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The Verplanck-Crommelin Connection

The Verplanck-Crommelin Family Bible

Metropolitan Museum: The Verplanck Room

In the early 1700's there was intermarriage between the Crommelin family of Holland and the Verplanck family of New York.

1. First, Gulian Verplanck married Mary Crommelin, daughter of Charles Crommelin, in 1737 [which is recorded in an English Bible in the Verplanck Room at the Metropolitan Museum], and then

2. Daniel Crommelin's daughter, Judith, married Gulian's son, Samuel Verplanck, in 1761.

These created the ties with the Dutch-American family, Verplanck, which had come to the New-Netherlands as early as 1638. From that time on, all members of the Dutch-American Verplanck family received their education in trade in Amsterdam.

Gulian Verplanck (1698-1751)

Gulian Verplanck was as successful in business as the paternal grandfather for whom he was named. Born in 1698, this fourth-generation Manhattanite cemented his fortune at age thirty-nine by marrying Mary Crommelin, the daughter of [Charles Crommelin] a wealthy merchant who specialized in commerce between New York and Holland. Gulian Verplanck prepared his own will in July 1750, only seventeen months before his death. Unlike his father or grandfather, he restricted his wife's property rights and allowed his three children to receive much of their inheritance as soon as they attained adulthood.

Rather than obtain command of a family estate, his widow received a sufficient amount of her husband's wealth to guarantee her comfort and security. She gained an annuity of two hundred pounds and the use of her clothing, all household furniture, plate, jewels, and the services of four slaves. These goods and chattels were to descend eventually to her children since the widow lacked any right to dispose of them. If she remarried, her husband limited her privileges to an annuity of twenty pounds and the income from a certain house throughout life.

Gulian Verplanck obviously regarded himself as the sole owner of his estate rather than as the custodian of community property. Though he appointed his widow to be one of his executors, he also asked his three brothers-in-law, all well-to-do merchants, to assume that office. Offering these men sixty pounds each for their trouble, he relied on them to assist his widow in administering a complex estate. Their responsibilities included the leasing of land to tenants, the payment of rent income to his heirs, and the division of property by lot among the children.

Gulian Verplanck was not necessarily a more devoted father than his immediate ancestors, but he was more directly involved in managing his children's inheritance. Rather than entrust his widow with this task, he guaranteed each heir a substantial legacy: 1000 pounds to his son at age twenty-one and 2500 pounds to each of his two daughters when they married or attained their majority. The girls received larger cash sums to balance the value of the country estate inherited by their brother.

Though his father and grandfather had ordered an equal division of property among all children, Gulian Verplanck placed special importance on the descent of land to his only son, Samuel. He even went so far as to devise real estate to Samuel "and the heirs of his body," thereby ensuring that certain properties remained within the family for at least two generations. Verplanck's will was still influenced by certain Dutch traditions, but it also expressed the values of an aspiring English colonial gentleman.

Source: Inheritance and Family Life in Colonial New York City, David E. Narrett, Cornell University Press, pp 100-101

Samuel Verplanck

by John Copley

* Samuel Verplanck: Eldest son of Gulian Verplanck, merchant in New York City, and his wife Mary, a daughter of Charles Crommelin of New York. In 1763, after he returned from a trip to Amsterdam during which he married his Dutch cousin Judith Crommelin, Samuel Verplanck took possession of the impressive town house built by his father before 1750. The house stood at 3 Wall Street in New York City; it was demolished in 1822 to make way for the Branch Bank of the United States, the façade of which was preserved in 1924 as the front of the Metropolitan Museum's American Wing.

During the Revolutionary War, Samuel supported the Revolutionary cause but his Dutch wife did not. When the British took Manhattan in 1776, Samuel retired to Fishkill, New York, where he remained until his death in 1820. His estranged wife stayed in the Wall Street house, maintaining a friendship with Sir William Howe, commander in chief of the British forces. Howe presented her with two of the paintings currently hanging in the Verplanck room of the Metropolitan Museum, The Temptation of Eros and The Victory of Eros, both in the style of the Swiss artist Angelica Kauffmann. After Howe was recalled to England for "dissipation and high play," Judith remained in Manhattan until her death in 1803. After that, the house was closed and most of the furnishings were sent to Fishkill, where they remained until they came to the Metropolitan Museum.

Daniel Crommelin Verplanck
by John Copley

** Daniel Crommelin Verplanck (1762–1834) was born in New York and spent the early part of his life in the family home on lower Wall Street. He was the eldest son of Judith Crommelin and Samuel Verplanck. While attending Columbia College (formerly King's College), he married Elizabeth Johnson, daughter of the president of Columbia. They had two children. Following her death in 1789, Verplanck married Ann Walton, with whom he had seven children. They lived on Wall Street until 1803 and then moved to Fishkill-on-Hudson, New York. He represented Dutchess County in Congress from 1803 until 1809. The portrait was painted in 1771 when Daniel was nine years old. The background has traditionally been identified as a view from the Verplanck country house at Fishkill, looking toward Mount Gulian.

Member of congress, born in Dutchess county, New York, in 1761; died near Fishkill, New York, 29 March, 1834. He received a good education, served in Congress from 17 October, 1803, till 3 March, 1809, and was first judge of the court of common pleas for Dutchess county, from 11 March, 1828, till 16 January, 1830. He took great interest in agriculture. His estate at Fishkill had been in the possession of the family since 1682, and the house, which was erected several years later, is still standing. It is a one-story building of stone and wood in the Dutch style. This place was the headquarters of Baron Steuben at one time, and in it Colonel Lewis Nicola proposed to make Washington a king.

Verplanck Homestead - Fishkill, New York

Mount Gulian Historic Site
Wikipedia: Mount Gulian
Fishkill Heritage

Gulian Crommelin Verplanck

*** Gulian Crommelin Verplanck was the son of Daniel Crommelin Verplanck. Author, born in New York city, 6 August, 1786; died there, 18 March, 1870, was graduated at Columbia in 1801, being the youngest bachelor of arts that ever received his diploma from that college. He afterward studied law, was admitted to the bar and began practice in New York city. Soon afterward he went to Europe, where he passed several years in travel. On his return he took an active part in state politics, and became a member of the legislature in 1820.

In 1821 he was appointed professor of the evidences of revealed religion and moral science in the Protestant Episcopal general theological seminary, New York city, and retained this chair four years.

He was a member of congress from 1825 till 1833, was a member of the state senate in 1838-'41, and was for many years president of the board of commissioners of emigration, he was one of the vestrymen of Trinity church, New York city, a governor of the City hospital in 1823-'65, and vice-chancellor of the State university from 1855 till his death.

For many years Mr. Verplanck was president of the Century club, and prominent in the annual conventions of the diocese. He published:

  • an anniversary discourse on the early European friends of America (New York, 1818);
  • "The Bucktail Bards: containing the State Triumvirate, a Political Tale;
  • and the Epistles of Brevet Major Pindar Puff," being political pamphlets chiefly aimed at De Witt Clinton, mayor of New York city (1819);
  • "Proces Verbal of the Ceremony of Installation" (1820) ;
  • "Address before the American Academy of Fine Arts" (1824);
  • "Essays on the Nature and Uses of the Various Evidences of Revealed Religion" (1824);
  • "Essay on the Doctrine of Contracts" (1825);
  • "Discourses and Addresses on Subjects of American History, Arts, and Literature" (1833) ;
  • "Shakespeare's Plays, with his Life, with Critical Introduction and Notes" (3 vols., 1847);
  • and several college orations, the best known of which is " The American Scholar," delivered at Union college in 1836.
  • He prepared also for fifteen years nearly all the annual reports of the commissioners of emigration,
  • and with William C. Bryant and Robert C. Sands, edited the "Talisman," an annual, which continued three years, beginning with 1827. These volumes, containing some of the choicest productions of their authors, were republished in 1833 with the title of "Miscellanies first published under the Name of the ' Talisman.' "

His cousin, Isaac A., jurist, born in Coeymans, Albany County, New York, 16 October, 1812; died in Buffalo, New York, 16 April, 1873, was graduated at Union in 1831, studied law, and began practice in Batavia, New York, in 1834. He went to Buffalo in 1847, was elected a judge of the superior court of that city in 1854, and twice re-elected, and by the choice of his associates was made chief. As a member of the convention of 1867-'8 he assisted materially in the revision of the state constitution.
[Source: Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM ]

Gulian Verplanck
by John Copley

* Gulian Verplanck (1751–1799) was the youngest brother of Samuel Verplanck. After graduating from King's College (now Columbia University) in 1768, he went to Holland to acquire practical experience in mercantile and banking procedures by working at his uncle's firm, Daniel Crommelin and Sons. Returning to America, Gulian pursued a brief but successful career combining business and politics. In 1788 he was elected to the state assembly, serving twice as speaker. He became president of the Bank of New York and in 1792 helped found the Tontine Association, a precursor of the New York Stock Exchange. In 1784 he married Cornelia Johnston. They lived in New York with their seven children in the vicinity of Riverside Drive and 123rd Street. The portrait above was painted during Copley's only visit to New York, in 1771, when Verplanck was twenty years old.