5. Martin van Buren

Martin van Buren was born on December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, New York in the Hudson Valley between Poughkeepsie and Albany. van Buren was a descendent of one of the early settlers of Dutch New Amsterdam, as his father was a descendent of Cornelis Maessen from the Netherlands who owned land on Manhattan.

Van Buren studied law and apprenticed in New York City in a Democratic-Republican attorney’s office, that of William P. Van Ness, who was a political lieutenant of Aaron Burr. He practiced the law in Kinderhook, got more involved in the county’s political life, and moved to Hudson, New York. In 1812, he was elected to New York State Senate and later New York Attorney General, upon which he moved to Albany. In 1821, he was nominated to the U.S. Senate. Under President Andrew Jackson, van Buren served as Secretary of State, then as Vice President. Jackson, who did not run for a second term, supported van Buren’s nomination for President in 1836.

Van Buren retired to Kinderhook and purchased Lindenwald in 1839 and lived there until his death in 1862. The house was renovated by Richard Upjohn, whose work can be seen throughout New York City. Today, the house is operated by the National Park Service, which runs daily tours of the estate.

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