Margarita (Peggy) Schuyler   [1758-1801]

Notable Dutch-American

Margarita (Peggy) Schuyler was born on September 24, 1758 in Albany, New York and died on March 14, 1801 in Albany, New York at the rather young age of 42.

Margarita was married to Stephen Van Rensselaer III. She had three children but only one survived to adulthood. He was Stephen Van Rensselaer IV. Her parents were the famous Continental Army general, Philip Schuyler [1733-1804] and Catherine Van Rensselaer [1734-1803]. Her siblings were Angelica Schuyler Church, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, and Philip Jeremiah Schuyler. Other family members were John Barker Church and Alexander Hamilton, two of her brothers-in-law.

Both the Schuyler and the Van Rensselaer families were wealthy landowners and were well regarded in the Dutch American community to which they belonged. Since both families were third generation immigrants and both belonged to the Dutch branch it is likely that Dutch was the common family language used in the home.

Virtually all Dutch at that time belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church, and they attended the Dutch Reformed Church in Albany, New York. The church is still in existence in Albany although the current building dates back to a more recent time period.

Margarita married Stephen Van Rensselaer III [1764-1839]. He was a distant cousin who was only 19 on their marriage day. She was almost 25, and because her father would not approve of her marrying a 19 year old, the couple decided to elope. Stephen was the oldest child of Stephen Van Rensselaer II, the ninth patroon of Rensselaerswyck, and of Catherine Livingston, daughter of Philip Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Rensselaerswyck was a huge estate covering parts of several counties near Albany, New York.

When Stephen Van Rensselaer turned 21 he was entitled to assume responsibility as the lord of Van Rensselaer Manor. His father had died when he was only five and a caretaker had managed the lands in the interim.

In 1789 their marriage had resulted in three children. Unfortunately only one child survived to adulthood. His name was Stephen Van Rensselaer IV [1789-1868].

Margarita was affected by an illness in 1799. Her condition worsened quickly and she died on March 14, 1801. Hamilton happened to be in Albany during the time of Margarita’s illness, and was there when she died. He sent a somber note to his wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. It stated: “On Saturday, my dear Eliza, your sister took leave of her sufferings and friends, I trust to find repose and happiness in a better country.” She was initially buried in the family plot at the Van Rensselaer estate, and later reinterred at Albany Rural Cemetery.

Margarita is portrayed by Jasmine Cephas Jones in “Hamilton”, a 2015 Broadway musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. Jones originated the roles of Maria Reynolds and Peggy Schuyler Off-Broadway, and she used the same roles when the show made its transfer to Broadway. In 2016, Jones won a Grammy Award for her work as one of the principal soloists on the Hamilton cast album.

Peggy is featured as a supporting actor in the song “The Schuyler Sisters” and is a background character for much of Act I of the Broadway Musical ”Hamilton”.


Chernow, Ron, Alexander Hamilton, Penguin Press, 2004

Randall, William Sterne, Alexander Hamilton: A Life, Harpers-Collins, 2003

Roberts, Warren, A Place in History: Albany in the Age of Revolution, 1775-1825, Albany: NY State University Press, 2010

Wikipedia, especially for picture

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