Ebenezer Jessup was born in July 1739. He was the son of Joseph and Abigail James Jessup and the younger brother and associate of Edward Jessup. He apparently grew up in family homes in Westchester and Dutchess Counties.
By 1761, Ebenezer was married to Elizabeth Dibble who also appears to have been his cousin. The marriage produced at least six children. Their first children were christened in Dutchess County. Beginning during the mid-1760s, he was a member of St. Peter's Anglican church in Albany. During the 1770s, he is said to have given two tracts of land to St. Peter's.
During the early 1760s, he received substantial acreage in what later became Columbia County from his father. In 1764, he and hs brother Edward sold those holdings and moved to Albany. Another brother, Joseph Jessup, was their sometime associate but was less historically visible in an Albany context.
In 1766, Ebenezer's house and property were valued on the Albany assessment roll. With his brother, he held lots along the waterfront and in the unsettled areas of the first ward. Their accounts also were paid from the city treasury. With Albany as his home base, for almost the next decade, the Jessups were raising their family in an Albany home.
During the late 1760s, he began to acquire lands north of Albany (chiefly along the upper Hudson) in what later became Warren County. One of those parcels was known as "Jessup's Patent." They soon granted leases for lands located along the Hudson at today's Luzerne, New York. Working from a budding settlement called "Jessup's Landing," by 1773, the Jessup brothers themselves were sawing and rafting wood down the Hudson. Throughout this period, Ebenezer was a client and business associate of Sir William Johnson - the pre-eminent British operative in the entire northern region.
At the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, Jessup initially contributed toward the relief of Ticonderoga. However, he was known as a royalist adherent and soon took sides with the British.
Early in 1776, Jessup solicited the royal governor offering to raise a soldiers to support the King. Later that year, he enlisted and outfitted 90 men and joined the British on Lake Champlain. By the end of the year, he had taken his family to Canada and never returned to Albany. The last of the lands he held in the city were conveyed to others in 1785.
Ebenezer Jessup was known as a colonel of Loyalist troops and saw considerable action against the "rebels" in the upper Hudson and Champlain valleys. In 1779, he was among those attainted of treason by the State of New York. That act condemened him to death and confiscated his property - thus closing off any ambitions the forty-year-old Jessup might have of re-establishing himself on his upper Hudson Valley lands.
Some sources say that he received an appointment to serve in Calcutta, India where his wife died in 1813. Ebenezer Jessup died in 1818.
Sources: The life of Ebenezer Jessup is CAP biography number 1051. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. The most comprehensive family history was published in 1887 and is available online. Family-based online summary. King's Men summarizes and contextualizes his wartime exploits - all of which took him away from Albany.
first posted: 7/30/09