|Margarita's Poem for her Father|
|Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer Co NJ|
|The People of Colonial Albany|
|Margaret Schuyler's Will|
|Rensselaerswyck, New York Settlers, 1630-58|
Colonel Philip Pieterse Schuyler
I'm young Margarita van Slichtenhorst,
Philip Pieterse Schuyler, the founder of the family in this country, came from Holland in the fourth decade of the seventeenth century and settled in the neighborhood of Albany. The records show that he was appointed by Governor Stuyvesant in 1656 to the office of vice-director of Fort Orange, now Albany. He discharged the duties, which were both civil and military, in so satisfactory a manner that he retained the position, except at short intervals, until near the end of his life.
His business transactions were large and varied and he became possessed of much valuable real estate, not only in Albany, but along the banks of the Hudson and even on Manhattan Island. He died in Albany, May 9, 1683, having made his will eight days before, disposing of a large property which was divided between his wife and numerous children. He seems to have been highly esteemed by his friends and neighbors and to have enjoyed the full confidence of the leading men of the colony from Governor Stuyvesant down.
Though nothing is positively known as to his antecedents in Holland, the fact that soon after coming to this country he was married to a daughter of the distinguished house of Van Slichtenhorst, and also that he was permitted to display his armorial bearings upon a window of the old Dutch church in Albany, seems proof positive that he came from gentle stock in the old country.
Margareta Van Slichtenhorst, the wife of Philip Pieterse Schuyler, whom he married in 1650, seems to have been a woman of remarkable force of character She was the only daughter of Brant Arentse Van Slichtenhorst. Margareta inherited from her father his courage and business ability, as also his public spirit. On several occasions when the safety of the colony was threatened by the French and Indians she was the largest single subscriber to funds for its defense. She administered her husband's estate with such success that it became one of the largest in the colony. She died in 1711 at the ripe age of eighty-two years.
Philipse Pieterse Schuyler was the first outstanding member of early Albany's most important New Netherland family.
He was born in Holland in 1628, the oldest child of German-born Amsterdam baker Pieter Diercks and Geertruy Philips van Schuyler. By 1650, he had emigrated to New Netherland with his younger brother, David Pieterse.
In December 1650, twenty-two-year-old Philip Pieterse was in Rensselaerswyck where he married Margarita Van Slichtenhorst - daughter of the director of the colony. That union admitted a newly arrived carpenter to the upper echelon of New Netherland society. It also produced a large family of twelve American-born children between 1652 and 1672. Eight of those offspring went on to establish the Schuyler family in Albany and beyond.
Taking the surname of their mother's family, the Schuylers' success followed the meteoric rise of its founder. Settling in Beverwyck, Philip Pieterse was among its earliest householders when lots were first apportioned during the 1650s. Although nominally a carpenter or gunstockmaker, like many of his neighbors he entered the fur trade. By 1660, he stood with the principal traders of the community. He used those profits to begin a favored family practice of acquiring additional real estate. Those holdings began with the house he built on the corner of today's State and Pearl Streets. It remained a family fixture for most of the next hundred years. By 1672, he also had acquired land along the Hudson beyond the Van Rensselaer manor house. That farm became a family summer home known as "the Flats". In addition, Philip Pieterse owned houses and lots in New Amsterdam/New York, several hundred acres east of the Hudson and below Rensselaerswyck, and lots in Wiltwyck and at Halfmoon as well.
His marital connection to the New Netherland power structure set the stage for his appointment to the Beverwyck court. After the English take-over, he was appointed a magistrate of the Albany court - predecessor of the Albany Corporation. Although he retired from the court in 1671, he was considered one of Albany's leaders for the rest of his life. Sometimes referred to as "Captain Schuyler," he held military commissions under the Duke of York and also was appointed "commissary" at Albany in 1666. He was the first of many Schuylers to represent Albany in meetings with the Iroquois.
Born in Holland, Dutch-speaking Philip Pieterse was the first of several generations of independent but reasonable Albany leaders to be favored by the English and British with official appointments, access to land, and contracts.
On May 1, 1683, Philipse Pieterse Schuyler filed a joint will with his wife, Margarita. The document noted the ages of their eight living children. He died eight days later and was buried under the Albany Dutch Church. His widow continued to live in the family homes on State Street and at the Flats until her death in 1711. Dead before his time, Philip Pieterse did not see sons Pieter and Johannes serve as mayors of Albany. But from his Albany house came dozens of others who made the Schuyler family early Albany's foremost and one of the major families of colonial New York as well.
Schuyler family histories: Many works have been issued on the family of Philip Pieterse and David Pieterse Schuyler. The most useful of them will be identified and linked from here in the future. The outstanding genealogical resource (and one consulted frequently for guidance by the (Colonial Albany Project) is the two volume Schuyler Genealogy published by the Friends of Schuyler Mansion in 1987 and 1992. Chief among the antiquarian works on the family is: George H. Schuyler, Colonial New York: Philip Schuyler and His Family (New York, 1885), two volumes.
In December 1650, she married Philip Pieterse Schuyler - an immigrant carpenter who, following the marriage, became one of the leading traders of Beverwyck/Albany. The marriage produced twelve children between 1652 and 1672. Eight of those offspring went on to establish the Schuyler family in Albany and beyond.
By the 1660s, these Schuylers were established in a new house on upper State Street. Before his death in 1683, Philip Pieterse had stretched the Schuyler family holdings by acquiring property around Albany and beyond.
A widow at age 55, by virtue of their joint will filed in 1683, Margarita Schuyler assumed control of her husband's extensive estate. From her Albany house and at the farm known as "the Flats," Margarita continued her husband's business and sat as the matriarch of early Albany's foremost family. Her children included Pieter Schuyler - first mayor of the city; Alida, the wife of Robert Livingston; and future mayor - Johannes Schuyler. Her other offspring established themselves in favored locations throughout the region.
Margarita Van Slichenhorst Schuyler lived until 1711. For much of that time, she was one of colonial Albany's most prominent residents. This active widow participated in business, landholding, and was an active member of theDutch Church. Surrounded by family and supported by a number of slaves, this able women's life was full and advantaged.
Her will, filed in 1707, identified her as a "sometime...Albany merchant" and mentioned the real and personal estate she had acquired since the death of her husband. This seventy-nine-year-old widow had the presence of mind to circumvent English inheritance laws when she divided the Schuyler estate equally among her eight surviving children and their heirs. She died at age eighty-two on January 11, 1711.
In the name of God, Amen. I, Margaret
Schuyler, widow of Phillip Schuyler, sometime of Albany, merchant, being of
sound mind, and considering that there having been some unhappy differences
among my children; the youngest of them being apprehensive that by the strict
rules of the common law, the will made by my said husband and myself on May
1st, 1683, might not be authentick enough to make such equal division among our
eight children. But that Peter Schuyler, eldest son of my deceased husband, Peter
Schuyler, might be entitled to all of the real estate. Yet, not thinking that my son,
Peter Schuyler, would himself endeavor to take any such advantage, he being
present at the making of said will. I give to each of our 8 children an equal part of
all real and personal estate. And I being further willing to dispose of the real and
personal estate, which, by of my husband. And my son Peter, at my request, being agreed with the seven
other children, by deed, dated August 16, 1707, by which all further differences
among them are prevented, I do give to my eight children, Gertruy, Alida, Peter,
Arent, Phillip, Johanes, and Margaret, and to the three children of my son Brant
Schuyler, namely: Phillip, Oliver, and Johanes, all my estate, real and personal.
Provided always, that my son Phillip shall have the farm called the Flatts, with the
utensils, he paying therefor, the sum of 600, to the rest. And they are all to pay
an equal part of 9 bushels of good merchantable wheat yearly, to the Patroon or
Lord of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck. Mentions "Cornelia Schuyler, widow of my
son Brant Schuyler." I make my sons, Peter and Johanes, and my son in law,
Robert Livingston, husband of my daughter Allida, executors. Signed and sealed
in Albany in my dwelling house.
Witnesses, Iona Rumney, Anthony Caster, John Dunbar. Proved in Albany, June 27, 1711, before William Van Rensselaer, Esq., and of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas.
|According to O'Callaghan, History of New Netherland, 2:69, van Slichtenhorst was appointed director of the colony Nov. 10, 1646, and sailed with his family and servants for Virginia Sept. 26, 1647. The records of the colony show that he arrived March 22, 1648, and held the office of director till July 24, 1652, when he was succeeded by Jan Baptist van Rensselaer. Between June 29, 1651, and July 24, 1652, van Slichtenhorst was most of the time at the Manhatans and J. B. van Rensselaer acted in his stead, for the first two months apparently in conjunction with Capt. Slijter. April 4, 1650, de Hooges complained to the council that Director van Slichtenhorst had thus far rendered no accounts. The director replied that hy wel wat souwde ontfangen dan dat het Antonij de Hooges heeft opgesnapt (that he would have received something if Antonij de Hooges had not gobbled it up). Van Slichtenhorst was still in the colony in July 1655 and lived in Holland in 1660.|
The FLATTS on the river front at Watervliet, just on the northern outskirts of Albany, though part of it was probably built by the Van Rennselaers as early as 1654 and repaired or rebuilt by them in 1668, became a Schuyler house in 1672, when Philip Pieterse Schuyler bought the bouwerij on the river front, and it so remained until very recent years.
From Philip Pieterse The Flatts descended to his son Pieter Philipse, that picturesque and sterling personage the Indians called "Quider," whom they both feared and loved because of his just dealings and integrity.
From "Quider" The Flatts passed to his son, Colonel Philip Pieterse, who married his cousin, Margarita Schuyler. This lady, commonly known in her day as "Madame Schuyler" or "Aunt Schuyler," was the subject of Memoirs of an American Lady.
Colonel Schuyler died in 1758, and not long afterwards The Flatts caught fire and the flames destroyed the roof and interior. Madame Schuyler got the wing of her house rebuilt. The main part of The Flatts, facing the river, was rebuilt in its present form a little later.
In the name of God, Amen. I, BRANDT SCHUYLER, of New York,
merchant, being in health of body. I leave to my eldest son, Phillip Schuyler, 100
pieces of 8, or the sum of 30, lawful money of New York, in consideration of his
birthright. I leave to my sons Phillip, Oliver, and John Schuyler, all that my lot of
land, with all the privileges, situate in the East ward of New York, lying between
the grounds of Mr. James Emott and Mr. William Huddlestone. I also leave them
100, and to each of them a silver tankard of 12 value. I leave to my wife
Cornelia all the residue of my estate during her widowhood, but if she marries she
is to deliver a full inventory, and give one half to the survivors of my children. If
she dies my widow, then all my estate is to go to my three sons. My eldest son shall
have his choice if he likes it, to take the dwelling house I now live in, and my
bolting house and appurtenances, and he is to pay to his brothers two thirds of its
value. If all my three sons should die under age, "which God in his mercy Prevent,"
then the whole estate is to be divided into three parts--one part to my wife's
brothers and sisters, and the other two parts to my own brothers and sisters, and
my eldest brother, Colonel Peter Schuyler, to have the real estate, upon paying its
value to the rest. I make my wife, Cornelia, executor, and my brother in law
Johanes Van Cortlandt, and my cousin, Andrew Teller, and my cousin, William
Nicoll, guardians of my children.
Dated, January 11, 170 0/1. Witnesses, John Kip, Teunis De Kay, Isaac Kip,
Jacobus De Kay. Codicil, 25 of (???), 1702, confirms the above, and makes Colonel
Peter Schuyler, Geritt Schuyler, and "my son, Phillip Schuyler," executors. Proved, April 18, 1723,
and Cornelia Schuyler continued as executor.
[NOTE.--The lot left to his three sons, is now Nos. 218-224 Pearl Street, New York.
This was a lot "from high water mark to low water mark," granted by the city to
Colonel Brandt Schuyler, September 7, 1692, being 95 feet wide. Phillip Schuyler,
the eldest son, died in 1722. Captain Brandt Schuyler died in 1702. His wife,
Cornelia, was a daughter of Colonel Stephanus Van Cortlandt. John and Oliver
left no descendants. Phillip married Ann Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Samuel Staats.
He left children, Brandt, Ann Elizabeth, wife of John Joris Bleecker, and wife of
Switz, and, wife of William Lupton.-- W. S. P.]
Abstracts of Wills Vol II 1708-1728, Page 381
Arent, fourth son and seventh child of Philip Pieterse Schuyler and his wife Margareta, through
whom and his descendants the subject of this sketch traces his ancestry, was born in Beverwyck,
June 25, 1662. An entry in the family record written in the Dutch language, translated reads thus:
"1662 the 25 june is born our fourth son named Arent van Schuyler. May the Lord God let him grow
up in virtue to his salvation, Amen." He began his business career as a merchant in Albany and
seems early to have accumulated a competency. His public career, the records show, was a highly
creditable one. He took an active part in the French and Indian wars of his day, was commissioned a captain,
and soon acquired a reputation for skill and valor. He was the first man of the Dutch or English to
lead a hostile force into Canada, heading a scouting party of friendly Indians in 1690, himself being
the only white man. They went through the lake and down the river Sorel to Fort Chambly and
under its walls they killed two and took one Frenchman prisoner. In the campaign of February, 1693,
Arent Schuyler commanded a company of militia when the French and Indians were driven from the
Mohawk country by Major Peter Schuyler. He was several times selected to treat with hostile tribes
from his wide knowledge of the Indian character and language. Owing to his absence from home on
military duties, Schuyler found his business affairs going badly in Albany, and in 1694 determined to
remove to New York and resume his occupation as a merchant. Here he remained until 1702, when
he took up his residence in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. He made large ventures in real estate in
New Jersey, and as time went on became one of the wealthiest men of the neighborhood. He
continued his residence in Pompton until 1710, when he moved to a large farm which he had
purchased on the Passaic river. On this property a copper mine was discovered, which proved a
source of much wealth. He was married three times, his wives being respectively, Jenneke Teller,
whom he wedded in 1684, Swantie Dyckhuse in 1703, and Maria Leisler in 1724. At his death in
1730 he left a large estate, personal and real, including ample tracts of land in New Jersey and
houses and lots in New York city. He was an officer in the Reformed Dutch Church of Belleville,
which he assisted in organizing soon after his settlement on the Passaic, and to which he left a
considerable sum in his will.
Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County, New Jersey Vol 1
I having already provided for my son Casparus, by giving him a tract of land of 500 acres of upland and meadow, "at a place formerly called Lessa point, but now Wingworth's point, within the bounds of Burlington, by deed dated September 28, 1724. I therefore give him 5 shillings in full of all claim to my estate. I give and devise all that dwelling-house and tract of land where I now live in New Barbadoes, and which was sold to me by Edward Kingsland and wife Mary, April 20, 1710, with all the buildings, to my son, John Schuyler, reserving all mines and minerals. To him and his heirs male, and in default of heirs, then to my son Adonijah, and his male heirs, and in default of heirs then to my daughters Eva and Cornelia. I leave and devise, all that the large house, and grounds thereto belonging, in Elizabethtown, and all that tract of 760 acres near Rahway river and the meadows upon the sound, esteemed 27 acres, as the same was conveyed to me by Effingham Townley, December 20, 1720, together with all improvements, to my son, Peter Schuyler, and to his heirs, and in default of heirs, then to my son John and his heirs, and in default, then to my son Adonijah and his heirs, and in default, then to my daughters Eva and Cornelia.
I give and devise all those tracts and pieces of land at Elizabethtown point, as described in a deed to me from Effingham Townley and wife Sarah, December 20, 1721, with the large house thereon since built, and also that small piece of land at the point, purchased from William Dugdale and John Searle, January 21, 1722, with the house and improvements, to my son, Adonijah Schuyler, and his heirs (same reversions as above).
I leave to my two daughters, Eva and Cornelia, all the dwelling-house and two lots in the Broadway in New York, now in possession of Mrs. Swift, and to the survivor of them. I leave to my eldest son, Philip, 25, in full of all claims as heir at law. I leave to my daughters Eva and Cornelia, to each an Indian slave and 1,000, "current money, at 8 shillings by the ounce," when they are of age or married.
As to the children I may hereafter have, I leave to them the same as my other children.
I leave to each of the four children of my late daughter Oliver, 250 each, when of age or married.
Notwithstanding the instrument executed by my beloved wife, that she would not claim any right in my estate, other than the provision made for her before marriage, I direct that she shall have and enjoy the use of my chariot, and two of the best horses I shall have, and the choice of my female slaves. And if she think proper she shall remain and live in my house where I now live, and be maintained out of my estate so long as she remains a widow.
I leave all the slaves and household goods on the farm where I now live, to my son John, and the rest to my sons John, Peter, and Adonijah. My executors are to have full power to operate all mines on my estate, and the profits to be for my sons. I make my son John, and John Walter, merchant, of New York, executors.
Dated December 17, 1724. Witnesses, William Beekman, Jacob Goelet, Joseph Murray.
Codicil confirms the above will, and leaves to his son Casparus 50 annually, and to his wife Mary
2,500 in addition to 1,500, formerly agreed to be given. To daughters Eva and Cornelia, 3,000,
and also a house in the Smith's Vly, in New York, with the land. To my grand-son, Arent Schuyler,
son of my son Philip, 1,000. The testator states that he then had far more money than he had when
his will was made.
In the winter of 1689, the French attacked the English colonies by three expeditions sent without warning, and at midnight committed the massacre and sack of Schenectady, a small freeholder's village, near Albany. It was then the house of the Schuylers began its great public history. The mayor gathered volunteers and pursued the French, but it was too late. At the suggestion of the Schuylers, expressed through an embassy to Boston, consisting of the brother-in-law and the nephew of Mayor Pieter, the British colonie3s combined for an invasion of Canada the following summer, -- by sea, under Phipps, and by land, by way of Albany and Lake Champlain, under General Winthrop, of Massachusetts.
The Schuylers looked to as the natural leaders of the people, actively arranged the local details. Difficulties proved too great, and the expedition fell through. Abraham, one of the brothers, had, however, in the spring penetrated, with eight Iroquois, into the Canadian settlements.
Another brother, Captain John, then aged tweny-two years, grandfather of the General, volunteered to Winthrop to lead a band and strike at least some blow against the enemy. With twenty-nine whites, and one hundred and twenty Iroquois he penetrated to Laprairie, opposite Montreal, burned the crops, took prisoners, and only did not attack the fort because his Indians refused to fight in the open. This daring raid was the earliest land invasion of New France. The house was fortified so that its palisades could garrison one hundred men, and became more than ever a place of Indian councils.
Dated January 21, 1766. Witnesses, Abraham Van Deursen, John Van Cortlandt, John Clopper.
Proved, February 13, 1768.
Johannes grew up in the new family home on State Street and on the farm at the Flats. Although Philip Pieterse died when the boy was just fifteen, his father was able to establish three of his sons in advantageous business situations beyond Albany. Eldest son Pieter Schuyler succeeded in his father's Albany-based enterprises. Young Johannes was able to follow in the Albany setting as well. Few New Netherland families were able to place their children so well.
Residing with his widowed mother, Johannes Schuyler grew into adulthood. An accomplished fur trader who often went into the Indian country, he learned business and the responsibilities of landholding. Beginning in 1690, held militia commissions - where as Captain and Colonel he served Albany interests long and well.
In April 1695, he married the widow Elsie Staats Wendell - already the mother of eleven children. Marriage to the daughter and widow of two of early Albany's foremost families was not surprising. However, Johannes was twenty-seven and his bride a decade older. In addition, Elsie was expecting and would give birth to the first of their four children just eight months later. This union of an older women to a much younger man is without parallel in early Albany history.
Johannes moved into his wife's home on State Street and was elected to the city council in 1695. He would hold the first ward aldermanic seat for much of the next two decades. His trading experience made him one of the more active members of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs. As late as 1737, he was sent into the Onondaga country on a diplomatic mission.
In 1703, this city father was appointed mayor of Albany. Re-appointed three more times, he served until 1706. In 1710, he was elected to represent Albany County in the provincial Assembly - where served until 1713. During this time, he retained his seat on the common council.
Assessment rolls for the early 1700s show Johannes Schuyler to be one of the wealthiest Albany traders. He was a supporter and deacon of the Albany Dutch Church and the godfather of many Albany children. Like many Albany leaders, he was able to acquire extensive frontier acreage and administered his mother's lands as well. During the three decades of peace and development (1713-44), he was able to establish mills on some of those properties and engage tenants to begin to tap farm and forest potentials.
Having outlived all of his siblings, by the 1730s this onetime youngest son became patriarch of the Schuyler family - watching as children, Wendell stepchildren, and grandchildren succeeded to places of prominence and leadership in Albany and beyond. His wife died in 1737. He made his will in 1742. City father, military leader, Indian diplomat and frontier developer, Johannes Schuyler's long career spanned Albany's transition from outpost to entrepot. He died in February 1747 - a year shy of his eighieth birthday.
The life of Johannes Schuyler is CAP biography number 100. We know of no other narrative biography of Johannes Schuyler. Basic demographic information has been compiled in Christoph's Schuyler Genealogy.
This portrait of Johannes Schuyler has been sewn together with a portrait of his wife. It has been widely reproduced and is in the collection of the New-York Historical Society This unusual double painting was painted prior to Elsies death in 1737. Both portraits probably were done by Scottish-born artist John Watson. In 1741, the double portrait was noted in Johannes Schuyler's will.
Between 1692 and 1731, Johannes Schuyler witnessed twenty-seven baptisms in the Schuyler, Staats, and Wendell families, and of other Albany children as well.
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