Frederick Philipse III

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Frederick Philipse III
Frederick Philipse III.jpg
3rd Lord of the Philipsburg Manor
In office
Preceded byFrederick Philipse II
Succeeded byAbolished
Personal details
Born(1720-09-20)September 20, 1720
New York City, Province of New York, British America
DiedApril 30, 1785(1785-04-30) (aged 64)
St. Oswald’s Parish, Chester, England
Elizabeth Williams Rutgers
(m. 1764)
ParentsFrederick Philipse II
RelativesPhilip Philipse (grandfather)
Percy Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford (grandson)
OccupationLandowner, merchant

Frederick Philipse III (September 20, 1720 – April 30, 1785) was the third and last Lord of Philipsburg Manor, a 52,000 acres (21,000 ha) hereditary estate in lower Westchester County, New York, and a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War.[1]

Early life[edit]

Frederick Philipse III was the son of Frederick Philipse II (1698-1751), 2nd Lord of Philipsburg Manor, and Johanna Brockholst.[1]

John Jay, a Founding Father of the United States who was the co-author of the Treaty of Paris and the Federalist Papers, as well as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and second American Governor of New York, was a cousin, on his maternal side.[2]

Family inheritance[edit]

Philipse Manor Hall, the Lower Mills manor house, Getty Square neighborhood of Yonkers
Philipsburg Manor House at the Upper Mills in today's village of Sleepy Hollow, New York
Map of Philipsburg Manor with current borders overlaid on the property
Map of Highland Patent (showing the Oblong and Gore)

When his father died in 1751, he inherited Philipsburg Manor, a 52,000 acres (21,000 ha) hereditary estate comprising much of southern Westchester County, the accompanying title, and commercial interests, including the share of family holdings his father had received from Adolphus Philipse, a bachelor uncle and son of Frederick I, the first Lord of Philipsborough.

He did not receive his uncle's 250 sq mi (650 km2) “Highland Patent”, a tract later known as the Philipse Patent, which became today's Putnam County, New York, it was divided among three of his siblings: Philip, Susannah (wife of Beverley Robinson), and Mary (wife of Col. Roger Morris).


Philipse was a member of the Assembly of the colonial Province of New York, and a Colonel in the militia.

American Revolution[edit]

Like the rest of his family, Philipse was a Loyalist during the American Revolution, he was arrested and imprisoned by Colonial authorities on August 9, 1776, on order of George Washington.[3]:23 After numerous charges and many travails he was paroled on December 23 by Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, where he had been held.[3]:24 In the spring of 1777 he warned the British garrison at Knightsbridge of an impending Colonial raid, his note was intercepted, causing Philipse and his family to flee to British-held New York City, never to return to their estate.[3]:27 There they moved into Philipse's large house at Whitehall and Stone Streets, where they spent the rest of the war. Philipse integrated himself and his wife into Loyalist society, purchased commissions in the British army for his five sons, and their daughters were "the talk of New York's winter balls as they had been in pre-war days".[3]:27

Victim of an effort led by his own cousin, John Jay,[3]:28 Philipse was attainted by the Provincial Congress of New York in 1779 and his Manor and other lands in today's Westchester County were seized.[4] Several months later their sale was ordered.[5]

Philipse family holdings belonging to other members, principally the Highland Patent, were also seized by the Commissioners of Forfeitures. Sale was withheld during the war, as its outcome was uncertain, confiscated lands had been pledged as collateral against monies borrowed by the provisional government to finance the conflict,[6] and tenants lobbied for the right of preemptive purchase of leased land.[7]

Sale proceeded after the Revolution ended. In spite of assurances of restitution in the 1783 Treaty of Paris signed with the British,[8] and the enormous sum raised – the better part of a quarter of a million pounds Sterling[9] – New York's Provisional Congress reneged and no payment from them was forthcoming.[10] Later, it is claimed by Bielinski, Philipse was "compensated handsomely by the crown" for his loss. No amount was specified, only a prior reference by him to a royal pension granted Philipse for his "attachment to his majesty's government" that only reached 200 pounds by 1782, a minute fraction of the over 220,000 pound loss he had suffered via attainder.[3]:31

Some 35,000 or so acres of the Philipse estate were purchased by almost 200 tenant farmers who had previously worked their parcels, which averaged 170 acres apiece.[3]:30[11] In all, there were 286 new properties owners, 16 of which could be characterized as outside speculators, who acquired some six percent of the land. Two of these, however, acquired prime parcels, Cornelius Low the Manor Hall and Gerard Beekman the Upper Mills.[3]:31

Historian Beatrice G. Reubens argues that the confiscation of Loyalist estates was a major reform for social and economic equality upstate New York; the state law of 1779 permitted attainted as well as patriot tenants on confiscatory lands to have the first right to purchase farms on which they resided. About 80 percent of the new owners of Philipsburgh Manor (Philipse Manor) were small farmers, most of whom had been tenants.[12]

Personal life[edit]

In 1764, Philipse was married to Elizabeth (née Williams) Rutgers, the twenty four year old widow of Anthony Rutgers,[13] she was the daughter of Charles Williams, Esq., a naval officer for the Port of New York.[13] Together, Elizabeth and Frederick were the parents of:[14]

  • Frederick Philipse, who married Hariet Griffiths of Rhent, North Wales
  • Philip Philipse (d. 1829), an officer in the Royal Artillery
  • Charles Philipse, who drowned in the Bay of Fundy
  • John Philipse, Captain, who was killed in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805
  • Maria Eliza Philipse, who married Lionel, Viscount of Strangford (1753–1801), on September 4, 1779
  • Sarah Philipse, who married Mungo Noble
  • Charlotte Margaret Philipse (d. 1840), who married Lieutenant Webber of England
  • Elizabeth Philipse (d. 1828), died in Bath, England
  • Catherine Phillips, who died young.[14]

On April 30, 1785, at the age of sixty-five, Frederick Philipse III died in St. Oswald’s Parish in Chester, England, three years after the Treaty of Paris in 1783. After losing his New York holdings due to his loyalist stance during the American Revolution, Frederick III and his family relocated to the area, where he spent the remainder of his life. On May 2, 1786, he was buried in Chester Cathedral (most likely in the South transept, which was the parish church during that period).[15] In 1787, a British court decided that the inheritance rights of heirs to property that was confiscated by the Americans during the American Revolution was recoverable.[15]


  1. ^ a b Purple, Edwin R., "Contributions to the History of the Ancient Families of New York: Varleth-Varlet-Varleet-Verlet-Verleth," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 9 (1878), pp. 120-121 [1]: FREDERICK PHILIPSE, born Sept. 12, bap. Sept. 14, 1720. The sponsors at his baptism were Adolphe Philipse and Susanna Brokholls. From Sabine's Loyalists, we learn that though holding an elevated position in Colonial society, he was not a prominent actor in public affairs; He was, however, a member of the Assembly and Colonel in the militia. On account of his loyalty to the British crown during the war of the Revolution, his estate, one of the largest in the province, was confiscated by the New York Legislature, and upon the withdrawal of the British troops from New York in 1783, he went to England, where he died at the city of Chester, April 30, 1785, he married ELIZABETH RUTGERS, a widow, the dau. of CHARLES WILLIAMS, ESQ., and had with other issue, Frederick, Jr., for an account of whom see Burke's Dictionary of the Landed Gentry, etc., and Bolton's History of Westchester, vol. 1, p. 322.
  2. ^ Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site website: [2] "On April 28, 1774, John Jay (founding father, coauthor of the Treaty of Paris, co-author of the Federalist Papers, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, & second American Governor of New York) married Sarah Van Brugh Livingston (daughter of first Governor of New Jersey.) John Jay was also Frederick Philipse III’s cousin: John Jay’s great-grandparents on his mother’s side were Frederick Philipse I and Margaret Hardenbroek (Frederick III’s great-grandparents on his father’s side). You can tour the home where John Jay retired with his family: John Jay Homestead SHS in Bedford, NY"
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h An American Loyalist: The Ordeal of Frederick Philipse III, Stefan Bielinski, New York State Museum (1976)
  4. ^ Description of the Abstract of Sales, Commissioners of Forfeiture [3] "An Act for the forfeiture and sale of the estates of those who have adhered to the enemies of this state" was passed by the Provincial Congress on October 22, 1779. The law seized the land of fifty-nine loyalists, and, if they were found guilty of loyalism, banished them from the State of New York upon penalty of "death without benefit of Clergy."(5) Among those attainted was Frederick Philipse, owner of the Manor of Philipsburg, the largest tract of land in Westchester County.(6) Also on October 22, 1779, writes historian Vivienne L. Ratner, "the Governor was authorized to appoint Commissioners of Forfeitures to dispose of the confiscated estates," with tenant farmers, "who had leased…and improved the land," given first priority to purchase their tracts."
  5. ^ Description of the Abstract of Sales, Commissioners of Forfeiture [4] "A law passed on March 10, 1780, called for the immediate sale of portions of the forfeited lands to pay for apparel and provisions needed by the troops.(8) On March 18, 1780, the United States Congress passed an Act which mandated the issuance of new currency, backed by the credit of the states to which the bills were allotted. Each state was to pay off one-sixth of the bills annually. On June 15, 1780, the New York legislature reserved the larger of the forfeited estates, including that of Frederick Philipse, as collateral for the redemption of the bills issued by New York in pursuance of the act of Congress of March 18, 1780; the Commissioners of Forfeitures, however, were not permitted to sell any of the mortgaged lands until further instructions from the Provincial Congress."
  6. ^ Description of the Abstract of Sales, Commissioners of Forfeiture [5] "Sales of the estates set aside on June 15, 1780, and of other forfeited lands were authorized by the state legislature on October 7, 1780. The Governor was to appoint commissioners to sell forfeited lands for gold, silver, or Congressional bills of credit, in order to pay off one-sixth the bills issued in pursuance of the act of Congress of March 18, 1780; these early transactions were not conducted by the Commissioners of Forfeitures, but rather by "commissioners of specie" who bridged the gap between the Commissioners of Sequestration and the Commissioners of Forfeitures. The majority of the forfeited estates, however, were not disposed of until after the conclusion of the war."
  7. ^ Description of the Abstract of Sales, Commissioners of Forfeiture [6] "On March 31, 1781, the right of tenants to preemption of purchase of their farms was again affirmed and the procedure for such sales further described. An act of the Provincial Congress on April 14, 1782, mandated that none of the seized lands in the Southern District was to be sold 'until the further order of the legislature.'"
  8. ^ Description of the Abstract of Sales, Commissioners of Forfeiture [7] "'Article V of the peace treaty signed by Britain and the United States in Paris on September 3, 1783, insists on 'the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated belonging to real British subjects" and to noncombatant loyalists. Tories who fought the United States were to be given one year to reclaim their property and leave the country. Payments were to be made to loyalists whose estates had already been sold. Article VI prohibited any future confiscations."
  9. ^ Description of the Abstract of Sales, Commissioners of Forfeiture [8] "The Commissioners of Forfeitures ceased operation on September 1, 1788, by an act of March 21, 1788. They had sold nearly all the tracts of land entrusted to them, raising large amounts of revenue for the state of New York. Philipse Manor alone brought in ?234,170 18 s.
  10. ^ Description of the Abstract of Sales, Commissioners of Forfeiture [9] "Many citizens of New York, however, still harbored strong resentment against the loyalists, leading the Provincial Congress to effectively nullify the Treaty of Paris of 1783 by an act of May 12, 1784."
  11. ^ Description of the Abstract of Sales, Commissioners of Forfeiture [10] "These farmers were not poor as one might expect. A combination of advantageous economic and geographic circumstances ensured that few Westchester County farmers had financial problems; many were well-to-do and some agricultural families were quite wealthy.(15) When tenant farmers could not afford or did not wish to purchase their lands, the tracts were sold to wealthy landowners, Revolutionary leaders, and businessmen from New York City.(16) Most of the buyers of confiscated estates were men. The only women to buy tracts of forfeited estates in the Southern District were either widows or administratrices of estates, or were pooling their resources with male family members to purchase a tract of land."
  12. ^ Beatrice G. Reubens, "Pre-Emptive Rights in the Disposition of a Confiscated Estate, Philipsburgh Manor, New York." William and Mary Quarterly (1965), 22#3 pp 435-456. online
  13. ^ a b Hall, Edward Hagaman (1912). Philipse Manor Hall at Yonkers, N.Y.: The Site, the Building and Its Occupants. American scenic and historic preservation society. p. 117. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  14. ^ a b 13th Annual Report 1908, of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, J.B. Lyon & Company, Albany, 1908 American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, Annual Report 1908
  15. ^ a b Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site website

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Kim, Sung Bok. "A new look at the great landlords of eighteenth-century New York." William and Mary Quarterly (1970) 27#4: 581-614. online

External links[edit]