On the north end of Battery Park, opposite the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel entrance, stands a granite monument nearly 10-feet tall, commemorating the Walloon Settlers who joined the Dutch settlement in New Amsterdam, now Manhattan, in 1624. My 9th great-grandfather, Frederick De Vaux, immigrated from Wallonia to New Amsterdam (Manhattan) in 1675. (Click here to learn more about this branch of my family).
PRESENTED TO THE CITY OF NEW YORK BY THE CONSEIL PROVINCIAL DU HAINAUT IN MEMORY OF THE WALLOON SETTLERS WHO CAME OVER TO AMERICA IN THE "NIEW NEDERLAND" UNDER THE INSPIRATION OF JESSE DE FOREST OF AVESNES THEN COUNTY OF HAINAUT ONE OF THE PROVINCES --- 1624 - 1924
The Walloons were natives of the County of Hainaut, Belgium. Like many others, they fled to Holland to avoid religious persecution. Feeling unwelcomed there, they requested permission to settle in Virginia in 1621, while it was under British control, but their request was denied. Next they petitioned the Dutch West India Company for permission to settle in Dutch-controlled New Amsterdam, a request that was granted. They left Holland in March of 1624 and landed in New York on May 20, 1624. This memorial was a gift from the Conseil Provincial du Hainaut and was dedicated on May 20, 1924 exactly 300 years after their arrival.
That same year, the New York state Senate officially recognized the Walloons and their place in New York and American history. Three commemorative stamps (#614, 615, and 616) were issued by the Federal Government and the Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary Silver Half-Dollar was also minted in memory of the Walloons. Check to see if these are available for sale!
This trip was part of my Ancestor Trails, visiting the places my ancestors lived. Click here to see more memorials from Battery Park and be sure to subscribe to my blog for free updates and new additions!