Abraham de Peyster

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Abraham de Peyster
Abraham de Peyster (1657-1728).jpg
20th Mayor of New York City
In office
Preceded by John Lawrence
Succeeded by Charles Lodwik
Personal details
Born July 8, 1657
New Amsterdam
Died August 3, 1728 (aged 81)
New York
Spouse(s) Catharina de Peyster
Relations Johannes de Peyster (brother)
David Provost (brother-in-law)
Parents Johannes de Peyster, Sr.
Cornelia Lubberts

Abraham de Peyster (July 8, 1657 – August 3, 1728) was the 20th Mayor of New York City from 1691 to 1694, and served as Governor of New York, 1700-1701.

Early life

De Peyster was born in New Amsterdam on July 8, 1657, to Johannes de Peyster, Sr. (c. 1600–c. 1685) and Cornelia (née Lubberts) de Peyster.[1] Abraham's brother, Johannes de Peyster (1666–1719), served as mayor from 1698 until 1699, and was then succeeded by David Provost, the husband of his sister, Maria De Peyster.[2]


In October 1691, he was appointed mayor by Governor Henry Sloughter. Though De Peyster had been an early supporter of Jacob Leisler, who led Leisler's Rebellion, he had not participated in Leisler's later actions.[2] Through his suggestion, the city started providing public support to the poor.[2]

From a wealthy merchant family, De Peyster also reportedly served in a number of public roles during his life, including stints as alderman, Associate Judge and later Chief Justice on the province's Supreme Court, President of the King's Council, and as Treasurer for New York and New Jersey provinces. He also served as a Colonel in the militia.[3] Some sources state that he served as governor or acting governor of the Province of New York, which refers to a few months' time in 1701 after the death of Richard Coote, 1st Earl of Bellomont, when Lieutenant Governor John Nanfan was abroad. This left De Peyster, as the senior member of the Council, briefly in command until Nanfan returned.[4][5][6][7]

Around 1699, De Peyster donated some of his land holdings, part of his garden, for the construction of a new city hall. That city hall was later renamed Federal Hall, which briefly served as the first capitol of the United States, and the site of the first inauguration of George Washington as President.[8][9]

Personal life

He married his second cousin, Catharina de Peyster on April 5, 1684, while visiting Amsterdam.[1] Their children included:

The mansion he erected in 1695, which at one time was the headquarters of Washington, remained standing until 1856.[10]

Before his death in 1728, De Peyster commissioned the creation of a bell to be placed in the Middle Dutch Church, then under construction. Cast in Amsterdam in 1731, the bell is known today as the "Liberty Bell" and is located at the Middle Collegiate Church.[11][12]


Abraham de Peyster statue (then located in Bowling Green), in the 1930s

His 3x-great grandson was John Watts de Peyster, who commissioned a statue of his ancestor in the late 19th century. Sculpted by George Edwin Bissell, the statue was originally placed in Bowling Green Park in Manhattan in the late 1890s. Park and subway renovations forced its removal in 1972, and it was placed in Hanover Square from 1976 until 2004.[13][14][15][16] During subsequent renovations in Hanover Square, the statue was placed in a warehouse for 9 years. In the fall of 2013, it was restored to public view in its current location in Thomas Paine Park near the Supreme Court building. [1].[17][2]

A duplicate of the New York statue was also donated by John Watts de Peyster to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where it is currently placed on Buchanan Avenue.[18]


  1. ^ a b Allaben, Frank. John Watts de Peyster, Volume 1, p. 18-19 (1908)
  2. ^ a b c Lamb, Martha J. & Burton Harrison. History of the City of New York, Vol. I, p.398-402 (1896 ed.)
  3. ^ Catalogue of the works of art belonging to the city of New York, p. 106 (1909)
  4. ^ De Peyster, Frederic. The life and administration of Richard, earl of Bellomont, p. 58 (1879)
  5. ^ Bernstorf, Mrs. Philip W. (2003). Directory of the Hereditary Order of Colonial Governors Prior to 4 July 1776. Hereditary Order of Descendants of Colonial Governors. p. 37. 
  6. ^ Charles, Michael Harrison (2006). List of the Colonial Governors Prior to 4 July 1776. Hereditary Order of Descendants of Colonial Governors. p. 30. 
  7. ^ De Peyster, J. Watts (1854). De Peyster Genealogical Reference. p. 23. 
  8. ^ (12 June 1931). Replica of Old Federal Hall Will Rise Where Subtreasury Stands in New York, Evening Independent
  9. ^ Caliendo, Ralph J. New York City Mayors, Part 1, p. 48-51 (2010) (note that this source may contain some inaccuracies)
  10. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "De Peyster, Johannes". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  11. ^ (23 February 1952). Bell, The New Yorker
  12. ^ Our History, Middle Collegiate Church website, Retrieved October 28, 2011
  13. ^ British Garden at Hanover Square Archived August 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., nycgovparks.org, Retrieved October 28, 2011
  14. ^ (8 November 2004). NEW HOME FOR STATUE OF NEW YORK CITY’S FIRST MAYOR, ABRAHAM DE PEYSTER, nycgovparks.org (note that title of article appears to be incorrect, he was not the first mayor)
  15. ^ Brozan, Nadine (22 August 2003). On a Pedestal, but Homeless; 1690's Mayor Has a Place in History, if Not New York, The New York Times
  16. ^ Roberts, Sam (5 September 2011). Like Former Mayors, a Statue Fades From View, The New York Times
  17. ^ "Thomas Paine Park". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  18. ^ College Archives - Sculpture of Abraham de Peyster- 1895 Archived February 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., Franklin & Marshall Library website, Retrieved October 28, 2011
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