Gansevoort-Lansing collection

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Collection Data

The collection consists chiefly of papers of members of the Gansevoort, Lansing and Melville families and reflects the social, business, and political interests of the families, their friends and associates. Also included are some papers of members of the Sanford, Van Schaick and other prominent families of the Hudson and Mohawk Valley areas of New York State. The papers include accounts, correspondence, maps, and land, court, and military records, as well as personal collections of photographs and artifacts documenting the families' history. Notable individuals represented int the collection are Revolutionary War officer Peter Gansevoort, Jr. (1749-1812), his son Peter Gansevoort (1788-1876), a New York State Assemblyman, Senator, and Judge Advocate General, Henry Sanford Gansevoort (1835-1871), Union officer in the Civil War, and author Herman Melville.
Gansevoort, Catherine Van Schaick, 1751-1830 (Contributor)
Gansevoort, Henry Sanford, 1835-1871 (Contributor)
Gansevoort, Peter, 1749-1812 (Contributor)
Gansevoort, Peter, 1789-1876 (Contributor)
Lansing, Abraham Gerrit, 1756-1834 (Contributor)
Lansing, Abraham, 1835-1899 (Contributor)
Lansing, Gerrit Yates, 1783-1862 (Contributor)
Melvill, Allan, 1782-1832 (Contributor)
Melvill, Maria Gansevoort, 1791-1872 (Contributor)
Melville, Augusta, 1821-1876 (Contributor)
Melville, Elizabeth Shaw, 1822-1906 (Contributor)
Melville, Gansevoort, 1815-1846 (Contributor)
Melville, Herman, 1819-1891 (Contributor)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1650 - 1919
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 1109
Gansevoort family
Lansing family
Melville family
Sanford family
Van Scoyoc family
New York (State). Supreme Court
Dutch Americans -- New York (State)
Land tenure -- New York (State)
New York (State) -- History -- 1775-1865
New York (State) -- History -- 1865-
New York (State) -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
New York (State) -- Politics and government -- 1775-1865
New York (State) -- Politics and government -- To 1775
New York (State) -- Social life and customs
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
Records (Documents)
Architectural drawings
Biographical/historical: The Gansevoorts and the Lansings were two of the original Dutch families who settled the Hudson and Mohawk valleys of upstate New York. These families as well as other Dutch and non-Dutch families represented in the Gansevoort-Lansing Collection held prominent social, economic and political positions. Other families who intermarried with the Gansevoorts and/or Lansings include the Van Schaick, Melville, Sanford, Gerritse, Pruyn, Bleecker, Yates and Parker families. Of these, the Van Schaicks, Melvilles, and Sanfords are the most extensively documented in this collection. The Gansevoort Family The ancestors of the Gansevoort families originated in a town called Gansfort, situated on the borders of Germany and Holland. Harme Van Gansevoort (c.1635- 1710) emigrated to America circa 1660. A brewer by trade, he set up a brewery business in Albany, New York at the corner of Market and Maiden Lane, which was later replaced by Stanwix Hall in 1833. Stanwix Hall was a hotel built by the Gansevoorts and named in honor of Peter Gansevoort Jr. (1749-1812), who defended Fort Stanwix during the American Revolution (1775-1783). Married to Marritje Liendart (d.1742), he had two sons and twelve daughters according to the recollections of a descendant Leonard Gansevoort Jr. (1754-1834}. The brewery business was inherited by their son Leonard Gansevoort (1681-1762). After his death, his wife Catherine managed the brewery. This brewery was passed down to one of their ten children, Harme Gansevoort (1712-1801), a successful merchant who imported goods from Europe. He married Magdalena Douw (1718-1796}, daughter of Petrus and Anna (Van Rensselaer) Douw, with whom he had nine children. One of their sons Peter Gansevoort (1749-1812), remembered as Brigadier General Peter Gansevoort Jr. had a distinguished military career. In 1775, he was appointed by Congress as a Major in the 2nd New York Regiment which invaded Canada under Richard Montgomery. He was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel on March 19, 1776 and he was placed in command of Fort George. Later that year, Gansevoort was promoted to Colonel. In 1777, Peter Gansevoort Jr. was appointed to command Fort Schuyler (Fort Stanwix) where he held off a potential seige from St. Leger heading up the British forces and their Indian allies from Canada. He married Catherine (Catrina) Van Schaick in 1778, the daughter of Wessel and Maria (Gerritse) Van Schaick. The Van Schaicks are also a prominent Dutch family which originally settled in the New Netherland. During this same year, Gansevoort was reappointed Commandant of Fort Schuyler and in 1780 he was placed in command of Fort Saratoga. The following year, Gansevoort retired from the line while he was also commissioned Brigadier General of the militia on March 26, 1781. Following the war, Gansevoort held the following appointments: Major-General of the militia in the western district (1783), military agent of the Northern Department (1802) and Brigadier-General of the United States Army (1809). The fifth of Peter and Catherine (Van Schaick) Gansevoort's six children, Peter Gansevoort (1788-1876), had a distinguished career like his father. Born in Albany, Peter Gansevoort was educated at the College of New Jersey, Princeton and Litchfield Law School. He was admitted to the bar around 1811. Gansevoort served as private secretary to Governor DeWitt Clinton, as judge advocate general (1819-1821) on Clinton's military staff, as member of the New York State Assembly (1830-1831) and Senate (1833-1836), and as 1st judge of the County Court of Albany County (1843-1847). Peter Gansevoort married Mary Sanford (1814-1841), daughter of Honorable Nathan Sanford, Chancellor of New York and Senator in Congress and his second wife Mary Esther Malbone Isaacs. Nathan Sanford was a legislator and jurist, born in Bridgehampton, Long Island (1777-1838). He was educated at Yale but did,not graduate. However, Sanford did study law under the elder Samuel Jones and was admitted to the bar in 1799. During his lifetime, Sanford was almost always in public office. Sanford's positions include: U.S. Commissioner of Bankruptcy (1802) and from 1803-1815, he held the post of U.S. Attorney for the district of New York, member of the Assembly from 1808-1809, 1811 and its Speaker until he was forced to retire on account of illness; state senator 1812-1815 and U.S. Senator, 1815-1821. Sanford became Chancellor of New York, 1823-1826, and state senator again during the years 1826-1831. Sanford married three times and was the father of several children including as stated, Mary Sanford. Sanford died in Flushing, New York. He was survived by his children and third wife Mary Buchanan. Peter and Mary (Sanford) Gansevoort had four children, with only two surviving infancy, Henry Sanford Gansevoort and Catherine Gansevoort. Afer Mary's death in 1841, Peter Gansevoort remarried Susan Lansing (1843-1874), daughter of Abraham Gerrit Lansing and Susanna Yates. There were no children. Henry Sanford Gansevoort (1835-1871), the son of Peter and Mary (Sanford) Gansevoort, was born in Albany and educated at the Albany Academy, Phillips Andover Academy, and Princeton University, graduating with honors in 1855. Gansevoort entered Harvard Law School (1857), worked in several law firms, finally becoming a partner with George H. Brewster in New York (1859-1860). However, Gansevoort sought a military career, so in 1861 he joined the 7th Regiment of the New York militia. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Gansevoort was ordered to Washington. After returning from Washington, he applied for commission in the regular services, which was granted to him after many disappointments as 2nd Lieutenant in Battery M - 5th Regiment of the regular artillery in the United States Army (May 14, 1861). Gansevoort joined General McClellan and was with the Potomac Army throughout the Peninsular campaign after it left Yorktown. Gansevoort also participated in the 2nd battle of Bull Run and afterward at Antietam (1862). With a leave of absence from the regular army, Colonel Gansevoort was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the 13th Regiment of New York volunteer cavalry (1863), which was immediately sent to Washington. Colonel Gansevoort's services to the army earned him the title of Brigadier-General of the Volunteers (1865), Lieutenant-Colonel in the regular services and the rank of Captain of the Artillery in the regular lines (1866). At the close of the war, he was ordered to Barrancas and Pensacola, Florida (1867-1868), and Fort Independence, Massachusetts (1869). Gansevoort health had deteriorated, so he sought relief in Nassau but to no avail. Gansevoort decided to return home, dying aboard the steamer "Drew" as it travelled up the Hudson River. Catherine (Gansevoort) Lansing (1839-1918), the daughter of Peter and Mary (Sanford) Gansevoort and the sister of Henry Sanford Gansevoort was born in Albany. She was educated at Mrs, Charles Sedgwick's School in Massachusetts and the Molinard School in Albany, New York. During the years, 1859-1860, she travelled with her parents and brother throughout Europe. Eleven years later (1871), Catherine Gansevoort was at her brother's side, when she experienced the tragic loss of his life and honored him by publishing "Memorial of Henry Sanford Gansevoort," edited by John Chipman Hoadley (1875). John Chipman Hoadley married Catherine Melville (1825-1905), the daughter of Allan and Maria (Gansevoort) Melvill. In 1873, Catherine married Abraham Lansing (1835-1899). There were no children. Catherine Gansevoort Lansing's activities included: vice-president for the New York State - National Mary Washington Memorial Association (1891-1896); an incorporator of the Society of Cincinnati (1894) and the organizer of the Gansevoort Chapter: Daughters of the Revolution (1895-1897). Catherine Gansevoort Lansing is also known for her many donations to charities and institutions, including the Gansevoort-Lansing Collection bequested in her will to the New York Public Library 1919). The Lansing Family Abraham Gerrit Lansing (1756-1844) was born in Albany, the son of Gerrit Jacobse (1711-?) and Jan Wynne (Waters)(1723-1810), his second wife. He was a physician and surgeon. He married Susanna (Sanneka) Yates (1762-1840) in 1779. Sixteen children were born, three died in early childhood. The names are: Janthie (Jane) (1780 Feb,-Nov.); Abraham Yates (1782-1807); Gerrit Yates (1783 1862); Cornelius D.R. (1785-1850); John Yates (1788-1818); Antie D.R. (1790-1792); Sanders Lansing (1792-1866); Christopher Yates (1794, Dec. 11-15); Christopher Yates (1796-1872); Barent Bleecker (1798) died the same day; Anna D.R. (1799-1830); Barent Bleecker (1801-1876); Sarah Bleecker (1802-1878); Susan (1804-1874) who married Peter Gansevoort; George Lansing (1806-?) and Abraham Yates (1808-1859). It should be noted that two of Abraham Gerrit Lansing's children attained prominence. Gerrit Yates (1783-1862) accomplishments include: private secretary to Governor Morgan Lewis; judge of the Probate Court; clerk of the State Assembly; representive of the Albany Congressional district in the 22nd and 24th Congress; successor to Martin Van Buren as Regent of the State University and the Chancellor of the Board of Regents until his death. Lansing married Helena (Lena), daughter of Abraham J. and Annetje (Lansing) Ten Eyck. There were four children, Charles B.; Jane Ann (Lansing) Pruyn who married Robert H. Pruyn; Susan Yates and Abraham Gerrit. Christopher Yates (1796-1872), accomplishments include: lawyer in Albany; private secretary to the Governor, 1822-1824. He married Caroline Mary Thomas (1805-1845), a daughter of Dr. John Thomas a surgeon in the American Revolution. There were five children: Jane Anna (died in infancy?); John Thomas Lansing (d. 1886); Abraham Lansing (1835-1899) (married Catherine Gansevoort); William Lansing and Edward Yates Lansing. Abraham Gerrit Lansing is also the brother of John Lansing 2nd (1755-?), who attained prominence in the field of politics. His accomplishments include: member of the Assembly, 1780-1786; delegate to the Continental Congress, 1784-1788; delegate to the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787; justice of the New York Supreme Court, 1780-1798. John Lansing mysteriously disappeared after leaving his hotel to post a letter. Abraham Lansing (1835-1899) was born in Albany, the son of Christopher Yates and Caroline Mary (Thomas) Lansing. His paternal grandfather was Abraham Gerrit Lansing. Abraham Lansing was educated and graduated from the Albany Boys Academy (1851), Williams College (1855) and the University of Albany with an LLB, (1857). His law career included appointments as City Attorney and Supreme Court Reporter (1868-1869). He married Catherine Gansevoort in 1873. In 1876, Lansing was appointed the delegate to represent the United States at the annual conference of the "Association for the Reform and Codification of the Law of Nations" held in Bremen and again in London (1879). Between 1879-1899, Lansing travelled with his wife Catherine throughout Europe. She survived him at his death in 1899. The Melville Family The Melville family originated in Scotland. They were one of the non-Dutch families who intermarried with the Gansevoorts. The marriage of Allan Melvill (1782-1835) to Maria Gansevoort (1791-1872), the daughter of Peter and Catherine (Van Schaick) Gansevoort connected the Gansevoort and Melville families. Allan Melvill, the son of Thomas Melvill (1751-1835) and Priscilla Scollay, was the fourth of eleven children. Melvill was an importer of silks and French goods of fine quality. His business ventures kept him constantly travelling abroad. Based in Boston, Melvill for a time opened up a wholesale dry goods business in New York City at 123 Pearl Street. Unfortunate business ventures left the Melville family in bankruptcy at the time of Melvill's death. Maria Gansevoort added the "e" to the Melville name after her husband's death. Through Allan Melvill1's marriage to Maria Gansevoort there were eight children, most notably Herman Melville (1819-1891), the author of the classic Moby Dick. During his later life, Herman Melville moved his wife (Elizabeth Shaw, the daughter of Judge Lemuel Shaw) and family to New York. He received an appointment as an outdoor custom inspector on the wharf at Gansevoort Street, a position that he held for nineteen years. Another son of Allan and Maria (Gansevoort) Melville was Gansevoort Melville (1815-1846). He was appointed Secretary of Legation at the Court of St. James in London, England in 1846. Gansevoort Melville died abroad in London; his body was returned to the states where he is interred in Albany Rural Cemetery. Thomas Melvill (1776-1836) was the eldest son of Thomas Melvill (1751-1835) and Priscilla Scollay. He was six years older than his brother Allan Melvill (1782-1835). Thomas Melvill began his career as a merchant like Allan but his employers sent him to Paris where he became a banker. He remained there for 14 years except for two years he spent in Spain. Melvill married Francoise Raymonde Eulogue Marie des Doulouers Louise Fleury. When he returned to the United States in 1811, Melvill was appointed Commissary of Prisoners. In 1814 his wife died. Melvill married again to the daughter of Dudley Hobart of Maine. In 1832, Melvill was elected to the Massachusetts legislature. He retired to Galena, Illinois and died there at the age of seventy-six. From his two marriages there were fourteen children. Noted individuals who married into the Melville family are: Captain John D'Wolf (1779 1872) and John Chipman Hoadley. D'Wolf married Mary Melvill (1778-1809), the daughter of Thomas and Priscilla (Scollay) Melvill and the sister of Allan Melvill (1782-1835). D'Wolf was known as an explorer. He published his adventures in A Voyage in-the North Pacific and a Journey Through Siberia More Than a Half Century Ago (1861). John Chipman Hoadley (1818-1886) an engineer, designer and manufacturer married Catherine Melville (1825-1905), the daughter of Allan and Maria (Gansevoort) Melville. Additional biographical information on these families can be found in the genealogical notes in Boxes 263-264.
Physical Description
Extent: 211 linear feet (368 boxes, 153 volumes, 12 oversized folders)
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11635605
MSS Unit ID: 1109
Archives collections id: archives_collections_1109
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 96f70000-3f5a-0137-603d-05b5f93c8848
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