Hugh Denniston was born during the first decades of the eighteenth-century. Conflicting resources make it difficult to determine his parentage!
In October 1757, he married Rachel Van Valkenburgh, daughter of an Albany carpenter. Over the next two decades at least nine of their children were baptized in churches in Albany and Catskill. From 1760 to 1781, he was an occasional sponsor for baptisms of Rachel's family members at the Albany Dutch church.
Notwithstanding his wife's ties to Albany, these Dennistons located in the Catskill area where he was an innkeeper, businessman, and landholder. In 1767, he was a private in the Catskill company of the Albany County militia.
Denniston took an early stand in May 1775 when he signed the Coxsackie Declaration. That document pledged to support the Continental Congress and resist the "oppressive and arbitrary act of Parliament."
On December 1, 1777, Denniston appeared before the Albany committee to complain about a "crazy" Negro wench he had purchased as forfeited property. About that time he had opened a tavern on the corner of Green and Beaver Streets. Governor Clinton and other Revolutionary leaders were entertained at Denniston's establishment beginning in 1778. His first ward property appeared on the Albany assessment rolls for 1779. Later, he posted bail for a number of individuals. Afterward, he received a land bounty right in conjunction with the city regiment of the militia.
Hugh Denniston filed a will in November 1785. It divided the estate among his nine living children. He died in December and was buried from the Albany Dutch church.
first posted: 4/15/03