Elsje Rutgers Schuyler Vas


Elsje Rutgers was born in New York colony during the mid 1670s. She was the daughter of New Netherland pioneers Harmen and one Catharina De Hooges Rutgers. We say (but not definitively) that she was born in Albany where her parents had married a few years earlier.

On January 1, 1694 she married Albany native David D. Schuyler - a son of Albany's premier New Netherland ancestry family. At least six of her children would be christened at the Albany Dutch church church between 1695 and 1715. Like her husband, she was a prominent church member and a frequent baptism sponsor

In March 1711, she was named among the heirs in the will of her father and identified as the wife of David Schuyler of Albany.

These Schuylers began to raise their family in the Market Street home of an emerging businessman who would be appointed sheriff and then mayor of Albany in 1706. However, Elsie's marriage would not be a long one.

David D. Schuyler died in 1715 at age forty-six - leaving her with several small children.

Probably in her fifties In 1722, widow Elsie married the much older Reverend Petrus Vas in the New York City Dutch Church. Perhaps she was his second wife. Gerardus Duyckinck is said to have painted her portrait the next year. Her husband served as Dominie of the Kingston Dutch church from 1710 to just before his death in 1756. Perhaps they had met when Vas came to Albany to provide service for the temporarily (1710-12) vacant Albany church.

Vas served in Kingston for at least another decade - but apparently much longer. After that, his whereabouts is less certain. He is said to have died in 1756. Elsje Rutgers Schuyler Vas may have been alive in 1752. We seek more definitive information on her passing.


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Elsje Rutgers Schuyler Vas is CAP biography number 1965. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

Her portrait is in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art. It is said to have been painted about 1723. Portrait based article on her family is online.

first posted 7/10/07; last updated 2/17/18