Robert Van Rensselaer – American Militia General


Robert Van Rensselaer (December 16, 1740 – September 11, 1802) was Brigadier General during the American Revolutionary War.

From 1775 to 1777 he was a member of the New York Provincial Congress and a member of the New York State Assembly in 1777-78, 1778-79 and 1780-81. Van Rensselaer was a Federalist presidential elector in 1796, and cast his votes for John Adams and Thomas Pinckney. He died September 11, 1802 at the Van Rensselaer Lower Manor House.

On October 20, 1775, he was made colonel of the 8th Albany County Regiment of militia. On June 16, 1780, he was made Brigadier General of the second brigade of the Albany County militia. This brigade included the Tryon County militia. He fought at Fort Ticonderoga and at the Battle of Klock’s Field.


He was born December 16, 1740, at Fort Crailo in Rensselaer, New York to Johannes van Rensselaer, and Angelica Livingston. His grandfather was Hendrick van Rensselaer. Robert married Cornelia Rutsen (1747–1790), the daughter of Colonel Jacob Rutsen and Alida Livingston on April 23, 1765 and had the following children:

* John Van Rensselaer, died with no heirs.
* Jacob R. Van Rensselaer, b. 1767, married Cornelia de Peyster.
* Jeremias van Rensselaer, b. 1769, d. 1827, married Sybil Adeline Kane.
* Alida van Rensselaer, married Elisha Kane.
* Catharine van Rensselaer, b. abt. 1770, d. 1867, married Colonel John Arent Schuyler of Belleville, New Jersey.
* Angelica van Rensselaer, b. abt. 1785, d. November 23, 1818, married Reverend Thomas Yardley How.
* Henry van Rensselaer, b. November 8, 1775, married Catherine D. Hoffman
* James van Rensselaer, b. December 1, 1783, d. March 12, 1840, moved to Jasper County, Indiana and purchased land to found Rensselaer, Indiana.