Frederick Philipse

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Frederick Philipse
1st Lord of the Philipsburg Manor
In office
Preceded byCreated
Succeeded byFrederick Philipse II
Personal details
Frederick Flypsen

Bolsward, Lordship of Frisia, Dutch Republic
DiedDecember 23, 1702
Province of New York, British America
(m. 1662; died 1691)
Catharine Van Cortlandt Derval
(m. 1692)
Children11, including Philip, Adolphus
Parent(s)Vicount Philipse
Margaret Dacres
OccupationLandowner, merchant

Frederick Philipse (born Frederick Flypsen;[1] 1626 in Bolsward, Netherlands – December 23, 1702[2]), first Lord of the Manor of Philipseborough (Philipsburg) and patriarch of the Philipse family, was a Dutch immigrant to North America of Bohemian heritage.[3] A merchant, he arrived in America as early as 1653.[1] In 1662, he married Margaret Hardenbrook de Vries, a wealthy and driven widow. Together, and variously in league with slavers, pirates, and other undesirables alongside the prominent and respectable, the couple amassed a fortune.[1]

Beginning in 1672 Philipse and some partners started acquiring land in what was to become lower Westchester County, New York. When the British took over the Dutch colony in 1674, Philipse pledged his allegiance to the Crown and was rewarded with a title and manorship for his holdings, which ultimately grew to some 81 sq mi (210 km2). Serving later on the governor's executive council, he was subsequently banned from government office for conducting a slave trade into New York.

Upon his death, Philipse was one of the greatest landholders in the Province of New York. He owned the vast stretch of land spanning from Spuyten Duyvil Creek in the Bronx (then in lower Westchester County), to the Croton River. He was regarded by some as the richest man in the colony.[1] His son Adolphus acquired substantial land north of modern Westchester sanctioned as the royal Philipse Patent. Stripped from the family after the Revolution for their Tory sympathies, the some 250 sq mi (650 km2) tract became the present-day Putnam County, New York.


A map of Philipsburg Manor with current borders overlaid on the property

Frederick Philipse 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.

The land that would become Philipsburg Manor was first bought from Adriaen van der Donck, who had invested in an unsuccessful Dutch patroonship in New Netherland before the English takeover in 1664. Frederick Philipse I, Thomas Delavall, and Thomas Lewis purchased the first tracts of land in 1672 in current-day northern Yonkers. Philipse made several additional purchases between 1680 and 1686 from the Wiechquaeskeck and Sintsink Indian tribes, expanding the property to both the north and south; he also bought a small plot of land from the Tappans west of the Hudson River.[where?]

Philipse also bought out his partners' stakes during this time,[4] enticing friends from New Amsterdam and Long Island to move with him with the promise of free land and limited taxes. The manor grew to around 52,000 acres (21,000 ha), about 81 sq mi (210 km2) (210 km2), comprising much of today's lower Westchester County, New York.

The estate's boundaries were the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the Croton River, the Hudson River, and the Bronx River. Philipse was granted a royal charter in 1693, creating the Manor of Philipsburg, and making him first lord of the manor. Along with the three other main manors of the colony—Rensselaerswyck, Cortlandt, and Livingston—Philipsburg created one of the richest and most powerful families in the colony.[5]

After swearing allegiance to the English and later being granted his manorship by them, he built in 1693 the first bridge connecting New York City with the mainland, erecting King's Bridge over the Spuyten Duyvil at Marble Hill. He also 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 built a simple residence in today's Getty Square neighborhood of Yonkers, New York near the confluence of the Nepperhan River with the Hudson. Later it was expanded by his descendants into a full-fledged mansion, Philipse Manor Hall. 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.[6] He was also an interloper, trading to the east of the Cape of Good Hope, and becoming a known trading partner of Madagascar pirate-merchants such as Adam Baldridge and Edward Welch, employing traders like Thomas Mostyn and John Thurber to make the New York-to-Madagascar voyages. In the 1690s, Baldridge supplied many of the slaves traded and owned by the Philipse family; in return Philipse sent Baldridge guns, alcohol, and other supplies much in demand by pirates.[7]

Philipse 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.[6]

Philipse died in 1702 and is buried with his two wives in the crypt of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow.[8]


Coat of Arms of Frederick Philipse

The Philipse family is of Bohemian origin. According to Supreme Court Justice John Jay, (whose maternal grandmother, Eva de Vries, had been adopted by Frederick Philipse upon his marriage to Margaret Hardenbroeck de Vries): "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] By another account, Philipse was the son of Vicount Philipse [9] of Bohemia and Margaret Dacres, supposed to have been a lady of good family from the parish of Dacre, England[9]

Philipse had eleven children with his first wife, Margaret:[10] Philip Philipse,[11] Adolphus Philipse, Annetje Philipse, Adolph Phillipse, Anna Philipse, Rombout Philipse, Frederick Phillipse, Charles Phillips, Hendrick Phillips, Catherine Phillips, and William Phillips.[12]

Margaret died in 1691. A year later, Frederick married the widow Catharine Van Cortlandt Derval, who survived him for many years.[13][8] She was 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.[14] Jacobus and Eva's daughter, Mary, was the mother of John Jay by her marriage to Peter Jay.

In 1697 Adolphus Philipse, Frederick's second son, purchased a tract from Dutch traders which received British Royal sanction as the Highland Patent. Subsequently, known as the "Philipse Patent", the roughly 250 square miles parcel extended eastward from the Hudson River at the northern border of Westchester County some 20 or so miles to the Colony of Connecticut.[15]

Philip Philipse, the eldest and heir to the Manor, hereditary title, and family commercial holdings, died in either 1699 or 1700.[16] By predeceasing his father, the legacy that would have gone to Philip bypassed him and was distributed between Adolphus[17] and Philip's son, Frederick Philipse II. By the terms of Frederick Philipse's last will and testament, dated 26 October 1700, proved 1702, Adolphus received all the Manor north of Dobb's Ferry, including the present town. He was also named proprietor of a tract of land on the west bank of the Hudson north of Anthony's Nose and executor of Philip's estate.[18]

After the bachelor Adolphus' death in 1749 (Smith, others 1750), his Manor holdings and the Highland Patent passed to his nephew, Frederick Philipse II, his only heir-at-law, who became the second Lord of the Manor at Philipsborough.[19][20]

On Frederick II's death in 1751 all Manor holdings and the title went to his eldest son Frederick Philipse III, the third Lord of the Manner of Philipsburg. The Highland Patent – today's Philipse Patent – was divided among Frederick II's surviving offspring, son Philip Philipse, and daughters, Susannah (wife of Beverley Robinson), Mary (wife of Col. Roger Morris), and Margaret (who died intestate, her share being divided among the other three).[21]

Frederick III 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, the entire Philipse holdings, including the Manor and other lands in today's Westchester County, and the Highland Patent, were seized by New York and sold by its Commissioners of Forfeitures. In all, the lands were divided up into almost 200 different parcels, with the vast majority of the Philipse Patent becoming today's Putnam County (including the family's namesake Philipstown, established 1788), and other large parcels going to Dutch New York businessman Henry Beekman.[22]


Adolphus Philipse (1665-1749), second son of Frederick, inherited part of the Philipsborough Manor and purchased the Highland Patent. Today known as the Philipse Patent, it became modern Putnam County, New York.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Eva Philipse, adopted daughter of Frederick Philipse I, born Eva de Vries 1660, married Jacobus van Cortland[23]
  • Margaret Philipse, youngest daughter of Frederick II, bap. Feb. 4, 1733;[24] heiress to Philipse Patent, died intestate some time after 1751 bequeathal and before 1754 division; share redistributed to siblings Philip, Mary, and Susanna.[20]
  • Mary Philipse (1730–1825), eldest daughter of Frederick Philipse II, and possible early romantic interest of George Washington, loyalist, wife of British Colonel Roger Morris, owner of the Mount Morris in Manhattan. Heiress to Philipse Patent.[25]
  • Philip Philipse, son of Frederick Philipse II, heir to Philipse Patent.
  • Susanna Philipse, middle daughter of Frederick Philipse II, married to Beverley Robinson, mother of Frederick Philipse Robinson, heiress to Philipse Patent. Possible romantic interest of George Washington.
  • 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.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d Appleton, W.S. The Heraldic Journal, Recording the Amorial Bearings and Genealogies of American Families, Wiggen & Lunt, Boston, 1867
  2. ^ Frank Allaben "Frederick Philipse" in "John Watts de Peyster. Volume 1", Adamant Media Corporation, ISBN 1-4021-4454-7, pp. 62-63
  3. ^ a b (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. ^ Maika, Dennis J. (2005). "Philipsburg Manor". In Peter Eisenstadt (ed.). Encyclopedia of the State of New York (First ed.). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. p. 1199. ISBN 0-8156-0808-X.
  5. ^ Eisenstadt, Peter (2005). "New York State: An Introduction". Encyclopedia of the State of New York (First ed.). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. p. 1199. ISBN 0-8156-0808-X.
  6. ^ a b Lewis, Tom (2007). The Hudson: A History. Yale University Press. pp. 109–112. ISBN 978-0-300-11990-9.
  7. ^ Jameson, John Franklin (1923). Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period: Illustrative Documents. New York: Macmillan. pp. 180–188.
  8. ^ a b Glenn, Thomas Allen, "Some colonial mansions and those who lived in them: With genealogies of the various families mentioned", H. T. Coates & company, Philadelphia1900
  9. ^ a b Savery, Florence M., Cold Springs Recorder, 1912 Spellings of Philipse varied in the New World, among them: F-l-y-p-s-e, F-i-y-p-s-e-n, V-i-y-p-s-e, Y-i-y-p-s-e-n
  10. ^ Morris, F.O., Philipse of Philipsburgh, in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 10 (1856) [1] Married 1662, name listed as "Philipszen", New York Genealogical & Biographical Record (quarterly), 1875, selected extracts
  11. ^ Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site: [2] Philip Philipse, oldest son of Frederick Philipse I, and his wife, Mary, both died in Barbados in 1689 (on September 14 and October 18, respectively). Their death notices, signed by the rector of nearby St. James Church, list cause of death as "belly ake", aka dysentery, a frequent cause of death during that time period on the island.
  12. ^ Philipse profile at
  13. ^ Glenn, p. 258: Her will is dated 7th January, 1730
  14. ^ Jeff Canning and Wally Buxton, History of the Tarrytowns. Harrison, NJ: Harbor Hill Books, 1975.
  15. ^ Smith, Philip Henry, General History of Putnam County: From 1609 to 1876, inclusive, published by the author, Pawling, NY, 1877, p. 44
  16. ^ Morris, F.O., Philipse of Philipsburgh, in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 10 (1856), p. 26: "PHILIP PHILIPSE, of Philipsbourg, born in 1656, who married, at Barbadoes, in 1697 (whither he had been sent by his father to an estate he had there, called Spring Head, and where he quickly recovered his health, having been before of a very delicate constitution), Maria, youngest of the four daughters of ? Sparkes, Esq., governor of Barbadoes, by Joyce, his wife, daughter of ? Farmer, Esq., (two of whom had retumed to their father's estate in Worcestershire, and the others accompanied their parents to the island), and, dying in 1700, left a son and successor. She also died in 1700."
  17. ^ "Philipse family history". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
  18. ^ Glenn, p. 258: "By the will of Frederick Philipse" all that portion of the manor north of Dobb's Ferry, including the present town, became vested in Adolphus Philipse, his second son. This individual "was also proprietor" of a great tract of land north of "Anthony's Nose" and the executor of his brother Philip Philipse's estate, the latter having died in 1714. Adolphus died without issue in 1750, and the whole manor of Philipsborough descended to his nephew, Frederick Philipse, the nearest male heir of the grandfather. This nephew was born in 1698 upon the island of Barbadoes, at an estate called Springhead belonging to his father."
  19. ^ Philipse family history:[3] Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine "At the death of Frederick Philipse in 1751, the Highland Patent was inherited by his son, Philip Philipse, and three daughters, Susannah (wife of Beverly Robinson), Mary (late wife of Col. Roger Morris), and Margaret, who died intestate. Margaret's portion was, by terms of her father's will, equally divided among her brother and sisters, and in 1751, after a survey of the whole tract, it was geographically divided into nine Lots; three on the river; three in the interior; three on the eastern (Connecticut) border. Each of the three heirs inherited a lot in each division."
  20. ^ a b Pelletreau, William, S, History of Putnam County, New York – With Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men, W.W. Preston & Company, Philadelphia, 1886 [4] History of Putnam County, New York
  21. ^ French's Gazetteer of the State of New York (1860): "The Philipses Patent… divided among the remaining three [children] Philip… Susannah married to Beverly Robinson, and Mary married to Col. Roger Morris. On the 7th of Feb 1754, the patent was divided into 9 lots: 3, each 4 mi. square, bordering upon the Hudson and denominated 'water lots;' 3, each 4 mi. wide by 12 long, extending N. and S. across the patent, and denominated 'long lots;' 3, each 4 mi. square, upon the E. border denominated 'back lots.' Philip, Susannah and Mary Philipse each owned one of each kind of lots.
  22. ^ [5] Frederick Philipse genealogy: The entirety of the family property was divided up into almost 200 different parcels of land, with the vast majority of the Philipse Patent becoming today's Putnam County, New York, and other large parcels going to Dutch New York businessman Henry Beekman.
  23. ^ born July 6, 1660; married May 31, 1691
  24. ^ Purple, Edwin R., "Contributions to the History of the Ancient Families of New York: Varleth-Varlet-Varleet-Verlet-Verleth," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 9 (1878), pp. 119-124 [6]
  25. ^ Philipse Memorial Hall website: On March 14, 1757, Joseph Chew began writing a series of letters to George Washington, starting the legend of a Washington/Mary Philipse doomed love. The Washington half of the correspondence has not been found:
    • March 14, 1757: "I am now at Mr. Robinson's, he, Mrs. Robinson and his Dear Little Family are all well and they desire their Compliments to you. Pretty Miss Polly is in the same Condition & situation* as you saw her." * "Condition & situation" refer to Mary's affections for Washington.
    • July 13, 1757: "As to the Latter part of your Letter what shall I say? I often had the Pleasure of Breakfasting with the Charming Polly. Roger Morris* was there (don't be startled) but not always; you know he is a Lady's man…" *Roger Morris ultimately marries Mary Philipse in January 1758.
    • July 13, 1757: "I intend to set out to-morrow for New York where I will not be wanting to let Miss Polly know the sincere Regard a Friend* of mine has for her and I am sure if she had my Eyes to see thro she would Prefer him to all others" * The "Friend" being George Washington.

General and cited references[edit]

  • Jeff Canning; 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.

External links[edit]