VAN RENSSELAER, Stephen, III

1764–1839

Biography

VAN RENSSELAER, Stephen, III, (father of Henry Bell Van Rensselaer), a Representative from New York; born in New York City November 1, 1764; completed preparatory studies and attended Princeton College; graduated from Harvard University in 1782; major of militia in 1786, colonel in 1788, and major general in 1801; member of the New York state assembly 1789-1791, 1798, and 1818; member of the New York state senate 1791-1796; elected lieutenant governor of New York in 1795; unsuccessful candidate for New York governor in 1801 and 1813; served as major general of Volunteers in the War of 1812; member of the canal commission 1816-1839, and served fourteen years as its president; member of the New York state constitutional convention in 1821; founded the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy in 1824; was a supporter of John Quincy Adams; elected to the Seventeenth Congress by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of United States Representative Solomon Van Vechten Van Rensselaer and reelected to the three succeeding Congresses (February 27, 1822-March 3, 1829); chairman, Committee on Agriculture (Eighteenth through Twentieth Congresses); was not a candidate for reelection; devoted his time to landed interests and to educational and public welfare matters; regent of the University of New York 1819-1839; died on January 26, 1839, in Albany, N.Y.; interment in the family burying ground; reinterment in Albany Rural Cemetery.

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

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External Research Collections

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections

Albany, NY
Papers: ca. 1785-1830, approximately 58 pages. This description covers various letters between Stephen Van Rensselaer and very correspondents at the New York Public Library. The following individuals are among the correspondents: Gerard Bancker, Jonathan Beekman, John Parker Boyd, John Barker Church, Joseph Green Cogswell, William Cooper, General H.A. Dearborn, Douw Fonda, Peter Gansevoort, Dirck Gardeneer, Peter Hunt, J.H. Lawrence, Henry Walter Livingston, John Lovett, Henry McNeil, Alexander Macomb, Jacob Morris, Thomas Morris, William North, David Parish, William Paulding, Jonas Platt, Henry Van Schaack, Eliza Schuyler, John Bradstreet Schuyler, Philip Jeremiah Schuyler, Philip John Schuyler, Benjamin Taylor, Abraham Ten Broeck, Daniel Tompkins, Alexander Turner, David Van Horne, David Van Schaack, Stephen Van Rensselaer, Jr., Abraham Van Vechten, Thomas Witbeck, and Oliver Wolcott.
Papers: 1791-1827, 7 documents. This collection of indentures and surveys pertain to a parcel of land in the Van Bael patent of the Rensselaer Patroonship. In 1792, Stephen Van Rensselaer signed an indenture assigning more than 28 acres to Michael Bruce and his heirs. This indenture describes the tract's boundaries and the yearly rent-in-kind to be paid. On the back of the indentures is a series of attestations transferring the landholding to Bruce's son James; from James Bruce to Job Earls; from Job Earls to James Bell in 1807. The other indentures involve transfers within this tract, beginning with that of James Bell to Abraham Veeder in 1814, and various quitclaims to James Bell involving parcels of the same plot. The surveys of the tract were made on or before 1815. The back of the indentures have attestations about the independent agreement and concurrences of wives to these transactions.
Papers: In the New York (State) Adjutant General General Orders, 1809, 3 pages. An organizational chart of the 5th Infantry Division from April 17, 1809, and the cavalry pursuant to the act passed 1809 March 29. Given from headquarters in Albany by Adjutant General William Paulding Jr, includes an address to Gen. Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Schuyler Family Collection, 1711-1823, 0.5 cubic foot. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Shaw Family Papers, 1791-1816, 0.25 cubic foot. Other authors include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Van Rensselaer-Rankin Papers, 1812-1816, 8 folders. This series consists of military correspondence of General Stephen Van Rensselaer. Van Rensselaer served as a Major General in the New York State Militia and commanded the northern frontier of the state. The records consist of two leather books which contain transcriptions of letters sent by Van Rensselaer. All of the correspondence deals with military topics. The series also contains one folder of military broadsides. These papers are on deposit from Historic Cherry Hill and their use requires written permission from Historic Cherry Hill.

Albany Institute of History and Art
McKinney Library

Albany, NY
Papers: In the Account Books, Eighteenth Century, 1734-1801, 13 volumes. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Sage Estate Collection, 1697-1830, 67 items. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Howard Townsend Papers Collection of Van Rensselaer, Schuyler, Ten Eyck and Ten Broeck Families, 1686-1876, 0.7 cubic foot. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 12 letters.

Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn, NY
Papers: List of candidates (April 6, 1798) and broadside (April 16, 1798). Finding aid in repository.

Brooklyn Museum
Archives

Brooklyn, NY
Papers: In the Pierrepont Family Papers Relating to Gilbert Stuart's "Portrait of George Washington," 1812-1913, 0.25 linear foot. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

Buffalo, NY
Papers: In the A. Conger Goodyear Collection of War of 1812 manuscripts, 1779-1862, 1.5 linear feet. Other authors include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Cornell University
Carl A. Kroch Library

Ithaca, NY
Papers: In the Simon Newton Dexter Papers, 1785-1862, 12.8 cubic feet, 9 volumes, and 4 microfilm rolls. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume X, miscellany, 1764-1805, 81 items. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Jedediah Morse Correspondence, 1794-1824, 6 folders. Persons represented include General Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Hagley Museum and Library

Greenville, DE
Papers: In The Winterthur Manuscripts, 1588-1955, 156 linear feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Harvard University
Houghton Library

Cambridge, MA
Papers: In the Forbes Family Business Records, 1803-1942, Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Photographs: In the Harvard University Portrait Files, ca. 1782, 1 item. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Andrews Norton Papers, 1786-1853, 6 linear feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Historic Cherry Hill

Albany, NY
Papers: In the Stephen Van Rensselaer Military Papers, 1812-1816, 8 folders. The collection is deposited at the New York State Library in Albany, NY.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Microfilm: In the Church Family Correspondence, 1716-1865, 1 reel. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Robert Robertson Hunter Papers, 1822-1827, 1 item. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Philip John Schuyler Papers, 1775-1804, 18 items. Includes letters (1787-1804) addressed primarily to Stephen Van Rensselaer pertaining to Schuyler’s career as New York state legislator.
Papers: In the Horatio Gates Spofford Correspondence, 1818-1822, 2 items. Includes a letter from Horatio Gates Spofford to Stephen Van Rensselaer written on May 20, . In the letter, Spofford requests information for his gazetteer of New York state.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1782-1839. 140 items.
Papers: In the Egbert Benson Papers, 1772-1939, 3 linear feet. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the New York State Legislature Portrait Prints Collection, 1798, 1.58 linear feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Saint-Mémin Print Collection 1794-1808, 4 linear feet. Portraits include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

New York State Archives

Albany, NY
Papers: In the Kling Family - Bell Indentures Collection, 1850-1900, 1 large flat box of 20 documents. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Ticonderoga Historical Society Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1704-1980, approximately 3 cubic feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Van Rensselaer Indentures Collection, 1791-1827, 1 large flat box of 7 documents. This collection of indentures and surveys pertain to a parcel of land in the Van Bael patent of the Rensselaer Patroonship. In 1792, Stephen Van Rensselaer signed an indenture assigning more than 28 acres to Michael Bruce and his heirs. This indenture describes the tract's boundaries and the yearly rent-in-kind to be paid. On the back of the indentures is a series of attestations transferring the landholding to Bruce's son James; from James Bruce to Job Earls; from Job Earls to James Bell in 1807. The other indentures involve transfers within this tract, beginning with that of James Bell to Abraham Veeder in 1814, and various quitclaims to James Bell involving parcels of the same plot. The surveys of the tract were made on or before 1815. The back of the indentures have attestations about the independent agreement and concurrences of wives to these transactions.

New York State Historical Association
Library

Cooperstown, NY
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts T - V, ca. 1790-1979, 1.2 cubic foot. The papers contain a political letter of Stephen Van Rensselaer to William Cooper, 1793.

Onondaga Historical Association
Research Center

Syracuse, NY
Papers: In the Erie Canal Enlargement Records, 1833-1904, 3 folders. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the New York (State) Comptroller's Office Miscellaneous Records, ca. 1796-1957, 2 cubic feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Princeton University Library
Manuscripts Division

Princeton, NJ
Papers: 1779, 1 volume. An autograph manuscript of a valedictory oration given by Stephen Van Rensselaer at Nassau Hall, Princeton, for the grammar school commencement exercises, Sept. 28, 1779.
Papers: In the Throop and Martin Family Papers, 1693-1951, 4.2 linear feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Institute Archives and Department of Special Collections

Troy, NY
Papers: In the Isadore M. Fixman Collection of Stephen Van Rensselaer Papers, ca. 1790-1964, 20 linear feet. Correspondence, legal papers, and print materials of and about Stephen Van Rensselaer; correspondence of Isadore M. Fixman relating to Van Rensselaer and his papers; and miscellaneous items relating to other members of the Van Rensselaer family.
Papers: In the DeFreest Family Papers, ca. 1770-1899, 1.2 cubic feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Rutgers University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library

New Brunswick, NJ
Papers: In the Simeon De Witt Collection, 1778-1834, 3 folders. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Senate House State Historic Site

Kingston, NY
Papers: In the Van Gaasbeek Family Papers, 1773-1797, approximately 4 cubic feet. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Stephentown Historical Society

Stephentown, NY
Papes: In the Albert Phelps Collection, 1791-1838, 268 items The collection also includes legal documents of Stephen Van Rensselaer.

University at Albany
M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries

Albany, NY
Papers: In the Freligh Family Papers, 1770-1959, 0.8 cubic foot. The papers include rent receipts signed by Stephen Van Rensselaer.

University of Virginia
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Charlottesville, VA
Papers: In the Ebenezer Foote Letters, 1794-1820, 29 items. Correspondents include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Angelica Schuyler Church Papers, 1716-1865, 84 items. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Yale University Library
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New Haven, CT
Papers: In the Burr Family Papers, 1750-1853, l linear foot. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In The Morris Tyler Family Collection of John James Audubon, ca. 1697-1982, 12.3 linear feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Papers: In the Morse Family Papers, 1779-1868, 8 linear feet. Persons represented include Stephen Van Rensselaer.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Barlow, William. Character and reward of a just man: A funeral discourse, commemorative of the life, and virtues, of the late Hon. Stephen Van Rensselaer, delivered at Ogdensburgh, February 17, 1839. Albany: Packard, Van Benthuysen and Co., 1839.

Barnard, Daniel D. A discourse on the life, services and character of Stephen Van Rensselaer; delivered before the Albany Institute, April 15, 1839. With an historical sketch of the colony and manor of Rensselaerwyck, in an appendix. Albany: Printed by Hoffman & White, 1839.

McClave, Elizabeth W. Stephen Van Rensselaer, III: A Pictorial Reflection and Biographical Commentary. Edited by Rowland McClave and William B. Zimmerman. [Stephentown, N.Y.]: Stephentown Historical Society; [New York, N.Y.]: Holland Society of New York, [1984].

Sprague, William Buell. Religion and rank: A sermon addressed to the Second Presbyterian Congregation in Albany, Feb. 3, 1839, the Sabbath immediately succeeding the funeral of the Hon. Stephen Van Rensselaer. Albany: Printed by Packard, Van Benthuysen, 1839.

Vermilye, Thomas Edward. A funeral discourse. Albany: Printed by J. Munsell, 1839.

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