John Archer/Jan Arcer

According to James Riker, the historian of Harlem, John Archer's original name was Jan Arcer, and he came from Amsterdam. In the ancient records of the town of Westchester his signature appears in the Dutch style. But as the town was under Dutch dominion in those times, and as he early became a purchaser of lands from the Indians in Dutch territory, he may have adopted the Dutch spelling as a matter of expediency. However, James Riker was a Life Member of the New York Historical Society; a Member of the Massachusetts Historical Society; The New England Historic and Genealogical Society; The Long Island Historical Society; The Pennsylvania Historical Society, etc., so it's hard to dispute his findings. New York City also believes John Archer was Dutch. On their website, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, concerning Fordham Landing Playground, they have the following: "The name Fordham, which figures so prominently in Bronx history, dates back to the seventeenth century. In 1671, Governor Francis Lovelace granted a stretch of land extending 3,900 acres between the Harlem and Bronx Rivers to Dutch settler John Archer (also spelled Jan Arcer). Archer named his manor Fordham, meaning "houses by the ford (or wading place)," after a nearby ford, then the only way to cross directly from the Bronx to Manhattan. After Archer died, his manor was divided into small farms, and the area evolved into a prosperous community. This ended with the Revolutionary War, when the British invaded and ravaged the area, destroying the houses for firewood...."

It's real hard to argue with New York City. That and the fact that he took an oath of allegiance, as I believe he did. I'm convinced that he was Dutch.

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Denizations, Naturalizations, and Oaths of Allegiance
in Colonial New York

by Kenneth Scott and Kenn Stryker-Rodda, 1975

Persons who took the oath of allegiance at Fordham or Yonkers at a meeting held Oct. 10, 1673, by Cornelius Steenwyck:
Mester Jan Artter (i.e. John Archer)
Johannes (Verveelen?)
[Mi]chiel Bastianss
[G?] Harmens
Hendrick Kiersen
Reyer Michielss
Valetyn Classen
Jan Gerritsen
Art Piterss
Cornelius Adrianss Viervan
Hendrick Janss (van Beest "from Beest")
[R?]...ger Agoris
Davit [illegible], mullenaer op de Jonkers mullen "miller at the Yonkers mill"
Joris Jans (woont op de Yonkers "lives at Yonkers")
Marcus Janchon (woont op Daniel Tourneurs Land "lives on Daniel Tourneurs land")
Thomas Higges
Jan Lambert
Koster Essing
Jans Meyers

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History of Fordham Manor Reformed Church

....The year 1664 saw the surrender of New Amsterdam to the English who renamed it New York, and on November 13, 1671, the first of the great manors was granted to John Arcer by Governor Francis Lovelace, acting under James of England, while he was yet Duke of York and Albany. This was the Manor of Fordham. Its first general proprietor was John Arcer, who was a Hollander from Amsterdam. He had two nicknames; one was "neuswys", which then translated into English, meant "nosey"; the other "Koop-al" which meant "grab all" or "buy all." From these nicknames we have some notion of the character of the man. He succeeded in accumulating all the property comprised in the Manor of Fordham. "Arcer" married an English girl and anglicized his name, after a familiar fashion of time, to "John Archer." Like some more modern New Yorkers he borrowed all he could get on mortgage. Cornelius Steenwyck, New York's wealthiest merchant, and at one time its mayor, was the mortgagee. The total amount of indebtedness was 38,800 Guilders or $15,500. Failing the payment of principal and interest, the vast domain became the property of Cornelius Steenwyck, and soon after, as the records show, John Archer came "to a sudden and unexpected end."....

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History of the city of New York in the seventeenth century, Vol. 1

....As the manor that had been created in the time of Governor Kieft by the Earl of Sterling's agent, Gardiner's Island then called the Isle of Wight, lay within the borders of New York, Governor Nicholls confirmed Lion Gardner's son in this title and the rights pertaining to it. The manors actually created by Nicholls and Lovelace were Shelter Island, owned by the Sylvester family, and Fisher's Island, owned by Governor Winthrop of Connecticut, both lying near Gardiner's Island in the far eastern part of the province; Pelham Manor, embracing the Westchester lands that Thomas Pell had acquired in Stuyvesant's day; the manor of Fordham nearby, which covered part of the old Van der Donck patroonship and was owned by a certain John Archer, sometimes said to have been an Englishman from Connecticut but more probably a Dutchman with a name transmogrified from Jan Arcer or Aarsen; and Thomas Chambers' Manor of Foxhall in the Esopus country where his fortified manor house stood near the town of Wiltwyck, renamed by Lovelace the town of Kingston.....

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New York, old and new: It's Story, Streets and Landmarks

....Where the Harlem River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek mingle their waters, a small island, crossed by a foot-bridge, connects the borough of Manhattan with the borough of the Bronx. A few yards west of Goodwin's Island, as this strip of land is called, was "the wading place" that in the day of first things afforded communication between the Island of Manhattan and the mainland; and thence a short walk carries one to the site of the ancient hamlet of Fordham, which nestled at the base of Tetard's Hill, on the east bank of the Harlem, near the Kingsbridge station of the New York and Putnam Railroad. John Archer, or Jan Arcer, as he signed his name, in 1671 became the owner of an estate that extended from Stuyten Duyvil Creek to the present High Bridge, and from the Harlem to the Bronx, borrowing from the little settlement which grew up beside the ford over Spuyten Duyvil Creek the name of the Manor of Fordham. There remains no trace of the original hamlet, but the present settlement of Fordham preserves the memory of the manor of which it once formed a part.....