AMSTERDAM & NEWTOWN
Abraham and his father, Gysbert (see note),
were among the first of the daring RYCHENS to settle in the area of Newtown,
Long Island that faced Bowery Bay & Flushing Bay known as the Poor Bowery. Gysbert (Guisbert) RYCKEN is said to have come
to New Amsterdam from Holland in 1630, in one of the vessels of the West India Company,
and to have received extensive grants of land, the largest being at Newtown,
which is said to have been a mile square and to have included the island now bearing his
name (Riker's Island).
Note: Some researchers claim Gysbert RYCKEN to be
the father of Abraham. Others contend that Jacob
RYCKEN of the Netherlands, son of Captain Jacob Simonsz de RYCKE, was Abraham's father.
Jacob never came to America, Gysbert did. Regardless of the controversy over the identity
of his father, the
fact remains that Abraham was the first of 'our' line to come to America.
The old map below [oddly oriented: the
top of the page is approximately west] shows the location of Ryker's
Island (X) in the portion of the East River then known as Bowerie Bay, and the Ryker Farm
(circled), in the area now occupied by La Guardia Airport.
See how the houses
of New Amsterdam appeared in 1652
The following two old maps [the first of which is
again oriented so that northwest is at the top of the
page] show the city of New Amsterdam [a part of New Netherlands]
in 1660 and 1662, respectively. This territory, bounded by the North (Noord
or Hudson) and the East (Oost) rivers, constitutes present-day Manhattan
Island. The first map shows "the Rykers house" (circled) just below
"Broadway," and the second map shows the land owned by "Abraham
Rycksen" (circled) as lying between "Prince Straat" and "Styck
Straat." Note that these two locations are not precisely the same. Fort
Amsterdam is seen to lie at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, just north of
present-day Battery Park (the circled
green area), as shown in the third (modern) map.
[This page was last updated 10/15/02]