This collection contains a land deed dated 1683 conveying the area near Anthony's Nose in New York to Stephanus van Cortlandt and one photographic negative shot in the 1970s depicting this land deed.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains a land deed dated 1683 conveying the area now known as Bear Mountain in Palisades Interstate Park opposite Anthony's Nose along the Hudson River in Rockland County, New York. The grantors were the Lenape (Delaware) to Stephanus van Cortlandt (1643-1700), two-time New York City Mayor. The deed is on Vellum paper. This collection also contains 1 negative depicting the deed that was photographed by Museum of the American Indian staff photographers most likely in the 1970s.
According to landscape architect Julian H. Salomon's 1972 article entitled An Indian Deed Dated 1683, "Among the recent acquisitions on display at the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, New York is an Indian deed dated 1683. It conveys most of what is now the Bear Mountain section of the Palisades Interstate Park and the northernmost corner of Rockland County to Stephanus van Cortlandt. The grantors were a group of Haverstraw Indians, part of the Munsi branch of the Lenni-Lenape or Delaware Tribe. Among the signers was Sakaghemerk, sachem of the Haverstraws. The granted tract lay west of the Hudson River and opposite Anthony's Nose. It was bounded on the north by the Assinipink Creek, on the west by the mountains, on the south by Sankapogh Creek and on the east by the river. It included Salisbury's Island (Iona Island), referred to in the deed as "Wanakawaghkon" and shown on an Erskine map as Sidbury's Island. Assinipink Creek is the outlet of Assinipink Lake, which likes at the foot of Bear Mountain and is known today as Highland Lake or Hessian Pond. Sankapogh Creek is the sluggish stream which bounds Iona Island on the south. It is commonly called Snake Hole Creek. This deed of 1683 is the first to land that is now the Palisades Interstate Park and one of the earliest to land that is now part of Rockland County. No mention of it is made in either Cole's or Green's histories of the county." [Salomon, Julian H. 1972. An Indian Deed Dated 1683. South of the Mountains. Vol. 16 (2) (April-June): 11.]
This collection is arranged in 2 boxes: 1 box for the land deed and 1 box for the negative.
Biographical / Historical:
Stephanus van Cortlandt held many positions throughout his lifetime including serving as the first native-born Mayor of New York City and as a Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court in 1700.
Born in New Amsterdam (today New York City) on May 7, 1643 to Captain Olof Stevense van Cortlandt and Anna Loockemans van Cortlandt of the Dutch Republic, Stephanus began his career as a successful mercantile in New Netherlands following his father's profession. After the British conquest in 1664, New Amsterdam was renamed New York City and Stehanus went on to become a council member of the English governor Sir Edmund Andros in 1674. Three years later, he started his career as Mayor of New York, a position he held from 1677 to 1678 and again from 1686 to 1688.
According to Landscape Architect Julian H. Saloman, van Cortlandt was authorized by Governor Andros to purchase land on the east side of Hudson River and eventually accumulated land holdings totaling 83,000 acres. In 1683, van Courtlandt purchased from the Lenape (Delaware) approximately 1,500 acres on the west side of the Hudson, which is detailed in the land deed in this collection.
Van Courtlandt died on November 25, 1700 and his widow Gertruj van Schuyler and children became the heirs of the property.
Originally owned by Stephanus Van Cortlandt (1643-1700); inherited through several generations of Van Cortlandt descendants, including Jean Rutherford Mason Browne (1917-2006); donated to the Museum of the American Indian by Jean Mason Browne in 1966.
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Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Land deed to Stephanus van Cortlandt, 1683 (Anthony's Nose, NY region), catalog #, NMAI.AC.378; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.