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Colen Donck

Colen donck (in English "Donck's Colony") was a 24,000 acre (97 km²) patroonship in New Netherland along the southern Hudson River in today's Bronx and Yonkers established by Dutch-American lawyer and land developer Adriaen van der Donck.[1]

The land was granted van der Donck by controversial Director General of New Netherlands Willem Kieft in 1646 in return for van der Donck's role as an interpreter and peacemaker in conflicts between Dutch colonists and Native Americans. It is unclear whether van der Donck subsequently purchased the land from its Native American holders, a requirement of the West India Company before granting a patroonship.

Van der Donck's parcel began on the mainland directly to the north of the island (Manhattan), continued along the river for twelve miles, and carried eastward as far as the Bronx River, becoming much of what is today the Bronx and southeastern Westchester County.

He named his estate Colen Donck (or "Colendonck"; spellings vary, the latter being more consistent with Dutch construction) and built several mills along what is now called the Saw Mill River. The estate was so large that locals referred to him as the Jonkheer ("young gentleman" or "squire"), the source of today's name "Yonkers".

Records show Van der Donck to have been alive in August 1655. He is described as having died on Manhattan island in 1655 by Who's Who in America.[2] Records of the following January indicate there was a dispute between his relations over two bibles taken by Indians in the sacking of his home in the raids known as the Peach Tree War, leaving the cause of his death unknown.


  1. ^ "Colen Donck | A Tour of New Netherland". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  2. ^ Who's Who in America 1607-1896, A. N. Marquis Company, Chicago, Illinois 1963, p. 547

Further reading