Cortlandt Schuyler


Cortlandt Schuyler was born in July 1735. He was the seventh child born in the large family of Johannes and Cornelia Van Cortlandt Schuyler. He was raised at the family farm and at his father's house in Albany. Johannes Schuyler, Jr. was an emerging family leader who was appointed mayor of Albany in 1740. Cortlandt's slightly older brother was General Philip Schuyler.

In October 1741, he was named as one of four living children in the will filed by his father. Johannes Schuyler, Jr. died la few days later - leaving Cortlandt fatherless at the age of six. However, his mother managed to carry on their family businesses until the three sons came of age during the 1750s. Cornelia's will, filed in November 1758, provided for her living children. Understanding that middle son Cortlandt might not return to New York, she left him a monetary equivilant in lieu of real estate.

By that time, Cortlandt Schuyler was an officer in the British army. Earlier, his commission as an ensign in an Irish Regiment had been purchased and he accompanied it back tor Europe. His dashing appearance was described by the family biographer. This individual was also profiled extensively by Anne Grant who was quite taken by the young man when both were staying with their aunt, Madame Schuyler at the Flats.

In July 1764, he bought (leased) eleven acres on Gallows Hill "at the head of State Street" for a payment of 200 pounds and fifty shillings annually forever. However, within a few months, transaction was voided and the property was "re-sold" to Abraham Wendell. The abortive effort is presented to demonstrate Schuyler's ambition to own Albany property.

In August 1767, he married Barbara Gray of Cork Ireland. The first two or three of their five children were born in Ireland. The last two babies were christened at St. Peter's in Albany where these Schuylers were prominent members.

In 1767, the first ward assessment roll valued the "house of Vranka and Cortland Schuyler" substantially.

After returning from Europe, he leased a large farm in the West Manor just below the Normanskill. He intended to make that 600 acre estate his primary enterprise. However, that ambition was denied by an untimely tragedy.

On October 28, 1773, the New York newspaper noted that "Cortlandt Schuyler, late Capt. in the 60th Regiment, died in Albany after a fall from a horse." He had been hunting on his farm. He was buried in the St. Peter's cemetery on November 11. He had lived thirty-eight years. Following his death, his widow and the children returned to Ireland. Afterwards, his eldest son married a Van Rensselaer and resided on a Watervliet farm until his death in 1793.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Cortlandt Schuyler is CAP biography number 1260. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Online narrative referring to him as the "Handsome Savage.".

first posted: 1/10/08