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The Ten Eycks are an influential family of Dutch origins who came to New York in the 1630s. The Patriarch of the American branch of the family, Coenraedt Ten Eyck, came from Holland to settle in New Amsterdam (later renamed New York City). His son, Jacob moved to Albany where he was a silversmith, and the later efforts of several family members gained the family land, wealth, and a positions of power in both the city of Albany and the state of New York as a whole. Using their influence, the Ten Eycks formed several businesses, including the Ten Eyck hotel and the Ten Eyck insurance group, helping to establish the city of Albany as it is known today.
Jacob Coenradt Ten Eyck was the son of Jacob and Geertje Ten Eyck. At fifteen, he was apprenticing as a silversmith, adding to the popularity of the family name and the already considerable wealth that had been accrued by his father, who was a silversmith before him. During his time as a silversmith, Jacob also served as a constable and Chief Fire Officer and, in 1734, was elected to the city council, first as an assistant and later in 1741 as an alderman for the first ward, a position that he held for quite a few years, until he was appointed Sheriff of Albany county in 1747.
Jacob was elected mayor in 1748, appointed by Governor George Clinton. He served as mayor for two years, from October 1748 to October 1750. In 1750, he was again elected alderman for the second ward and served as such until 1762. Other responsibilities he took on while working in politics include acting as the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (November 1752-June 1754) and as judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Jacob C.Ten Eyck was also an anti federalist who played a role in the American Revolution, acting as a member of the Committee of Safety, and signed a list, along with several other Albany anti federalists, opposing the ratification of the Federal Constitution in 1788.
Jacob holding so many positions of prestige made the Ten Eyck name a well-known one, and spurred along the family's influence. Jacob became not only one of the wealthiest business men in Albany, but he also owned properties that had one of the highest property assessments in Albany, as well as many lots and land within the city. He married Catharina Cuyler in 1736 and together they had four children. Jacob was known as a man of integrity right up until his death on September 9, 1783.
Jacob Lansing Ten Eyck was the son of Abraham and Margaret Ten Eyck, and he was born in Albany in 1864. He completed his childhood education in local schools, graduating from Albany high school in 1881.After high school he took on several different jobs, including time as a lumber dealer and a book seller.
Jacob took up an interest in politics and began to study in a law office and, while simultaneously working for the Barber Asphalt Paving company, convinced the law corporation to get asphalt pavement for their businesses in Albany, Troy, and Schenectady. Jacob attended the Albany Law School of Union University and passed the bar in 1888. He became an assemblyman for Albany's Third district in 1895 later chairman of the Democratic city committee in 1900.
Jacob married Kate Dyer in September 1889 and they had one child. Jacob Lansing Ten Eyck died in Albany in 1942.
Peter Gansevoort Ten Eyck (brother to Jacob Lansing) was born in the Gansevoort mansion in Albany, New York on November 7, 1873 to Abraham and Margaret Ten Eyck. His early years of schooling were spent at the Albany Academy for Boys, a preparatory school and he later gained entrance into the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy to study civil engineering.
Peter utilized his degree for several different projects, one of which was working with the superintendent of parks in the city of Albany to design the lay out Beaver Park. He later went on to work for the Mohawk division of the New York Central Railroad, first as an inspector of signals and later advancing to become the supervisor of signals. He continued to advance through the New York Central line until he became the engineer of signals, which made him responsible for the construction, maintenance, and upkeep of all of the railway signals on the Central Line. He worked in signal engineering for fifteen years, moving his employment from the New York Central railroad to the Federal Railway Signal company in 1903, of which he later became vice-president and general manager. Throughout his career, Peter also acted as a railway engineer consultant.
His well known name and interaction with the public in Albany led to Peter's election as a Democrat into the sixty-third Congress of the United States in March 1913, lasting only one term before losing his campaign for re-election to the sixty-fourth Congress in 1914. In 1920, he acted as a delegate the Democratic National Convention, and was reelected to the sixty-seventh Congress in March 1921. He declined the nomination to run for a second term in 1922.
Besides his engineering and political careers, Peter was active in many groups, including the Insurance Federation of the State of New York where he solved state insurance problems and shrank the divide of understanding between insurance companies and the insured, as well as the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association, the Railway Signal Association, the Albany Institute and History and Art society and the Second Dutch Reformed Church. Peter founded the Ten Eyck Group Insurance Agency in 1905. He married Bertha Dederick in 1903 and they had one child, Peter Gansevoort Dederick Ten Eyck, who took over as President of the firm after his father's death on September 2, 1944.
The construction of the Ten Eyck hotel began in 1917 and the building was opened for business in 1918. The hotel was built at 83 State street, on the corner of State and Pearl street, in the place that used to be known as The Elm Tree Corner, a central crossroad in Albany. The Ten Eyck was a seventeen story building that catered to the capital's elite that held a restaurant and oyster bar, as well as hosting many events, dances, and meetings.
The hotel was bought and remodeled by Sheraton in the fifties and lasted as a business until the late sixties. The building was torn down in 1971, and later in that same decade, Ten Eyck plaza was built in its place. Pieces of furniture and serving sets from the hotel are still being sold as collector's items on different auction sites, and the forty foot bar from the hotel was saved before demolition and relocated to The Depot Grille in Staunton, Virginia.
The Ten Eyck Group was established and run by Peter Gansevoort Ten Eyck in 1905. The Group is one of the oldest insurance firms in upstate New York and has changed both leadership and locations many times since its establishment.
Over the years, the firm continued to grow, becoming incorporated in 1932. The company was headed by Peter G. Ten Eyck until his death in 1944, and his son Peter Gansevoort Dederick Ten Eyck became his successor. The company expanded under Peter G.D. Ten Eyck, and the first general manager was hired in the forties. Despite the expansion, however, the company presidency always belonged to a Ten Eyck, going next to Peter G.D.'s son John in 1974. It was John who was the first to pass on leadership to a non-Ten Eyck upon his retirement in 2002.
Today, the Ten Eyck group is located on Western Avenue in Albany, New York and still going strong. They are making efforts to expand marketing beyond its already expansive seventeen counties, and to increase the size of the company by sixty percent.