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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • Van Rensselaer, Killian or Kiliaen 1595-1644. Dutch merchant who was a founder of the Dutch West India Company (1621) and established Rensselaerswyck (1635), the only successful privately held colony in America, on his estate in present-day upstate New York.
  • Van Rensselaer, Stephen 1764-1839. American army officer and politician. A descendant of Killian Van Renssalaer, he inherited the family estate in New York, saw military action in the War of 1812, and was an early advocate of the Erie Canal project.


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