Maria Van Cortlandt Van Rensselaer
Maria Van Cortlandt was born in New Amsterdam in July 1645. She was the eldest daughter in the large and well-connected family of businessman Olaf Stevens Van Cortlandt and his wife Anna Loockermans Van Cortlandt. Her father was an opportunistic West India Company employee who became one of the leading traders and landholders of seventeenth century New York. A number of his offspring became mainline characters in the early Albany story. Two of Maria's siblings married Schuylers while another became the wife of Andries Teller.
Maria was not yet eighteen in July 1662 when she married a much older Jeremias Van Rensselaer - who had become Patroon and Director of Rensselaerswyck on the death of his brother in 1658. That union produced seven children and united two of the most outstanding New Netherland-era families. However potentially significant, the marriage would not be particularly long-lived.
Jeremias Van Rensselaer died in October 1674 leaving twenty-nine-year-old Maria with five young children and one on the way. Shortly after the birth of her last child, Maria became lame and needed crutches for the rest of her life.
Nonetheless, she called on her father and uncle for support but was able to look after the day-to-day operations of the manor until her son Kiliaen took over as Patroon in 1687.
Maria Van Cortlandt Van Rensselaer life was not a long one either. She died in January 1689 at the age of forty-three.
Sources: The life of Maria Van Cortlandt Van Rensselaer is CAP biography number 6663. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Online resources: bookrags; Correspondence
first opened: 4/20/09