Cornelis Van Vechten


Cornelis Van Vechten was born in February 1735. He appears to have been the eldest surviving son of Harme and Elizabeth (Van Buren) Van Vechten. His father was an Albany native who was more closely connected to Schaghticoke than to Albany. Perhaps, the first part of his life reflected his father's dual identities as well. Moving forward, we are cautious as a number of same-named individuals are at risk in greater Albany County over his long lifetime.

In December 1757, Cornelis married Albany native Anna Knickerbacker at the Albany Dutch church. At that time, he was called a resident of Schaghticoke. By 1773, the marriage had produced at least ten children who were christened in Albany and elsewhere in Albany County. From the time of his marriage, he was a pewholder at the Albany church and an occasional baptism sponsor.

At least during this Cornelis's young adulthood, his life appears to have been connected to the city of Albany. In 1761, he was appointed firemaster for the third ward. In 1766, he signed the constitution of the Albany Sons of Liberty. All of the signatories were city residents. In 1767, his third ward Albany property was assessed at a significant rate. He also had a lot in the West Manor. During the 1760s, he witnessed a number of legal documents - probably in Albany.

In October 1775, he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of the Eleventh or Saratoga regiment of the Albany County militia. He is said to have served until 1781. Consequently, he was known as "Colonel Van Vechten." Some of his wartime exploits and information on his home have been chronicled by Benson Lossing. His family fell back to Albany when Van Vechten's "Coveville" home was burned by the British in 1777.

In October 1779, his Saratoga properties were valued substantially on the district assessment roll. "Cornelius Van Veighton" as was identified as one of the assessors.

In 1789-90, he represented Albany County in the State Assembly. He was the clerk of town of Schaghticoke in 1794-96.

In 1790, his household was configured under the town of Saratoga. At that time, seven family members were attended by ten slaves.

The will of Cornelis Van Vechten passed probate in November 1813. Perhaps, it belonged to a younger individual of the same name. His eldest daughter married newcomer Enoch Leonard and survived in Albany and Lansingburgh until 1859.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Cornelis Van Vechten is CAP biography number 2444. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Substantial information appears to exist relating to his life beyond Albany. In addition, this profile does not include seemingly relevant Albany-based material in an attempt to avoid mis-assignment of information.

first posted 11/20/07; last updated 2/14/13