Henry Abel


Albany native Henry Abel was born in May 1772. He was the son of Andrew and Albany native Anna Marshall Abel. He grew up within the large North End family of a German immigrant leather worker. His father died in 1795 and his mother carried on in Watervliet for many years.

In 1794, he was identified as the city watchman.

He is said to have married Schenectady native Elizabeth Van Petten. Beginning in 1800, their children were christened and buried from the Albany Dutch church. However, we still seek a definitive marriage date.

In August 1797, Henry Abel lived in a house on "Water Vliet St." that was owned and occupied by Philip De Foreest. That property was destroyed in the great fire that razed a large bloc of the old riverfront.

In 1799, his shop and modest personal holdings in the third ward were valued on the city assessment roll. A decade later, his Market Street holdings included a "hay scales."

In 1800, he was a charter member of the Albany Mechanics Society.

The Watervliet census in 1800, shows an age-appropriate man living under the roof of his recently widowed mother. In 1810, his own Albany household was configured on the city census. At that time, it consisted of a young couple and two boys.

Beginning with the first edition in 1813, he was listed in the city directory as the "weigher of hay" at 10 Market Street and later at 10 Orange Street. Nearby was the address of his widowed mother at 10 Orange Street.

In 1815, he was identified as a "fire inspector" in the third ward.

His wife is said to have passed on in 1823 or 1825 (and perhaps in Schenectady). She was buried from the Dutch church in Albany.

In April 1830, his 43-year-old sister, Gertrude Schermerhorn, died at Henry's 10 Orange Street home.

Sixty-year-old Henry Abel died in July 1832. The newspaper obituary fixed the cause of death as cholera. He also was buried from the Dutch church along with his wife and other family members. His will passed probate later that year.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Henry Abel is CAP biography number 2888. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Spelling variations and same-named contemporaries add a degree of difficulty to the Internet-based search search for information.

first posted: 1/24/13