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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Van Vechten

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 202-205 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The family name of Van Vechten is derived from the Dutch, signifying that those who bore that name and were met on their journeyings or located in other places than on the original estate, came "from the Vechet" river in Holland. Three centuries ago, or about 1600, the Van Vechtens resided in Vechten, province of Utrecht, Holland. For a century and a half prior to the American revolution the name was also very commonly spelled Van Veghten, and this form maybe seen signed on hundreds of the revolutionary records in the state of New York, and on any number of private documents, wills, deeds and family Bible records.

Van Vechten arms: Shield: Sable, a fesse battled counter, embattled and cotised argent. Crest: Issuing out of a ducal coronet a pair of eagle's wings erect; dexter wing sable; sinister, argent. It was borne by Teunis Dircksen Van Vechten, of Vechten, province of Utrecht, Holland, prior to 1638. The fesse crossing the shield signifies a military belt of honor conferred by the monarch for some especial deed of valor, and the battlements show it to have been given in defence of an attack on a fortress of great strength.

(I) The progenitor of the Van Vechten family in America was Teunis Dircksen Van Vechten, son of Dirck Van Vechten, of Utrecht, who came to this country in 1638 from Holland in the ship called "The Arms of Norway." He brought with him his wife, child and two servants, and located on the bank of the Hudson river opposite Albany, but a little south of the city proper, where he proceeded to engage in farming. It is recorded that he succeeded to the farm of Michael Jansen in 1646, and 1648 found him located at the southern end of Greenbush, changed later to Rensselaer, New York. In 1663 he is chronicled as one of the "old inhabitants." He was sometimes styled "Poentie." Their children (living in 1700) were:

  1. Dirck Theunise, see forward.
  2. Cornelis Theunise, married (first) Sara Salomense Goewey, in 1668; married (second) Annatje Leendertse; married (third) Maria Lucase Claase, widow, July 3, 1689.
  3. Gerrit Theunise, married (first) Antje Janse; married (second) Greetje Volckert, daughter of Volckert Jans Douw.
  4. Pietertje, married Myndert Frederickse Van Yveren, in 1663.

(II) Dirck Teunis (or Theunise), son of Teunis Dircksen Van Vechten, purchased October 20, 1681, from Stephen Van Cortland "a certain tract of land in Catskill, in the county of Albany; which was afterwards confirmed by a patent under the hand and seal of His Excellency, Thomas Dongan, State Governor of New York, bearing date the 21st day of March, Anno Domini, 1686." It was made over to his sons, Samuel and Johannes Van Vechten, following the parent's death, by, their brothers, Michael and Abraham, by deed bearing date March 30, 1715, and Johannes made his share over to Samuel, August 9, 1721, thus Samuel acquired the property and was able to leave it by will to his nephew, Teunis. Dirck Teunis Van Vechten died November 25, 1702. His will was made April 4, 1687, and proved March 30, 1703. He married Jannetje, daughter of Michiel Jansen and Fytje (Hartman) Vrelant, of Communipaw, New Jersey. Children:

  1. Jannetje, born September 25, 1660.
  2. Wyntje, January 17, 1662; married Philip Leendertse Conyn, of Coxsackie.
  3. Michiel, November 28, 1663; married (first) Marytje Parker, November 21, 1686; married (second) Jannetje Du Mont, April 2, 1691.
  4. Neeltje, March 24, 1665.
  5. Johannes, June 24, 1666, died single, June 1, 1735.
  6. Teunis, May 24, 1668, see forward.
  7. Antje, May 4, 1670.
  8. Fytje, December 6, 1671; married, May 23, 1697, William Janse Casperse Halenbeck, of Coxsackie, New York.
  9. Samuel, April 12, 1673, died single, March 30, 1741.
  10. Saatje (Sara), January 8, 1675.
  11. Abraham, April 14, 1679, died single before October 16, 1739.

(III) Teunis, son of Dirck Teunis and Jannetje (Vrelant) Van Vechten, was born May 24, 1668, died in 1707. He married, November 28, 1694, Cathlyntje (Caatje), daughter of Claas Frederickse Van Petten, of Schenectady, New York. Children:

  1. Dirck, born September 12, 1695; married, in Kingston, Helena Seulant (or Suybrant), December 26, 1722; died in 1782.
  2. Eve, baptized in Albany, May 12, 1700; married Johannes Suylant.
  3. Jannetje, baptized in Schenectady, May 24, 1702.
  4. Maria, baptized in Albany, June 4, 1704.
  5. Teunis, born April 1, 1707, see forward.

(IV) Teunis (2), son of Teunis (1) and Cathlyntje (Caatje) (Van Petten) Van Vechten of Schenectady, was born April 1, 1707. died April 3, 1785. He lived in Catskill, Greene county, New York. He married, January 9, 1742, in Kingston, New York, Judikje, daughter of Jacob Ten Broeck, of that place. Children:

  1. Samuel, born September 28, 1742; married Sara Van Orden in 1781; died February 12, 1813.
  2. Jacob, born September 18, 1747; married Elsie Staats, January 21, 1787; died, without issue, April 30, 1806.
  3. Teunis Teunissen, born April 24, 1749, see forward.
  4. Elizabeth, born October 6, 1757; married Hezekiah Van Orden, June 2 (or 9), 1782; died February 17, 1813.
  5. Abraham, born December 5, 1762, see forward.

(V) Teunis Teunissen, son of Teunis (2) and Judikje (Ten Broeck) Van Vechten, was born April 24, 1749. He was a prominent merchant of Albany, with his store in 1805 located on the west corner of Broadway and Maiden Lane. He held the office of commisary on the staff of Governor Morgan Lewis during the revolution. He was one of the foremost citizens, and died in Albany, December 7, 1817. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Pieter and his second wife, Anna (Bogardus) (Van Vechten) De Wandelaer. Children:

  1. Judith, born October 30, 1777; married George Pearson, December 12, 1808.
  2. Peter, July 10, 1780; died June 3, 1795.
  3. Annatje, November 7, 1782, died May 31, 1817.
  4. Teunis, November 4, 1785, see forward.
  5. John, March 23, 1788.

(V) Abraham, son of Teunis (2) and Judikje (Ten Broeck) Van Vechten, was born December 5, 1762. He was a man of considerable renown throughout New York state, adding a lustre to the family name throughout a century, and spoken of to this day in terms of highest respect. He married, May 20, 1784, Catharina, daughter of Philip Pieterse Schuyler, by whom he had fifteen children, and died in Albany, January 6, 1837. Of his character and attainments, Joel Munsell spoke in an unimpassioned estimate as follows:

"This distinguished lawyer and statesman was the youngest son of Teunis Van Vechten and Judith (Judikje) Ten Broeck. Few men have been called to so extensive a sphere of usefulness and filled it so long and well as Abraham Van Vechten. He entered upon the scenes of active life shortly after the revolutionary war. He received his elementary education at a public school in Esopus, which has been the nursery of many of our distinguished men. He pursued his professional studies under the direction of the late Chancellor Lansing, and began the practice of law in the county of Montgomery, but was soon invited to occupy a more extensive field in the city of Albany. The high places of the bar were then filled by a gifted race of advocates. Among them were Hamilton, Harrison, Burr, Jones and Livingston. But the brilliancy of the bar could not cast young Van Vechten in the shade. He soon ranked among his illustrious seniors as an equal, and a competitor for the highest professional eminence. Untiring in his efforts, the powers of his highly-gifted mind were continually developed and expanded. His intellect was formed to grapple with the most abstruse and difficult of judicial investigations, and he early inured himself to the most intense application of mental industry. In acuteness and the ready comprehension of any subject presented for his investigation, he had few equals, and nature seemed to have furnished him with powers eminently adapted to the illustration of legal principles. He made no display of legal lore, his learning seemed to be incorporated with his thoughts. What he had once read was well digested and remained every [sic] ready for application. A large portion of his life was spent in the discussion of legal questions in our highest tribunals of law and equity; there he was always listened to with profound attention by our most eminent judges. His arguments were calculated to elucidate and instruct, and greatly to aid the tribunals to which they were addressed, in forming correct conclusions. His style was remarkable for purity, perspicuity and strength. His train of thought was unimpassioned, yet earnest and forcible. His talents were too conspicuous to allow him to confine his efforts to the bar. He was repeatedly chosen to represent his fellow citizens in both branches of the legislature. The senate chamber was the theatre of some of his brightest intellectual efforts. As a member of the court for the correction of errors, he has left behind him enduring monuments of his legal wisdom. For a number of years he filled the office of attorney-general with distinguished ability. At an early period of his life a seat on the bench of the supreme court was offered to him by Governor John Jay; a similar offer was made to him at a later period. He declined these proffered honors, preferring the labors of the bar as more congenial to his habits and feelings. The causes in our books of reports, in which he took part as counsel, numerous as they are, give but faint idea of the amount of professional labor performed by him. For more than half a century his brilliant mind was constantly shedding its light over the jurisprudence of the state. The bar had long delighted to accord him the highest honors it could bestow. To the younger members of the profession he had greatly endeared himself by his kindness and courteous manners, and by all he was venerated as an illustrious model of professional excellence. In his daily consultations with his clients he was emphatically a peacemaker. It was his constant habit to devise the settlement of disputes whenever it was practicable. He allowed no sordid motives to influence his advice, nor to bias his mind in giving his opinions."

He was recorder of the city of Albany from 1797 to 1808; state senator from 1798 to 1805, and from 1816 to 1820; member of assembly from 1805 to 1815; attorney-general of the state for the year 1810, and was again appointed in 1813, and served two years, and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1821. His character as a citizen in the private walks of life afforded a model to the younger generation. He constantly displayed in his daily intercourse with his neighbors and acquaintances the most amiable social qualities which adorn the human heart, and his home life was along the same lines. He married, May 20, 1784, Catharina Schuyler; died January 6, 1837.

(VI) Teunis (3), son of Teunis T. and Elizabeth (De Wandelaer) Van Vechten, was born in Albany, November 4, 1785. He graduated with high honors at Union College, and immediately thereafter took up the study of law, entering the office of Chancellor John Lansing, Jr., also prosecuting his professional studies under Recorder Baldwin, John Davis, Daniel Cady and Charles M. Jenkins. On the death of his illustrious uncle, Hon. Abraham Van Vechten, he became the attorney and adviser of General Stephen Van Rensselaer, the patroon, undertaking the arduous duties of settling the manorial controversies which were so stolidly defended that they resulted in the famous anti-rent feuds, necessitating the summoning of various companies of state militia from up and down the river to quell the disturbances in the Helderbergs. His reputation was that of a sound, discriminating lawyer, a man abundantly qualified to make his own mark aside from the brilliant reputation of his uncle. He was typical of the best characteristics of his Holland ancestry, of scrupulous integrity, industry and economy, and none the less looked up to as one of the city's foremost philanthropists, in his home all devotion as the head of a large family. Not only was Tennis Van Vechten proud of Albany and ever deeply concerned in its advancement, but the city was proud of him as a citizen, and so bestowed on him its greatest honors, elevating him by the steps of supervisor and alderman to be the chief executive. Four times he was chosen mayor. The first three terms he was elected by the common council, as was the method of procedure when securing a mayor in those days, and the fourth time by a vote of the people. His first term began May 15, 1837; the second, January 1, 1838 - December 31, 1838; the third, January 1, 1839 - January 21, 1839, when he resigned; the fourth term, May 11, 1841 - May 9, 1842. In the municipal election of April 13, 1841, he ran against Gerrit Yates Lansing, and his vote was 2,449, against 2,339 for his opponent. He was for many years associated with the large moneyed institutions as director, and with both charitable and religious societies as trustee. His residence was at No. 15 Montgomery street, when that was the court part of the city; but later at No. 725 Broadway, where he died February 4, 1859, and was buried in the Albany Rural cemetery.

Hon. Teunis Van Vechten married, December 4, 1810, Catharine Cuyler, daughter of Hon. Leonard Gansevoort. She died in Albany, December 1, 1831, aged within two weeks of being seventy-eight years old. Children:

  1. Elizabeth Ames, born February 20, 1812, died August 18, 1812.
  2. Leonard Gansevoort, July 9, 1813, died July 24, 1837.
  3. Hester Elizabeth, June 8, 1815; married, June 28, 1838, Dr. John H. Trotter.
  4. Samuel, June 22, 1817.
  5. Teunis, May 18, 1819, see forward.
  6. John Beeckman, February 10, 1822, died April 16, 1822.
  7. Cuyler, February 2, 1823, died November 6, 1825.
  8. John, June 27, 1824, died November 8, 1825.
  9. Catharine Cuyler, June 8, 1826; married Elisha P. Hurlbut.
  10. Cuyler, January 31, 1830; married Hannah R. Hammond; died July 11, 1875.

(VII) Teunis (4), son of Teunis (3) and Catharine Cuyler (Gansevoort) Van Vechten, as born in Albany, May 18, 1819. He was educated at the Albany Boys' Academy, and when a young man was connected with the large hardware firm of Pruyn & Vosburgh, and later entered a lumber office expecting to make it his business, but he lived mostly as a man of means because his father had discouraged him on those lines in which he was most interested himself, and he did not take kindly to those affairs which most concerned his father. He attended the Dutch church originally, but following a difference, left it, and his children grew up as Episcopalians.

He was a Republican, and although he was somewhat interested in politics never held any office. He was captain of Company B, Washington Continentals, which command received his best attention, and it was while marching with his men in parade that he contracted the sickness resulting in bis death. This occurred on January 14, 1859, at his handsome residence, No. 725 Broadway, Albany. He married, Albany, July 20, 1838, Margaret Trotter, daughter of William and Margaret (Trotter) Lush. She died at Albany, November, 1902. Children:

  1. Margaret Trotter, born July 20, 1839; married Thaddeus W. P. Kendrick; died June 6, 1877; children:
    1. Teunis Van Vechten, born August, 1859;
    2. Margaret, born in 1865, died in 1865.
  2. Catharine Elizabeth, September 1, 1842; marrried October 18, 1864, James Ten Eyck; died May 23, 1865.
  3. Anna Lush, Albany, February 18, 1845, see forward.

(VIII) Anna Lush, daughter of Teunis (4) and Margaret Trotter (Lush) Van Vechten, was born in Albany, February 18, 1845.

She was educated at the Albany Female Academy. For many years she resided at No. 2 Lodge street with her mother, but in 1903 removed to No. 22 Elk street, the Young Woman's Christian Association, desiring the location as part of the site for its new building. Unlike many another house whose beautiful furnishings are of the long ago, her home contains those things which have come down from generation to generation in her own family, and it is a treat to be permitted to sit in her parlor or dining-room, surrounded by these treasures in silver and woodwork. Miss Van Vechten takes a deep and close interest in a number of charitable works. She is an attendant of St. Peter's Episcopal Church and a manager on the boards of St. Margaret's House for Children, Home for Incurables, Home for Aged and St. Peter's Church Guild House.

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