ROSEBOOM (Rooseboom), JOHANNES, trader; b. c. 1661 at Albany, New York, to Hendrick Roseboom and Gysbertje Lansing; m. Gerritje Coster 18 Nov. 1688; buried 25 Jan. 1745 at Albany.
Johannes Roseboom early followed the trade of his father, who had become a fur-trader at Albany before 1660. Johannes was occasionally over-aggressive in attracting customers and was fined in 1678 and 1685 for breaking the law that forbade the soliciting of business from Indians in the city. He became moderately prosperous.
Prior to 1723 all fur trade in the colony of New York was restricted by law to within the walls of Albany. By 1685 traders were eager to establish firmer trade connections with the Hurons and Ottawas from the Upper Lakes who occasionally came to trade. Governor Thomas Dongan of New York supported their desires, and in August 1685 he granted Johannes Roseboom a pass to live among the Indians and later a licence to travel, trade, and hunt among the Hurons and Ottawas. Directed by a French deserter, Roseboom led an expedition of 11 canoes as far as Michilimackinac, which it reached about June 1686. The Indians were pleased with the high prices they received from these first English traders on the Upper Lakes, and the Albany trading community was elated on their return late that summer. The French, who had been unable to prevent this intrusion, lamented, “Missilimakinac is theirs.”
Eager to repeat his success, Roseboom secured another commission from Governor Dongan. Leaving in the fall of 1686, Roseboom’s men wintered with the Senecas and in the spring of 1687 were to join forces with a second party headed by Major Patrick Magregory. Wishing to be the first to reach Michilimackinac, however, Roseboom’s party pushed ahead. When they were within a day and a half’s journey of the Straits of Mackinac, they met a force of 120 French and Indians led by Olivier Morel* de La Durantaye. Outnumbered, Roseboom’s men were seized and escorted eastward. The French expedition, augmented by hundreds of additional Indians, encountered Magregory’s party on Lake Erie, swiftly captured the English, and plundered their canoes.
Roseboom and the other prisoners were taken to Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.); there Abel Marion, dit La Fontaine, one of their guides, was executed. They were then removed to Montreal and Quebec, where they were held until October, when Governor Dongan negotiated their release. The failure of the Roseboom and Magregory expedition demonstrated that the French still held sway on the Upper Lakes and would tolerate no interlopers. Not until 1760 did English traders again penetrate this area. Johannes Roseboom’s chance to take revenge on the French came in 1711, during Queen Anne’s War, when he accompanied Peter Schuyler* on an expedition which destroyed the trading post being built at Onondaga (near Syracuse, N.Y.) by Charles Le Moyne* de Longueuil.
Roseboom remained active in the fur trade throughout his life, purchasing furs from Indians who brought them to Albany and selling them in Europe. As late as 1723, he took an oath that he had not sold Indian trade goods directly to the French. He was also active in civic affairs. He served several terms as alderman, and held appointments as lieutenant in the militia and justice of the peace. In 1710–12 and 1728–30 he was a commissioner of Indian affairs. His later years passed in relative quiet and, upon his death in 1745, he was honoured with burial under the Albany Dutch Reformed Church, in which he had served as an elder.
Charlevoix, History (Shea). The Livingston Indian records, 1666–1723, ed. L. H. Leder (Gettysburg, Pa., 1956), 106–7, 146. Minutes of the court of Albany, Renselaerswyck, and Schenectady, 1668–1685, ed. and trans. A. J. F. Van Laer (3v., Albany, 1926–32), II, 345, 396; III, 327, 418, 538, 545. Joel Munsell, The annals of Albany ( 10v., Albany, 1850–59), I, 108, 138, 302; II, 18; III, 24, 33–34; IV, 104, 119, 130, 137, 144, 162, 184, 195; V, 125, 141, 173, 187, 288; VII, 21, 37, 59, 68, 81, 238. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), III, IV, V, IX. D. A. Armour, “The merchants of Albany, New York: 1686–1760” (unpublished phd thesis, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., 1965). A. W. Trelease, Indian affairs in colonial New York: the seventeenth century (Ithaca, N.Y., ), 269–71. Helen Broshar, “The first push westward of the Albany traders,” Mississippi Valley Hist. Rev., VII (1920–21), 228–41. A. H. Buffinton, “The policy of Albany and English westward expansion,” Mississippi Valley Hist. Rev., VIII (1922), 327–66.