Anna Cuyler was born in Albany in November 1685, the first of the twelve children of Johannes and Elsie Ten Broeck Cuyler. Her father was a prominent merchant and one-time mayor of Albany. Her mother was the daughter of one of the founders of the community at Albany. She grew up in a large family in the second ward home of a wealthy businessman.
While most early Albany marriages involved brides in their early twenties, in 1712 twenty-seven-year-old Anna became the second wife of thirty-year-old Anthony Van Schaick, Jr. He was a son of a faming-based, early Albany business family. Over the next fourteen years, Anna gave birth to at least nine of the previously childless Van Schaick's children - the last arriving as she passed her forty-first birthday.
The couple set up housekeeping in Albany's first ward. By the 1720s, they had moved across State Street and were living in a house next to that of her parents on the east side of Pearl Street. A decade later, Anthony Van Schaick, Jr. inherited his father's estate on an island in the Hudson ten miles north of Albany. Like many affluent Albany business families of that time, Anna's family enjoyed both city and countryside residences.
The beautiful pastel portrait shown here is said to have been done by the twice-widowed American artist Henrietta Dering Johnston during the 1720s.
Anna Cuyler Van Schaick died in July 1741 at the age fifty-five and was buried in the Dutch church burial ground. Her husband lived until 1759.
Sources: The life of Anna Cuyler Van Schaick is CAP biography number 367. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. She has been the subject of a biographical profile by Shirley A. Rice which appeared in Women of Colonial Albany: A Community History Calendar for 1986 (issued by the Colonial Albany Social History Project in 1985) and available from the project.
first posted: 9/19/00; last revised 712/12