Pirates > Pirate Rounders > Frederick Philipse

Frederick Philipse

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

Frederick Philipse (1626 – 23 December, 1702) was an immigrant from the Dutch Republic to the colony of New Amsterdam. He arrived in the New World by 1653 and married a wealthy widow named Margaret Hardenbrook de Vries in 1662 to create a trading empire. Generally regarded as the richest man in all of New Amsterdam, Philipse was essential in providing material support to the pirates through Adam Baldridge and Samuel Burgess who would bring the colonies of British North America much coveted luxury goods from the East Indies in exchange for essential food supplies, cloths and ammunition from the colonies.

This trade deal made both Baldridge and Philipse very wealthy and he became one of the largest landowners. When the British seized control over the colony of New Amsterdam, Philipse changed his allegiance and was given increased power along with a title and a manor. He served on the governor's executive council but was later banned for slave trading in the Province of New York. He died shortly after and is remembered for his role as one of the best pirate merchants of the era.

Early Years

Frederick Philipse originally migrated to the Americas from the Friesland area of the Netherlands to the area of Flatbush, New Netherlands on the territory of Long Island. He originally began by selling iron nails and then moved into owning taverns. Through trading Philipse would become a wealthy merchant and soon was interested in expanding his landholdings.

Philipsburg Manor

Frederick Philipse first bought the land that would eventually become his manor from a Dutch man named Adriaen van der Donck. Frederick Philipse along with two business partners named Thomas Delavall and Thomas Lewis purchased the first pieces of land in 1672 of what is now known as Yonkers. Between 1680 and 1686 the local Wiechquaeskeck and Sinsink Indian tribes sold Philipse much more land to the north and south of his previous holdings and he also acquired land from the Tappan tribe on the west side of the Hudson River.

In a bid to consolidate power Philipse bought out his partners and attempted to settle the land with the promise of free land and limited taxes. The estate was bordered by the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the Croton River, the Hudson River, and the Bronx River. The land today is equivalent to most of lower Westchester County and by the end of the 17th century Philipse had acquired about 52,000 acres, 21,000 ha or 210 km2 of land along the Hudson River and built structures all across his property.

When the British took over North America from the Dutch in 1664 Philipse swore allegiance to the new colonial authorities and was granted a manorship from them in 1693 and allowed to retain his land. This royal charter named his manor the Manor of Philipsburg and granted him great political status in the New World. At this time he owned only one of three manors in New York known as Rensselaerswyck, Cortlandt, and Livingston—Philipsburg.

At this time Philipse was considered one of the richest if not the richest man in New York and he built a simply house for himself in what would become Yonkers today which was later turned into a mansion by his later heirs known as Philipse Manor Hall. However, despite his fabulous wealth Philipse did not earn all it all legitimately. During this time he was greatly involved in the development of the colonies as well as local politics and trade. He facilitated the construction of the Old Dutch Church at Sleepy Hollow, a project that would be completed in 1685. In 1693 he was responsible for building the first bridge known as King's Bridge that would connect New York City to mainland New York over the Harlem River. The current neighborhood in the Bronx named Kingsbridge was done in homage to his first bridge.

Pirate Merchant

Philipse was one of the most prolific pirate merchants that ever operated during the golden age of piracy. He built a fabulous fortune off supplying the pirates with essential supplies necessary to continue their trade. In modern legal jargon it would be known as giving material aid to an enemy. However, through multiple contacts Philipse was engaged with massive trade with the pirates on the island of Madagascar. Without his assistance the pirates would have never been able to survive and Philipse was responsible for providing them with guns, ammo, clothing, supplies, provisions, food and much, much more. Through his associate Adam Baldridge everyone benefited greatly off of the long distance smuggling route that operated during the first Pirate Round.

Philipse was also a known slave trader and imported fifty slaves into New York from Angola aboard his personal ship in 1685. He was also supplied by the cheap slaves from Madagascar that Philipse used as his personal servants throughout the 1690's.

Later Years

Philipse served on the governor of New York's executive council from 1691 until 1698 when he was banned from office by >Richard Coote, the Lord of Bellomont for his dealings with the slave trade. Coote could hardly say anything about his trading with pirates as he himself was responsible for funding many "privateering" voyages. Philipse died in 1702 of old age and was buried along with both of his wives in the crypt of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow that he helped build so many years ago.

Overall without the assistance of Frederick Philipse the first pirate round would have never been as succussful as it was. The Locations established on the island of Madagascar were much better stocked and supplied than those later set up in Nassau and could have developed into full fledged settlements had the pirates actually stuck around.

The foundations that were laid in the first pirate round allowed many pirates to transition back into this arena following the end of piracy in the West Indies during the end of the Post Spanish Succession Period. Despite both Frederick Philipse and Adam Baldridge retiring and taking their fortunes with them, the second pirate round would only have been possible due to the actions of their predecessors. In the end Frederick Philipse would be one of the most influential of all the pirates even though he never took to sea and plundered ships himself as one of the most prolific and prosperous of all the pirate merchants.

Philipse's son Adolphus would continue his ventures and acquired more land in north Westchester that was sanctioned as the royal Philipse Patent. However, following the success of the Patriots during the American Revolution the Philipse family was stripped of its land holdings for their loyalty to the crown and the Tories.

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