After the death of his
mother he left for Amsterdam, a very rich city at that time,where he started as
a clerk for a merchant. In 1654 he was sent on a trademission to Nieuw(New)-Amsterdam
He stayed there for
two years and than went back in order to give - with the presence of a Rotterdam
notary- proxy to his brother, who still lived in Hasselt, to sell their parental
house. Thereafter he left again for Nieuw-Amsterdam. Nieuw-Amsterdam was
first called Novi Belgii and founded in 1624 by Belgian people. Many Dutch people
migrated there and the name was changed into Nieuw-Amsterdam.(t
English conquered Nieuw-Amsterdam and changed the name into New York.
Rombouts started with his partner Guliam Verplanck,also a Flamish,a furtrade with
the Indians.Fast Rombouts became very rich and he bought his first stone house
at Nieuw-Amsterdam, in the Heerestraat, now Broadway in Manhattan.
two childless marriages he married Helena Teller, for both their third marriage.
Helena had out of previous marriages allready seven children and from this marriage
another three were born, two boys and one girl.The boys died young but the girl
Catharina, born on 5 september 1687, survived. In 1674 the rich merchant Rombouts
became "alderman".He stayed this untill 1679 and than became mayor of
New York. Meanwhile he had also been "inspector of white and brown bread".
Quality inspector of bread.
1685 he received together with his partnerVerplanck 85000 acres ( = ± 212500 hectares
) of King James II of England. Rombouts had to be recognised first by the Indians
as the owner of the territory.A legend tells Rombouts brought twenty different
heads of tribes together and told them to sign a document entitling him to as
much land as one could see.Because they were between woods and hills the Indians
agreed and signed. Than the cunning Rombouts climbed the highest hill and so obtained
a much larger area.
In 1686 and
1687 again he became alderman on recommendation of governer Dongan,who found
him a very good candidate for this vacancy.
1690 lieutenant-governer Leisler appointed him as member of the "Board of
Admiralty" that had to sell the ships conquered from the French.
Rombouts died in 1691.
Rombouts married when she was sixteen , Roger Brett, an English officer of the
Royal Navy , who lived in New York. They got four children, of which numerous
descendants live in the United States of America now. When Helena died in 1707,
the newly weds decided to go and live on the land of Frans Rombouts and to farm
on it .They rented out the house that was build by her father and Roger built
a wooden cabin on her land. In 1709 they built a stone house and a watermill that
became wellknown in the region.
Brett died very young.During a storm he went overboard and drowned in the Hudson
when he came back from New York with fresh supplies on his way to their estate.
didnot remarry and stayed with her children at the estate to farm it further.She
became the first land-divisionist in America.She was honoured as a barones and
built on her land the first Dutch Reformed Church in which she later was burried.
died in 1764 at the age of 77 and became a legend in America.The original house
remained in the family untill 1954. Than it became a museum with the name "Madam
BRETT Homestead". It can still be visited at Beacon, New York.