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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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but having feet and beak, looking toward
the dexter side, like all of these are seen de-
picted. (The last phrase refers to a draw-
ing given on a Dutch parchment of 1527).

(I) Johannes (John) Pruyn, a Hollander,
was the progenitor of the family in America.
It is believed that his immediate family was
confined to two sons, Francis, see forward,
and Jacques, Jacus or Jacob. The latter
was enrolled among the "Small Burghers"
of New Amsterdam, April 18. 1657. He pur-
chased a house and lot "outside of the Gate
of this city," February 19, 1659, from Sy-
bout Classen.

Those of the first three generations in this
country varied at times the spelling of the
fpmily name, appearing as Pruyn. Pruyne,
Pryne and Pruen.



(II) Francis Pruyn (who frequently
wrote his name Pruen) was called Frans
Jansen, because the son of Johannes (John)
Pruyn, and he was in Albany, New York,
with his wife, Aeltje (or Alida), as early as
1665, when he was a tailor. It is recorded
that in 1668, representing Jacques Cornelise
Van Slyck, he conveyed a piece of property
in the colony of Renssclaerswyck (later Al-
bany) to one Jan Labatie, and later in the
same year bought for himself a lot at the
northwest corner of Maiden Lane and James
street, in that city. On February 19, 1686-
87, he bought from Johannes Clute and wife,
Bata, for which he paid the sum of two and
twenty beavers, a lot on Broadway, Albany,
about' the third south from Steuben street,
running through to James street. His son,
Johannes, afterwards occupied the same
house built thereon. Being a Papist, in Jan-
uary, 1699. he refused to take the oath of
allegiance to King William, but expressed
himself as willing to swear fidelity. How-
ever, his son, Johannes Pruyn, subscribed.
His wife, Alida, joined the Reformed Prot-
estant Dutch church in 1683. She died Sep-
tember 20, 1704, and he died May 6, 171 2.
Children : Anna, married Warner van
Yveren ; Johannes, born January 5, 1663, mar-
ried, September, 1705, Emelia Sanders; Hen-
drick, married Anna Hofmans; Maria, mar-
ried Elbert Gerritse; Christine, married Jo-
hannes Gcrritsen ; Madeleine, born January
8, 1676; Samuel, see forward; Helena, mar-
ried Jacob Lansing; Frans, born September

28, T683, married Margarita ; Bernard-

ine (Barentje), born April 11, 1686, married
John Evertsen; Arnold (Arent), born May
24, 1688, married, November 21, 1714, Cat-
ryna Gansevoort.

(Ill) Samuel, son of Frans Jansen
(Francis) and Alida Pruyn, was born De-
cember 2, 1677, buried January 27, 1752. In
1703, he was one of those "who furnished
labor or materials for the Dominie's house."
In 1720 his name appears on the list of-
freeholders in the old third ward of Albany.
He lived, between 1703-27, at the northeast
corner of Maiden Lane and James street.
Albany. He married, January 15, 1704,
Maria, born June 14, 1681, daughter of Jacob
Cornelise and Jcanette (Quackenbush)
Bogart. Children : Francis Samuelse, see

forward; Alida, baptized November 17,
1706, buried January 3, 1727; Jacob, bap-
tized February 10, 1712, buried June 27,
1752; Maria (or Maritje). baptized Septem-
ber 20, 1713, buried September 5, 1746;
Johannes S., born July 14. 1723, married
Jannetje van Aalsteyn.

(IV) Francis Samuelse, son of Samuel
and Maria (Bogart) Pruyn. was baptized
March 15, 1705 (Jacob Bogart and Anna
van Yveren, sponsors), died August 27,
1767. He was firemaster, 1731-32; assistant
alderman, 1745-46; alderman from the sec-
ond ward, Albany, 1761-62. He married

(first) Anna ; (second) Alida, daughter

of Warner and Anna (Pruvn) van Yveren,
baptized August 6, 1704. Children : Francis,
born January 16, 17 — ; Anna, born October

1, 1726, died young; Samuel, born October

2. 1727, died young; Samuel, born Septem-
ber 15, 1728, married, February 7, 1756,
Neeltje Ten Eyck ; Anna, born April 20,
1732, died in New York City, December 21,
7747: Casparus, see forward; Johannes
Francis, born December 23. 1739, married
Gertrude Ten Eyck. died March 23, 1815;
Jacob Francis, born July 22, 1744, married
Hendrickse Van Buren.

(V) Casparus, son of Francis Samuelse
and Alida (van Yveren) Pruyn, was born
May 10, 1734, and Jacob and Maria Pruyn
were sponsors. His name appears as lieu-
tenant on the roll of the First Albany Coun-
ty Regiment; in 1785 he was an assessor
of the second ward in that city ; was for
some years an elder of the Reformed Dutch
church, and this memorandum refers to his
government aid : "This is to certify that
Casparus Pruyn has due to him from the
United States the sum of Seventy-one
pounds four shillings specie, for work done
for the use of the Indians, bv the request
of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, in
1779-1780. P. ^^^n Rensselaer." He died
(Dctober 7, 1817. He married. December 19,
1762, Catherine Groesbeck. born May 8,
1737, died February 17, 178S. daughter of
David and Maria (Van Poel) Groesbeck.
Children : Maria, born April 17, 1764. died
March 14, 1821 ; Alida, born January 12,
1765, died .September 11. 1767; Franciscus,
baptized .September 16, 1767, died Septem-
ber 27. 1768; Francis Casparus. see for-
ward; David, born August 24, 1771, married



Huybertie Lansing, died January 20, 1843 ;
Alida, born December 11, 1773; Willem,
born March 11, 1776.

(VI) Francis Casparus, son of Casparus
and Catherine (Groesbeck) Pruyn, was born
at Albany, New York, July 19, 1769, bap-
tized by Dominie Eilardus Westerloe, with
Samuel Pruyn and Neeltje Ten Eyck as
sponsors, and died June 14, 1837. He mar-
ried, August 30, 1791, Cornelia Dunbar,
born January 11, 1770, died July 12, 1844,
daughter of Levinus and Margaret (Han-
sen) Dunbar, the latter being a niece of
Mayor Hendrick Hansen. Children: Cas-
parus Francis, see forward ; Catherine, born
January 3, 1794. married Adrian Van Sant-
voord ; Levinus, born October 4, 1796, mar-
ried Brachie (Bridget) r)blenis ; David, born
January 26, 1799, died young; Margaret
(twin to David) married William L Pruyn;
David, born November 20, 1801, lost
at sea ; Gertrude, married Samuel Ran-
dall ; Alida, married William Boardman ;
Maria, married David Bensen ; Cornelia,
married Owen Munson.

(VH) Casparus Francis, son of Francis
Casparus and Cornelia (Dunbar) Pruyn, was
born May 26, 1792, baptized with Casparus
Pruyn (grandfather) and Mary Pruyn (aunt)
sponsors. W'hen thirteen years old he entered
the office of the Van Rensselaer estate, his
uncle. Robert Dunbar, being the agent to con-
duct affairs of the extensive property. When
Mr. Dunbar resigned, in 1835, he was ap-
pointed agent for the Manor. It was a posi-
tion requiring considerable executive ability,
and he filled the post with satisfaction. When
General Stephen Van Rensselaer, the Patroon,
died January 26. 1839, the estate was divided,
that portion on the east shore of the Hudson
river going to William Paterson Van Rens-
selaer, so Mr. Pruyn removed across the river
to Bath. Rensselaer county, to be in the vi-
cinity, and became the agent of what was
called the "East Manor," continuing as such
until the autumn of 1844, when he resigned.
He died February 11, 1846. Mr. Pruyn was
married by Rev. John Melancthon Bradford.
April 19, 1814. to Ann Hewson, born January
2-j, 1794, died Fehruarv 12. 1841. daughter of
Robert and Elizabeth ('Fryer) Hewson, of Al-
bany. Children: Robert Hewson. see for-
ward; Francis, born November 2, 1816. mar-
ried Isabella Kirk ; Elizabeth, born December

16, 1S18, died February 6, 1842; Cornelia,
born December 5, 1820, married Charles Van
Zandt ; Mary, born January 27, 1823, died
young; Alida, born March 9, 1825, married,
January 16, 1845, James C. Bell, died No-
vember 2, 1895 ; William Fryer, born Feb-
ruary 28, 1827, married Gertrude Dunbar
Visscher; Edward Roggen, born July 12,
1829; Augustus, born October 23, 1831, mar-
ried Catalina Ten Eyck ; Mary, born April 3.
1834. married Montgomery Rochester.

(\TII) Hon. Robert Hewson Pruyn, son of
Casparus Francis and Ann (Hewson) Pruyn,
was born in Albany, New York, February 14.
181 5. and was baptized by the Rev. John
Melancthon Bradford, pastor of the "North"
Dutch Reformed Church. His home life in
childhood trained him in reverence, patriot-
ism and industry, attributes which gave him
prominence in after years. In 1825 he en-
tered the Albany Academy, where his classic-
al education under Dr. Theodoric Romeyn
Beck and his education in the sciences under
Professor Joseph Henry, the eminent scientist-
discoverer, was most thorough. He then en-
tered Rutgers College, from which he was
graduated in 1833. On leaving college he be-
came a law student in the office of Hon. Abra-
ham Van Vechten, a jurist of recognized abil-
ity, city recorder, senator, assemblyman, at-
torney-general and member of the constitu-
tional convention of 1821. Mr. Priiyn was
admitted to the bar in 1836, and shortly after
was appointed attorney and counselor for the
corporation of Albany, holding office for three
years, and for a like period was a member of
the city council, in which body he w^as one
of the most active members in public affairs.
He was judge-advocate from 1841 to 1846, on
the staffs of Governors William H. Seward,
W'illiam C. Bouck and Silas Wright Jr. ; mem-
ber of assembly in 1848-49-50 from the third
district of Albany county, a member of the
WHiig party. In 1850 he was the Whig candi-
date for speaker of assembly. The Demo-
crats had a tie vote with the Whigs, but it
having become apoarent to Mr. Pruyn that one
of the Whig members could not properly hold
his seat. Mr. Pruyn abstained from voting,
and the Democratic candidate was chosen.
The appreciation of this high-minded course
was shown shortly afterward. The speaker
was called home by family affliction, and
the Democrats elected Mr. Pruyn speaker



pro tempore. In 185 1 Mr. Pruyn was again
appointed judge-advocate general, this time
by Governor Washington Hunt. In 1854
he was again an assemblyman and chosen
speaker. In that office he displayed courage
and such marked justice that never was there
a single one of his rulings in the chair ap-
pealed from. Governor Myron II. Clark, on
March 5, 1855, appointed him adjutant-gen-
eral, and in i860, when there was intense ex-
citement in politics, he came within sixty-two
votes of being elected to the assembly, al-
though the Lincoln electoral ticket liad ten-
fold that majority, in that district alone,
against it.

President Lincoln appointed Mr. Pruyn
United States minister to Japan, as successor
to the Hon. Townsend Harris, in September,
1861, who was the first diplomatic rejjrcscnta-
tive of any country to that isolated kingdom.
It was at a time when it was most essential for
this country to be represented by a man of
firmness and possessing strong convictions of
his own in order to maintain an equality among
the great powers. There being no cable com-
munication, nor even steamship intercourse at
that time, the minister was largely left to exert
his own resourcefulness and responsibility
more largely rested on him than on the diplo-
mats sent later by this country. It was com-
mon occurrence that if an inquiry regarding
the policy to be pursued on a certain feature
were sent to Washington, the reason for it
might have so changed by the time of receiving
the reply that the minister found it necessary
to act along a far difTerent course. He was
thus forced to contest for influence among the
trained diplomats of the world, and while the
task was undoubtedly enormous, even so much
higher in the public's estimation did he rise.

In 1863 two naval expeditions were under-
taken against the transgressing Daimio of
Chosu. whose vessels had fired on the Ameri-
can merchant steamer "Pembroke." The
allied forces in the latter engagement demol-
ished the fortifications of Chosu. and Mr.
Pruyn demanded an indemnity of three mil-
lion dollars or, in lieu, the onening of new
ports. Later on the sum of $1,300,000 was
turned over to the state department at Wash-
ington, and the effect of the .American repre-
sentative's insistence was so salutary that it
exerted a lasting benefit, opening the eyes of
Japan as a nation to white men's methods so

as to be the true initiative of its desire for
education and the modern methods of the
powers. Minister Pruyn became an authority
for all America on the arts and institutions
of Japan, and in apprising the state depart-
ment through his voluminous reports on his
observations and reasons for his acts, fur-
nished much beneficial information. On his
return to the United States in 1867, Minister
Pruyn was the candidate for lieutenant-gov-
ernor but was not elected, and an attack of
diphtheria at that time caused him to retire
from public life for a few years. In 1872
Governor John T. Hoffman appointed him on
a non-partisan commission to frame amend-
ments to the state constitution, and this im-
portant body made him its presiding officer.

Mr. Pruyn was chosen the president of the
National Commercial Bank of Albany, an in-
stitution noted for its soundness throughout
the civil war, when it afforded great aid to
the government, and for more than half a
century it continued to be a depository for the
general funds of the state of New York. He
was vice-president of the Albany Savings
Bank ; a trustee of the Metropolitan Trust
Company, of New York City ; trustee of
Rutgers' College ; president of the board of di-
rectors of the Dudley Observatory; vice-
president of the board of trustees of the Al-
bany Medical College, and on the executive
committee of the State Normal College ; mem-
ber of The Albany Institute, and of the Young
Men's Association, being its president in
1838, and a governor of the Fort Orange
Club. He was made a Mason in Master's
Lodge. No. 5, before he left for Japan, and
upon his return was connected with the An-
cient and Accepted Scottish Rite, delivering
the oration at the dedication of the Temple
in September, 1875.

Mr. Pruyn brought from Japan a great
number of rare art treasures, and his collec-
tion of carved ivories is regarded as one of
the finest in the world. He received the de-
gree of M. A. from Rutgers in 1865, and of
LL.D from Williams. He was devoted to his
church and advanced its work very materially,
and all who knew him bear witness to his
honor, charity and unusual qualities of intel-
lect. He died Sunday, February 26, 1882, of
embolism of the brain, and was buried in the
Pruyn family lot in the Albany Rural ceme-
tery on the 28th.



Robert Hewson Pruyn married, in Albany,
New York, November 9, 1841, Jane Ann. born
June 28, 181 1, daughter of Gerrit Yates and
Helen (Ten Eyck) Lansing. Children: i. Ed-
ward Lansing, born at Albany, August 2,
1843, died in San Francisco, California, Feb-
ruary 8, 1862. 2. Robert Clarence, see for-
ward. 3. Helen Lansing, born in Albany, Sep-
tember 13, 1849, died May 5. 1854. 4. Charles
Lansing, born in Albany, December 2, 1852 ;
married (first) October 11, 1877, Elizabeth
Atwood, born October 31, 1853, daughter of
William Trimble and Elizabeth Mary (At-
wood) McClintock, of Chillicothe, Ohio, who
died December 20, 1884; married (second) in
Albany, October 20, 1886, Sarah Gibson, born
December 25, 1851, daughter of Sebastian
Visscher and Olivia Maria (Shearman) Tal-
cott. Charles Lansing Pruyn died at his sum-
mer home in Altamont, New York (outside of
Albany), July 7, 1906, leaving five children:
Elizabeth McClintock, born July 14, 1878:
Jane Anne Lansing, December 15, 1880; Sarah
McClintock, November 17, 1884: Caspar Lan-
sing, September 29, 1887; Olivia Shearman
Talcott, October 25, 1892.

(IX) Robert Clarence, son of Hon. Robert
Hewson and Jane Ann (Lansing) Pruyn, was
born in Albany, New York, October 23, 1847.
His early education was received at the Al-
bany Boys' Academy, following which care-
ful preparation he entered Rutgers College,
graduating in the class of 1869. For a time
he was an attache to the American legation at
Tokio, while his father was the United States
minister to Japan. Governor John A. Dix ap-
pointed him upon his stafif. On February 13,
1901, the legislature elected him a regent of
the University of the State of New York, on
which prominent board he served until its
reorganization in 1903, along the lines of new
legislative enactment. Mr. Pruyn was for a
long time president of the board of commis-
sioners of Washington Park of Albany, until
the park system became a bureau in the de-
partment of public works. He was one of the
commissioners appointed te erect the new City
Hall at Albany, the corner-stone of which was
laid in 1 88 1. He is a member of St. Peter's
Episcopal Church, and for many years has
been a vestryman, participating most actively
in all affairs concerning the good of that
church, and has served a number of times as

delegate to national conventions of the Epis-
copal church in America.

Mr. Pruyn was chosen president of the Na-
tional Commercial Bank of Albany, May 23,
1885, to succeed Hon. Daniel Manning, ap-
pointed by President Cleveland that spring on
his cabinet as secretary of the treasury, and
who had in turn succeeded Mr. Pruyn's
father as president of the bank. It was during
the officiate of Mr. Pruyn that this bank
erected its own building at Nos. 38-40 State
street, on the line of plans executed by Archi-
tect Robert W. Gibson, but the remarkable ex-
pansion of its affairs soon necessitated the con-
sideration of acquiring much larger quarters,
and on May 2, 1904, this bank removed to its
new, handsome granite and marble building at
No. 60 State street. The exterior of this
edifice is a chief adornment of Albany's prin-
cipal business street, and the interior, com-
modious and replete with all modern methods
for convenience of customers and officials, is
a subject of unstinted admiration because of
its refined beauty combined with a certain
amount of ornateness. Equally as good a
barometer of its success and progressiveness
under the executive guidance of Mr. Pruyn is
the fact that the stock of this bank has en-
hanced in value.

For several years Mr. Pruyn was vice-presi-
dent of the Municipal Gas Company, of Al-
bany, and the president of the Albany Rail-
way Company, the two largest corporations
operated in the Capitol City. He is a director
of the Union Trust Company, and was one of
its leading organizers ; member of the board
of governors of the Albany Hospital : director
of the Albany Institute and Historical and Art
Society; member of Philip Livingston Chap-
ter, Sons of the Revolution ; of the Holland
Society; the Albany Chamber of Commerce;
Century Association ; of the University and
Metropolitan clubs of New York City; the
Fort Orange, the Albany, the University and
the Country clubs of Albany, and also the
Jekyl Island Club.

Mr. Pruyn's residence is at No. 7 Engle-
wood place, fronting on the most beautiful
portion of Albany's famous Washington Park.
The interior exhibits a peculiar charm of re-
finement in its furnishings, and one of its
most admired features is the collection of
ivories brought to this country from Japan by
his father, which is ranked as one of "the finest



in this country. He spends his summers on
his Adirondack preserve, known as Camp
Santanoni, attractively located on Newcomb
Lake, and reached by a drive of about thirty
miles northward from North Creek station.
It is here that Mr. and Mrs. Pruyn surround
themselves with their family, and from ten to
twenty or more guests at a time. They de-
light in the pleasure of entertaining, and are
true to the dictum of the old Dutch hospi-
tality. In the winter it has been his custom
to spend several weeks at Jekyl Island, as a
member of that southern club. He is espe-
cially concerned in everything pertaining to art
in its best form; enjoys riding, books and

Robert C. Pruyn married, at Albany, Octo-
ber 22, 1873. Anna Martha, born in Albany.
May 7, 1853, daughter of Chauncey Pratt
Williams, late president of the National Ex-
change Bank of Albany, and Martha Andrews
(Hough) Williams. All their children were
born in Albany, New York. Children: 1. Ed-
ward Lansing, born November 23, 1874. 2.
Ruth Williams, born October 3, 1877; mar-
ried, in Albany, June 3, 1903, David Marvin
Goodrich; child, Anne, born at Boston, April
II, 1904. 3. Robert Dunbar, see forward. 4.
Frederic, born July 5, 1881 ; married, in New
York City, February 5, 1907, Beatrice Mor
gan ; children : Frederic, born in Short Hills,
New Jersey, February 25, 1908, and Fellowes
Morgan, born in Short Hills, New Jersey, De-
cember 2, 1909.

(X) Robert Dunbar, son of Robert Clar-
ence and Anna Martha (Williams) Pruyn,
was born in .Albany, New York, October 11,
1879. He was educated at the Albany .\cad-
emy, then at St. Paul's School of Concord,
New Hampshire, 1894-98, after which he en-
tered Harvard University and graduated in
1902. He entered the employ of the Con-
solidated Car-Heating Company at Albany,
in 1902, of which his father was the presi-
dent, but the family inclination for the bank-
ing business determined a change, and since
1004 he has been located in New York City
with the banking firms of Redmond &• Com-
pany, at first, and latterly with Kidder, Pea-
body & Company, of Wall street. He is a
Republican and Episcopalian ; has traveled,
and is fond of the refined pleasures. He is
a member of The Brook Club, Racquet &
Tennis Club and the Harvard Club. His resi-

dence, since removing from .\lbany, is at Mt.
Kisco, New York. He married, in the Church
of the Ascension of New York City, Decem-
ber 15, 1903, Betty Metcalf, born at Erie,
Pennsylvania, September 30, 1880, daughter
of Frederic Wilder and Ruth (Moorhead)
Metcalf. Children: Robert Lansing, born at
New York City, November 5, 1904; Ruth,
Ijorn at New York City, May 5, 1907.

The name Calvert is an his-
C.-\L\'ERT toric one in Yorkshire, Eng-
land. It has been a well-known
name in York since the eleventh century.
Some authorities claim that Calvert was a
name brought into England at the time of the
Norman Conquest, and others that it ante-
dated in York the date of that conquest.
There are a number of families bearing the
Calvert name now living in York, and moss-
grown tombstones of their ancestors are to be
found in the burying grounds. The Calverts
of .'\rmagh, county of Armagh, province of
Ulster, Ireland, are descendants of Rev. Hen-
ry Calvert, a Presbyterian minister who mi-
grated from Yorkshire, England, or from
over the border in Scotland, in 1623, and set-
tled in county Down. One chronicler says
he migrated from Scotland. He was probably
English with an infusion of Scottish blood. He
married a Miss Blair, of Scotland, whose
brother was a Presbyterian clergyman, at
Bangor, coimty Down. He refused to con-,
form to Episcopacy and was put out of his
church in 1636. Under James I., and later
under Charles II., because of a strong policy
of religious repression, I'lster received large
immigration of Scottish and English settlers,
as America in more recent years received a
large influx from Ireland. Lord Baltimore
(Leonard Calvert), who with his brother
Cecil came to America and founded the city
of Baltimore, was born in Kepling. Yorkshire,
in 158::. The Calverts who migrated from
Yorksliire to .'\rma,gh and the Lord Baltimore
Calverts were presumably of the same stock.
There is a tradition handed down by the Cal-
verts of Central New York that the families
sustained friendly relationship and exchanged
visits in the mother country. The Calverts
now living in .Vrmagh and Dublin are children
of John Calvert, who died in .Krmagh. No-
vember 19. 1873, lineal descendant of the Cal-
verts, of Yorkshire.



(I) John Calvert, the head of the Cortland,
New York, branch of the Calvert family,
came to America from Armagh in 1792. His
wife having previously died he brought with
him his seven children, six sons, John, Na-
thaniel, \\'illiam, Robert, Alexander, Thomas,
and one daughter, Margaret. After their ar-
rival the family remained in New York City
for a few years. The father was a Scotch
Covenanter of extreme type and in order to
be in close proximity to the Scotch Cove-
nanter and Presbyterian colonies, in Galway,
and other towns of Washington county, he
sailed up the Hudson with his family and lo-
cated on a farm in that county. \\'ith the
opening of the new century, borne along by
the tide of immigration that had been moving

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 28 of 95)