Frederick Philipse

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Frederick Philipse (1626, Bolsward, Netherlands – December 23, 1702 [1]), Lord of Philipse Manor, was a Dutch immigrant to North America of Bohemian heritage who rose to become one of the greatest landholders in the New Netherlands. He owned the vast stretch of land spanning from Spuyten Duyvil Creek in the Bronx to the Croton River, the bulk of modern Westchester County.

When the British took over the Dutch colony Philipse pledged his allegiance to the Crown and was rewarded with a title and manorship. Serving later on the Governor's executive council, he was subsequently banned from government office for conducting a slave trade into New York.

His descendants acquired substantial land north of modern Westchester sanctioned as the royal Philipse Patent. Stripped from the family after the Revolution for their Tory sympathies, it became today's Putnam County.


Frederick Philipse was a self-made man who emigrated from the Friesland area of the Netherlands to Flatbush, New Netherland, on Long Island, and began his career by selling iron nails then rose to become an owner of taverns. When he first purchased land on the mainland, which later became Westchester County, New York, he enticed friends from New Amsterdam and Long Island to move with him with the promise of free land and limited taxes.

After swearing allegiance to the English and later being granted his manorship from them, he began construction of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow. Although this project had financing, work likely progressed slowly and was completed in 1685. Philipse held 52,000 acres (210 km²) of land along the Hudson River, where he built, among other structures, a simple residence in Yonkers, New York. Later it was expanded by his descendents into a full-fledged mansion, Philipse Manor. The neighborhood of Kingsbridge, Bronx, is named for his bridge over the Harlem River.

In 1685 Philipse imported about 50 slaves directly from Angola on his own ship.[2] He was on the Governor's executive council from 1691 to 1698, when he was banned from government office by the British governor, Lord Bellomont, for conducting a slave trade into New York.[2]


The Philipse family is of Bohemian origin, according to Supreme Court Justice John Jay, a descendant: “Frederick Philipse, whose family, originally of Bohemia, had been compelled by popish persecution to take refuge in Holland, from whence he had emigrated to New York.” [3]

Philipse's first wife, Margaret, died in 1691. A year after her death, he married the widow Catharine Van Cortlandt Derval, the sister of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, an adviser to the provincial governor. Her brother Jacobus Van Cortlandt married Frederick's adopted daughter Eva and their son Frederick Van Cortlandt later built the Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York.[4] Philipse is buried with his two wives in the crypt of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow.

Frederick's son Adolphus Philipse[5] inherited his vast lands and title and his great-grandson, Frederick Philipse III, moved to Yonkers, New York, and leased the entirety of his property to William Pugsley before siding with the British in the American Revolution and leaving New York City for England in 1783. After the Revolution, New York confiscated Philipse's property and that of other loyalists. The entirety of the family property was divided up into almost 200 different parcels of land, with the vast majority becoming today's Putnam County, New York, in the form of the Philipse Patent, and other large parcels going to Dutch New York businessman Henry Beekman.

Descendants of Frederick Philipse[edit]

  • John Marshall Brown (1838–1907), [1], Captain and assistant. adjunct. general of ME volunteers and served in SC and FL; commanded regiment at Totopotomy and Cold Harbor and preliminary movements a Petersburg, VA.
  • Samuel Sprigg Caroll (1832–1893) [2], military officer in Northern VA campaign and Battle Cedar Mountain; commandant brigade at battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.
  • Matthew Clarkson (1758–1825), major-general of NY State Militia; served with Gen. B. Lincoln until end of Revolutionary War, participated in siege of Savannah, defense of Charleston, present at surrender of Yorktown (1781).
  • John Jay (1745–1829), delegate and president of Continental Congress, drafter of the US Constitution, US Ambassador to France and Spain, first Chief Justice of the US
  • William Jay (1789–1858) [3], prominent jurist and reformer, active abolitionist
  • Henry Brockholst Livingston (1757–1823), Justice of US Supreme Court
  • Alexander Slidell MacKenzie (1842–67), an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War and his brother General Ranald S. Mackenzie.
  • Jay Pierrepont Moffat (1896–1943), notable American diplomat, historian and statesman who, between 1917 and 1943, served the State Department in a variety of posts, including that of Ambassador to Canada during the first year of United States participation in World War II.
  • John Watts de Peyster (1821–1907), Brigadier General in the New York State Militia during the American Civil War and philanthropist and military historian after the war.
  • Mary Philipse (1730–1825) [4], a possible early romantic interest of George Washington, loyalist, wife of Roger Morris (British Army officer), first owner of the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Manhattan.
  • Sir Frederick Philipse Robinson (1763–1852), son of a Virginian soldier who fought for England during the American War of Independence, also was an Empire Loyalist.
  • Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright III (1864–1945), [5] US Congressman and Army officer in the Spanish–American War.
  • Charlotte Margaret Philipse (Grand Daughter of Frederick Philipse II). Married Edward Webber, Lieutenant-General of the English military and lived in Wales.
  • James Phillips Webber (1797-1877), son of Edward Webber and hence great grandson of Frederick Philipse II, obtained a grant of land in Paterson, NSW, Australia in 1822. He lived there until 1835, when he left the colony and eventually settled in La Maddalena, Sardinia, Italy, where he built Villa Webber (Villa Webber is named after him.) In 1943 Benito Mussolini was imprisoned in Villa Webber.
  • John Phillips Webber (1800-1845), son of Edward Webber, also received a grant of land in New South Wales, Australia, and lived there for a while before returning to London, where he died in 1845.
  • Edward Montgomery Affleck Webber (1802-1884), son of Edward Webber, lived in Wales all his life, in the Overton, Erbistock area.


  1. ^ Frank Allaben "Frederick Philipse" in "John Watts de Peyster. Volume 1", Adamant Media Corporation, ISBN 1-4021-4454-7, pp. 62-63
  2. ^ a b Lewis, Tom (2007). The Hudson: A History. Yale University Press. pp. 109–112. ISBN 0-300-11990-9. 
  3. ^ (William Jay, The Life of John Jay: with selection of his correspondence and miscellaneous papers. New York: J. & J Harper, 1833, p. 10). On his Bohemian aristocratic ancestry, see also: Thomas Capek, Ancestry of Frederick Philipse: First Lord and Founder of Philipse Manor at Yonkers, N. Y. New York: The Paebar Co., 1939.
  4. ^ Jeff Canning and Wally Buxton, History of the Tarrytowns. Harrison, NJ: Harbor Hill Books, 1975.
  5. ^
  • Jeff Canning and Wally Buxton (1975). History of the Tarrytowns: Westchester County, New York, from ancient times to the present. Harrison, NJ: Harbor Hill Books. p. 29. ISBN 0-916346-14-5. 
  • Brian Walsh (2007). James Phillips Webber: The Man and the Mystery. Paterson, NSW, Australia: CB Alexander Foundation. ISBN 978-0-73130615-2. 

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