Garrett looks a li-i-i-i-ittle bit older than 34 in his portrait.
But Barbara's portrait is another story. Let me be PERFECTLY frank: She look's like somebody's aging mother, in the portrait!
What happened to them, after their 1659 marriage in Fort Casimir, is probably the best explanation.
Perhaps because the French and Indian War was raging around them, the Dutch were extremely sensitive to the need toi treat the Algonquians tribes around them with carefully-administered justice.
So, on March 1, 1660, Garrett Van Swearingen was appointed to very carefully judge a case involving the murder of an Indian, probably by a Dutchman.
At around the same time, something else was happening in New Amstel which might or might not have been connected to the case of the dead Algonquian.
Very early in 1660, a Dutchman named Jan Gerritsen van Marcken traveled from Stuyvesant's New Amsterdam to collect a debt from one of the people living in or around New Amstel.
With the approval of d’Hinoyossa, President of New Amstel, Garrett Van Swearingen, as "Schout," or Sheriff, of New Amstel, arrested van Marcken, and charged him with an impressive list of criminal violations. Van Marcken was convicted of "just about everything in the book."
On June 7, 1660, Stuyvesant, the overall Governor, reversed the judgment, and ordered Garrett Van Swearingen to pay costs of suit and damages for False Arrest!
A chronicler of the era tells us....
"On August 30, 1660 Garrit van Sweringen and his wife sailed for Amsterdam without obtaining a passport from Stuyvesant. He took with him 31 skins, which he declared, and another 100 skins that he did not declare. He had bribed the supercargo of the ship. In Amsterdam he used the extra 100 skins to bribe the Directors of the West Indies Company."
Lo and behold, "On December 24, 1660, the directors of the Dutch West Indies Company sent Stuyvesant a letter chastising him for overruling Garrit van Sweringen’s case against Jan Gerritsen van Marcken, saying it was politically unwise for him to interfere with the affairs of the City of Amsterdam’s colony at New Amstel."
Was it just a case of "bribery"?
The French and Indian War was a political powder keg. The English, who hated the Dutch, would have loved a pretext for turning the Algonquians upon the Dutch, to accomplish their murder for them.
In light of such considerations, the words to Stuyvesant -- that "it was politically unwise for him to interfere with the affairs of the City of Amsterdam’s colony at New Amstel" -- have a special significance.
The lives of every citizen of New Amstel may have been "in the sling."
I think that, under the circumstances, we should judge Garrett Van Swearingen with special charity, here.
One genealogist says that Garrett and Barbara's first child, Elizabeth, was born to them in 1661. If she was, she was either born in Holland or on board the ship ‘Purmerlander Kerck’ which sailed for America in November, 1661, arriving on February 3, 1662.
While Barbara was pregnant with their second child Zacharia, or shortly after Zachariah's birth, in 1662, something terrible happened. Garrett Van Swearingen murdered a Dutch soldier.
"On the evening of June 20, 1662 three of Stuyvesant’s soldiers were in New Amstel enjoying drinks at Fop Johnson Outhout’s Inn. They went out for a stroll and were having a great time singing. Their path took them near Garrit van Sweringen’s home. He took exception to their singing and after a few shouts fired on the soldiers. His shot killed Hermen Hendricksen van Deventer.
"Stuyvesant’s South River (the Delaware River) deputy, Willem Beeckman, was furious and collected affidavits and interrogatories from witnesses that he forwarded to Stuyvesant. The affidavits and interrogatories were taken in the home of Johan Andersson Stalcop. Perhaps it was considered as the nearest neutral site.
"The Governor of the Colony of the City, d’Hinoyossa, did nothing about it other than temporarily suspending van Sweringen as schout. Stuyvesant felt helpless to do anything about it. He wrote to Amsterdam that he thought the burgomasters of the City of Amsterdam should hear the case.
"Van Sweringen was never tried. Instead his superiors in Amsterdam decided the killing had been done in 'self-defense.' The soldiers were completely unarmed. Garrit van Sweringen was officially pardoned."
On May 1, 1663, Garrett Van Swearingen was reinstated as Fort Sheriff.
In 1664, the world turned upside-down for the Dutch and for Garrett and Barbara Van Swearingen and their family. Relationships with the local Indians finally exploded, and Van Swearingen was dispatched to patrol the vicinity and kill Indians. One chronicler wrote, "He had fought the Mohegan Indians in the forest beyond Beverwych, driving the war bands before him, consuming their villages until the savages begged for mercy. His days went by with battle and nights with watchfullness. Van Sweringen and his company came down from the hills through the forest of Beverwych, to find the city of New Amsterdam had been taken by the English."
Thje English, it turned out, had invested New Amstel and simply stolen it from the Dutch while Van Swearingen was off fighting Indians in the French and Indian War. Here is the Chronicler's full account, including Lord Baltimore's miraculous offer to Garrett and his wife and children...
"Colonel Nicols of England, sent by His Majesty, Charles II, and his deputy Sir Robert Carr were to take over the Dutch colony at New Amstel
"Van Sweringen said wearily, 'Without a blow they took Amsterdam, as if there were no one near.' Then drawing his sword from the scabbard, he kissed its long, straight, splendid blade, and, with sudden of anguish, broke it across his knee, and standing as high as he could in his stirrups he threw the pieces over the wall into the dusty meadow grass. 'Farewell good blade, forever more!, he said, 'forged in honor, honorably brave, shall never be drawn in dishonor. Thou wast wrought to strike for the Netherlands, and thou mayst not strike for the Netherlands. Thy steel was for the Netherlands, my hands are for van Sweringen.' Then he stretched his hands out before him, saying in a piteous, chocking voice, "They are all that is left, I am ruined!' For at first he was thinking of himself, but now he thought of his wife and daughter. He rode through the gate to the house where his wife and daughter were staying, he went quickly. His wife was sitting at the window. 'Barbarah,' he said, 'I am ruined!' and there he stopped, he was chocking. She looked up quietly, 'Yes Garrett,' she said, 'I heard of it. They can not say that I married thee for thy money anymore,' and with that she laughed very softly. Garrett said , 'I have not a guilder to my name, I am brought to beggary.' Barbarah said, 'I am just as rich as thee, dear heart, as ever I was. To be ruined without fault is no disgrace.' She said, 'it matters not to me for I gave up home and everything to go with thee.' His wife was sitting on one side, Elizabeth, his daughter, on the other, sitting upon a foot stool and leaning against his knee. 'Father,' said Elizabeth, 'We don't mind it terrible for us. We shall take a little house, and mother shall do the weaving, and I shall do darning and spin, oh how I can spin, and I shall gather wild hops for the brew, and nuts and berries in the woods. We woman will cook, and thee shall work by the day, and we shall save stuiner by stuirer untill the stockings are full again.'
"About this time there was knock at the door, it was Lord Calvert. Needless to say Garrett van was in no mood for English humor, which he misunderstood. The governor actually came to offer Garrett a position of sheriff in Maryland. 'There are pretty posies hanging their heads in rows for the lass to come and pick. Carr is a dirty scoundrel, I have just told him so to his thieving face.' said Master Calvert. 'Let me make good the wrongs he has done. Then ye shall need no more to curse the English for a pack of thieves and perjurers. Come down to Maryland, van Sweringen, you and all that be yours. Man it will be a happy day! Mistress van Sweringen,' he said, with a laugh and half a choke, 'Prevail with me against this dear, honest fool of thine. He is the most obstinate , argumentative person that I ever stood against. Lord Bal timore had told him you can take up 1,000 acres, at twenty shelling a year. Ye may believe as you please and say what you will, so you be Christian and speak no treasons, and if you will teach us to keep our own lawns as you have kept of the Dutch, you will confer a precious favor on the next Lord Baltimore.' As his long speech ended, he silently bowed, and stood there quietly. Meinheir van Sweringen got up from his seat turning said simply, 'My friend, my good and true friend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have put a new light in the world for me.'
"Van Swearingen later testified, ‘Sir Robert Carr did often protest to me, that he did not come as an enemy, but as a friend; demanding, only in friendship, what was the King's own, in that country. There was taken from the City and the inhabitants thereabout, to the value, so near as I can now remember, of four thousand pound sterling, likewise arms, powder and shot in great quantity. Four and twenty guns were, the greatest part, transported to New York.
"The Dutch soldiers were taken prisoners, and given to the merchantmen that were there, in recompense of their services; and into Virginia, they were transported to be sold, as was credibly reported by Sir Robert Carr's officers, and other persons there living in the town.
"All sorts of tools for handicraftsman, and all plough gear, and other things to cultivate the ground, which were in great quantity; besides the estate of Governor Debouissa and myself; except some household stuff and a negro I got away; and some other movables, Sir Robert Carr did permit me to sell.'"
And so, in 1664, our GGGGGGGG GP Garrett Van Swearingen and and Barbara DeBarette Swearingen and their children and Barbara's father and brother moved to St. Mary's County, in southern Maryland, and began a new life there.
Who can blame Barbara DeBarrette for looking 20 to 30 years older than her husband?
More to come.