William Benson


William Benson probably was a British businessman who settled in Albany after the Seven Years War. He may have come to Albany as the representative of New York-based trading interests with which William Benson was connected as early as 1759.

By the mid-1760s, he had settled in as his first ward holdings were assessed with the top five percent of the city's householders. In 1766, he signed the constitution of the Albany Sons of Liberty. In 1767, he belonged to an Albany militia company.

He was a member and officer of St. Peter's Anglican church. He also was a prominent member and the secretary of the Albany Masonic lodge.

During the 1760s, he was identified as one of the petitioners for a tract of frontier land in the Schoharie valley. In 1771, he was listed with the petitioners for a tract that became "Bayard's Patent." In June 1772, he was referenced in a land transaction for property along the Hosack Road. At that time, the notation was to "creditors of William Benson late of the City of Albany.

William Benson's immediate prominence in Albany over a short period of time justifies this admittedly premature baseline sketch. We seek information on his origins and life after Albany!

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of William Benson is CAP biography number 7332. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Again, we seek more defining information on this individual. Did he marry Mary Stewart in 1759? Was he one of the recipients of a tract of land in Nova Scotia in 1787? Because he was not listed on a St. Peter's membership roll in 1771, he probabaly had left Albany by that time. Was he the William Benson whose household was configured on the Ballstown census in 1790? Or, was he a descendant of Dirck Bensing - a resident of Beverwyck?

first posted: 12/10/05