Laurens Duyts1,2,3

M, b. 1610, d. before 15 January 1668
     Laurens was born in 1610 in Frederickstot, Noortstrant, Holstein, Denmark. Laurens married Ytie Jans (?) on 28 August 1638 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands, at Hervormede Kerk.4

Laurens Duyts immigrated to New Amsterdam on a private armed vessel named “De Brant van Troyen” translated “The Fire of Troy” , captained by Io
chiem Pietersen Kuyter. Kuyter was in partnership with his friend Jonas Bronck. These two men brought with them a large herd of cattle along with their families, many herdsmen, farmers and laborers. Perhaps all of these immigrants where leaving the turmoil of the 30 years war behind for the promise of “the finest country in the world where everything can be produced that is grown in France and the Baltic.” This was the description of New Netherlands, this, as well as the anticipation of a new settlement where tyranny and the social corruption of Europe had not reached. All of these reasons and the promise of freedom and ample opportunity drew a multitude of disillusioned expatriates to the shores of the “New World.” Laurens, himself, was from the “Browergracht” on the island of Noordstrand, just off the coast of Denmark, and under the rule of Denmark.
The “Fire of Troy” arrived at New Amsterdam in July of 1639; the two partners immediately obtaining large grants of land. Kuyter, on the island, bordering the Harlem River and Bronck, on the opposite side of the river, directly across from Kuyter’s tract. These grants are approximately from the present day 127th Street to 140th Street on the island of Manhattan. On July 21, 1639, Laurens and another passenger on the ship, Pieter Andriessen, signed a three year lease for portions of Bronck’s land. Thus, in a matter of days after landing, the partners had procured land and were in a position to begin the settlement and improvement of their investment. The lease provided for the farming of the land and the raising of tobacco and maize. From the proceeds, the lessees were to reimburse Bronck for their passage; also stipulated was that every two years the farmers were to clear and cultivate a new spot, the previous spot to return to Mr. Bronck.
Laurens was a large man for the day, thus earning the nicknames of “Great Dane” and “Grootschoe”. Laurens was conspicuous in the settlement for reasons other than his size. Between 1643 and 1658, he was in the courts, largely because of quarrels with other residents and disturbances with the Dutch authorities. His final appearance came in November of 1658 when he was found guilty of “selling his wife, and forcing her to live in adultery with another man, and for living himself in adultery.” From this proceeding, Laurens received the harshest verdict ever rendered by Pieter Stuyvesant. He was to have a rope tied around his neck and then to be severely flogged, to have his right ear cut off, and to be banished from New Amsterdam for 50 years. We know of no record as to whether any of the above were carried out, but we do know that Lauren quickly moved across the river to Bergen, New Jersey. He started a new family there, spending the remainder of his life there in Bergen.
As to the charges, there is likely another side to the story, as his wife and the “other man” were also charged with adultery, but not treated quite as harshly as Laurens. However, the two of them submitted a petition from “two sorrowful sinners” , requesting a pardon and permission to marry. The court granted them time to straighten their affairs, but they were to separate immediately. The record ends here, but these two did manage to marry and raise both sets of their children.5

Laurens married 2nd Grietje Jans (?) on 1 January 1666 in Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey, at the Reformed Dutch Church.6 Laurens departed this life in Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey. He was buried at Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey, in the Reformed Dutch Church Burial Ground.

Family 1

Ytie Jans (?)

Family 2

Grietje Jans (?)


  1. [S567] Genealogy Exchange, page 40 - … Hans Laurens Duyts/Dey,born 1644, New Amsterdam, died after 1706, son of Laurence Duyts (1610-1688), New Jersey, from Holland on Fire of Troy, 1639.
  2. [S1184] Herbert F. Seversmith & Arthur S. Wardwell, The Fabulous Pearsalls, page 155 - In Volume I of the Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State page 203 there appears: 25 November 1658) …Sentence of whipping and banishment pronounced against Ytie Jansen, for living in adultery with Jan Parcel, alias Botcher. …Sentence. Laurents Duyts, of Holstein, for selling his wife, Ytie Jansen, and forcing her to live in Adultry, to have a rope tied around his neck, and then to be severly flogged, to have his right ear cut off, and to be banished for 50 years. …Sentence. John Parcell, alias Botcher, of Huntingdonshire, England, for living in adultery with Ytie Jans, to be placed at the whipping post with two rods in his arm, to be banished for 20years, and to pay a fine of 100 guilders ($40) with costs. … Geesje Jansen, for living in adultery with Laurens Duyts, to be conducted to the whipping post, and fastened thereto, the upper part of her body being stripped naked, and two rods placed in her hand. To be afterwards conducted in that wise, outside the city gates, and banished the province for the term of 30 years, with costs.
    (12 December, 1658)
    Petition. Jan Parcel and Ytie Janse, “two sorrowful sinners” for pardeon, and leave to marry, … orders thereupon. May remain three months to settle their affairs but must separate from each other at once.
  3. [S1188] Dr. Ing. Klaus Timm, Schleswig-Holstein Immigrants in New Amsterdam/New York, 1636-1667

    , 20. Duyts, Laurens: Laurens Duyts came over to New Netherland in 1639 in the ship "de Brant van Trogen". Among his fellow passengers were the Danes Captain Jochem Pietersen Kuyter, Jonas Bronck (?), and Pieter Andriesen (No. 3). Duyts and Andriesen were to work for Jonas Bronck: to clear a tract of five hundred acres, which Bronck had purchased from the Indians. Duyts thus became one of the pioneers of the present Borough of Bronx. He was commonly known as Laurens Grootschoe (Big Shoe). He was born in Holstein in 1610. He married Ytie Jansen. By her he had three children: a daughter, Margariet, who was baptized on December 23, 1639; a son, Jan, who was baptized on March 23, 1641; another son, Hans, who was baptized in 1644. Duyts appears to have been farming in different places. Laurens died at Bergen, New Jersey, about 1668. His son, Hans, lived at Harlem in 1667. Also the other son, Jan, lived there.
  4. [S544] Kerkelijke Registers 1553-1870.
  5. [S545] Arnold J. F. van Laer, New York Historical Manuscripts Dutch, Volume I: [1638-1642] pages 196-197 - Morris Library, University of DE, Newark : Lease from Jonas Bronck (a confererate of Captain Kuyter), to Pieter Andriessen and Lourens Duyts. "They shall be at liberty to plant tobacco and maize, on the express condition that every two years they shall clear new pieces of land.... furthermore, Pieter Andriesz and Lourens Duyts bind and pledge their persons and properties for the payment of what Mr. Bronck has disbersed for them on board the ship De Brant van Troyen, 120 guilders, 16 stivers, of which Pieter Andriessen must pay fl. 81:4 and Lourens Duyts fl. 49:12. Done in Fort Amsterdam, 21st of July 1639." Bronck's farm became the center of the Bronx.

  6. [S540] Bergen Reformed Dutch Church Marriage Records: 1 January 1666 - Laurens Duyts & Grietje Jans.