Jacob Rutser Van Rensselaer

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Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer (September 27, 1767 – September 22, 1835) was an American lawyer and Federalist politician who served as Speaker of the New York State Assembly from 1812 to 1813, and Secretary of State of New York, from 1813 to 1815.<ref name="Hough1858"></ref>

Early life

Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer was born on September 27, 1767 in Claverack, Columbia County in what was then the Province of New York, a part of British America. He was the second son of Gen. Robert Van Rensselaer (1740–1802) and Cornelia (née Rutsen) Van Rensselaer (1746–1790), who had married in April 1765.<ref name="Reynolds1914"></ref>

His maternal grandparents were Jacob Rutsen (1716–1753) and Alida (née Livingston) Rutsen (1716–1798). After his grandfather died, his grandmother remarried to Hendrick Van Rensselaer (1712–1793).<ref name="Reynolds1914"/> His paternal grandparents were Johannes Van Rensselaer (1708–1793), a Brigadier General during the American Revolutionary War, a member of the New York Provincial Congress and the 1st New York State Assembly, and Engeltie "Angelica" (née Livingston) Van Rensselaer (1698–1746/47).<ref name="Bergen1915"></ref>

He attended Washington Seminary, graduated from Yale University in 1787, studied law and attained admission to the bar.<ref name="Hough1858"/>


During the War of 1812, he commanded troops which were drafted in Columbia County, and were ordered to the defense of the city of New York.<ref name="Hough1858"/>

Van Rensselaer was a member of the New York State Assembly in 1800, 1808, 1808–09, 1811, 1812, 1812–13, 1814, 1814–15 and 1819; and was Speaker in 1812–13.<ref name="Hough1858"/> He was Secretary of State of New York from 1813 to 1815 and was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1821.<ref name="Hough1858"/> He was associated with Gov. DeWitt Clinton in building the Erie Canal.<ref name="Reynolds1914"/>

Personal life

He married Cornelia De Peyster (1774–1849), the daughter of Pierre Guillaume De Peyster (1745–1807). Her paternal uncle was Arent DePeyster (1736–1822), the British military officer, and her brother, William de Peyster, was married Mary Roosevelt, niece of Nicholas Roosevelt.<ref name="Allaben1908"></ref> Their home, the Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer House and Mill Complex, built circa 1805 is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places.<ref name="nrhpinv_ny">Template:Cite web See also: Template:Cite web</ref> Together, they were the parents of:<ref name="Society1907"></ref>

  • Cornelia Van Rensselaer, who died young.<ref name="Society1907"/>
  • Pierre De Peyster Van Rensselaer (1797–1802), who died young.<ref name="Society1907"/>
  • Cornelia Rensselaer, who died at the age of nineteen.<ref name="Society1907"/>
  • Eliza Bayard Van Rensselaer (1801–1835)
  • Pierre Van Rensselaer, who died at the age of twenty-five.<ref name="Society1907"/>
  • Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer, who married Emily Denning,<ref name="Murphy2003"></ref> granddaughter of William Denning, in 1848.<ref name="Society1907"/><ref name="MacDonough1901"></ref>
  • Robert Schuyler Van Rensselaer (c. 1810–1874), who married Virginia Kidd.<ref name="Society1907"/>
  • Jeremiah Van Rensselaer (1812–1874), who married Mary Fleming (1810–1881), daughter of Gilbert Fleming.<ref name="Society1907"/>
  • Catharine Schuyler Van Rensselaer (1813–1838), who died from grief shortly after the death of her father.<ref name="Society1907"/>

After his death in New York City on September 22, 1835, he was buried in the cemetery at the Reformed Dutch Church of Claverack.


  • [1] Genealogy of Livingston family
  • [2] Bio at Rootsweb
  • The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (pages 33, 57, 173, 181f, 184f, 187ff, 194 and 312; Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858)

External links