The Case of Kuyter's Farmhouse
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Students can complete the activity on Consider the Source or on this worksheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1292bRi80wa5FJqVLpMJMUGwU6EadixTLZN3XJGC2Uxs/edit?usp=sharing
Have your students look at the documents and transcripts in order to form opinions on what they think happened to the house of Jochem Petersen Kuyter.
Title: The Case of Kuyter’s Farmhouse
The 1600s was an era filled with European exploration, settlement and conflict. The Dutch, Spanish and English were all competing for a stake in the ‘New World’. Many families fled Europe due to religious persecution, war or other reasons. Many of the Dutch settlers began to famously settle down in the first Dutch colony of New Netherland (Portions of today's New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania & Connecticut.).
Europeans are seeking new lands to claim as their own and any resources or supplies that can be sold or traded to create wealth. The Dutch West India Companies dominated trade around the region: focusing on the lands surrounding the Hudson River (Named after Dutch explorer Henry Hudson). A major Dutch goal of this time was to create a stream of wealth and trade to rival the influence of the Spanish and English in the New World. The Dutch, Spanish and English were bitter rivals in the New World. The Dutch and English had many bloody conflicts in the lands of and around New Netherland (Anglo - Dutch Wars).
Dutch and Native American interaction was very common in this time. As European explorers continued to encroach into Native American territory, tensions continued to rise. This led to major conflicts such as Kieft's War and numerous smaller skirmishes. Native American and Dutch interaction frequently led to violence. Oftentimes, Native Americans would target the property of Dutch leaders in their colony of New Netherland. Jochem Pietersen Kuyter, a Dutch Schout (comparable to a mayor or sheriff) was a man whose property may have been on the receiving end of Native American raids. New Netherland Director William Kieft gifted Kuyter 400 acres along the banks of the Hudson River. On Kuyter’s land much farming and Dutch settlement would occur which made him a possible target for Native American violence, and also English violence.
What happened to the farmhouse?
Staging the Question:
Why might someone lie in court? Would you lie in court?
7.2 COLONIAL DEVELOPMENTS: European exploration of the New World resulted in various interactions with Native Americans and in colonization. The American colonies were established for a variety of reasons and developed differently based on economic, social, and geographic factors. Colonial America had a variety of social structures under which not all people were treated equally. (Standards: 1, 2, 3, 4; Themes: MOV, GEO, ECO, TECH, EXCH)
Declaration of Cornelis Cornelissen and Others Regarding the Destruction of a House by the Indians, 1644
Declaration of Ponkes, an Indian of Marechkawick, Regarding the Destruction of a House, 1644
Declaration of Jan Evertsen Bout and Claes Jansen Regarding the Burning of Jochem Pietersen Kyler's House
Method of Delivery:
This lesson could be set up as whole class instruction or in small groups. Students will analyze the three texts and look for biases and imperfections in each speaker's stories.
Students should have a background in the events relating to European exploration and settlement in New York State and how it affected relationships with the Indigenous peoples.
Handout the three documents. The lesson should begin by asking students if they would lie in court and for what reasons they might.
Students can be divided into small groups to analyze one of the three documents and eventually report to the class what their speaker said and who their speaker is .
Students should make note of. . .
Who the speaker said is guilty
Why the speaker is not guilty
Why the speaker thinks someone else is guilty
Students should think about if there is a bias or lying in these declarations and if that affects the decision of who is seemingly guilty
Have the students report their findings to the class
Expected Response: Students will realize each declaration is blaming another group of people and that the stories do not line up
This will show the effect of bias in these declarations
Students will debate who was responsible for burning down Kuyter’s farmhouse.
Closure: Who do you think burned down Kuyter’s farmhouse? Why?
Summative Performance Task: (Assessment of Student Learning)
After you have read and analyzed the following documents, apply your social studies knowledge and skills to write a paragraph in which you identify and explain the relationships between different groups of this time period (Indigenous, Dutch, British) and why different groups during this time period would have been so angry with each other to burn their houses down.