Pierre Van Cortlandt (1721-1814) was one of the aristocrats of the Hudson Valley, presiding from his estate near Croton, N.Y. His marriage to Joanna Livingston united two of the Valley's elite lineages, and his connections to the Schuylers and other prominent families ensured his standing.
Despite British efforts to win his support during the Revolution, Van Cortlandt sided with the colonists, accepting a commission as Colonel of the 3rd Regiment, Westchester Militia. Following the war, he was rewarded for this prescient choice, becoming the first Lieutenant Governor of New York state, and for many years thereafter, he was a loyal supporter of the political titan, George Clinton. Van Cortlandt was noted for his graciousness and hospitality.
After the war, Pierre's son, Gilbert, entered into a business partnership with a fellow Revolutionary veteran and relative, Andrew Billings. The partnership proved to be both brief and unfruitful. Gilbert's death, some time before 1790, apparently left Billings saddled with expenses, leaving him to plead with Pierre and later, Pierre, Jr., to help settle the debt.