Catharina Schuyler was born in Albany in January 1678 - the youngest daughter of David Pieterse and Catharina Ver Planck Schuyler. She grew up at Schuyler homes in Albany and in the countryside - the daughter of Albany's foremost New Netherland family.
Admitted to the Albany Dutch Church in 1694, shortly thereafter she married twenty-seven-year-old Johannes Abeel - an emerging merchant with holdings in Albany and New York City. Her marriage at age sixteen made her one of the youngest brides in early Albany history.
The couple moved into the Abeel house on Market Street where Catharina gave birth to the first of her six Abeel children. Two of those children were baptized in New York City where Abeel kept a second residence. By the early 1700s, Catharina and Johannes were in Albany to stay. But her husband died in 1711 at the age of forty two. Although Catharina was named co-executor, the will's language made it clear that she was expected to remarry.
In 1712, the 34-year old widow wed the 37-year-old trader and future Albany mayor Rutger Janse Bleecker. She bore four Bleecker children between 1713 and 1720 - the last when she was 43-years old.
Catharina Schuyler Abeel Bleecker lived in Albany for the remainder of her life. She died on October 25, 1747 and was buried in the Albany Dutch churchyard. Mother of ten and the wife of two Albany mayors, her life as Albany's first lady spanned a half century and saw the city transformed from fur trading post to early American entrepot.
Sources: The life of Catharina Schuyler Abeel Bleecker is CAP biography number 1241. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
first posted: 8/00; last revised 11/02