Margaret Schuyler Van Rensselaer
Stefan Bielinski

Margaret Schuyler was born in September 1758. She was the daughter of Philip and Catharina Van Rensselaer Schuyler. Daughter of two of the most successful regional families, she grew up in Albany and on family countryside retreats. In 1774, she was left a bequest in the will of Colonel John Bradstreet - a friend of her family.

In June 1783, she married Stephen Van Rensselaer, III. He was nineteen. She was a few months shy of her twenty-fifth birthday. The marriage occasioned conflicting analyses - one source calling it an elopement and everyone agreeing that he was "far too young" for such a connection. Most agreed, however, that "Miss Peggy" was a "charming young woman and destined to further distinction." In any event, at age twenty-one, he assumed the title of "Lord of Van Rensselaer Manor." By 1789, the marriage produced three children who were baptized at the Albany Dutch church. Only their son survived to reach maturity!

After a year in Albany, the patroon's young family made their home at the Van Rensselaer Manor House - living on a large estate attended by many servants. Stephen Van Renssleaer became one of the most important public figures in early nineteenth century New York State.

These Van Rensselaers were frequent guests at the New York home of Margaret's sister, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton where their social circle included President Washington and other American leaders.

Margaret Schuyler Van Rensselaer died in March 1801. Dead before her forty-third birthday, her mother's biographer called her "bright, spirited and generous." Her grand funeral at the Manor House masked the family's grief over her untimely passing. The still-young patroon re-married in May 1802!

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Margaret/Margarita Schuyler Van Rensselaer is CAP biography number 1490. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Much of the qualitative commentary about her relies on sources cited in Mary Gay Humphreys's biography of Peggy's mother!

Two portraits of her help us visualize her short life. biography in-progress !

Home | Site Index | Navigation | Email | New York State Museum

first posted: 6/25/04