William Groesbeck was born in June 1753. He was the first son born to Albany shoemaker/tanner David Groesbeck and his first wife, Catharina Vedder Groesbeck. His mother died in 1754 - shortly after giving birth to his younger brother. His father later re-married. Young William probably learned the elements of the leather trade at his father's shop and tanning pits.
In April 1771, his marriage to Catharina Van Deusen was announced from the pulpit of St. Peter's Anglican church. He was two months away from his eighteenth birthday. By 1784, six children had been christened at the Albany Dutch church, where he later served as the church clerk.
During the War for Independence, he was in his early twenties and probably assisted his father in garnering supplies for the Revolutionary army. Later, he was accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia. He also was identified as a lieuenant in that regiment. In 1777, the Albany Committee appointed him chimney viewer for the second ward.
These Groesbecks lived modestly in various locations along the course of Foxes Creek. In 1797, he was living in a church-owned building on Dock Street that was destroyed by a fire that swept that part of the city. In 1800, his second ward house held only the aging couple and two girls.
William Groesbeck died in July 1802 at the age of forty-nine. His widow survived until 1821.
first posted: 11/5/05