Hilletie Van Slyck Van Olinda
by
Stefan Bielinski


Hilletie Van Slyck was born in the Mohawk Valley during the mid seventeenth century. She was the daughter of frontier trader Cornelis A. Van Slyck and a Mohawk woman. She was raised by her mother and lived among the Indians.

By the 1670s, she was the wife of Albany businessman and regional property holder Pieter Danielse Van Olinda and the mother of several of his children.

Well known in the country west of Albany, Hilletie's special talent was that of the interpreter. In 1667, she is said to have been given five islands in the Mohawk at Niskayuna in payment for her services. During the early 1700s, she was paid a salary by the provincial government as the "interpretess to the Indians at Albany."

She was able to secure a number of parcels of land in the region as a result of her work as interpreter. A number of visitors mentioned her in their narratives. Chief among them was the missionary Jasper Danckaerts who wrote extensively about Hilletie's life and character.

Hilletie Van Slyck Van Olinda died in February 1707.

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notes

the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Hilletie/Alida/Aletta/Ilettie Van Slyck Van Olinda is CAP biography number 6732. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Must-see ethnographic exposition by Donald M. Parrish, Jr. See also Lorine McGinnis Schulze, The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk wife Ots-Toch, including the story of Jacques Hertel, 1603-1651, Father of Ots-Toch and Interpreter to Samuel de Champlain (Midland, Ont., Canada: Olive Tree Enterprises, 1996).


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first posted: 10/25/02; updated 1/29/10