The city of Rensselaer and our fine school are both named after James Van Rensselaer. James van Rensselaer was the grandson of Kilian Van Rensselaer, the founder of Rensselaer, New York. James Van Rensselaer came to Indiana after the Panic of 1837 left his business in ruins. He assumed responsibility of the land, previously handled by Joseph D. Yeoman, and established the City of Rensselaer in 1839. He passed away in 1847 and is currently buried on the property of the First Presbyterian Church in Rensselaer, Indiana.