Jan Strycker was born in Holland, in the year 1615.
He emigrated from Ruinen, a village in the province of Drenthe,
with his wife, two sons and four daughters, and arrived at New Amsterdam
in the year 1652. Leaving behind him all the privileges and rights
which might be his by descent in the old world, he sought to start
his family on new soil in habits of industry and honesty. He was
a man of ability and education, for his subsequent history shows
him to have been prominent in the civil and religious community
in which his lot was cast.
His first wife in Holland was Lambertje Suebering, and by her all
his children were born there or in this country. She was certainly
living in 1663. Jan Strycker remained in New Amsterdam a little
over a year after his arrival there, and in the year 1654 he took
the lead in founding a Dutch colony on Long Island, at what was
called Midwout, probably from a little village of that name in the
province of North Holland. It was also called Middlewoods. The modern
name of the place is Flatbush.
On the 11th of December, 1653, while still in New Amsterdam, Jan
Strycker joined with others in a petition of the Commonalty of the
New Netherlands and a remonstrance against the conduct of Director
Stuyvesant. The petition recited that "they apprehended the
establishment of an arbitrary government over them; that it was
contrary to the genuine principles of well regulated governments
that one or more men should arrogate to themselves the exclusive
power to dispose at will of the life and property of any individual;
that it was odious to every freeborn man, principally so to those
whom God has placed in a free state or newly settled lands. We humbly
submit that 'tis one of our privileges that our consent, or that
of our representatives is necessarily required in the enactment
of laws and orders."
It is remarkable that at this early day this indictment was drawn
up, this "bill of rights" was published. But these men
came from the blood of the hardy Northmen and imbibed with the free
air of America the determination to be truly free themselves next,
on the present state of the country.
To turn from the civil and military man we find him in the first
year of his residence at Midwout, one of the two commissioners to
build the Dutch church there, the first erected on Long Island,
and he was for many years an active supporter of the Dominie Johannes
Theodorus Polhemus, of the Reformed Church of Holland, in that edifice.
After raising a family of eight children, every one of whom lived
to adult life and married, seeing his sons settled on valuable plantations
and occupying positions of influence in the community, and his daughters
marrying into the families of the Brinckerhoffs, the Berriens and
the Bergens, living to be over eighty years of age, he died about
the year 1697, full of the honors which these new towns could bestow,
and with his duties as a civil officer and a free citizen of his
adopted country well performed.
In connection with this purchase of Jersey land it is well to note
that the Dutch land owners in and around New York thought the rule
of the British Crown very oppressive. Looking across the harbor
they saw the fine farms and the benign rule of the proprietors.
In the year 1654 Jan Strycker was selected as the chief magistrate
of Midwout, and this office he held most of the time for twenty
years. The last time we find notice of his election was at the council
of war holden in Fort William Hendricks, August 18, anno 1673, where
the delegates from the respective towns of Midwout, Bruckelen, Amersfort,
Utrecht, Boswyck and Gravesend selected him a "Schepen."
In Dr. O'Callaghan's Colonial History of New York, Volume II, page
374, we find a letter to the Right Honorable Petrus Stuyvesant,
Director General and Council of New Netherlands, from the same Long
Island towns just mentioned, "naming Jan Strycker as one of
the embassy from New Amsterdam and the principal Dutch towns to
be sent to the Lord Mayors of Hollands; they complain that they
will be driven off their lands unless re-enforced from Fatherland."
On the 10th of April, 1664, he took his seat as a representative
from Midwout in that great Landtag, a general assembly called by
the burgomasters, which was held at the City Hall in New Amsterdam,
to take into consideration the precarious condition of the country.
This meeting was presided over by Hon. Jeremias Van Rennselaer,
and Governor Stuyvesant was presant at this august and memorable
council. (See Mrs. Lamb's History of New York, Vol. 1, pp. 205,
206 and 207. Also O'Callaghan's New Netherland Register, p. 147.)
Director Stuyvesant, August 28, 1664, addressed a letter to the
Dutch towns on Long Island, calling upon them "to send every
third man to defend the Capital from the English now arriving in
the Narrows." This the court of commonalty of the town of Midwout
unanimously answered by Jan Strycker that it was impossible to comply
with his demands, as "we must leave wives and children seated
here in fear and trembling, which our hearts fail to do, as the
English are themselves hourly expected there."
He was one of the representatives in the Hempstead convention in
1665, and he appears as a patentee on the celebrated Nichols patent,
October 11, 1667, and again on the Dongan patent, November 12, 1685.
On October 25, 1673, he was elected captain of the military company
at Midwout, and his brother Jacobus was given the authority to "administer
the oaths and to install him into office."
On March 26, 1674, Captain Jan Strycker was named as a deputy to
represent the town in a conference to be held at New Orange to confer
with Governor Colse "on Monday, of Jersey, and they resolved
that at least some of their descendants should settle there. The
exactions of the English in the matter of their town governments,
and more especially the establishment of the Church of England among
them, made them long to remove further away from their conquerers.
Various parcels of land were purchased by companies, and the Strycker
family selected the fertile soil of Somerset county for their future
Strycker's Dating back to 1400's