Sodomy Case: Jan Quisthout, New Netherland, May 13, 1660

Death sentence for "sodomy"

The council of the New Netherland Colony recorded the first proceedings in a sodomy case of an indentured servant and a married soldier. The council ordered that:

the indentures of Hendrick Harmsen, an orphan from Amsterdam, bound to Jan Quisthout [the soldier], be canceled, and that he be bound to another person.(1)

On May 21, 1660, the council minutes recorded the "Indictment of said Quisthout, a native of Brussels.” And on June 17, the council minutes recorded a "Plea of guilty entered against Jan Quisthout van der Linde, a soldier accused of sodomy." The soldier's sentence was recorded on the same date:

Jan Quisthout van der Linde to be taken to the place of execution and there stripped of his arms, his sword to be broken at his feet, and he to be then tied in a sack and cast into the river and drowned until dead."

The council also sentenced Hendrick Harmensen,

the boy on whom Quisthout committed by force the above crime, to be privately whipped, and sent to some other place by the first opportunity.

Three years later on August 16, 1663, the "widow of Jan van der Linden" (apparently the same "van der Linde"), named Jannken Barents, petitioned the New Netherland Council "to surrender all claim to her late husband's estate in favor of his creditors," and to be "discharged from such liabilities."



  1. Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay/Lesbian Almanac (NY: Harper & Row, 1983), p.103, citing O'Callaghan, p. 211 (Council Minutes, vol. 9, p. 251), p. 213 (same, p. 294-96, 298), pp. 251-52 (same, vol. 10, p. 275).