action gives you? I, like most people, hate that sound.  I instantly feel like scrunching my shoulders up to my neck and closing my eyes.  I feel the exact same way when I am using an emery board to file my nails. This annoying sensation has a name: “grima” which is Spanish for disgust or uneasiness. This term basically describes any feeling of being displeased, annoyed, or dissatisfied someone or something.  It is a feeling that psychologists are starting to pay more attention to as it relates to our other emotions.  Emery boards are traditionally made with cardboard that has small grains of sand adhered to them. It is the sandpaper that I believe makes me filled with grima.  According to studies that are being done around the world, it is not just the feeling that we associate with certain things like nails on a chalkboard or by using emery boards

For the Perfect Appetizer Dinner: “Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue”

Have you ever gone out to eat and wished that you just ordered a bunch of appetizers?  I have.  It is actually my preferred way to eat. I like to get a taste of a bunch of different things rather than one big plate. I am much more interested in the kinds of foods we eat as appetizers versus lunch or dinner. Desserts hardly ever register on my radar. At the beginning of this year, right before I was set to release my annual to do list , I stumbled upon a photo of the most beautiful plate of brisket nachos I have ever seen. I instantly wanted them. Naturally the establishment behind said nachos, Morgans Brooklyn Barbecue, earned a spot on my list. The week leading up to my visit all I could think about was “would those nachos be my entire meal or just my appetizer”? Sure I love all kinds of barbecue food: the ribs, the brisket, pulled pork, and don’t even get me started on those sides!! Any restaurant that serves mac and cheese, corn bread, and creamed spinach us

For Find Out Friday - How Do You Milk An Almond?

Despite my affinity for cheese and other dairy products, occasionally (actually a few times a week) I like to go dairy-free.  During those times I rely heavily on my favorite brand of almond milk, as seen in the picture above.  Though I know there is no dairy in this product, I constantly wonder: “how does one milk an almond”? Logically I am aware that no actually “milking” is taking place.  I also know that almond milk can be made at home, although I have zero interest in attempting to make it despite my love of spending time in my kitchen. So, what is the actual process?  How long does it take?  When / where / who was the first to successful develop this product? When talking about this kind of “milk” what we are really talking about is plant juices that resemble and can be used in the same ways as dairy milk. Plant like juice has been described as milk since about 1200 A.D. The first mentions can be found in a Baghdadi cookbook in the thirteenth