Kiliaen Van Rensselaer
Stefan Bielinski

Kiliaen Van Rensselaer was born in Rensselaerswyck in August 1663. He was the first son of Patroon Jeremias and Maria Van Cortlandt Van Rensselaer. His father died in 1674 and eleven-year-old Kiliaen was the first name to appear on the list of those invited to the Patroon's funeral. He assumed the title of Lord of the Manor on his twenty-first birthday.

In 1697, his name alone in his house headed the Manor census.

In 1701, he married Maria Van Cortlandt at the New York Dutch church. By 1717, their ten children had been baptized at the Albany Dutch church where the parents were members and frequent baptism sponsors. He was a pillar of his church as well as a supporter of newly established St. Peter's Anglican church.

Although he owned "the Patroon's House" in the first ward of Albany, his residence was at the Manor House built by his father and located north of the city. He served the Albany community as assessor, justice, and supervisor. He also sat with the Commissioners of Indian Affairs. In 1704, he was appointed to the Governor's Council of advisors and served for the rest of his life. Previously, he had been a militia officer and had represented Rensselaerswyck in the provincial Assembly from 1693 to 1704.

In 1704, he partitioned the Manor into two parts - according the Claverack or "Lower Manor" to his younger brother, Hendrick. During his time, he signed up many tenants and also sold lands in different parts of his estate.

Kiliaen Van Rensselaer filed a will in June 1718. It detailed his extensive holdings! He died in New York City on September 16, 1719. He had lived fifty-six years. In 1728, his somewhat younger widow married the newly arrived Reverend John Milne. His sons, the heirless Jeremias and Stephen, followed him as lords of the manor.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer is CAP biography number 5054. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

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first posted: 5/20/04