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Maria Truax (du Trieux)
My Favourite Black Sheep

Although not a direct ancestor of mine, Maria Truax was one of the more colourful characters in the Truax clan, and her story is worth repeating.

Maria Truax was the eldest daughter of Philippe du Trieux (de Truy) and his first wife Jacquemyne Noirett. She was baptized in Leyden, Holland, on 5 April 1617, and emigrated with her family to New Amsterdam in 1624. She married firstly Cornelis Volckertsen Viele, possibly before 1640, and definitely by January 1642, when an adoption paper mentions her husband. This paper constitutes an acknowledgment of the paternity of her daughter Aeltjem, by Pieter Wolphersen van Couwenhoven.

Maria Truax was a 'tapper' or tavern keeper, as were both her husbands. The fact that she was the one in charge is indicated by the marking of 'The Tavern of Marie du Trieux' on the 1644 map. Her second husband, Jan Peek, was also an early settler of New Amsterdam, and the town of Peekskill, NY takes its name from him.

Maria was constantly in trouble with the authorities, and was finally banished from New Amsterdam in 1664, for shady business dealings and keeping a disorderly tavern. Some of the charges specifically mention her tapping after hours and during prayers, selling spirits without a license, and selling liqour to the Indians. She and her husband were eventually allowed back into New Amsterdam, but at some point she moved to Schenectady where her brother lived. She died there some time before 1684.

Jennifer Smith
Created: February 6, 1997 - 10:57:03 PM
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 04, 2006