Joris Jansen de Rapelje, a Huguenot who had fled to Leiden from Valenciennes, was one of New Netherland’s first settlers. A weaver by trade, he arrived in 1625 with Adriaen Jorisz Thienpont, an employee of the West India Company who had been directed to establish a settlement at the trading post of Fort Orange (now Albany, NY).
In 1636, following the murder of the Commissar (Commander) of Fort Orange by the Mohawks, Director Pieter Minuit ordered all the colonists in the outlying settlements to move to Manhattan. Joris Jansen de Rapelje set up an inn on Pearl Street, adjoining the old Fort. He was also a boatswain, involved in the capture of ships for prize.
On June 16, 1637, Joris de Rapelje purchased a 335-acre bowery near Wallabout in Brooklyn from the Native Americans. The estate included a considerable waterfront on the Bay, and lay along the stream known by its Indian name of Rinnegakonck.
In 1641, de Rapelje was selected as a member of the Twelve Men. By 1655, he had become a permanent resident of Long Island, and was appointed by the Council of New Amsterdam as one of the Schepens (Magistrates) of Breukelen (Brooklyn), an office that he also held in 1656, 1657 and 1660.
Joris Jansen de Rapelje died around 1665. Brooklyn’s Rapelye Street is named for the family.
Order for the Distribution of Prize, May 23, 1654