Johan van Rensselaer

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Johan van Rensselaer
2nd Patroon of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck
In office
1643 – 1652
Preceded by Kiliaen van Rensselaer
Succeeded by Jan Baptist van Rensselaer
Personal details
Born 4 September 1625
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died 6 May 1663 (1663-05-07) (aged 37)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Spouse(s) Elizabeth van Twiller
Children Kiliaen van Rensselaer
Parents Kiliaen van Rensselaer
Hillegonda van Bylaer
Relatives See Van Rensselaer family
Occupation Merchant, Patroon

Johan van Rensselaer also Johannes van Rensselaer (Amsterdam, 4 September 1625 – Nijkerk , 6 May 1663[2]), second patroon of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, was the eldest son of Kiliaen van Rensselaer, and his only son by his first wife, Hillegonda van Bylaer.


Being a minor of about nineteen years when his father died in 1643, the estates in Holland and at Rensselaerswyck were placed in charge of executors, Johan's first cousin Wouter van Twiller[3] and Johan van Wely. The executors attempted to have Johannes confirmed as Patroon, but the partners prevented it. Van Twiller and Van Wely then appointed Brant Aertsz van Slichtenhorst as Director of Rensselaerwyck.[4] Samuel Blommaert and Joannes de Laet tried to get more influence in the colony, as both owned one fifth and opened a legal case.


In 1650, when he was 25 years old, Johannes became head of the family. The States-General of the Netherlands decided in the same year that he was allowed to keep his title and call himself "patron" of Rensselaerswyck,[5] and that the Patroon be more accountable to the shareholders.[4] Among the papers of the New York Public Library is a letter from Johan Rensselaer, Patroon of Rensselaerwyck and his partners to the Burgomasters of Amsterdam seeking intervention to correct abuses by Governor Stuyvesant against the liberties of the colony, [6] an apparent reference to the Governor's 1648 dispute with Van Slechtenhorst at Fort Orange.

Johannes never visited Rensselaerswyck. His brother Jan Baptist van Rensselaer and their 19-year-old brother Jeremias sailed from Amsterdam sometime after March 20, 1651 on the Gelderse Blom (Gelderland Flower) to organize the estate. With them travelled a dozen employees hired by the Patroon,[7] recruited from places where the Van Rensselaers had other interests.

In 1656, the director general and council in New Amsterdam announced plans to begin collecting tithes, which heretofore had been collected by the patroonship for the support of the Dutch Reformed minister. Jan Baptist, as Director, submitted a remonstrance in which he pointed out that under the 1629 charter, Rensselaerwyck was exempt. The patron and his partners in Amsterdam lodged a protest, but the West India Company procrastinated until the English seized control in 1664.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 1655 Johannes married his cousin Elizabeth van Twiller and they had two children:[8]

Johan died on May 6, 1663 and his children went under the guardianship of their uncle Jan Baptist.[2]


  1. ^ Spooner 1907, p.17
  2. ^ a b Venema, Janny (2003). Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664. Hilversum: Verloren. p. 236. ISBN 0-7914-6079-7. 
  3. ^ Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds, Vol.I, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, 1911
  4. ^ a b c Roper, Louis H. and Van Ruymbeke, Bertrand. Constructing Early Modern Empires: Proprietary Ventures in the Atlantic World, 1500-1750, Brill, 2007
  5. ^ Jacobs, J. (2005) New Netherland: a Dutch colony in seventeenth-century America, p. 118 [1]
  6. ^ Van Rensselaer, Johan. "Petition to the Burgomasters", New Netherlands Papers 1630 - 1660, New York Public Library
  7. ^ Nieuwenhuis, Pim. "Abstracts from Notarial Documents in the Amsterdam Archives", New Netherland Connections
  8. ^ a b c Spooner, W. W. (January 1907). "The Van Rensselaer Family". American Historical Magazine. 2 (1): 13. 
This article incorporates text from an article in American Historical Magazine, by W. W. Spooner (1907), a publication now in the public domain.