Magdalena Douw Stevenson
Stefan Bielinski

Magdalena Douw was born in May 1750. She was the daughter of Albany leader Volkert P. Douw and his wife, Anna De Peyster. She grew up in Albany and across the river at the family seat called Wolvenhook.

In 1770, this twenty-year-old daughter of the past mayor of Albany married city treasurer's son John Stevenson at St. Peter's Anglican church. Over the next two decades, their children were baptized in Albany churches while Magdalena maintained her pew in the Albany Dutch church.

During the 1770s, Stevenson built a grand home on upper State Street. A self-proclaimed British subject, he was under fire throughout the war years. He was imprisoned, and, for a time, banished to Boston. With her husband's business arrested by the war, Magdalena took her children to the protection of the Douw family who were Revolutionary stalwarts!

After the war, John Stevenson re-surfaced as a manufacturer and as one of the architects of the "new" Albany. The family settled into their landmark home and were attended by many servants.

Magdalena lost her husband in April 1810. She then was identified as the head of her household at 92 State Street. Magdalena Douw Stevenson died in December 1817. The following spring, letters of administration were issued on her estate.



the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Magdalena Douw Stevenson is CAP biography number 2152. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

Two portraits of her by Ezra Ames are described in Ezra Ames of Albany, p. 275.

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first posted: 8/30/03