Nicholas Van Rensselaer (1636-1678)

Rev. Nicholas van Rensselaer, Minister of Albany, New York

He was born in Amsterdam, Holland, and studied theology. He was a younger son of one of the founding directors of the Dutch West India Company and the first Patroon of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck. In Brussels, he met the exiled King Charles II of England, and claimed to have had a premonition that he would be restored to his throne. In gratitude, the King gave him a gold snuff box and Nicholas followed him to England as Chaplain to the Dutch Ambassador. Afterwards, he was granted permission to preach to the Dutch congregation in Westminster and he was ordained into the English church. In 1674, after the third Anglo-Dutch War, he accompanied Governor Andros to New York with a letter from Charles' son, the Duke of York (afterwards King James II) and he was appointed Minister of the Dutch Reformed Church of Albany, New York. When his nephew, Johan, became the 4th Patroon of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, being still a minor, Nicholas's relations made him a director of Rensselaerswyck. In 1675, he married Alida, daughter of Colonel Peter Schuyler, who was twenty years his junior. He died three years later without children and his young widow remarried his former secretary, Robert Livingston, who would become the 1st Lord of the Manor of Livingston.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 12/01/2021 and last updated on 12/01/2021.