Pieter Schuyler

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For the militia colonel captured during the French and Indian War, see Peter Schuyler (New Jersey).
Pieter Schuyler
Pieter Schuyler.jpg
Painting of Schuyler from between 1710 and 1718
Governor of the Province of New York
In office
May 6 – May 9, 1709
Preceded by Lord Lovelace
Succeeded by Richard Ingoldesby
In office
May 25 – June 1, 1709
Preceded by Richard Ingoldesby
Succeeded by Richard Ingoldesby
In office
July 21, 1719 – September 17, 1720
Preceded by Robert Hunter
Succeeded by William Burnet
1st Mayor of Albany, New York
In office
July 22, 1686 – October 13, 1694
Preceded by Created
Succeeded by Johannes Abeel
Personal details
Born (1657-09-17)September 17, 1657
Beverwijck, New Netherlands
Died February 19, 1724(1724-02-19) (aged 66)
Albany, Province of New York
Resting place Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands
Spouse(s) Engeltie Van Schaick
Maria Van Rensselaer
Relations Arent Schuyler (brother)
Stephanus van Cortlandt (brother-in-law)
Nicholas van Rensselaer (brother-in-law)
Robert Livingston the Elder (brother-in-law)
Robert Livingston the Younger (son-in-law)
Parents Philip Pieterse Schuyler
Margarita Van Slichtenhorst

Pieter Schuyler (September 17, 1657 – February 19, 1724) was the first mayor of Albany, New York. A long-serving member of the executive council of the Province of New York, he acted as governor of the Province of New York on three occasions – twice for brief periods in 1709, after the death of Lord Lovelace, and also from 1719 to 1720, after Robert Hunter left office.

Early life and family[edit]

Pieter Schuyler was born in 1657 in Beverwyck, New Netherland, the son of Philip Pieterse Schuyler (1628-1683) and Margarita Van Slichtenhorst. His father was a Dutch born landowner who was the progenitor of the American Schuyler family.

He was one of 10 children born to his parents, including Gysbert Schuyler (1652-1664/5), Gertruj Schuyler (b. 1654), who married Stephanus van Cortlandt (1643–1700) (the patroon of Van Cortlandt Manor and a Mayor of New York City from 1677–1678 and again from 1686–1688), Alida Schuyler (b. 1656), who first married Nicholas van Rensselaer (1636-1678) and then second, Robert Livingston the Elder (1654–1728), Brant Schuyler (1659-1702), who married Cornelia Van Cortlandt, Arent Schuyler (1662-1730), who married Jannetje Teller and later Swantje Van Duyckhuysen, Sybilla Schuyler (b. 1664), Philip Schuyler (b. 1666), Johannes Schuyler (b. 1668), and Margritta Schuyler (b. 1672), who married Jacobus Verplanck.

The many Schuyler children established the family name and homes, including the Schuyler Mansion in Albany. They were closely related with the great family patroons of New York, the Van Cortlandts.


In March 1685, Governor Dongan appointed Pieter Schuyler lieutenant of cavalry in the Albany militia. He later attained the rank of Major, and then Colonel. In 1690, during King William's War, Schuyler's younger brother led an attack on La Prairie, Quebec. Colonel Schuyler led a second attack the following year.[1]

First mayor of Albany[edit]

In April 1685, he was appointed Judge of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. On July 22, 1686, Albany was incorporated as a city and Pieter Schuyler was named its first mayor, serving for eight years.[2] As mayor, Schuyler was also chairman of the Board of the Commissioners for Indian Affairs.[2]

Acting governor of the Province of New York[edit]

From 1692, Schuyler was a member of the executive council, which was the unelected upper house of New York's colonial legislature. He was the first man from Albany to be appointed to the council.[1] When Lord Lovelace died in May 1709, the lieutenant governor, Richard Ingoldesby, was absent. Under the terms of Lovelace's commission as governor, the executive council's most senior member was next in the line of succession, and Schuyler thus served as acting governor until Ingoldesby's return a few days later.[3] Ingoldesby was again absent later in the month, with Schuyler taking over as governor for another period of less than a week.

In July 1719, when Robert Hunter had his commission as governor revoked, Schuyler was still the most senior member of the executive council, and consequently served a third term as acting governor. The new governor, William Burnet, did not take office until September 1720. Burnet removed Schuyler from the executive council in 1721, along with another councillor, Adolphus Philipse, who like Schuyler, was a New Netherlander.

Personal life[edit]

Print of Schuyler.

Pieter Schuyler was married twice. His first wife was Engeltie Van Schaick (died 1689).[4] Together, they had:

  • Margarita Schuyler (born 1682), who married Robert Livingston the Younger (1663–1725)[4]
  • Philip Schuyler (born 1684), who died young.[4]
  • Anna Schuyler (born 1686), who died in childhood[4]
  • Gertruj Schuyler (born 1689), who died young[4]

After Engeltie's death in 1689, he married Maria Van Rensselaer, the daughter of Jeremias Van Rensselaer (1632–1674) and brother of Hendrick Van Rensselaer (1667–1740). Hendrick's wife and Maria's sister-in-law, Catherina Van Brugh, was the sister of the 6th Mayor of Albany Pieter Van Brugh (1666–1740). Together, Pieter and Maria Van Rensselaer had:

  • Gertruj Schuyler (born 1694), who married Johannes Lansing.[4]
  • Philip Schuyler (born 1696), who married Margarita Schyuler.[4]
  • Pieter Schuyler (born 1698), a twin of Jeremiah who married Catherine Groesbeck.[4]
  • Jeremiah Schuyler (born 1698), a twin of Pieter who married Susanna Bayeux.[4]

Schuyler died on February 19, 1724, aged 66, in Albany.


Main article: Schuyler family

Pieter Schuyler third son's granddaughter married Col. Philip Kiliaen van Rensselaer of "Cherry Hill" in Albany, great-grandson of Jeremias Van Rensselaer. His great-nephew was Continental General Philip Schuyler whose cousin Hester Schuyler married General William Colfax, the grandparents of Congressman and Vice President Schuyler Colfax, who married a niece of Senator Benjamin Franklin Wade and who was related to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.[5] His grand-niece, Philip Schuyler's sister, married Dr. John Cochran, the Director General of the Military Hospitals of the Continental Army, and were the grandparents of U.S. General and Congressman John Cochran.

His great-grandchildren included Richard Livingston and Col. James Livingston.

Schuyler's sister-in-law, Catherina Van Rensselaer (née Van Brugh) was the great-grandmother of Continental General Peter Gansevoort, who married Catherina Van Schaick, the sister of Continental General Goose Van Schaick. Catherine and Goose were the children of Albany mayor Sybrant Van Schaick. The Gansevoort's were the grandparents of author Herman Melville.


External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Lord Lovelace
Governor of the Province of New York

Succeeded by
Richard Ingoldesby
Preceded by
Robert Hunter
Governor of the Province of New York

Succeeded by
William Burnet