"Our first Domine couldn't stand the savage devils, the profanity of us settlers or the stale bread and gray peas that covered his plate."
-- Mevrouw Jackie Lambert in
The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan.
Mill Lane runs for a single block between William and Stone Streets. Its name harkens back to 1626, when the original Manhattan settlers built a horse mill on the spot. A spacious second-floor room served as Manhattan's first church. Bells stolen from the Spanish in Puerto Rico rang from a tower over the mill.
The Domine Jonas Michaelius held the first communion in 1628. While he was gratified by the great joy and comfort his flock took, Michaelius found little else to like about the new world. His wife died on the voyage over, leaving him much "discommoded" with three children to care for. The West India Company gave him land to farm instead of the "free table" to which he was entitled. But their Honors who ran the Company knew full well a farm could not sustain him with no horses, cows or laborers available.
He survived on hard stale food, beans and gray peas, barley and stockfish on which he could not recuperate from his trials. He must pass the entire winter without butter, he complained.
Of the natives who brought food he could not afford, he found them strangers to all decency, stupid as garden poles, wicked and godless men serving nobody but their devil Menetto. So much withcraft and sorcery did they possess that neither bands nor locks could hold them.
But the Lord had delivered him to this situation, against whom Michaelius could not oppose. He did, however, take an early opportunity to abandon his flock, jumping aboard ship bound for home within a couple of years.