Jeremiah Van Rensselaer

Jeremiah Van Rensselaer

Portrait believed to be Jeremiah Van Rensselaer
3rd Lieutenant Governor of New York
In office
Governor George Clinton
Preceded by Stephen Van Rensselaer
Succeeded by John Broome
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1789  March 3, 1791
Preceded by New district
Succeeded by James Gordon
Personal details
Born (1738-08-27)August 27, 1738
Rensselaerswyck, New York, British America
Died February 10, 1810(1810-02-10) (aged 71)
Albany, New York, U.S.
Spouse(s) Judith Bayard
Helena Lansing

Jeremiah Van Rensselaer (August 27, 1738 February 19, 1810), from the prominent Van Rensselaer family, was the 3rd Lieutenant Governor of New York and a member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York in the 1st United States Congress.

Early life

Nassau Hall, at Princeton University (then, the College of New Jersey)

Jeremiah Van Rensselaer was born on August 27, 1738 at the main home of his family's manor, "Rensselaerswyck" in what is now Watervliet, New York.[1] His parents were Johannes Van Rensselaer (17081793) and Engeltie "Angelica" Livingston (1698–1747),[2] who married in 1734.[3][2] He was the third of six children: Catherine (b. 1734), Margarita (b. 1736), Jeremiah, Robert (b. 1740), Hendrick (b. 1742), and James (b. 1747).[2] His mother died before he was 10 years-old and his father remarried, to Gertrude van Cortlandt.

His older sister was Catherine van Rensselaer (1734–1803)[4] who in 1755 married Philip Schuyler (1733–1804), a Revolutionary general and United States Senator from New York. This relationship made him the maternal uncle to Angelica Schuyler (1756-1814), who married British MP John Barker Church, Elizabeth Schuyler (1757-1854), who married Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, Margarita Schuyler (1758-1801), who married Stephen Van Rensselaer III, the son of Jeremiah's first cousin, Stephen van Rensselaer II (1742–1769), and Philip Jeremiah Schuyler (1768-1835), who also served in the United States House of Representatives.[5]

His younger brother was Robert Van Rensselaer (1740–1802), a Brigadier General during the Revolutionary War, a member of the New York Provincial Congress from 1775 to 1777 and later a member of the New York State Assembly in the 1st, 2nd and 4th New York State Legislatures. Robert's son and Jeremiah's nephew was Jacob Van Rensselaer (1767–1835), a Federalist member of the New York State Assembly and the Secretary of State of New York from 1813 to 1815.[6]


Van Rensselaer was tutored at the manor house, attended private school in Albany, New York, and attended college at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) where he graduated in 1758.[7]


Jeremiah was descended from and married into "the best provincial families"[1] in New York including the Livingstons, Schuylers, Van Cortlandts, Van Schaicks, and Bayards.[8]

His paternal grandfather was Hendrick van Rensselaer (1667–1740), director of the Eastern patent of the Rensselaerswyck manor, and his paternal grandmother was Catharina Van Brugh, daughter of merchant Johannes Pieterse Van Brugh (1624–1697).[9] He had many noteworthy cousins, including Killian K. Van Rensselaer (1763–1845), who was also a U.S. Representative that served in Congress from 1803 until 1811.[10]

His maternal grandparents were Robert Livingston, Jr. (1663–1725) and Margarita Schuyler (b. 1682). His maternal great-grandparents were Pieter Schuyler (1657–1724), the first Mayor of Albany, and Engeltie Van Schaick (d. 1689).


Van Rensselaer became a land agent, merchant, and surveyor. In 1766, he was a signer of the constitution of the Albany Sons of Liberty and became a member of the Albany Committee of Safety. During the American Revolutionary War he was commissioned as an ensign in the third regiment of the New York Line where he served as a paymaster.[1]

He was elected to the First United States Congress and served from March 4, 1789 to March 3, 1791,[7] but lost his bid for reelection to the Second Congress to James Gordon.[7]

In 1789, he was member of the New York State Assembly. In 1791, he was a member of the first board of directors of the Bank of Albany, and from 1798 through 1806, served as president of the bank.[11] He was a presidential elector in 1800, voting for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.[7]

Van Rensselaer was Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1801 to 1804, serving under Governor George Clinton. He was curator of the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary at Albany in 1804.[1]

Personal life

On July 3, 1760,[12] he married Judith Bayard (1740–1817),[13] the great-granddaughter of Nicholas Bayard (1644–1707). Together, they had one son:[14]

In February 1764, after his first wife's death of Yellow Fever,[12] he married Helena "Lena" Lansing (1743–1795), the daughter of Jacob Lansing (1714–1791) and Maria Egberts (1714–1771). Lena was a cousin to John Ten Eyck Lansing Jr. (1754–1829).[16]

He died on February 19, 1810 in Albany and was buried in the Dutch Reformed cemetery there. His body was later moved to the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, New York.[7]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Bielinski, Stefan. "Robert Livingston, Jr.". The People of Colonial Albany Live Here. The New York State Museum. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Munsell, Joel (1871). Collections on the History of Albany: From Its Discovery to the Present Time; with Notices of Its Public Institutions, and Biographical Sketches of Citizens Deceased. Albany, NY: J. Munsell. p. 184e. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Reynolds, Cuyler (1914). Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  4. Catherine Van Rensselaer Find A Grave
  5. Spooner, Walter Whipple (January 1907). "The Van Rensselaer Family", American Historical Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 207.
  6. Larry E. Gobrecht (July 1982). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer House and Mill Complex". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-07-03. See also: "Accompanying 28 photos".
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 "VAN RENSSELAER, Jeremiah - Biographical Information". United States Congress. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  8. "Descendants of Robert Livingston and Alida Schuyler". InterMedia Enterprises. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  9. 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.
  10. "VAN RENSSELAER, Killian Killian - Biographical Information". United States Congress. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  11. Johnson, Dale T. (1990). American Portrait Miniatures in the Manney Collection. Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9780870995972. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  12. 1 2 McLachlan, James (March 8, 2015). Princetonians, 1748-1768: A Biographical Dictionary. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9781400870776. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  13. "Judith Bayard Van Rensselaer/ Bruce". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  14. 1 2 "Judith Bayard Van Rensselaer". New York State Museum. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  15. Munsell, Joel (1871). Collections on the History of Albany: From Its Discovery to the Present Time ; with Notices of Its Public Institutions, and Biographical Sketches of Citizens Deceased. Albany, NY: J. Munsell. p. 184p. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  16. Fazzini, P. "Helena Lansing Van Rensselaer". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 25 August 2016.

Further reading

United States House of Representatives
New district Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
James Gordon
Political offices
Preceded by
Stephen Van Rensselaer
Lieutenant Governor of New York
Succeeded by
John Broome
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