Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BRODHEAD, Jacob, clergyman, born in Ulster County, New York, 14 May, 1782; died in Springfield, Massachusetts, 6 June, 1855. He was a tutor in Union College for two years after his graduation in 1801, became pastor of the Reformed Dutch church in Rhinebeck in 1804, was settled in New York as one of the pastors of the Collegiate church in 1809, and in 1813 established the 1st Reformed Dutch church in Philadelphia. In 1826 he took charge of a church in New York. From 1841 till his retirement in 1847 he was pastor of a church in Brooklyn. He published a number of discourses. See "Memorial of Rev. Dr. Jacob Brodhead," by George W. Bethune, D.D.--His son, John Romeyn, historian, born in Philadelphia, 2 January, 1814; died in New York City, 6 May, 1873, was graduated at Rutgers in 1831, studied law in the office of Hugh Maxwell, and was admitted to the bar in 1835. After two years of practice in New York he retired to Saugerties and devoted himself to literary pursuits. In 1839 he went to Holland and was attached to the American legation, of which his relative, Harmanus Bleecker, was charge d'affaires. There he conceived the intention of writing the history of New York. The New York legislature, on 2 May, 1839, passed an act, at the suggestion of the New York historical society, to appoint an agent to procure or transcribe documents in Europe relating to the history of New York, and in the spring of 1841 he was commissioned by Governor Seward to investigate the colonial records and land grants.
Pursuant to this act he spent three years in the archives of Holland, England, and France, and procured many valuable documents relating to the early history of the state. Among them were sixteen volumes of manuscript from Holland, mainly the records of the colonial secretaries under the Dutch supremacy, 1609-'74, with separate records also of New Amsterdam (New York) and Beaverwyck (Albany); forty-seven volumes from England and seventeen from France, comprising in all more than 5,000 important papers. These documents were translated and edited by E. B. O'Callaghan, and published in eleven quarto volumes by act of the legislature. In 1846 Mr. Brodhead was appointed secretarv of legation in England, where Mr. Bancroft was then minister. He returned to this country in 1849, and was naval officer of the port of New York during Pierce's administration. In the spring of 1855 he was appointed consul-general to Japan, but declined. For many years he continued his researches relating to the rule of the Dutch, and the knowledge thus acquired was embodied in his "History of the State of New York" (2 vols., New York, 1853-'71). He intended to add a third volume and to bring the narrative down to the present day, but had to abandon the intention on account of declining health. He delivered an address before the New York historical society in 1844, and one, on the commercial history of New York, before the mercantile library association, at the opening of Clinton hall, 8 June, 1854. He published also an "Oration on the Conquest of New Netherland," delivered before the historical society, 12 October, 1864, and "Government of Sir Edmund Andros over New England" (1867).
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