Pierre Van Cortlandt Jr.

Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr.
Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr..jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1813
Preceded byJonathan Fisk
Succeeded byPeter Denoyelles
Personal details
BornAugust 29, 1762
Van Cortlandt Manor, Croton-on-Hudson
DiedJuly 13, 1848(1848-07-13) (aged 85)
Croton-on-Hudson, Cortlandt, New York
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Catherine Clinton
(m. 1800; her death 1811)

Anne Stevenson
(m. 1813; her death 1821)
RelationsPhilip Van Cortlandt (brother)
ChildrenPierre Van Cortlandt III
ParentsPierre Van Cortlandt
Joanna Livingston
RelativesSee Van Cortlandt family
Alma materQueen's College

Pierre Van Cortlandt Jr. (August 29, 1762 – July 13, 1848) was a United States Representative from New York. A member of New York's Van Cortlandt family, he was the son of Pierre Van Cortlandt, an early New York political figure, and brother of Philip Van Cortlandt, who was also a U.S. Representative from New York.[1]

Early life[edit]

Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr. was born on August 29, 1762 at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton, Westchester County. His parents were Pierre Van Cortlandt (1725–1819) and Joanna Livingston (1722–1808), daughter of Gilbert Livingston, a son of colonial official Robert Livingston the Elder.[2] His great-grandfather was Stephanus Van Cortlandt, the first native-born Mayor of New York City, and his family were the patroons of Van Cortlandt Manor.[3][4]

He pursued classical studies and was graduated from Queen's College (later Rutgers College) in 1783.[1]


He studied law in the office of Alexander Hamilton and was admitted to the bar and commenced practice. He retired from his law practice and devoted his time managing his estate in Westchester County. He founded and was president of the Westchester County Bank at Peekskill from 1833 until his death there in 1848.[1]

Fort Independence[edit]

Fort Independence Hotel, right of center, in white. His father's "Oldstone" home is right of hotel, c. 1860

In August 1776, at the foot of Anthony's Nose, Fort Independence was built on his father's land, on the north bank of the Annsville Creek as it empties into the Hudson River. It combined with Forts Montgomery and Clinton to defend the Hudson River Valley. Forts Montgomery and Clinton were started in June.[5][6][7]

In the mid-19th century, he built Fort Independence Hotel below the site where Fort Independence once stood. Fort Independence had been built in August 1776, at the foot of Anthony's Nose, on the family's land on the north bank of the Annsville Creek as it empties into the Hudson River. It combined with Forts Montgomery and Clinton to defend the Hudson River Valley. Forts Montgomery and Clinton were started in June.[5]:18 Fort Hill Park, the site of Camp Peekskill, contained five barracks and two redoubts.[6][8]

On the opposite side of Annsville Creek [north of Peekskill] at the point known as Roa or Roay and formerly Roya Hook, stood the old Revolutionary Fort Independence. In 1846 and for about three years subsequently some of the larger boats used to stop at this point. A large hotel had been built there about the same time by Pierre Van Cortlandt, known as the Fort Independence Hotel, and access to the village was furnished in 1845 by a wooden bridge across the mouth of the creek, fourteen hundred and ninety-six feet long. The bridge has long since rotted and been carried away.[9]

Political office[edit]

In 1792, 1794 and 1795, Van Cortlandt was a member of the New York State Assembly, and was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Twelfth United States Congress, holding office from March 4, 1811 to March 3, 1813. He was a presidential elector on the Harrison ticket in 1840.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Van Cortlandt married Catherine Clinton (1770–1811), daughter of eventual Vice President of the United States George Clinton (1739–1812), and former wife of John Taylor.[10]

After her death on January 10, 1811, he married Anne Stevenson (1774–1821), the daughter of John Stevenson (1734–1810) and Magdalena Douw (1750–1817), on May 10, 1813.[10] Together, they had:

  • Pierre Van Cortlandt III (1815–1884),[10] who married Catharine Elizabeth Beck (1818–1895),[10] daughter of Theodric Romeyn Beck and Harriet Caldwell

They resided at Van Cortlandt Upper Manor House and the family home known as Oldstone,[11] 28 Bear Mountain Bridge Road, Cortlandt Manor, New York, from approximately 1783 until his death.[12] Interment was in Hillside Cemetery.


His grandchildren included Catherine Theresa Romeyn Van Cortlandt (1838–1921), Romeyn Beekman Van Cortlandt (1843–1843), James Stevenson Van Cortlandt (1844–1917), Theoderick Romeyn Van Cortlandt (1845–1880), and Philip Van Cortlandt (1857–1858).[13][14]


  1. ^ a b c d "VAN CORTLANDT, Pierre, Jr. - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  2. ^ Schuyler, John (1886). Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati 1783. New York: New York State Society of the Cincinnati. p. 319. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  3. ^ Silas Constant, Emily Warren Roebling, The Journal of the Reverend Silas Constant, 1903, pages 429–430
  4. ^ Mrs. Martha J. Lamb, Mrs. Burton Harrison, History of the City of New York, 1896, pages 407–408
  5. ^ a b Dunwell, F.F., 1991, The Hudson River highlands, New York: Columbia University Press; ISBN 0231070438
  6. ^ a b "History and Events in Peekskill | Peekskill History Summary". The Peekskill Museum. 1940-07-29. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  7. ^ "Peekskill officials dot historic mountain with plaques" (PDF). Hudsonrivervalley.org. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  8. ^ "Peekskill officials dot historic mountain with plaques" (PDF). Hudsonrivervalley.org. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  9. ^ Scharf, John Thomas (1886). History of Westchester County, New York, Including Morrisania, Kings bridge and West Farms Vol II. Philadelphia: L. E. Preston. pp. 382, 406. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d Judd, Jacob (1776). The Van Cortlandt Family Papers. Sleepy Hollow Restorations. ISBN 9780912882277. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Monteverde at Oldstone | Westchester, New York Wedding, Corporate and Catering Banquet Venue with River view".
  12. ^ Austin N. O'Brien (January 1981). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Van Cortlandt Upper Manor House". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  13. ^ NY, Village of Croton-On-Hudson. "Village of Croton-On-Hudson, NY - Van Cortlandt Manor". www.crotononhudson-ny.gov. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Those who owned the Van Cortlandt Manor House The Main Line of Inheritors" (PDF). crotononhudson-ny.gov. Retrieved 15 March 2017.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jonathan Fisk
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Peter Denoyelles