Schaats, Gideon

Schaats, Gideon the second pastor of the Reformed Church in Albany, N.Y., was born in Holland in 1597, and at first was a schoolmaster at Beest. Having been ordained by the Classis of Amsterdam, he was sent to this country with the Rev. Samuel Drisius, a man of great learning, who preached in Dutch, English, and French, and was one of the ministers of the Dutch Church in New York from 1652 to 1671, being colleague with Dr. John Megapolensis. Drisius had previously been pastor of a Reformed Dutch Church in London. In addition to preaching in New York, he used to go once a month to Staten Island to preach to the French Vaudois or Waldenses, who had fled to Holland from persecutions in Piedmont, and were by the liberality of the city of Amsterdam enabled to emigrate to the New Netherlands. Mr. Schaats was forty-five years old when he came to this country, and his ministry here extended over thirty years. One of his three children — his eldest son — was killed in the massacre and burning of Schenectady, Feb. 10, 1690. During his pastorate in Albany, the governor (Sir Edmund Andross) compelled dominie Schaats to receive as a colleague the Rev. Nicholas Van Ranslaer, a Church of England man, who was recommended to Andross by the duke of York, and who attempted to obtain a living by laying claim to the pulpit and also to the manor of Rensselaerwyck. Van Ranslaer officiated for about a year, when he died. The people refused to acknowledge him, as also did the Classis of Amsterdam. He was strongly suspected of being a papist in disguise. Mr. Schaats was aided in the controversy with Andross by Rev. William Van Niewenhuysen of New York, who was sent to Albany for the purpose, and incurred the governor's bitterest enmity on this account. The latter part of Mr. Schaats's ministry was marked by congregational and domestic troubles. He died in 1674. See Rogers, Historical Discourse (1858); Corwin, Manual of Reformed Ch.; Murphy, Anthology of New Netherlands. (W.J.R.T.)

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