James Van Ingen


James Van Ingen was born in December 1766. He was the fourth son born to the marriage of Holland-born Dirck Van Ingen and Margarita Van Sise Van Ingen of Schenectady. He grew up as part of a large family in a politically active, physician's landmark home on Church Street. His Patriot father was a surgeon in the New York Line and treated the sick and wounded during the war as well. His older brother was Albany businessman William Van Ingen.

James Van Ingen married three times. During the 1780s, he wed Albany native Catharina Bleecker at the Dutch church in Schenectady. She died in April 1798 apparently without bearing children. His second wife was Elizabeth Schuyler. Their brief marriage produced one child and ended when she died in February 1801. In February 1802, James married Elizabeth's sister, Gertrude Schuyler, at the Albany Presbyterian church. Beginning in 1800, at least five of his children were christened in Albany churches.

Occasionally called "Jacob" or "Jacobus," in 1790, his upper State Street home included the young couple and two slaves. In 1799, he was living on Pearl Street - in a house next to his late father-in-law. The next year, the census configured his household of five children and three slaves in a substantial home on Market Street.

Van Ingen was an attorney, civic leader, and entrepreneur. In 1811, he represented Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton in transactions regarding her South End property.

Beginning in 1792, he served as clerk of the newly formed Bank of Albany. Also that year, he was a trustee and the first treasurer and librarian of the new community institution known as the "Albany Library." He served as clerk of the Albany bank until he was named clerk of the New York State Assembly. He served in a number of municipal offices (alderman and assessor) and was active in community-based organizations including the Albany Water Works.

As his late brother was a skipper, James Van Ingen came to be the owner of steamboats plying the river out of Albany. In that context, he was involved in litigation with Robert Fulton.

In 1813, the city directory identified him as the "clerk in chancery" with a residence at 14 Montgomery Street. After a couple years, his addresses changed several times - finally settling him at 250 North Market Street at the corner of Colonie Street.

The will of his father, probated in May 1814, named him co-executor and bestowed on him a substantial financial bequest and other considerations.

James Van Ingen died in February 1843 at the age of seventy-six.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of James Van Ingen is CAP biography number 6426. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

Portraits: Van Ingen was a client of Albany artist and painter Ezra Ames. In 1811, he was charged for artwork related to his steamboats. He also may have commissioned a painting of the city seal with the motto "Assiduity" that has been in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art. In 1813, he organized the Albany-based initiative that led to Ames producing now-famous paintings of George Washington and Governor George Clinton. In September 1815, James Van Ingen, Esq. was charged $30 for a protrait and frame of his son.

first posted: 11/20/07