Select Van Buren Miscellany



Here are some Van Buren stories and accounts over the years:

Cornelis Maessen van Buren


Cornelis Maessen either originated in the town of Buren in Gelderland or was a native of that place.  He did not at that time bear the van Buren name.  It was not the custom at the time he came to America for Dutchmen to have a family name, except in very rare cases.

Cornelis arrived on the Dutch ship Rensselaerwyck with his wife Catalyntje in the summer of 1631 and they settled to farm at Ransselaerwick in what is now Albany county, New York.  Both Cornelis and his wife died in 1648. 

Their grandson Martin assumed the van Buren surname.  The Dutch of New Amsterdam, after the succession of the English in 1664, had begun to adopt family surnames, generally taking the name of the place in Holland from which they or their parents had emigrated.   


Dutch New York Families

A number of Dutch families who came to New York in the 1600's achieved a later prominence in American history.  The table below lists these family names, their immigrant forebear and arrival date, and approximate numbers in America today. 

Name
Forebear and Arrival Date
Numbers Today (000's)
Vanderbilt
Jan Aertszoon van der Bilt in 1650
  5.4
Roosevelt     
Claes Maartenszam van Rosenvelt in 1649     
  3.8
Van Dyke
Jan Thomasse van Dyke in 1652
  2.4
Schuyler
Philip Pieterse Schuyler in 1650
  1.4
Van Buren
Cornelis Maessen van Buren in 1631
  1.0

Other notable early Dutch families, but with few descendants of their name in America today, are Rensselaer, Stuyvesant, van Courtlandt, van Wyck, Beekman, Hasbrouck (a Huguenot family), and Bloemendael (which probably became Bloomingdale). 



Van Burens in the 1790 New York State Census

The table below shows where and how many van Burens and their slaves were recorded in the 1790 New York state census.

County
Town
# persons
# slaves
Albany
Easton
    25
     4
Albany
Hoosick
     7
     2
Albany
Rensselaerwick
   124
    43
Columbia
Hudson
    11

Columbia
Kinderhook
    60
    27
Columbia
Livingston
     7

Dutchess
Rhineback
     4

Montgomery
Caughnawaga
    13
     9
Montgomery
Mohawk
     5

New York
Manhattan
    32

New York
Brooklyn (King's)
    15
     3
Ulster
Kingston
    14
     3
Total

   317
    91

Rensselaerwick and Kinterhook are where the descendants of Cornelis Maessen van Buren were to be found; Manhattan and Brooklyn the descendants of Dr. Johannes van Beuren.


Kinderhook


Kinderhook, the
upstate New York home of America's 8th President, is steeped in history.  Washington Irving wrote the classic story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow while staying at Lindenwald, the home of Martin Van Buren.  The Van Alen house, built in 1737, is just north of Lindenwald.  The house is now a museum, along with the original Ichabod Crane schoolhouse of Irving's tale adjoining it.


Martin Van Buren is OK


According to John Ciardi's A Browser's Dictionary, the expression "OK" first surfaced in the 1820's and gained popularity during Martin van Buren's bid for re-election for President in 1840.  Van Buren, a native of Kinderhook NY, was popularly known as Old Kinderhook or O.K.  During the election campaign the cry of "OK," indicating enthusiastic approval of Old Kinderhook, soon began to resound at rallies and the letters OK became common on placards and in political cartoons.

Foreign coverage of the campaign, which included reproductions of the cartoons, soon spread OK through Europe and Latin America as a formula of approval.  When Van Buren was crushingly defeated by William Henry Harrison, the Democrats let it be known that O.K. stood for "Orful Kalamity" and "Orrible Katastrophe."

 

Van Buren Physicians and Surgeons in New York


Dr. Johannes Beuren had attended the lectures of Herman Boerhaave in Leyden and immigrated from Beuren, near Amsterdam, to New York in 1700.  Soon after his arrival he was appointed physician to the almshouse, a position to which his son, Beekman Van Buren, who died in 1812, succeeded him.

Beekman's grandson, William Holme van Buren, was a surgeon and teaching professor at New York's new Bellevue hospital when it opened in 1847.

William was famed for his skill in amputations and other operations of general surgery, but he particularly distinguished himself in the field of diseases of the urogenital system on which he published several valuable contributions.  His areas of specialty were the rectum, bladder and kidney.  His lectures on syphilis were among the most popular and best attended in New York.

He published an American edition of Charles Morel’s book on histology and of Claude Bernard’s and Charles Huette’s operative surgery.  The latter was official guide to the military physicians during the Civil War.  Every surgeon in the federal army received one copy.




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