RENSSELAER, STEPHEN VAN
STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER (1764-1839). Van Rensselaer's wealth was completely inherited through a very generous land grant in the New World bestowed by the Dutch royalty. At one point, it is estimated he had up to 100,000 tenants living on his New York lands. Bucking tradition, he divided his lands among his ten children and within fifty years, his fortune was dispersed with the exception of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.