Johannes Gansevoort was born in April 1721. He was the middle son of Leendert and Catharina De Wandelaer Gansevoort. He grew up learning brewing and business at the family property facing Market Street and along the Albany waterfront.
Johannes followed his father in the family brewery. He made an important business connection in 1750 when he married Maria Douw. The marriage produced only four children before her death in 1759. In 1764, he married Eva Beekman - the mother of two more Gansevoort children. Although his children with Maria Douw were baptized in the Albany Dutch church and he was married and witnessed baptisms there, later Johannes may have been more comfortable at St. Peter's Anglican church where his servant, Hendrick, received services in 1768.
Johannes Gansevoort lived in the third ward and took over the brewery with the death of Leendert Gansevoort in 1762. The next year, his name appeared on a list of Albany freeholders. In 1764, he was identified as an Albany merchant. A few years later, his property was assessed with the most valuable Albany real estate. After serving as constable and firemaster, he was elected assistant alderman in the third ward in 1762 and '63. He also was paid in wheat for services to the city government.
He stood with other Albany mainstays in oppostion to the Stamp Act when he signed the constitution of the Albany Sons of Liberty in 1766. A decade later, he was in his mid-fifties and appeared to not be involved in the crusade for American liberties except to store the "goods and effects" of refugees from Orange County in 1777.
This mainline member of early Albany's "historically mute majority" died in November 1781 at the age of sixty!
Sources: The life of Johannes Gansevoort is CAP biography number 4665. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Unlike the more high-profile members of his family, at this point we still seek literary sources for his life!
first posted: 8/10/03