About this Famous Person
John Peter VAN NESS
United States Representative from New York
Source : Tim DOWLING
Born in Ghent, New York to an old Dutch family. He completed preparatory studies at Washington Seminary and attended Columbia College in New York City. He studied law and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced.
He was elected as a Democratic-Republican to New York's 6th congressional district for the 7th United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Bird and took his seat on October 6, 1801. In April 1802, he was defeated for re-election by Federalist Henry W. Livingston. On January 17, 1803, Van Ness's seat was declared vacant, because in 1802 he had been appointed by President Thomas Jefferson a major of militia in the District of Columbia, and under the U.S. Constitution no member of Congress could hold any federal office. He then made Washington his home and was president of the second council in 1803. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel commandant of the first legion of militia in 1805, brigadier general in 1811, and major general in 1813; he was an alderman of the city of Washington in 1829 and mayor from 1830 to 1834.