Anthony Jansen (Van Salee)
Born: 1607, Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: 1676, Hempstead, Long Island, New York
Parents: Jan Janzoon Van Salee & unknown
Occupations: farmer, merchant, "Salee Rover" (Barbary pirate)
Marriage: Dec. 15, 1629, at sea enroute to New Amsterdam, New Netherlands
Wife: Grietje Reijners
Born: unknown, Wesel Germany
Died: 1669, Hempstead, Long Island, New York
Parents: Johannes Reijners & Jannetje Reijners
Second Marriage: 1670, Hempstead, Long Island, New York
Second Wife: Metje Gravenaaet
Anthony was Jan Janszoon's fourth child, born in 1607 in Cartagena, Spain, from his second wife. In 1624 Anthony was in Salé, Morocco, with his father, and by the 1630s had immigrated to New Netherland, purchasing a farm on the island of Manhattan in 1638, and becoming one of the original settlers. It is speculated that Anthony's father had provided him a considerable fortune, and by 1639 was one of the largest landholders on the island, as well as a prosperous farmer.
Following numerous legal disputes, including with the church (many believe that he was Muslim), Anthony was ordered to leave New Netherland, but on appeal to the Dutch West India Company, was allowed to settle on 200 acres (0.81 km2) in what would become New Utrecht and Gravesend, Brooklyn. This made him now one of the largest and most prominent landholders on Long Island. In 1643 he purchased a house on Bridge Street in New Amsterdam, in defiance of the court order restricting such. He would go onto become a successful merchant and creditor in New Amsterdam, while owning several properties throughout the region.
He married Grietse Reyniers, a scandalous woman from the Netherlands. Grietse is considered a legend of American colonial history because of her wild, sexual ways. She is dubbed the first Manhattan "lady of the night" by some accounts, while others have called her the "Carrie Bradshaw" of colonial Manhattan. Grietse died in 1669, and Anthony married Metje Grevenraet, before dying in 1676.
He had four daughters with Reyniers:
Anthony's physical appearance and race is the subject of much debate, and like his mother, the consensus was that his physical appearance was that of a mixed-ethnic background, and he was incredibly tall with superior strength. He has been described many ways, with some calling him a "semi-Dutchman" of "tawny" complexion, who erected the first "European" house in New Utrecht. Other descriptions have said he was a "former black slave" who was a "mulatto"; others include "half-Moroccan", "Turk", "Berber", and "swarthy".
Anthony was very wealthy and had made many enemies, while falsely
being attributed to certain history written well after his death.
Anthony's appearance is consistently used in court documentation
alongside his name with the phrase "Turk", indicating his appearance
and/or lifestyle was a main emphasis for documentarians and historians
during that period. From deduction, he was not a "free black",
claimed in 2008, as the first "free blacks" found in America were
documented in 1662 in Virginia, well after Anthony's arrival in the
colonies. He was not a "former black slave", as claimed in 2001,
because he was a wealthy heir of a slave trader. It is also noted that
Anthony was considered "European" enough to be credited, in 1862, for
building the first "European" settlement in New Utrecht,
while even historic African-centric collections cannot determine what
his actual appearance, race, or origin was. It is also noted that
he had four daughters who married into respectable, colonial New
Amsterdam families of European origin.