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Let's Go to the New World for Our Honeymoon!


Catherine Jeronimus Trico (1605-1689)

and Joris Jansen Rapelje (1604-1663)


Catherine Trico and Joris Rapelje are my eighth great grandparents by this path: RWA → Vera Esler Abbott → William F. Esler → William Moore Esler → John H. Esler → Lena Ryerson Esler → Jacobus Ryerson → Reyer Martense Ryerson → Annetje Rapelje Ryerson → Catherine Trico and Joris Rapelje


Catherine and Joris were among the first settlers in New Netherland. They were married January 13, 1624 at the Walloon Church in Amsterdam and on January 25, they boarded a ship for New Netherland. They traveled on the ship Unity captained by Arien Jorise. (The marriage certificate for Catherine and Joris dated January 13, 1624 is pictured above.)


Catherine was also known as Catalyntje Jeronimus Trico Rapalje and as Catelina. Her parents were Jeronimus Trico and Michèle Sauvagie. She was baptized in 1605 at St. Nicholas Church, Pris, Hainaut, Spanish Netherlands which is in current day France. She died 11 September 1689 in Walabought, Long Island and was buried in Flatbush Dutch Reformed Cemetery which is now within the grounds of Erasmus Hall High School.


Joris Rapelje was a textile worker and he was also from Spanish Netherlands. He was employed by the Dutch West India Company and when the couple arrived in New Netherland they went to Fort Orange which is current day Albany. Catherine has been described as the “first white woman” in Albany. Their oldest daughter, Sarah born 1625, is reported to be the first European child born in New Netherland.


In 1626, the Dutch West India Company relocated all the families at Fort Orange to Fort Amsterdam which was at the southern end of Manhattan Island. The Rapelje family eventually purchased a 335 acre tract at what is now Brooklyn. They were prominent members of the community and Rapelje was one of the Council of Twelve Men.


The Council of Twelve Men was formed in 1641 with the purpose of advising Willem Kieft the director of New Netherland on how to respond to the killing of Claes Swits by a Native American. The director wanted to go to war, but the council advised against this proposing instead that they make a friendly request for the Native Americans to surrender the killer; they later made a recommendation for sanctions. Kieft, in a move that would fit right in with our current politicians, disbanded the council in 1643, and then ordered soldiers of the Dutch West India Company to attack the Indians.


Catherine and Joris had 11 children and through their many descendants were influential in the New York area for many years. Rapelye Street in Brooklyn is named for the family. Our ancestor is Annetje who married Martin Ryerson another prominent early settler in New Netherland.


One interesting thing that seems to have occurred in the colonies is the taking of depositions. I assume that most of these depositions had a Court related purpose, but the ones I have read seem to be a person recounting life history. Here is the deposition of Catherine Trico that was made in 1688 and describes the arrival of the family in New Netherland and the initial experience in Fort Orange. (Documentary History of the State of New York by E. B. O’Callaghan, 1849, volume III, pp 50-51.)


Catelyn Trico aged about 83 years born in Paris doth testify and declare that in ye year 1623 she came into this country with a ship called Unity whereof was Commander Arien Jorise belonging to the West India Company, being the first ship that came here for the said Company; as soon as they came to Manhatans now called New York, they sent two families and six men to Hartford River and two families and 8 men to Delaware River and 8 men they left at New York to take possession and the rest of ye passengers went with the ship up as far as Albany, which they then called Fort Orange. When as ye Ship came as far as Sopus which is half way to Albany; they lightened the ship with some boats that were left there by the Dutch that had been there a year before a trading with the Indians, upon there own accompts and gone back again to Holland and so brought ye vessel up; there were about 18 families aboard who settled themselves at Albany and made a small fort; and as soon as they had built themselves some huts of bark; the Mahikanders or River Indians, ye Maquase, Oneydes, Onnondages, Cayougas and Sinnekes, with the Mahawawa or Ottawawaes Indians came and made covenants of friendship with ye said Arien Jorise there Commander, bringing him great presents of beaver and of peltry and desired that they might come and have a constant free trade with them with which was concluded upon and ye said nations came daily with great multitudes of beaver and traded them with the Christians. Their said Commander Arien Jorise stayed with them all winter and sent his son home with the ship; ye said Deponent lived in Albany three years all which time ye said Indians were all as quiet as lambs and came and traded with all the freedom imaginable, in the year 1626 the Deponent came from Albany and settled at New york where she lived afterwards for many years and then came to Long Island where she now lives.The said Catelyn Trico made oath of ye said Deposition before me at her house on Long Island in ye Wale Bought this 17th day of October 1688. William Morris Justice of ye Peace

Family Group Sheet for Catherine Trico and Joris Rapelje:


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