Brett

"Roger Brett, progenitor of the family in America, married Catharyna Rombout, and removed with her from New York to the Fishkills, where he erected the historical mansion in a beautiful grove at Fishkill Landing in 1709, and she remained there until her death, in 1764. After the death of her husband, she was commonly styled "Madame Brett" by her friends. She was sixteen years of age when she married Roger Brett, and soon thereafter, or about 1706, the patent, which has subsequently been known as the Rombout Patent, was partitioned in three portions, namely, to the Van Courtlandt family was allotted substantially all the land lying along both banks of what was called Wappinger Creek; the middle portion fell to the heirs of Gulian Verplanck, and the lower, or part along the Fish Kill, to Roger Brett and his wife. In New York they had lived on her father's property, which consisted of a large house and spacious grounds on lower Broadway, not distant from the present site of Trinity Church. The site of the home latterly occupied in Dutchess county in later years became known as Matteawan, New York. Roger Brett was a lieutenant in the British navy, and on familiar terms of friendship with the Colonial governor, Lord Cornbury, who was a cousin of Queen Anne, to whom he is said to have borne a close likeness, a matter regarding which he was known to be proud. He was drowned in 1716, and his wife survived him many years, dying in 1764"

According to the oral history that has been passed down, Roger Brett was known to be both a drinker and a gambler. After his marriage to Catheryna Rombout, he took control of the properties that she had inherited from her father Francis Rombout. He apparently suffered financial losses (perhaps from the gambling) and the house in New York was sold. Roger and Catheryna then moved up to the lands granted in the Rombout Patent. He was reportedly involved in the importation (legal or otherwise) of rum from Barbadoes. His death in 1716 is said to have occurred on the Hudson River when he was knocked overboard in an intoxicated state upon returning from the West Indies with a cargo of rum.

History shows that Catheryna never remarried after the death of Roger and remained widowed untill her death. She was known in later life to be a bold, independent woman who managed her estate on her own. It was a smart decision on her part not to remarry, since under British Common Law a husband took control of his wife's possesions. Perhaps the experience of the loss of the New York home she inherited during her marraige to Roger led her to remain single. The estate known as the Madame Brett Homestead is located on Van Nydeck Avenue in Beacon, NY. This is particularly interesting since Catheryna and Roger's daughter Hannah (1743 ~ 1825) married Major Henry Schenk who was a decendant of Hendrick Schenck Van Nydeck (Lord of Afferdon and Walbek) Hendrick lived in the mid-1300s. It's reasonable to assume that Van Nydeck Avenue was named after some decendant of Hendrick's.