Martinus Lydius
Stefan Bielinski

Martinus Lydius was born in New France (Canada) about 1730. He was the oldest son of John Henry and Genevieve Maase Lydius. Family tradition holds that his father refused to have him baptized by the Catholics.

French authorities viewed John Henry Lydius as a spy and the family was expelled from New France in 1731. Lydius took his new family home to Albany and took up residence in the Lydius house at the Elm Tree corner.

A frontiersman, Martinus spent much of his youth at the family outpost at Fort Edward. Frontier sources reveal that he was captured by raiders in 1745 and taken to Canada. Ransomed by his father, he served his father's interests among the Mohawks and perhaps worked the family mill at Coxsackie.

In 1756, Martinus, or "Canaghguasse" as he was known in the Indian country, was accused of using liquor to persuade some Mohawks to join him on a scalping trip to Canada. He was charged in a subsequent complaint made by the Mohawk chiefs.

Unmarried, he moved in with his mother and brother after John Henry Lydius left for England in 1764. He served in the Albany County Militia, witnessed a number of legal documents, and co-sponsored several baptisms at the Albany Dutch church. In 1772, he sold the land in southern Albany County.

In 1775, he served the Albany revolutionaries as an interpreter. In 1779, he was named on an Albany assessment roll - in his mother's house, and with personal property worth only twenty pounds.

Martinus Lydius was buried in Albany in 1786.


the people of colonial AlbanyThe life of Martinus Lydius is CAP biography number 1709. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

His frontier exploits await further investigation. The core source for these activities has been the Johnson Papers, 9:489-90.

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posted: 2000; last revised 8/3/03