Paulus Lenertsen Van der Grift was born in Amsterdam, Holland on October 20, 1613. By 1643, he was employed by the Dutch West India Company in Curacao and appointed captain of the Company’s ship, the Neptune. In December 1646, he captained the Great Gerrit, one of four ships that comprised the fleet that brought the newly-appointed Director-General, Pieter Stuyvesant, and his retinue to New Netherland. When the fleet arrived in New Amsterdam in May 1647, Van der Grift was immediately appointed to the New Netherland Council. On May 27, 1647, he was commissioned as the New Netherland Superintendent of Naval Equipments.
By 1648, Van der Grift owned a fine townhouse near the river in New Amsterdam, a farm nearby on Manhattan, a general store in the town and a sloop that he used for trading. In 1653, he became one of the first Schepens and afterward was appointed to several terms as Burgomaster, including the occasion upon which he replaced Marten Cregier, who had to depart New Amsterdam to command the Esopus campaign.
In 1671, he sold his property in New Amsterdam and returned to Europe.
Alden Chester and Edwin Melvin Williams. Courts and Lawyers of New York: A History, 1609-1925 (1925).
A Genealogical and Personal History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.