Dominie Gideon Schaets, His Daughter Anna and Her Love Child with Arent van Curler

 

As the religious leader in Rensselaerswijck, Dominie Gideon Schaets didn't take kindly to his daughter Anna's loose ways. About 1663 the girl took up with the leading secular official of the patroonship. Arent van Curler was the grandnephew of the patroon himself, Kiliaen van Rensselaer, and so was appointed to run the place. He was also married. Thus when Anna found herself with child, no wedding was in sight.

The Dominie didn't particularly turn his displeasure on the child. At least he agreed to baptize the boy. But for the ceremony Gideon dressed him in heavy mourning clothing and snazzed up the outfit with black ribbons and bows. Anna apparently got the message of parental disdain and so did much of his congregation. Incensed at the display, half the members stayed away from the Dominie's celebration of the Lord's Supper.

Director Stuyvesant was none too pleased with the schism that persisted within the congregation or evidently with Anna's behavior. When word of "the scandal of holy sacrament of baptism" reached New Amsterdam, he wrote his representative at Fort Orange, to wit: "I readily leave to anybody's choice and approval in what kind of napkins or swaddles children are presented for baptism, [as well as] how to name them, but concerning this subject, it seems, under correction of a better judgment, that this child of whoring might better have been named Barrabas, that is frolicsome father's son, than Benoni, child of grief."

For more of the bawdy world of Dutch Manhattan, check out Sex and the City: The Early Years.

 

More New Amsterdammers

 

Bill's Books

The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan
A Novel of New Amsterdam by Bill Greer

Mevrouw

A "romp through the history of New Netherland that would surely have Petrus Stuyvesant complaining about the riot transpiring between its pages ... Readers are guaranteed a genuine adventure that will evoke the full range of human emotions. Once begun, they can expect to experience that rare difficulty in putting down a book before they have finished."

           -- de Halve Maen, Journal of the Holland Society of New York

About the Book
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A DIRTY YEAR
Sex, Suffrage & Scandal in Gilded Age New York

A nonfiction narrative of 1872 New York, a city convulsing with social upheaval and sexual revolution and beset with all the excitement and challenges a moment of transformation brings.

Forthcoming from Chicago Review Press