Johannes Bleecker, Jr.
Nan Mullenneaux

Johannes Bleecker was born in Albany in 1668. He was the eldest son of New Netherland pioneer Jan Janse and his American-born wife, Margaret Van Woert Bleecker.

Coming of age quickly as the first son in an emerging Albany business family, Johannes Jr. followed his father in the fur trade - often venturing into the Indian country on Jan Janse's behalf. Over the winter of 1686-87, the eighteen-year-old accompanied Patrick Mc Gregory and a party far into the wilderness to establish trade with the Ottawas. He was taken prisoner by the French and Senecas. Taken to Montreal and released by the French governor, one year later he had returned to Albany. During those years, he was known as an Indian interpreter.

In 1693, he married Albany native Anna Coster. Over the next twenty-five years, their nine children were baptized in the Albany Dutch church where both parents were members.

The family settled into a home on the northwest corner of Pearl Street and Maiden Lane. Johannes Jr. continued trading and sought to move beyond the shadow cast by his prominent father. His ambition was revealed in the ill-fated foray into the Indian country and also by his willingness to accept patronage from the insurgent/pretender Jacob Leisler.

Despite impetuous behavior, this native son was able to establish himself as an Albany mainstay. During the 1690s, Johannes Jr. served on the city council and as an officer in the militia. Groomed for leadership, the provincial governor appointed him recorder of the city in 1700. The next year, he succeeded his father as mayor of Albany and served for one year.

In 1701, he was chosen to represent Albany in the provincial Assembly. He served for a year. Later, he was an Albany property assessor and then census taker for the Five Nations. Although retired from public life, in 1720 he was appointed to the Commissioners of Indian Affairs.

Johannes Bleecker, Jr. died on December 20, 1738 and was buried in the Dutch church cemetery. His younger brother, Rutger, became mayor of Albany in 1726.



the people of colonial Albany The life of Johannis Bleecker, Jr. is CAP biography number 199. This profile is derived chiefly from community-based resources. History has referred to this son of Jan Janse as "Johannes Bleecker, Jr."

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first posted: 3/11/02