Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More on Journey Into Mohawk Country

Last Sunday’s New York Times carried a story about Charles T. Gehring, who for 35 years has been translating 17 century court records, letters and other documents from New Netherland (New York) from the original Dutch. Imagine my surprise to come across a reference to George O’Connor’s graphic novel, Journey Into Mohawk Country. (See my post on that book here.)

For his book, O’Connor used Gehring’s translations of Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert’s journal, which detailed the barber-surgeon’s travels through Mohawk Valley in 1634.

The NYT story tells more about van den Bogaert’s life after the adventures of Journey Into Mohawk Country. He became commander of Fort Orange (in what is now Albany), but tried to escape into native American country after colonists learned he was gay. The Dutch colonists, apparently not particularly open-minded on this issue in those days, dragged him back. But he escaped again “when a sheet of floating ice damaged the fort,” the NYT reports, only to drown in the Hudson River.

Oh, and van den Bogaert likely was an ancestor of actor Humphrey Bogart. Here’s looking at you, Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert.

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