Colonel Van Schaick
by
Stefan Bielinski


Gosen or Goose Van Schaick was born in 1736. He was the first son of Mayor Sybrant Van Schaick and his wife, Alida Roseboom. He was named for the Van Schaick family patriarch and called "Goose" Van Schaick. He came of age at the outbreak of a final chapter of the "French and Indian Wars." An exemplary record of service and his father's status helps account for his rise through the provincial officer corps.

In 1756, the twenty-year-old was appointed a lieutenant in the expedition against Crown Point. In 1758, he was promoted to captain and took part in the actions against Fort Frontenac and Fort Niagara. He was appointed major of a New York regiment in 1759. In 1762, he became lieutenant-colonel of the First New York Regiment. In the assault on Ticonderoga in 1758, he had received a severe wound on the cheek from a French musket ball that left him with an infection that marred his appearance, turned malignant, and from which he ultimately died.

After the war, Goose Van Schaick returned to Albany - probably to his father's Market Street home. In 1766, he joined his neighbors in signing a protest against the Stamp Act. During those years, he followed his father in business and in the management of his family's country acreage.

In October 1770, he married twenty-year-old New Jersey native Maria Ten Broeck in New York City. He was thirty-four. By 1787, the marriage had produced six children who were baptized in the Albany Dutch church. His father died in 1772, leaving Goose Van Schaick's extended family ensconced in the comfortable riverside home. Shortly thereafter, he purchased more property along North Market Street and continued to manage family lands up and down the valley.

He was an early and ardent supporter of the crusade for American liberties. In May 1775, he was elected to the Albany Committee of Correspondence representing the first ward. In July, he was commissioned colonel of the Second Regiment of the New York Line by the Continental Congress. For wartime service, he received a number of land bounties - including a bounty right in conjunction with the first regiment of the Albany County militia.

His major wartime contribution came in military service where he served the American cause throughout the conflict. Near the end of the war, he made a number of trips to Philadelphia for surgery on his old war wound or, as his son wrote, "to have the cancer cut out of his face." By mid-1783, he had returned home to Albany.

The years that followed found him involved in certifying military bounty grant applications, providing for a still growing family, supporting the nearby Dutch church, and living modestly and out of the spotlight. His Market Street home was valued on the assessment roll in 1788.

He filed a will in November 1788 noting that he was in "a declining state of health." It named his wife and children and parcelled out his Albany real estate and other property as well. Goose Van Schaick died at home on July 4, 1789 at the age of fifty-three. His biographer fixed the cause of death as "the cancer in his face." His will passed probate a year later. His widow, whom he referred to as "my Dear Girl," lived in Albany until 1829.

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notes

the people of colonial Albany The life of Goose Van Schaick is CAP biography number 4034. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. The best and only comprehensive biographical study is T. W. Egly's Goose Van Schaick of Albany, 1736-1789: The Continental Army's Senior Colonel (privately printed, 1992). It is the source of much qualitative information on his life. He also is a central character in the military chapter of The Other Revolutionaries



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privately posted: 9/20/03; last revised 1/5/04