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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HEATHCOTE, Caleb, merchant, born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, 6 March, 1665; died in New York city, 28 February, 1721. He came to New York in 1691 with the means of entering on a mercantile life, in which he was successful. He was appointed by King William a councillor of the province in 1692, and remained in office, with the exception of those years, 1698-1701, all his life. He was the organizer of the borough town of Westchester, and its first mayor, and the first judge of the county of Westchester, and colonel of its militia also, during his life. He originated the first movement for the erection of an Anglican church in the city of New York, and aided in obtaining for it a charter of incorporation by forming in 1695 "The Managers of the Church of England," of which he was the chairman. This body, in May, 1697, presented their petit, ion to Governor Fletcher and the council for a charter, in which they say that they had then almost completed a church-edifice. Fletcher granted them the charter of incorporation of Trinity church, New York, in which Heathcote leads the list of its first vestry. In the same year, and again in 1702. he was appointed receiver-general of the province. In 1701 his large estate in Westchester county was erected into the "Lordship and Manor of Scarsdale." From 1711 till 1714 he was mayor of New York, during the same time that his brother, Sir Gilbert Heathcote, bart., was lord-mayor of London. In 1715 he was appointed judge of admiralty for the provinces of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and " surveyor-general of the customs for the eastern district of North America," comprising all the British colonies north of Virginia. In addition to the ordinary duties of a collector of customs, he was in all matters the chic]: authority to decide all revenue questions between the different provincial customs officers and the merchants of their respective districts. Both of these latter offices, as well as all his earlier ones except the two mayoralties above named, he held until his death. He married Martha, daughter of Colonel William (Tangier) Smith, chief justice of New York; of his six children four died minors, and his large estates descended to two daughters, Anne, the elder, wife of Governor James De Lancey, of New York, and Martha, the younger, wife of Dr. Lewis Johnston, of New Jersey, both of whom have many descendants. Heathcote was a man of great force of character, clear-headed, and courteous, very firm but conciliatory, and won and held the confidence of all. He was a warm and sincere member of the Church of England, the first American member of the Society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts, and, in addition to being the leader in the organization of Trinity church, New York, was the leader in founding the Church of England in Westchester county, every one of its early parishes and churches having been organized and pecuniarily aided by him. With the Reverend George Muir-son, rector of Rye, he introduced episcopacy into Connecticut, the two making together missionary expeditions from Rye into that colony with that object in 1707-'8. So great was the opposition they met that on these occasions Colonel Heathcote always went fully armed. His full and numerous letters and despatches to the government in England, and to the Propagation society, printed in the archives of New York and in those of the Episcopal church, afford the most authentic accounts of the people and the places, and public matters, civil and ecclesiastical, of his days, and historians of all views have relied upon them.
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