Select Van Buren Miscellany


Here are some Van Buren stories
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
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

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
Roosevelt Claes Maartenszam van Rosenvelt
in 1649
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

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
(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, 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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