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Benevolent Patriot: Henry Rutgers, 1745-1830
David J. Fowler
|Portrait of Henry Rutgers.
Photograph of oil portrait by Henry Inman (1801-1846) hanging in the Old Queen's building at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Photograph by Nick Romanenko, Office of University Relations.
[This is a revised version of an essay that originally appeared in the catalog accompanying the exhibition Benevolent
Patriot: The Life and Times of Henry Rutgers, February 15-July 30, 2010, Special Collections & University
Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library.]
In early September 1776, Henry Rutgers, the scion of a prominent Dutch-American family, mounted his horse and rode
"with a slow step, and an anxious state of mind" across the fields of his father's farm on the East River in
Manhattan. As he rode off, he "contemplated my
present situation, and my future prospects." Recent events
justified his trepidation. The British army was hard on his heels. Rutgers had been with the American army as a
volunteer when it evacuated Brooklyn Heights after the defeat at the battle of Long Island on August 27. Worse,
his younger brother Harman was among the first in that engagement who "fell in the Field fighting for the
Liberties of his Country." Rutgers returned briefly with the American army to the city, and then was ordered to
join the retreating rebels at Harlem Heights. He left aged parents, who had already fled to Albany, as well as
property in New York City worth more than that of any other patriot. Shortly after his departure, the "mark of
confiscation" was placed on the Rutgers house, which was then occupied by the enemy for the next seven years.
The seventh child of Hendrick Rutgers (1712–1779) and Catharina De Peyster (1711–1779) was born on October 7, 1745
and baptized Hendrick in the Reformed "New Church" on Nassau Street in New York City. His mother belonged to one
of the most prominent families in New York. The progenitor of the American branch of the Rutgers family was Rutger
Jacobse (d. 1665), who emigrated in 1636 from the village of Schoenderwoerdt in the Netherlands to Fort Orange
(Albany) in the colony of New Netherland. The family established itself in New York City around 1690, when Henry's
great-grandfather, Harmanus (Harman) Rutgers, relocated there from Albany.
The basis of the family's wealth was in brewing, a craft that required experience handed down through generations.
During the eighteenth century, there were at least two breweries in New York City operated by different branches
of the family. They found a ready market: alcoholic beverages were, after textiles, the most popular and
economically important consumer good in early America. And the brewery's proximity to the urban waterfront meant
that there was no lack of customers. Because of their long tradition over four generations as brewers, the Rutgers
family has been deemed "the first of the 'brewing families' in America." Even as an octogenarian, Henry Rutgers
still felt that beer and porter were "nourishing fluids, which will not injure any man."
The family soon rose to prominence in the affairs of the Anglo-Dutch city. Because of their affluence, Rutgers men
naturally achieved the coveted status of freeholder or freeman, which allowed them to vote and to hold offices
such as alderman, assessor, assistant, coroner, or militia officer. As such, they were intimately involved in "the
localist tendencies of public life." In 1735, Harmanus Rutgers (Hendrick Jr.'s grandfather) served as a grand
juror in the precedent-setting libel trial of John Peter Zenger. By the time of his death in 1753, "Captain"
Harmanus Rutgers was deemed "a very eminent Brewer
and a worthy honest Man."
The New York City that Hendrick Jr. was born into was a colonial port town of approximately 12,000 people on the
periphery of a global empire. The mid-eighteenth-century city where he was reared was a relatively compact
triangular space comprising perhaps six thousand yards on each side and four thousand yards across the northern
apex. It was indeed a "face-to-face-society" where most people knew one another. Business was conducted in
coffeehouses, taverns, public markets, or in the streets. The city's major port facilities were situated on the
East River to the south of the Rutgers property. The waterfront was the commercial lifeline of the city and the
place where much social interaction took place. It bustled with the activity of seagoing and coasting vessels of
all sorts, lighters and other small craft shuttling back and forth on the river, fishermen and oystermen following
their callings, and cartmen plying their trade in the streets. The riverfront was also a noisy, dirty, unhealthy,
and sometimes dangerous place.
The maritime district spawned several ancillary occupations such as ship chandlers, coopers, carpenters, joiners,
sailmakers, and ropemakers. Many of the waterfront area's residents were employed in these endeavors. Because of
disruption, noise, and "Noisom Smells," most of the city's manufacturing enterprises—tanneries, breweries,
distilleries, slaughterhouses—were relegated to areas north of Wall Street. In the 1760s two ropewalks, which were
sheds or alleys hundreds of feet long where cable and hawser were twisted and tarred, flanked the Rutgers farm
along Division Street and along its northern boundary.
Hendrick Rutgers Sr. had been apprenticed to a merchant, but in 1753 he inherited the East River plantation that
in succeeding years became known as the "Rutgers Farm." The property was located in the Bowery division of the
city's Out Ward, a sprawling tract that for decades maintained a rural character of hills, fields, gardens, woods,
and marshes. Rutgers soon built a house there "with bricks brought from Holland," which formed the basis of the
later Rutgers mansion. At some point he also established a brewery on the farm. Since the Rutgers farm fronted on
the East River, the family could also capitalize on related maritime pursuits. In 1772 the New York City Common
Council, which owned rights to "land under water," granted water lots to Hendrick Sr., which would be
exploited by his heirs.
As early as 1755 part of the Rutgers farm was laid out in lots, which was a shrewd economic move that both
facilitated division among the heirs and anticipated future development. By 1764 when his parents gave
eighteen-year-old "Hendrick Rutgers Junr" several lots, the farm had been subdivided into at least 600 numbered parcels.
Actual development, however, proceeded slowly and intermittently. Similarly, James De Lancey also had a
development strategy for his subdivision adjacent to the Rutgers property. Over time, improvements were made to
the Rutgers farm so that by the 1770s it consisted of twelve buildings and eighty acres, which included
the old farmhouse on Bowery Lane, the new mansion, a brew house, a malt house, a mill, a stable, and other
Nothing is known of Hendrick Jr.'s upbringing, but it was probably typical of young gentlemen of the time. In
contrast to members of the mercurial merchant class who often had to "buy their way into gentlemanly status," he
was fortunate in that his family's solid affluence assured his social position. When he reached adulthood,
Hendrick's right to append "Esq." or "Gent." to his name would not have been questioned. The Rutgers family was
part of the "bewildering web of marriages" characteristic of colonial gentry; in addition to his mother's De
Peyster family, the Rutgerses were related by marriage to several other leading families of colonial New York,
such as Bancker, Bedlow, Beekman, Clarkson, Gouverneur, LeRoy, and Philipse. One observer quipped that among the
Dutch "Cousins in the fifteenth degree are looked upon as nearly related." Throughout his adult life Henry Rutgers
strove, not always successfully, to maintain family harmony.
At least one source of family discord was Hendrick Jr.'s brother Harman. In 1770 Harman matriculated at
his brother's alma mater, King's College, but left in his second year. Even though Harman was in his mid-twenties
when his father made out his will in 1775, the latter stipulated that his youngest son's inheritance was to be
held in trust and doled out annually by Henry and his four sisters: "If the Trustees
shall think it prudent to
trust my son Harmanus with any small sums of money they may do so, but I desire that they will be careful and
sparing in that respect, lest he should misspend the same." In addition to his irresponsible nature, in 1773
Harman had likely merited disapproval by marrying Dorcas Tibbets, a woman of obscure background who was not Dutch
and who was possibly regarded as beneath his station.
The younger Hendrick was no doubt instructed in management of the farm where barley was grown for the brewery, as
well as in the brewing process. At some point, either formally or informally, he acquired a proficiency in
surveying, as well as a practical knowledge of architecture and construction. He would also have learned how to
manage workmen, servants, and slaves, several of whom were owned by his father and worked at the brewery.
Slaveholding was common among Dutch Americans. During the 1741 New York City slave uprising, another Rutgers
family member had had three of his slaves convicted of conspiracy—one was hanged, one burned, and one transported.
And John Hughson, the white man who allegedly incited the slaves, may have been gibbeted on the shoreline of the
Rutgers property "at a place commonly called Hughsons Point." Like his father and grandfather before him, Henry
Rutgers would himself own slaves.
As a young adult, Hendrick's spiritual mentor was reputedly Rev. Archibald Laidlie, a Scot who was brought from
the Netherlands in 1763 to preach in English at the Dutch Reformed church in New York City. Commentators noted
that by the mid-eighteenth century, the Dutch in colonial New York were beginning to lose their language and their
distinctive culture. They had to function in a political, social, commercial, and legal world that after 1664 was
dominated by the English. One manifestation of this transition was a serious rift within the Reformed congregation
over praying and preaching in English. By 1770, the city was a pluralistic religious marketplace where thirteen
different Protestant denominations competed for members. Together with the general acculturating trend among
younger Dutch Americans, Reverend Laidlie may have influenced Hendrick Jr. to anglicize his name to "Henry."
For whatever reason, by 1763 when he matriculated at the Anglican, royalist, elitist, and expensive King's
College, he was "Henry Rutgers." The young scholar was exceptional for the time in that he attended college. In
1766 he graduated with an A.B. degree and then commenced, at age twenty, the management of his father's business.
Rutgers was part of a generation that experienced a seismic shift in allegiance from an overseas monarchy to a
homegrown republic. The process by which he became imbued with radical Whig ideology is unclear; in the mid-1760s
he may have been influenced by the Sons of Liberty led by the "radical triumvirate" of John Lamb, Isaac Sears, and
Alexander McDougall. In contrast to others of the "better sort," Rutgers demonstrated sympathy for populist causes
throughout his public life. He was listed as a freeholder in the city elections in 1769. He first entered public
life in 1775 when he was appointed tax assessor for the Out Ward.
Many of his fellow citizens, however, maintained their loyalty to the Crown. The King's College governors,
faculty, and alumni were preponderantly loyalist in sentiment. The majority of merchants who comprised the New
York Chamber of Commerce, which represented the city's commercial elite, also had "decidedly Tory leanings."
Thomas Jones, a state supreme court justice who lived on nearby Mount Pitt, was one of the most prominent New York
loyalists, as was the Rutgers family's neighbor to the west of Division Street, James De Lancey. In general, the
counties in southern New York surrounding the city were strongholds of loyalism. Henry Rutgers, therefore, was
definitely going against the trend of his peers.
So when thirty-year-old Henry Rutgers took that anxious ride across the Rutgers farm in late summer 1776, he had
much to lose. Since social status and rank in the army went hand-in-hand, it is not surprising that shortly after
the battle of Harlem Heights, Rutgers was listed as a lieutenant "fit for duty" in the "N. levies" (i.e., new
levies, or recruits) under Col. William Malcom. He was present on October 28 at the battle of White Plains with
"the little disheartened band" of Americans who were saved from a nocturnal bayonet attack by a nor'easter that
providentially delayed the enemy. White Plains was apparently his last combat experience.
In 1777 Gen. Israel Putnam, who commanded posts on the Hudson River, appointed Rutgers a "deputy muster master" of
the army. For the remainder of the war he acted in an administrative capacity in recruiting and mustering troops.
While not glorious, the task of a muster master was crucial to the war effort: in order to conduct campaign
operations, to garrison towns, forts, and other posts, and to assess state quotas for troops and supplies, the
commander-in-chief had to know how many "effectives" (i.e., men fit for service) that he actually had. In 1776,
Gen. George Washington argued that without accurate troop returns, "it is impossible that the business of an Army
can be conducted with any degree of regularity, or propriety," and he enjoined "the utmost importance to be
frequently certified of our whole strength and Stores." No doubt in recognition of both his social status and his
patriotism, the first state legislature that met in Kingston in September 1777 appointed Henry Rutgers a
representative for the city and county of New York. He excused himself because of his military responsibilities,
however, and consequently his seat was declared vacant.
The task of a muster master was not without its aggravations and rigors. Officers were tardy or careless in
submitting timely returns of their units in the prescribed form. Rutgers's circuit included posts in the Hudson
Valley, such as New Windsor, Fishkill, Peekskill, and West Point, and sometimes points beyond. In one instance,
troop movements required that he undertake an arduous ride of fifty miles in the dead of winter. His attention to
duty was recognized by his superior, Lt. Col. Richard Varick, who in January 1779 recommended him to John Jay,
President of the Continental Congress, to fill a vacancy in the Continental army's Commissary General of Musters
Department. Consequently, on April 6 Congress appointed Rutgers a "Deputy Commissary General of Musters" with the
rank of lieutenant colonel. He had now graduated to the level of a Continental staff officer. But 1779 also saw
three great personal losses: his parents died in Albany ("that melancholy event"), as did his mentor Rev.
Archibald Laidlie, who was in exile from his parish. These losses, added to his brother's death in 1776 and the
precarious situation of the family birthright, must have weighed heavily on his mind.
Despite his promotion, the frustrations of the position caused Lieutenant Colonel Rutgers to lament at one point:
"I am wasting
time in pursuit of what will only serve the present, and be of no real advantage to me in future."
But he took solace in the fact that "I have bestowed my mite towards the salvation of my country." In an effort to
economize, moreover, in late 1779 Congress decided to merge the functions of Rutgers's department with that of the
newly created Inspector General's department under the command of Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben.
As a result, by January 1780 Rutgers and several of his fellow-officers were "deranged," i.e., without a position
in the army. This state of affairs occasioned one of Colonel Rutgers's more caustic outbursts:
Most people who know anything of the Nature of the Department are amazed at the
Stupidity of the Measure
. Perhaps some of the members of Congress had
friends out of employ & the good natur'd Baron had promised to shoulder them
forward in his new fangled Department. Thank fortune and the
Congress I am
. I shall enjoy the consolation of being secure from the
Capricious decrees of Congress. I have little expectation of
getting our subsistence paid us
or even our extra expenses
. Good Heavens!
Is this the virtuous C__ the Body that excited the admiration of the world? How
are the mighty fallen? Take a general View of their conduct, and all appears to be
As to his future, Rutgers determined "to now retire to some secure retreat
until more prosperous times put's me
in possession of my Estate now in the hands of the Enemy." And in contrast to the niggling of Congress, he hoped
that "the fruitful fields no doubt will amply repay my labour."
But Henry Rutgers was not to return to civilian life just yet. Thanks to the good offices of Gov. George Clinton,
on July 1, 1780 he was appointed a "Lieut. Colonel in the Levies" and thus was back in the role, on the state
level, of overseeing recruiting. Clinton's patronage provides an example of the importance of "connexions" in late
eighteenth-century society. Around this same time Clinton also appointed Rutgers a commissioner to cosign a new
emission of paper money; his compensation was to be a quarter-dollar for every one hundred bills he signed. The
war years were not totally taken up with business, however. There were occasions for socializing with family and
friends—or for giving advice to a young nephew. In November 1782 he wrote to "Master Henry Bancker," who was in
school in Albany, and encouraged him to learn surveying and navigation. Rutgers even offered to loan his "case of
Mathematical instruments" and related books, but added an avuncular admonition: "The instruments you must be very
carefull of, as they are costly, and none to be had at this time." Uncle Henry also forecast that after this
winter, "I am in hopes we shall be at New York"—prophetic words, as it turned out.
Henry Rutgers's native city had endured a long ordeal of enemy occupation. Shortly after the British arrived in
September 1776, a fire—either accidentally or deliberately set—devastated a large portion of the lower city,
including an iconic part of the skyline, Trinity Church. Another fire in August 1778 wreaked similar destruction
along the waterfront. The Rutgers farm was ringed with defensive artillery emplacements originally built by the
American army. The Royal Navy had commandeered the East River shipyards immediately south of the farm.
In 1778, the British made a ward-by-ward assessment of the property of New Yorkers who fled the city. The Rutgers
property was valued at £80,000, an enormous sum for the time and worth far more than that of any other city
patriot who was "in actual rebellion." Throughout the war, enemy forces were garrisoned along the East River in
the vicinity of the farm. In October 1779, for instance, the German Bayreuth Regiment camped "near Corlears hook,"
which was on the river a little to the north of the property. The old Rutgers farmhouse in Bowery Lane was rented
out for £5. During the occupation the city's population ebbed and flowed based on troop movements, the arrivals
and departures of fleets, and loyalists who sought refuge there.
At various times during the occupation, the Rutgers mansion was apparently used to quarter officers, as a
barracks, and as a hospital. Part of the brew house was used as a kitchen for the "Hessian hospital," which
indicates that the nearby mansion may have been used as a hospital. In July 1779 the kitchen was moved to another
building "much nearer the hospital," and the brew house and an adjoining stable were then used as a depot for
naval stores. Bodies of Hessian dead were likely buried on the Rutgers farm. Occupying forces no doubt despoiled
the property. Crops were trampled, gardens ruined, and orchards and woodlots were cut and buildings and fences
pulled down for firewood. The winter of 1780, in particular, was one of the most severe in memory. While American
troops suffered in Morristown, thousands of British, German, and loyalist troops shivered in their cantonments in
New York. One late casualty of the war was the Rutgers brewery, which was burned, either by accident or by arson,
shortly before the British evacuated. It was apparently never rebuilt.
When the American army retook possession of New York on November 25, 1783 (Evacuation Day), they inherited a city
in ruins. The population had declined from a prewar figure of approximately 25,000 to a mere 12,000. Many still
lived in "Canvas Town," where sailcloth was used to cover ruined and fire-damaged buildings. The New York City
Common Council soon established a committee on wartime losses. Some of those left behind were an undesirable
element: "idle wicked and dissolute persons" committed "frequent Robberies Thefts & violent Breaches of the
Peace." In addition, there were "other abandoned Vagrants and Prostitutes whom the ordinary process of justice
hath not awed nor reclaimed." The British left other more macabre reminders of their presence: in 1785 and in
1788, bodies were found buried in Catherine Street on the southern boundary of the Rutgers farm. They were exhumed
and reinterred elsewhere.
After the war, Henry Rutgers returned home and proceeded to assess and to recoup his losses at the "Rapacious
hands" of the enemy, and to settle his late father's estate. It is unclear if he was with General Washington and
Governor Clinton on November 25 when they made their triumphal procession from the Bull's Head Tavern on Bowery
Lane into the liberated city; if not, he arrived shortly thereafter. No doubt in recognition of both his social
status and his wartime service, in December 1783 a "general meeting of the Committee of Mechanicks" nominated
Henry Rutgers and former Sons of Liberty John Lamb, Isaac Sears, and Marinus Willett as a slate of candidates for
the assembly. They won in a landslide, the former refugees and army veterans no doubt cowing any opposition—it
must have been sweet revenge. Rutgers thus attended the Seventh Session of the assembly that met at City Hall in
New York between January and May 1784. His wartime losses at the hands of the British probably influenced him to
vote in favor of a punitive five percent impost on all imports from the British West Indies.
In 1784 Rutgers also found it necessary to petition the Confederation Congress on behalf of himself and two
fellow-officers who had been deranged from the muster-master department in 1779 for their arrears of pay and
year's advance of salary that they felt was due them. Congress instead recommended to the governor of New York in
June 1785 that the state settle with them for the value in specie, and charge the amount to the United States. Not
until April 1786, however, did the state assembly pass "An act for the relief of Henry Rutgers, and others."
Certain issues still remained unresolved, because in August 1787 Rutgers again petitioned Congress for redress.
Consequently, in February 1789 the state legislature passed another law regarding the claim.
Along with his patron George Clinton, Rutgers espoused an antifederalist platform. As such, he was in a minority
in Federalist-dominated New York City, and was even snubbed in Federalist social circles. Richard Varick, his
former superior officer in the Continental army and mayor of New York in 1789, for example, was a leading
Federalist. Rutgers ran for assemblyman in 1788 on the antifederalist ticket, but was defeated when the
Federalists swept the election in the city. In 1794 the Democratic Society of New York, which advocated
Jeffersonian principles, was founded. Henry Rutgers was elected a vice president, and the following two years he
served as the organization's president. He was part of the "Republican Whig" state assembly ticket for the
southern district in April 1796 that lost to the Federalists over Jay's Treaty and other issues. His involvement
in the Democratic Society may explain why, although he was eligible, he was apparently not a member of the Society
of the Cincinnati, which was an elitist, hereditary, and controversial fraternal organization of former
Continental army officers. In the mid-1790s Rutgers was also a governor of the New York Hospital.
Like other citizens of the new nation, Rutgers had to weather the postwar depression of the 1780s. In early 1785
he advertised his "Seat
near Corlears-Hook" for rent as "one of the most agreeable and convenient Villas in the
suburbs," which may indicate that he was in straitened circumstances. He provided one impetus to the local
economy in 1786, however, when he and other residents of the Out Ward petitioned the Common Council of New York
City "to erect a public market-house at Catharine Slip, at their own expense." That June, Rutgers attended a
council meeting to announce "that the Market House at Catharine Slip was erected & ready for the reception &
accomdation [sic] of Butchers & Country people." The market proved popular and was subsequently enlarged several
times. In late 1788 Rutgers sought to exploit the proximity of his property to the waterfront by petitioning the
Common Council "for a Grant of the Soil under Water" opposite his land at Corlears Hook in order to build a slip;
the next year the council granted his petition, and Rutgers Slip was constructed.
Rutgers also joined, in 1789, other prominent New Yorkers such as George Clinton, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay
as a subscriber to the bipartisan New York Manufacturing Society, which unsuccessfully attempted to establish
textile factories to employ the "honest poor." By 1791, Rutgers's finances had apparently recovered sufficiently
to establish "near his dwelling house at the ship-yards" a "Bleach-field & Thread Manufactory
apparatus necessary for carrying on the business in an extensive manner." He leased the enterprise to Matthew
Adam, who advertised that he was conducting it "on the most approved and satisfactory method
upon the Dutch
Once back in the city, Rutgers soon resumed his role in public affairs. He was elected an assessor for the Out
Ward (renamed the Seventh Ward in 1791), and more frequently, because of his reputation for probity, appointed an
election inspector. When he was appointed an inspector in September 1790, for instance, the designated polling
place was the well-known Bull's Head Tavern in Bowery Lane. Elections in the new nation were boisterous, rowdy,
corrupt, and sometimes violent affairs. In the fall of 1803 when the Common Council designated the Presbyterian
church on East Rutgers Street a polling place, Rutgers refused to open the church and complained that the
"Corporation had no right to order the Election held in his Church and that it should not be open for that purpose
being liable to receive injury." But because the nearby tenement he provided as an alternative was not the
officially designated polling place, the Common Council declared the election void. Overall, the Seventh Ward had
the lowest proportion of freeholders to renters in the city: of the 3,136 people who voted in the Seventh Ward in
1807, thirteen percent were freeholders as compared to eighty-six percent who rented. The demographic of the
neighborhood was definitely changing.
By 1788, Rutgers was also a major in the First Regiment of Militia of the City and County of New York, which was
commanded by Maj. Gen. William Malcom. Because New York then served as the new nation's capital, it was a
high-profile position. One highlight of the period occurred in 1789 when (now) "Lieutenant Colonel, Commandant" Rutgers
led his militia regiment at George Washington's inaugural parade. Another was in July 1790 when the regiment
paraded on the Rutgers property; they were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rutgers and were reviewed by President
Washington, Governor Clinton, and the chiefs of the Creek tribe. In March 1795, however, citing "the increase of
my business and the consequent daily avocations in which I am necessarily engaged," Rutgers resigned his
commission in the state militia, thus ending nearly twenty years' military service on behalf of his country. For
the rest of his life, nonetheless, he would be known as "Colonel Rutgers."
One major problem in the late 1790s developed out of Rutgers's relationship with John Lamb, the former leader of
the New York Sons of Liberty. In 1789, Lamb received the lucrative federal appointment as collector of customs for
the Port of New York. In compliance with law, Rutgers and three other gentlemen stood surety for Lamb in the
amount of $50,000. In 1796, however, an audit revealed that a dishonest clerk in Lamb's department embezzled a
large sum of money. Lamb was forced to resign in 1797, and in 1799 the United States Attorney for New York sued
Lamb, Rutgers, and some of the other sureties; Aaron Burr represented Rutgers. In February 1801, and again in March
1802, Rutgers and the other sureties petitioned Congress for a release from the obligations of their bond on the
grounds that the Treasury Department was negligent in its oversight. Congress took no action, however, and in
March 1803 the U.S. District Court for New York gave a judgment in favor of the United States. To his credit,
Rutgers did make a good-faith effort to settle the matter, which was not accomplished until 1808.
With the death of his father, Colonel Rutgers had become the family patriarch. He never married, but a significant
development on the domestic scene was his adoption in 1789 of John P. (1785–1806) and William Bedlow Crosby
(1786–1865), who were the sons of Rutgers's niece Catharine Bedlow (1757–1789) and her husband Dr. Ebenezer Crosby
(1753–1788), who had served as a surgeon in George Washington's Life Guard. Both parents died within a few months
of each other. On her deathbed, Catharine Bedlow Crosby chose her uncle Henry to be the boys' guardian "in
preference to nearer relatives on account of his piety."
Rutgers was now primarily a developer, landlord, and rentier who amassed wealth from leases and investments; as
such, he represented a trend in the new nation toward owning not only material wealth, but also liquid, financial
assets. Early nineteenth-century Manhattan has been described as an "irregular collection of mostly regular
grids." One of the most distinctive of those "regular grids" was the Rutgers farm. Originally subdivided in 1755,
the Rutgers farm was surveyed again the next year, in 1775 (in conjunction with his father making out a will), in
the 1790s, and in 1813. The property was ultimately defined by Montgomery, Division, Catherine, and Cherry
streets, which in later years comprised a significant portion of the Lower East Side neighborhood. Actual
development initially proceeded slowly, but accelerated during the 1790s. Over time, hills were leveled, marshy
areas filled, and the shoreline extended into the East River. Like other Manhattan developers, Henry Rutgers
benefited from the burgeoning postwar urban population: 33,000 in 1790, 60,000 in 1800, 96,000 in 1810, 123,000 in
1820 and, by the year of his death in 1830, 202,000. And like most entrepreneurs of the time he was also a venture
capitalist: by the early 1820s, he had invested in the Rutgers textile mill in Paterson, New Jersey.
Rutgers's modus operandi in developing his property was to grant "ground leases" (i.e., long-term leases) either
for buildings he himself had constructed, or to stipulate that the lessee construct a building according to
specifications. Some of the buildings were used as residences, stores, or shops, such as that of the druggist
Benjamin Underhill. Because of the property's proximity to the waterfront, some lessees were engaged in ancillary
maritime pursuits. In 1797, the partnership of M'Bride and Blaire advertised a "sawing Business at Col. Rutgers on
the East River," which was probably conducted on land leased from the latter. Likewise, in 1820 landlord Rutgers
leased a property to Whitehead Hicks, "Lumber Merchant." In 1802, Rutgers gently chided his adopted grand-nephew
William B. Crosby, who at age sixteen had been entrusted with managing his uncle's real estate, for leasing a
sawpit and lumberyard at too favorable a rate: "Should I now give in to the measure of lowering my Rents to suit
individuals, I may give up the Idea of your making a permanent bargain for any of my property." He could not
resist closing with avuncular advice: "do not get wet feet
wet feet promote disorders." A typical lease might be
for twenty-one years at sixty dollars per year paid quarterly. It was guaranteed annual income.
An important method of controlling development was to require compliance with specified conditions. In May 1826,
for example, Rutgers leased a lot to the mason Thompson Price. The lease stipulated that Price
"build and erect a good substantial and workmanlike brick dwelling house not less than forty feet in depth, and
not less than two stories in height, on the front of the said
premises, and so as to cover the whole front; but
at no period of the term
shall there be more than one dwelling house." He also required his permission for
leaseholders to sell their leases and reserved to himself first option to buy. Thus Rutgers was not only complying
with state law regarding use of building materials that guarded against the ever-present danger from fire, he also
maintained control over density of development and related quality-of-life issues. Uncontrolled development
resulted in situations such as that at Corlears Hook, an impoverished neighborhood where in 1819 one building
reportedly housed 103 people.
Late in life, Colonel Rutgers congratulated himself on the development of the former Rutgers farm: "I now see the
desolate fields entirely filled with the cheerful dwellings of men, free, independent, and happy!" One foreign
traveler admired the private residences on Harman (later East Broadway), Henry, Madison, and Monroe streets. But
Rutgers did not have complete control over how the property evolved. Many of the Seventh Ward's tavern brawls and
street disturbances in the early nineteenth century were centered near Corlears Hook or in the vicinity of
Catherine and Bancker (later Madison) streets. Bancker Street, where blacks and whites loitered at all hours
around the numerous grog shops, was particularly notorious. Rutgers owned several properties on Bancker Street. In
general, during the early nineteenth century the East River wards were evolving into "an unusual mix of vice and
wealth." Corlears Hook, in particular, ultimately became one of the most notorious and squalid "sex districts."
After a hiatus of sixteen years, Henry Rutgers rode the wave of Jeffersonian ascendancy when he was again elected
to the New York Assembly for 1800–01 as a Republican representative for the City and County of New York. He was
reelected in 1802, in 1804, in 1804–05, in 1807, and finally, in 1808. Although not an eloquent orator or debater,
"by his stirling good sense, he acquired an influence." He apparently exerted a meliorating influence: "his
unimpeachable moral character and uniform consistency gained him the confidence and respect of those who were his
opponents." He often exerted his influence "in moderating animosity, and suppressing the feelings of rancour." The
legislature also appointed him an elector for the presidential elections of 1808, 1816, and 1820. When the Society
of Tammany, which was originally founded as a fraternal and benevolent association and then became politicized
over time, constructed its first permanent "Wigwam" in 1811–12, Henry Rutgers served on its building committee.
Typical of the time, Assemblyman Rutgers was not averse to using his position behind-the-scenes to try to
influence the legislative process in order to facilitate a private matter. His adopted grandnephew John P. Crosby
had traveled to Jamaica to take possession of a plantation there to which he was heir. While on the island he
contracted a fever and died in 1806. When his younger brother William B. Crosby attempted to claim the
inheritance, the governor of Jamaica instead escheated the property on the grounds that Crosby was an alien. Henry
Rutgers then attempted to use his influence in the state assembly to make passage of a pending bill regarding the
estate of Sir William Pulteney, which dealt with extensive landholdings in western New York, attendant upon Crosby
either gaining satisfaction in Jamaica or being indemnified from property of British subjects in the United
States. In February 1807 Rutgers wrote confidently to Crosby that the matter was "beyond all doubt of successful
issue." Nevertheless, by April Rutgers had to inform Crosby that the Pulteney bill had passed in committee of the
whole, and that consequently he had to prosecute the matter in Jamaica.
When war once again loomed with Great Britain in 1812, Colonel Rutgers supported what was a divisive and unpopular
conflict. Shortly after news of the declaration of war arrived in New York, a meeting was held in City Hall Park
on June 24 to express approval of the measure. The assemblage chose Rutgers chairman of the meeting and chose as
secretary his friend, Marinus Willett. Rutgers transmitted the proceedings and resolutions of the meeting to
President James Madison. In August 1814 two public meetings regarding the defense of the city were held at the
park, both of which Rutgers chaired. The previous December, Rutgers was among the group of prominent men whom the
inventor Robert Fulton invited to join the Coast Defense Society. He served on committees that raised funds and
supervised the construction of Fulton's novel, steam-powered warship, which was constructed at Brown's shipyard at
Corlears Hook but was completed after the war ended. On the vessel's third trial run in September 1815, it
departed from Corlears Hook and returned to Rutgers Slip. In December of that year Rutgers coauthored a report on
the construction of the vessel, which also eulogized the inventor, who had died the previous February.
It is said that Henry Rutgers resolved to devote one-quarter of his income to charitable causes. While that may or
may not be true, it is more certain that "it was a remark which he often made, that, with regard to his charities,
he was resolved to be his own executor." His numerous benefactions over several decades, some of which were
anonymous, were in three interrelated areas: poor relief, education, and religious institutions. One contemporary
estimated that Rutgers donated $10,000 yearly to the poor. He would also remit the rents of tenants who were
unable to pay, a kindness which "secured the strong affection of the poorer classes of the community
Rutgers was particularly passionate about education. His support of education was recognized by the state
legislature in 1802 when they appointed him a regent of the state university. Between 1804 and 1817, he also
served on the board of trustees of the College of New Jersey at Princeton; he subscribed five thousand dollars to
the vice president's fund. Rutgers supported the education of divinity students, and "frequently gave them a home
in his house, while they were pursuing their studies." His will stipulated that the customary funeral expenses be
kept at a minimum so that more money could go to the infant school society.
His benefactions extended to all educational levels. In 1805 the Free School Society was incorporated to provide
secular education for the children of the "laboring poor" who were otherwise excluded from denominational schools.
One year later Henry Rutgers donated two adjoining lots in Henry Street for a new school, and was part of the
committee that supervised construction of the building. In October 1811 "New York Free School No. 2" was
completed, and it accepted its first class of neighborhood children on November 13. In the school's early years,
Rutgers visited regularly. In January 1812, for instance, he "Examined the Boys in arithmetic—was well pleased
with their performance, and heard several classes of Boys and Girls in reading and spelling." From 1810 to 1830,
he served as a trustee of the renamed Public School Society. Upon the death in 1828 of its first president, De
Witt Clinton, Rutgers succeeded to the office of president.
Henry Rutgers's most enduring educational legacy resulted from the renaming of Queen's College in New Brunswick,
New Jersey in his honor. Starting in 1816, Rutgers had served as a trustee of the college, although he actually
attended only two annual meetings. His tenure on the board coincided with a troubled period in the college's
history: there was conflict between the college trustees and the General Synod of the Reformed Church over
governance, curriculum, and funding. In 1816, for the second time in its history, undergraduate education was
suspended. Pleading ill health and inability to attend meetings, but possibly also because of the institution's
problems, Rutgers resigned in 1821. As president of the Corporation of the Reformed Church, however, he maintained
enough of an interest in the institution to both host and chair at his house in March 1822 a meeting of the
"Committees of Conference appointed by the Board of Corporation of the General Synod & the Trustees of Queen's
College" for the purpose of resolving the dispute over finances.
In May 1825, the Queen's College trustees appointed Rev. Philip Milledoler professor of theology. Milledoler was a
noted churchman who was also pastor of the Collegiate Dutch Church in New York, where Henry Rutgers was an elder.
No doubt in deference to Rutgers's reputation for piety and benevolence, and also in hopes of a large donation,
Milledoler suggested at a meeting of members of the General Synod on September 15, 1825, that they rename the
college in honor of Rutgers, which was unanimously approved by both the synod and the trustees. That same day, the
trustees also elected Reverend Milledoler president of the renamed college. On November 30 the state legislature
approved the name change, and so Queen's College officially became Rutgers College. Early in 1826, Rutgers gave
the eponymous institution $200 for the purchase of a bell to be hung in the new cupola of the college building—the
bell is still rung today on special occasions. In May of that year he also gave a bond (dated March 27) for $5000
to the synod to be held in trust for the benefit of the college, the interest on which was to be paid
Rutgers's support of religious institutions was a natural outgrowth of his upbringing in the Dutch Reformed
Church, his personal piety, and a general "culture of benevolence." There are several anecdotes regarding his
piety, which was practiced both in the domestic and public spheres. In politics, "he never took part in any
important measure, without making it a subject of special prayer." He made several donations of land to Dutch
Reformed, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches, usually with the stipulation that the land revert to him if a church
was not built in a specified time. In 1789, the heirs of Hendrick Rutgers gave to Shearith Israel congregation in
New York "a small Spot of Ground
for a Slope of a Whall" adjacent to their cemetery, the oldest Jewish burial
ground in North America.
From its founding in 1816 until his death in 1830, Rutgers was a member of the Board of Managers of the American
Bible Society, the oldest national benevolent society. During its early years, he made donations to the
organization, served on committees, and authored reports. In December 1816 Rutgers reported to the Society on the
request of a Bible society in North Carolina for Bibles printed in foreign languages for the use of European
immigrants on the frontier. Reminiscent of the dispute over preaching in English in Dutch churches during the
1760s, he also added the recommendation:
The committee beg leave to observe that however desirable they are to
accommodate the Emigrants with the Word of Life in their Native Language, they
contemplate a day not far distant, when all Citizens of the United States will be
compelled from necessity to embrace that language in which the Laws of the Land
are promulgated, and every Citizen of course must for the convenience of Trade
and intercourse, yield the use of their native language to that of the Country in
which they reside.
He left a bequest in his will to the American Bible Society "to be expended in printing stereotype bibles."
Henry Rutgers was both a product of, and an agent of the "Age of Benevolence" (1790–1840). His humanitarianism
exemplifies a bridge between the older form of private charity and the newer form of philanthropy that was
channeled through the proliferation of voluntary associations such as the Free School Society or the American
Bible Society. He evidently practiced both forms simultaneously. One well-remembered charity was that every New
Year's Day he gave to the children of his neighborhood a cake and a religious tract. When infirmity prevented him
from personally distributing the gifts, they were given through the Sabbath schools affiliated with the three
churches in his ward.
In his later years Rutgers periodically suffered health problems. He died at home on February 17, 1830. A
contemporary noted the passing of "the most benevolent man in this city," and commented that "his death at this
inclement season will be severely felt" by the poor. On February 19, a special meeting of the Common Council,
before which Rutgers had appeared numerous times over the years, was called to announce his death. They
resolved that "as a testimonial of the high estimation which they entertain for his public and private Virtues,"
the entire council would attend his funeral. A memorial service was held on February 28 at the Market Street
Presbyterian Church, at which his friend and pastor Rev. William McMurray delivered a eulogy. Rutgers was
initially buried in the Reformed Church on Nassau Street (the same church in which he was baptized), then removed
in 1858 to the Middle Church in Lafayette Place, and finally, in 1865, interred in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.
Henry Rutgers's life over eight decades focused on family, religion, neighborhood, community, and country. Hardly
a letter passed to family or friends that did not close by conveying compliments to several people. It was his
maxim to "above all Study to keep harmony in the family." In the case of his sister Anna Bancker, however, it was
said that "she not only loved him extremely but feared him extremely," a comment which, along with other evidence,
suggests a personality that used his wealth and influence to gain or maintain control. Certain family members were
disgruntled over their share of his estate. Why he never married is a matter of conjecture—it was never addressed
in any extant contemporary source. Given his social prominence, piety, and benevolence, he was certainly not a
licentious, avaricious, selfish, "disorderly bachelor" who, it was felt, threatened the stability of the early
Republic; nor was he a "sporting male" type of bachelor who reveled in fighting, gaming, drinking, and womanizing.
His numerous acts of charity may to some extent have compensated emotionally and psychologically for his not
Henry Rutgers was a lifelong New Yorker. With the exception of his military service during the Revolutionary War
and his tenure in the New York legislature, he spent his entire life in the city of his birth. He was passionately
concerned about his city and his neighborhood, and occasionally addressed in person or petitioned the Common
Council regarding local issues. There were, admittedly, also benefits to himself, such as his agitation to
construct new wharves and piers in the East River of stone instead of wood. But despite his civic involvement, he
was not immune from being cited for nuisances on his properties. In 1803 and 1804, he had used his influence both
with the Common Council and in the state legislature "to extend the right of Suffrage" in the city. When in
January 1830 it was obvious that Colonel Rutgers was "nearly lost to us," Mayor Walter Bowne eulogized
This excellent man, this philanthropist who has always devoted himself to the great
interests of his native City, and of his country, and shown [shone] conspicuously in
the path of piety, and in all the charities of society
. His countrys [sic] good was
his great object and he was a patriot in whom the people steadily reposed their
confidence and delighted to Honor.
A little over one month later, Henry Rutgers's last words paid fitting tribute to the place he loved: "home!
home!" And the "mark of confiscation" placed by the British in 1776 still remained on his door.
- ^ The only retrospective source in Henry Rutgers's own words regarding his Revolutionary War experience is
"Colonel Rutgers's Address," Magazine of the Reformed Dutch Church 2 (Oct. 1827): 212–"113" [i.e., 213]. Anecdotal
material is in William McMurray, A Sermon Occasioned by the Death of Col. Henry Rutgers (New York, 1830), 20–21,
26–27 note (hereafter cited as McMurray, Sermon); it is unclear if Henry Rutgers had a formal rank in the army at
this time, but McMurray comments (p. 20) that he "offered himself, as a volunteer." On the death of Harman
(Harmanus) Rutgers, see Henry Rutgers to Gerard De Peyster, Aug. 30, 1776, Special Collections and University
Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, N.J. (hereafter cited as RUL). Rutgers commented: "More
easily may it be conceived than expressed
it is an act of Divine Providence. As such must submit to the
hand that gave the Blow." Since De Peyster (his brother-in-law) was in Albany and Rutgers asked him to tell his
parents about Harman's death "in the most easy and gentle way," it is evident that they had already left the city.
See also "Extract of a Letter from New-York, dated August 27, 1776" in Peter Force, comp., American Archives
(Washington, D.C., 1848), 5th series, 1: 1184. Forty-five years after the event, a fellow-soldier still remembered
Harman's death, William Crolius affidavit in George Cortelyea pension application (S12712), Revolutionary War
Pension Application Files, U.S. National Archives. On the battle of Long Island, see Mark M. Boatner III,
Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1994), 647–56; Thomas W. Field, The Battle of Long
Island (Brooklyn, N.Y., 1869); and Henry P. Johnston, The Campaign of 1776 Around New York and Brooklyn (Brooklyn,
N.Y., 1878). Johnston mentions (p. 198) that Harman Rutgers "was struck in the breast by a cannon-shot," and also
that according to family tradition, he was the first man killed in the battle. On September 24, 1776, a Hessian
officer reported: "The houses of the rebels, now deserted, have all been marked G.R. [i.e., George Rex] and
confiscated," Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major
Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces, trans. and ed. Bernhard A. Uhlendorf (New Brunswick, N.J., 1957), 50 (hereafter
cited as Baurmeister, Letters and Journals).
- ^ Genealogical information about the Rutgers family is found in the following sources: Ernest H. Crosby, "The
Rutgers Family of New York," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 17 (April 1886): 82–93 (hereafter cited
as NYG&B Rec.); and Crosby, "A Brief Account of the Ancestry and Descendants of William Bedlow Crosby, of New
York, and of Harriet Ashton Clarkson, His Wife," NYG&B Rec. 30 (Jan. 1899): 9–10, and (April 1899): 74–78; and
"Copy of Rutgers Family Bible," NYG&B Rec. 30 (Oct. 1899): 243–54. George Olin Zabriskie corrects some errors
made by E. H. Crosby in "Rutgers Family in New Netherland and New York," Halve Maen: Quarterly Magazine of the
Dutch Colonial Period in America 41 (Oct. 1966): 9–10, 12, 15. See also Waldron Phoenix Belknap Jr., The De
Peyster Genealogy (Boston, Mass., 1956); Margherita Arlina Hamm, Famous Families of New York, 2 vols. (New York,
1901), 2: 105–13; Whitehead Cornell Duyckinck and John Cornell, The Duyckinck and Allied Families (New York:
Tobias A. Wright, 1908); Francis Bazley Lee, ed., Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey, 4
vols. (New York, 1910), 2: 420–22; Berthold Fernow, comp. and ed., Calendar of Wills on File and Recorded in the
Offices of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals, of the County Clerk at Albany, and of the Secretary of State,
1626–1836 (New York, 1896); Names of Persons for Whom Marriage Licenses Were Issued by the Secretary of the Province of
New York, Previous to 1784 (Albany, N.Y., 1860); Collections of the New-York Genealogical and Biographical
Society, Vol. 1, Marriages from 1639 to 1801 in the Reformed Dutch Church, New York (New York, 1890); Kenneth
Scott, Genealogical Data from Colonial New York Newspapers (Baltimore, Md., 1977); and Henry B. Dawson,
Introduction, The Case of Elizabeth Rutgers versus Joshua Waddington (Morrisania, N.Y., 1866), vi–xii. In
September 1696, "Harmen Rutgerson, Brewer" appeared on a list of freemen of New York City, and again in February
1701 as "Harmanus Rutgerse, Brewer," The Burghers of New Amsterdam and the Freemen of New York, 1675–1866 (New
York, 1886), 59, 76.
- ^ Paul G. E. Clemens points out that after cloth and clothing, "the most important consumer good was probably
alcohol." "The Consumer Culture of the Middle Atlantic, 1760–1820," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, 62
(Oct. 2005): 580n3. On the Rutgers family as brewers, see Stanley Baron, Brewed in America: A History of Beer and
Ale in the United States (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1962), 21, 25, 27, 28, 69, 103; the quote is on p. 28. On
alcohol consumption in general, see W. J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition (New York,
1979); and Morris Weeks Jr., Beer and Brewing in America (New York, 1949). The Henry Rutgers quote is from
"Colonel Rutgers's Address," Magazine of the Reformed Dutch Church 2 (Oct. 1827): "113" [i.e., 213].
Unfortunately, the account books of the Rutgers brewery are not extant, but a sense of how the business functioned
can be extrapolated from account book entries in the early 1770s by William D. Faulkner, a New York City brewer
who was a contemporary of the Rutgers family, William D. Faulkner Account Books, New-York Historical Society, New
York, N.Y.; Faulkner sold beer to both the American army and the British army, as well as to many vessels.
- ^ The public careers of Rutgers men in colonial New York are best traced in Minutes of the Common Council of the
City of New York, 1675–1776, 8 vols. (New York, 1905) (hereafter cited as MCC, 1675–1776); check the comprehensive
index in volume 8 under the Rutgers surname. In November 1734, Harmanus Rutgers Jr. and "Henry" (i.e., Hendrick)
Rutgers are both listed as "shopkeepers" on a roll of freemen, Burghers of New Amsterdam and Freemen of New York,
124. The quote is from Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York, 1992), 245. On the Zenger
trial, see Livingston Rutherford, John Peter Zenger: His Press, His Trial, and a Bibliography of Zenger Imprints
(New York, 1904); and James Alexander, A Brief Narrative of the Case and Trial of John Peter Zenger, Printer of
the New York Weekly Journal, ed. Stanley N. Katz (Cambridge, Mass., 1963), 58, 215n19. E. H. Crosby identifies
Henry Rutgers's grandfather Harmanus as the juror in the Zenger trial, "Rutgers Family," NYG&B Rec. 17 (1886):
87. Captain Harmanus Rutgers died on August 9, 1753; his death notice appeared in the New-York Gazette, Aug. 13,
- ^ On the New York waterfront, see Floyd M. Shumway, Seaport City: New York in 1775 (New York, 1975); Work
Projects Administration Writers' Program, A Maritime History of New York (Garden City, N.Y., 1941); Carl Abbott,
"The Neighborhoods of New York, 1760–1775," New York History 55 (Jan. 1974): 35–54; Ann Buttenwieser, Manhattan
Water-Bound: Planning and Developing Manhattan's Waterfront from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (New York,
1978), 9–10, 13, 21–55; Myron H. Luke, The Port of New York, 1800–1810: The Foreign Trade and Business Community
(New York, 1953); and John H. Morrison, History of New York Ship Yards (New York, 1909). The quote is from Wood,
Radicalism of the American Revolution, 60, 63. On cartmen, see Graham R. Hodges, The New York City Cartmen,
1667–1850 (New York, 1986).
- ^ Abbott, "Neighborhoods of New York," New York History 55 (Jan. 1974): 36–37, 47–48. The two ropewalks flanking
the Rutgers farm are depicted on Francis Maerschalck, A Plan of the City of New York from an actual Survey, 1754;
John Montresor, A Plan of the City of New-York & its Environs
survey'd in the Winter, 1766; and Bernard
Ratzer, Plan of the City of New York, in North America: Surveyed in the Years 1766 & 1767. For a description
of ropewalks, see Russell Bourne, Cradle of Violence: How Boston's Waterfront Mobs Ignited the American Revolution
(Hoboken, N.J., 2006), 153–55; a riot between British soldiers and workers at a ropewalk occurred only a few days
before the Boston Massacre.
- ^ On the Rutgers farm, see Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island, 6 vols. (New York, 1915–1928), 6: 134–36
(hereafter cited as Stokes, Iconography); David Valentine, Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York for
1860 (New York, 1860), 556–57; and Crosby, "Rutgers Family," NYB&G Rec. 17 (1886): 87, 88, 89. Increments were
no doubt made to the property over the years. In 1776, the brigade to which artist John Trumbull was attached
camped "on the
beautiful high ground, which surrounded Col. Rutgers's seat, near Corlaer's Hook," The
Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, Patriot-Artist, 1756–1843, ed. Theodore Sizer (London, 1953), 24. On the
grant of water lots, see MCC, 1676–1776, 7: 367, 374, 397, 398. An institutional history of the city at this time
is George William Edwards, New York as an Eighteenth-Century Municipality, 1731–1776 (New York, 1917).
- ^ The earliest known survey of part of the property—in July 1755—is mentioned in Articles of Agreement, May 14,
1772, between William Bedlow, Ann Bancker, Gerard De Peyster, Henry Rutgers Jr., Harmanus Rutgers, and Mary
Rutgers, Conger Papers, New York State Library, Albany, N.Y. Another survey in May 1756 is mentioned in Deed of
Gift, Jan. 1, 1764, from Hendrick and Catharina Rutgers to "Hendrick Rutgers Junr," New-York Historical Society;
and also Deed of Gift, Jan. 1, 1764, from same to William Bancker, RUL. Another survey was apparently made in
August 1775, Deed of Gift, Jan. 9, 1785, from Anna Bancker to Henry Bancker, RUL. Unfortunately, none of these
earliest surveys have yet been discovered. The will of Hendrick Rutgers, 1775, provides a description of the
property, New-York Historical Society Collections for 1900: Abstracts of Wills, 9: 213–15. On James De Lancey's
strategy to develop his property, which was aborted by the war, see Elizabeth Blackmar, Manhattan for Rent,
1785–1850 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1989), 33–35, 37–39. Two sources during the British occupation estimate the Rutgers farm at
eighty acres: "Estimate of the Value of real Estates in the Out Ward of the City of New York, belonging to Persons
in actual Rebellion " in B. F. Stevens, Facsimiles of Manuscripts in European Archives Relating to America,
1773–1783, 25 vols. (1889–1898; reprint Wilmington, Del., 1970), 12: no. 1235; and "A List of Farms on New York
Island 1780," which was made by the surveyor Evert Bancker, New York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin (April
- ^ The quote is from Wood, Radicalism of the American Revolution, 119. On titles, see Jackson Turner Main, The
Social Structure of Revolutionary America (Princeton, N.J., 1965), 215, 217–19; and Wood Radicalism of the
American Revolution, 21. Catharina De Peyster Rutgers was prominent enough to sit for a portrait. The quote about
marriages is from Larry R. Gerlach, Prologue to Independence: New Jersey in the Coming of the American Revolution
(New Brunswick, N.J., 1976), 31; Wood also notes the "incredibly tangled webs of kinship," Radicalism of the
American Revolution, 44. The comment on the Dutch is from Thomas Jones, The History of New York During the
Revolutionary War, 2 vols. (New York, 1879), 2: 326. Even a family descendant was bewildered: "The number of
Anthonys and Harmans in the Rutgers family makes it difficult to be accurate in determining which one is referred
to in any particular instance by contemporary records," E. H. Crosby, "Rutgers Family of New York," NYG&B Rec.
17 (1886): 88n.
- ^ On Harman Rutgers, see abstract of the will of Hendrick Rutgers, in New-York Historical Society Collections
for 1900: Abstracts of Wills (New York, 1901), 214–15. In 1770, Harmanus is listed as "Left College in his second
year" in "The Matricula or Register of Admissions and Graduations
in King's College," transcribed in
Herbert and Carol Schneidner, eds., Samuel Johnson, President of King's College: His Career and Writings, 4 vols.
(New York, 1929), 4: 255. He is also listed along with his brother, Henry Jr., as a freeholder in A Copy of the
Poll List, of the Election for Representatives for the City and County of New-York
, Early American
Imprints, no. 11374. On his wife Dorcas Tibbets, see Names of Persons for Whom Marriage Licenses Were Issued by
the Secretary of the Province of New York, Previous to 1784, 332; and Dorcas Remsen affidavit in Pardon Burlingham
pension application (W17526), Revolutionary War Pension Application Files, U.S. National Archives. Burlingham was
Dorcas's second, and Remsen her third husband; she mistakenly remembered that she married Harman Rutgers in 1776,
which is contradicted by the official marriage record cited above. The surname "Tibbets" does not appear in MCC,
1675–1776; "Dorcas" is an English, not a Dutch given name.
- ^ On the 1741 slave uprising, see Jill Lepore, New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in
Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (New York, 2005), 5, 164, 165, 226. Harmanus Rutgers's slave Quash worked at the family brewery;
Quash was burned at the stake, ibid., Appendix C, 268–69. Hughson's Point is mentioned on two Rutgers family deeds
in 1764 (see note 8), but evidently is found in no other source. John Hughson was of the "lower sort" who owned a
tavern on the western side of Manhattan where, in violation of law, he allowed slaves to congregate and allegedly
incited them. The surname does not appear in the colonial Minutes of the Common Council, which is an indication of
the family's lack of social prominence; thus, it is unlikely that a location in the Out Ward would be named in
honor of him or his family. The most recent book on the 1741 slave uprising claims that Hughson was hanged and
gibbeted near the Collect (or Fresh Water) Pond, Lepore, New York Burning, 119–20. But the famous David Grim map
of New York City depicts Hughson as being gibbeted on the southeastern part of the Rutgers property, A Plan of the
City and Environs of New York, as they were in the Years 1742, 1743 and 1744. Drawn by D__ G__ in the 76th year of
his age who had at this time a perfect & correct recollection of every part of the same, 1813; no. 57 in the
map key refers to "Plot Hughson Gibbeted." There is the possibility that he was hanged near the Collect Pond and
gibbeted at "Hughson's Point" in sight of passing vessels in order to serve as both a warning and a deterrent. For
slaveholding by Henry Rutgers's grandfather and father, see abstracts of their wills, Collections of the New-York
Historical Society for the Year 1895: Abstracts of Wills (New York, 1896), 4: 445–50, and Collections
the Year 1900; Abstracts of Wills (New York, 1901), 9: 213–15. Henry Rutgers's 1823 will states: "It is my desire
and will that my Negro wench slave named Hannah being superannuated, be supported out of my Estate," Will of Henry
Rutgers (transcription), RUL. In 1892, his grandnephew William B. Crosby's youngest daughter, Mary, reminisced
about her "great great uncle" Henry Rutgers: "My uncle had a strong voice, and report says that his orders to his
negroes across the East River could be heard by them," "Reminiscences of Rutgers Place," William B. Crosby Papers,
New-York Historical Society. Rutgers could have employed both slave and free blacks. Other family members also
owned slaves: in 1798 Henry Rutgers witnessed an agreement regarding an eleven-year-old female slave owned by his
sister, Mary McCrea, Duyckinck Papers, New York State Library.
- ^ William McMurray mentions that Laidlie was Rutgers's "early religious instructor," Sermon, 23. On Laidlie, see
William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit; or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of
Various Denominations, 9 vols. (New York, 1869), 9: 40–43. On the controversy within the Dutch Reformed Church over
preaching in English, see Joyce D. Goodfriend, "Archibald Laidlie and the Transformation of the Dutch Reformed
Church in Eighteenth-Century New York City," Journal of Presbyterian History 81 (Fall 2003): 149–62; Randall
Balmer, A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies (New York, 1989),
141–56; and Alexander J. Wall, "The Controversy in the Dutch Church in New York Concerning Preaching in English,
1754–1768," New York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin 12 (July 1928): 39–58. Primary sources on the
controversy are in Ecclesiastical Records, State of New York, 7 vols. (Albany, N.Y., 1901–1916), especially volume
6; check the comprehensive index in volume 7 under "Laidlie, Rev. Archibald," "English language and the Dutch
church," and "English preaching in the Collegiate Church of New York." In 1748, the Swedish traveler Peter Kalm
noted that in New York "most of the young people now speak principally English, and go only to the English church;
and would even take it amiss if they were called Dutchmen and not Englishmen" (emphasis in original), Travels into
North America by Peter Kalm, trans. John Reinhold Forster (Barre, Mass., 1972), 140.
- ^ Jackson Turner Main estimates that only one family in ten was able to send their sons to college, The Social
Structure of Revolutionary America (Princeton, N.J., 1965), 247. Aside from his admission in 1763 and his
graduation in 1766, there is apparently no other evidence regarding Henry Rutgers's attendance at the college,
"The Matricula or Register of Admissions and Graduations
in King's College," transcribed in Schneider and
Schneider, Samuel Johnson, 4: 250, 252. He is listed in the first alumni catalogue in 1774, Catalogus Eorum
exhibens Nomina qui in collegio Regali, Novi-Eboraci, Laurea alicujus Gradus donate fuerunt, ab anno 1758 ad annum
1774 (broadside), Early American Imprints, no. 13363. See also "Kings [sic] College Alumni
Class of 1766,"
Columbia University Quarterly 9 (March 1909): 187–90. His enrollment coincided with the arrival of Rev. Myles
Cooper as president, and also with a change in curriculum. On King's College during this period, see David C. Humphrey,
From King's College to Columbia, 1746–1800 (New York, 1976), 126–53, 176–83; and Robert A. McCaughey, Stand,
Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754–2004 (New York, 2003), 27–33. On the
transition from a monarchy to a republic, see Wood, Radicalism of the American Revolution. On the Sons of Liberty,
see Roger J. Champagne, "New York's Radicals and the Coming of Independence," Journal of American History (June
1964): 21–40 (the quote is on p. 21); Herbert M. Morais, "The Sons of Liberty in New York," in Richard B. Morris,
ed., The Era of the American Revolution (New York, 1939), 269–89; and Henry B. Dawson, The Sons of Liberty in New
York (Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1859). Henry Rutgers's name is not specifically mentioned in any of the foregoing
secondary sources, nor in the John Lamb Papers at the New-York Historical Society. Rutgers is listed as a
freeholder in A Copy of the Poll List, of the Election for Representatives for the City and County of New-York
, Early American Imprints, no. 11374. On Rutgers being appointed an assessor, see MCC, 1676–1776, 8:
- ^ On the royalist sentiments of the governors, faculty, and alumni of King's College, see Humphrey, From King's
College to Columbia, 139–44, 150–54, 209–16, 219–24, 269–70, 354n4; and McCaughey, Stand, Columbia, 44–48; the
latter author's related appendices are online at
http://beatl.barnard.columbia.edu/stand_columbia/. By way of comparison, the College
of New Jersey at Princeton under the Presbyterian minister John Witherspoon was "a veritable seminary of
sedition," Gerlach, Prologue to Independence, 274. On Thomas Jones, see American National Biography (New York,
1999), s.v. "Jones, Thomas" (hereafter cited as ANB); Jones was embittered by his treatment by the rebels. On
royalism in general in New York, see Alexander C. Flick, Loyalism in New York During the American Revolution (New
York, 1901); Wallace Brown, The King's Friends: The Composition and Motives of the American Loyalist Claimants
(Providence, R.I., 1965), 77–110, 306–11; Robert M. Calhoun, The Loyalists in Revolutionary America, 1760–1781
(New York, 1973), 370–81, 408–30; and Philip Ranlet, The New York Loyalists (Knoxville, Tenn., 1986). On events
leading to rebellion in New York and in New York City, see Bernard Mason, The Road to Independence: The
Revolutionary Movement in New York, 1773–1777 (Lexington, Ky., 1966); Edward Countryman, A People in Revolution:
The American Revolution and Political Society in New York, 1760–1790 (Baltimore, Md., 1981); and Joseph S.
Tiedemann, Reluctant Revolutionaries: New York City and the Road to Independence, 1763–1776 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1997).
- ^ Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War (Record
Group 93), U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C., microfilm. The anecdote regarding the battle of White Plains
is in McMurray, Sermon, 26–27n. On the battle of White Plains, see Boatner, Encyclopedia of the American
Revolution, 1200–02. There is no factual basis for the claim that Henry Rutgers was wounded at White Plains; the
three most reliable sources—his own retrospective account, Rev. William McMurray's sermon (for both see note 1),
and later family accounts—make no mention of it.
- ^ In his memorial to the Committee of the States in August 1784, Rutgers mentions his appointment by General
Putnam in 1777, Papers of the Continental Congress, microfilm, reel 51, item 41, v.8, p. 339 (hereafter cited as
PCC). On September 12, 1777, Paul Todd of Massachusetts wrote to his father that "this day we had a general muster
of the whole brigade by the Muster Master Genl. [torn] Rutgers. We were all oblig'd to turn out," Paul Todd
pension application (W1617), Revolutionary War Pension Application Files, U.S. National Archives. Another soldier
recalled that in October of that year, Rutgers was the muster master in Col. Udney Hay's regiment of artificers,
Shadrach Hurlburt pension application (S29915); see also Gilbert Weeks affidavit in Michael Verlie pension
application (S42593). On the importance of accurate returns, see General Orders, Jan. 8, 1776, and Washington to
John Sullivan, June 16, 1776, both in W. W. Abbot et al., eds., The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War
Series, 17 vols. to date (Charlottesville, Va., 1985–2008), 3: 52–53, 5: 11. Examples of muster rolls signed by
Rutgers are in Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775–1783, U.S. National Archives. On Rutgers's appointment to, and his
declining to serve in the state legislature, see Votes & Proceedings of the Assembly, Sept. 1, 10, 1777, and
Feb. 16, 1778, Records of the States of the United States, microfilm, B.2, reel 6, p. 131–34 (hereafter cited as
Early State Records). He was appointed instead of elected to the legislature because it was "impracticable" to
hold elections in the Southern District due to the British occupation.
- ^ There is very little in standard secondary sources on the Commissary General of Musters Department, even less
on the state level than on the Continental level. The lack of primary sources may be a result of the devastating
fires at the War Department in 1800 and at the New York State Library in 1911. But see Charles H. Lesser, ed., The
Sinews of Independence: Monthly Strength Reports of the Continental Army (Chicago, 1976), Introduction, xi–xxxv;
and John George Rommel Jr., "Richard Varick: New York Aristocrat" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1966).
See also Henry Rutgers to George Clinton, June 24, 1777, in Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New
York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804, 10 vols. (New York and Albany, 1899–1914), 2: 48–49; Rutgers enjoined officers (p.
49): "It is expected that the Rolls will be Accurately made out as none but such can be received." The routine
functioning of the department can best be traced in a series of letters from Henry Rutgers to Richard Varick, July
8 and Aug. 12, 1778; and Jan. 8 and 29, Feb. 21, March 17, April 10, May 30, and Dec. 24, 1779, all in the Richard
Varick Papers, New-York Historical Society. Varick was Rutgers's immediate superior officer; on Varick, see ANB,
s.v. "Varick, Richard." See also Henry Rutgers to Joseph Ward, April 11, May 26, Aug. 26, and Dec. 24, 1779; and
Jan. 12 and Feb. 21, 1780, all at the Chicago History Museum (formerly the Chicago Historical Society), Chicago,
Ill. Colonel Ward was commander of the department; there is little information about the department in William
Carver Bates, "Col. Joseph Ward, 1737–1812: Teacher, Soldier, Patriot," The Bostonian Society Publications, vol.
4, 1907, 69–72. On Rutgers's promotion as a Continental Deputy Muster Master General, see Richard Varick to John
Jay, Jan. 28, 1779, PCC, reel 104, item 78, v.23, p. 157; John Jay to Rutgers, April 7, 1779, PCC, reel 24, item
14, p. 81; John Fell's Diary, April 1, 6, 1779, and John Jay to George Washington, April 8, 1779, all in Smith,
ed., Letters of Delegates to Congress, 12: 271, 301, 309; and General Orders, April 15, 1779, in John C.
Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1931–44), 14: 389. For further
information about the department, see John P. Butler, comp., Index: The Papers of the Continental Congress,
1774–1789, 4 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1978), 3: 3624–3625, under relevant headings.
- ^ On Aug. 7, 1779, the Royal Gazette (New York) published a death notice of Hendrick Rutgers, "a member of the
Dutch reformed church, and a gentleman of very large estate in this city." Laidlie died at Red Hook; some sources
place his death in 1778, not 1779. The quote, which refers to the death of his father, is from Rutgers to Joseph
Ward, Feb. 21, 1780, Chicago History Museum; nothing is known about the circumstances of his mother's death.
- ^ Henry Rutgers to Joseph Ward, Feb. 21, 1780, Chicago History Museum.
- ^ Henry Rutgers to George Clinton, July 5, 1780, and Clinton's draft of a reply to same, July 8, RUL. On
Clinton, see ANB, s.v. "Clinton, George." The law authorizing the emission of money was passed on June 15,
1780, Laws of the State of New-York, Passed
in the last Sitting of the Third Session of the Legislature
(1780); an example of the actual emission signed by Rutgers is owned by RUL. See also "An Act for the Payment of
certain contingent Expences of this State," April 14, 1782, which states that Rutgers and others shall be paid two
shillings for each hundred bills signed, John D. Cushing, comp., First Laws of the State of New York (Wilmington,
Del., 1984), 251–55; Rutgers is mentioned on p. 253. Henry Rutgers to Henry Bancker, Nov. 24, 1782, RUL.
- ^ There are several works on New York during the British occupation. See New York City During the American
Revolution: Being a Collection of Original Papers
the Mercantile Library Association (New York, 1861); Oscar Barck, New York During the War for Independence: With Special Reference to the Period of
British Occupation (New York, 1931); Wilbur C. Abbott, New York in the American Revolution (New York, 1929),
182–286; Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels: New York City During the Revolution (New York,
1948); Ewald Gustav Schaukirk, Occupation of New York City by the British (1887; New York, 1969 reprint);
Baurmeister, Letters and Journals; The Twilight of British Rule in Revolutionary America: The New York Letter Book of General
James Robertson, 1780–1783, ed. Milton M. Klein and Ronald W. Howard (Cooperstown, N.Y., 1983). On the defensive
works in the vicinity of the Rutgers property, see "A Return of the Batteries in and near the City of New York,"
March 24, 1776, PCC, reel 81, item 67, v.1, p. 149; The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, 4:
368–369 and n2; Charles Lee, "Report on the Defence of New York, March, 1776," in The Lee Papers: Collections of
the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1871, 4 vols. (New York, 1872), 1: 354–57 (Lee mentions that a
battery was planned "at the foot of the Jews' Burying-Ground" and another on the heights above it); and Robert B.
Roberts, New York's Forts in the Revolution (Madison, N.J., 1980), especially p. 265, 308. For a rare first-person
account by a private soldier, see Johann Conrad Döhla, A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution, trans. and
ed. Bruce E. Burgoyne (Norman, Ok., 1990), 27. On the Royal Navy shipyards, see Stokes, Iconography, 5: 1214.
- ^ "Estimate of the Value of the real Estates in the Out Ward of the City of New York, belonging to Persons in
actual Rebellion ," in Stevens, Facsimiles of Manuscripts in European Archives Relating to America,
1773–1783, 12: no. 1235; Henry Rutgers and "Hendk. Rutgers & Co." also owned property in the East Ward, ibid. On
Crown forces stationed along the East River, see Baurmeister, Letters and Journals, 318–19, 387, 430, 510; on the Bayreuth
Regiment, see Döhla, Diary, entry for Oct. 31, 1779, p. 114; on the Rutgers farmhouse, see Barck, New York
City During the War for Independence, 248.
- ^ See Stephen Payne Adye to Carl Wilhelm von "Hackenberg" [Hachenberg], July 29, 1779, Collections of the
New-York Historical Society for the Year 1875: Official Letters of Major General James Pattison (New York, 1876), 233;
and Stokes, Iconography, 5: 1090. In May 1782, Dr. Lauckhard, physician to the Hessian General Hospital, offered a
reward for a horse that strayed from a pasture at Corlears Hook near Rutgers's house, Kenneth Scott, comp.,
Rivington's New York Newspaper: Excerpts from a Loyalist Press, 1773–1783 (New York, 1973), 293. An account by
"Joshua" in 1835 claimed that "hundreds" of Hessians were buried on the Rutgers farm, Stokes, Iconography, 5:
1214. On the winter of 1780 in the city, see Baurmeister, Letters and Journals, 340–41. One week before the British evacuated
the city, Rutgers's brother-in-law Stephen McCrea wrote to the commander-in-chief requesting compensation for
damages done on an estate at Corlears Hook by the Commissary General's Department, McCrea to Sir Guy Carleton,
Nov. 18, 1783, Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 4 vols. (London, 1909),
4: 464; it is unclear whether McCrea was acting on his own behalf or on Rutgers's. For references to the burned
brewery, see MCC, 1784–1831, 1: 182, 186, 376. There is a possibility that the brewery referred to was owned by
the other branch of the Rutgers family; there is, nonetheless, no evidence that Henry Rutgers resumed the brewing
business in the postwar period.
- ^ On the procession into the city, see Stokes, Iconography, 5: 1173–74. In the postwar period, Evacuation Day
was celebrated throughout the city with banquets and other celebrations; see, for example, MCC, 1784–1831, 1: 187,
688, 690, and 2: 51, 53, 117, 120, 202, 204, 305, 410, 411, 484, 585, 588, 689, 691. On the committee regarding
losses, see 1: 8; on disorderly persons, see, 1: 35, 49. On the bodies in Catherine Street, which may have been
buried from the Hessian hospital, see 1: 187, 356; and Stokes, Iconography, 5: 1214.
- ^ The quote is from Henry Rutgers to Joseph Ward, Feb. 21, 1780, Chicago History Museum. It is unclear exactly
when Rutgers returned to the city, but he was obviously there by late 1783. On the city's first postwar election
in December 1783, see Staughton Lynd, "The Mechanics in New York Politics, 1774–1788," Labor History 5 (Fall
1964): 225–46; see especially p. 235n42. Rutgers joined former Sons of Liberty John Lamb, Isaac Sears, and Marinus
Willett as victors; Rutgers drew the third highest number of votes: 231. See also Alfred F. Young, The Democratic
Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763–1797 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967), 67; and Anthony Gronowicz, "Political
'Radicalism' in New York City's Revolutionary and Constitutional Eras," in Paul A. Gilje and William Pencak, eds.,
New York in the Age of the Constitution, 1775–1800 (Cranbury, N.J., 1992), 98–111. On Rutgers's attendance and
voting record in the 1784 New York Assembly, see Journals of the Assembly, A.1b, reel 4, Early State Records. On
the impost, see Cathy Matson, "Liberty, Jealousy, and Union: The New York Economy in the 1780s," in Gilje and
Pencak, eds., New York in the Age of the Constitution, 118. General overviews of the period are Sydney Pomerantz,
New York, An American City, 1783–1803: A Study of Urban Life (New York, 1938); and E. Wilder Spaulding, New York
in the Critical Period, 1783–1789 (New York, 1932). According to an account in 1835, it was not all work: in 1786
a "Race Course" was established on the Rutgers farm, Stokes, Iconography, 5: 1214.
- ^ On Rutgers and his fellow officers' claims for pay, see Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds, Journals of the
Continental Congress, 1774–1789, 34 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1904–1937) (hereafter cited as JCC), letter of March
27, 1783, 24: 220; Memorial of Henry Rutgers, Richard Lush, and Jacob John Lansing to the Committee of the States,
Aug. 1, 1784, PCC, reel 51, item 41, v.8, p. 339; JCC, 28: 91n1; Committee Report, Feb. 22 1785, PCC, reel 28,
item 19, v. 5, p. 261; JCC, resolution of June 2, 1785, 28: 416; Charles Thomson to George Clinton, June 3, 1785,
in Paul H. Smith et al, eds., Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789, 26 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1976–2000),
22: 427; Petition of Henry Rutgers, Richard Lush, and Jacob John Lansing to Congress, Aug. 20, 1787, PCC, reel 55,
item 42, v.6, p. 528; JCC, Oct. 3, 4, 1787, 33: 607–09, 744; and JCC, 34: 624. The laws passed were "An Act for
the Relief of Henry Rutgers, and others," April 15, 1786, Laws of the State of New-York, Passed by the Legislature
at their Ninth Session (New York, 1786); and "An Act for the relief of Henry Rutgers and others," Feb. 6,
1789, Laws of the State of New-York, Passed by the Legislature
at their Twelfth Session (New York, 1789).
- ^ On George Clinton, see John P. Kaminski, George Clinton: Yeoman Politician of the New Republic (Madison,
Wisc., 1993). On Richard Varick, see Rommel, "Richard Varick: New York Aristocrat" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia
University, 1966). John Jay's wife excluded Rutgers from her "dinner and supper list" for 1787–88, Young,
Democratic Republicans of New York, 51n.5; Jay was a conservative alumnus of King's College. On the election of
1788, see Stephen L. Schechter, "A Biographical Gazeteer of New York Federalists and Antifederalists," 157–206
(and especially p. 194), in Schechter, ed., The Reluctant Pillar: New York and the Adoption of the Federal
Constitution (Albany, N.Y., 1987). See also Stephen L. Schechter and Richard B. Bernstein, eds., New York and the
Union: Contributions to the American Constitutional Experience (Albany, N.Y., 1990). For general works, see also
Jackson Turner Main, The Antifederalists: Critics of the Constitution, 1781–1783 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1965); and
Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787 (New York, 1972). On the Democratic Societies and
the rise of the Jeffersonians, see Young, Democratic Republicans of New York; on Rutgers's involvement with the
New York Democratic Society, see p. 393–94, 404. See also Eugene P. Link, Democratic-Republican Societies,
1790–1800 (New York, 1942). Rutgers is listed as "1st Vice President" and then as President of the organization in,
respectively, William Duncan, The New-York Directory and Register, for the Year 1794 (New York, 1794), 280;
Duncan, The New-York Directory
1795 (New York, 1795), 323; and John Low, New-York Directory
1796 (New York, 1796), 57. All three directories also list Rutgers as a governor of the New-York
Hospital. On the 1796 election, see Young, Democratic Societies of New York, 466. The earliest list of members of
the New York Society of the Cincinnati does not include Rutgers which, given his social prominence, would unlikely
be an oversight, David Franks, The New-York Directory (New York, 1786), 70. Nor does Rutgers appear on subsequent
lists. His friend Marinus Willett at one time served as the New York chapter's president. Rutgers is also not
included in John Schuyler, Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati
With Extracts from the
Transactions of the New York State Society (New York, 1886). The most recent biographical directory does include
Rutgers, but does not address his absence from the earlier lists, Francis J. Sypher Jr., New York State Society of
the Cincinnati: Biographies of Original Members and Other Continental Officers (Fishkill, N.Y., 2004), 410–11.
Perhaps his absence from the lists was related to the circumstances of his derangement from the Muster Master
Department in 1780, but Richard Varick, who had also served in the same department, served as the New York
chapter's president. In the later nineteenth century, however, members of the Crosby family were eligible for
membership based on Henry Rutgers's Revolutionary War service.
- ^ On the postwar economy in New York state, see Cathy Matson, "Liberty, Jealousy, and Union," in Gilje and
Pencak, eds., New York in the Age of the Constitution, 112–150. Rutgers's advertisement appeared in the New-York
Journal, and State Gazette, Jan. 27, 1785; he also advertised other house lots on long-term leases. On Catherine
Market, see MCC, 1784–1831, 1:225; and Thomas F. De Voe, The Market Book, Containing a Historical Account of the
Public Markets in the Cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn (New York, 1862), 1: 341–70. On
Rutgers Slip, see MCC, 1784–1831, 1: 422, 482–83, 494, 551; 2: 300; 8: 587; 9: 22, 70, 231, 234, 240. On municipal
ownership of land, see Hendrik Hartog, Public Property and Private Power: The Corporation of the City of New York
in American Law, 1730–1870 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1983); and George Ashton Black, The History of the Municipal
Ownership of Land on Manhattan Island (New York, 1897).
- ^ The subscription list of the New York Manufacturing Society appears in The Daily Advertiser (New York), March
17, 1789; the Society's Constitution and Minutes, 1789–1792, are at the New-York Historical Society. See also
Raymond A. Mohl, Poverty in New York, 1783–1825 (New York, 1971), 222–23; Harold C. Syrett et al., eds., The
Papers of Alexander Hamilton, 27 vols. (New York, 1961–1987), 5: 300; and Christine Stansell, City of Women: Sex
and Class in New York, 1789–1860 (New York, 1986), 16. On the bleach-field and thread manufactory, see Rita
Susswein Gottesman, comp., The Arts and Crafts in New York, 1777–1790: Advertisements and News Items from New York
City Newspapers (New York, 1954), 299; the advertisement appeared in the Daily Advertiser (New York), May 13,
- ^ On the incident involving "his church," see MCC, 1784–1831, 3: 385, 407–08; other examples of Rutgers as an
election inspector are 1: 76, 319, 592, 744, 2: 69, 333, 391, 396, and 3: 144. Another indication of Rutgers's
reputation for probity is that he was occasionally called upon to attest regarding the service of Revolutionary
War veterans: in 1828 it was pointed out that "the oath of Coll. Henry Rutgers
cannot be doubted," Anthony
Post pension application (S46337), Revolutionary War Pension Application Files, U.S. National Archives; see also
John Banks pension application (S35776). On the proportion of freeholders to renters in the 1807 elections in the
Seventh Ward, see Blackmar, Manhattan for Rent, Appendix, 272, Table 2.
- ^ Stokes, Iconography, 5: 1233, 1240, 1271. On William Malcom, see Sypher, New York State Society of the
Cincinnati, 296–98. Henry Rutgers to George Clinton, March 3, 1795, RUL. A vignette of the city at this time is
provided in Thomas E. V. Smith, The City of New York in the Year of Washington's Inauguration, 1789 (New York,
1889). In 1789, Rutgers was listed as "Lieutenant Colonel, Commandant" of the First Regiment of militia, The New
York Directory and Register, for the Year 1789 (New York, 1789), 127.
- ^ On this matter, see Oliver Wolcott Jr. to Alexander Hamilton, April 4, 1800, Syrett, ed., Papers of Alexander
Hamilton, 24: 390–91 and n1; Aaron Burr to Marinus Willett, Jan. 28, 1802; Marinus Willett to Aaron Burr, March
16, 1802; Aaron Burr to Henry Rutgers, April 4, 1802; Aaron Burr to Albert Gallatin, April 19, 1802; and Aaron
Burr to William Edgar, June 7, 1802, all in Mary-Jo Kline et al, eds., Political Correspondence and Public Papers
of Aaron Burr, 2 vols. (Princeton, N.J., 1983), 2: 658–59, 695–96, 706–07, 718–19, 723–24, and 1: 291; and Henry
Rutgers to Albert Gallatin, July 16, 1807, RUL.
- ^ In 1780, Rutgers wrote that after his father's death in 1779, "the care of the family
devolves upon me," Rutgers to Joseph Ward, Feb. 21, 1780, Chicago History Museum. On the Crosby family, see Ernest
H. Crosby, "A Brief Account of the Ancestry and Descendants of William Bedlow Crosby, of New York, and of Harriet
Ashton Clarkson, His Wife," NYG&B Rec. 29 (Oct. 1898): 8–10, and NYG&B Rec. 30 (April 1899): 73–77; the
quote is on p. 74. On Dr. Ebenezer Crosby, see also Sypher, New York State Society of the Cincinnati, 110–11.
- ^ On the growing trend toward liquid assets, see Paul G. E. Clemens, "Material Culture and the Rural Economy:
Burlington County, New Jersey, 1760–1820," in Peter O. Wacker and Paul G. E. Clemens, Land Use in New Jersey: A
Historical Geography (New Brunswick, N.J., 1995), 270; the author comments that "the growth in liquid assets was
spectacular." By 1821, Rutgers was financially secure enough to loan $10,000, Promissory note from Henry Rutgers
to Daniel D. Tompkins, RUL; Tompkins, who was then U.S. Vice President, had incurred personal debts on behalf of
the public when he was New York's governor during the War of 1812. The quote is from Dell Upton, "Inventing the
Metropolis: Civilization and Urbanity in Antebellum New York," in Catherine Hoover Voorsanger and John K. Howat,
eds., Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825–1861 (New York, 2000), 5. Stokes, Iconography, 6: 134–36. For an
overview of Manhattan development during this period, see Blackmar, Manhattan for Rent. In addition to the surveys
of the Rutgers property made in 1755, 1756, and 1775 mentioned in note 8 above, there were also published surveys
made by New York City Surveyors Casimir Goerck in the 1790s, and by Bridges and Poppleton in 1813. In addition, in
1874 City Surveyor J. B. Holmes published the reconstructed map, Map of Rutger's [sic] Farm as it existed in 1784,
accurately made from reliable data, RUL, and New York Public Library. The artist John Trumbull compared the
"beautiful high ground, which surrounded Col. Rutgers's seat" that he saw in 1776 with the same place in the
antebellum period: "all that part of the city is now flat as a table," Sizer, ed., Autobiography of Colonel John
Trumbull, 24. Population figures, which are rounded, are from Historical Statistics of the United States: Earliest
Times to the Present (Cambridge, England, 2006), 1–110, Table Aa832–1033; and Ira Rosenwaike, Population History
of New York City (Syracuse, N.Y., 1972), 16, Table 2, 18, Table 3, 36, Table 6. The Rutgers textile mill is
mentioned in Rutgers's will; he bequeathed ten shares in "the Rutgers factory at Patterson" to Samuel Torbert Jr.,
provided that Torbert "will follow the business of spinning and weaving at that factory or some other," Will of
Henry Rutgers (transcription), RUL.
- ^ As early as 1785, Rutgers advertised "a number of House Lots, on ground rent, for a term of years," New-York
Journal, Jan. 27, 1785. Lease between Henry Rutgers and Benjamin M. Underhill, May 1, 1826, New-York Historical
Society; and lease between Henry Rutgers and Whitehead Hicks, Feb. 9, 1820, New York State Library. For another
lease, see Rutgers to John Morss, builder, Bayard-Campbell-Pearsall Papers, New York Public Library. On the sawing
business, see Gottesman, comp., The Arts and Crafts in New York, 1777–1790, 198; the advertisement appeared in the
Daily Advertiser (New York), July 12, 1797. The quote is from Henry Rutgers to William B. Crosby, Feb. 29, 1802,
RUL. For other letters regarding young Crosby's management of Rutgers's affairs while he was in Albany, see same
to same, Feb. 6 and March 5, 1801, Rutgers Papers, New York State Library. On February 6, Rutgers advised:
"Mind that you let every Person who rents Houses, Stores or Lumber Yards sign an agreement, and see that
everything therein is fully expressed." Rutgers's sister Mary McCrea was also a landlord; see agreements between
Mary McCrea and Timothy Mount, cordwainer, Feb. 22, 1812, Ephraim Place, cordwainer, Feb. 22, 1812, and David
McCallon, sailmaker, April 24, 1815, all in Duyckinck Papers, New York State Library. Rutgers's other sister, Anna
Bancker, was also a landlord, for whom William B. Crosby served as agent; see MCC, 1784–1831, v 9: 182, 266.
- ^ Lease between Henry Rutgers and Thompson Price, May 1, 1826, Conger Papers, New York State Library. For
concerns about buildings in Henry Street being converted into "dram shops and groceries" instead of residences,
see William B. Crosby to Henry Remsen Sr., May 7 and 13, 1828, Remsen Papers, New York Public Library. On Corlears
Hook, see Stansell, City of Women, 9. A useful method of determining which properties Rutgers owned and, in some
cases, who were his tenants, are the city inspectors' citations for nuisances (e.g., privy to be emptied); see
MCC, 1784–1831, 8: 36, 434–35, 457, 563, 592, 596, 712–14, 721, 728; 9: 315, 734; 10: 437; 11: 425, 755; 12:
413; 14: 86, 187, 236, 569; 15: 462; 16: 311, 487, 603, 748; 17: 196, 686; and 18: 61. An example of an actual
citation for filling the "Sunken Lots" on Madison Street is George Cuming, City Inspector, to Henry Rutgers,
owner, and William B. Crosby, agent, May 20, 1828, Duyckinck Papers, New York State Library. On Rutgers's
properties, see also notes by Edmund Shotwell, "Henry Rutgers Real Estate Dealings," Shotwell Collection (R–MC
005), RUL. William Bran was "superintendent or collector for Henry Rutgers for many years," Abraham Dally
affidavit, Nov. 28, 1843, in William Bran pension application (W1219), Revolutionary War Pension Application
Files, U.S. National Archives.
- ^ The foreign traveler is quoted in Charles Lockwood, Bricks and Brownstone:The New York Row House, 1783–1929,
An Architectural and Social History (New York, 1972), 36. On street disturbances, see Paul A. Gilje, The Road to
Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763–1834 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1987), 239–40. On Rutgers's properties
on Bancker Street, see MCC, 1784–1831, 10: 629–30, 14: 569. On "sex districts," see Timothy J. Gilfoyle, City of
Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790–1920 (New York, 1992), 49–54; the quote
is on p. 49.
- ^ Writing from Albany in March 1801, Rutgers expressed his delight at the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson on
"the memorable 4 March." He described the celebrations and noted: "The 6th and 7th Wards [in New York City]
were not asleep. It was often mentioned here that their exertions
gave a Republican Presidency.
seem to agree that Republican exertions at this time will terminate the reign of Federalism," Rutgers to William
B. Crosby, March 5, 1801, Rutgers Papers, New York State Library. The quotes are from McMurray, Sermon,
28, 35. A useful guide to Rutgers's political career is Franklin B. Hough, The New York Civil List (Albany, N.Y.,
1861), 183, 189, 209, 210, 213, 215, 218, 219, 371, 398; on Rutgers as a presidential elector, see 390, 391.
Rutgers's attendance and voting record while an assemblyman can be traced in the Journals of the Assembly, A.1b,
reels 6–8, Early State Records. See also the following correspondence from the period: Rutgers to William B.
Crosby, Feb. 8 and 14, 1806, and Feb. 27, March 30, and April 4–5, 1807, all in the Crosby Papers, New-York
Historical Society; Rutgers to Henry Remsen, Feb. 16, 1807, Rutgers to William B. Crosby, Feb. 23, 1807, and
Benjamin Romaine to Henry Rutgers, March 14, 1808, all at RUL.; and Rutgers to William B. Crosby, Feb. 6 and March
5, 1801, Feb. 1, March 6 and March 11, 1807, all in the Rutgers Papers, New York State Library. See also To the
Electors of the Southern District (broadside), New York, April 11, 1803, which is signed by Rutgers, BRO2624, New
York State Library. That his political influence in the city extended beyond his tenure in the legislature is
indicated by Daniel D. Tompkins to Col. Macomb, April 6, 1812, and Tompkins to Henry Rutgers, April 6, 1812, in
Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York, 1807–1817 (Albany, N.Y., 1902), 2: 525–26, 532–35. See
also Rutgers to Thomas Jefferson, Dec. 5, 1806, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress; and General
Republican Meeting (broadside), [April 24, 1808], which Rutgers chaired, BRO4716, New York State Library. A
general study of politics during the period is Alvin Kass, Politics in New York State, 1800–1830 (Syracuse, N.Y.,
1965); the classic study is Jabez D. Hammond, The History of Political Parties in the State of New-York, 2 vols.
(Albany, N.Y., 1842); neither mentions Rutgers, however. See also Noble E. Cunningham, The Jeffersonian
Republicans: The Formation of Party Organization (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1957); and Cunningham, The Jeffersonian
Republicans in Power: Party Operations, 1801–1809 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963).
- ^ On the early history of the Tammany Society, see Edwin P. Kilroe, "Saint Tammany and the Origin of the Society
of Tammany, or Columbian Order in the City of New York" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1913); Peter
Paulson, "The Tammany Society and the Jeffersonian Movement in New York City, 1795–1800," New York History 34
(1953): 72–84; and Young, Democratic Republicans of New York, 202–03, 398–99. On Rutgers's membership on the
Building Committee, see E. Vale Blake, History of the Tammany Society or Columbian Order From Its Organization to
the Present Time (New York, 1901), 42.
- ^ Regarding this protracted matter, see John Player to Henry Rutgers, Feb. 4, 1803; Edward Carroll to William B.
Crosby, Feb. 10 and Nov. 28, 1806; Henry Rutgers to Crosby, Feb. 27, March 30, April 4–5, 1807; James Smith to
Crosby, Feb. 19, 1814; Daniel Robert to Crosby, Nov. 23, 1815; Edward Carroll to Crosby, Feb. 13, 1816; Benjamin
Tallmadge to Crosby, May 3, 1816; Robert Troup to Crosby, July 22, 1816; and Joseph Fellows to Crosby, July 6,
1817, all in the William B. Crosby Papers, New-York Historical Society. See also Henry Rutgers to William B.
Crosby, March 3 and 11, 1807, Rutgers Papers, New York State Library; and Edward Carroll to Crosby, Aug.
9, 1806, personal collection of Michael C. Barr. The quotes are from Rutgers to Crosby, Feb. 27 and April 4–5,
1807, Crosby Papers, New York-Historical Society. On March 11, 1807, Rutgers commented regarding their
opponents in the legislature: "I shall
be compelled to watch them narrowly, least they might steel [sic] a
march upon me when I am absent," Rutgers Papers, New York State Library. When the Pulteney bill came to a
vote, the legislators were deluged with petitions from settlers who feared their land titles would be jeopardized;
it passed by a vote of 52 to 27, Rutgers to Crosby, April 4–5, 1807, Crosby Papers, New-York Historical
Society. The culmination of the matter seems to have been in July 1817 when Joseph Fellows informed Crosby from
London that Lord Castlereagh stated "that the property having been escheated in the first place, and afterwards
granted to the Crown, it is not now in the power of the government to take it from the persons holding under such
grant," Crosby Papers, New-York Historical Society. The plantation in Jamaica was named Prospect Hill. On the
original purchase of the "Genesee lands" comprising over one million acres in western New York, see Dictionary of
American History, rev. ed. (New York, 1976), s.v. "Pulteney Purchase." "Esheat" is defined as "Reversion of
property (esp. real property) to the state upon the death of an owner who has neither a will nor any legal heirs,"
Black's Law Dictionary, 8th ed., s.v. "escheat."
- ^ R. S. Guernsey, New York City and Vicinity During the War of 1812–15, 2 vols. (New York, 1889), 1: 10–15, 2:
180–81; and Rutgers to James Madison, June 25, 1812, James Madison Papers, microfilm, reel 14, Library of
- ^ On Robert Fulton's steam-powered warship, which was eventually named Fulton the First, see Howard I. Chapelle,
Fulton's "Steam Battery": Blockship and Catamaran (Washington, D.C., 1964); Henry Rutgers's report appears on p.
155–59. See also William S. Dudley et al., eds., The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History, 3 vols.
(Washington, D.C., 1985–2002), 2: 210–212, 3: 624, 640, 641, 681, 686. Wallace Hutcheon Jr., Robert Fulton:
Pioneer of Undersea Warfare (Annapolis, Md., 1981), 127–48; and David B. Tyler, "Fulton's Steam Frigate," American
Neptune: A Quarterly Journal of Maritime History 6 (Oct. 1946): 253–74; on the vessel's third trial run, see p.
270. Rutgers Slip is described in MCC, 1784–1831, 1: 422, 482–83, 494. In 1829 the vessel accidentally exploded,
killing 25 and injuring 19 people.
- ^ McMurray, Sermon, 30, 37; John Pintard to his daughter, Feb. 18, 1830, Letters From John Pintard to His
Daughter, Eliza Noel Pintard Davidson, 1816–1833 (New York, 1941), 3: 125–26.
- ^ On boarding divinity students, see Mary Crosby, "Reminiscences of Rutgers Place," Crosby Papers, New-York
Historical Society. On the gift to the infant school, see McMurray, Sermon, 30–31; Will of Henry Rutgers
(transcription), RUL; and Crosby, "Rutgers Family of New York," NYB&G Rec. 17 (1886): 92.
- ^ On Rutgers's involvement with the Free School (later the Public School) Society, see William Oland Bourne,
History of the Public School Society of the City of New York (New York, 1870), 10, 23, 24, 39, 109, 532, 639, 649,
657, 683; and A. Emerson Palmer, The New York Public School: Being a History of Free Education in the City of New
York (New York, 1905). Free School Society president De Witt Clinton estimated that Rutgers's "characteristic
benevolence" of the donation of land was "worth at least twenty-five hundred dollars," quoted in Palmer, 33–34.
See also Minute Book of the Free School Society of New York, 1811–1852, New-York Historical Society; the quote is
from the entry for Jan. 15, 1812. Rutgers's grandnephew William B. Crosby also became involved with the school. An
example of a membership certificate in the Free School Society is that for Rutgers's sister, Mary McCrea,
Duyckinck Papers, New York State Library; membership entitled her "to send One Child to be educated at any School
under the care and direction of the
Society." See also William W. Cutler III, "Status, Values and the
Education of the Poor: The Trustees of the New York Public School Society, 1805–1853," American Quarterly 24
(March 1972): 69–85. A general study is Carl F. Kaestle, The Evolution of an Urban School System: New York City,
1750–1850 (Cambridge, Mass., 1973).
- ^ On the invitation to be a trustee, see William P. Deare to Henry Rutgers, Nov. 18, 1815, RUL. On his
attendance at meetings, see Queen's College Board of Trustees Minutes, May 28, 1816, and Sept. 29–30, 1817, RUL.
On his resignation, see Henry Rutgers to William P. Deare, May 28, 1821; and Board of Trustees Minutes, Sept. 4,
1821, both at RUL. On this period in the college's history, see Richard P. McCormick, Rutgers: A Bicentennial
History (New Brunswick, N.J., 1966), 24–41; William H. S. Demarest, A History of Rutgers College, 1766–1924 (New
Brunswick, N.J., 1924), 217–71; and Demarest, "Henry Rutgers: Soldier, Philanthropist, Christian, and Civic
Leader," Rutgers Alumni Monthly (Jan. 1926): 106–07.
- ^ On Milledoler, see ANB, s.v. "Milledoler, Philip"; and Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, 9: 104–14.
McCormick, Rutgers, 40–41; Demarest, "Henry Rutgers," Rutgers Alumni Monthly (Jan. 1926): 106–07; and Demarest,
History of Rutgers College, 273–78. On Rutgers's donations, see also Magazine of the Reformed Dutch Church 1 (Aug.
1826): 163, and (April 1826): 37, 38; the latter issue also noted that students did not lodge within the college,
but instead were "distributed, under the special supervision of the faculty, in genteel, sober, Christian
families." Robert H. Bremner comments that Queen's College officials "made the mistake of renaming the institution
in honor of a prospective benefactor who failed to make the expected princely donation," American Philanthropy
(Chicago, 1982), 52.
- ^ On Rutgers's piety, see McMurray, Sermon, 25, 34–35 37–38; the quote is on p. 28; McMurray further commented
(p. 25) that "Piety was the controlling principle of his public life." See also J. M. Mathews, Recollections of
Persons and Events, Chiefly in the City of New York, Being Selections From His Journal (New York, 1865), 103–115.
The phrase "culture of benevolence" is from Lawrence J. Friedman and Mark D. McGarvie, eds., Charity,
Philanthropy, and Civility in American History (Cambridge, 2003), 415. On Rutgers's donations to churches, see
McMurray, Sermon, 23–24. Quoted in David De Sola Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone: Early Jewish Settlers, 1682–1831
(New York, 1952); see also David and Tamar De Sola Pool, An Old Faith in the New World: Portrait of Shearith
Israel, 1654–1954 (New York, 1955), 457.
- ^ On Rutgers and the American Bible Society, see Edmund B. Shotwell, "Henry Rutgers and the American Bible
Society," unpublished monograph (typescript), Shotwell Collection (R-MC 005), RUL; the quote is on p. [11–12] n.10.
On the American Bible Society, see Peter J. Wosh, Spreading the Word: The Bible Business in Nineteenth-Century
America (Ithaca, N.Y., 1994). The bequest to the American Bible Society is in the will of Henry Rutgers
(transcription), RUL. Stereotype printing was introduced to the U.S. in 1812; it greatly reduced costs because
printing was done from plates and not by expensive typesetting, Paul C. Gutjahr, An American Bible: A History of
the Good Book in the United States, 1777–1880 (Stanford, Calif., 1999), 13.
- ^ On the "Age of Benevolence" and the transition from personal charity to philanthropic associations, see Robert
A. Gross, "Giving in America: From Charity to Philanthropy," in Friedman and McGarvie, eds., Charity,
Philanthropy, and Civility in American History, 29–48; and M. J. Heale, "From City Fathers to Social Critics:
Humanitarianism and Government in New York, 1790–1860," Journal of American History 63 (June 1976): 21–41. When in
1824 a bill was before the New York legislature to include funding for "the Old Charity Schools" with that for the
Free School Society, Rutgers commented: "I
found it my duty to advocate the Cause of the Old Charitable
Institution, which had a being before the Free School existed, and had been beneficial to the Poor of the City,"
Rutgers to Reverend Matthews, Oct. 30, 1824, RUL. The anecdote is from McMurray, Sermon, 31n. On Rutgers's New
Year's Day tradition, see McMurray, Sermon, 31n; and Mary Crosby, "Reminiscences of Rutgers Place," Crosby Papers,
New-York Historical Society.
- ^ John Pintard to his daughter, Feb. 18, 1830, Letters of John Pintard to His Daughter, 3: 125–26. McMurray,
Sermon occasioned by the Death of Col. Henry Rutgers (1830); McMurray was the beneficiary of a $1000 bequest from
Rutgers, Will of Henry Rutgers (transcription), RUL. Rutgers's original burial site may be the one depicted (Vault
18) in "A Plan of the Vaults in the New Dutch Church Yard made Aug. 13th 1765," Duyckinck Papers, New York State
Library. The fascinating story of John Pearson and his committee's project to locate Henry Rutgers's final resting
place is told in Lori Chambers and Bill Glovin, "The Search for Colonel Henry," Rutgers Magazine (Fall 2002):
- ^ The quote about family harmony is from Henry Rutgers to Wm. B. Crosby, Feb. 17, 1801, Rutgers Papers, New York State Library.
The quote about Anna Bancker is from Henry Remsen Sr. to Henry Remsen Jr., March 13, 1830, Remsen Papers, New York
Public Library. Written a mere ten days after Rutgers's death, see also same to same, Feb. 27, 1830: "I am sorry
to observe that his Will is less favorable to the descendants of his Sister [Anna] Bancker, than to those of his
other Sisters. It is indeed not only partial, but unjust & supremely ridiculous.
It is a happy
that my children have not to depend upon the pittance left to them by Col. Rutgers, and I
trust they will have the charity to forgive him, tho' they must contemn his injustice," Remsen Papers. Apparently,
bad feelings lingered. In 1837, Remsen advised his son that if he encountered William B. Crosby in St. Croix, he
"not enter into argument with him, in regard to the disposition made by the Colonel of his estate, or the manner
in which his executors [including Crosby] have managed the portion belonging to yourself, and your brothers and
sisters; because no good would result from it, but much evil might, as I think irritation would be the inevitable
consequence," same to same, Jan. 4, 1837, Remsen Papers. At the time of his death, Henry Rutgers's real estate
reportedly consisted of 429 lots appraised at $907,949, Crosby, "Rutgers Family of New York," NYG&B Rec. 17
(April 1886): 92. Additional evidence of Rutgers's controlling personality is that when William B. Crosby married
in 1807, Rutgers wanted the newlyweds to live in his house. Crosby declined and set up his own household nearby,
but compromised by agreeing "to dine with him very frequently, and in his last years every day," Mary Crosby,
"Reminiscences of Rutgers Place," Crosby Papers, New-York Historical Society.
- ^ On the "disorderly bachelor" in the Early National period, see Mark E. Kann, A Republic of Men: The American
Founders, Gendered Language, and Patriarchal Politics (New York, 1998), 52–78; on the "sporting male" bachelor in
the early nineteenth century, see Timothy J. Gilfoyle, City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the
Commercialization of Sex, 1790–1920 (New York, 1992), 92–116.
- ^ MCC, 1784–1831, 18: 466–67, 3: 177–78; and Burghers of New Amsterdam and Freemen of New York, 311, 346–65. On
Rutgers's citations for nuisances, see note 36 above.
- ^ MCC, 1784–1831, 18: 466–67.
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