Johannes Megapolensis


According to traditional sources, Johannes Megapolensis was born in North Holland 1603. He was the son of Dominie Johannes Megapolensis - thus making him Johannes "Jr." as he was sometimes known.

By 1630, he had married Mathilde Willems. The marriage produced at least four children - all born in Europe.

In 1642, he brought his family to New Netherland - first to New Amsterdam, and then to Rensselaerswyck and Fort Orange where he served until 1649. He doubled as a missionary to the Indians and preached in the Mohawk language. He produced A Short Account of the Mohawk Indians, their Country, Language, Figure, Costume, Religion, and Government, which was published in Amsterdam in 1651. He also has been credited with saving the life of the French missionary, Father Isaac Jogues.

Although employed by the Van Rensselaers, he lived in "his own house" on the east side of the Hudson at Greenbush. He preached there until the Patroon's storehouse located near Fort Orange was adopted for use as a church.

At the end of his mission, he re-located to New Amsterdam where he served as Dominie of the Dutch church. He was among those who counselled Governor Stuyvesant in the surrender of New Netherland to the English in 1664. Like many successful Dutch colonists, he subsequently took the oath of allegiance to the Duke of York.

In 1668, he returned to Holland. But he soon came back to New York where Dominie Johannes Megapolensis, Jr. died in January 1670.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Johannes Megapolensis has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from so-called traditional and community-based resources. Online biographies: Famous Americans;

first posted: 5/20/06