Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum
   You are in: Museum of History >> Hall of North and South Americans >> Killian Van Rensselaer

Dad, why are you a Republican?

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor

 



Virtual American Biographies

Over 30,000 personalities with thousands of 19th Century illustrations, signatures, and exceptional life stories. Virtualology.com welcomes editing and additions to the biographies. To become this site's editor or a contributor Click Here or e-mail Virtualology here.



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 





Click on an image to view full-sized

Killian Van Rensselaer

New Page 2

VAN RENSSELAER, Killian, colonist, born in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1595; died there in 1644. He was descended from a long line of eminent citizens of Amsterdam, was carefully educated, and became a wealthy pearl and diamond merchant in his native town. He took an active part in the formation of the West India Company, placed several of his vessels at the disposal of the corporation, and twice advanced money to save its credit.

                                 

He sent an agent to the New Netherlands to trade with the Indians for hind on the west, side of Hudson river, from twelve miles south of Albany to Smack's island, "stretching two days into the interior," soon afterward concluding the purchase of all the land on the east side of that river, both north and south of Fort Orange, and "far into the wilderness." This great feudal estate included the entire territory that is comprised in the present, counties of Albany, Columbia, and Rensselaer, and was named Rensselaerswick. He colonized it with laborers and emigrants, whom he sent out in his own ships with provisions and implements of warfare and industry. Van Rensselaer remained in Holland, but managed his affairs through a director.

 

In 1640 he sent Adrian Van der Donck to be sheriff of the colony, and subsequently Dr. Johannes Megapolensis "for the edifying improvement of the inhabitants and Indians thereabouts." To obviate, as much as possible, the dangers of life among the latter, he required that all his colonists, except the farmers and tobacco-planters, should live near each other, so as to form a church neighborhood. At his death his estate descended to his eldest son, JOHANNES VAN RENSSELAER; but the latter, being under age, was placed under the guardianship of Johannes Van Wely and Wouter Van Twiller, who rendered homage to the states-general in the name of their ward.

 

But the colony had in reality become an independent power, and was regarded as injurious to the rights of the province. The West India Company became jealous for their privileges, and in 1648 Peter Stuyvesant, then governor of New Amsterdam, went with a military escort up the Hudson river, ordered that no buildings should be erected within a prescribed distance of Fort Orange, and in many ways attempted to cut off the powers of the patroon of Rensselaerswick. A bitter controversy with Brandt Arent Van Slechtenhorst, the director, ensued, but in 1674 the West India Company confessed that Stuyvesant's aggressions were unwarranted and in violation of the colony's charter. While this controversy was in progress, JAN BAPTIST VAN RENSSELAER, the second son of the first patroon, came to this country as the representative of his brother Johannes, his commission as director dating 8 May, 1652. He retired in 1658, worn out by controversies with Stuyvesant, and was succeeded by his brother Jeremias Van Rensselaer.

 

Jan Baptist built the Van Rensselaer mansion, and brought from Holland massive and elaborately carved furniture, large quantities of silver plate, and many portraits of his ancestors. The manor house in internal improvements and finish resembled the Holland homestead. The lord of the manor resided there with his tenantry, maintaining the authority of a landed lord in Europe. The second patroon, Johannes, never came to this country.

 

--Killian's third son, Jeremias Van Rensselaer, born in Amsterdam, Holland, about 1632 ; died in Rensselaerswick, New York, in October, 1674, was in charge of the colony for sixteen years. He was treated with respect and courtesy by Stuyvesant, by whom, when the province was threatened by the English, he was invited to New Amsterdam to preside over the convention that assembled there, to take measures of defense.

 

When the English gained possession of New Netherlands in 1664, he took the oath of allegiance to the Duke of York. According to the terms of surrender, he was left in peaceable possession of the colony, and conducted its affairs without interference from the new government. He was confirmed in most of his rights and privileges, and the colony was erected into a manor and governed according to English rule.

The village of Beverwyck, which had grown up under the shadow of old Fort Orange, was detached from the manor, and incorporated into the city of Albany.

 

Van Rensselaer soon acquired reputation as an executive officer: his correspondence, which is still preserved by his descendants, is a valuable record of events, and attests his great energy and business-like qualities. He also wrote to Holland minute accounts of various occurrences in this country under the pen-name of the "New Netherland Mercury." He preserved peace with the neighboring Indians, and so attached them to him that they guarded his estates as carefully as they did their own. He married Maria Van Cortlandt.

 

Jeremias was succeeded by his nephew, KILLIAN VAN RENSSELEAR, son of Johannes. His patent was issued in 1685, under the title of first lord of the manor, and third patroon. By this patent the heirs in Albany relinquished to the heirs in Holland all title and right to the land in Holland, and the Hollanders gave up all the Albany settlement. Killian died without issue, and was succeeded by Jeremias's son, Killian, second lord of the manor, born in Rensselaerswick in 1662; died there in 1719. He was an officer of militia and a magistrate, represented the manor in the assembly in 1693-1704, and was a member of the council from the latter date until his death. In 1705 he conveyed Claverark, or the "lower manor," to his brother, Hendrick. He married Maria, daughter of Stephen Van Cortlandt.

 

--Jeremias's brother, Nicholas Van Rensselear, clergyman, born in Amsterdam about 1638; died in Albany, New York, in 1678, was the fourth son of the first patroon. He was liberally educated in Holland, and studied theology there, but began a tour of Europe before taking his degree. In Brussels he met Charles II of England, who was then in exile, and Van Rensselaer predicted to him that he would be restored to the throne. He subsequently went to England as chaplain, to the Dutch embassy, and the king, recognizing him and recollecting his prediction, gave him a gold snuff-box with his likeness in the lid, which is still in possession of the Van Rensselaer family.

 

After the Dutch ambassador left Great Britain, Van Rensselaer was licensed by Charles to preach to the Dutch congregation at Westminster, was ordained a deacon in the English church, and appointed lecturer at St. Margaret's, Lothbury. When Sir Edmond Andros was commissioned governor of the New Netherlands, in 1674, Van Rensselaer accompanied him to this country, bearing a letter of recommendation from the Duke of York, in which he requested that Van Rensselaer be placed in charge of one of the Dutch churches in New York or Albany when there should be a vacancy.

 

He became colleague pastor of the church in Albany shortly after his arrival, and in September, 1675, was invited by the governor to preach in the Dutch church in New York; but the pastor, William Van Nieuwenhuysen, absented himself from the service, and forbade Van Rensselaer's baptizing any children that might be presented for that ordinance. Subsequent events proved that Van Nieuwenhuysen rejected his ordination as not being in conformity with the order of the Dutch churches, nor with the terms of the treaty.

 

Van Rensselaer referred the matter to the governor and council, and the trial was considered of much importance by both the church and the civil authorities, since it involved their privileges and rights, as defined in the articles under which the province was surrendered to the English. Nieuwenhuysen and his consistory presented a written answer, which was rather in justification of the former's conduct toward Van Rensselaer than a formal answer to the question why he should not be allowed to preach.

 

The matter was passed over, and Van Rensselaer returned to his charge in Albany; but in 1676 he was thrown into prison, "for some dubious words spoken in a sermon," Jacob Leisler and Jacob Milburne making the complaint. He appealed to the governor and council, and gave a bond of 1,500 guilders to prosecute the matter to the end. Leisler failed to furnish the bond that was required of him, a warrant was issued for his arrest, and the churches and people were thrown into a ferment.

 

At last a court was held at Albany, before which Van Rensselaer and Nieuwenhuysen appeared with papers and witnesses. After a review of the whole case, they were told by order of the governor "to be reconciled according to Christian love and duty." They answered, "With all our hearts," and the court ordered the parties to "forgive and forget," and that Leisler and Jacob Milburne pay the whole costs, as giving the first occasion for the differences.

 

Van Rensselaer again resumed his charge, but a year later he was refused a seat among the elders. It was resolved that he have a suitable one behind the magistrates, but in 1677 he was deposed by the governor, "on account," say the Reformed church authorities, "of his scandalous life"; but this is not substantiated by unprejudiced witnesses. He left no children.

 

--His wife, ALIDA Van Rensselear, was the daughter of Philip Schuyler, and subsequently married Robert Livingston.

 

--Killian's grandson, STEPHEN Van Rensselear, inherited the manor, removed the old house, and in 1765 built the present mansion, seen in the illustration. He governed under the title of the seventh patroon, he married Catherine Livingston, daughter of Philip Livingston, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and with his father-in-law "sternly opposed the encroachments of the crown."

 

--Their son, Stephen Van Rensselear, eighth patroon, born in New York, 1 November, 1765; died in Albany, New York, 26 January 1839, was graduated at Harvard in 1782, and the next year married Margaret, daughter of General Philip Schuyler. He was always addressed by courtesy as the patroon, although with the establishment of the colonial government he lost his baronial rights. After leaving college he entered at once on the improvement of his splendid although somewhat diminished estates, and, to induce farmers to settle on his lands, placed rentals so low that they yielded only one per cent at a fair valuation. In consequence he soon had 900 farms of 150 acres each under cultivation.

 

Having secured his patrimony, he entered politics, and, as a great landholder and at the same time an ardent patriot, was destined to bridge the chasm between the two opposite political systems. He was chosen to the assembly in 1789 as a Federalist, became a leader of that party, was state senator in 1791-'6, lieutenant-governor in 1795, and in 1798 and 1808-'10 was in the assembly. He became major of militia in 1786, colonel in 1788, and major-general in 1801.

 

He was one of the first to propose the establishment of a canal between Hudson river and the great lakes, was appointed in 1810 a commissioner to report to the assembly on the route, and made an investigating tour of it the same year, the report of which was favorably received in 1811; but the project was delayed by the beginning of the second war with Great Britain.

 

In 1812 he was appointed to command the United States forces on the northern frontier. Although he opposed the war as premature, he at once organized a militia force that was sufficient in numbers to overrun the province of Upper Canada. But he had no regular soldiers, and his officers were deficient in both courage and military skill. On 13-14 October, 1812, he fought the battle of Queenston Heights. The importance of that place arose from the fact that it was the terminus of the portage between Lake Ontario and the upper lakes. General Van Rensselaer had minute information as to the situation and strength of each post of the enemy on the western bank of Niagara River, and his force numbered 6,000 men.

 

The immediate command of the attacking party was assigned to Lieutenant-Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer, who, on the morning of 13 October, with 300 militia and 300 regulars, under Lieutenant-Colonel John Chrystie, crossed the river. After a brilliant attack by Van Rensselaer, who received wounds that compelled him to withdraw, Captain John E. Wool assumed command and stormed and captured the heights.

 

The next day British re-enforcements, numbering 1,300 soldiers and 500 Indians, arrived under command of General Roger Sheaffe. The militia on the American shore could overlook the battle-field and see the approach of Sheaffe; but when General Stephen Van Rensselaer attempted to move them across the river to the support of the American force, they refused to stir. The law provides that militia shall not be compelled to serve beyond the bounds of their state against their will. They fell back on this privilege, and Van Rensselaer was powerless to induce them to fight. The Americans on the heights were unable to hold their position, and on the afternoon of 14 October surrendered in a body.

 

In his official dispatches General Van Rensselaer ascribes the disaster to the refusal of the militia to go to the aid of the captors of the heights. He was severely censured for his tardiness in making the attack, and the fact that he was a leader of the Federalist Party and opposed to the war increased public dissatisfaction. On 24 October he resigned his command and left the service.

 

At the close of the war he again became canal commissioner, and chairman of the commission. When the Erie and Champlain canals were completed in 1825 he had been president of their boards for fourteen years. He was chosen to the assembly in 1818, served in the State constitutional convention in 1821 and in congress in 1823-'9, having been elected to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Solomon Van Rensselaer. In that body he earnestly supported John Quincy Adams for the presidency.

 

He became a regent of the University of New York in 1819, and was subsequently its chancellor until his death. He promoted the interests of the State agricultural society, and was its president in 1820. Under his direction and at his expense Professor Amos Eaton made a geological survey along the line of the canal from Albany to Buffalo, New York, in 1821-'3, and of another line that began in Massachusetts, From the data collected in these surveys he became convinced of the need for further technical education; to supply which he founded Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, defraying for a long time half of its expenses.

 

Yale gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1825. General Van Rensselaer was tall, of commanding presence, and had dark, expressive eyes. He was the patron of benevolent objects. His second wife, whom he married in 1802, was Cornelia, daughter of Chief-Justice William Paterson, of New Jersey. He published "An Agricultural and Geological Survey of the District adjoining the Erie Canal" (Albany, 1824).

 

--His eldest son, Stephen Van Rensselear, the last patroon, born in Albany, New York, 29 March, 1789; died there, 25 May, 1868, was graduated at Princeton in 1808, and inheriting the manor by his father's will, at his death became the last patroon. During the anti-rent troubles in 1839 he sold his townships, and at his death the manor passed out of the hands of his descendants. He was an accomplished gentleman of the old school, and served as major-general of militia. He married Harriet Elizabeth Bayard, daughter of William Bayard, of New York.

 

--Another son of General Stephen, Cortlandt Van Rensselear, clergyman, born in Albany, New York, 26 May, 1808; died in Burlington, New Jersey, 25 July, 1860, was graduated at Yale in 1827, studied at Union Theological Seminary, Prince Edward county, Virginia, and at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a missionary to the slaves in Virginia in 1833-'5, was ordained the latter year, became pastor of the Presbyterian church in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1837, of the 2d Presbyterian church, Washington, D.C., in 1841, and agent of Princeton Theological Seminary in 1844, raising $100,000 for its endowment, he was secretary of the Presbyterian board of education in 1846-'60, and founded and edited the "Presbyterian Magazine" and "The Home, the School, and the Church." The University of New York gave him the degree of D. D. in 1845. Much of his large fortune was devoted to benevolent objects and to the religious enterprises of the Presbyterian Church. After his death, selections from his published writings appeared under the title of "Miscellaneous Sermons, Essays, and Addresses," edited by his son, Cortlandt Van Rensselaer (Philadelphia, 1861).

 

--Another son of Stephen, Henry Van Rensselear, soldier, born in Albany, New York, in 1810; died in Cincinnati, Ohio, 23 March, 1864, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1831, but resigned from the army the next year and engaged in farming near Ogdensburg, New York. He was a member of congress in 1841-'3, having been chosen as a Whig, and in 1855-'60 was president of mining companies. At the beginning of the civil war he was appointed chief-of-staff to General Winfield Scott, with the rank of brigadier-general, and he became inspector-general with the rank of colonel on the retirement of Gen. Scott, served in the Department of the Rappahannock in April and August, 1862, subsequently in the 3d army corps, and in the Department of the Ohio from 17 September until his death.

 

--The elder Stephen's brother, Philip S. Van Rensselear, mayor of Albany, born in Albany, 15 April, 1767; died there, 25 September, 1824, became mayor of Albany in 1799, and held office for nineteen years, the longest service of any mayor of that city. He was a public-spirited, energetic officer, and active in promoting educational, moral, and religious interests. He married Ann Van Cortlandt. He was president of the Albany Bible society for many years, a trustee of Union, and a founder of Albany academy.

 

--General Stephen's kinsman, Jeremiah Van Rensselear, congressman, born in New York in 1741; died in Albany, New York, 22 February, 1810, was graduated at Princeton, in 1758, actively supported the Revolution, and was a member of the 1st congress, serving in 1789-'91. He was a presidential elector in 1800, and lieutenant-governor of New York in 1800-'4. He was active in the promotion of schemes for internal improvement, and a member of the Inland Navigation Company, of which Philip Schuyler was the first president.

 

--The second son of the first Jeremias, Hendrick Van Rensselear, landowner, born near Albany, New York, about 1667; died there in July, 1740, was the founder of the Claverack branch of the Van Rensselaer family. He received as his portion of his grandfather Killian's estate what was known as the Claverack patent, containing about 62,000 acres of land in Columbia county, and 1,500 acres out of the manor proper, opposite the city of Albany. He built a substantial brick house on the latter estate and one at Claverack, which is still standing. He was employed in many public capacities, being mayor of Albany, commissioner of Indian affairs, and a representative in the assembly. In 1698 he bought from the Schaghticoke Indians a tract of six square miles on Hoosac River, for which he procured a patent. This put-chase interfered greatly with the city of Albany, and, Van Rensselaer declining to sell his patent to the council, the controversy became a state affair. In 1699 the dispute was amicably settled and he passed his patent over to the city. His wife was a granddaughter of Anneke Jans Bogardus, through whom their descendants became heirs to Trinity church farm.

 

--His grandson, Henry Killian Van Rensselear, soldier, born near Albany in 1744; died in Greenbush, New York, 9 September, 1816, commanded a New York regiment during the Revolution, was wounded at the capture of General Burgoyne, and carried the ball in his body for thirty-five years. In July, 1777, he was attacked by a large force near Fort Ann, and made a brave resistance, but, learning of the abandonment of Fort Ticonderoga, withdrew after receiving another severe wound. He was subsequently a general of militia.

 

--His son, Solomon Van Rensselear, soldier, born in Rensselaer county, New York, 6 August, 1774; died in Albany, New York, 23 April, 1852, entered the service, 14 March, 1792, as a cornet of cavalry. He became captain, raised a volunteer company, and, pushing through the wilderness, joined General Anthony Wayne in Ohio in the Miami campaign. At the battle of Maumee Rapids in August, 1794, he made a brilliant and effective charge against the savages, and was shot, it was supposed fatally, through the lungs. A litter was sent to take him from the battle-field, but he refused to be laid upon it. "You young dog, then how are you going?" exclaimed General Wayne. "I am an officer of the cavalry, and I shall go on horseback," was his reply. "You will drop by the road," said Wayne. "If I do, just cover me up and let me die there," said Van Rensselaer. He was mounted on his own charger, as he desired, and one of his own dragoons, on either side, supported him five or six miles. When his cousin, Stephen, became brigadier-general of the forces of the north in 1812, he became adjutant-general of New York militia, and negotiated the important agreement by which Lake Ontario was granted by the British during an armistice as a public highway for purposes of transportation of American troops and stores. At the assault of Queenston Heights, 13 October, 1812, he commanded the attacking party, was the first to spring ashore, on a large rock at the foot of the rapids, and with 225 men, formed under a fierce fire, climbed the bank and routed the enemy at the point of the bayonet, but fell with several wounds. He served in congress in 1819-'22, having been chosen as a Federalist, and was postmaster at Albany in 1822-'39. He accompanied Governor George Clinton to Ohio in 1824 in the interest of the Erie Canal, and was one of the delegates from the state of New York at its opening on 4 November, 1825. In 1797 he married Harriet, daughter of Colonel Philip Van Rensselaer. He published a "Narrative of the Affair at Queenston" (New York, 1836). See "A Legacy of Historical Gleanings," by his daughter, Mrs. Catherine Van Rensselaer Bonney (Albany, New York, 1875).

 

--Henry's brother, Nicholas Van Rensselear, soldier, born in Rensselaer county, New York, in 1754; died in Albany, New York, in 1848, was a colonel in the Revolution, and served with gallantry on the heights of Stillwater. After the surrender of General Burgoyne he was dispatched by General Horatio Gates to announce the news at Albany.

 

--Another brother of Henry, Killian K. Van Rensselear, congressman, born in Rensselaer county, New York, in 1763; died in Albany, 18 June, 1845, after receiving a thorough education entered the law, and attained reputation at the bar. He was chosen to congress as a Democrat in 1800, and served by re-election till 1811.

 

--Another great-grandson of the first Jeremias, Robert Van Rensselear, soldier, born in Claverack, New York, in 1741; died there, 11 September, 1802, was a general of militia during the Revolution, and commanded the force that pursued and defeated Sir John Johnson on his Mohawk valley raid in 1780. For a full history of the Van Rensselaer family, see "Colonial New York," by George W. Schuyler (2 vols., New York, 1885).

 

 

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, by John Looby Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM

VAN RENSSELAER, Killian, colonist, born in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1595; died there in 1644. He was descended from a long line of eminent citizens of Amsterdam, was carefully educated, and became a wealthy pearl and diamond merchant in his native town. He took an active part in the formation of the West India company, placed several of his vessels at the disposal of the corporation, and twice advanced money to save its credit. He sent an agent to the New Netherlands to trade with the Indians for hind on the west, side of Hudson river, from twelve miles south of Albany to Smack's island, "stretching two days into the interior," soon afterward concluding the purchase of all the land on the east side of that river, both north and south of Fort Orange, and "far into the wilderness." This great feudal estate included the entire territory that is comprised in the present, counties of Albany, Columbia, and Rensselaer, and was named Rensselaerswick. He colonized it with laborers and emigrants, whom he sent out in his own ships with provisions and implements of warfare and industry. Van Rensselaer remained in Holland, but managed his affairs through a director. In 1640 he sent Adrian Van der Donck to be sheriff of the colony, and subsequently Dr. Johannes Megapolensis "for the edifying improvement of the inhabitants and Indians thereabouts." To obviate, as much as possible, the dangers of life among the latter, he required that all his colonists, except the farmers and tobacco-planters, should live near each other, so as to form a church neighborhood. At his death his estate descended to his eldest son, JOHANNES; but the latter, being under age, was placed under the guardianship of Johannes Van Wely and Wouter Van Twiller, who rendered homage to the states-general in the name of their ward. But the colony had in reality become an independent power, and was regarded as injurious to the rights of the province. The West India company became jealous for their privileges, and in 1648 Peter Stuyvesant, then governor of New Amsterdam, went with a military escort up the Hudson river, ordered that no buildings should be erected within a prescribed distance of Fort Orange, and in many ways attempted to cut off the powers of the patroon of Rensselaerswick. A bitter controversy with Brandt Arent Van Slechtenhorst, the director, ensued, but in 1674 the West India company confessed that Stuyvesant's aggressions were unwarranted and in violation of the colony's charter. While this controversy was in progress, JAN BAPTIST Van Rensselaer, the second son of the first patroon, came to this country as the representative of his brother Johannes, his commission as director dating 8 May, 1652. He retired in 1658, worn out by controversies with Stuyvesant, and was succeeded by his brother Jeremias. Jan Baptist built; the Van Rensselaer mansion, and brought from Holland massive and elaborately carved furniture, large quantities of silver plate, and many portraits of his ancestors. The manor house; in internal improvements and finish, resembled the Holland homestead. The lord of the manor resided there with his tenantry, maintaining the authority of a landed lord in Europe. The second patroon, Johannes, never came to this country. --Killian's third son, Jeremias, born in Amsterdam, Holland, about 1632 ; died in Rensselaerswick, New York, in October, 1674, was in charge of the colony for sixteen years. He was treated with respect and courtesy by Stuyvesant, by whom, when the province was threatened by the English, he was invited to New Amsterdam to preside over the convention that assembled there, to take measures of defence. When the English gained possession of New Netherlands in 1664, he took the oath of allegiance to the Duke of York. According to the terms of surrender, he was left in peaceable possession of the colony, and conducted its affairs without interference from the new government. He was confirmed in most of his rights and privileges, and the colony was erected into a manor and governed according to English rule. The village of Beverwyck, which had grown up under the shadow of old Fort Orange, was detached from the manor, and incorporated into the city of Albany. Van Rensselaer soon acquired reputation as an executive officer: his correspondence, which is still preserved by his descendants, is a valuable record of events, and attests his great energy and business-like qualities. He also wrote to Holland minute accounts of various occurrences in this country under the pen-name of the " New Netherland Mercury." He preserved peace with the neighboring Indians, and so attached them to him that they guarded his estates as carefully as they did their own. He married Maria Van Cortlandt. Jeremias was succeeded by his nephew, KILLIAN, son of Johannes. His patent was issued in 1685, under the title of first lord of the manor, and third patroon. By this patent the heirs in Albany relinquished to the heirs in Holland all title and right to the land in Holland, and the Hollanders gave up all the Albany settlement. Killian died without issue, and was succeeded by Jeremias's son, Killian, second lord of the manor, born in Rensselaerswick in 1662; died there in 1719. He was an officer of militia and a magistrate, represented the manor in the assembly in 1693-1704, and was a member of the council from the latter date until his death. In 1705 he conveyed Claver-ark, or the "lower manor," to his brother, Hendrick. He married Maria, daughter of Stephen Van Cortlandt.--Jeremias's brother, Nicholas, clergyman, born in Amsterdam about 1638; died in Albany, New York, in 1678, was the fourth son of the first patroon. He was liberally educated in Holland, and studied theology there, but began a tour of Europe before taking his degree. In Brussels he met Charles II. of England, who was then in exile, and Van Rensselaer predicted to him that he would be restored to the throne. He subsequently went to England as chaplain, to the Dutch embassy, and the king, recognizing him and recollecting his prediction, gave him a gold snuff-box with his likeness in the lid, which is still in possession of the Van Rens-selaer family. After the Dutch ambassador left Great Britain, Van Rensselaer was licensed by Charles to preach to the Dutch congregation at Westminster, was ordained a deacon in the English church, and appointed lecturer at St. Margaret's, Lothbury. When Sir Edmond Andros was commissioned governor of the New Netherlands, in 1674, Van Rensselaer accompanied him to this country, bearing a letter of recommendation from the Duke of York, in which he requested that Van Rensselaer be placed in charge of one of the Dutch churches in New York or Albany when there should be a vacancy. He became colleague pastor of the church in Albany shortly after his arrival, and in September, 1675, was invited by the governor to preach in the Dutch church in New York; but the pastor, William Van Nieuwenhuysen, absented himself from the service, and forbade Van Rensselaer's baptizing any children that might be presented for that ordinance. Subsequent events proved that Van Nieuwenhuysen rejected his ordination as not being in conformity with the order of the Dutch churches, nor with the terms of the treaty. Van Rensselaer referred the matter to the governor and council, and the trial was considered of much importance by both the church and the civil authorities, since it involved their privileges and rights, as defined in the articles under which the province was surrendered to the English. Nieuwenhuysen and his consistory presented a written answer, which was rather in justification of the former's conduct toward Van Rensselaer than a formal answer to the question why he should not be allowed to preach. The matter was passed over, and Van Rensselaer returned to his charge in Albany; but in 1676 he was thrown into prison, " for some dubious words spoken in a sermon," Jacob Leisler and Jacob Milburne making the complaint. He appealed to the governor and council, and gave a bond of 1,500 guilders to prosecute the matter to the end. Leisler failed to furnish the bond that was required of him, a warrant was issued for his arrest, and the churches and people were thrown into a ferment. At last a court was held at Albany, before which Van Rensselaer and Nieuwenhuysen appeared with papers and witnesses. After a review of the whole case, they were told by order of the governor "to be recon-riled according to Christian love and duty." They answered, "With all our hearts," and the court ordered the parties to " forgive and forget," and that Leisler and Jacob Milburne pay the whole costs, as giving the first occasion for the differences. Van Rensselaer again resumed his charge, but a year later he was refused a seat among the elders. It was resolved that he have a suitable one behind the magistrates, but in 1677 he was deposed by the governor, "on account," say the Reformed church authorities, "of his scandalous life" ; but this is not substantiated by unprejudiced witnesses. He left no children.--His wife, ALIDA, was the daughter of Philip Schuyler, and subsequently married Robert Livingston.--Killian's grandson, STEPHEN, inherited the manor, removed the old house, and in. 1765 built the present mansion, seen in the illustration. He governed under the title of the seventh patroon, he married Catherine Livingston, daughter of Philip Livingston, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and with his father-in-law "sternly opposed the encroachments of the crown." --Their son, Stephen, eighth patroon, born in New York, 1 November, 1765; died in Albany, New York, 26 January. 1839, was graduated at Harvard in 1782, and the next year married Margaret, daughter of General Philip Schuyler. He was always addressed by courtesy as the patroon, although with the establishment of the colonial government he lost his baronial rights. After leaving college he entered at once on the improvement of his splendid although somewhat diminished estates, and, to induce farmers to settle on his lands, placed rentals so low that they yielded only one per cent. at a fair valuation. In consequence he soon had 900 farms of 150 acres each under cultivation. Having secured his patrimony, he entered politics, and, as a great landholder and at the same time an ardent patriot, was destined to bridge the chasm between the two opposite political systems. He was chosen to the assembly in 1789 as a Federalist, became a leader of that party, was state senator in 1791-'6, lieutenant-governor in 1795, and in 1798 and 1808-'10 was in the assembly. He became major of militia in 1786, colonel in 1788, and major-general in 1801. He was one of the first to propose the establishment of a canal between Hudson river and the great lakes, was appointed in 1810 a commissioner to report to the assembly on the route, and made an investigating tour of it the same year, the report of which was favorably received in 1811 ; but the project was delayed by the beginning of the second war with Great Britain. In 1812 he was appointed to command the United States forces on the northern frontier. Although he opposed the war as premature, he at once organized a militia force that was sufficient in numbers to overrun the province of Upper Canada. But he had no regular soldiers, and his officers were deficient in both courage and military skill. On 13-14 October, 1812, he fought the battle of Queenston Heights. The importance of that place arose from the fact that it was the terminus of the portage between Lake Ontario and the upper lakes. General Van Rensselaer had minute information as to the situation and strength of each post of the enemy on the western bank of Niagara river, and his force numbered 6,000 men. Tile immediate command of the attacking party was assigned to Lieutenant-Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer, who, on the morning of 13 October, with 300 militia and 300 regulars, under Lieutenant-Colonel John Chrystie, crossed the river. After a brilliant attack by Van Rensselaer, who received wounds that compelled him to withdraw, Captain John E. Wool assumed command and stormed and captured the heights. The next day British re-enforcements, numbering 1,300 soldiers and 500 Indians, arrived under command of General Roger II. Sheaffe. The militia on the American shore could overlook the battle-field and see the approach of Sheaffe; but when General Stephen Van Rensselaer attempted to move them across the river to the support of the American force, they refused to stir. The law provides that militia shall not be compelled to serve beyond the bounds of their state against their will. They fell back on this privilege, and Van Rensselaer was powerless to induce them to fight. The Americans on the heights were unable to hold their position, and on the afternoon of 14 October surrendered in a body. In his official despatches General Van Rensselaer ascribes the disaster to the refusal of the militia to go to the aid of the captors of the heights. He was severely censured for his tardiness in making the attack, and the fact that he was a leader of the Federalist party, and opposed to the war, increased public dissatisfaction. On 24 October he resigned his command and left the service. At the close of the war he again became canal commissioner, and chairman of the commission. When the Erie and Champlain canals were completed in 1825 he had been president of their boards for fourteen years. He was chosen to the assembly in 1818, served in the State constitutional convention in 1821 and in congress in 1823-'9, having been elected to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Solomon Van Rensselaer. In that body he earnestly supported John Quincy Adams for the presidency. He became a regent of the University of New York in 1819, and was subsequently its chancellor until his death. He promoted the interests of the State agricultural society, and was its president in 1820. Under his direction and at his expense Professor Amos Eaton made a geological survey along the line of the canal from Albany to Buffalo, New York, in 1821-'3, and of another line that began in Massachusetts, From the data collected in these surveys he became convinced of the need for further technical education; to supply which he founded Rensselaer polytechnic institute at Troy, defraying for a long time half of its expenses. Yale gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1825. General Van Rensselaer was tall, of commanding presence, and had dark, expressive eyes. He was the patron of benevolent objects. His second wife, whom he married in 1802, was Cornelia, daughter of Chief-Justice William Paterson, of New Jersey. He published "An Agricultural and Geological Survey of the District adjoining the Erie Canal" (Albany, 1824).--His eldest son, Stephen, the last patroon, born in Albany, New York, 29 March, 1789; died there, 25 May, 1868, was graduated at Princeton in 1808, and inheriting the manor by his father's will, at his death became the last patroon. During the anti-rent troubles in 1839 he sold his townships, and at his death the manor passed out of the hands of his descendants. He was an accomplished gentleman of the old school, and served as major-general of militia. He married Harriet Elizabeth, daughter of William Bayard, of New York. --Another son of General Stephen, Cortlandt, clergyman, born in Albany, New York, 26 May, 1808; died in Burlington, New Jersey, 25 July, 1860, was graduated at Yale in 1827, studied at Union theological seminary, Prince Edward county, Virginia, and at Princeton theological seminary. He was a missionary to the slaves in Virginia in 1833-'5, was ordained the latter year, became pastor of the Presbyterian church in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1837, of the 2d Presbyterian church, Washington, D.C., in 1841, and agent of Princeton theological seminary in 1844, raising $100,000 for its endowment, he was secretary of the Presbyterian board of education in 1846-'60, and founded and edited the "Presbyterian Magazine" and "The Home, the School, and the Church." The University of New York gave him the degree of D. D. in 1845. Much of his large fortune was devoted to benevolent objects and to the religious enterprises of the Presbyterian church. After his death, selections from his published writings appeared under the title of "Miscellaneous Sermons, Essays, and Addresses," edited by his son, Cortlandt Van Rensselaer (Philadelphia, 1861). --Another son of Stephen, Henry, soldier, born in Albany, New York, in 1810; died in Cincinnati, Ohio, 23 March, 1864, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1831, but resigned from the army the next year and engaged in farming near Ogdensburg, New York. He was a member of congress in 1841-'3, having been chosen as a Whig, and in 1855-'60 was president of mining companies. At the beginning of the civil war he was appointed chief-of-staff to General Winfield Scott, with the rank of brigadier-general, and he became inspector-general with the rank of colonel on the retirement of Gem Scott, served in the Department of the Rappahannock in April and August, 1862, subsequently in the 3d army corps, and in the Department of the Ohio from 17 September until his death.--The elder Stephen's brother, Philip S, mayor of Albany, born in Albany, 15 April, 1767; died there, 25 September, 1824, became mayor of Albany in 1799, and held of-rice for nineteen years, the longest service of any mayor of that city. He was a public-spirited, energetic officer, and active in promoting educational, moral, and religious interests, he married Ann Van Cortlandt. He was president of the Albany Bible society for many years, a trustee of Union, and a founder of Albany academy.--General Stephen's kinsman, Jeremiah, congressman, born in New York in 1741; died in Albany, New York, 22 February, 1810, was graduated at Princeton, in 1758, actively supported the Revolution, and was a member of the 1st congress, serving in 1789-'91. He was a presidential elector in 1800, and lieutenant-governor of New York in 1800-'4. He was active in the promotion of schemes for internal improvement, and a member of the Inland navigation company, of which Philip Schuyler was the first president.--The second son of the first Jeremias, Hendrick, landowner, born near Albany, New York, about 1667 ; died there in July, 1740, was the founder of the Claverack branch of the Van Rensselaer family. He received as his portion of his grandfather Killian's estate what was known as the Claverack patent, containing about 62,000 acres of land in Columbia county, and 1,500 acres out of the manor proper, opposite the city of Albany. He built a substantial brick house on the latter estate and one at Claverack, which is still standing. He was employed in many public capacities, being mayor of Albany, commissioner of Indian affairs, and a representative in the assembly. In 1698 he bought from the Schaghticoke Indians a tract of six square miles on Hoosac river, for which he procured a patent. This put-chase interfered greatly with the city of Albany, and, Van Rensselaer declining to sell his patent to the council, the controversy became a state affair. In 1699 the dispute was amicably settled and he passed his patent over to the city. His wife was a granddaughter of Anneke Jans Bogardus, through whom their descendants became heirs to Trinity church farm.--His grandson, Henry Killian, soldier, born near Albany in 1744; died in Greenbush, New York, 9 September, 1816, commanded a New York regiment during the Revolution, was wounded at the capture of General Burgoyne, and carried the ball in his body for thirty-five years. In July, 1777, he was attacked by a large force near Fort Ann, and made a brave resistance, but, learning of the abandonment of Fort Ticonderoga, withdrew after receiving another severe wound. He was subsequently a general of militia.--His son, Solomon, soldier, born in Rensselaer county, New York, 6 August, 1774; died in Albany, New York, 23 April, 1852, entered the service, 14 March, 1792, as a cornet of cavalry. He became captain, raised a volunteer company, and, pushing through the wilderness, joined General Anthony Wayne in Ohio in the Miami campaign. At the battle of Maumee Rapids in August, 1794, he made a brilliant and effective charge against the savages, and was shot, it was supposed fatally, through the lungs. A litter was sent to take him from the battle-field, but he refused to be laid upon it. "You young dog, then how are you going?" exclaimed General Wayne. "I am an officer of the cavalry, and I shall go on horseback," was his reply. "You will drop by the road," said Wayne. "If I do, just cover me up and let me die there," said Van Rensselaer. He was mounted on his own charger, as he desired, and one of his own dragoons, on either side, supported him five or six miles. When his cousin, Stephen, became brigadier-general of the forces of the north in 1812, he became adjutant-general of New York militia, and negotiated the important agreement by which Lake Ontario was granted by the British during an armistice as a public highway for purposes of transportation of American troops and stores. At the assault of Queenston Heights, 13 October, 1812, he commanded the attacking party, was the first to spring ashore, on a large rock at the foot of the rapids, and with 225 men, formed under a fierce fire, climbed the bank and routed the enemy at the point of the bayonet, but fell with several wounds. He served in congress in 1819-'22, having been chosen as a Federalist, and was postmaster at Albany in 1822-'39. He accompanied Governor George Clinton to Ohio in 1824 in the interest of the Erie canal, and was one of the delegates from the state of New York at its opening on 4 November, 1825. In 1797 he married Harriet, daughter of Colonel Philip Van Rensselaer. He published a " Narrative of the Affair at Queenston" (New York, 1836). See "A Legacy of Historical Gleanings," by his daughter, Mrs. Catherine Van Rensselaer Bonney (Albany, New York, 1875).--Henry's brother, Nicholas, soldier, born in Rensselaer county, New York, in 1754; died in Albany, New York, in 1848, was a colonel in the Revolution, and served with gallantry on the heights of Stillwater. After the surrender of General Burgoyne he was despatched by General Horatio Gates to announce the news at Albany.--Another brother of Henry, Killian K, congressman, born in Rensselaer county, New York, in 1763; died in Albany, 18 June, 1845, after receiving a thorough education entered the law, and attained reputation at the bar. He was chosen to congress as a Democrat in 1800, and served by re-election till 1811.--Another great-grandson of the first Jeremias, Robert, soldier, born in Claverack, New York, in 1741 ; died there, 11 September, 1802, was a general of militia during the Revolution, and commanded the force that pursued and defeated Sir John Johnson on his Mohawk valley raid in 1780. For a full history of the Van Rensselaer family, see "Colonial New York," by George W. Schuyler (2 vols., New York, 1885).

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM

Start your search on Killian Van Rensselaer.


 

 

 



Unauthorized Site: This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected, associated with or authorized by the individual, family, friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated sites that are related to this subject will be hyper linked below upon submission and Evisum, Inc. review.

Copyright© 2000 by Evisum Inc.TM. All rights reserved.
Evisum Inc.TM Privacy Policy

Search:

About Us

 

 

Image Use

In this powerful, historic work, Stanley Yavneh Klos unfolds the complex 15-year U.S. Founding period revealing, for the first time, four distinctly different United American Republics.  This is history on a splendid scale -- a book about the not quite unified American Colonies and States that would eventually form a fourth republic, with only 11 states, the United States of America: We The People Click Here

 

Childhood & Family

Click Here

 

Historic Documents

Articles of Association

Articles of Confederation 1775

Articles of Confederation

Article the First

Coin Act

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Monroe Doctrine

Northwest Ordinance

No Taxation Without Representation

Thanksgiving Proclamations

Mayflower Compact

Treaty of Paris 1763

Treaty of Paris 1783

Treaty of Versailles

United Nations Charter

United States In Congress Assembled

US Bill of Rights

United States Constitution

US Continental Congress

US Constitution of 1777

US Constitution of 1787

Virginia Declaration of Rights

 

Historic Events

Battle of New Orleans

Battle of Yorktown

Cabinet Room

Civil Rights Movement

Federalist Papers

Fort Duquesne

Fort Necessity

Fort Pitt

French and Indian War

Jumonville Glen

Manhattan Project

Stamp Act Congress

Underground Railroad

US Hospitality

US Presidency

Vietnam War

War of 1812

West Virginia Statehood

Woman Suffrage

World War I

World War II

 

Is it Real?



Declaration of
Independence

Digital Authentication
Click Here

 

America’s Four Republics
The More or Less United States

 
Continental Congress
U.C. Presidents

Peyton Randolph

Henry Middleton

Peyton Randolph

John Hancock

  

Continental Congress
U.S. Presidents

John Hancock

Henry Laurens

John Jay

Samuel Huntington

  

Constitution of 1777
U.S. Presidents

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Johnston
Elected but declined the office

Thomas McKean

John Hanson

Elias Boudinot

Thomas Mifflin

Richard Henry Lee

John Hancock
[
Chairman David Ramsay]

Nathaniel Gorham

Arthur St. Clair

Cyrus Griffin

  

Constitution of 1787
U.S. Presidents

George Washington 

John Adams
Federalist Party


Thomas Jefferson
Republican* Party

James Madison 
Republican* Party

James Monroe
Republican* Party

John Quincy Adams
Republican* Party
Whig Party

Andrew Jackson
Republican* Party
Democratic Party


Martin Van Buren
Democratic Party

William H. Harrison
Whig Party

John Tyler
Whig Party

James K. Polk
Democratic Party

David Atchison**
Democratic Party

Zachary Taylor
Whig Party

Millard Fillmore
Whig Party

Franklin Pierce
Democratic Party

James Buchanan
Democratic Party


Abraham Lincoln 
Republican Party

Jefferson Davis***
Democratic Party

Andrew Johnson
Republican Party

Ulysses S. Grant 
Republican Party

Rutherford B. Hayes
Republican Party

James A. Garfield
Republican Party

Chester Arthur 
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland
Democratic Party

Benjamin Harrison
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland 
Democratic Party

William McKinley
Republican Party

Theodore Roosevelt
Republican Party

William H. Taft 
Republican Party

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic Party

Warren G. Harding 
Republican Party

Calvin Coolidge
Republican Party

Herbert C. Hoover
Republican Party

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic Party

Harry S. Truman
Democratic Party

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican Party

John F. Kennedy
Democratic Party

Lyndon B. Johnson 
Democratic Party 

Richard M. Nixon 
Republican Party

Gerald R. Ford 
Republican Party

James Earl Carter, Jr. 
Democratic Party

Ronald Wilson Reagan 
Republican Party

George H. W. Bush
Republican Party 

William Jefferson Clinton
Democratic Party

George W. Bush 
Republican Party

Barack H. Obama
Democratic Party

Please Visit

Forgotten Founders
Norwich, CT

Annapolis Continental
Congress Society


U.S. Presidency
& Hospitality

© Stan Klos

 

 

 

 


Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum