Stephen Van Cortlandt

Van Cortlandt, Stephen or Stephanus (stĭfāˈnəs văn kôrtˈlənd) [key], 1643–1700, colonial American merchant and politician, b. New Amsterdam (later New York City); brother of Jacobus Van Cortlandt. A successful merchant, he held a number of high political offices. In 1677 he became the first native-born mayor of New York City, a position he held again in 1686–87. He was also a councilor for many years, associate justice of the provincial supreme court (of which he was appointed chief justice shortly before his death), and commissioner of customs. The owner of large tracts of land in and near New York City, Van Cortlandt was granted a royal patent in 1697 making his estates a manor. The greater part of his property was an 87,000-acre (35,208-hectare) tract on the east bank of the Hudson River, extending from Croton River to Anthony's Nose. The Van Cortlandt house at Croton-on-Hudson has been restored and is now a museum.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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