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John Peter Van Ness

John Peter Van Ness - A Stan Klos Biograohy

John Peter Van Ness

VAN NESS, John Peter, congressman, born in Ghent, New York, in 1770; died in Washington, D. C., 7 March, 1847. He studied at Columbia and was prepared for the bar, but was prevented from practising by delicate health. He was chosen to congress as a Democrat in 1800. After he became major of the uniformed militia of the District of Columbia the house of representatives declared that he had forfeited his seat by accepting a commission from the general government, and he was relieved from office, 17 January, 1803. On the death of his wife's father he came into possession of a large fortune, built a fine mansion, and entertained on a luxurious scale, he then became a citizen of Washington, occupied many offices of trust, was president of the Metropolitan bank, mayor of the city, and a trustee of various institutions.

Marcia Burns Van Ness, Philanthropist, born in Washington, D. C., in 1782; died there in September, 1832, was a daughter of David Burns, of Washington, and was married in 1802. She was carefully educated, and, as the wealthiest heiress in her section of the country, held a conspicuous place in Washington society. While meeting all the claims that her large wealth and high standing could present, she led a life of much benevolence and religious beauty, the Protestant orphan asylum, gave the ground on which two churches were built, and contributed liberally to charities.

Mr. and Mrs. Van Ness were buried in a mausoleum that was erected after the pattern of the Temple of Vesta at Rome. It stood in the grounds of the Protestant orphan asylum, and for many years was one of the curious and interesting relics of old Washington. It has since been removed to a cemetery. Mrs. Van Ness was the only woman in Washington that ever received a public funeral, which was awarded her on account of her extensive charities.

His brother, William Peter Van Ness, jurist, born in Ghent, New York, in 1778; died in New York city, 6 September, 1826, was graduated at Columbia in 1797, adopted the profession of law, and settled in New York City, where he became the devoted friend and protégé of Aaron Burr. He took Burr's challenge to Alexander Hamilton, and was one of his seconds in the duel.

Van Ness became judge of the southern district of New York in 1812, being appointed by President Madison, and held office until his death. Judge Van Ness suffered much opprobrium from his connection with the Burr-Hamilton duel, and is described by the partisans of the latter as "a brilliant but unscrupulous politician." In his own party, however, he was popular and respected.

Washington Irving was his intimate friend. He published " Examination of Charges against Aaron Burr," under the pen-name of "Aristides" (New York, 1803); with John Woodworth, "Laws of New York, with Notes" (2 vols., Albany, 1813);" Reports of Two Cases in the Prize Court for New York District" (1814) ; and "Concise Narrative of General Jackson's First Invasion of Florida" (1826).-

Another brother, Cornelius Peter Van Ness, jurist, born in Kinderhook, New York, 26 January, 1782: died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 15 December, 1852, was educated for the bar, removed to Burlington, Vermont, and practiced his profession with success until 1809, when he became United States district attorney. From that year until his death he occupied public office.

He was collector of the port of Burlington in 1815-'18, a commissioner to settle the United States boundary-lines under the treaty of Ghent in 1817-'21, a member of the legislature in 1818-'21, having been chosen, as a Democrat, chief justice of Vermont in 1821-'3, governor from the latter date till 1829, and United States minister to Spain in 1829-'37. In 1844-'5 he was collector of the port of New York. The University of Vermont gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1823. He published a "Letter to the Public on Political Parties, Caucuses, and Conventions" (Washington, D. C., 1848).-

Their first cousin, William W. Van Ness, jurist, born in Claverack, New York, in 1776; died in Charleston, South Carolina, 27 February, 1823, was admitted to the bar in 1797, practiced in his native town and in Hudson, New York, was a member of the assembly in 1804-'6, and the leader of the Federalist party. He was appointed a judge of the supreme court in 1807, and held office till 1822. In January, 1820, he was tried before a committee of the legislature on the charge of using his office to obtain the charter of the American bank. The trial was conducted with great ability, and Judge Van Ness was acquitted, but he never recovered from the effect of the charge, and fell into delicate health, from which he finally sank while on a southern tour. He was removed from the bench in 1822, under the act of the Constitutional convention of that year, and resumed the practice of law. Dr. Jabez D. Hammond says of him : "He was one of the shrewdest and most sagacious men whom New York ever produced, of fascinating manners, and remarkable conversational powers."

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM

VAN NESS, John Peter, congressman, born in Ghent, New York, in 1770; died in Washington, D. C., 7 March, 1847. He studied at Columbia and was prepared for the bar, but was prevented from practising by delicate health. He was chosen to congress as a Democrat in 1800. After he became major of the uniformed militia of the District of Columbia the house of representatives declared that he had forfeited his seat by accepting a commission from the general government, and he was relieved from office, 17 January, 1803. On the death of his wife's father he came into possession of a large fortune, built a fine mansion, and entertained on a luxurious scale, he then became a citizen of Washington, occupied many offices of trust, was president of the Metropolitan bank, mayor of the city, and a trustee of various institutions.--His wife, Marcia Burns, Philanthropist, born in Washington, D. C., in 1782; died there in September, 1832, was a daughter of David Burns, of Washington, and was married in 1802. She was carefully educated, and, as the wealthiest heiress in her section of the country, held a conspicuous place in Washington society While meeting all the claims that her large wealth and high standing could present, she led a life of much benevolence and religious beauty, the Protestant orphan asylum, gave the ground on which two churches were built, and contributed liberally to charities. Mr. and Mrs. Van Ness were buried in a mausoleum that was erected after the pattern of the Temple of Vesta at Rome. It stood in the grounds of the Protestant orphan asylum, and for many years was one of the curious and interesting relics of old Washington. It has since been removed to a cemetery. Mrs. Van Ness was the only woman in Washington that ever received a public funeral, which was awarded her on account of her extensive charities.--His brother, William Peter, jurist, born in Ghent, New York, in 1778; died in New York city, 6 September, 1826, was graduated at Columbia in 1797, adopted the profession of law, and settled in New York city, where he became the devoted friend and protege of Aaron Burr. He took Burr's challenge to Hamilton, and was one of his seconds in the duel. Van Ness became judge of the southern district of New York in 1812, being appointed by President Madison, and held office until his death. Judge Van Mess suffered much opprobrium from his connection with the Burr-Hamilton duel, and is described by the partisans of the latter as "a brilliant but unscrupulous politician." In his own party, however, he was popular and respected. Washington Irving was his intimate friend. He published " Examination of Charges against Aaron Burr," under the pen-name of "Aristides" (New York, 1803); with John Woodworth, "Laws of New York, with Notes" (2 vols., Albany, 1813);" Reports of Two Cases in the Prize Court for New York District" (1814) ; and "Concise Narrative of General Jackson's First Invasion of Florida" (1826).-Another brother, Cornelius Peter, jurist, born in Kinderhook, New York, 26 January, 1782: died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 15 December, 1852, was educated for the bar, removed to Burlington, Vermont, and practised his profession with success until 1809, when he became United States district attorney. From that year until his death he occupied public office. He was collector of the port of Burlington in 1815-'18, a commissioner to settle the United States boundary-lines under the treaty of Ghent in 1817-'21, a member of the legislature in 1818-'21, having been chosen, as a Democrat, chief justice of Vermont in 1821-'3, governor from the latter date till 1829, and United States minister to Spain in 1829-'37. In 1844-'5 he was collector of the port of New York. The University of Vermont gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1823. He published a "Letter to the Public on Political Parties, Caucuses, and Conventions" (Washington, D. C., 1848).--Their first cousin, William W., jurist, born in Claverack, New York, in 1776; died in Charleston, South Carolina, 27 February, 1823, was admitted to the bar in 1797, practised in his native town and in Hudson, New York, was a member of the assembly in 1804-'6, and the leader of the Federalist party. He was appointed a judge of the supreme court in 1807, and held office till 1822. In January, 1820, he was tried before a committee of the legislature on the charge of using his office to obtain the charter of the American bank. The trial was conducted with great ability, and Judge Van Mess was acquitted, but he never recovered from the effect of the charge, and fell into delicate health, from which he finally sank while on a southern tour. He was removed from the bench in 1822, under the act of the Constitutional convention of that year, and resumed the practice of law. Dr. Jabez D. Hammond says of him : "He was one of the shrewdest and most sagacious men whom New York ever produced, of fascinating manners, and remarkable conversational powers."

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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