[The following is a copy of an article that appeared in a St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada newspaper in about 1928. The woman interviewed, when she was a little girl, wondered why she wasn't a real Princess. So the story begins: kmb]
The Anneke Jans estate, which is claimed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is causing considerable excitement all over the country, and particularly in this city, as several claimants reside here. The history of the estate is as follows.
The King of Holland, hunting in the forest, came upon a cottage, where he stopped for rest and refreshments. There he met a beautiful young girl, with whom he fell deeply in love. He took her to the parish Church and married her. Royalty refused to notice her as his Queen-wife. From this morganatic marriage, Anneke was born. She was married to Roelof Jans, and by him had 4 children. He was shipwrecked, and his widow, in 1635 married again, the Rev. Dominie Everardus Bogardus (the first dutch preacher in New Amsterdam. by who she had 4 children. The eldest son, William, married on Aug 29, 1659 to Winchie Sebrant. Their youngest child, Annachie, married Jacob Brown, on Jan 29 1682. Their youngest child in turn, Magdalena Brown, married John Drake. John Drake's second son, Benjamin Drake, married for his second wife, Abigail Knapp, and their eldest son, William Drake, moved to St. Thomas and became one of its earliest settlers."
[The article then goes on to name at least twenty different Drake families that I will not mention here due to possible privacy infringements - and then it continues: kmb]
"......in this city are gathering the different members of the Drake descendants and they are making an effort to obtain some of the vast wealth that has been in litigation many years. In the Bank of Holland is deposited $80,000,000, which was left by the King of Holland to his daughter Anneke and her heirs. He also gave her, when she sailed to America, the deed of a tract of land, which has been so well known as the Trinity Church Property of New York City, estimated to be worth from $700,000,000 to $900,000,000 . This property was leased for 99 years, and on expiring again leased for 99 years, the last lease expiring in 1889. The property has since been held, by a Church Corporation against all claimants who have resorted to litigation, the Church admitting that it held no clear title itself. The tenants refused to pay further rent until they know who are the owners, and the Bank of Holland refuses any longer to be responsible for its charge, so the knowledge has again called to the front the many claimants, and meetings are held in different parts of the Eastern States and expect soon to come to some understanding of settlement. In York State, western Monroe, and eastern Orleans Counties are many claimants. One of them Mrs. .......... of Geneva, and Mrs. ........... of Troutsburg, have for many years been collecting all available data regarding the case. They get scores of letters from all over the country, from Atlantic to Pacific, and from the Queen's Dominions to the Gulf of Mexico, making many enquiries."
[It is evident that when looking at the huge amounts of money involved, and with the attempt to get every Drake involved, larceny wouldn't be too far away. kmb]