Robert Hoaksley


Robert Hoaksley probably was born before 1750. He is said to have come to America in 1765.

In April 1772, he was among those granted a share in the patent for the "township of Townsend" (perhaps in the Schoharie Valley).

By June 1772, Mr. Hoaksley, his wife and her two brothers and sister were identified as members of St. Peter's Anglican church. In April 1773, he was called a vestryman. Perhaps his wife was named Nancy as "N. Hoaksley" witnessed a baptism at the Albany Dutch church in December 1775. Robert Hoaksley also was a member of the Albany masonic lodge.

Also in June 1772, his liquor store in Albany "without the north gate" was advertized in the Albany Gazette. In the house lately occupied by "Louis Van Voor" (opposite the well - so the ad read), he was selling "Medeira and Teneriffe Wines, West India Rum, Holland Geneva, and loaf and Brown Sugar . . . had purchased Mr. Quackenbush's still house and intends to sell rum and cordials as cheap as can be bought in NY . . . [and] has a few hghds ready stilled."

Hoaksley was a British subject. Thus, he could be expected not to have supported what became a revolutionary movement during the mid-1770s. However, his path to the British may have been more hesitant than might have been expected.

In January 1775, he was identified as a member of the Committee of Correspondence for Rensselaerswyck. In June 1776, he was among those who signed the Association and posted a bond for good behavior. By that time, he was known as a slooper. Following the Declaration of Independence and the creation of American governments at all levels, his life became more complicated.

In March 1777, he was sent to Fishkill to load liquor and other merchandise on Capt. Dox's sloop. Two months later, he was identified as the owner of the Hudson River sloop Albany. At that time, the committee seized the sloop and took charge of its rigging, anchor, and sails. The seizure was justified as Hoaksley was "supposed to be gone to the enemy." Richard Tillman was empowered to take his sloop for use as a prison ship. His family was said to be at the house of "Kneer" (perhaps Canier). In September, they were ordered to be sent to join him across enemy lines. In October, the loads of lumber stored in his Albany yard was ordered to be carted away for use by the Committee.

Hoaksley seems to have caught up with the British invasion forces as by December he was in Cambridge, Massachusetts and among those British officers signing a parole. He was identified as "Wagonmaster General." Afterwards, his claim to the British for property loss was allowed.

By March 1781, he was living on Hanover Street in British-occupied New York City and advertizing two pieces of Manhattan real estate for sale. By the end of the year, he was appointing a London-based attorney to handle his legal business.

Afterwards, his name appeared on a New York list of estates forfeited.

Perhaps he was among the London merchants who were insolvent in 1784.

Robert Hoaksley is said to have died in England. We seek information on the later life and passing of this one-time Albany resident.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Robert Hoaksley is CAP biography number 8472. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 4/20/10