Gerrit W. Van Schaick was born in May 1758. He was the last child born to Albany merchant Wessel Van Schaick and his wife, the former Mary Gerritse. He grew up in a comfortable home near the Albany waterfront. Three siblings ultimately became Albany residents. He mostly was known as "Gerrit W." to prevent confusion with at least two other same-named contemporaries.
Coming of age during the war, he marched with the militia to defend Saratoga in 1777. In 1779, he served as an ensign in Captain John Price's militia company. Later, he was accorded a land bounty right. He ultimately rose to the rank of General in the New York State militia.
Gerrit W. Van Schaick probably did not marry and lived with his mother following the death of his father in 1783. With her passing in 1797, the inherited a share in Maria and Wessel's substantial estate. He was a member and pewholder of the Albany Dutch church.
He owned extensive Albany real estate including a wharf and other waterfront holdings, a large tract along Foxes Creek, and land on the east side of Pearl Street. In August 1797, his house and stable on Montgomery Street were destroyed in a great fire. At that time, Isaac Bogert was living in the dwellinghouse. He also held certificates for several thousand acres in central New York. After the death of his mother, he had the Foxes Creek property subdivided and began to sell off the lots north of the stream bed in a new area known as Arbor Hill.
He lived on lower State Street (number 23 State) and was the first cashier of the Bank of Albany. Along those lines, he produced a number of practical publications - chiefly relating to banking. This bachelor was involved with and a supporter of a number of community-based organizations.
Without children, his household and businesses were cared for by slaves and servants. In 1800, his household was served by four slaves. In May 1814, he was identified as an Albany resident when he purchased a twenty-two-year-old "Negro man" named Robert Harrison from John J. Roff of "the Colonie."
Gerrit W. Van Schaick died in Lansingburgh in December 1816 after a short illness. He had lived fifty-eight years. Recognizing the family ownership of land there, Van Schaick Street (today's Monroe Street in "the Burgh") probably was named for him.
Sources: The life of Gerrit W. Van Schaick is CAP biography number 3953. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Because he was a visible presence at the Bank and a very active real estate trader, Gerrit W. Van Schaick's papers appear in a number of manuscripts repositories.
Obituary: "Gerrit W. Van Schaick died at Lansingburgh, after a short but severe illness, age 59. He was the first cashier of the Bank of Albany, which office he held from 1792 to 1814. He was one of the citizen soldiers who rallied to the battle-field when the city was threatened by the British under Burgoyne; was afterwards a general in the militia, and an efficient member of the common council." From "Notes from the Newspapers," printed in Annals of Albany, volume 6, p . 119.
first posted 10/10/03; updated 1/30/13