She was born on the family estate in Westchester County in 1766, the youngest child of future New York State Lieutenant Governor Pierre Van Cortlandt and his wife, Joanna Livingston Van Cortlandt. Growing up on Van Cortlandt manor, Anne's childhood experience might have been similar to that of her future husband - a Rensselaerswyck native.
She married Van Rensselaer in 1787. However, the marriage produced no children. Anna was a member and pewholder of the Albany Dutch church. Anticipating a large family, he built an urban mansion on upper State Street. In 1790, their home was attended by five slaves. Her personal servant was Bet, who was blamed for setting the fire that burned a core part of the city in 1793.
Philip S. Van Rensselaer was mayor of Albany from 1798 to 1817 and again from 1819 to 1821. Van Rensselaer died in 1824. As his only heir, she inherited Van Rensselaer's property and continued to live in their comfortable home on the north side of State Street at the corner of Chapel.
Anne De Peyster Van Cortlandt Van Rensselaer died at home on January 10, 1855. A newspaper obituary characterized her as "generous and hospitable" and possessed of "an unfailing and ever ready charity." Her will passed probate in February. This childless widow had lived almost eighty-nine years!
first posted: 2/20/02; last revised 9/11/03