Rip Van Dam was born about 1660. He was the son of Beverwyck/Albany carpenter/trader Claes Ripse and his wife, Maria Bords. As an adolescent, he worked for Robert Story - a Manhattan merchant doing business in Albany. Then young Rip was sent to New York for more advanced business training.
soon entered business on his own. In 1684, he married
Sara Vanderspiegle of New York City. The marriage
produced at least nine children whose baptisms were
noted in the family bible.
held a number of civic positions in New York City.
He was elected to the provincial Assembly in 1699.
In 1702, he was appointed to the governor's Council
of advisors. He served on the Council for more than
thirty years and often represented the governor -
making his annual trip to Albany to renew the alliance
with the Iroquois. He was acting governor of the
province until the arrival of governor William Cosby
in 1731! He presided over the Zenger trial in 1735.
Van Dam filed a will in June 1746 that included an
extensive inventory of his estate. One of his New
York houses went to his grandson, Albany native Hendrick
Hansen. He died in New York on June 10, 1749.
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Sources: The life of Rip Van Dam is CAP biography number 6353.
This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based
resources. Additional biographical material
on him appears online.
of a portrait of Van Dam by an unknown artist (perhaps
Evert Duyckinck, III) done about 1720. Collection
of the New-York Historical Society.
By Stefan Bielinski, Colonial Albany Social History Project [http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/albany]