In 1655, a colony on Staten Island, under Baron Hendrick Van der Capellen,
was destroyed by indians. The colonists were taken prisoner. This
colony was headed by a Captian Adrain Post.
Captain Post had cultivated friendly relations with the Indians and familiarized himself with their language, an acquisition which was destined to be of much service to him at a most critical period in his career. As a result of the 1655 Peach Tree Indian War which broke out over Hendrick Van Dyke's shooting of a Native woman stealing peaches from his tree in Bergen, the settlements on the lower North (Hudson) river and around New Amsterdam (New York) were distorted by Iroquois attackers.
The flourishing colony did not escape in the general attack made by the Indians upon the whites, and on the night of 15 September 1655,
the colony on Staten Island was burned to the ground by the Natives from Hackensack. Twenty-three persons were killed on Staten Island,
and sixty-seven were taken prisoners, among being Captain Post, with his wife, five children (Adrian, Maria, Lysbeth, and two unknown children) and a servant girl. (N.Y. Col Docs, XII, 98)
An example of the confidence the Indians had in his integrity is the fact that in Oct. 1655 the Hackensack Chief, Pennekeck, sent Captain Post with fourteen of his fellow prisoners over to New Amsterdam to ask the Director-General for powder and lead in exchange for these captives. Captain Post made the journey between New Amdersdam and the Native headquarters at Paulus Hook, Bergen, several times before an agreement was reached. On 21 October fifty- six captives were released in exchange for powder, lead, guns, blankets and wampum. Among those freed were Adrian's wife and children. He had another conference with the Hackensack Chiefs, Pennekeck and Oratamy, on October 26, and would seem to have been successful in securing the release of all prisoners after a time. (N.Y. Hist MSS, I, 153; N.Y. Col. Docs., XII.,46,47,48.)
Upon effecting his own exchange, the faithful superintendent returned to Staten Island and hunted up the few head of cattle left, but owing to the complete destruction of the crops, buildings and other property, most of the cattle had died, and he was obliged to sell others to obtain means to maintain his wife and children. (N.Y. Col. Docs, XIII.,206.)
When Van der Capellen heard of the great havoc made by the Indians in his colony, he instructed Captain Post to gather together the survivors and to erect a fort on the Island and also to keep the people provisioned. This, however, was impracticable, as the Captain with his starving family during the ensuing winter were obliged tocamp out under the bleak sky without any protection or means of defense. The authorities recognized the insurmountable difficulties in the way of protecting the colony, and decided to withdraw the soldiers and abandon him to his fate unless he would remove with his people and his patron's cattle to Long Island. (N.Y. Col. Doc.,XIII, 60-1.) The creditors of Van der Capelle, seeing the desperate condition of the colony, he began to harass Post for the payment of the Baron's debts, and suit was brought by Jacob Schellinger and others against him as agent for the Baron for payment of a note; and Janneke Melyn claimed as hers some of the few
cattle still in Post's possession. ( Cal. N.Y. Hist MSS I., 164.)
Under his accumulating hardships and exposures and harassmentís, Post fell sick, and in the following April his wife was constrained
to petition the authorities for a postponement of the suit brought by Schellinger, and to urge that the soldiers might be allowed to remain
for the present on Staten Island. The soldiers who had escorted her to New Amsterdam were directed to return with her to Staten Island,
but they become tired of their exposure on that desolate spot, and declared they would not accompany her. (Cal, N.Y. Hist. MSS., I., 165.) Direck van Schelluyne, for and on behalf of Madam Post, in view of her husband's continued illness, petitioned on 27 April 1656 the Director-General and Council at New Amsterdam to send an armed force to the Island for the protection of the rights of Baron van der Capelle de Ryssel, Patroon of that place, and for somebody else to take care of the property during Captain Post illness. The authorities, however, insisted that there was nothing on the Island worth preserving but the cattle, which ought to be removed to Long Island, and as the population consisted of only six or seven persons (Captain Post, his wife, five children, one male and one female servant), it would be folly to send a garrison for their protection.
The armed force was accordingly refused. (Cal. N.Y. Hist. MSS., I., 165,166,638.) On 20 July 1656, Schellinger recovered judgment against
Post on a note signed by Cornelius Melyn and others, claiming to be agents of Baron van der Capelle. (N.Y. Col. Docs.,XII., 170.)
The attempt at colonizing Staten Island by individual enterprise having failed, the Island was purchased by the West India Company, to
whom nineteen persons presented a petition, August 22, 1661, for tracts of land on the south side, in order to establish a village, which was allowed by the Company, Captain Post being one of the grantees. (N.Y. Col. Docs.,XIII., 206) It is probable, however, that he did not avail himself of the grant, but removed to Bergen (now Jersey City, N.J.) about this time, if, indeed, he was not already a resident there. In 1662, he was one of petitioners to have a clergyman settled at Bergen, and promised to contribute twenty florins therefore yearly. (N.Y. Col Docs MSS XIII,,233.)