Chief Ortam Presents 2,120 Acres To Teaneck

Source:  The Teaneck Shopper, Wednesday, October 21, 1970, pate 11 - Supplement

A direct descendant of Sarah Kiersted today lives in Teaneck.  This was learned following publication in the Teaneck Shopper of an account of the gift of 2,120 acres in Teaneck by Chief Oratam to the wife of a New York surgeon in appreciation ofher services as interpreter for Indians in dealings with the Dutch settlers.  Mrs. Kiersted's rights were confirmed by Berkeley and Carteret in 1669.

Mrs. D. C. McGregor of 82 Jasper Ave., is a direct descendant of Dr. Hans Kiersted, Sarah's husband.  Before her marriage Mrs. McGregor was Nellie Myrtillia Kiersted of Mongaup Valley, N. Y.  Her daughter, Virginia, is married to Donald Earlin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Myron Earlin of Teaneck who told this reporter about the family connection after reading the account of Sarah Kiersted in The Teaneck Shopper.

A detailed genealogy of the Kiersted family is in Mrs. McGregor's possession.  In addition to the genealogy, the McGregors have a copy of Harper & Brothers Monthly bulletin for May, 1885 with a long story about Anneke Jans Bogardus and Her Farm.  Anneke Jans was Sarah Kiersted's mother.  Her father, who died in 1637 received a grant of 63 acres, on part of which Trinity Church in New York now stands.  Anneke later married the Rev. Everardus Bodardus, a fiery soul saver if ever there was one.

Sarah was married to Dr. Kiersted, whose property adjoined that of her mother and stepfather, on June 29, 1642.  The wedding was memorable because William Kieft, director-general of the Manhattan settlement, took the occasion to solicit funds for a new church he wanted, but the parishioners did not.  The episode is included in a Bill of Remonstrance by which the settlers tried to have Krieft removed.  After listing other grievances, the Remonstrance stated:

"It happened about this time that Everardus Pogardus, the clergyman, gave in marriage a daughter by his wife's first marriage.  The director thought this a good time for his purpose and set to work after the fourth or fifth drink (he himself setting a liberal example) to let the wedding guests sign what they were disposed to give to the church.  Wach then, with a light head, subscribed away at a handsome rate, one competing with the other; and although some heartily repented it when their sense came back, they were obliged to pay.  The church was then located in the Fort, in opposition to every one's opinion."  Dr. Kiersted and Sarah had 10 children, the two sons becoming doctors.  Sarah is described in the Harper's story as greatly proficient in the Indian language, acting as interpreter between Gov. Peter Stuyvesant and the Esopus and Wappinger, the Hackensacks, the Long Island and Staten Island Indians when their treaty was made with the Indians in 1664.  The Indians trusted her implicitly, a fact verified by Chief Oratam's gift to her of over 2,000 acres of land in Teaneck.

"I didn't know anything about the Kiersted patent when we moved to Teaneck in 1950," said the attractive Mrs. McGregor with a smile.  "My daughter came home from school one day and said her seventh grade social studies class was learning the history of Teaneck.  When she saw the name of Kiersted she did a double take, because that is my maiden.  She did some research and wrote a paper about it.

"I had never taken much interest in genealogy, we prefer more active hobbies, such as bowling (the house is filled with trophies she and her husband have won.)  Fortunately some members of the family have taken a keen interest."

Mrs. McGregor's mother, who lives with her, was married in 1908 to John Wynkoop Kiersted.  Their branch of the family is descended form Dr. Roeleff Kiersted, Sarah's oldest son, who became a distinguished doctor in the Kingston-Saugerties area.

"Little did I think when we bought our house in Teaneck that we would be buying land that bed been given to the family by a good Indian over 300 years ago!"

Back to Teaneck Diamond Jubilee Home Page

Back to Township History Main Page