Anthony Armstrong Rutgers, IV
|Birthplace:||New York, New York, NY, USA|
|Death:||Died in Bermuda|
|Cause of death:||Died from wounds suffered in maritime attack by French off of Curaçao|
|Managed by:||John Foster Ringwalt|
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About Anthony Armstrong Rutgers, IV
Descended from a Dutch family that had settled in New Amsterdam in the 1630s and risen to affluence from brewery profits wisely invested in Manhattan real estate. A well-traveled merchant who at one time lived in Curaçao, Dutch Antilles, Rutgers was a founding shareholder in the lucrative Tontine Coffee House [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tontine_Coffee_House].
Yale University has a locket with Rutgers' portrait with the name "Cornelia M Rutgers," engraved on the reverse, revealing that he gave his portrait to his new wife, twenty-year-old daughter of Hugh Gaine, an editor, publisher, and printer, probably on the day she took his name (Note that he and his wife also had a daugther named Cornelia Mathilda Rutgers and thus the locket may have belonged to the daughter instead of the wife).
When they were married on April 17, 1790, Rutgers's "Schooner-----, which lay in the East River, was decorated in honor of the occasion, with a very numerous variety of the colors of all nations, and exhibited a most beautiful appearance." Increasingly by the turn of the century, a wedding on this scale would have been commemorated by the presentation of a miniature.
At home in Curaçao, Cornelia Rutgers likely cherished her husband's portrait during his absences at sea overseeing his business affairs. Growing tensions between France and the United States in the late 1790s led French privateers to prey on American ships in the Caribbean, attacks that were met with armed resistance by American crews.
Tragically, Anthony Rutgers was mortally wounded aboard the schooner Flying Fish in an encounter with the French ship Henrietta when a gun burst in his hand on May 3, 1799. He died in Bermuda eight days later, leaving his pregnant wife widowed.
She returned to New York with their children.