Conradt Ten Eyck, one of my 10th great grandfathers, was born in Moers, Germany in 1617, at a time when that area was under Dutch control. He was listed as a shoemaker’s helper (apprentice) when he married his wife but by the time he made his way to America, he was known as a master tanner, one of the first to operate in New Amsterdam. The origin of the name Ten Eyck is more German than Dutch and means, “near the oak,” an apparent reference to his trade as oak bark is rich in tannin and essential in the tannery business.
Conradt purchased land on the west side of what is now Broad Street, extending from the East River, along a canal which ran through the center of Broad Street to Beaver Street. He was quite wealthy by the standards of his day and, as a successful businessman, was soon an influential figure in the development of the area which was to become NYC. He was appointed by the courts to inspect complaints and settle disputes and was named one of four “Ouerzeers” who were tasked with laying out and paving of the streets.
His children followed him in the family business and became successful in their own ways. Members of the Ten Eyck family would serve as Albany Mayor, New York State Senator, U.S. Representatives from New York and U.S. Senator from New Jersey. The Ten Eycks also formed several businesses, including the Ten Eyck hotel and the Ten Eyck insurance group.
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