Cornelius Roosevelt

For the Cornelius Roosevelt born in 1915, see Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt.
Cornelius Roosevelt
Born Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt
January 30, 1794
New York City, U.S.
Died July 17, 1871 (aged 77)
Oyster Bay, New York
Education Columbia College
Occupation Businessman
Employer Chemical Bank
Margaret Barnhill
(m. 1821; her death 1861)
Children 6, including James, Robert, Theodore Sr.
Parent(s) James Jacobus Roosevelt
Maria Van Schaack
Relatives See Roosevelt family

Cornelius Van Schaack "C.V.S." Roosevelt (January 30, 1794 – July 17, 1871) was an American businessman from New York City. He was also a member of the prominent Roosevelt family and the paternal grandfather of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

Early life

Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1794, in New York City, to James Jacobus Roosevelt and Maria Helen Van Schaack.[1] He was the last full-blooded Dutch Roosevelt of his line.[2] His great-grandfather was Johannes Roosevelt, the founder of the Oyster Bay branch of the Roosevelt family. Through his grandfather Cornelius Van Schaack Jr., he was a grandnephew of Peter van Schaack and great-great-grandson of Maria Schuyler from the Schuyler family.[1] Through Maria, he was a great-great-great-grandnephew of Dutch-American settler Philip Pieterse Schuyler.[3]

Cornelius's younger brother, James John Roosevelt, served as a United States Congressman from New York from 1841 until 1843.[4] He attended Columbia College but academic life did not suit him, and he did not graduate.[5]


In 1818, after leaving college, he became his father's partner in importing hardware.[5] "Economy is my doctrine at all times," he once said, "at all events till I become, if it is to be so, a man of fortune." At his insistence, the focus of the business changed from hardware to plate glass.[6] After his father's death in 1840, he inherited a large fortune, and was one of the five richest men in New York City.[7][8] He continued to work in the business until his retirement in 1865.[5]

In the Panic of 1837, he bought many lots in Manhattan for building.[6]

In 1844, when New York Chemical Manufacturing Company's original charter expired, the chemical company was liquidated and was reincorporated as a bank only, becoming the Chemical Bank of New York in 1844.[9] Roosevelt was among the bank's first directors under its new charter along with John D. Wolfe, Isaac Platt and Bradish Johnson, as well as the bank's president John Q. Jones.[10] The company sold all remaining inventories from the chemical division as well as real estate holdings by 1851 and later became the present day Chase Bank.[7]

Personal life

On October 9, 1821,[11] he married Margaret Barnhill (1799–1861), a daughter of Robert Craig Barnhill (1754–1814) and Elizabeth Potts (1758–1807).[12] Margaret was a descendant of English and Irish Quakers[6] as well as a descendant of Thomas Pott, of Wales. Together, Cornelius and Margaret had six sons:

When each of his sons married, he bequeathed them houses in New York.[18]

On July 17, 1871, Cornelius died at his home in Oyster Bay, New York. The New York Times memorialized him as a "merchant of the old school".[5] His estate was valued at between $3 million and $7 million.[19]


Roosevelt's grandchildren include John Ellis Roosevelt (1853–1939), president of the Elkhorn Valley Coal Land Company, William Emlen Roosevelt (1857–1930), a banker and president of Roosevelt & Son, Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), the future President of the United States from September 14, 1901 until March 4, 1909,[20] and Granville Roland Fortescue (1875–1952), an author and soldier. One of his great-granddaughters was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. One of his 2x great-grandson was Sir Humphrey Clarke, 5th Baronet (1906–1973).[21]


  1. 1 2 "Theodore Roosevelt Family". Alamanac of Theodore Roosevelt. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  2. Schriftgiesser, Karl (1942). The Amazing Roosevelt Family, 1613–1942. Wildred Funk, Inc.
  3. Jonathan Pearson, Chap. 9, "Burning of Schenectady", History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times, 1883, pp. 244-270
  4. "ROOSEVELT, James I. - Biographical Information". United States Congress. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "OBITUARY | Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt." The New York Times. July 18, 1871. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 McCullough 2001, p. 24.
  7. 1 2 Meyers, Cornelius V. (1902). Theodore Roosevelt, Patriot and Statesman: The True Story of an Ideal American. P.W. Ziegler & Co.
  8. Hubert, Philip G. (1903). The Merchants' National Bank of the City of New York.
  9. Chemical National Bank of New York to Pay Interest on Deposits. Bankers Magazine, Volume 94, 1917
  10. History of the Chemical Bank 1823–1913. Privately Published by The Chemical National Bank, 1913
  11. "Cornelius Van Schaak Roosevelt/Margaret Barnhill".
  12. "Barnhill family". Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  13. "Silas Weir Roosevelt". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  14. "Elizabeth Norris Emlen Roosevelt". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  15. "WILL OF JAMES A. ROOSEVELT.; Mrs. Roosevelt Receives Half of the Real Estate, Besides Other Property. Trust Funds for Heirs" (PDF). The New York Times. July 28, 1898.
  16. "Cornelius Van Schaak Roosevelt". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  17. "POTTS FAMILY SHORT STORY". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  18. McCullough 2001, p. 20.
  19. McCullough 2001, p. 126.
  20. Murray, Robert K; Blessing, Tim H (2004). Greatness in White House. Pennsylvania State U.P. pp. 8–9, 15. ISBN 978-0-271-02486-8.
  21. "The Blacketts of North East England". Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  • McCullough, David (2001). Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0671227114. 
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