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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jacques Van Slyke's Death - Murder or Natural Causes?

Don asked:
I'm trying to determine the cause of death of your ancestor Jacques Van Slyke in late 1690. I have reason to believe he might have been murdered. You need not go into a lengthy response as I am an avid student of that time and its Schenectady inhabitants. I have scoured most other sources for this information already. Being a descendant, you may have deeper knowledge of the massacre and any part your ancestors played in it after the fact.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Don, What a fascinating question you have posed!

When I wrote my book The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelise Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk Wife Ots-Toch, including the story of Jacques Hertel, 1603-1651, Father of Ots-Toch and Interpreter to Samuel de Champlain, the only reference I found to Jacques' death was as follows and is noted in my book:

Jacques Cornelissen Van Slyke was at Albany on May 18, 1690

"lying....sick abed" [Source: Mohawk Frontier: The Dutch Community of Schenectady New York 1669 - 1710 by Thomas E. Burke Jr. 1991:199]

Jacques may have been sick the previous fall,but he testified against Robert Livingston on 1 April 1690 and was not noted as being in ill health at that time. He also traveled, apparently back to the Netherlands and home to Albany prior to May 1690. However he died soon after, having made his will on the 8th day of May 1690Source: The Van Slyke Family in America....

Yates states that Jacques died of pulmonary disease, but does not give his source for this. Jacques' will begins

"In the name of God, Amen. Know all men whom it may concern, that on this eighteenth of May anno sixteen hundred and ninety, at Albany, being in the second year of the reign of William and Mary, King and Queen of Great Britain, Jaques Comelisse van Slyck, residing at Schennechtady, lying here in the city aforesaid Sick abed....."

I'm very curious about your statement that Jacques may have been murdered and hope you will share whatever you found.

1 comment:

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