Willem Willink


Willem Willink

Wilhelm Willink (sometimes Willem, Wilheim or Wilhem) (1750 – 1841) was a wealthy Amsterdam merchant, and one of the investors in the Holland Land Company, and the Louisiana Purchase. There were reportedly thirteen investors in the Holland Land Company syndicate, who hoped to profit by buying a large tract of land in Western New York and northern Pennsylvania and reselling it to settlers and businessmen. In the 18th century it became fashionable for Dutch businessmen to invest in the young United States and many were talked into investing in land there after John Adams signed the trade treaty with the Netherlands in 1782. Wilhelm Willink had a summer estate on the Spaarne river, neighboring the estate villa Welgelegen of his associate Henry Hope.

The other Holland Land Company investors eventually included: the merchants Pieter van Eeghen and Christiaan van Eeghen, Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck, a lawyer and politician, Pieter Stadnitski, the brothers and bankers Nicolaas van Staphorst, Jan van Staphorst and Roelof van Staphorst, Hendrick Vollenhoven, Cornelius Vollenhoven, Hendrick Seye, Wilhelm Willink (the younger), Jan Willink, and Jan Willink (the younger).

Willink's name was given to the Town of Willink when it was created from Batavia, New York in 1804 and placed in Niagara County when it was formed in 1808 from Genesee County. The Town of Willink, along with the Town of Clarence were taken to form Erie County in 1821. The Town of Willink was then dispersed by the formation of newer towns in Erie County (such as Concord, Eden, and Aurora). Some of the investor names appear on the Big Tree Treaty of 1804 in which the Iroquois sold off their rights to most of the land in the Holland Purchase.

The names of the investors were formerly attached to locations in western New York, but have since been replaced. Buffalo, New York itself was briefly called New Amsterdam. Stadnitski Avenue in Buffalo is now Church Street. Schimmelpenninck Avenue is now Niagara Street. Willink and Van Staphorst also had their names used for Buffalo streets, but only Willink's remains. Their names appear on most deeds for land in this part of New York as the original owners.

The syndicate hired agents to perform the work of selling and improving their land. Their principal agent was Theophilus Cazenove, later succeeded by Paolo Busti. Others agents were Joseph Ellicott, Adam Gerard Mappa, Benjamin Ellicott, William Peacock, and Gerrit Boon.

Ultimately, the syndicate earned only modest profit from the investment, but the funds greatly assisted the development of the United States.

External links

* http://www.neha.nl/specialcollections/0256dela.php
* http://gemeentearchief.amsterdam.nl/schatkamer/300_schatten/geld/louisiana_purchase/index.nl.html
* [https://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl/archieven/archiefbank/indexen/doopregisters/zoek/search.nl.pl?v1=Wil*&b1=&a1=Willin*&r1=0&v2=&b2=&a2=&r2=0&d1=&m1=&y1=1750&d2=&m2=&y2=&rs=0&x=0&y=0 Birth certificate of Wilhelm Willink]


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