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Van Rensselaer, Stephen III

Born: 1764-11-01 New York, New York

Died: 1839-01-26 New York, New York

A member of the prominent Van Rensselaer family, Stephen was educated at Harvard before beginning a long career in public service by serving in the New York State Legislature and as lieutenant governor of the state. A soldier as well, he had been commissioned a major in the New York Militia in 1786, gaining promotion to colonel in 1788 and major general in 1801. During the War of 1812, he commanded U.S. forces as a major general, returning home to represent his district in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1823 to 1829. Van Rensselaer was a strong proponent of the Erie Canal, the president of the New York State Agriculture Society, and he also founded the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

John W. Jordan, Colonial Families of Philadelphia (New York: Lewis, 1911), 2:985-86.