Catalyntje Jeronimus Trico

(Early founder of New York, gave birth to the first European baby in the colony)
Catalyntje Jeronimus Trico was born in about 1605 in Prisches, Nord, France. She was among the very first
settlers in the Dutch colony in America and credited as being the first white woman to give birth in the
colony. As well as becoming the matriarch for a large family, she was there at the beginning of the city
that would become New York. She was 18 years-old and alone when she met a man named Joris Jansen
Rapalje, who had signed up to go to America. She married him on January 21, 1624, and just four days later
they boarded a ship, the Eendrecht, which was the first one to carry settlers to the Dutch colony. Only a
handful of other women were on board. The ship took Catalyntje and the others to Fort Orange, which is
present-day Albany. There her husband worked for the Dutch West India Company while they both tried to
build a homestead.
On June 9, 1625, Catalyntje gave birth to a baby girl called Sarah; this was the first European to be born in
the colony. Besides Sarah, Joris and Catalyntje would have 10 more children. In 1626, the settlers at Fort Orange were ordered to move south to populate the island of Manhattan, which new leader Peter Minuit had
just secured in his infamous deal with the Indians. The Rapaljes acquired a lot and built two houses, among
the first dwellings in the settlement. Joris was an innkeeper at this residence and Catalyntje kept records for
him (Joris was illiterate as shown by the fact that he always signed with a mark).
In 1637, Joris bought land across the water in what is now the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Joris died in 1662, leaving Catalyntje a widow. One man who met her when she was 74 years-old said that she lived alone in her
own home near her large family, and tended her small garden. She was “worldly minded…living with her
whole heart, as well as body, among her progeny…” Catalyntje lived so long that she became one of the
last people alive who could remember certain events. She was called upon in her old age to file a deposition, which she did on Feb 14, 1685 to Governor Thomas Lent.
On Oct 17, 1688, she also filed the following deposition: “Catelyn Trico aged about 83 years born in Pris doth Testify and declare that in ye year 1623 she came into
this Country wth a Ship called ye Unity wherein was Commander Arien Jorise belonging to ye West India Company being ye first Ship yt came here for ye sd Company; as soon as they came to Mannatans now called N: York they sent Two families & six men to Harford River & Two families & 8 men to Delaware River and 8 men they
left att N: Yorke to take Possession and ye Rest of ye Passengers went wth ye Ship up as farr as Albany which they then called fort Orangie. “When as ye Ship came
as far as Sopus which is ½ way to Albanie; they lightned ye Ship wth some boats yt were left there by ye Dutch that had been there ye year before a tradeing wth ye
Indians upont there oune accompts & gone back again to Holland & so brought ye vessel up; there were about 18 families aboard who settled themselves att Albany
& made a small fort; and as soon as they had built themselves some hutts of Bark: “ye Mahikanders or River Indians, ye Maquase: Oneydes: Onnondages Cayougas. &
Sinnekes, wth ye Mahawawa or Ottawawaes Indians came & made Covenants of friendship wth ye sd Arien Jorise there Commander Bringing him great Presents of
Bever or oyr Peltry & desyred that they might come & have a Constant free Trade with them wch was concluded upon & ye sd nations came dayly with great multidus
of Bever & traded them wth ye Christians, there sd Commanr Arien Jorise staid with them all winter and sent his sonne home with ye ship; ye sd Deponent lived in
Albany three years all which time ye sd Indians were all as quiet as Lambs & came & Traded with all ye freedom Imaginable, in ye year 1626 ye Deponent came from
Albany & settled at N: Yorke where she lived afterwards for many years and then came to Long Island where she now lives. “The sd Catelyn Trico made oath of ye sd
Deposition before me at her house on Long Island in ye Wale Bought this 17th day of October 1688. WILLIAM MORRIS Justice of ye pece’11”
Catalyntje died Sept. 11, 1689 in Wallabout, New York about the age of 84. She was buried in the Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church cemetery. She had a large family,
and there were as many as 150 descendants living at the time of her death; it is said that today there are over one million descendants.

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