Guillaume Guleyn Vigne (c1588-1632)

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Guillaume Guleyn Vigne (Vigne is prounounced "Vin-Yeh") was born in Valenciennes, France between 1586 and 1590. He married Adrienne about 1610 and their first daughter, Christina, was born afterward. His family were Walloons, which were French-speaking Protestants from the southern Netherlands region that is now Belgium and northern France. In the 16th and 17th centuries, wars between the Netherlands, France and Spain occured in this area. A 12-year truce beginning in 1609 provided some respite, but the truce was not renewed when it expired in 1621. Another unsettling factor in that region was the desire of the Catholic French monarchy to convert or kill the Protestant population living within and along its borders. Many non-Catholics fled after having their property confiscated, includiing the Vignes.

Guillaume and his family immigrated to the Netherlands to escape religious persecuation. They lived in the city of Leiden, which was a protective and tolerant haven from war and prejudice. After they began living among the Dutch people, the Vigne name was changed to "Vienje." Guillaume became known as "Willem Vienje" and Adrienne as "Ariantje Vienje." "Vienje" was still pronounced as "Vigne."

The Vignes were one of thirty Walloon families selected by the Dutch West India Company to establish a permanent settlement in New Netherlands, which consists of modern-day New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut. The original Company plan was to send only a few men to set up a fur trading post on Manhattan Island. The addition of the Walloon families may have been a late change to the plans. It is possible that the families volunteered when they heard of the colonization plans. Also due to the fact that the Walloons were a displaced people who had become refugees in crowded little Holland. Thus, there was no land available to own as the Dutch people had run out of land and had just started to reclaim land from the sea.

The Vignes sailed from the Netherlands in April of 1624 on the "Nieuw Nederlandt." (or possibly on the "Eendracht") Some of the other colonists, including Joris Janszen Rapaelje, were also from Valenciennes. The Vignes had three daughters, Christine, Maria and Rachel, when they sailed to America. Most of the 30 families must have had children, as the total number of new colonists was around 120. Upon reaching the Hudson River in mid-May 1624, they found a French ship that was trying to claim the territory for the king of France. With the help of a smaller Dutch ship that arrived from the West Indies, they politely aimed their cannons and escorted the French ship out to sea. Cornelis May, captain of the "Nieuw Nederlandt," became the first Director of the New Netherlands colony.

Eight men were left at Manhattan to "take possession." A dozen families were deposited at the Delaware and Connecticut Rivers, and 18 families were taken up the Hudson to a site near present-day Albany. The first news back to Holland was that, "Everything was in good condition. The colony began to advance bravely, and to live in friendship with the natives." However, most of the families began their residence in the new land by digging seven feet into the ground to make wood-lined, bark covered shelters. They did not begin to build wooden homes until 1625. We don't know whether the Vignes spent their first year at the Albany, Connecticut River or Delaware River settlements.

In 1625, the Company sent over another ship with 103 head of cattle and off-loaded them on Manhattan Island. Along with the cattle came some home builders and more settlers, who were directed to establish six bouweries [farms] on Manhattan. Engineers began constructing Fort Amsterdam near the southern tip of the island, and laying out the streets for the town of New Amsterdam. The colonists who had been deposited at the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers were brought back to Manhattan Island. They were too few in number to be in such isolated locations. Over the next three years, all of the Albany settlers trickled back to Manhattan. In 1626 Peter Minuit [also a Walloon] arrived as the new Director. He brought more colonists and bought the rest of Manhattan Island from the Indians for 60 guilders' worth of minor trade items. By the end of 1628 there were roughly 275 people in and around New Amsterdam.

The Vignes established their Manhattan farm north of what is now Wall Street, along the East River. In 1624 or 1625, not long after their arrival, their son Jan was born. He was the first European male born in New Netherlands. [The first European girl born in New Netherlands was Sara Rapaelje*, in June 1625] Guillaume died about 1632. His two oldest daughters had already married by that time, Christine to Dirck Volckertszen, and Maria to Jan Roos. He left his wife with two younger children.


Offspring of Guillaume Guleyn Vigne and Adrienne Cuvelier (c1589-1655)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Christina Vigne (1610-1663) 1610 (St. Waast La Haut+ Vallenciennes+ Nord+ France) 21 February 1663 (Bushwick+ Long Island+ New York) Dirck Noorman Volkertszen (c1595-aft1677)

Maria Vigne

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