Hendrick van Rensselaer

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Hendrick van Rensselaer
Born (1667-10-23)October 23, 1667
Watervliet, New York
Died July 4, 1740(1740-07-04) (aged 72)
Albany, New York
Residence Fort Crailo
Nationality Dutch-American
Occupation Public Officer, Land owner
Known for Director of the Eastern Manor
Parent(s) Jeremias van Rensselaer
Marritje Van Cortlandt
Relatives See Van Rensselaer family

Hendrick van Rensselaer (October 23, 1667 – July 4, 1740) was director of the Eastern patent of the Rensselaerswyck manor. The estate was composed of land in Columbia County, New York, and land opposite Albany, New York, on the Hudson River, named Greenbush (later Rensselaer, New York).[2]

Early life[edit]

Fort Crailo

Hendrick van Rensselaer was born in Watervliet, New York, the fourth child of Jeremias van Rensselaer (1632–1674).

Estate and career[edit]

He received as his portion of his grandfather Kiliaen's estate, variously known as the "Eastern Manor" or "Greenbush." It covered about 62,000 acres of land in Columbia County, and encompassed lands south of Kinderhook, north of Livingston Manor and west to the Hudson River and was the “Lower Manor” to the “Upper Manor” of Rensselaerwyck. It was originally a part of Albany County, now Columbia County, New York. In addition, he received 1,500 acres out of the manor proper, opposite the city of Albany. Hendrick built a substantial brick house on the latter estate named Fort Crailo.[3]

He was a merchant and ship owner who served the public as an alderman in the Albany assembly and on the Commission of Indian Affairs. In 1698 he bought from the Schaghticoke tribe a tract of six square miles on Hoosac River, for which he procured a patent. This purchase interfered greatly with the city of Albany. With 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.[3]


In describing the Van Rensselaer family, historian author William L. Stone stated: "They consisted of eighteen males in 1776. During the war every adult, except two old men, and all minors, except four boys, bore arms in one or more battles during the Revolutionary struggle." George W. Schuyler later wrote in his Colonial New York, "... of the eighteen males, sixteen belonged to Hendrick Van Rensselaer's branch, and of these, five were of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer's family."[4]

On March 19, 1689, Hendrick married Catharina Van Brugh, the daughter of merchant Johannes Pieterse Van Brugh (1624–1697) and his wife, Catharine Roeloffe Jans (1629–1684).[5] and had the following children:[6]

  • Maria Van Rensselaer, who married Samuel Ten Broeck.
  • Catherine Van Rensselaer, who married Johannes Ten Broeck.[7]
  • Anna Van Rensselaer, who married Peter Douw (grandparents of Peter Gansevoort and great-great-grandparents of Herman Melville).
  • Elizabeth Van Rensselaer, who married John Richard.
  • Helena Van Rensselaer, who married Jacob Wendell.
  • Jeremias Van Rensselaer, (1705–1730)
  • Johannes (John) Van Rensselaer,[8] a Colonel during the American Revolution, and primary heir to Crailo,[9] who married Engeltje "Angelica" Livingston (1698–1746/47).
  • Hendrick van Rensselaer (1712–1763)[13]
    • (1) Hendrick van Rensselaer (1737–1765)
    • (1) Johannes van Rensselaer (born 1738)
    • (1) Jeremias van Rensselaer (born 1740)
    • (1) Johannes van Rensselaer (born 1744)
    • (1) David van Rensselaer (1749–1798)
      • (2) Schuyler van Rensselaer (1789–1836)
    • (1) Kiliaen van Rensselaer (born 1749)
    • (1) Pieter van Rensselaer (born 1751)
  • Kiliaen van Rensselaer (December 27, 1717 – December 28, 1781), the youngest of eleven children of Hendrick and Catharina. On October 20, 1775 he was commissioned as a Colonel of the 4th Regiment, Albany County Militia,[14] Rensselaerswyck battalion and was the representative for Rensselaerswyck on the Albany Committee of Correspondence as hostilities broke out in 1775.[15] He was wounded during the Battles of Saratoga and received the highest compliments about his courage from General George Washington.[16]
    • (1) Henry K. Van Rensselaer (1744–1816), General American Revolution
      • (2) Henry H van Rensselaer (1765–1795)
      • (2) Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1769–1859)
      • (2) John van Rensselaer (born 1779)
      • (2) Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1801–1881)
      • (2) Stephen van Rensselaer (1816–1833)
    • (1) Philip Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1747–1798), Colonel American Revolution
    • (1) Nicholas van Rensselaer (1754–1848), a Colonel and aide de camp under General Philip Schuyler. General Montgomery later took command of the storming of Quebec,[17] and Van Rensselaer was with Montgomery during the Siege of Fort St. Jean when Montgomery became the first General to die in combat on Dec 31, 1775. Van Rensselaer was under the command of Schuyler when Fort Ticonderoga fell to the British, which led to General Horatio Gates assuming command of the Northern department. He also fought in the Battles of Saratoga[18] and was dispatched by Gates to convey intelligence that Gen. Bergoyne had surrendered.[11][19]
    • (1) Killian K. Van Rensselaer (1763–1845), US Representative from New York

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spooner 1907, p.17
  2. ^ Spooner, pp. 189
  3. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCabell, Isa Carrington (1889). "Van Rensselaer, Killian". In Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John. Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  4. ^ Schenectady History
  5. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Catharina Van Brugh Van Rensselaer", New York State Museum
  6. ^ Spooner, pp. 191
  7. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Johannes Ten Broeck", New York State Museum
  8. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "John Van Rensselaer", New York State Museum
  9. ^ Find A Grave Memorials
  10. ^ Bergen, Tunis Garret (1915). Genealogies of the State of New York: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. 3. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. OCLC 39110613. 
  11. ^ a b "Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: Van Rensselaer". Schenectady Digital History Archive. Schenectady County Public Library. 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ Calendar of the Military Papers of Peter Gansevoort, [Senior] July 4, 1754 through December 31, 1780 New York State Archives AO131 [1] pp. 10
  13. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Hendrick Van Rensselaer", New York State Museum
  14. ^ [2] New York In The Revolution as Colony and State by James A. Roberts, Comptroller. Compiled by Frederic G. Mather Second Edition 1898
  15. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Kiliaen Van Rensselaer", New York State Museum
  16. ^ [3] schenectadyhistory.org - Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: Van Rensselaer
  17. ^ Clarke Publishing Company, S.J; Clarke, S. J. (1912). "Cincinnati, the Queen City, 1788–1912". 
  18. ^ "Van Rensselaer/Klinck – New York". Ancestry.co.uk. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  19. ^ Denslow, William R; Truman, Harry S (2004-09-30). "10,000 Famous Freemasons V3, K to P". ISBN 9781417975792. 
  20. ^ "Address Before the Whig and Conservative Citizens of Schenectady County