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Arendt Van Curler

VAN CURLER, or CORLEAR, Arendt, pioneer, born in Holland about 1600; died in Lake Champlain in 1667. He was a cousin of Killian Van Rensselaer, came to this country in 1630, and rose through subordinate offices to be the superintendent of the manor and colony of Rensselaerwyck, having jurisdiction from Beeren island in the Hudson to the mouth of Mohawk river, controlling nearly a thousand square miles of fur-bearing territory. By his energy, talents, and character he made the patroon's colony more prosperous than that at New Amsterdam. He early mastered the language and learned the nature of the Iroquois Indians, and often visited their towns, either to ransom Christian captives or to make covenants of amity. He may be considered as the real founder of that Dutch policy of peace with the Indians that was afterward followed by the English, which, by making an invincible obstacle to French ambition, aided so powerfully to secure this continent to Germanic instead of Latin civilization. In 1646 (the same year in which the patroon died) he married Antonia, widow of Jonas Bronck (who founded Bronxville, New York), and visited Holland. On his return he lived on his farm near West Troy, New York, using all his influence to keep peace between the whites and Indians and to check the trade in "fire-water." He greatly assisted Governor Peter Stuyvesant in treating with the Indians, especially at Esopus, in 1660. In 1661, having outgrown the semi-feudal ideas of the patroon system, he led a company of free settlers from Holland to Schenectady, which he had first bought from the Mohawks, and founded an agricultural settlement, in which all purchasers could hold land in fee simple. He several times assisted French individuals or companies when in straits of captivity, starvation, or ambuscade; yet, by simple honesty of character, kept the friendship and unbounded confidence of the savages. In 1664, on the English conquest of New Netherlands, Colonel Richard Nicolls sent for him to consult as to the Indian policy, and Van Curler's propositions were adapted. In 1667, while on a visit to Canada, by invitation of the French governor, Tracy, he was drowned in the middle of "Corlear's lake," or, as it is now called. Lake Champlain. The Mohawk Indians always addressed the governors of New York and of Canada as " Corlear," and the Indian title of Queen Victoria is Kora Kowa--" the Great Corlear." He left about 2,000 letters and papers, which are preserved chiefly in Albany, New York A biography of Arendt Van Curler is in preparation.--Two others of the same name are ANTHONY Van Curler, the trumpeter, and JACOBUS Van Curler, who was sent by Governor Van Twiller, of New Netherlands, to occupy territory in what is now Connecticut. He purchased land from Sassaeus, sachem of the Pequots, and on 8 June, 1633, landed with a company of soldiers at what is now Dutch Point, Hartford, and erected a trading-factory, called the House of Hope. Hans Janse Eencluys, being in charge of the artillery, forbore to fire on the Englishman, William Holmes, while sailing past the fort to make a settlement at Windsor, and the Dutch finally evacuated the Connecticut valley. Van Curler was the first school-master in New York city, and his farm was on the point of land near the foot of Grand street, on East river, still called Corlear's hook. He afterward removed to Long island.

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