Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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VAN VECHTEN, Abraham, lawyer, born in Catskill, New York, 5 December, 1762 ; died in Albany, New York, 10 May, 1823. He was educated at Columbia, studied law under John Lansing, and began practice in Johns-town, Montgomery County, New York, but soon removed to Albany. He was known as the "father of the New York bar," being the first lawyer admitted to practice after the adoption of the state constitution. Mr. Van Vechten was city recorder in 1797-1808, state senator in 1798-1805, member of the assembly in 1805-'15, attorney-general in 1810 and 1813-'15, and a member of the Constitutional convention in 1821. In 1797-1823 he was a regent of the University of the state of New York. He declined seat on the supreme bench of the state that was tendered him by Governor John Jay. He was a learned, eloquent, and successful lawyer, and as a legislator was the author of many laws that have given internal improvements and educational advantages to New York state.--His nephew, Jacob, clergyman, born in Catskill, New York, in 1788; died in Auburn, New York, 15 September, 1871, was graduated at Union college in 1809, at the Associate Reformed seminary in 1813, and at New Brunswick theological seminary in 1814. In 1815-'49 he was pastor of the Reformed Dutch church in Schenectady, New York He then retired from the ministry, passing the remainder of his life in intellectual and literary pursuits. He published "Memoirs of Dr. John M. Mason" (2 vols., New York, 1856), and "An Effective Ministry," a sermon (1868).
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