Abraham Van Vechten

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Abraham Van Vechten
Abraham Van Vechten.jpg
Member of the New York State Senate
from the Middle District
In office
July 1, 1816 – June 30, 1819
New York State Attorney General
In office
February 13, 1813 – February 17, 1815
Governor Daniel D. Tompkins
Preceded by Thomas Addis Emmet
Succeeded by Martin Van Buren
In office
February 2, 1810 – February 1, 1811
Governor Daniel D. Tompkins
Preceded by Matthias B. Hildreth
Succeeded by Matthias B. Hildreth
Member of the New York State Assembly
from Albany Co.
In office
July 1, 1805 – June 30, 1813
Member of the New York State Senate
from the Eastern District
In office
July 1, 1798 – June 30, 1805
Personal details
Born (1762-12-05)December 5, 1762
Catskill, Albany County, New York
Died January 6, 1837(1837-01-06) (aged 74)
Albany, New York
Nationality American
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Catharina Schuyler
(m. 1784; her death 1820)
Children 13
Parents Teunis Van Vechten
Judikje Ten Broeck
Alma mater Columbia College
Profession Lawyer, politician

Abraham Van Vechten (December 5, 1762 – January 6, 1837)[1] was an American lawyer and a Federalist politician who served twice as New York State Attorney General.

Early life[edit]

Abraham Van Vechten was born on December 5, 1762 in Catskill, Albany County (now Greene County), New York. He was the son of Dutch Americans Teunis Van Vechten (1707–1785) and Judikje "Judith" Ten Broeck (1721–1783).[2]

His brothers were Samuel Ten Broeck Van Vechten (1742–1813) and Teunis Van Vechten (1749–1817), who became a prominent merchant in Albany and held the office of commissary on the staff of Governor Morgan Lewis during the revolution.[2] Their maternal grandfather was Jacob Ten Broeck (1688–1746), nephew of Dirck Wesselse Ten Broeck (1638–1717). Van Vechten was educated at Columbia College, studied law with John Lansing, Jr., and began practice in Johnstown, New York, but soon removed to Albany.[2]


In 1792, he was elected one of the first directors of the Bank of Albany.[2] From 1796 to 1797, he was Assistant Attorney General for the Fifth District, comprising Albany, Saratoga, Schoharie and Montgomery Counties. He was a Federalist presidential elector in 1796, and cast his votes for John Adams and Thomas Pinckney.[2]

Van Vechten was the first lawyers admitted to the bar after the adoption of the New York State Constitution and ranked among the most gifted men of that time, including Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and Robert Livingston.[1][3][4]

Public office[edit]

From 1797 to 1808, Van Vechten served as Recorder of the City of Albany. Concurrently, he was a member of the New York State Senate, serving in the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th New York State Legislatures from 1798 to 1805, representing the Eastern District, which included Washington, Clinton, Rensselaer, Albany and Saratoga counties.[5]

After leaving the Senate, he was elected to the New York State Assembly, serving in the 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th and 36th New York State Legislatures from 1808 to 1813, representing Albany County. While serving in the Assembly, he also served as the 10th New York State Attorney General from 1810 to 1811, and again from 1813 to 1815 as the 13th Attorney General, under Governor Daniel D. Tompkins.[6] His successor was Martin Van Buren, who later became the 8th President of the United States.[5]

After serving as Attorney General of New York, he was elected to return to the State Senate, serving in the 39th, 40th, 41st and 42nd New York State Legislatures from 1816 to 1819, representing the Middle District, which included Albany, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Orange, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties.[5]

In 1821, he was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention, where he opposed the extension of the franchise.[4] From 1797 to 1823, he was a regent of the University of the State of New York.[2]

In the 1828 presidential election, Van Vechten was a presidential elector, voting for the 6th President, John Quincy Adams and Richard Rush.[2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1784, he married Catharina Schuyler (1766–1820), eldest daughter of Philip P. Schuyler (1736–1808)[7] of the prominent Schuyler family. She grew up on her father's farm in the Schuyler Flatts section of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck.[8] Catharina was the great-granddaughter of Pieter Schuyler (1657–1724), the first mayor of Albany, and Maria Van Rensselaer, daughter of Jeremias Van Rensselaer (1632–1674). Together, they had thirteen children, including:[9]

  • Judith Van Vechten (1785–1799)
  • Phillip Van Vechten (1786–1814)
  • Teunis A Van Vechten (1787–1811)
  • Anna Van Vechten (1789–1857)
  • Elizabeth Van Vechten (1791–1878)
  • Samuel Van Vechten (1794–1824)
  • Gertrude Van Vechten (1798–1842)
  • Jacob Ten Broeck Van Vechten (1801–1841)
  • Judith Van Vechten (1803–1825)

Van Vechten died in Albany on January 6, 1837,[10] and was buried at Albany Rural Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b "Abraham Van Vechten Papers, 1686-1867 SC7006". nysl.nysed.gov. The New York State Library. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Sullivan, Robert G. "Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: Van Vechten". www.schenectadyhistory.org. Schenectady County Public Library. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Founders Online: From Alexander Hamilton to Abraham Van Vechten, [20 April 1790]". founders.archives.gov. Columbia University Press. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Fitch, Charles Elliott (1916). "Abraham Van Vechten, 1762-1837". www.nycourts.gov. Encyclopedia of biography of New York, vol. 1. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Hough, Franklin B. (1858). The New York Civil List: containing the names and origin of the civil divisions, and the names and dates of election or appointment of the principal state and county officers from the Revolution to the present time. Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons and Co. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  6. ^ Giddings, Rev. Edward J. (1890). American Christian Rulers: Or, Religion and Men of Government; Comprising Sketches in American History of Men of Christian Faith and Experience, who Have Had Connections with the National and State Governments and the Judicial Department; Embracing Colonial, Revolutionary and Later Periods. Bromfield. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  7. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Philip P. Schuyler". exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov. New York State Museum. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  8. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Abraham Van Vechten". nysm.nysed.gov. New York State Museum. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  9. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Catharina Schuyler Van Vechten". exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov. New York State Museum. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "New York Genealogy: Death of Abraham Van Vechten at Albany, 1837". theoldentimes.com. The Newark Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Matthias B. Hildreth
New York State Attorney General
Succeeded by
Matthias B. Hildreth
Preceded by
Thomas Addis Emmet
New York State Attorney General
Succeeded by
Martin Van Buren