The grant was named Rensselaerwyck in his honour, became a "manor" in 1685, and remained in the family until 1853.
The colony of Rensselaerwyck was the only one that prospered under the patroon system.
The greater part of the land in this section was comprised in vast estates such as Rensselaerwyck, Livingston, Scarsdale, Phillipse, Pelham and Van Cortlandt manors, and on these the leasehold system with perpetual leases, leases for 99 years or leases for one to three lives had become general.
Stephen van Rensselaer, the proprietor of Rensselaerwyck, had suffered the rents, especially those of his poorer tenants, to fall much in arrears, and when after his death (1839) the agents of his heirs attempted to collect them they encountered violent opposition.
He was fifth in descent from Killian Van Rensselaer (c. 1580-1645), the original patroon of Rensselaerwyck, New York, who acquired his large estates between 1630 and 1637.
He had a bitter controversy with the patroon of Rensselaerwyck, who claimed to be independent of the West India Company.
Returning from an expedition to Three Rivers he was captured by Mohawks, who tortured him and kept him as a slave until the summer of 1643, when, aided by some Dutchmen, he escaped to the manor of Rensselaerwyck and thence to New Amsterdam.
A minister, John van Mekelenburg (Johannes Megapolensis) migrated to Rensselaerwyck manor in 1642, preached to the Indians - probably before any other Protestant minister - and after 1649 was settled in New Amsterdam.