McKownville Improvement Association
- The Coeymans Patent

Barent Pieterse Coeymans, or Koijemans; also known as De Molenaer, the miller (arr. in New Netherland 1639, died ?1710).
This man obtained 7th April 1673 a confirmation of his patent for land on the west side of the Hudson River from Governor-General Lovelace. His original purchase from the Katskil natives, who were Mahikans, was perhaps made some years previous, but (as with the original purchase by Jan Hendrickse Van Bael for his patent further north) a primary written record seems not to have survived, although reference to a deed from Masghakimnenaw and others is contained in the petition of 1704.

The 1673 Coeymans patent reads:
Francis Lovelace Esq., one of the Gentlemen of his Majesties Privy Chamber and Gouvenoure Generalle of all his Royall Highnesse Territories in America – To all whom these Presents shall come Sendeth Greeting – Whereas Barent Piertersen by the Consent and Approbation of the Commissaryes at Albany hath made Purchase of the Princepall Sachems at the Kattskill and Proprietors of a Certain Creek or Kill lying and being on the West side of Hudson’s River to the North of a Place by the Indians called Haxhaexks, Stretching in length to the highest place where Jacob Flodden did used to Roll Down his Timber, named by the Natives Sietkatm to the south of the Island belonging to John Reyers, and into the woods as far as the Indian Sachems Right Goes as alsoe the woodland Kills Creek Valley and Meadows hereunto appertaining without any Reservation, for all which the sd Indian Sachems Doe acknowledge to have Received or are Secured to have satisfaction according to their agreement, and the said Barent Pieters having Requested my Grant by Patent for the Confirmation of the Purchase aforesaid, engaging to Sett up a Saw Mill on the said Creek which will be useful for the Country &c. to make the best Improvements of the Rest of the Land According to its Capacity – Know Yee that by Virtue of the Commission and Authority unto mee Given by his Royall Highness upon the condition aforespecified I have ratified Confirmed and Granted and by these Presents Doe hereby Ratifye Confirme and Grant unto the said Barent Pieters his Heyres and Assignees the said Creek or Kill lying in Hudson’s River and named as aforesaid together with the woodland Hills Creeks Valleys and Meadow Ground thereupon belonging. To have and to hold the said Creek or Kill and Premises unto the said Barent Pieters his Heirs and Assigns unto the propper use and behoof of him the said Barent Pieters his Heirs and Assigns forever.
Yielding and Paying Yearly and every Year as a Quitt Rent unto his Royal Highness his use and rendering such other Dutys and acknowledgements as now are or hereafter shall be Constituted and Established by the Laws of this Government under the obedience of his Royall Highness his Heirs and Successors.
Given under my hand and Sealed with the Seale of the Province att Port James in New Yoork this Seventh Day of April in the 25th Year of the Reign of our Sovereigne Lord Charles the Second, by the Grace of God of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King Defender of the Faith &c. at anuoqus Domini 1673.
Recorded by the Governor’s order the day & year above written.

Overlap and dispute with the Van Rensselaer Manor
The northern half of this claim overlapped with the 1631 purchase of Killian van Rensselaer from the Mahikan natives (some of the Mahikans moved to the Catskill area after about 1630 and those who sold land to Barent Coeymans were of this group known as Katskils; see §Bradley, 2006, p. 109). Barent Pieterse Coeymans made two petitions, in 1703, and again in 1704 to Governor Cornbury asking for confirmation of the patent grant. In the dispute with the patroon of Rensselaerwyck, a petition countering the Coeymans claim was made by Killian van Rensselaer dated 6 November 1704. This dispute appears to have been rather promptly resolved; in 1706 the patroon Killian van Rensselaer agreed to rent in perpetuity, for a token sum (9 shillings/year), almost all of the overlapping area to Barent Pieterse and his eldest son, Andries Barentse Coeymans. This remained a unique achievement, to get the van Rensselaers effectively to relinquish to one person/family a significant area of their Manor, and which contrasts strongly with the prolonged legal threats and eventual arbitration of their dispute over the Van Bael patent.

Overlap with Patent of Jan Clute and others
There was also an apparent claim to another part of this land; there is a deed dated April 20, 1665 from the Catskill natives (Sachamoes and others) to Jan Clute, Jan Hendrickse Bruyn, and Juriaen Teunise, which granted land covering part of Coeymans Patent, up to the southern boundary of Rensselaerwyck at Beeren Island from the north boundary of the Bronck Patent at Coxsackie, and from the west bank of the North (Hudson) River as far inland as the Catskill Indian Path (this path is shown on the map below). This claim was awarded a patent 25 May 1667 by Governor Nichols, and was still apparently valid when Jan Hendrickse Bruyn sold his share 7 August 1675 to Myndert Frederickse Smit. John Cloot, Juraen Tunnisse and Myndert Fredrickse by deed of date 20 March 1681 sold this to Martin Gerritsen; Governor Thomas Dongan confirmed May 23, 1687 a revised patent to Jan Bronk and Martin Gerritsen which included this land. This overlapping claim, like that of the Van Bael Patent with Rensselaerwyck, took a long time to resolve (see below).

Revised Coeymans Patent of 1714
Andries Barentse Coeymans after the death of his father made another petition 3 August 1714 to the Governor of New York (then Robert Hunter) requesting royal confirmation of the new (or revised) Patent. This was very promptly granted, 16 August 1714, nominally even confirmed by Queen Anne; however the Provincial Council did not actually confirm the patent until 1766.
It contains this revised definition of the boundaries and extent of the Coeymans Patent:
“The Lands in & near the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, of which his Father died seized & bounded as follows. Beginning at a creek called Peter Bronck’s creek or the creek of Coxsackie including the same creek, on the west side of Hudsons River thence up along the said River as it runs to over against the middle of Jan Ryersen’s Island to a small run of water, thence from the said River backwards up into the woods W & by N half a point more northerly 12 English miles being the northern bounds of said land; & the southern bounds beginning at the north of the said Peter Bronck’s creek & thence up the same, including the same as aforesaid, until it comes to Coxsackie, and thence up into the woods by a due west course until it is 12 English miles distant from the mouth of said creek, from the west end of which distance last mentioned a straight line being drawn northerly until it meets and closes with the west end of the aforesaid northerly bounds makes the western bounds thereof, and the easterly bounds thereof in the said River, according to a grant made by Gov. Lovelace April 7, 1673, to said Barent Petersen, and an adjustment of boundaries made by deed dated Oct. 22, 1706, between Killian Van Rensselaer, and the said Barent Pietersen and Andries.”

Map of the Coeymans Patent and surroundings
Map of the
        Coeymans Patent and surroundings 18th C.
An 18th century map in the collections of the New York State Library shows the Coeymans patent and the places used to describe the bounds, as well as a large area extending from Albany to Kingston and west to Schoharie (click on the map image to view detail). The place Siekatm given in Coeymans original patent where Jacob Flodder "did used to roll down his timber" would, absent this map, be as ill defined as the hook used in the description of the Van Bael patent. This map shows a notation of Jac. Flodder's timber track, although the patent dimension "into the woods as far as the Indian Sachems right goes" might well be subject to argument. So it is not surprising that Andries Barentse Coeymans, the son, petitioned for a revised patent, granted in 1714, in which the extent is clearly defined as "from the said River backwards up into the woods....12 English miles".
This map was perhaps made after the 1783 arbitration, as it includes the label Coeymans Confirmation. True north is not parallel with the map side margins (the western part of the southern boundary of the Coeymans Confirmation is defined in the revised patent as running due west). It contains no scale, and comparison with accurately surveyed maps (the 1891-3 USGS topographic 15' series for example) shows that the scale is quite flexible. The Hudson River is shown about three times as wide as it ought to be for the overall extent of the map, and the river course shown lacks the obvious bends that exist between Coeymans and Albany. The north boundary of the Coeymans Confirmation is placed, even given the basic nature of the map, about two miles farther north than it should have been.

Arbitration of the dispute with the Coxsackie Patent
The dispute with the Coxsackie Patent holders went to arbitration in 1783, the two sides agreeing (under a bond of £10,000) to abide by the decision of three disinterested persons, “... John R. Bleeker, Robert Yates, and Gerardus Banker, chosen as arbitrators to decide and fix the boundaries between the patent commonly called the Coxsackie Patent and the patent of Coeymans.” The resulting boundary was known as the Coeymans confirmation line. The heirs to the Coeymans Patent were awarded most of the land claimed under the 1667 Patent of Jan Clute and others, suggesting it is likely Barent Coeymans made his original purchase before them (before April 1665).
Arbitration under an intimidatingly large monetary bond was also used 1774-5 in the settlement of the dispute over the Van Bael Patent.

§Bradley, James W., 2006; Before Albany – an archaeology of Native-Dutch relations in the Capital Region 1600-1664. New York State Museum Bulletin 509, 230pp.
In April 2023, available for download at the NYS Museum website

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