Skip to Main Content
New York State Library Logo

Van Rensselaer Manor Papers

Contract of Land Sale

This is the legal conveyance or deed of the large tract of land to Kiliaen van Rensselaer that enabled him to establish a patroonship (colony) within the Province of New Netherland. The patroonship plan of colonization was created under the auspices of the West India Company as a means of enhancing settlement in New Netherland. The patroon (lord of the manor) was an investor empowered to negotiate with natives for a substantial tract of land upon which he was obligated to settle 50 colonists at his own expense. The patroon was also granted complete jurisdictional rights and could hold the land in perpetual fief of inheritance with the right to dispose of the colony by last will and testament. Kiliaen van Rensselaer thus became the first patroon of Rensselaerswijck, which would continue to exist under his heirs well into the 19th century. The lands granted in this conveyance are presently situated in Albany and Rensselaer counties. Peter Minuit, director general of New Netherland, along with others on the governing council, signed this document, which in essence can be called "the birth certificate" of Rensselaerswijck.

Handwritten contract featuring signatures of at the bottom

Contract of sale of land along the Hudson River from the Mohican Indians to Kiliaen van Rensselaer,
6 August 1630