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Signers' kin wanted for historic fete

Signers' kin wanted for historic fete
BY NICHOLAS HIRSHON
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

They came together 350 years ago to take a firm stand against religious intolerance and pen one of the most important documents in American history.
Those 30 Flushing Remonstrance signers will be remembered this December when their descendants gather for a ceremony in Queens - that is, if the event's organizers can track down the relatives.

"This is very significant in American history," said Donna Cartelli, executive director of the Bowne House Museum in Flushing, which is helping locate the descendants. "Here were these people 350 years ago who risked both their livelihoods and their lives to stand up for an ideal that people had the right to worship, whatever their religion was."

In 1657, after New Amsterdam Gov. Peter Stuyvesant outlawed all religions except the Dutch Reformed Church, Flushing townspeople wrote and signed the remonstrance to demand religious freedom in their colony.

Soon after, local resident John Bowne allowed Quakers to meet in his home. He was arrested by Sheriff Resolved Waldron and banished to Holland.

Once there, Bowne successfully petitioned the Dutch West India Co., which ordered Stuyvesant to end his policy of religious persecution.

The Bowne House Historical Society, in coordination with Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, is now inviting the signers' descendants to come to Queens on Dec. 27 for the 350th anniversary of the signing.

Cartelli is asking all descendants to e-mail her (dcartelli@bownehouse.org) or send her a letter at the Bowne House, 37-01 Bowne St., Flushing, N.Y. 11354
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