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success will crown our Honest endeavors for the support of our
just rights and privileges."

Cornelia, another sister of Christopher, married Governor
George Clinton, so that the family in this generation became allied
with the two houses of Livingston and Clinton, then the great
war leaders of the State.

Two sons in the fifth generation continued the prestige of
their name. Christopher, Jr., the lawyer, was a man Christopher,
of marked ability and oratorical and literary power. J""'"""

He married Cornelia Kiersted.

1 68 happen

More conspicuous was John [1766]. He received a good
education, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. His tastes
John were literary and journalistic, rather than forensic, and

the Editor j-jg began contributing to the press even before he at-
tained his majority. He entered journalism, and became a popular
and influential editor. His best-remembered work was done while
he was editor and proprietor of the Plebeian, which afterwards
became the Ulster Gazette. The paper was, anti-Federalist, and
through its epigrammatic and argumentative power exerted great
influence upon the political arena in the early part of the nine-
teenth century.

Colonel Charles Barclay [1796] represented the sixth genera-
tion. He was a son of John, the editor, and was an artist by taste
Colonel snd an architect by profession. Intensely patriotic, he
Charles B. voluuteered in the War of 1812, and served with great
gallantry throughout the conflict. After the war his military in-
stinct kept him in touch with the militia, and in 1833 he was
made Colonel of the Two Hundred and Thirty-sixth Regiment of
the National Guard of New York State. He was deeply interested
in the development of New York City, of which many of the finest
buildings were the products of his brain. From 1835 to 1838 he
was the City Superintendent of Repairs, a post equivalent to a
modern municipal department of public works. He was happily
married and had a numerous family. He lived to the extraordi-
nary age of ninety-seven, and left behind him eleven children and
more than thirty grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Here belongs the famous educator, Rev. Henry Philip [1805].
Graduated from Union (1825), he entered Auburn Theological
Seminary, where he took orders in 1827. Five years later, he ac-
cepted the chair of moral philosophy in the University of New
York City. In 18^2, he was elected the first chancellor of the Uni-
versity of Michigan, which he held for eleven years, during which
he made that institution famous for its efficiency and excellence.
He was a strong and fluent writer, contributing to the periodical
press and publishing at least seven books of more than ephemeral

happen 169

Of the seventh generation, Frederick D. ' [1829] is the head.
He was educated at the Columbia Grammar School and the New
York University (1849). Attracted by fmancial science, Frederick d.
he began his career in the National Bank of New York, *•"* Financier
which afterwards became the Gallatin National Bank. In 1857,
he rose to be cashier, and in 1868 president, which position he
has held ever since, being probably the oldest of the great
bankers of the nation. He is one of the few Americans who,
beside mastering ordinary banking, have attained renown in the
fields of high finance. His ability in this direction has given him
national and international fame, in times of commercial panic or
general depression, he has been instrumental in steering the ship
of credit through the shoals of adversity.

In the panics of 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, and 1901 he was a
leader in the movement of the great banks which checked the
headlong fall of prices in Wall Street, and prevented the forced
insolvency of hundreds and even thousands of responsible busi-
ness concerns. He has the confidence of the banking world and
of the vast business community which depends upon banks for
the transaction of the enormous trade of the United States. In
honor of his services in this field the great banks of New York
presented to him, as a token of affection and esteem, a silver
tankard which in itself was an epitome of financial history.
It was made more than two hundred years ago, and was first
presented to Sir John Houblon, Lord Mayor of London, and
first Governor of the Bank of England, who, in a monetary crisis
in 1693, took such prompt and decisive measures as to restore
confidence to the business world and end disasters which were

' Frederick D. Tappen passed away in March, 1902. In his death the banking world lost one of
its leading figures. His funeral was attended by representatives of nearly all of the financial interests
of the metropolis and a public meeting of the bankers of the city was held at the clearing-house on
Cedar Street to honor his memory.

Addresses, describing and commending his life-long services, were delivered by George G. Wil-
liams, president of the Chemical National Bank, ]. Edward Simmons, president of the Fourth National
Bank, Joseph C. Hendrix, president of the National Bank of Commerce, Thomas L. James, president of the
Lincoln National Bank, Alexander Gilbert, president of the IVlarket and Fulton banks, and Vice-President
Hepburn of the Chase National Bank.

Nearly all of the banks of the city half-masted their flags, and similar action was taken by bankers
in other cities of the Union.

I70 happen

threatening British credit, both public and private. Upon it is an
inscription which tells in quaint language the story of that famous
year. In the course of the centuries this tankard passed from
the hands of the family, which is now believed to be extinct,
and came into the possession of a "New York collector of antiques.
From him it was secured by Mr. Tappen's colleagues and pre-
sented to him just two hundred years after its first presentation
for exactly similar reasons.

Mr. Tappen has been President of the Clearing-house Associ-
ation twice, Vice-President of the Metropolitan Trust Company,
a director of the Astor National Bank and Queen Insurance Com-
pany, and a trustee of the Royal Insurance Company. He
married Sarah A. B. Littell.

The Tappens of New York have been characterized from the
first by vigor, executive ability, and conservative patriotism.
The founder was one of the greatest real-estate operators of his
period, and the present head, seven generations afterwards, is
one of the leaders of the financial world. The intervening links
have been men of similar tastes and tendencies. They have
cared little for the pomp and glory of life, but have possessed a
deep faith in the great gospel of work, and the fruits of their
labor have usually been dispensed in the forms of hospitality,
philanthropy, and charity.

Dan Buret!



HEN the patroons had secured the
magnificent grants of virgin territory
which, according to their hopes and
ambitions, were to become populous
and opulent feudal estates in years
to be, their first care was to obtain
settlers in the Old World to consti-
tute a vassal yeomanry in the New.
According to the means, the influ-
ence, or ability of these landed pro-
prietors, or their agents, were the
numbers and quality of the colonists
whom they thus secured. While nearly all of those who
crossed the sea in the middle of the seventeenth century
were of the same general class, namely, vigorous and intelli-
gent peasantry or artisans, there was considerable difference in
their character and accomplishments. They varied from stern,
religious, and energetic Scotch and Huguenots, to easy-going and
unambitious Dutch farmers. It must be said that nearly all of
the tenantry were admirable morally, in many cases, we know
that they were certified to by their pastors at home; in other
instances, we find allusions in the archives to instructions to
agents to secure agriculturists of probity and good name.
Further evidence is shown by the infrequency of crime and vice
in the early Knickerbocker years.


174 ^an Buren

In this respect, the Dutch West India Company and the
patroons are entitled to the gratitude of prosperity. In securing
good men and women, they builded better than they knew, and
assured to the new community beyond the ocean a moral, men-
tal, and physical strength which is seldom found in colonies,
based more or less upon commercial considerations. Here
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer is entitled to special consideration. He
appears to have taken greater precautions in the selection of his
tenants than any other of the leading men of the time. As far as
possible, he chose young men, especially young married men.
He had an eye for the future as well as for the present.

Cornelius -^

Maessenthe Amoug his colouists was Cornelius Maessen, who
Founder emigrated from Buren, a village in the western part of
Gelderland, lying a few miles from the River Rhine.

Unfortunately, the records do not show whether he was a
native of the place. At that time such names as Van Buren were
not family names in our sense of the word, but adjective phrases,
indicating nativity or accidental or legal connection with a place.
Cornelius himself did not use the name Van Buren, so far as is
known, but signed himself Cornelius Maessen, which in English
would be Cornelius, the son of Maes. It was his son, Martin,
who seems to have first used the geographical name, and who
signed himself Martin, or Marten, Cornelissen Van Beuren.

The founder sailed from the Netherlands in 1531, bringing
with him a young wife, Catalyntje Martense, and a son, Marten,
or Martin, who, according to an ancient legal document, was
born in Houten, a village not far from Buren. On the voyage a
second son, Hendrick, was born. This f:ict he used in later life
to claim the honor of being the first Dutchman born in the New
World. The family came over in the stout craft Reusselacrswyck,
which, as the name indicates, was employed by the great patroon
for the transportation of his tenants, servants, and supplies.

On reaching the New World, he stopped a brief time at New
Amsterdam, where probably he looked with amazement at the
funny little fort which Governor Pieter Minuit had improved, and
at the wigwams which were to be found a short distance from the

IDan Buren 175

settlement. He proceeded up the river to a point a little below
Greenbush, which was then known as Papsknee. Here he
settled on a farm leased from Kiliaen Van Rensselaer. The few
glimpses which the student is able to obtain of this period show
a wise administration on the part of the patroon. He charged
little or nothing for bringing over the colonists, and when they
settled upon his land, he gave them all the necessary supplies
and aided them in clearing the soil and making a home. In
return, he asked one-tenth of the product of the soil and a quasi-
feudal allegiance to him in his capacity as patroon. Compared
with the Factor's Agreements of the Southern States, where the
landlord and tenant divide the produce of the land equally, or those
of the West, where the owner takes one-third and the tenant two-
thirds, Kiliaen's system seems to have been singularly generous.

Cornelis was not a poor farmer, like many of the emigrants
of his time. He brought with him some property and a man-
servant or farm-hand, Cornelis Teunissen, who afterwards be-
came a trader and commissary. The career of the first Van Buren
was quiet and uneventful. His land was fertile, and under his
management yielded large crops. One year the records show
that he paid a tithe-rent of one hundred bushels of grain and a
small amount of garden produce, which would indicate a total
crop of over one thousand bushels of grain alone. He invested
his money in real estate, one tract of which was a farm on the
Island of Manhattan, next to the land belonging to Governor
Wouter Van Twiller. His farm lay between Christopher and
Fourteenth streets, and ran from a line west of Broadway down
to the North River. Cornelis left four sons and one daughter.
The latter married Dirck Wes^v^Tsc (Ten Broeck), merchant, who
afterwards became Recorder and Mayor of Albany, and a major
in Colonel Pieter Schuyler's famous regiment.

One of the sons, Maes, for some unknown reason, adopted
the family name of Bloemingdael, which probably Maes

represented the poetic title of his farm. From him Bioemingdaei
comes the Bloomingdale family of New York, who genealogically
are Van Burens.

176 IDan Buren

Martin [1629] was a substantial citizen, who, after he came
of age, settled at Albany. He was active in local affairs, and in
Captain ' 70° ^^^ Captain of a military company in Colonel Pieter
Martin Schuylcr's regiment. He married twice: first, Maritje

Quackenbosch, and, second, Tanneke Adams, widow. He was
the ancestor of the President.

Hendrick [163 1] remained in the neighborhood of the paternal
home. He was a rich farmer and a devout member of the Dutch
Hendrick Reformed Church. During the Indian outbreak of 1663
the Devout ^g provcd himself a brave soldier. He died leaving five

The third generation found the family well established at
Albany, near Greenbush. Cornelius, son of Martin, married
Martin Ariaautje Gerritse Vandenberg, by whom he had one

the Deacon gQu. Comelia, his sister, married Robert Teunise Van
Deusen, who was the head of the family of that name. Peter
married Ariaantje Barentse Meindersen. Martin, the most promi-
nent figure of this generation, was a freeholder of Rensselaerwyck
in 1720, and a leading member of the Dutch Church in Albany.
He was twice married.

The fourth generation repeated the experience of the third.
The Van Burens grew in numbers, influence, and wealth. Among
the more conspicuous members were the following: Tobias [1690],
son of Cornelius, who became the ancestor of the Ulster County
branch ; he inherited a fortune from his father and a sm.all estate
from his grandfather, Martin. Marritje [1701], daughter of Martin,
married Johannes Vosburgh, a prominent member of the family of
that name. Barent [1702], her brother, was a wealthy farmer,
Barent who married twice: first, Margrietje Van Vechten, and,

the Wealthy second, Mrs. Catalyntje Van Buren Schermerhorn, and
had issue by both. Martin [1705], another brother, married The-
notje Vanderberg. Tobias [17 10] married Marritje Hun, by whom
he had one son. Other sons of Martin in this generation by his
second wife, Maria Vandenberg, were Petrus [1723], who married
Marritje Vanderpoel; Johannes, or John [1725], who married Mar-
ritje Briesch ; Benjamin [1731], who married Cornelia Salisbury;

Van Burcn 177

Tobias [1737], who married Catalyntje Witbeck. The children
of Peter in this generation were Cornelius [1693], who married
Maria Litner; Barent [1695], who married Maria Winne, and
Tobias [1697], who married Anna Goes or Hoes.

In the fifth generation several members are noteworthy.
Peter [1733], son of Martin, married Catharine Quackenbosch.
They had a large plantation near Kinderhook, and were the god-
parents of President Van Buren. Abraham [1737] mar- ca tain
ried Maria Goes \'an Alen. They are best known as Abraham
the parents of the President. Abraham was a fine type of a revo-
lutionary patriot. He was a strong advocate of popular rights be-
fore the Revolution, and upon the breaking out of hostilities was
among the first, if not the first in Kinderhook, to enlist under the
colonial banners. He rose to be a captain in the regiment com-
manded by Colonel Abraham Van Alstyne, a maternal relative.

Of the sixth generation, the most eminent was Martin [1782],
eighth President of the United States. A remarkable memory,
great physical and mental vigor, and infinite patience Mania

combined to make him successful in life. He took ad- "•« President
vantage of such educational facilities as were to be found in
Columbia County in the latter part of the eighteenth century, and
began to read law when a boy of fourteen years. He worked
tirelessly for seven years, serving as office-boy, messenger, clerk,
copyist, practitioner in constables' courts, and collector.

In the evening he spent his time at debating clubs, and before
he attained his majority had become noted for his logical power
as well as eloquence. He displayed a love for politics from youth,
and at eighteen was a member of a political convention. He was
admitted to the bar when coming of age, and opened a law office
at Kinderhook with his half-brother, James I. Van Alen. The
same year he was a vigorous speaker in the gubernatorial cam-
paign, and had the satisfaction of seeing his candidate. General
Morgan Lewis, elected to the executive chair. He at once became
prominent in State politics; in 1807, he was a leader of the move-
ment in favor of Daniel D. Tompkins against his former friend,
Lewis, and was again with the victors. Shortly afterward, as a

VOL. n.— li.

178 IPan Burcn

reward for his services, he was appointed Surrogate of Columbia
County by Governor Tompkins, displacing his half-brother, who
belonged to the Lewis faction. In 1813, the balance of power
shifted, and Van Men replaced him in turn.

By 181 1, he had become one of the State leaders of his party,
and the following year he was elected to the Senate as a Clinton
Republican, defeating Edward P. Livingston, who was supposed
to be invincible. In 1815, the Attorney-Generalship was awarded
to him, and the following year he was re-elected to the Senate.
He removed to Albany, where he formed a partnership with Ben-
jamin F. Butler. In the same twelve-month he made himself a
foremost advocate of the Erie Canal. Politics at this period was in
a chaotic state, the main parties being broken up into factions,
which were more bitter toward one another than toward the
opposition. Yet, out of these conditions, with a masterly skill
for organization, Martin so manipulated personal and political
forces that in 1821 he was elected to the United States Senate,
being only thirty-nine years of age.

His course at the Federal capital was marked with the same
tact and shrewdness as at Albany. He seemed to divine what
the people wanted, and was in nearly every instance at the
head of each successful measure. He had the rare genius of
knowing when to keep silent. Re-elected to the Senate in 1827,
he resigned to become Governor of New York in 1828. The
same year he was the most distinguished advocate of General
Andrew Jackson, who, when elected, made the New York
diplomat his Secretary of State, in 1832 he was elected Vice-
President, and as such was President of the Senate. Here he
astonished his enemies by displaying imperturbable suavity and
absolute fairness, treating friend and foe with equal considera-
tion. In 1836, he was elected President of the United States,
in this campaign may be seen the best evidence of his matchless
craft. He was championed in the South as " a Northern man
with Southern principles," while in the North he was heralded
as "the apostle of progress and enlightenment." in 1840, he
was renominated, but his star was now descendant, General Harri-

IDan Buren 179

son being elected by an electoral vote of almost four to one.
During the forty years after his retirement, he took a deep inter-
est in public affairs, and exerted an appreciable influence upon
the policy of his party, if not of the nation. He married Hannah
Hoes, a kinswoman of his mother, by whom he had four

John Dash, the merchant [181 1], was graduated from Co-
lumbia (1829), became a lawyer, and afterwards a successful
importer. He retired from business when about forty john Dash,
with a large fortune, and led a life of study, in which Financier
he paid great attention to political topics, financial legislation,
and the theories of taxation. He was one of the first to enunci-
ate the modern theories of currency and to argue for a gold
basis for all money. Lawrence [1783], a brother of Major

the President, was a Kinderhook farmer, who, during Lawrence
the War of 18 12, won distinction as a soldier and rose to be
a major.

In the seventh generation the chief personage was Abraham
[1807], son of the President. He was graduated from the United
States Military Academy at West Point (1827), and made an
enviable record as a soldier. He resigned in 1837 to become the
President's secretary, but took up arms during the coionei
Mexican War, where he was brevetted for bravery. Abraham
He married Angelica Singleton of South Carolina, who acted as
mistress of the White House during her father-in-law's Ad-

John [1810], another son of the President, better known as
" Prince John," from his manners and appearance, was graduated
from Yale (1828), and admitted to the bar in 1830. A „ .

^ ^ ' -^ Prince John

year afterwards he was attache of the United States
Legation at the Court of St. James, and Attorney-General of
New York State in 1845. Eminent as a lawyer, orator, and
politician, he was also a society leader up to the time of his
death. He married Elizabeth Vanderpoel, by whom he had one

John Dash, Jr. [1838], was educated at Harvard and the

i8o Dan Buren

Rensselaer Polytechnic. He entered the Engineer Corps of
johnD. II., the United States Navy in the Civil War, and served
Engineer jj^ ^\^^^ branch of the service until 1868. In 1876, he
v^as State Engineer and Surveyor. He has written many valu-
able works upon mechanical science and other technical topics.

Robert [1843], son of John A., was graduated from the Rens-
selaer Polytechnic (1864) with honors. He served as an expert
Robert, mining engineer in the Lake Superior copper district,
Engineer ^^j jj^ jg^^^ entered the service of the city of Brooklyn
as assistant engineer of the water works. In 1877, he became
chief engineer, which position he still holds.

The eighth generation was well represented by Singleton
[1840], who was graduated from Columbia Law School (1865)
and died in 1879; Frank Roe, who was graduated from Columbia
College (1863) and thereafter received the degree of A.M.; Martin,
who was graduated from Columbia College (1866); and Howard,
who was graduated from Columbia Law School in 1878 and
settled in Nyack, N. Y.

The Van Burens, outside of their great son, Martin, may be
compared with many other Knickerbocker families, being marked
by the same probity, thrift, patriotism, piety, and valor. Martin
was a singular blossom of his race. He was one of the greatest
politicians the United States ever produced, and understood the
difficult art of managing human beings so well that he may
be classed with such historical personages as Richelieu and Maz-
zini, but, unlike these great masters, he does not seem to have
had any high ideal or master passion, unless it were the love
of power or the aggrandizement of self. To him more than to
any other political leader, belongs the onus of having made the
doctrine of " to the victors belong the spoils " an organic part of
the American political system. Careless writers have charged
it to General Jackson. It was, of course, applied on a large scale
during the latter's Administration, but the real actor was the
keen-eyed intellectual Secretary of State, and not the bluff, big-
hearted President. Beneath his graceful tact there was much
fun and sterling humor. His best boi^ mot was that which tradi-

Dan Buren


tion says he delivered to Queen Adelaide at a royal reception
at the Court of St. James. She had the tactlessness to ask
him how far back he could trace his ancestry. He bowed with
the grace of a courtier as he responded : "As far back as Kin-
derhook, your Majesty."

IDan Cortlanbt




TTv^yHE sixteenth century was a period
—"^ of disorder in Europe. Beside the
religious and dynastic disturbances
in the West, there were national
and political struggles in the East.
Sweden, Russia, Poland, Livonia, and
the smaller principalities were con-
stantly at war and undergoing the
ravages of hostile armies. The Duchy
of Courland was at one time a por-
tion of Livonia, and enjoyed a semi-
autonomous constitution, in 1 56 1, it
was ceded to Lithuania, and thereafter it became a part of Poland
by the amalgamation of this kingdom with the former.

The population was a mixture of Letts, Russians, Lithuanians,
Poles, Germans, and Scandinavians. Racially, it was Slav,
Teuton, and Norseman. The people were brave, intelligent, and
progressive, but bound by feudal customs and laws, necessitated
by their surroundings. The Courland Dukes were on friendly
terms with the Netherlands and frequently exchanged courtesies
with the latter land in times of both peace and war. They had

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