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Major Milestones during the Dutch Period

Dutch doc

Dutch Rule: 1609-1664

When the Dutch occupied the New York area known as New Netherland, the poor relief system relied mostly on fines of law and Sabbath breakers. One of the earliest known poor laws of New Netherland was an order that was put in place in 1655. It stated that one-third of the fines given to people who broke the law on New Year's day would go to the poor. These illegal acts included firing guns, planting may poles, playing drums, and selling alcohol. The document provided is an example of a court hearing held in Kingston in 1662 where a fine needed to be paid to the poor.

(July 4, 1662 Mathys Blanchan vs. Dirck Adriaensen. Court Records 1661-1664, Dutch Court Records. Ulster County Records Center, Kingston, New York. Courtesy of the Ulster County Clerk's Office, Nina Postupack, Ulster County Clerk)

An order was passed in 1661, which required each settlement or village to support its own poor.  If the settlement had a minister, he would be responsible for collecting money every Sunday. If the settlement did not have a minister, then the local magistrate was to appoint two people to go around the town each Sunday to seek donations.          

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