Richard Van Rensselaer


Richard Van Rensselaer was born in June 1639. He was the fifth son of patriarch Kiliaen Van Rensselaer and the fourth born to his second wife, Anna Wely Van Rensselaer. His famous father died within a few years of his birth. However, this youngest boy's immediate family was large and supportive.

He is said to have come to New Netherland in 1651 (or perhaps in 1664) with his brother Jan Baptiste and to have served as a magistrate in Rensselaerswyck for a number of years.

In October 1664, he was among those who took the oath of allegience to the English Duke of York.

He is said to have "owned" the farm at the Flats that was sold to the Schuyler family in 1670 or 1672.

He is said to have been an adept businessman and to have attempted to organize the family holdings in the Hudson Valley. Much of his connection to the history of the city of Albany relates to that initiative and particularly to his correspondences with the widow of his brother Jeremias Van Rensselaer. However, Richard (or Ryckert) returned to Europe during the 1670s (perhaps as early as in 1670) to look after his own affairs.

In August 1681, he married Anna Van Beaumont in Amsterdam. All of their seven or more children were born in Europe.

He served as a town official (burgomaster among others) in the Netherlands.

Richard Van Rensselaer is said to have died in Vianan, Netherlands in 1695.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Richard Van Rensselaer is CAP biography number 5057. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. VRBM is the most cited resource on his life. See also, references to him in the papers of his widowed sister-in-law.

first posted: 3/5/10