An excerpt from the minutes of the court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck, circa 1652.
These minutes from the local court reveal the lives and disputes of the residents of Beverwyck and Fort Orange. Fort Orange was the West India Company’s primary fur-trading fort, located near the junction between the Mohawk and Hudson (then North) Rivers. Beverwyck was the main settlement that surrounded the fort. Both were located near present-day Albany. In the span of several months that this excerpt represents, the court heard from professionals as diverse as bakers, magistrates, and brewers about issues such as land use and home construction, slander, marriage, and the inconsiderate construction of a pigsty. The court also heard from both men and women as well as Cathalina Sanders, referred to in the minutes as a “negress,” likely an enslaved woman.