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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesNew York

Stephen VAN RENSSELAER, III

(1764-1839)

VAN RENSSELAER, Stephen, III, (father of Henry Bell Van Rensselaer), a Representative from New York; born in New York City November 1, 1764; completed preparatory studies and attended Princeton College; graduated from Harvard University in 1782; major of militia in 1786, colonel in 1788, and major general in 1801; member of the New York state assembly 1789-1791, 1798, and 1818; member of the New York state senate 1791-1796; elected lieutenant governor of New York in 1795; unsuccessful candidate for New York governor in 1801 and 1813; served as major general of Volunteers in the War of 1812; member of the canal commission 1816-1839, and served fourteen years as its president; member of the New York state constitutional convention in 1821; founded the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy in 1824; was a supporter of John Quincy Adams; elected to the Seventeenth Congress by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of United States Represenative Solomon Van Vechten Van Rensselaer and reelected to the three succeeding Congresses (February 27, 1822-March 3, 1829); chairman, Committee on Agriculture (Eighteenth through Twentieth Congresses); was not a candidate for reelection; devoted his time to landed interests and to educational and public welfare matters; regent of the University of New York 1819-1839; died on January 26, 1839, in Albany, N.Y.; interment in the family burying ground; reinterment in Albany Rural Cemetery.

Bibliography

McClave, Elizabeth W. Stephen Van Rensselaer, III: A Pictorial Reflection and Biographical Commentary. Edited by Rowland McClave and William B. Zimmerman. [Stephentown, N.Y.]: Stephentown Historical Society; [New York, N.Y.]: Holland Society of New York, [1984].

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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