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VAN NESS, John Peter

1769–1846

Biography

VAN NESS, John Peter, a Representative from New York; born in Ghent (formerly Claverly), Columbia County, N.Y., November 4, 1769; completed preparatory studies and attended Columbia College in New York City; studied law and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced; elected as a Republican to the Seventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Bird and served from October 6, 1801, to January 17, 1803, when his seat was declared forfeited, as he had accepted and exercised the office of major of militia in the District of Columbia bestowed on him by President Jefferson; he then made Washington his home; president of the second council in 1803; promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel commandant of the first legion of militia in 1805, brigadier general in 1811, and major general in 1813; alderman of the city of Washington in 1829; mayor 1830-1834; second vice president of the Washington National Monument Society in 1833; president of the commissioners of the Washington Canal in 1834; president of the branch bank of the United States at Washington, D.C.; first president of the National Metropolitan Bank from 1814 until his death in Washington, D.C., March 7, 1846; interment in a mausoleum at Oak Hill Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

The New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: In the Van Ness Family Papers, 1743-1951, approximately 15,000 items. The papers include 14 boxes of material concerning John Peter Van Ness.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: l letter.

George Washington University
Special Collections and University Archives

Washington, DC
Papers: In the W. Lloyd Wright Papers, 1794-1943, 0.5 linear foot. Persons represented include John Peter Van Ness.

Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC
Papers: 1817, 1 item. A deed from John Peter Van Ness and his wife, Marcia Van Ness, to Peter Lenox for Lot 10, Square 292, in Washington. The deed was signed on 1817 Jan. 27 and recorded 1817 Feb. 1.
Papers: 1832, 1 item. A letter from the board of managers of the Washington Orphan Asylum Society to John Peter Van Ness written on September 14, 1832. In the letter, the board of managers offer their condolences on the death of John Van Ness's wife, Marcia Van Ness.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Lewis H. Machen Family Papers, ca. 1802-1938, 12 linear feet. Subjects include John Peter Van Ness. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Charles Fenton Mercer Papers, 1825-1832, 8 items. The papers include a letter from John Peter Van Ness to Phineas Janney written on December 25, 1832, pertaining to loand for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
Papers: In the Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton Papers, 1793-1861, 7 items. A collection of autographs includes signatures of John Peter Van Ness. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Van Ness Family Papers, ca. 1788-1905, 30 items. Persons represented include John Peter Van Ness. The collection contains chiefly photocopies of originals privately owned.

New York Public Library

New York, NY
Papers: In William Peter Van Ness correspondence, 1795-1828. ca. 100 items. Chiefly political correspondence.

Pennsylvania State University
Special Collections Library, Historical Collections and Labor Archives

University Park, PA
Papers: In the Charlotte Hanes Harding Autographs Collection, 1744-1928, 0.45 cubic foot. Persons represented include John Peter Van Ness. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.

Xavier University
McDonald Memorial Library

Cincinnati, OH
Papers: In the Moses Dawson Correspondence, 1811-1845, 178 letters. Correspondents include John Peter Van Ness. The collections also is available on microfilm. An inventory is available in the repository.

District of Columbia Public Library
Georgetown Branch, Peabody Room

Washington, DC
Papers: 1823, 1 item. An indenture between John Peter Van Ness and his wife, Marcia Van Ness, to Robert Tweedy signed August 12, 1823 for Lot 1, Square 288, in Washington, DC. The deed was recorded on January 3, 1824.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Clark, Allen C. General John Peter Van Ness, A Mayor of the City of Washington, His Wife, Marcia, and Her Father, David Burnes. Washington: N.p., 1919.

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