William Fowler


William Fowler was born about 1774. He is said to have been born in February in Eastchester, Westchester County, New York.

Thus, he would have worked in the manufacture of morocco (generally, fine leather tanned with sumac) in New York City. He is said to have come to Albany in 1793 but lost his resources in a fire during the 1790s. He is said to have be re-capitalized by John Jacob Astor and to have been in the wool and fur business with Benjamin Knower for many years. Again, according to the most traditional of sources, he prospered and was able to retire in 1824.

He is said to have married Margaret Stevenson in 1796. Their son, "Samuel Stevenson Fowler," was christened in Albany in 1799. Another son became a prominent cleric. In August 1818, their daughter became the first wife of jurist Samuel A. Foote. Another son (William) died in 1823. These Fowlers were members of the Albany Presbyterian church.

In 1799, his house and lot were accorded modest assessments. In that year, the newspaper advertized that "William Fowler informed his friends and the public that he had for sale at his shop, No. 9 Court street, the following articles, viz: Leather Breeches, warranted to be good; buck and sheep skins, dressed; gloves, mittens, mocasins; and every other article in his line, either ready made or furnished on the shortest notice, on reasonable terms. A consignment of 400 Racoon skins; a variety of Paper Hangings kept constantly on hand at the New York prices." This merchant also was known as a "skinner" and "glover."

In 1800, his third ward household included six members. Subsequent censuses detailed the changing demographics of his family.

During the 1800s, these Fowlers bought and sold a number of parcels of land - mostly in the first ward.

During the early 1800s, he was a member of the Albany Mechanics Society and of the Albany Masonic Lodge.

Beginning with the first edition in 1813, city directories identified him as a merchant at 33 Court (later 409 South Market) Street. He also was listed as the owner of a "moro factory" on/at Ferry Street.

In 1811, he was elected one of the first directors of the Mechanics & Farmers Bank and served for a number of years.

Over the remainder of his long life, Fowler was a director and trustee of a number of Albany-based civic organizations.

Margaret Fowler died in January 1852. She had lived 76 years. On October 1, 1861, the Albany newspaper noted that William Fowler had died at the age of eighty-seven. His will was probated in Albany County.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Willim Fowler is CAP biography number 2598. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 2/15/12