The “Turkish Captivity” of Jacob Leisler and the Susannah

Jan Goeree and Casper Luyken, “Landing en mishandeling van gevangenen in Algiers” (1706). Amsterdam Historic Museum

Program Description: The library and the Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History present a talk by David Voorhees on Leisler’s capture and enslavement by pirates.

Date/Time: Thursday, January 28, 6-7:30pm.

Registration: For Zoom registration link click here.

The Jacob Leisler Library Lectures are made possible through the generous support of the Van Dyke Family Association.

Throughout the early modern era, North African raiders known as Barbary Corsairs, trolled Europe’s coasts from the Aegean Sea to the Netherlands and as far north as Iceland in search of European slaves. American ships were among their victims. On October 8, 1677, Algerian Corsairs boarded New York City merchant Jacob Leisler’s ship Susannah in the English Channel and captured Leisler along with his crew, two stepsons, nephew, and a passenger. This lecture focuses on the Susannah’s dramatic captivity, the efforts to obtain the prisoners release, and their enslavement’s subsequent impact on New York politics.

The lecture is the first of four collaborations between the two organizations, each featuring an expert in early colonial history. For more information contact Brenda Shufelt at 518-828-1792 x106 or brenda.shufelt@hudsonarealibrary.org.

Dr. Voorhees is director of the Jacob Leisler Papers Project, formerly located at New York University, as well as the Jacob Leisler Institute headquartered in Hudson. He’s also managing editor of de Halve Maen (The Half Moon), a quarterly scholarly journal published by The Holland Society of New York. An NYU research scientist, he is a former managing reference history editor at Charles Scribner’s Sons and has published numerous historical works and articles, and been a consultant on historical exhibits at the Museum of the City of New York and the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan among others.

The Jacob Leisler Institute for the Study of Early New York History is an independent, not-for-profit study and research center devoted to collecting, preserving, and disseminating information relating to colonial New York under English rule. In the years spanning 1664 to 1773, New York province’s diverse European settlements and Native American and African populations fused into a cosmopolitan colonial territory with ties throughout the Atlantic World. The Institute is unique in focusing on this under examined 109-year period in American history.

The Institute contains a collection of original, digital, and/or paper copies of primary source manuscripts, books, maps, and illustrative materials, as well as a library of secondary resources that provide scholarly context to the primary sources. The Jacob Leisler Institute is an open resource for both scholars and the interested public.
The Hudson Area Library History Room houses a special collection that pertains to the history of the City of Hudson, Greenport and Stockport; as well as Columbia County and New York State. The History Room also hosts the Local History Speaker Series at the library, offering free monthly talks on diverse topics related to the history of Hudson, Greenport, Stockport, and Columbia County.

The History Room is by appointment only at this time but online research requests for information on local history are available at https://hudsonarealibrary.org/history-room/. This is a free service to the public. To inquire about an appointment email