- Advocated separation of the Dutch Reformed Church from the Dutch church.
HARDENBERGH, Jacob Rutsen, educator, was born in Rosendale, N.Y., and was baptized at Kingston, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1736; son of Col. Joannes and Maria (DuBois), grandson of Maj. Johannes and Catherine (Rutsen), great grandson of Captain Gerrit Janse and Jalpie (Schepmoes), and great2 grandson of Jan van Hardenbergh, who came from Holland to New Amsterdam previous to 1644, and died there previous to 1659. Maj. Johannes Hardenbergh became owner of the Hardenbergh land patent purchased from the Indians in 1706, confirmed by royal grant, April 23, 1708, and originally containing 2,000,000 acres of land lying in five contiguous counties on the west bank of the Hudson river in the state of New York. Col. Johannes Hardenbergh was an original member of the Coetus party formed to establish an organic union of the Dutch Reformed churches in America independent of the care of the classis of Amsterdam, Holland, and when Kings (Columbia) college was established in New York and placed under the care of the Episcopal church, he advocated a similar college to be known as Queens, to be under the care of the Dutch Reformed church, and he was an original trustee from the state of New York of Queens (Rutgers) college, 1770-86. He was born in Kingston, N.Y., June 1, 1706, and died in Rosendale, N.Y., Aug. 20, 1786. He was a member of the colonial assembly, 1743-50; of the state legislature, 1781-82; a member of the first provincial congress in New York, May 23, 1775; was commissioned colonel in the regular army Oct. 25, 1775, and was a friend of Washington, who with Mrs. Washington visited him at Rosendale, N.Y., in June 1783. Jacob Rutsen was educated at Kingston academy, studied theology with the Rev. John Frelinghuysen in Raritan, N.J., and was the first minister in America in the Dutch Reformed church to complete his education and be licensed to preach, without going to Holland for examination. He was licensed by the American classis or Coetus in 1758. In September, 1757, the Rev. John Frelinghuysen, his instructor in theology, died, and Mr. Hardenbergh married his widow, Dina (Van Bergh) Frelinghuysen, in 1758 and succeeded him in the pastorate of the five associated churches centred in Raritan, N.J., where he labored, 1758-81. He visited Holland and made a tour of Europe in 1762, bringing back to America the widowed mother of his wife. He became prominent as a Revolutionary patriot and gained the enmity of his Tory neighbors. He was a delegate to the provincial congress of New Jersey, 1776; of the convention of 1776 that framed and adopted a state constitution; and a member of the general assembly. He was the especial object of annoyance to the British and a price of l00 was offered for his arrest. He thereupon armed himself and became accustomed to sleeping with a loaded musket by his bedside. On Oct. 26, 1779, a company of the Queen's rangers under Colonel Simcoe burned his church to the ground. While Washington's army was at Bound Brook, Millstone and Princeton, Dominie Hardenbergh was a frequent visitor at headquarters and was visited at his borne in Raritan by the American commander-in-chief. In 1781 he removed to Rosendale, N.Y., and became pastor of the church there, and also of the churches of Marbletown, Rochester and Warwarsing adjoining, serving these churches for five years. As early as 1770 he began the agitation of the establishment of a university or college to be connected with the Dutch Reformed Church and took a leading part in applying for [p.78] the charter for Queen's college to be located at New Brunswick, N.J. The consummation of his hopes was delayed by the occupation of that place by the British army, but in 1785 the plan was carried out and he was elected the first president holding the office until his death. He was a trustee of the college, 1770-90, and secretary, 1770-82. In addition to his duties as head of the new institution and its chief instructor, he was pastor of the Dutch Reformed church there. He took up his residence in New Brunswick in April, 1786. In the councils of the church he was an active advocate of separation from the Amsterdam classis and helped largely to secure the establishment of the Dutch Reformed church in America. He received the honorary degree of A.M. in 1770, and that of D.D. in 1771, from the College of New Jersey, and that of S.T.D. in 1789 from Columbia. He died in New Brunswick, N.J., Oct. 30, 1790.