Biography of James B. Vredenburgh of Hudson County

James B. Vredenburgh is of Holland descent, the respectability of which has been strengthened by intermarriage with the Coles, Schuremans, Van Dorns, Brinckerhoffs, and other of the most prominent Holland families.

Isaac Van Vredenburgh (1), a well-to-do citizen, resident, and burgher of the City of Hague, in Holland, had a son who bore the somewhat elongated name of William Isaacsen Van Vredenburgh (2), who, while yet a very young man, enlisted as a soldier in the service of the Dutch West India Company and came to America in May, 1658, on board the good ship “Gilded Beaver.” He seems to have done military duty in and about New Amsterdam for several years, during which time, on October 19, 1664, he married Apollonia Barents, a daughter of Barent Jacobsen Cole (Kool), a prominent officer of the West India Company, of Amsterdam, Holland. He continued in the military service after his marriage, being stationed and residing with his family, part of the time, at Fort William Hendrick, and part of the time in the new fortification at New Orange. In 1677 he must have left the military service, as he then, and as late as 1680, was living with his family at Esopus, New York. His children were eight in number, the eldest of whom was Isaac Van Vredenburgh (3), baptized in New York, October 4, 1665, and who married March 7, 1694, Janneken Joosten, a daughter of Joost Carelszen, by whom he had six children. William (4), the second of these six, baptized in New York, October 4, 1696, died February 4, 1773, married April 22, 1717, Catharina, daughter of Patrick Schott or Scott, of Kingston, New York. William’s children were nine, the fourth of whom, Petrus Benedit Vredenburgh (5), born July 30, 1721, died July 26, 1810, married (1) Margarita, daughter of Jacobus Schureman, and (2) Elizabeth Fisher. His children by his two wives were eleven in number. He removed to New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1742. One of his sons, Petrus (6), baptized in New Brunswick, New Jersey, August 4, 1745, died August 24, 1823, married December 17, 1772, Margarita, daughter of John Schureman. This Peter was for many years a prominent merchant at New Brunswick, where he became one of the most influential men in Middlesex County. He was County Collector of that county for forty-one years (from 1782 to 1823) and a member of the New Jersey Assembly from 1790 to 1795. He also held many local offices, including that of Justice of the Peace. Of his two children Petrus (7) born in New Brunswick, October 5, 1778, removed to Somerville, New Jersey, where he became one of the most prominent physicians of the State, and where he died September 15, 1848. He married December 20, 1804, Maria, daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Vanderbilt) Van Dorn, who was born April 7, 1783, and died April 2, 1855. Petrus (7) left a large family of children, one of whom, Peter Vredenburgh, Jr., (8) born at Somerville, New Jersey, October 31, 1805, entered Rutgers College and was graduated therefrom in 1821. He read law at Somerville and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1829. Soon afterward he removed to Freehold, New Jersey, where he commenced the practice of his profession. In due time he was appointed Prosecutor of the Pleas for Monmouth County, and soon after was elected to the State Legislature as a member of the Council. Subsequently he was made an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which position he held for fourteen years from 1854. Many of the opinions which he rendered were beautifully expressed and are continually quoted as precedents. He married April 19, 1836, Eleanor, daughter of Abraham and Catherine (Remsen) Brinckerhoff, born July 1, 1815, died March 29, 1884. Judge Vredenburgh died at Freehold, New Jersey, March 24, 1873. His children were Peter, William H., and James B. (9). Of these the eldest was Major of the Fourteenth Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion. He served as Inspector-General of the Third Army Corps, on the staff of General William H. French, and was present and took part in all the battles in which his regiment was engaged. At the battle of Oppequan Creek, near Winchester, on September 19, 1864, while in command of his regiment, he was killed while bravely leading it in a charge.

On his mother’s side James R. Vredenburgh is descended from an old New Jersey family, the founder of whom was Joris Dircksen Brinckerhoff, who came to America from Drenthe in the United Provinces in 1638, settling on Staten Island and subsequently in what is now Brooklyn. His sons subsequently settled in Bergen and Hudson Counties.

James B. Vredenburgh, the subject of this sketch, is of the seventh generation from William Isaacsen Van Vredenburgh, and was born at Freehold, New Jersey, October 1, 1844. He received his early education in Freehold, was graduated from Princeton University in 1863, read law with Aaron R. Throckmorton, of Freehold, and was admitted to the bar of New Jersey as an attorney in June, 1866, and as a counselor in June, 1869. Upon his admission he located in Jersey City and soon came into prominence as a lawyer of ability, industry, and perseverance. In 1872, when the late Isaac W. Scudder was elected to Congress, Mr. Vredenburgh formed a partnership with that eminent man and thus acquired an equal share in an extensive and lucrative practice. This partnership continued until the death of Hon. Isaac W. Scudder in 1881. In 1883 Mr. Vredenburgh associated himself with Judge Abram Q. Garretson, and the two have ever since carried on a large and successful business, practicing in all the State and United States courts, the firm name being Vredenburgh & Garretson. Mr. Vredenburgh succeeded his former partner, Judge Scudder, as counsel for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and still holds that position. He has appeared in all the important cases affecting the interests of that company and in many others of note. He served on the staff of Governor Joseph D. Bedle with the rank of Colonel, has always taken an active interest in public affairs, and is a member of the American Bar Association.

He has never sought political preferment, yet he has discharged the duties of the citizen with characteristic energy and is widely known as a man of commanding influence. He has maintained the high reputation, not only of his father, but of his ancestors, and has displayed those sterling attributes and high legal qualifications which have distinguished the family for generations.

Mr. Vredenburgh married Miss Emily H. Van Vorst, a descendant of the well known Van Vorst family, the founder of which was Cornelis Van Voorst, who came to this country from Holland as early as 1636. Their children are Peter, James, John, William, Eugene, and Eleanor.

Source: Harvey, Cornelius Burnham, Editor; Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, New York: The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900.

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