from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A landholder in New Netherland who, under Dutch colonial rule, was granted proprietary and manorial rights to a large tract of land in exchange for bringing 50 new settlers to the colony.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. One of the landowning Dutch grandees of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, especially after it became a British possession, renamed as New York.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. One of the proprietors of certain tracts of land with manorial privileges and right of entail, under the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One who received a grant of a certain tract of land and manorial privileges, with the right to entail, under the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey.
Holders of Dutch grants bore the title patroon, or patron.
"He says," announced the Swiss, "that he is cousin and agent of the seignior they call the patroon, and his name is Van Corlaer."
A patroon was a landholder who was granted one of these great estates in exchange for bringing fifty new settlers into the colony.
Settlers under these lords, who were known as patroons -- a term synonymous with the Scottish "laird" and the Swedish "patroon" -- were to be exempt for ten years from the payment of taxes and tribute for the support of the colonial government, and for the same period every man, woman and child was bound not to leave the service of the patroon without his written consent.
"Billy is 25 years old, and is known as the patroon of my boat for many years; in all probability he may resist; in that event 50 dollars will be paid for his HEAD."
-- The tenants on some of the old "patroon" estates in New York refused to pay the rent.
Virginian squires; and could we have peeped into the square, solid drawing-room in which, as President, he held his receptions, aided by the matronly grace and dignity of Mrs. Washington, the scene would be far gayer and more imposing than William Penn's house would have displayed, or the company of the richest Dutch "patroon" of New York could have presented in the seventeenth century.
The proprietor of the land was to be called a "patroon,"  and was absolute ruler of whatever colonies he might plant, for he was at once owner, ruler, and judge.
The tone she’d used with the patroon was the same she’d have used with Benjamin Lowery in his mercantile store if he’d tried to charge two dollars a yard for calico instead of a dollar seventy-five.
He added that “our friends in the State of New York are anxious beyond description,” and that Stephen Van Rensselaer, the “patroon” of Rensselaer Manor, had asked him to hire an express rider to carry the hoped-for news of ratification to Albany.