Rombout came to New Amsterdam, as New York was then called, in
1664. He was of French extraction, and at that time was about
twenty-five years of age. He had intended to return to his home,
but through some seeming misfortune he was compelled to remain
in this country, and as he grew up laid the foundation for business
resulting in his becoming a rich fur trader and owner of enormous
estates, which were situated along the Hudson river not far north
of New York City. Francis Rombout, in a partnership with Stephanus
Van Cortlandt and Jacobus Kip, who married the widow of Gulian
Verplanck later on, obtained a patent from the Duke of York in
1665, covering the whole territory lying between the Fishkill
and Wappinger creeks, and running eastward on lines parallel with
these creeks "four hours going in the woods," to use
the quaint but not definite language of their patent. This distance
was estimated at sixteen miles, which was a rather liberal allowance.
By partition of the property among the original owners, Francis
Rombout took a large share. It comprised the lower or southern
portion, and covered an area of more than ten thousand acres.
On February 8, 1682, a license was given by Thomas Dongan, governor
of the Province of New York, to Francis Rombout, to acquire a
tract of land from the Wappinger tribe of Indians. With him in
this transaction was associated Gulian Verplanck. In August of
the following summer, all the right of the Indians in the large
tract was bought by Rombout and Verplanck, and this land was afterwards
known as the Rombout Patent.
Rombout held a great many positions of dignity and responsibility,
both during the Dutch and English colonial periods. He became
a citizen of New Amsterdam in 1664 and the mayor of New York in
1679. One finds his name appearing frequently in the annals of
the colony, especially after the conquest of New Amsterdam by
the British, in the reign of Charles II., 1664, when the name
was changed to New York. He filled with honor the offices of schepen,
1674; alderman, 1673-78 inclusive; mayor, 1686-87, and commissioner
in admiralty. He was of French extraction, and it is said that
he came to New Amsterdam as supercargo. He later married Helena
Teller Van Ballen, a widow and the daughter of William Teller.
In his mercantile life, he associated himself in the main with
Gulian Verplanck, forming with him a partnership which continued
for many years. He died in 1691, leaving one child, a daughter
born in 1684."