Cuyler Reynolds.

Genealogical and family history of southern New York and the Hudson River Valley : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the building of a nation (Volume 2) online

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C AAuhA f\UJMy(Jidj^








A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a
Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation



Curator of The Albany Institute and Historical and Art Society, since 1898; Director of

New York State History Exhibit at Jamestown Exhibition, 1907; Author of

'Albany Chronicles," "Classified Quotations," etc., etc.








THE purpose of this work is in line with that of the early Egyptian who de-
picted in a decorative fashion the life history of a man upon his sarcophagus.
We have grown so familiar with this form of literature that to comment too
much upon it seems an impertinence. It is not the intent of this foreword to set
forth an excuse for the collecting of family records and the desire to preserve them in
a practical form, although many writers appear to have entertained the thought that to
do so was necessary.

A large percentage of the progress of the people of this country is directly due to
le fact that they have made a review of its record the foundation upon which to
'lild its future. The known facts have been to the individual a reliable guide, the same
3 a chart or compass is to the sailor. One may not succeed without them.

The government, corporations, firms and families have prosecuted the work of
ibulation with an amazing persistency and precision, until the person who desires to
'Iter upon an untried proposition, or who learns of a loss and would rectify it, has this

• jwerful adjunct in the way of wisdom, the epitome of experience, by which to pro-

• cd in a profitable manner. A railroad corjjoration's head has at his hand the result
f careful calculations which show the unit of loss through work and wear, or the profit

to be produced from every train which travels a mile, and upon such figures he is able
to base reliable deductions to secure increa.sed efficiency. The scientist has named
and catalogued the firmament of stars at an expense of hundreds of thousands of dollars,
though nine-tenths of the people know not the sense nor the service; men of science
have classified the rocks, plants, insects, birds and fish, whether man has ever seen or
expects to see them, regardless of whether he believes them to serve a purpose or score
a profit. All this is done that the race may advance at rapid rate, through being able
readily to reach conclusions. We must be in command of an infinite amount of infor-
mation, and it must be both accurate and accessible.

Strange and surprising would it be if the names and habits of ten thousand dis-
tinct types of species of spiders were studied, scheduled, portrayed and published,
yet no thought given to preserving in permanent printed form the names and the
deeds of human beings. Why then should we be at pains to enter the name and date
of death upon the cemetery ledger, if henceforth no one is to read and use such entry?
But if such memoranda are made, then printing them that they may be accessible is the
logical outcome. The result is known as a genealogy.

Two things establish my faith that the family record is regarded as an essential. It
is to be noted that one-third of the persons one finds studying in a library are intent
upon biography, and the librarian never fails to add to his stock of genealogies, no
matter what may be his other needs. It is true that there are many other reasons why
nearly everyone is more or less inclined to participate in the preparation and preserva-
tion of biographies. Some have a strong instinct to leave for others the same sort of

material for which they have searched, for in a peculiar sense it is eternal existence,
best expressed in the words: "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."

Verily, that person who has led a useful life yearns to live that he may give more.
But, prevented, he still has the desire to direct, to advise, admonish, and to assist
after he has gone from his unfinished task, — his toil ended when so much remained to
do. Men of this calibre, holding such thoughts, have left us their autobiographies, and
they did so as men not vain of name or fame. But their writings depict the lives of
the great.

On the other hand, we are bound to realize the fact often brought to attention, that
the judgment of some minds is to the efifect that a biography or any sort of family
record represents a vainglorious spirit and is the stamp of smallness of intellect. They
taunt the toiler in his work of rescuing records with the declaration that the person
failing to create an enduring monument by his acts is the one who is obliged to resort
to the printing of his achievements in the hope of creating a character to cover the
lack. I have never known a man who compiled his own history to be a person of that
type, nor is it supposed or intended by the preparation of this work that either emi-
nence or social standing will be enhanced, augmented or achieved.

It is a truth that like begets like, as is the father so is the son. Hence it is only
natural that a family started through the struggles of the plucky Puritan or daring
Dutchman, passing on to a period of civilization and culture, should result in a strain
of men of character and common-sense. This explains why so many men whose lives
are recorded in these pages have left a name which is as much alive to-day as ever ;
nevertheless, the purpose is to preser^'e and not promote the glamor of a man.

A person of sense, as well as the captious critic, should realize that years of perse-
verance in the arduous task of careful compilation have hallowed his work so that the
author neither conceives nor creates greatness where greatness does not exist. This
was so admirably expressed by the late Hon. Frank S. Black, Governor of New York
State, in a stirring speech delivered at Cornell University in 1909, that the editor be-
lieves nothing better could be read :

"Lincoln's greatness did not depend upon his title, for greatness was his when the title was
bestowed. He leaned upon no fiction of nobility and kissed no hand to obtain his rank ; but the stamp
of nobility and power which he wore was conferred upon him in that log hut in Kentuck-y that day in
1809, when he and Nancy Hanks were first seen there together, and it was conferred by a power which,
unlike earthly potentates, never confers a title without a character that will adorn it. When we under-
stand that tremendous advantages of a humble birtli, when we realize that the privations of youth are
the pillars of strength to maturer years, then we shall cease to wonder that out of such obscure
surroundings as watched the coming of Abraham Lincoln, should spring the colossal and supreme
figure of modern history."

Albany, New York, May 30, 1914. CUYLER REYNOLDS.


In addition to Mr. Cuyler Reynolds, Supervising Editor, the publishers would
express their obligations to the various estimable gentlemen who have rendered valu-
able aid in the production of this work — Mr. William Ruchard Cutter, A. M., His-
torian of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, of Woburn, Massachusetts ;
Mr. William A. Woodworth, A. B., LL.B., Law Librarian, of White Plains, New York ;
Mr. Edmund Piatt, Editor of the Daily Eagle, Poughkeepsie, New York ; Mr. Joseph
Van Cleft, of Newburg, New York, of the Newburg Bay and Highlands Historical
Society; Major John Waller, of Monticello, New York, Editor and Publisher of The
Sullivan County Republican; Miss Ida M. Blake, Editor of the Putnam County (New
York) Republican; Mr. Benjamin M. Brink, of Kingston, New York, former Editor of
The Leader, publisher of "Olde Ulster" ; Mr. Alonzo Bedell, of Haverstraw, New
York; Rev. James H. Robinson, D.D., of Delhi, New York; former Senator Clar-
ence E. Bloodgood, A. B.. of Catskill, New York; Mr. Willard Peck, A. M., LL.B., of
Hudson, New York.



"New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial"; "Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Massa-
chusetts," also similar separate works on Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Worcester Coimty, and


He boufhl Irom Oil- linllon^ his Imimrlniil tmcl Ihol Included the sue o( Albany. N. Y., on July 27. 1630
Prom oil ix.rlroll owned by lloword Van Rensselaer. M. D.. Albany


This family will
VAN RENSSELAER ever stand in his-
tory as the original
owner of a very important and large area of
land in the New World. Everyone in the
United States either bearing that name or of
the blood, must turn to Albany in order to
trace his or her descent, which leads to the
single progenitor of the family in America.
For nearly three centuries it has been a fam-
ily whose members have invariably maintained,
by culture and mode of living, an undisputed
prominence, yet with a well-known reluctance
to force itself into public affairs, preferring
that retirement which refinement usually seeks,
avoiding notoriety and the contiict concomi-
tant with affairs of business life and public

The family, however, has never siU^ered the
complaint of any lack of patriotism nor of
failing to respond to a genuine appeal to serve
the government in an official capacity. It can
with full right count its numbers who have
done both with a verdict of fullest credit from
the people. The direct line has had its rep-
resentation in the congress of the nation, in
the state senate and assembly of New York,
and in the chair of the lieutenant-governor of
the Empire State.

(I) Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, son of Hen-
•drick Van Rensselaer and Maria Pafraet, was
born in Hasselt, Province of Overyssel, in the
Netherlands, about 1580, and died in Amster-
dam, Holland, in 1644. He was the first Pa-
troon, and the founder of the colony of Rens-
selaerswyck in America ; was a wealthy mer-
chant of Amsterdam, known to be a dealer in
pearls and precious stones, to have had some
reputation as a banker and general merchant,
and owned large estates in Holland. He ex-
hibited sagacity in his stand taken with regard
to the policy of the colony, as against the de-
sires of his associates who desired to grow
wealthy with rapidity. They sought to have
those sent out engage in hunting for the pur-
pose of immediate and large shipments to for-
eign lands, while he desired that the colonists

become settlers, owning their houses, leading
happy and contented lives, so that they would
be willing to remain there, raise large families,
and continue to work on an ever increasing
scale as they prospered. He not only had the
courage to found a colony in the wilds of an
luiknown America ; but possessed the energy
to i)ush the work, once begun, and discourag-
ing at times, until it prospered.

In January, 1631, he sent Marinus Adri-
aensz, from \'eere, with some assistants, as
tobacco planters, and in July he sent Laurens
Laurensz, from Kopehaven, with another
Northman, to operate the saw and gristmill,
also a number of laborers and some ten calves.
Knowing that they could not succeed in their
support for the first two or three years, he
allowed them from 150 to 180 guilders per
annum. He also provided the colonists with
implements, and allowed the farm hands from
forty to ninety guilders a year. Between 1630
and 1632 he transported on these terms ten
persons in the first year, and twelve in the
next two succeeding years.

On March 6, 1642, Patroon Kiliaen Van
Rensselaer requested the classis of Amsterdam
to send "a good, honest and pure preacher" to
his colony, and that body selected Dominie
Johannes Megapolensis Jr., pastor of Schorel
and berg of the Alkmaar classis, who ac-
cepted the call of six years, conditioned on a
salary of one thousand guilders ($400) that
he need not be required to work as a farmer,
the same to be paid in meat, drink and what-
c\er he might claim.

Authentic records show that Kiliaen Van
Rensselaer, first Patroon, died in 1644, in
Amsterdam, Holland, although it has been
published that his death took place in 1645
and also 1646. He was twice married. His
first wife was Hillegonda Van Bylaer (or
Bijler), daughter of Jan Van Bylaer, member
of a prominent family in Holland. By her
he had three children. She died in Holland,
and was buried January i, 1627, in the Oude
Kerk. His second wife was Anna Van Wely
(or Weely), whom he married December 14,


1627, and by her he had seven children. She
was the daughter of Jan Van Wely the young-
er, of Barneveldt, residing at The Hague, and
of Leonora Haukens (or HaeckensJ, of Ant-
werp. To Anna \"an Wely was presented in
1684 the first thimble, made by a goldsmith
named Nicholas Van Benschoten, as a protec-
tion for her dainty fingers. She died June 12,
1670. The first and second wives were ap-
parently cousins.

The children of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer
were: i. Hendrick, died in childhood. 2.
Johannes, baptized September 4, 1625, died in
the latter part of 1662, or early in 1663. He
was the second Patroon, but never came to
America. Being a minor, of about nineteen
years, when his father died in 1644, tlie es-
tates in Holland and at Rensselaerswyck were
placed in charge of executors. They selected
Brant Arentse Van Slichtenhorst to take
charge of the colony, in place of Arent Van
Curler, resigned, who arrived at Fort Orange,
March 22, 1648. 3. Maria, died without issue.
4. Hillegonda, buried August 23, 1664; with-
out issue. 5. Eleanora, died without issue. 6.
Susanna, lived and died in Holland; married
Jan de la Court, August 5, 1664. 7. Jan Bap-
tist, born in Holland; was the first of the name
to visit America, coming as "Director" of
Rensselaerswyck colony in 165 1, returned to
Holland in 1658. 8. Jeremias, born in Amster-
dam, Holland, 1632, became the third Pa-
troon; (see forward). 9. Rev. Nicolaas
(Nicholas), born in Holland, died there about
1695. He came to America, arriving at Rens-
selaerswyck, June 30. 1664, and in that year
built for himself a residence on the west bank
of the Hudson river, about four miles north
of Albany, called The Flatts, which was long
afterwards known as Schuyler's Bouwerie.
and to this day is known as the Schuyler
Flatts, because he sold it, June 22, 1672, to
Philip Pieterse Schuyler, the father of Al-
bany's first mayor, Pieter Schuyler.

(H) Colonel Jeremias Van Rensselaer, son
of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer and .'Vnna Van
Wely, was born in Amsterdam. Holland, in
1632, and was the third Patroon. He died in
Rensselaerswyck, October 12, 1674. Because
he was the first patroon who resided in the
colony, he was considered the first lord of the
manor nf Rensselaerswyck. It has constituted
considerable confusion to distinguish in the
series the proper numerical position of the

patroon and the lord of the manor, many his-
torians employing the terms as though synony-
mous expressions, in error. It fell to the lot
of Jeremias \'an Rensselaer to witness the
overthrow of the Dutch rule at Fort Orange,
September 24, 1664. and to find it again to
revert to the Dutch government, August 5,
1673, when the fort at Albany became known
as Willemstadt.

He continued the work of his father on
much the same lines. His eftorls saw the com-
pletion of the Dutch church edifice, a rude,
wooden affair, in July, 1646. One may form
an excellent idea of the colony's aspects by
what Father Isaac Jogues, the Jesuit mission-
ary residing there, wrote thereof on August
3, 1646:

"There arc two things in this settlement — first, a
miserable little fort called Fort Orange, built of logs.
with four or live pieces of Breteuil cannon and as
many swivels. This has been reserved and is main-
tained by the West India Company. This fort was
formerly on an island in the river. It is now on the
mainland toward the Iroquois, a little above the said
island. Second, a colony sent here by this Rens-
selaer, who is the patroon. This colony is composed
of about a hundred persons, who reside in some
twenty-five or thirty houses, built along the river as
each one found most convenient. In the principal
house lives the patroon's agent: the minister has his
apart, in which service is performed. There is also
a kind of bailiff here, whom they call the seneschal,
who administers justice. Their houses are solely of
boards and thatched, with no mason-work except
the chimneys. The forest furnishes many fine pines ;
they make boards by means of their mills, which
they have here for the purpose. They found some
pieces of cultivated ground, which the savages had
formerly cleared, and in which they sow wheat and
oats for beer, and for their horses, of which they
have great numbers. There is little land fit for
tillage, being hemmed in by hills, w-hich are poor
soil. This obliges them to separate, and they al-
ready occupy two or three leagues of the country.
Trade is free to all ; this gives the Indians all things
cheap, each of the Hollanders outbidding his neigh-
bor, and being satisfied, provided he can gain some
little profit."

Colonel Jeremias Van Rensselaer, the third
Patroon. married, at New Amsterdam, July
12. 1662, Maria \'an Cortlandt. She was borii
July 20. 1645, died January 24. 1689, daughter
of Oloff Stevensen \'an Cortlandt, who came
to New .\msterdam in 1637 from W'yck by
Duurstede, Province of Utrecht, Holland, and
died in New York City. April 4, 1684. having
married Anna Loockermans, who died in May,

Children of Jeremias Van Rensselaer and



Maria \'an Cortlaiidt: i. Kiliaeii, mentioned
. below. 2. Johannes, died without issue. 3.
Anna, born at Rensselaerswyck, August 1,
1665; married (first) Kiliaen Van Rensselaer,
son of Johannes Van Rensselaer and Eliza-
beth Van Twiller, who died in 1687; ( second j
William Nicoll. 4. Hendrick, born at Rens-
selaerswyck, October 23, 1667; resided in
Greenbush, Rensselaer county (Rensselaer, N.
Y.), where he died July 2, 1740. 5. Maria,
born at Rensselaerswyck, October 25, 1672 ;
married, at that place, September 14, 1691,
Peter Schuyler, son of Philip Pieterse Schuy-
ler and Margareta Van Slechtenhorst.

(Ill) Kiliaen (2), son of Colonel Jeremias
Van Rensselaer and Maria Van Cortlandt, be-
ing the fourth Patroon of Rensselaerswyck,
was born there August 24, 1663, being "Fri-
day morning towards eight o'clock," and "was
baptized the next Sunday." He died at Rens-
selaerswyck in 1719. He was left in the man-
agement of the manor for account of the heirs
of the first patroon until 1695. At this date,
all the children of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, the
projector of the colony, were dead, except two,
Eleanora and Richard, and the latter was the
treasurer of Vianen, a legalized asylum in
Holland for criminals. The \'an Rensselaer
estate was not yet divided among his heirs, but
for nearly fifty years had been held in com-
mon. Besides the manor there was a large
estate in Holland (the Crailo) and other prop-
erty. The time had now arrived for the heirs
to make a settlement. Controversies had
arisen among them, and, to end the disputes.
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (son of Jan Baptist
Van Rensselaer) was delegated by the heirs
in Holland to visit America and if possible
make a complete settlement with the children
of Jeremias, the third Patroon, as the only
heirs in this country. Kiliaen, eldest son of
Jeremias, and the fourth Patroon, was ap-
pointed with power of attorney to act for the
family of which he w-as a member. The
'cousins met, and after a prolonged discussion
in which, as is usual, both lost their temper,
they at last came to an amicable agreement to
their mutual satisfaction. The indenture is
dated New York, November i, 1695. The
heirs in Holland released to the heirs in Al-
bany all right and title in the manor, which
was reciprocated by the release of the latter
to the former of all right and title to the land
in Holland, known as the Crailo, and another

tract in Guelderland. They also agreed to
deliver the titles to three farms in the manor,
reserving the tenths, and to pay in addition
seven hundred pieces of eight. They also re-
leased all claims on personal property in Hol-
land, as well as on certain expectations from
relatives on their decease. Bonds were ex-
changed between the cousins for the faithful
performance of the contract, and the work was
complete. At last, in 1695, the vast estate of
the old Patroon was settled, and the colony he
founded in 1630, with its territory of practi-
cally twenty-four by forty-eight miles, was in
possession of one family, consisting of Kiliaen,
Johannes, Hendrick, Maria (wife of Mayor
Pieter Schuyler), and Anna (wife of William
Nicoll). Besides the manor they owned an-
other tract of land containing 62,000 acres,
known as the CJaverack patent, and quite com-
monly called the "Lower Manor." The latter
was on the eastern side of the river, in the
vicinity of what is now Hudson, New York.
At this time the province was under the Eng-
lish law, and the eldest son was heir-at-law
of the real estate belonging to his father. To
Kiliaen, the eldest son of Jeremias Van Rens-
selaer, deceased, a patent was granted May
20, 1704, for the entire manor, including the
Claverack jiatent. His brother Johannes hav-
ing died without issue, there were only three
others interested. Kiliaen conveyed to his
brother Hendrick, on June i, 1704, the Clav-
erack patent and some 1,500 acres on the east
side of the river, opposite Albany, later known
as Greenbush, and then as Rensselaer, New
York. To his sister Maria or her heirs he
gave a farm of a few hundred acres adjoin-
ing The Flatts, above Albany, and to his sister
.Anna or her heirs he gave a farm larger in
extent, but at that time no more valuable, lo-
cated on the west bank of the river, in the
tow-n of Bethlehem.

Kiliaen Van Rensselaer devoted much of his
life to the public service. He was an officer
of the militia and one of the magistrates, and
represented the manor in the assembly from
1693 to 1704, in which latter year he was ap-
pointed to the council, remaining a member
until he died in 1719. The settling of the
manor was much retarded by Indian wars.
It was a common practice for the tribes to
resell the lands to others after they had sold
to Van Rensselaer in 1630. Kiliaen's grand-
father's old miller, Barent Pieterse Coeymans,


who came out in 1636, purchased from the
Catskill Indians, in 1673, a tract of land eight
miles along the river by twelve miles deep,
which was actually the manor lands. He even
procured a patent for it from Governor Love-
lace, April. 1673, and the legal contest over
it was not decided until 1706. Of his children,
two of the three sons, Jcremias and Stephen,
survived him, and these were successively
patroons. Two of his daughters, Anna and
Gertrude, married brothers, sons of Arent
Schuyler, of Belleville, New Jersey.

It was while Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, fourth
Patroon, was alive and at the head of the
colony, that Albany became a city by charter
granted by Governor Thomas Dongan, July
22, 1686. Naturally it created a serious state
of affairs, for it meant the determination of
the prescribed areas of Rensselaerswyck and
Albany, which had been geographically very
closely connected, for the legal security of
which Van Rensselaer had secured purchaser's
rights from the Indians. Dongan came to
Albany in May, 1686, and was requested by
the most prominent men to issue a charter by
which the village might acquire larger bound-
aries and by virtue of being a city would have
a higher guarantee of property titles than that
of magistrates. This forced Dongan to obtain
a relinquishment of the Van Rensselaer claim'^
to the land the people would include within
the bounds, and his decision, as reported Feb-
ruary 22. 1687. to the privy council of King
James, regarding the rights of each party, is
as follows :

"The Town of .-Mbany lyes within the Ranslaers
Colony. And to sav the truth the RanMaers had the
right to it, for it was they settled the place, and upon
a petition of one of them to our present King (James
II.) about .Mbany the Petitioner was referred to his
Matvs Council at Law, who upon perusal of the
Ranslaers Papers, made their return that it was their
opinion that it did belonR to them. Upon which
there was an order sent over to Sir Edmund Andros
that the Ranslaers should be put in possession of

Online LibraryCuyler ReynoldsGenealogical and family history of southern New York and the Hudson River Valley : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the building of a nation (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 95)