Herman Knickerbocker

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Herman Knickerbocker
Herman Knickerbocker.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1809 – March 3, 1811
Preceded by Daniel C. Verplanck
Succeeded by Asa Fitch
Robert Le Roy Livingston
Personal details
Born July 27, 1779
Albany, New York
Died January 30, 1855 (aged 75)
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Mary Delia Buell
Children 13, including David
Parents Johannes Knickerbocker
Residence Knickerbocker Mansion

Herman Knickerbocker (also Knikkerbakker, Knickerbacker[1] ) (July 27, 1779 – January 30, 1855) was a United States Representative from New York.

Early life[edit]

Herman Knickerbocker was born in Albany on July 27, 1779. He was the son of Johannes Knickerbocker (1749-1827).[2] His grandfather, Johannes Knickerbocker (1723–1802), a colonel in the Continental Army in the War of Independence,[3] was a grandson of Harmen Jansen Knickerbocker, of Friesland, Holland, one of the earliest settlers of New York.[4]

Knickerbocker completed preparatory studies, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1803 and commenced practice in Albany. He moved to Schaghticoke (near Albany) and became known as "the Prince of Schaghticoke" because of his hospitality and liberality.


Knickerbocker was elected as a Federalist to the Eleventh Congress, holding office from March 4, 1809 to March 3, 1811. He was not a candidate for reelection in 1810 and served in the New York State Assembly in 1816. He was judge of Rensselaer County.

Personal life[edit]

In 1801, he married his first wife, Arietta Lansing (d. 1814), the daughter of Abraham Lansing and Else Van Rensselaer. They had five children before her death in 1814, four of his daughters attended the Troy Female Seminary:[5]

  • Abraham Lansing Knickerbocker (b. 1802)[6]
  • Elizabeth Maria Knickerbocker (b. 1805)
  • Catharine Knickerbocker (b. 1808)
  • Rebecca Knickerbocker (b. 1813)

In December 1814, he married for the second time to Rachel Wendell (d. 1823), daughter of John H. Wendell, an officer in the Revolution, and Catherine Van Benthuysen. Together, they had five children:[5]

  • Arietta Knickerbocker (b. 1815)
  • Cathalina Wendell Knickerbocker (b. 1817)
  • Maria Van Veghten Knickerbocker (b. 1819)
  • John Knickerbocker (b. 1821), who died in childhood
  • Rachel Jane Knickerbocker (b. 1822)

On July 20, 1826, he married for the third time to Mary Delia Buel, who was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, and was the daughter of David Buel and Rachel McNeil. Together, they had:[5]

  • Sarah Bird Knickerbocker, who married Reverend Samuel Haskins
  • Charlotte Knickerbocker
  • David Buel Knickerbacker (1833–1894), who maintained the original spelling of the family name, graduated at Trinity College in 1853 and at the General Theological Seminary in 1856, was a rector for many years at Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in 1883 was consecrated Protestant Episcopal bishop of Indiana.[7]
  • Herman Knickerbocker

He died in Williamsburg (now a part of New York City) in 1855; his interment was in the Knickerbocker family cemetery, Schaghticoke.


Through his friend Washington Irving borrowing his name for a fictional figure, he gave rise to the name Knickerbockers for a kind of trousers. During one of Irving’s visits to Washington to meet President James Madison, he introduced Knickerbocker to the President as “My cousin Diedrich Knickerbocker, the great historian of New York.”[4]


  1. ^ Courts and Lawyers of New York
  2. ^ The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. William B. Van Alstyne, M.D. Jan 1908 Pg 35
  3. ^ The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. William B. Van Alstyne, M.D. April 1908 Pg 118
  4. ^ a b "Herman Knickerbocker". www.newnetherlandinstitute.org. New Netherland Institute. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Herman Knickerbacker, Early Life. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  7. ^ Google books: A sketch-book of the American episcopate during one hundred years, 1783-1883, by Hermon Griswold Batterson, 1878, pp. 332-333

External links[edit]

Herman Knickerbocker at Find a Grave

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel C. Verplanck
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

with Robert Le Roy Livingston
Succeeded by
Asa Fitch,
Robert Le Roy Livingston