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Encyclopedia > Philip John Schuyler
Philip Schuyler

Philip John Schuyler (1733-1804) was a general in the American Revolution and a United States Senator from New York. He is usually known as Philip Schuyler, while his son is usually known as Philip J. Schuyler.


Early life

Philip was born at Albany, New York on November 20, 1733 to a wealthy colonial family. Although his family came from humble origins they had gradually expanded their holdings and influence in the New World. His father, John Schuyler Jr. was the third generation of the family in America, when he married Cornelia Van Cortlandt, connecting them with another prominent family.

His father died when Philip was seven years old. After attending the public school at Albany he was educated by tutors at the Van Cortlandt family estate at New Rochelle. He joined the British forces in 1755 during the French and Indian War, raised a company, and was commissioned as its Captain by his cousin, Lt. Governor James Delancey. Later in that war he served as a quartermaster, purchasing supplies and organizing equipment.

In September of 1755 he married Catherine Van Rensselaer (1734-1803) at Albany. This cemented his relationship with another powerful New York family. Although the marriage was urgent (their first daughter Angelica was born in February, 1756), they were a devoted couple for the rest of their lives, and had eleven children.

In 1761-1762 Philip made a trip to England to settle accounts from his work as quartermaster. He also used this time to build a town house in Albany, and start his country estate at Saratoga (which is now Schuylerville). After the war he also expanded his estate at Saratoga, expanding his holdings to tens of thousands of acres, adding tenant farmers, a store, and mills for flour, flax, and lumber. His flax mill for the making of linen was the first one in America. He built several schooners on the Hudson, and named the first Saratoga.

Schuyler began his political career as a member of the New York Assembly in 1768, and served in that body until 1775. During this time his views came to be more opposed to the colonial government. He was particularly outspoken in matters of trade and currency. He was also made a Colonel in the militia for his support of governor Henry Moore.

Revolutionary War

Schuyler was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, and served until he was appointed a Major General of the Continental Army in June. General Schuyler took command of the Northern Department, and planned the Invasion of Canada (1775). His poor health required him to place Richard Montgomery in command of the invasion.

As department commanding General, he was active in preparing a defense against the Saratoga Campaign in 1777. When General St. Clair surrendered Fort Ticonderoga in July, the congress replaced Schuyler with General Horatio Gates. When Schuyler demanded a court martial for his role, he was vindicated but resigned from the army in 1779. He then served in two more sessions of the Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780.

Later Career

He was a member of the New York State Senate, serving in 1780-1784 and 1786-1790. While a state senator he actively supported the adoption of the United States Constitution. He was elected to the first United States Senate, serving from 1789 to 1791. Losing his bid for reelection, he returned to the state senate from 1792 to 1797. In the elections of 1796 he was returned to the U.S. Senate and served from March 4, 1797 until he resigned with health problems on January 3, 1798.


His daughter Elizabeth married Alexander Hamilton, who was later Secretary of the Treasury. His son Philip Jeremiah Schuyler also had a political career and served in the United States House of Representatives. Philip's country home had been destroyed by Burgoyne's forces in September, 1777. Starting later that year he rebuilt on the same site, now located in southern Schuylerville, New York. The 1777 home is maintained by the National Park Service, and is open to the public.

Schuyler died at home in Albany on November 18, 1804 and is buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery at Menands, New York. Schuyler County, Illinois and Schuyler County, New York were named in his honor.


  • Revolutionary Enigma; A Re-Appraisal of General Philip Schuyler of New York by Martin H. Bush; 1969; (ISBN 080468080).
  • Life of General Philip Schuyler, 1733-1804 by Bayard Tuckerman; 1903; (1969 reprint ISBN 0836950313).
  • Proud Patriot: Philip Schuyler and the War of Independence, 1755-1783 by Don Gerlach; 1987; Syracuse University Press; (ISBN 0815623739).

External link

U.S. Senate Biography (http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=S000154)

  Results from FactBites:
Philip John Schuyler - LoveToKnow 1911 (562 words)
PHILIP JOHN SCHUYLER (1733-1804), American soldier, was born at Albany, New York, on the 11th of November 1733.
Philip Schuyler served in the Provincial Army during the Seven Years' War, first as captain and later as deputy-commissary with the rank of major, taking part in the battles of Lake George (1755), Oswego River (1756), Ticonderoga (1758) and Fort Frontenac (1758).
Schuyler returned to Ticonderoga and later to Albany, where he spent the winter of1775-1776in collecting and forwarding supplies to Canada and in suppressing the Loyalists and their Indian allies in the Mohawk Valley.
Philip John Schuyler (659 words)
Philip Schuyler was one of the highly visible figures in the American Revolution, especially in the way it affected New York State.
Philip Schuyler was married to Catherine Van Rensselaer, a great great grand daughter of Killian Van Rensselaer, the original founder of the Dutch colony, named Rensselaerswyck, around the Albany region of eastern New York.
Philip John Schuyler was born in Albany, New York, on November 20, 1733.
  More results at FactBites »



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