Pieter Stoutenburg


Pieter (Peter) Stoutenburg was born around 1613 in Amersfoort, Utrecht Province, Netherlands. No details of his early years are available and he was said to have arrived in New Amsterdam the same time as Governor Kieft, March 28, 1638 however, this is uncertain. We do know that he has been described as a treasurer of New York City and an active citizen of New Amsterdam. He was nominated as schepen or magistrate on August 16, 1673 and became treasurer in 1676.

Peter married Aefje Van Tienhoven (b. ca. 1628 daughter of Lucas Cornelis Van Tienhoven and Jannetje Adriaense de Haes) about July 25, 1649 as the banns of matrimony were posted on this date. He served on the board of deacons of the Dutch Reformed Church and was an officer of the Dutch Church School.

According to Dutch Church records, Peter died in 1699 at the age of 86.

In 1673, Peter and his family lived on Broadway just outside the city wall. Unfortunately the house had been built too close to the wall and had to be torn down to strengthen the city’s defenses. His home bordered the home of Jan Vinje (Vigne) and other heirs of Adriana Cuvilje who was the widow of Jan Jansen Damen who is credited with bringing the first tulip bulbs to New Amsterdam in his pocket. His tulip gardens were famous throughout the city. The sites on which these two houses sat became well known and valued property and eventually became the site of the Presbyterian Church and later the Equitable Building. According to records, in 1686 Pieter lived near his daughter and her husband, Alburtus Ringo, on Heeren Gracht, oost syde (Broad Street, east side).

Peter Stoutenburg at one time owned two other properties in addition to the one mentioned in the Skyscrapers article. That property was the 2nd of the three properties that Peter owned.

In 1641 because of the Indian hostilities many of the inhabitants on the island squatted on land near the fort for protection. The Dutch West India Company decided to let the squatters be if they would improve the land and pay taxes. After six years, the company gave patents to each of the inhabitants that met the conditions of the agreement. Peter’s first lot was located in this area. He sold it at the end of 1655.

In 1656, Peter was living outside the wall on what today is the Equitable Life Building site. His home was on a part of the property that Jan Janszen Damen owned in 1638. His brother-in-law, Cornelis van Tienhoven, disappeared and was presumed dead in 1656. Rachel Vigne, van Tienhoven’s wife, owned the land adjacent to the Damen property. Also as Damen’s stepdaughter, she was one of his heirs in 1651. Peter may have moved to this lot so that he would be nearby to help his widowed sister-in-law with her farm. Peter and his wife, Aefje van Tienhoven, in Feb. 1662/3, became the guardians of Rachel’s children upon her death. By 1674, her children had each become of age.

Peter was forced to demolish this home in 1673 when the Dutch reclaimed New York. As this property was near the wall, the governor decided that the houses on the north side of the wall would impede the defense of the city. He was offered compensation. The company garden was subdivided into 5 lots. On May 22, 1674, Peter Stoutenburg, Willem van Vredenburg, Garret Janszen Roos, George Cobbet, and the Lutheran Church each purchased a lot. Peter was still a resident on this lot in 1686 when the minister of the Dutch Church made a list of its members.

When Peter first lived in the city, conditions were not very attractive. Country life in 1656 was probably much more pleasant. However, by 1672 the streets in New York were paved and the bad-smelling canals filled in making life in the city better for a man in his sixties.

Lanaii Kline has written a two-part article entitled "Who is Pieter Van Stoutenburgh?" (Part 2) that has more extensive information and a different view of the tulip debate.