Evert Bancker
Stefan Bielinski

Evert Bancker was born in Albany in 1665. He was the only surviving son of Gerrit Bancker - a pioneer fur trader, and Elizabeth Van Epps - a trader's daughter with ties to the Mohawk Valley. He followed his father in the fur trade and used his earnings to acquire land. His Albany house was located on the South side of today's State Street just east of his father's home.

In September 1686, he married Elizabeth Abeel - a childhood friend and the sister of a future mayor of Albany. Their family was large as they baptized thirteen children in the Albany Dutch Church between 1688 and 1710. He was an officer of the church and the friend of Dominie Johannes Lydius.

Evert lost his father in 1691 but was named co-executor of Gerrit's estate. Upon the death of his mother in 1693, Evert Bancker inherited a substantial family estate that included holdings in Albany and New York. He was among a number of Albany natives who maintained dual residency - being admitted to the "Freedom" of New York City in 1697.

This prosperous export merchant was elected to the Albany Common Council - serving as assistant for the First Ward in 1688 and as alderman beginning in 1689. He was one of the few City Fathers who accepted appointment to the Council during the regime of Jacob Leisler. Re-elected as alderman in 1691, he held that seat until 1707. Bancker was appointed third mayor of Albany in 1694 and served for a year. He was appointed mayor again in 1707 - serving until 1709. He was elected to the provincial Assembly in 1702 and, with his brother-in-law, Johannes Abeel, was appointed master of the provincial chancery court in 1705.

His Albany property figured prominently on city assessment rolls.

With the coming of peace in 1713, he retired from municipal affairs and abandoned the State Street property to his nephew and protege, New York native (and future Albany mayor), Johannes De Peyster. By the 1720s, Evert Bancker's family had relocated to his farm in Guilderland - several miles west of Albany. He continued trading and maintained his position as Commissioner of Indian Affairs (where he had been identified by name since 1696) - making a number of trips to the Iroquois country.

His frontier activities appeared to have peaked during the 1720s when he was known in provincial circles as "Captain" Bancker, called the "Commissary among the Five Nations," and also the commander at Choueguen (Oswego). The French believed he was a spy and were relieved when illness caused him to return home in 1727.

Following the death of his wife in March 1734, 69-year-old Evert Bancker made his last will. The widower left his estate including the "farm where I now live" to his seven living children. Intending to live there under the care of his son, Johannes, he died in July and was buried on the Guilderland farm.

Several of his children became prominent residents of New York City. In later generations, other family members would call Albany home. Merchant, mayor, Indian commissioner, and landholder, Evert Bancker's life and career represented a high point for the Bancker family in early Albany

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first posted: 2/18/00; last revised 10/10/03