Petrus Van Driessen was the son of Petrus Van Driessen and the brother of Johannes Van Driessen. Traditional sources tell us that he was born in Belgium!By Easter 1712, he was in Albany where he had succeeded Johannes Lydius as minister of the Albany Dutch church. In August of that year, he married Albany native Eva Cuyler. Their five children were baptized in Van Driessen's church where he served until his death in 1738. In 1715, he became a naturalized subject of Great Britain.
Dominie Van Driessen's long tenure came during a time of great growth in Albany and its environs. He took charge of the enlargement of the Albany church; was instrumental in securing a charter from the royal government, acquired additional pasture lands south of the city for the church, and managed missionary outposts in the Indian country and in southern Albany County. At the same time, sister congregations were formed in Schaghticoke, Kinderhook, and Catskill. As they were frequently without ministers of their own, Van Driessen provided services away from Albany as well. In 1726, a collection of his Dutch-language sermons was published in New York City. He also purchased personal frontier acreage along the Mohawk River.
"Sick in body," Petrus Van Driessen filed a will in January 1738. It left an extensive estate to his wife and then to their four living children. He died in early February and was buried beneath the church he built and where he served for almost twenty-six years.
first posted: 1/25/04