Jeremias Van Rensselaer


Jeremias Van Rensselaer was born in May 1632. He was the son of West India Company director Killiaen Van Rensselaer and his second wife, Anna Wely. His illustrious father died in 1643. Jeremias emigrated to New Netherland - first in 1654. He returned home and crossed again in 1656.

Jeremias Van Rensselaer succeeded to the title of Patroon and Director of the colony of Rensselaerswyck on the death of his brother in 1658. In 1659, he contracted to have a stone house built for him. At that time, he owned a lot in Beverwyck as well.

Although a leading scholar has offered that the Van Rensselaers were involved in "the trade," the names of neither Jan Baptiste nor Jeremias appeared on lists of fur traders who petitioned the court in 1660. Perhaps they were exempt from the problems facing the Beverwyck-based business community.

In July 1662, Jeremias Van Rensselaer married young Maria Van Corlandt at the Dutch church in New Amsterdam. By 1674, this marriage of advantaged New Yorkers had produced seven children, several of whom would further establish their families on the top shelf of colonial society. His sons became prominent Albany residents - at least for a part of their lives.

In October 1664, Jeremias was among the Holland-born settlers who took the oath of allegiance to the King of England.

Jeremias Van Rensselaer died in October 1674. His subsequent funeral was attended by the most worthy settlers of Albany and Rensselaerswyck. His widow survived until 1689.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Jeremias Van Rensselaer is CAP biography number 6663. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. The basic resources for his life are VRBM, esp. p. 846; and The Correspondence of Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1651-1674, translated and edited by A.J.F. Van Laer (Albany, 1932); cited online. Selected online resources: Walter Gilbert;

first posted: 3/20/09