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Chapter 7: The Hack- and Varlet Family

Page history last edited by Liz Johnson 8 years, 1 month ago


The HACK and VARLET Families of Amsterdam and America


By Elizabeth A. Johnson and Cor Snabel © 2008




Part I: Severijn Hack and Catrina Varlet of Amsterdam


Several members of the Hack family lived in Cologne Germany, where they were members of the Dutch Reformed Church that had formed there in the 1570's, after the Spanish Duke of Alva invaded the Low Countries. Severijn Hack, a son of Joris Hack, and Catrina Varlet, a daughter of Nicholas Varlet, were married early in 1618 in the Dutch Reformed Church of Cologne, after banns published there on the second of January of that year. Philipe Hack and Gertruijt Hack, widow of Philipe Dens, were their marriage assistants. [A] Two years later, Severijn and Catrina's oldest son, called Joris after his grandfather, was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church of Cologne, on 20 March, 1620. Baptismal sponsors for him were Philipe Hack, in place of Jacques Hack (Severin's brother) and Gertruijt Hack, in place of Judith Tentenier of Utrecht, wife of Catharina Varlet's brother, Caspar. [B] 


Caspar Varlet and his wife, Judith Tentenier, were living in Utrecht, Netherlands by 1615, where they were married in October of that year. [1] In November 1615, Catrina Varlet was a baptismal witness in the Walloon Church of Utrecht [2] --or was a witness there by proxy --but she was in Cologne by the beginning of 1618. By 1622, Severijn Hack and Catrina Varlet had moved with their young son to Amsterdam. In the mid-1620's the Hack family lived in 't Hol in Amsterdam, near the street called Sint Clarendwarsstraat, [3] now known as the Gebed Zonder End. On 7 November 1627, Severijn Hack served as a sponsor for his niece, Maria Varlet, a daughter of Caspar Varlet and Judith Tentenier, at her baptism in the Oude Kerk of Amsterdam. [4] Catharina's brothers, Pieter, Caspar and Daniel also moved to Amsterdam in the 1620's.


Severijn Hack was a merchant. In Amsterdam a dispute took place in August 1628, in which Hack had sold a large quantity of paper to the noted mapmaker and book publisher, Jacob Aertszen Colom. Part of the paper Colom received was found to be defective, causing a dispute which was recorded in the notarial archives of Amsterdam. [5]



Children of Severijn Hack and Catrijna Varlet, all born in Amsterdam except the first, were:


i. Dr. Joris Hack, born about 1620 [1] possibly in Cologne, died before 17 April 1665 in Accomack County, Virginia. [6] He was called 'George Hack' in the English colonies. His wife, Anna Varlet, was a daughter of Caspar Varlet and Judith Tentenier.

ii. Daniel Hack, baptized 19 April 1622, Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam. [7]

iii. Anneken Hack, baptized 16 May 1623, Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam. [8]

iv. Francois Hack, baptized 18 September 1625, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam. [9]

v. Peter Hack, baptized 14 November 1627, Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam. [10]

vi. Francijna Hack (twin), baptized 3 March 1630, Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam. [11]

vii. Anna Hack (twin), baptized 3 March 1630, Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam. [12]

viii. Severijn Hack, baptized 23 August 1633, Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam [13] emigrated to the north American colonies; died 17 April 1661 in Delaware, when the Delaware settlements were still part of the Dutch Colonies in North America. [14]



Severijn Hack died in Amsterdam before July 1636, when Joris, the oldest child, was sixteen and the youngest, Severijn, was only three. After her husband's death, Catrina continued to conduct the family business. In 1638, Catrina Varlet described as "weduwe Hack" was named in an Amsterdam deposition concerning a transaction that took place in July 1636, in which dispute arose concerning a lot of fabrics she sold to another female merchant known as Juffrouw Fontaine. Two bales of black silk that Catrina had obtained from her brother Pieter Varlet's silk dyeworks had been in this lot, which Juffrouw Fontaine had shipped to Danzig for resale by her son. In Danzig, these two bales of silk were found to be poorly dyed and overweight. Fontaine, the son, was held in Danzig for this illegality and also for violating trade restrictions. In Amsterdam, Juffrouw Fontaine sought compensation. [15]


Severijn Hack and later his wife, Catrina Varlet, were both buried in the Heiligesteegskerk in Amsterdam, in the family grave that Jacques Hack, Severijn's brother, owned there. Pieter Varlet, in an entry he made in his family register documenting the death of his sister, Catrina Varlet, [16] wrote (translated):


"Cataarina Varlet, widow of cousin Hak, my dear sister, is resting in the Lord around 1 o'clock in the night between Saturday and Whit Sunday, the 18th of May 1652, after suffering from fever for 16 [days] and she was buried on the 22nd of May following in the Heiligesteegskerk next to her husband, in the grave of Jaques Hak."


When Catrijna Varlet died, her oldest son, Joris Hack, a physician, was in Virginia.



Part II: Joris Hack and Anna Varlet in the Virginias


Not one, but two sons of Severijn Hack and Catrina Varlet emigrated to the North American colonies. Joris Hack, the oldest son, emigrated to the English colony of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where his purchases of land and of cattle begin to appear in records of Accomack County, on Virginia's Eastern Shore, as early as March, 1651. He and his wife, Anna Varlet, owned a nine hundred acre plantation at Hack's Point on Pungoteague Creek, with two nearby islands totalling another hundred acres, and a four hundred acre plantation on along Matchotank Creek, both having with frontage on the Chesapeake Bay. [17] Here they were neighbors with some of the largest planters of the region, and in the company of other Dutch settlers, such as Willem Westerhouse and Hendrick Waggaman, both also former Amsterdam residents.


In 1658, George Hack also received a grant of a four hundred acre tract further up the bay, in Cecil County, Maryland. [18] This plantation, called Anna Catharina Neck, was on the south side of the Bohemia River, across from Augustine Herman's on the other side. Still called Hack's Point today, this was the site of a ferry, and is just west of the bridge over the Bohemia River on Maryland Highway 213.


Although their Virginia and Maryland land holdings were, according to English custom, patented under the husband's name, Joris Hack and Anna Varlet each obtained land grants through headrights, earned by bringing individuals into the colonies, or from headrights certificates others had traded to them as payments for goods and services.


Joris Hack's wife, Anna, was a daughter of Caspar Varlet, an Amsterdam merchant who brought his family to New Amsterdam in the winter of 1650-1651. Anna was one of Caspar and Judith's middle children, born around 1624 while the family was still living in Utrecht. A record of Joris Hack and Anna Varlet marriage has not been found, but probably occurred not long before they left the Netherlands. Joris and Anna were business associates of their brother-in-law, Augustine Herman, husband of Anna's sister Jannetje, who married in New Amsterdam in 1651. [19] On the first of September, 1652, Joris Hack was a baptismal sponsor for Augustine and Jannetje's son Ephraim Georgius Herman at his baptism in the Dutch Reform Church of New Amsterdam. [20] Anna and Jannetje Varlet, both born in Utrecht, Netherlands, were Joris' first cousins.


Anna Varlet was a dynamic and talented individual. Her father and uncle, Caspar and Pieter Varlet of Amsterdam, were involved with the Dutch West Indies Company and in the silk business, and had been engaged in the Virginia tobacco trade since the 1640's. Joris' own parents, Severijn Hack and Catrijna Varlet, it may be recalled, were also merchants in Amsterdam. In the colonies, Joris and Anna Varlet followed in the merchant tradition of their families. Although their Virginia and Maryland land holdings were, according to English custom, patented under Joris Hack's name, Anna Varlet conducted much of the familiy's inter-colonial business, while Joris practiced as a physician.


As colonial merchants trading between Holland, the West Indies, New Amsterdam and Virginia, Joris and Anna Varlet dealt in tobacco, furs, grain, manufactured goods such as furniture and cloth, and African slaves. In the family business dealings, both before and after the death of Joris, Anna herself purchased or had ships built for her, equipped and maintained them, and represented most of her own legal interests in court preceedings. In August, 1652, "Mrs. Anna Varlet the wife of George Hacke dwelling in Va." purchased the pinnace "Fortune" from the Dutch skipper, Juriaen Blanck, probably taking delivery in Virginia. In New Amsterdam, her father and her brother Nicholas stood security for her; her brother William delivered the payment there to Blanck. [21] Operating their own ship based out of their two locations on the Chesapeake Bay reduced shipping costs, gave them the ability to collect from the numerous tobacco growers all around the region as soon as the latest crops were ready, and in turn to market their imported merchandise direct to Virginia and Maryland buyers. Their family connections in Amsterdam and their longstanding association with transatlantic merchant-shipper families such as the Bestevaers of Graft, Holland, undoubtedly gave them a competitive edge in Holland as well.


Joris and Anna became English subjects almost immediately upon moving to Virginia. In Northampton court on 25 March 1651, Joris, as 'George Hacke,' signed an oath of allegiance to the commonwealth of England, then under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. Their allegiance to England allowed the Hack-Varlet family to legally trade within the tightened rules imposed in the English Navigation Act of 1651, restricting trade with England to English ships with English crews. But with the advent of the Anglo-Dutch war in 1652, business interests and landholdings of Dutch residents in the English colonies were in jeopardy. Several Dutch ships had been captured in Virginia waters during the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652-1654, yet Virginians and Marylanders depended on the Dutch trade. So, despite the fact that Joris Hack's family lived in Amsterdam from the time he was a very small boy, on 28 March 1653, Joris Hack declared in court that he was "a high German both by presents and birth born in the city of Cologyn," --thus declaring to the world that he was not Dutch. The court then "ordered by the effect these lines be record that all persons whom it may concern take notice thereof." [] Six weeks before, he had sold two-thirds of "his barque called the Fortune" to two Englishmen, Richard Prill and William Sherman.[] The ship actually belonged to his Dutch wife, Anna. These precautionary acts by Joris ensured that the English government could choose to perceive him as non-Dutch and English-aligned, allowing the family business to go on as usual, despite the war.


Five years later, in the March 1657/58 session of the Virginia House of Burgesses, Joris Hack was made a 'denizen' of Virginia Colony, which gave him the full power to purchase, own and sell lands, and to trade "to all intents and purposes as if he had been an Englishman borne." [22] Also naturalized in this session were several other Dutchmen: William Westerhouse, Lambert Grooten, Minor Dowdas and John Abraham.


Perhaps to reinforce their rights to trade and own land in the English colonies, the couple also sought naturalization in Maryland, an adjacent but separate English colony, where their other plantation was located. In a session of the Maryland Assembly on Sept 17th, 1663, it was ordered that "an Acte of Naturalizacon be prepared for Augustine Herman, and his Children and his brother in Lawe George Hack and his wife and Children." But Joris died before the Maryland naturalizations were enacted, and in the spring of 1666, naturalizations of "Anna Hak George & Peter her Sonnes" along with the Augustine Herman family, were finalized. [23]


Like many plantation familes, they owned horses, cattle, and hogs, and were colonial landlords, leasing parts of their plantations to others. On at least one occasion, Joris Hack imported grain from Maryland, [24] possibly from the Hack plantation in Cecil County. But Anna conducted much of the familiy's inter-colonial business herself, while Joris practiced as a physician in Accomack County, Virginia. [25]


Joris Hack's last official act may have taken place in Maryland, where he served as a jury member in a Maryland court case on 24 July 1664. [26] His will, in which he left property to Anna, his wife, executrix and residual legatee, and to his three children, was probated on 17 April 1665. [27] The third child is thought to be a daughter, Judith, who may have married Edward Turner. In addition to leaving property to his family, Hack provided that the assistants to Anna as executrix should also assist "her transportation up the Bay." On May 22, 1665, an inventory of the estate was filed in Accomack County, Virginia. This inventory, which included a collection of ninety-six books in Latin, Dutch, High German and English, reveals that he was a scholar as well as a physician. [28]


After Joris' death, Anna continued to run the family's business interests. Six months after his death, she repatented the Accomack plantations jointly in her own name and in the names of George and Peter Hack, their sons. [29] A new sloop, valued at 10,000 pounds of tobacco, was built for her in July 1667, in which her brother-in-law, Augustine Herman, was a partner. [30] In 1668, Anna commissioned John Rickards, a joiner and a former indentured servant of the Hack household since 1653, to make some 54 pieces of furniture, including tables, armoires, chests, spinning wheels, and beds. [31] The estate inventory filed after Joris' death had included many carpentry and cabinetmaker's tools, suggesting that this was not the first time furniture had been manufactured on their plantation.


In 1666, Anna remarried the widower Nicolas Boot, a Dutch skipper and merchant of Virginia, who died in 1668. [32] Boot, who had come to New Amsterdam in 1640, where he first entered into a contract to run a tobacco plantation for Andries Hudde, was known to be in business with persons in Virginia, and by 1661, had moved there. He regularly sailed between Virginia and New Amsterdam, and shipped tobacco for clients such as Edmund Scarburgh, [33] one of the largest planters on the Eastern Shore, whose plantation was not far from the Hack-Varlet holdings.


Anna Varlet, now Mrs. Anne Boote, repatented the Accomack plantations jointly in her own name and that of her sons, George and Peter Hack. On one of the certificates appear the names of several persons she had transported over two decades earlier, including that of her brother William Varlet, deceased since 1659, and her sister, Catherine. [34]


Except for the year of her marriage with Nicolaas Boot, Anna, as head of household, paid poll taxes for herself and the residents of her Virginia plantation from 1664 to 1674. In 1675, Anna's name drops off the tax list, while the name of her older son, George Nicolas Hack, appears for the first time as taxpaying head of household. [35] In 1676, George Nicholas and Peter, then probably in their twenties, received their own patents for plantations in Cecil County, Maryland. [36] Each resurved for himself one-half of Severijn Hack's former plantation, left to them in their father's will, while Anna Varlet appears to have retained most of the Accomack lands for her own use at that time. She died in the summer of 1685, and on 8 July 1685, administration of the estate of "Ann Bote" was assigned to her sons, George Nicholas and Peter Hack. [37]



The Fate of Severijn Hack, the Younger


Joris'  brother, Severijn Hack, youngest child of their father, Severijn Hack, born in Amsterdam in 1633, also emigrated to the American colonies. Evidence of his presence in Maryland as early as May, 1657, appears in a court deposition taken later that year, concerning an inspection he made of a shipment of tobacco. [38] In 1658, Joris Hack claimed rights to land grants for transporting Severijn, named as his brother in the record. [39] Two years later, on September 18, 1660, Severijn appeared as a witness to the sale of the "Anna Catherina Neck" plantation in Cecil County, Maryland, to Abraham Morgan, who had been one of Joris' 1658 transportees. [40]


In 1658, Severijn Hack, then about 24 years old, had an 800-acre plantation called "Hackston," surveyed for him in the Bohemia Manor area of Cecil County, Maryland. This was located on the north side of the Sassafras River at the mouth of Back Creek. [41] But Severijn did not survive long enough to develop this property. On 17 April 1661, while returning from New Amstel, Delaware, to his plantation in Maryland --a one- to two-day overland trip --he and three Englishmen were killed by Indians at Saquasehum, in northern Delaware. [42] Saquasehum, now known as Iron Hill, is located near what was an ancient Indian path running along the central ridge of the DelMarVa peninsula from the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland-Virginia, north into what is now Pennsylvania. Close to the the Maryland border, Iron Hill is now in Pencader Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware, adjacent to Cecil County, Maryland. After Severijn's death, his brother Joris appears to have taken possession of "Hackston." It was later inherited by Severijn's nephews, George and Peter Hack, the sons of Joris and Anna Varlet.





Notes and Sources



    A. Registers of the Dutch Reformed Congregation in Cologne, Edition Brühl, by Patrimonium Transcriptum Verlags GmbH, p. 533/36.

    B. Registers of the Dutch Reformed Congregation in Cologne, Edition Brühl, by Patrimonium Transcriptum Verlags GmbH, p. 71.

    1. Utrecht Archief, Huwelijken hervormd 1611-1617, file 91p264.

    2. Utrecht Archief, Doopregister, akte 20p25.

3. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Kwijtscheldingen (1563 - 1803).

4. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, doopregister, acte 6:189.

5. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Amsterdam Not. Arch. 397 f. 396, Notary Jac. Jacobs, dd. 31 Aug. 1628. Also Bronnen tot de geschiedenis van het bedrijfsleven en het gildewezen van Amsterdam, by J.G. van Dillen, publ. Nijhoff 's-Gravenhage 1929, Part 2, p 659, item No 1175: "Acte waarby Jacob Aertsz. Colom, boekvercoper verklaart, dat onder de merckelycke partye papier van verscheydene sortimenten, die hy van Severyn Hack, koopman, gekocht heeft, zich een hoeveelheid slecht gelymd en daardoor onleverbaar papier bevindt... "

6. Accomack County, Virginia, Deeds and Wills, 1664-1671, folio 28a.

7. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, doopregister, acte 40:166.

8 Stadsarchief Amsterdam, doopregister, acte 40:211.

9. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, doopregister, acte 6:122.

10. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, doopregister, acte 40:424.

11. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, doopregister, acte 41:70. Twin of Anna.

12. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, doopregister, acte 41:70. Twin of Francijna.

13. Stadsarchief Amsterdam, doopregister, acte 41:266.

14. Annapolis, Maryland: Maryland State Archives, Vol. 3, "Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1636-1667" pp. 414-415 and 432-433.

15. Stadsarchief Amsterdam acte 415 f21, not. Nicolaas Jacobs, 16 Jan. 1637; Stadsarchief Amsterdam notarial documents, acte 417, f97, notary Jac. Jacobs, 19 Feb.1638.

16. "Aantekening der Familie der Varletten." Drents archief, Acc. nr. 0604, inv. nr. 014. Entry for 1652.

17. Library of Virginia. Archives, Virginia. Colonial Land Office. Patents, 1623-1774, Land Office Patents No. 3, 1652-1655, p. 127 (Reel 2).

18. Maryland State Archives [hereafter MSA]. Cecil County Circuit Court Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats. MSA S1586: Patent Record Q, p. 456.456.

19. Samuel S. Purple, Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York, Marriages 1639-1730, in Vol. I, Collections of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1890. 1651 10 Dec. "Augustyn Hermans, jm Uyt Bohemen; Janneken Verlet, jd van Uytrecht."

20. Thomas Grier Evans, Editor; Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York; Baptisms from 25 December, 1639, to 17 December, 1730l Volume II (1901),  p. 32. Text: [1652] "Sep 01: Augustyn Hermans, Janneken Verleth; Ephraim Georgius; Casper Verleth, Cornelis van Werckhoven, Jochem Pieterszen, Georgius Hack, Judith Verleth, Maria Verleth"

21. Purchase on 9 August 1652. Jeurien Blanck filed a notarial act in New Amsterdam by Dirck Schelluyne, recorded in Northampton County, Virginia on 13 Oct. 1652.

[] 28 March 1653: For as much as Dr. George Hacke practioner in physics has made appearance to the county by several indisputable evident testimonies that he is a high German both by presents and birth born in the city of Cologyn under the ? - therefore the court doth declare the said Dr. Geroge Hacke to be German and have ordered by the effect these lines be record that all persons whom it may concern take notice thereof. MSA _____. [under construction]  

[] 10 Feb. 1653. George Hack practioner in physicke sells Richard Prill and Wm. Sherman 2/3s of his barque called the Fortune. Wit Gyles Harles and Robert Baily. _____.  [under construction]

22. 1651 oath of allegiance in Northampton (later Accomack) County, Virginia; Laws of Virginia, March 1657-8.

23. MSA Vol. 1, p. 462 "Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly January 1637/8-September 1664"; MSA Vol. 2, p. 144, "Assembly Proceedings, April May 1666."

24. MSA, Vol. 3, p. 459. June 1662: "Lycence to Dr George Hack to transporte 20 barrells of Corne out of this Province."

25. O'Callaghan, Calendar of Historical Manuscripts Vol. V, "Council Minutes," pp 128-129.

26. MSA Vol. 49, Page 270 Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1663-1666.

27. Stratton Nottingham, Wills and Administrations, Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800, p. 2.

28. Inventory of George Hack, May 22, 1665, Accomack County, Va., Deeds and Wills, 1664–1671, folio 28a.

29. Library of Virginia. Archives, Virginia. Colonial Land Office. Patents, 1623-1774, Land Office Patents No. 5, 1661-1666 (v.1 & 2 p.1-369), p. 464 (Reel 5); Land Office Patents No. 6, 1666-1679 (pt.1 & 2 p.1-692), p. 25 (Reel 6).

30. Mckey, Accomac County, Virginia Court Order Abstracts 1663-1666 (Vol. 2), p. 47.

31. Bond of John Rickards to Anne Boote, June 6, 1668, Accomack County, Va., Orders, Wills &c., 1671–1673, folio 231.

32. Will abstract in Stratton Nottingham, Wills and Administrations, Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800, pp. 1664-1665: Boote, Nicholas. 9 Jan 1667-8 April 1668. To wife Ann all my land in Mobjack Bay in Gloucester County cont. by patent 150 A. and my interest in land at Pungoteague in Accomack County. To wife proceeds of all goods sent home to Holland consigned to William Shive. Wife residual legatee & Exec. Hugh Yeo & Charles Scarburgh to assist her in disposing of her affairs. Witt: Charles Scarburgh, Geo. Nich. Hack. p. 68.

33. Fernow, Records of New Amsterdam 2:133.

34. Library of Virginia. Archives, Virginia. Colonial Land Office. Patents, 1623-1774, Land Office Patents No. 5, 1661-1666 (v.1 & 2 p.1-369), p. 464 (Reel 5); Land Office Patents No. 6, 1666-1679 (pt.1 & 2 p.1-692), p. 25 and p. 541(Reel 6).

35. [[Accomack tax lists]]

36. Plantation called "Wormust" Maryland State Archives, Cecil County Circuit Court Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats MSA S1586: Patent Record 19, p. 281; Patent Record 9, p. 70 [indexed under wrong name (ej); Patent Record 19, p. 282.

37. Stratton Nottingham: Wills and Administrations, Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800, pp. 20; 68. Accomack County Wills and Administrations (1663-1800) p. 414a. Admin. bond rec. 4 Dec. 1685.

38. MSA Vol. 10, p. 531 "Judicial and Testamentary Business of the Provincial Court, 1649/50 - 1657."

39. Maryland Patent series, Liber 4 ,Folio 4M (Land Office, Annapolis, Maryland).

40. MSA Vol. 41, p. 492 "Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1658-1662"

41. Patent Record Q page 457 in MSA S 1586-1287; also Patent Record 4, p. 515 in MSA S 1586-1288, which is incorrectly dated in the index.

42. MSA Vol. 3, "Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1636-1667" pp. 414-416; 432-433.



Next: The Catrijna Varlet Family


© 2008, Cor Snabel and Elizabeth A. Johnson

  _____.  [under construction]

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