Sara Cooper Van Benthuysen


Sara Cooper was born in October 1722. She was the daughter of Obadiah and Cornelia Gardinier Cooper. She grew up a member of a large family in a former soldier's home on the south side of Albany.

In February 1741, Sara was not yet twenty when she married the older Albany native James Parker Van Benthuysen at the Albany Dutch church. By 1767, ten children had been christened in Albany where she was a frequent baptism sponsor as well as a pewholder into the late 1790s. In time, several of her sons became Albany residents.

Van Benthuysen was a skipper and his family made its home near the waterfront in the first ward. He filed a will in 1769 and may have died about that time as a New York newspaper reported that an old skipper named Jacobus Van Benthuysen fell into the river at Poughkeepsie and drowned. Sara was named as his heir and co-executor of his estate.

At the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, Sara had become matriarch of the Albany Van Benthuysen family. Beginning in 1779, the widow Van Benthuysen was identified as the owner of Albany property in the first ward. Otherwise, unlike her adult sons, this fiftish widow was not mentioned in the community-based record for the war years.

In 1788, Sara was named on the assessment roll as the owner of a first ward house. In 1790, she was listed on the first ward census as the head of a still large family. James P. Van Benthuysen's will passed probate that September.

However, by 1800, Sara Cooper Van Benthuysen was off of Albany rolls as only her sons were listed on the census as Albany householders. Sara would have been in her late seventies at that time.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Sara Cooper Van Benthuysen is CAP biography number 506. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 9/10/08