Claes Ripse Van Dam
Stefan Bielinski

Claes Ripse was a carpenter, contractor, and trader in Beverwyck and then Albany. He was the father of Council member and acting provincial governor Rip Van Dam.

In 1653, his name began to appear on the dockets of the Beverwyck/Albany courts. In that year, he was sued for defaulting on the rent for a house on Manhattan. After that, he was a frequent litigant in Albany where much of his involvment related to carpentry work. He also appeared before the Albany court as an attorney, juror, and arbitrator.

He was married to Maria Bords. The marriage produced several children who lived to adulthood. He was a member of the Albany Dutch church and active in its operations.

By 1676, he had established a permanent residence on what became Chapel Street. He also owned a lot on Pearl Street. His name appeared on the Albany census of 1679. In 1681, he was identified as a "burgher."

He was elected alderman for the second ward beginning in 1689. In 1693, he was identified as a justice of the peace for Albany County.

In 1697, he and Maria were living alone in their second ward home. He signed the loyalty oath of 1699. During the next decade, his second ward property was assessed at the highest rate. Claes Ripse died after 1709 and the Van Dam name passed from Albany rolls!



the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Claes Ripse is CAP biography number 6352. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

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first posted: 6/20/03