Sara Cuyler was born during the mid-1660s, the eldest daughter of Hendrick and Anna Schepmoes Cuyler of New Amsterdam/Beverwyck. About that time, her parents had relocated to Albany where they established the Cuyler family in the upper Hudson region.
Growing up in the business environment of both New York and Albany, her father's numerous contacts among the colony's commercial elite brought home a number of potential suitors. In November 1688, Sara married aspiring trader Pieter Van Brugh at the New York Dutch Reformed Church. Their only child was baptized there in 1689. By 1692, Sara had brought her husband and daughter to the Cuylers' Albany house where Pieter entered the family business.
Aided by family connections, Pieter Van Brugh prospered in the Albany setting. Although without a large family of her own, Sara helped raise her younger siblings in the Cuyler house on upper State Street while her widowed mother tended to their Manhattan business. By 1697, Pieter and Sara Van Brugh's home was an Albany landmark.
In 1707, the Van Brugh household grew when Pieter was appointed guardian of the orphaned daughters of his sister and John Donaldson - a recently deceased soldier. After that, Sara had more than enough family with the twelve children born to her daughter, Catharina Livingston, living next door. Like her husband, Sara Van Brugh was an active member of the Albany Dutch church and a frequent baptism sponsor.
With the death of her husband in 1740, Sara inherited his large estate. However, Sara Cuyler Van Brugh died less than two years later. In May 1742, she was buried with her husband beneath the Albany church. With no sons, the Van Brugh family name passed from Albany rolls.
The life of Sara Cuyler Van Brugh is CAP biography number 609. The standard work on the Cuyler family is Maud Churchill Nicoll's The Earliest Cuylers in Holland and America (New York, 1912). However, it makes scarce reference to Sara Cuyler Van Brugh.
last revised: 2/10/03