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Leonard Gansevoort

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Leonard Gansevoort
Portrait of Leonard Gansevoort by Gilbert Stuart
Member of the New York State Senate
from the Eastern District
In office
July 1, 1796 – June 30, 1802
Preceded bySeat created
Succeeded bySeat eliminated
Member of the New York State Senate
from the Western District
In office
July 1, 1790 – June 30, 1793
Preceded byPhilip Schuyler
Succeeded byMichael Myers
Member of the New York State Assembly
from Albany Co.
In office
July 1, 1787 – June 30, 1788
In office
July 14, 1778 – June 30, 1779
Personal details
Born(1751-07-14)July 14, 1751
Albany, Province of New York, British America
DiedAugust 26, 1810(1810-08-26) (aged 59)
Albany, New York, U.S.
Resting placeAlbany Rural Cemetery, Menands, New York
Political partyFederalist
Hester Cuyler
(m. 1770)
RelationsPeter Gansevoort (brother)
Guert Gansevoort (nephew)
Parent(s)Harmen Gansevoort
Magdalena Douw

Leendert "Leonard" Gansevoort (July 14, 1751 – August 26, 1810) was an American political leader from New York who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1788.[1]

Early life


He was born in 1751 in Albany County, New York to Harmen Gansevoort (1712–1801) and Magdalena Douw Gansevoort (1718–1796), both from prominent Dutch families. He was the younger brother of Brig. Gen. Peter Gansevoort (1749–1812).[2][3]

Gansevoort's ancestors had been in Albany since 1660, when it was the Dutch colony of Fort Orange, and Harmen Harmense Gansevoort (ca. 1634–1709) owned a brewery and farms.[4] His brother's son, Peter Gansevoort, Herman Gansevoort (1779–1862) built the Gansevoort Mansion in 1813 on his father's 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) tract at Gansevoort in Saratoga County, New York.[5][6] His father was the third of his family's generation in America, who were prominent brewers and merchants in Albany.[2]

His mother was descended from the Van Rensselaer family as her mother, Anna Van Rensselaer, was a daughter of Hendrick van Rensselaer (1667–1740), who had married Peter Douw. In addition, his first cousin, Leonard Gansevoort (1754–1834),[7] an Albany lawyer and alderman, was married to Maria Van Rensselaer (1760–1841), the daughter of Col. Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1717–1781), the granddaughter of Hendrick van Rensselaer and the sister of Henry K. Van Rensselaer (1744–1816), Philip Kiliaen van Rensselaer (1747–1798), and Killian K. Van Rensselaer (1763–1845).[8][9]



After the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he became a member of the Albany Committee of Correspondence serving as treasurer until November 1775. When the 2nd New York Provincial Congress convened in New York City on December 6, 1775, he was one of the twelve deputies elected by the Albany Committee.[10]

He wrote to his brother, Peter on October 31, 1775, stating:[4]

"Dr Brother
I can hardly express my Distress upon receiving a Letter from Mr James Van Rensselaer acquainting me with your indisposition and that you in consequence thereof had been obliged to leave Chanblee and that you was then in Coll: Biddels Camp on the North side of St John's; every thing seem'd to consire to confirm me in the Opinion that you must have been very ill you cannot be ignorant of the Emotions in my Breast when you consider that Fraternal Affection which has always subsisted between us, and in what Manner I must have also felt when prompted by Duty I communicated the Contents of the Letter to our Joint Parents, I was oblig'd to meliorate the News by telling them that your indisposition was the Fever Ague but do assure you that upon reading the Letter from the same Gent. to Mr Philip Van Rensselaer that tho' you was then yet pretty Weak you was greatly recovered, I seem'd to be rais'd from the lowest Abyss of dispondence to the highest pinnacle of Hope and I will leave you to reflect how industrious I was to communicate it to the old people - I beg Dear Brother as you Love your Friends who are under the greatest uneasiness yet that you will write us a Line if you are able, and if not procure some one to write for you - and beg further that if you are not recovered on receipt of this that you will apply for leave to come down and write me before you set out that I may meet you on your Way - I should have been up with you already If I could possibly have obtained leave of Hetty
We are well I am Your loving Brother
Leonard Gansevoort
Albany Octr 31 1774
To Peter Gansevoort Junr Esqr [Provincial Camp at St Johns]"

He was also appointed to the 3rd and 4th Provincial Congresses in 1776 and 1777, where the Constitution of the State of New York was adopted on April 20, 1777.[11] From April 18, 1777 to May 14, 1777, he was the president of the New York Provincial Congress committee of safety.[12]

Following the end of Revolution in 1789, he bought a country house and estate known as Whitehall, which was located a mile and a half from Albany, from John Bradstreet Schuyler, the son of Philip Schuyler.[13] Gansevoort was known for his entertainment of many prominent state and national political figures.[2] In 1778 and 1779, he served as a member of the New York State Assembly.[1]

Early in his political career he was aligned with the patrician group of the large estates owners and commercial interests, but later became involved with the early evolution of the Democratic Party in New York. He served in the State Assembly again from 1787 to 1788 and in the State Senate from 1791 to 1793 and 1796–1802,[14] where he was chairman of the committee,[10] as a Federalist.[1]

In 1794, he was appointed a colonel in the New York militia. From 1794 to 1797 he was a judge in Albany. From 1799 to 1810, he was a judge of the court of probates.[1]

Personal life


On April 10, 1770, he married Hester Cuyler (1748–1826),[15] the daughter of Abraham Cuyler, Jr. (1713–1749), a cousin of Abraham Cuyler, and Jannetje Beekman (1719–1798),[16] a descendant of Wilhelmus Beekman (1623–1707). Together, they had:[17]

He died in 1810 at home in Albany and was buried in Albany Rural Cemetery.[1]



Through his daughter, Magdalena, he was the grandfather of Hester Gansevoort Ten Eyck (1796–1861), Abraham Gansevoort Ten Eyck (1798–1830), Leonard Gansevoort Ten Eyck (1801–1881), Jacob L. Ten Eyck (1804–1875), and Herman Gansevoort Ten Eyck (1806–1881), and Peter Gansevoort Ten Eyck (1810–1891).[22][23][9]

Through his daughter, Catharine, he was the grandfather of Elizabeth Ann Van Vechten (1812–1812), Leonard Gansevoort Van Vechten (1813–1837), Hester Elizabeth Van Vechten Trotter (1815–1881), Teunis Van Vechten (1819–1859), Cuyler Van Vechten (1823–1825), and Cuyler Van Vechten (1830–1875).[20][9]

He was also the great-uncle of Moby Dick author Herman Melville.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d e "GANSEVOORT, Leonard - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Bassett, Fred (December 1999). "Leonard Gansevoort Papers: Manuscripts and Special Collections: New York State Library". www.nysl.nysed.gov. New York State Library. Retrieved 20 April 2017. Account books accessioned in 1925 from an unknown source. Collated with other items previously accessioned and catalogued separately, March 1995
  3. ^ Gale, Robert L. (1995). A Herman Melville Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313290114. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Gansevoort, Jr., Peter (October 1, 2014). Hero of Fort Schuyler: Selected Revolutionary War Correspondence of Brigadier General Peter Gansevoort, Jr. McFarland. ISBN 9780786479481. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  5. ^ Doris Vanderlipp Manley (April 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Gansevoort Mansion". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  7. ^ A GLIMPSE OF AN OLD DUTCH TOWN. Harper's New Monthly Magazine | Harper & Brothers. 1881. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  8. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Leonard Gansevoort, Jr". nysm.nysed.gov. New York State Museum. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Reynolds, Cuyler (1911). Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: A Record of Achievements of the People of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys in New York State, Included Within the Present Counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Washington, Saratoga, Montgomery, Fulton, Schenectady, Columbia and Greene. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 197. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  10. ^ a b Jensen, Merrill; DenBoer, Gordon (February 1, 1987). The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788-1790. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299106508. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  11. ^ Schechter, Stephen (1990). "The New York State Constitution, 1777". In Schechter, Stephen (ed.). Roots of the Republic: American Founding Documents Interpreted. p. 169. ISBN 1461642795. LCCN 90-6396.
  12. ^ Launitz-Schurer, Leopold, Loyal Whigs and Revolutionaries, The making of the revolution in New York, 1765-1776
  13. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Leonard Gansevoort". exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov. New York State Museum. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  14. ^ Hutchins, Stephen C. (1891). Civil List and Constitutional History of the Colony and State of New York. Weed, Parsons & Company. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  15. ^ New York Colony Committee; New York State (1968). New York Marriages Previous to 1784. Genealogical Publishing Com. ISBN 9780806302591. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  16. ^ Bielinski, Stefan. "Hester Cuyler Gansevoort". exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov. New York State Museum. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  17. ^ a b c Munsell, Joel (1871). Collections on the History of Albany: From Its Discovery to the Present Time ; with Notices of Its Public Institutions, and Biographical Sketches of Citizens Deceased, Vol. IV. Albany, N.Y.: J. Munsell 82 State Street. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  18. ^ Gebhard, Elizabeth Louise (1910). The Parsonage Between Two Manors: Annals of Clover-Reach. Claverack, N.Y.: Bryan Printing Company. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  19. ^ Looney, J. Jefferson; Woodward, Ruth L. (July 14, 2014). Princetonians, 1791-1794: A Biographical Dictionary. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9781400861279. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  20. ^ a b Seymour, Mary Jane (1899). Lineage Book. Washington, D.C.: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  21. ^ Reynolds, Cuyler (1906). Albany Chronicles: A History of the City Arranged Chronologically, from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time; Illustrated with Many Historical Pictures of Rarity and Reproductions of the Robert C. Pruyn Collection of the Mayors of Albany, Owned by the Albany Institute and Historical and Art Society. J. B. Lyon Company, printers. p. 522. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  22. ^ "TEN EYCK, Peter Gansevoort - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  23. ^ "Peter Gansevoort Ten Eyck". www.newnetherlandinstitute.org. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  24. ^ "General Peter Gansevoort Chapter". Daughters of the American Revolution.
  • Kenney, Alice P.; The Gansevoorts of Albany: Dutch Patricians in the Upper Hudson Valley; 1969, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, ISBN 0-8156-2137-X.
  • Kenney, Alice P.; Stubborn for Liberty: The Dutch in New York; 1975, Syracuse University Press, ISBN 0-8156-0113-1. (1989 Paperback: ISBN 0-8156-2482-4)
  • Launitz-Schurer, Leopold, Loyal Whigs and Revolutionaries, The making of the revolution in New York, 1765-1776, 1980, ISBN 0-8147-4994-1