James Barkley


James Barkley (Barclay) was born about 1752. We seek information on his background and on how/when he came to Albany.

In November 1788, he married fellow émigré Janet Barker at St. Peter's Episcopal church. Beginning a few months after the wedding, the first of their children were christened at the Albany Presbyterian church.

For the next quarter century, these Barkleys were Albany mainstays. Census returns in 1790, 1800, and 1810 chart the growth of their small family. Assessment rolls valued their second ward house and personal property modestly. In 1813, and until his death, James Barkley was listed in the city directory at 59 Chapel Street

James Barkley was a well-known carpenter. He was a member and trustee of the Albany Mechanics Society. In 1801, he also paid for a grocer's license.

In 1788 and in 1791, he was listed among the first ward firemen. In 1813, he was identified as the "City Superintendent" and as a member of the city Council.

In December 1811, an Albany newspaper reported that a "spaniel dog, belonging to James Barclay, was taken out of a room in an uninhabited house in Albany where he was accidentally confined for 42 days without food or drink. Dog was alive, though too weak to stand. He was recovered."

James Barkley died in January 1814 at the age of sixty-two and was buried in the Presbyterian cemetery plot. His will passed probate in November. Widow Janet carried on in their 59 Chapel Street home until her passing in 1818.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of James Barkley is CAP biography number 7208. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 1/20/08