Between the years of 1761 and 1765, Revolutionary War Major General Philip Schuyler and his wife, Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler, built this home, now known as Schuyler Mansion. The location where the house stands was isolated at the time of its construction, then known as ‘the Pastures,’ and located about a half mile south of the City of Albany. Philip Schuyler was the fourth generation in his family to inhabit the Albany area and, though his family was well-respected, by marrying Catherine Van Rensselaer, a direct descendant of Patroon Killaen Van Rensselaer, Philip elevated himself ever higher in the ranks of distinguished names in Albany.
Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler gave birth to fifteen children between the years of 1756 and 1781. Of those children born to Philip and Catherine, only eight survived infancy. The Schuylers had five daughters; Angelica Schuyler Church, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (who married first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, in the mansion’s southwest parlor) Margaret Schuyler Van Rensselaer, Cornelia Schuyler Morton, and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler and three sons; John Bradstreet Schuyler, Philip Jeremiah Schuyler, and Rensselaer Schuyler.
In addition to Philip, Catherine, and their children, Schuyler Mansion was often inhabited by a wide variety of well-known eighteenth century figures, including George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and even British General John Burgoyne, who remained at the mansion as a ‘prisoner guest’ following his momentous defeat at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, during which he burned Philip Schuyler’s Saratoga estate to the ground.
The Schuylers inhabited the home until Philip's death in 1804, one year after Catherine's. After this time, the mansion passed through a variety of owners, including a man named John Bryant, who added a federal style vestibule to the house, which still stands today, and Caroline Carmichael, who married former U.S. President Millard Fillmore in 1853 in the same parlor where the wedding of Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton took place.
In 1886, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany purchased Schuyler Mansion for $7,000 and utilized it as an orphanage known as 'St. Vincent's Orphanage Asylum,' which was operated by the Sisters of Charity. During the orphanage's administration, the mansion's southeast parlor was converted into a chapel, and all of the fireplaces were bricked up. When the orphanage ran out of space, Schuyler Mansion was temporarily in danger of demolition so that a larger building could be constructed in its place.
Thankfully, on March 22, 1911, the mansion was purchased from the Roman Catholic Diocese by New York State. After a lengthy renovation, Schuyler Mansion was opened to the public as a State Historic Site on October 17, 1917, the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga.