Hendrick C. Cuyler


Hendrick C. Cuyler was born in August 1735. He was the second son in the large family of Albany mainstays Cornelis and Catharina Schuyler Cuyler. His father was a trader and community leader who served as mayor of Albany from 1742 to 1746. His mother also was the child of an Albany mayor. He grew up in a large family in a prominent merchant's home on Pearl Street. Later, he would be known as "Henry C. Cuyler." He was the older brother of Abraham C. Cuyler - the last mayor of Albany under the British. His ailing mother died early in 1758. His father passed in 1765 after leaving Henry a substantial bequest.

Our work on this individual is complicated by the fact that a number of Henry Cuylers emerged in New York, Albany, and on the frontier during the 1750s. This particular character may have been the "Hendrick Cuyler" who served as "commissary of stores" during the French and Indian War. During the early 1760s, he still was in British service and was stationed in Martinique. After the war, he followed his father in business and as the owner of regional lands. His Hudson River sloop was a prominent part of the carrying trade. In 1765, he was named to administer his deceased father's estate.

In November 1767, he married Catharina Lydius at St. Peter's Anglican church. The marriage produced children but they have not been located in extant baptism records of early Albany churches. By that time, he was a member at St. Peter's.

During the 1760s, his name appeared on Abany assessment rolls. By that time, these Cuylers had made their home across the river on family property at Greenbush. He also was able to acquire title to several tracts of land beyond Albany as a result of his wartime service.

At the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, this successful merchant, shipper, and landholder was identified as a British sympathizer. Before long, he was apprehended and confined by his kin and neighbors - now the Albany revolutionaries. In 1778, he refused to sign an oath of allegience to New York State and was denounced as disloyal. He seems to have been sent to prisons and placed on paroles in Kingston and in Boston. However, this passive loyalist was spared the consequences that befell his younger brother, royalist mayor Abraham C. Cuyler.

After the war, he was just fifty but does not appear to have attempted to re-establish himself in public life. Living in Greenbush, he did seek to solidify his family's titles to investment real estate across upstate New York.

In 1790, his country home was configured on the Rensselaerswyck census and included four slaves and six family members. His Greenbush neighbor was former Albany mayor Volkert P. Douw. In 1792, he was elected one of the directors of the Bank of Albany.

Hendrick C. Cuyler died in February 1803 at the age of sixty-seven. His widow survived until 1818.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Hendrick C. Cuyler is CAP biography number 334. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 7/15/08