Arent DePeyster

Arent Schuyler DePeyster (27 June 1736 – 26 November 1822) was a British military officer best known for his term as commandant of the British controlled Fort Michilimackinac and Fort Detroit during the American Revolution. Following the capture of Lieutenant-Governor General Henry Hamilton, DePeyster is often credited as being the military leader of British and Indian forces in the Western American and Canadian frontiers.[1]

Arent de Peyster
Personal details
Arent Schuyler de Peyster

27 June 1736
New York City, New York
Died26 November 1822
Dumfries, Scotland
Rebecca Blair
(m. 1757; his death 1822)
RelationsAbraham de Peyster (grandfather)
Arent Schuyler (grandfather)
Peter Schuyler (uncle)
ParentsPierre Guillaume DePeyster
Cornelia Schuyler
Military service
Allegiance British America
Branch/service50th Foot, 51st Foot, 8th Foot
Years of service1755–1794
Battles/warsSeven Years' War
American Revolution

Early life

De Peyster was a native of New York City, the son of Pierre Guillaume DePeyster (1707–1785) and Cornelia Schuyler (1715–1785). His maternal grandparents were Arent Schuyler (1662–1730) and Swantje Van Duyckhuysen (1679–1724), and his paternal grandparents were Catharina de Peyster and Abraham de Peyster (1657–1728), the 20th Mayor of New York City. His godparents were his uncles, Philip van Cortlandt (1683–1746) and Peter Schuyler (1707–1762) and his godmother was his aunt, Eva Schuyler Bayard (d. 1737).[2]

His nephew's son, Frederic de Peyster (1796–1882), was a noted New York City lawyer. He was educated in London and obtained a commission as ensign in time for the Seven Years' War.[2]


De Peyster joined the British Army in 1755, joining the 50th Foot Regiment, had been raised in America in 1748, by William Shirley, the Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.[3] In 1745, Shirley, along with de Peyster's uncle, Col. Peter Schuyler, had directed the Siege of Louisbourg. Next, he held a commission in the 51st Foot, a regiment formed by Lieutenant General Robert Napier in America, which at one point, had three Schuylers in it.[4]

During the Seven Years' War, he served under his uncle in upper colonial New York, gaining experience at frontier American warfare. He was captured, held as prisoner in France, and served out the war with the 8th Regiment of Foot in Germany after being exchanged.

The 8th Regiment was assigned to Canada, and DePeyster enjoyed a series of promotions. In 1774, he was appointed commandant of Fort Michilimackinac, in present day Mackinaw, Michigan. DePeyster spent the next five years at the Fort.[1]

American Revolution

When war broke out with the United States on April 19, 1775,[5] DePeyster recruited Native Americans from the Great Lakes region to serve the British Crown, notably the effort under General John Burgoyne in his native colony of New York. He was rewarded with a promotion to major.[6]

In 1779, Major DePeyster took control of Detroit.[6] The American Indian tribes of the Northwest Territory were then hostile to the British, but DePeyster, by his tact and the adoption of conciliatory measures, entirely weaned them from the colonists, and effectively managed his American Indian allies against American militia from Pennsylvania and Kentucky.[7] Although Great Britain ceded control of Detroit to the United States at the end of the war, Detroit remained in British control until 1796.[8]

In November 1783, DePeyster was informed that he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and was being transferred to Fort Niagara, situated at the connection of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario.[6] However, he did not leave for Niagara until 30 May 1784, where he assumed command on 5 June 1784.[1] In the summer of 1785, after the wars completion, he set sail and returned to England with his Regiment and continued to serve, eventually receiving a commission as colonel,[9] on 12 October 1793.[1]

Later life

He retired in 1794, due to illness, and sold his lieutenant-colonelcy to an associate of John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland, the then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who had failed to pay for it ten years later. After his retirement, DePeyster and his wife moved to Dumfries, where they settled down at Mavis Grove, a country estate.[1]

In 1795, when England was threatened by Napoleon, he again became actively involved with the militia. He had a large share in enlisting and drilling the 1st regiment of Dumfries volunteers, one of the original members of which was Robert Burns, the prominent Scottish poet, who dedicated to him his poem on "Life," and with whom he once carried on a poetical controversy in the columns of the Dumfries Journal. DePeyster also published Miscellanies, by an officer in 1813.[4]

Personal life

After the Seven Years' War, he was stationed in Scotland, where he married Rebecca Blair (d. 1827), a daughter of Robert Blair, Provost of Dumfries, and sister-in-law to Lieutenant-Colonel Bryce McMurdo.[4][10] They married in 1757, and purportedly had a happy, but childless, marriage and were seldom apart.[1]

De Peyster died as the result of an accident on 26 November 1822 in Dumfries, Scotland.[8] A large funeral was given in his honor, and he was buried in St Michael's Churchyard. His wife died on 20 February 1827.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Armour, David A. "DePEYSTER, ARENT SCHUYLER". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b De Peyster, John Watts (1813). Miscellanies: by an officer. Dumfries: A.E. Chasmer & Co. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  3. ^ "50th Regiment of Foot (Shirley's)". Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ a b c d "de Peyster, Colonel Arent Schuyler (1736-1822)". Robert Burns Country: The Burns Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  5. ^ Frothingham (1851), p. 312
  6. ^ a b c "De Peyster, Arent Schuyler". Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  7. ^ Farmer, Silas (1890). History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan: A Chronological Cyclopedia of the Past and Present. S. Farmer & Company. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b Granzo, Tina. "People of Detroit | Arent Schuyler de Peyster". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  9. ^ "No. 13582". The London Gazette. 15 October 1793. p. 914.
  10. ^ "Lieut-Colonel Bryce McMurdo, Sir Henry Raeburn c.1800–10 | Tate". Tate. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
Abraham de Peyster

Abraham de Peyster (July 8, 1657 – August 3, 1728) was the 20th Mayor of New York City from 1691 to 1694, and served as Governor of New York, 1700-1701.

Aquila Giles

Aquila Giles (1758 – April 1822) was an American lawyer, politician and soldier from Brooklyn who served in the New York State Assembly.

Arend (given name)

Arend, Arent or Arendt (all pronounced /ˈaːrənt/) is a Dutch masculine given name. Arend means "eagle" in Dutch, but the name derives from Arnoud/Arnout, which itself stems from the Germanic elements aran "eagle" and wald "rule, power". The form Arent also occurs in Norway. People with the name include:

Arend, Lord of Egmond (c. 1337–1409), Dutch nobility

Arent Arentsz (1585–1631), Dutch landscape painter

Arent Berntsen (1610–1680), Dano-Norwegian topographer and statistician

Arent Greve de Besche (1878–1945), Norwegian bacteriologist

Arend Bloem (born 1947), Dutch canoer

Arend Jan Boekestijn (born 1959), Dutch politician

Arend "Arie" van de Bunt (born 1969), Dutch water polo goalkeeper

Arent Schuyler Crowninshield (1843–1908), American rear admiral of the United States Navy

Arent van Curler (1619–1667), Dutch settler in New Netherland

Arent Schuyler DePeyster (1736–1822), New York-born British military officer

Arend Dijckman (1572–1627), Dutch merchant who briefly was Admiral of the Polish Navy

Arent Nicolai Dragsted (1821–1898), Danish goldsmith

Arent de Gelder (1645–1727), Dutch painter

Arend Glas (born 1968), Dutch bobsledder

Arend Johan van Glinstra (1754–1814), Dutch painter

Arent Greve (1733–1808), Norwegian jeweler, goldsmith and painter

Arend "Arie" Haan (born 1948), Dutch football player and coach

Arend van Halen (1673–1732), Dutch portrait painter

Arend Hassink (born 1950), Dutch former road bicycle racer

Arent M. Henriksen (born 1946), Norwegian politician

Arend Heyting (1898–1980), Dutch mathematician and logician

Arend van 't Hoft (born 1933), Dutch racing cyclist

Arend de Keysere (died 1490), Flemish printer

Arent Jacobsz Koets (c.1600–1635), Dutch guard painted by Frans Hals

Arend Langenberg (1949–2012), Dutch voice actor and radio presenter

Arend Lijphart (born 1936), Dutch political scientist

Arend Lubbers (born 1931), American college administrator

Arent Magnin (1825–1888), Dutch Governor of the Gold Coast

Arent Passer (c.1560–1637), Dutch stonemason in Estonia

Arent Roggeveen (died 1679), Dutch cartographer

Arendt de Roy (died 1589), Flemish architect

Arend Joan Rutgers (1903–1998), Dutch/Belgian physical chemist

Arend Schoemaker (1911–1982), Dutch footballer

Arent Schuyler (1662–1730), New Netherland surveyor, merchant, and land speculator, ancestor of Arent DePeyster and Arent Crowninshield

Arent Gustaf Silfversparre (1727–1818), Swedish baron

Arend Fokke Simonsz (1755–1812), Dutch writer and intellectual

Arent Solem (1777–1857), Norwegian merchant

Arend von Stryk (born 1970), Namibian footballer

Arent Van Soelen (1898–?), South African sports sailor

Arend van der Wel (1933–2013), Dutch footballer

Arent Jan Wensinck (1882–1939), Dutch Arabist

Arend Friedrich Wiegmann (1770–1853), German pharmacist and botanist

Arend Friedrich August Wiegmann (1802–1841), German zoologist and herpetologist, son of the above

Charles Willson Peale

Charles Willson Peale (April 15, 1741 – February 22, 1827) was an American painter, soldier, scientist, inventor, politician and naturalist. He is best remembered for his portrait paintings of leading figures of the American Revolution, and for establishing one of the first museums in the United States.

David Provost

Lieut. Col. David Provost or David Provoost (January 16, 1670 – 1724) was the 24th Mayor of New York City from 1699 to 1700.

Edward De Peyster Livingston

Edward De Peyster Livingston (March 6, 1861 – January 19, 1932) was an American lawyer and society leader during the Gilded Age.

Frederic de Peyster

Frederic de Peyster II (November 11, 1796 in New York City – August 17, 1882 in Tivoli, New York) was a New York City lawyer and prominent member of the De Pesyter family.

Gerard Bancker

Gerard Bancker (sometimes Latin Gerardus, or colloquial Dutch Gerrit) (14 February 1740 in Albany, New York – January 1799) was an American surveyor and politician.

Henry Rutgers

Henry Rutgers (October 7, 1745 – February 17, 1830) was a United States Revolutionary War hero and philanthropist from New York City. Rutgers University was named after him, and he donated a bond which placed the college on sound financial footing. He also gave a bell that is still in use today.

Jacob R. Van Rensselaer

Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer (September 27, 1767 – September 22, 1835) was an American lawyer and Federalist politician who served as Speaker of the New York State Assembly from 1812 to 1813, and Secretary of State of New York, from 1813 to 1815.

Jacobus Van Cortlandt

Jacobus van Cortlandt (1658–1739) was a wealthy Dutch American merchant and politician who served as the 30th and 33rd Mayor of New York City from 1710 to 1711 and again from 1719 to 1720.

Johannes de Peyster

Johannes de Peyster or Johannes de Peyster II (September 21, 1666 – September 25, 1711) was the 23rd Mayor of New York City between 1698 and 1699.

Johannes de Peyster III

Johannes de Peyster or Johannes de Peyster III (1694 – February 27, 1783) was the Mayor of Albany, New York three times between 1729 and 1742.

Johannes de Peyster Sr.

Johannes de Peyster (born in Haarlem, Holland, about 1600; died in New Amsterdam (now New York City) about 1685) was a Dutch merchant who emigrated to New Amsterdam.

John Hamilton (New Jersey)

John Hamilton (c.1681—1747) was an American politician from the colonial period who served as acting governor of the Province of New Jersey from 1736–1738, and from 1746–1747.

John Watts de Peyster

For his son, see John Watts de Peyster Jr.John Watts de Peyster Sr. (March 9, 1821 – May 4, 1907) was an author on the art of war, philanthropist, and the Adjutant General of New York. He served in the New York State Militia during the Mexican–American War and American Civil War. He was one of the first military critics and noted for his histories of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and also published works of drama, poetry, military history, military biography and military criticism.

John Watts de Peyster Jr.

For his father, see John Watts de Peyster.John Watts De Peyster Jr. (December 2, 1841 – April 12, 1873) was a Union Army officer during the American Civil War and a member of the famous de Peyster family of New York. His father was Brevet Major General John Watts De Peyster of the New York Militia.


Pacanne (c. 1737-1816) was a leading Miami chief during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Son of The Turtle (Aquenackqua), he was the brother of Tacumwah, who was the mother of Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville. Their family owned and controlled the Long Portage, an 8-mile strip of land between the Maumee and Wabash Rivers used by traders travelling between Canada and Louisiana. As such, they were one of the most influential families of Kekionga.

Pacanne (P'Koum-Kwa) was probably the nephew of Cold Foot, the Miami Chief of Kekionga until a smallpox epidemic took his life in 1752. One of the earliest references to Pacanne comes from Captain Thomas Morris, who had been sent by the British to secure Kekionga, Ouiatenon, Vincennes, and Kaskaskia following Pontiac's Rebellion. In 1764, at Fort Miamis, near Kekionga, two Miami warriors dragged him to the village and tied him to a pole with the intent of executing him. According to his report, Pacanne, still a minor, rode up and released him. This may have been a staged event, signalling Pacanne's assumption of leadership.As a chief and businessman, Pacanne travelled extensively, visiting villages as distant as Vincennes, Fort Detroit, Quebec City, and Fort Niagara. While gone, Kekionga was managed by Tacumwah and her son, as well as by nearby chiefs Little Turtle and Le Gris. Pacanne's frequent absence led to some misunderstandings that Le Gris was his superior.In Autumn of 1778, during the American Revolution, Pacanne accompanied British Lt-Governor Henry Hamilton down the Wabash River to recapture Vincennes. There, he told Piankeshaw chiefs Young Tobacco and Old Tobacco- who had supported the rebelling Americans- to pay attention to Hamilton.Following a November 1780 raid on Kekionga by a French colonial militia under Augustin de La Balme, he openly declared support for the British. Referring to the colonial French, Pacanne said, "You see our village stained with blood, you can think that we are not going to extend the hand to your friends who are our enemies. You can understand that if we find you with them that we will not make any distinction." Following up on this threat, the Miami of Kekionga requested aid in attacking Vincennes; the attack never occurred because the British aid never came. British commander Arent DePeyster singled out Pacanne's loyalty, saying they shared the same mind regarding the war.

After the American Revolution, Pacanne worked as an emissary between the new United States and the Miami Confederacy. He was a guide for Colonel Josiah Harmar and worked with Major Jean François Hamtramck. In August 1788, however, a band of Kentucky men led by Patrick Brown attacked a Piankeshaw village near Vincennes and escaped. Although Major Hamtramck promised to punish the invaders, he was powerless to actually do so. When Pacanne returned to Vincennes and learned of the attack, he broke off communications with Hamtramck and returned to Kekionga.The next several years saw many major battles between the United States Army and the native nations in what has become known as the Northwest Indian War. Kekionga was the base of many raids against American settlers. Consequently, it was the target of American expeditions, leading to Hardin's Defeat, Harmar's Defeat, and St. Clair's Defeat. These conflicts ended with the Battle of Fallen Timbers and the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. Miami war chief Little Turtle attended and signed the treaty on behalf of the Miami, but Pacanne did not attend, instead sending his nephew, Chief Richardville. When approached later, Pacane still refused to sign. Even so, the chiefs encouraged compliance with the treaty, and opposed younger leaders- specifically Tecumseh- who continued to lead resistance against the Americans. Pacanne moved to a village near the mouth of the Mississinewa River, near present-day Peru, Indiana.

He actively sought better relations with the new United States, and remained neutral at the onset of the War of 1812. But after American retaliation for the Fort Dearborn Massacre, Pacanne again allied with the British.

Pacanne died in 1816 and was succeeded by his nephew, Jean Baptiste Richardville.

Schuyler family

The Schuyler family was a prominent Dutch family in New York and New Jersey in the 18th and 19th centuries, whose descendants played a critical role in the formation of the United States (especially New York City and northern New Jersey), in leading government and business in North America and served as leaders in business, military, politics, and society in the United Kingdom (including the Gage family, the Kennedy family, the Bertie family, and the Fitzroy family, among others).

de Peyster family tree

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