38483849. Kiliaen Van Rensselaer was born the Fort near Hasselt, Overijssel, Holland, about 1585. He was buried in Oude Kerck, Amsterdam, October 7, 1643. Hillegonda Van Bijler was baptized on Wednesday, August 2, 1598, and died in December, 1626. She was buried in Amsterdam, Holland, on January 1, 1627. They were married in Utrecht, Holland, on Tuesday, July 23, 1616. She took the name Hillegonda Van Rensselaer. He is the son of Hendrick, (Capt.) and Maria (Pafraet) Van Rensselaer. She is the daughter of Jan and Hillegonda (Egberts) Van Bijler. They had three children:
|i.||Hendrick Van Rensselaer: He married Johanna Van Dressler.|
|ii.||Johan Van Rensselaer: He was baptized on September 4, 1625; married Elizabeth Van Twiller.|
|iii.||Maria Van Rensselaer: She was buried in Amsterdam on January 4, 1627, three days after her mother.|
His second marriage was to Anna Van Wely in Amsterdam, Holland, on Friday, December 14, 1627. She took the name Anna Van Rensselaer. She was born about 1601, and died in Amsterdam on June 12, 1670. She is the daughter of Jan and Eleanor (Haeckens) Van Wely. Their wedding ring was brought to the United States by their youngest son, Reverend Nicholas Van Rensselaer and was used eight generations later when Kiliaen Van Rensselaer married Dorothy Manson on November 23, 1905. The ring is now in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. They had eight children:
|i.||Jan Baptist Van Rensselaer: He was baptized March 18, 1629 in Amsterdam, Holland, and married Susanna Van Wely.|
|ii.||Maria Van Rensselaer: She was baptized March 23, 1631; buried February 4, 1654.|
|iii.||Jeremias Van Rensselaer [#1924]: He was baptized in Amsterdam on May 18, 1632, and died in Crailo, Rensselaerwyck, on October 12, 1674.|
|iv.||Hilegonda Van Rensselaer: She was baptized November 8, 1633; buried August 8, 1654.|
|v.||Eleanor Van Rensselaer: She was baptized February 18, 1635; died about 1695|
|vi.||Nicholas Van Rensselaer, (Rev) was baptized in Amsterdam on September 14, 1636, and died in Albany in 1678. He was religious from childhood and shunned the family business. He curried favor with King Charles II and was appointed co-minister in Albany tho he never took the pulpit. He married Alida Schuyler when he was 39 and she was 19. They had no children. See more information at The People of Colonial Albany.|
|vii.||Susanna Van Rensselaer: She was baptized February 9, 1638; married Jan de la Court|
|viii.||Ryckert Van Rensselaer: He was baptized June 28, 1639; married Anna Van Beaumont|
Kiliaen was the First Patroon of Rensselaerwyck in New Netherlands. He was a minor at the death of his father and his guardians apprenticed him to his relative Wolfret Van Bijler, a diamond merchant, to be trained as a merchant. In those days the diamond trade was combined with trade in pearls, articles of luxury and rareties of every description coming from the far East through the Dutch India Company. The Dutch jewelers found a ready market for their valuable wares at the Imperial Court and smaller German Courts.
Johan Van Wely, a member of the Dutch East India Company, and a son of one of the sisters of Wolfret Van Bijler, controlled a diamond business no less important than his uncle Wolfret Van Bijler's. In 1614, Kiliaen was interested in bringing about a merger of the two firms. This was accomplished on 28 February 1614 under the name of Johan Van Wely and Company.
In 1616, Johan Van Wely was sent for by Prince Maurice to come to The Hague and bring with him some diamonds and other precious stones which the Prince wished to purchase. While awaiting the Prince, Van Wely was murdered and his body concealed under a table until it could be taken out and buried in an ashpit.
A few years after the assassination of Johan Wely the firm of Johan Van Wely and Company dissolved, Kiliaen carrying on the business under the name of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer and Company with Jacques L'Hermite as partner.
In 1609, Henry Hudson, returning from one of his western voyages, reported his discoveries of the rich resources of the valley of the Hudson river. The Dutch considered how best to develop this territory which they claimed as their own.
In 1612, their "High and Mighty Lords" the States General of The Netherlands, "with the advice of the Prince of Orange", granted the Dutch West India Company a charter giving it exclusive possession and control of the great domain comprising the states of New York and New Jersey. The governing body was the College of XIX consisting of nineteen delegates from five chambers of managers located in five principal Dutch cities. The Amsterdam chamber furnished eight of the nineteen delegates one of whom was Kiliaen Van Rensselaer. He was obliged to subscribe not less than 6,000 guilders to the company's capital.
After futile attempts at settlement of the new territory, the directors approved on 7 June 1629, a charter of Freedoms and Exemptions to "such participants of the said company as may be inclined to plant any colonies in the New Netherlands". On Monday the 19th of November, 1629, Kiliaen declared himself ready to send a colony to Fort Orange. In due time he controlled 24 miles north and south of Fort Orange and twelve miles back on either side of the river.
As early as 4 August 1632, Kiliaen wrote to his agent, Arent Van Cuyler that he was sending over a wooden model of a church and that the new church should be put on the east side of the river opposite Castle Island. He also stated that near the church there ought to be built a dwelling for the minister and one for the sexton. Rev. Johannes Megapolensis, the first minister of Rensselaerwyck, arrived in 1642 but owing to the failure of the builder to finish the house it was necessary to purchase another one for him. The house which Kiliaen had built was called "Crailo" after the Van Rensselaer estate in Holland. Some of the bricks bearing the date 1630, were made in Holland and sent over as ballast. They are very hard and of various shapes and a bright terra cotta color. A stone in the cellar wall bears the inscription "KVR 1642 Anno Domini". In 1886 an inscribed tablet was set into the cellar wall of the house reading: "Supposed to be the oldest building in the United States and to have been erected in the year 1642 as a manor house and place of defense known as "Fort Crailo". It was General Abercrombie's headquarters while [he was] marching to the attack at Fort Ticonderoga in 1758. It is said [that] at the cantonment east of the house near the old well, Richard Shuckbury composed the popular song "Yankee Doodle".
About 1615, Kiliaen caused to be placed over the leaden caskets of his father, Hendrick Van Rensselear and the latter's twin brother, Capt. Johan Van Rensselaer in the church at Nykerk an elaborate stone slab bearing the following Latin inscription: "Johan and Hendrick Van Rensselaer, twin brothers the former while he lived, captain of a company of foot soldiers and farmers, renowned for his great and many services to the republic and his country, perished at Deventer; the latter perished at Ostend at his own station holding his brave spirit to the last breath of life, having left to his descendants, his relations and connections great glory and a great longing for him. Although death overtook when performing deeds of prowess in places widely separated and remote, nevertheless Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, mindful of his filial duty to his much beloved parents and uncle has taken pains that both of his ancestors be laid to rest together under this monument". According to Kwartieren op de graftombe der Rensselaers te Nijerk Wapenheraut, 1918, pages 150, 151 the coats of arms shown on this stone are Van Rensselaer. Luxoel, Indijck, Hane(graeff), Van Wenckum, Schouten, Hell, Bylaer indicating marriages with these families.
This gravestone, which during a long period was partly hidden by a stair in the church was removed and placed in the wall next to the pulpit and at the head of the new graves of the two brothers. This was made possible by the generous contribution of Miss Florence Van Rensselaer who was asked by The Nethelands minister to America, Jonkeer van Haersma de With and the President of the Netherlands Reformed Dutch Church, Herr de Graef, to unveil this stone. The unveiling took place 22 July 1938 amid a large gathering of State and Church dignitaries. Queen Wilhelmina was to have been represented by her Chancellor of State but he was called to Prague by reason of the impending war.
Source: The Van Rensselaers in Holland and America
Dictionary definition of "patroon": a person who held a large estate with manorial rights under a grant from the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey.
From Abstracts of Wills, vol. I, 16651707, in the collection of the The New York Historical Society, come this part if Kiliaen's will.
"In the name of God, Amen. Be it known to all men it may concerne, that in the year 168 6/7, on the 22 day of the month of February, about 12 of the clock at night, before me John Becker, Notary Publick, admitted by His Excelency, Thomas Dongan, Lieut. Gen., Governor, etc. Killian Van Rensselaer, Patroon of the Lordship and manor of Rensselaerwyck dwelling there at Watervliet, being sick on bed, but using and having his senses." He bequeaths his soul into the hands of God, and appoints his wife, Mrs. Anne Van Rensselaer, his executor, and his only and universal heir of all his goods and chattels, whether in this country or upon the sea, in Guilderland or elsewhere, without being obliged to give an account to the orphan masters or to his kindred. But his wife shall suffer his sister Nellie Maria, born at Newkirck, and now dwelling at Amsterdam, to have and enjoy one-half of the property, in which is included the Testator's part of the entailed estate lying beyond sea, in Guilderland. And also concerning the money that his father, deceased, hath disbursed for the Lordship and manor of Rensselaerwyck, upon which an award is made and confirmed by the Testator and Mr. Richard Van Rensselaer, and a true account is to be delivered to his sister, and his sister shall do the like to his wife, for the estate beyond sea in the Netherlands. The land that is lying in the Lordship and manor of Rensselaerwyck, belonging to the Testator, shall be divided; and the part that has come to him by inheritance shall go to Hendrick Van Rensselaer, son of his uncle Jeremias Van Rensselaer, but one-half of the profits shall go to his wife for life. And of the lands he has by purchase, his sister is to have one-half the profits for life. If she die without issue, then to go to the children of Jeremias Van Rensselaer, son of John Baptist Van Rensellaer, and the children of Dr. Johanes Corlinus. The Testator's part of the ground or Toft of land in Klein Overshurst, being in the ampt, Van Bornvelt, ...
In The Annals of America, vol. I, 14931754,
Discovering a New World, pp. 104106, is an interesting article on the
rights and privileges of patroons.