Nicholas Bayard

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For the theologian, see Nicholas Bayard (theologian).
Nicholas Bayard
16th Mayor of New York City
In office
Preceded by Gabriel Minvielle
Succeeded by Stephanus Van Cortlandt

Colonel Nicholas Bayard (c. 1644–1707) was an official in the colony of New York. Bayard served as the 16th Mayor of New York City, from 1685 to 1686. He is notable for being Peter Stuyvesant's nephew [1] and for being an immigrant member of the Bayard family, which remained prominent in New York City into the 20th century.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Bayard was born in Alphen, Holland, the son of a Huguenot refugee. In May 1647 he accompanied his widowed mother, Ann Stuyvesant to America. Ann was the widow of Samuel Bayard and the sister of Governor Petrus Stuyvesant. Three other children, Balthazar, Petrus and Catharine, also arrived in New Amsterdam. Judith, the sister of Samuel Bayard, had married Director General Stuyvesant, and thus there was a double relationship between the families.

In 1664 Stuyvesant, whose patronage supported Bayard's career, appointed him clerk of the Common Council, and soon afterward became private secretary to Stuyvesant and received the additional appointment of surveyor of the province. After the re-conquest of New York by the Dutch in 1672, Nicholas Bayard became secretary of the province. Under the second English regime, in 1685, when Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick, was governor, Bayard was mayor of New York; prior to 1680, New York mayors served one-year terms but thereafter they served two-year terms, with few exceptions. Bayard was one of the exceptions and served only one year. As a member of the governor's council, Bayard drew up the Dongan Charter that was granted in 1686.

On 23 May 1666, he married Judith Verlet or Varleth, daughter of Casper Varleth. Their son, Judge Samuel Bayard (baptized 5 September 1669) a distinguished member of the Colonial Assembly, married 12 March 1696, Margaretta Van Cortlandt, daughter of Captain Stephen Van Cortlandt and his wife, Gertruyd Schuyler, daughter of Philip Peterse Schuyler, and established the Bayard family in colonial New York.

In 1688 he received, at the head of the regiment of militia of which he was colonel, the restored but cordially detested Governor Edmund Andros. As one of the three resident members of the governor's council, and commander-in-chief of the militia of the province, he was the object of popular hatred during Leisler's Rebellion, and fled to Albany to escape assassination. Returning to attend an only son on his sickbed, he was arrested and briefly imprisoned. He was released upon the arrival of the new governor, Henry Sloughter, who put down the rebellion and sat on the Common Council.

A Narrative of an Attempt made by the French of Canada upon the Mohaque's Country, by Colonel Bayard and his friend Lieut.-Colonel Charles Lodowick was published in London in 1693.[3]

Aside from his sizeable farm in the "Out Ward" of New York, Bayard received a license from the notoriously corrupt Governor Benjamin Fletcher in 1694 to buy 4000 acres along the Schoharie Creek from the Indians, for some £100. When Fletcher chartered his staunch ally's purchase in 1695, the original 4000 acres became a tract forty miles long and thirty miles broad on both sides of the Schoharie Creek, some 768,000 acres, the Manor of Kingsfield. The Indians were unhappy and repudiated the deal. They found an ally in Governor Bellomont, who replaced Fletcher in 1697 and revoked some of Fletcher's most outrageous land grants, including Bayard's. Colonel Bayard did not relinquish his claim on these lands and went to London to clear his title before the Lords of Trade.

Accused in 1702 of high treason before Chief Justice William Atwood, on the basis of a remonstrance signed by him and others, as libelous, he was sentenced to death;[4] but after the death of the New York governor and the removal of Atwood on a corruption charge, the proceedings were annulled by an order in council, and he was reinstated in his property and honors.

The Bayard Farm[edit]

Many historic buildings in SoHo and elsewhere in lower Manhattan stand on land formerly belonging to his Bayard Farm. This includes Sullivan Street[1]

The old Bayard house, erected in 1751 by a later Nicholas Bayard, stood on the west side of The Bowery near present-day Broome Street,[5] in a farm originally of some two hundred acres; the house and its house-lot were purchased in 1798, and converted by a Frenchman named Delacroix into a new site for his popular resort, known as "Vauxhall Gardens." The only other residences within sight in pre-Revolutionary days were the Robert De Lancey mansion, on the east side of the Bowery, and Peter Stuyvesant's seat to the north. Not far distant rose "Bayard's Mount", fortified as "Bunker's Hill" in the early stage of the American Revolution.


  1. ^ a b Landmarks Preservation Commission LP-0645
  2. ^ "Biographical Sketches of Wealthy Men of the Colonial Era in New York"
  3. ^ A facsimile, with an introduction by Adelaide R. Haase, was published in New York, 1903.
  4. ^ Thomas Jones Howell, William Cobbett, David Jardine, eds. A complete collection of state trials and proceedings for high treason, 14 1816, s.v. no. 421.
  5. ^ Its drive, "Bayard's Lane" lay nearly along present-day Broome Street. Hugh Entwistle McAtamney, Cradle Days of New York: (1609-1825), (1909:159).