Robert Sanders was born in New Amsterdam in November 1641. He was the son of New Netherland pioneers Manhattan tradesman Thomas And Sara Van Gorcum Sanders. Like his father a silversmith, he shared Thomas Sanders' business and assets on Manhattan and upriver in Beverwyck.
About 1665, he married Elsie Barentse Van Kleeck in New York. Shortly thereafter, the couple settled in Albany while the enteprising Sanders tended to family interests in New York and other locations as well. By 1683, the marriage had produced eleven children. His father probably had died before 1669 when Robert Sanders paid for the Albany burial of his mother.
Although not a prominent fur trader himself, Robert Sanders gained repute as an interpreter and frontier diplomat. During the 1680s, he served the new village/town of Albany as juror, assessor, firemaster, constable, acting sheriff, and justice. He was rewarded for these services with access to land in Dutchess County, north of the eastern part of Rensselaerswyck (Lansingburgh), and elsewhere in the province of New York. By the end of the century, he had sold most of those holdings which were the basis of the family fortune.
Although partially of English or Scottish ancestry, like his wife he was a member and supporter of the Albany Dutch church. His first ward home was an Albany landmark referenced by the term "Robert Sanders gate."
For almost four decades, Robert Sanders was a prominent businessman, landholder, attorney, and public servant in Albany and to some extent in New York where he probably spent the last decades of his life.
Robert Sanders had filed a joint will with his wife in 1673. He filed another will on his own in September 1702. He died in 1703 and was buried in New York City.
Property: His extensive (but fluid) real estate holdings in Albany, New York, and elsewhere in the Hudson and Mohawk valleys await more precise description. He has been called one of the founders of Poughkeepsie!
Will: In the name of God, Amen, this 21 day of September, 1702. I, Robert Sanders, of New York, merchant, being in health. I leave to me eldest son Thomas Sanders 50 shillings in full of ye pretence he might have as being my eldest son and heir at law. I leave to my wife Elsie all houses, lands, and Plantations, with full power to sell the same, and to give to the children as she may think best.Witnesses, Abraham Vandewater, Direk Ten Eyck. Proved, May 1, 1703.
first posted: 3/20/03; updated 4/10/10