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A Seventy-two Million Dollar Estate


The following story is told in Broadbrim s New York letter:—Laiit week, while Phillips Brooks was preaching m Old Trinity, there was a most singular phase in church-going developed. As a usual thing Episcopal congregations are tbe most decorous kind of Cliristians,

everything about their • attendance-, -mnm^* methodical as the Psalter. Bat. while" your good orthodox Episcopalian jirould/ .no more miss a church service titan, he -^ would fly. yet; I regret to'^addf itot^a^. great niariy ot the* most'ortnodbx.are almost invariably late in their pews. Not ; so?how,everj,laßtweekat Trinity, Nearly,^.-; two hours before tl •>, service opened the •'-. began to fill up,' ■and^aSrhb'ur be- . ■ fore the. preacher 'appealed..there ; <wa»-. standing room only, and,hardlytSat^ The } ..-'* interim was occupied ,witn/rii^^.newß?'.^,;. papers, magazines, and <x>nyerM^on. v^ Be- ' side me sat a florid, looking gentienaanj reading a pocket edition of •-The VToniaa. in White," by Wilkie .CoUins., ,VH*; dropped his book for a moikent^';':andV ? * looking at me, said. "Fine .church/. sir." "Yes," I replied* ,/ JU. Yety > fine, church, probably one 'of the' I finest in the countiry," "Do you know_ who owns it? "he said, lookuig at me inquiringly. "Owns it?" I answered,. thinking for the'moment that the man', might be a stranger,.of. a lunatic. "Of - course I* do. It belongs to the Trinity Corporation of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America.'- '* Guess /not," he ,: said—" I guess not *, I see you ain't posted ,; sir. "' This church" and: »*■ beside^, v belong to the estate of Annefce Jans \i Bogardus, and sooner or later her heirs will enter into possession of-their own, and divide the millions now unjustly held<f _ ■._' from them, and don't you forget it;i It;, . has been a pretty hard fight, sir ; for these ;•>' church people are very rich,' and most of roiir people are very poor; ;but~ we have as' our lawyer honest Eugene B. Travis, of ■ PeekskiU, who has-worked on tbis^case" for years; he has the papers that will . - prove our clear title to alii the Mpfdpertqryf . and, as far as; heard: from, ttfere^is enough of it to give- us- a million or two. \ apiece." ; Just then the/deep diapasonpbithe grand organ announced the opening of the service, and j a. chorus 'ot tiweTlt' '■ singers chanted an "anthem' of \ praise ; ' then all settled down to hear one of those t wonderful talks—you could hardly.'Call - them sermons, though they lifted the thoughts arid hearts of meri~ ( tp GodTwttftr the power of a peritecostal rain. ■ At _w«rj close of the- service my attentiontwar*.attracted to the crowd, for a moment, and . When I looked iarouhd the heir of Anneke. ■ Jans Bo^dus,.was!g6pe... \; : ■■'.;!- , : The.story"of'Anneke^Tjans^jtf^ttr'in- . iteresting, and one of the early traditions -r of New York,^which .has. been : nursed and kept, and; though'sleeping for . a time, has awakened full of life, growing -. more, powerful and strong :as "the;^S^rs ; roll by, till at last'it has taken farm-and shape in a corporation bearing the ■aotiipwhat strarige:title of"'' The Aniiekei J,ans Bogardus Literary Association," Tvhe'main object of which appears to^ be to get all the heirs in a compact working boay, and . when that is doric the future' action' will be a matter of after consideration.. , /

Anrieke Jans Boigardus has been in ; her grave two hundred and. seventeen years, and the entire property said tty, be . her inheritance is valued at thousands' of .*■ - millions of dollars ; and if /she were living , now and in the enjoyment of. her own, • she could buy and sell all the Astdrs/and'; ; . Vanderbilts, and.J. Goulds, and Roth- „-• childs, who now control theinoneV marts.,, '■• of the world. She was born in Holland in 1602,; and was married to Ruloff -Jans .*; when she was twenty years of- age ; Bhe;--was the daughter of Woolfert .Webber,;. - who stood very near to William the Secon d:* of Holland, known as the Stadtholderj-:• and fromjwhom he_^emved_so«ie; large, f' -ftiia-substaritiaT grants of property In New;.Amsterdam. Woolfert Webber was a man '

of great importance from the first hour he : set foot in the .colony, and his daughter:.' Anneke was one of,the belles^f the town;?;

: Gospel privileges -.were ■ few.: in those* days -m old Manhattan.- A :good old'" Lutheran, one Dominie Everardus Bogar-/. dus, had just been brought- over^from 1Holland, and he expounded the Gospel in an old wooden house on Pearl-street,. not far from the- site of the present Exchange.' RuloffjJans paid'the debt of.nature while Anneke'wasr still- in> thebloom of, womanhood j^tnJßrJl^muMie 804 gardus had lost his , better,, half a\little • while before;. he discovered, no^flbubt^ that it was notgood for^mantb be aloiie,;\ so he proposed to the, widow. Jafw,^ a^d. V she thereafter in the history is kiibwn as Anneke Jans Bbgardus;. . A "pprtaoii k>£~ her property at her death. ; 'by" the Tieautiful Church of the Holj[Triwty;,.- rand it is said to be held by a-lease from'" Anneke Jans Bogardus in.l666, : |usfc three years after Anneke Jahsßogirdus,was dead and buried. The lease >as'siicv to be executed for ninety-nine, years, and consequently expired, in 1766. At that time the was in, A.jßtate of high ferment; The Sons of nberty'jrere . active, events were, rapidly ; hurrying on, which led to the Reyolution.JiThe; Anneke Jans leases were, lost.sight' of by the.heirs; ; not so by the Trinity, Coporatidn;\they claimed a renewal of the leases which 1 was duly executed by somebody-in,1766 ,fpr ; ninety-nine years 1 more,and" these leaser expired in 1866, and then the-heirs began to organise to try and jget their ;pin^^^ A , But that was ; not, aU';/therjS J;#aa .a 4': further grant that took a^big slice out of "7 Broadway, clear across the city,. talriagtin old St." John's-parkT where the'ireight dep6t of the,<3enferal,npyf stands, worth . several millions of dollars,' anjdi:in further - prospective fortune of her lucky descen- -! dants are seventy-two millions of dollajs/v now in thfbanks of Holland'just waiting for the heirs to prove' their title and come and take it away. v The -tost Trinity Church was; .1696, and opened. for worship' in 1697, its first rector being % the Rev. William .Fletcher. A neir building replaced the old one in 1740, and this was consumed in the graat fire of 1776, when the Sons of Liberty were supposed to have fired the city,' jutit after its occupation by the British.' No attempt was made to rebuild Trinity Church till long after the Revolutionary War j for until: the ■ Episcopal ritual was amended the ministers would insist on readingfV prayers for the King instead of the President, arid nearly raised a ;'riot. -^The nexfcp church was built in 17.88, ;and, stood. Jill iv 1839, when, it was (torn., down-to make ;. room for the present beautiful structure.; Its corporation has.the right;taperpetuate itself, and has'stei^y resisted all attempts at legislative inquiry into its.cpndition or affairs, and to the outside.public :it- is »•:. sealed book, silent the. Sphinx and as impenetrable. That a strong effort will ( . be made to call this rich corporation -to 1 & an accounting, there -is 4itfle; ! doubt; hundreds, if not thousands,of millions,, are involved in-the^fighfe." > Theljieirs are quietly getting together and believe they. can win, and each side adopte the? sante j>, battle cry, "Keu et mon droit," andleti-; us hope that" God "and the right may^winf '-'$ The Tiinity Corporation- is fabulously jo rich, and can weU afford to giye ! these ,- 'j heirs a million each and still have enough > to spare. '■''''■' ■• *' .-* - ' ? " :.^--^ <->-\:^

Austria-Hungary has anticipated Qerawqy tj: in legislating on. the social question, i L»wg>, recently passed, regulate thefhours of .labor, r^'j which are now limited to eleven,. f-jOTDw^j'^ nightwork, and secure the operatives ont . j); day's rest in the week. '"Children ..undcr-.teB O T/r are not allowed to be employed atall, tbrmt '< under fourteen are forbidden to work mor than nine; and those under sixteen mow than ten hours • Female operativw are also placed under legal safeguards, and . inspectors of industry are appointed to«wry H ■■._!_ out the provisions of tb«new<wtti .

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Bibliographic details

A Seventy-two Million Dollar Estate, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2434, 26 May 1890

Word Count

A Seventy-two Million Dollar Estate Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2434, 26 May 1890

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