Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Beeks line: Jan Pieter Slot 1613-1703, Immigrant

Here's an ancestor with a fascinating history.  I would love to sit down with him at the dinner table and learn his story, because he lived in such interesting times and places, that I haven't yet learned much about yet and may not have the time to research myself. 

Jan Pieter Slot was born in Holstein, Denmark in 1613, perhaps the son of Pieter Sloat and Mary Baerts.  I say "perhaps" because I haven't seen the documentation to back up his parents' names.  However, several sources state that he was a Dane, so I am fairly confident with that much of his early life. 

Sometime in his youth or early manhood he migrated to Amsterdam, Holland.  We don't know for sure what he did there, but somewhere he learned the carpenter trade. With all the growth that Amsterdam was experiencing, he would surely have had little trouble finding work in that line.  He also married his first wife there, Aeltje Jans, and they had two sons together, Pieter Jansen and Johan.  Jan Pieter and his sons emigrated to New Amsterdam in 1650, apparently with his wife, who died about 1664.   

New Amsterdam was a fascinating place, small but bustling, and as long as taxes were paid, open not just to the Dutch but to people from all backgrounds.  The contrast with the relatively closed society of the Puritans of New England is quite striking.  Jan Pieter settled first in Harlem, which was a few miles north of New Amsterdam, but still on Manhattan Island.  By 1667 he is believed to have been living at "Fort Amsterdam", under British administration.  His lot was at the foot of what is now known as "Wall Street."  He was a carpenter in Harlem and presumably also in what became New York, and was also a magistrate for at least 6 years at Harlem, so he was well-respected by his peers.  Perhaps he was removed as magistrate when the British took over the colony. 

I have two death dates for Jan Pieter, one in 1690 and one in 1703.  There may be some confusion between Jan Pieter and his son, Pieter Jan.  It's believed that the son died first.  Assuming that the 1703 death date is correct, he lived for about 90 years, in three very different cultures (Danish, old world Dutch, and then Dutch/English New York).  I'd love to know why he made each move, how hard or easy it was to adjust, what language(s) he spoke, what his religion was, and more about his life in early America.  Of course, I'd love to know about his parents, too, and their lives. 

The line of descent is:

Jan Pieter Slot-Aeltje Jans
Pieter Jans Slot-Marritsje Jacobse Van Winkle
Jacobus Slot-Maria Demarest
Benjamin Slot/Lock-Sarah Demaree or Demarest
William Lock-Elizabeth Teague
Sally Lock-Jeremiah Folsom
Leah Folsom-Darlington Aldridge
Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Somewhere between Benjamin and William, the name was Americanized from Slot to Lock.  The words have the same meaning.