Thomas Lottridge

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Thomas Lottridge was born about 1742. He probably was the son or kinsman of Albany innkeeper Robert (or Richard) Lottridge, who died about 1758 leaving a number of children.

By 1764, Thomas was making his way as a trader in the Indian country and was known as the brother of deceased trader John Lottridge at trading posts from Oswego to Detroit. He also was referred to as "Lieutenant" Lottridge.

In July 1766, he married Albany native and ferryman's daughter Maria Bradt at the Albany Dutch church. By 1786, six children had been christened in Albany churches. He was a member of St. Peter's while Maria belonged to the Albany Dutch church where most of their children were baptized.

A few months earlier, he had joined a number of Albany men who signed a document in protest of the Stamp Act. His Albany property was valued in 1766. He also belonged to an Albany militia company.

In 1770, he was licenced to run the ferry from Albany to Greenbush in partnership with Widow Hansen. By 1771, his family was living at the ferry. Operating the ferry seems to have been a lucrative enterprise as in 1780 the annual rent charged to Lottridge and Widow Hansen was 660 pounds. He seems to have retained the license until 1784 or after. In 1782, he was granted permission to put a house on the ferry property. By that time, the ferry license was held jointly with the widow's son, retired officer Dirck Hansen. In 1786, he was asked to settle his accounts relating to the ferry. After that, he was committed to jail for debt.

At the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, he was among those who sought damages against Albany merchants who were charging more than allowed. A year later, he was charged with carrying gunpowder into hostile territory. His handling of the ferry also was placed under closer scrutiny as he seems to have attracted the attention of the Albany Committee of Correspondence. However, afterwards he was accorded a land bounty right for service to the American cause.

Thomas Lottridge died in prison in December 1802 after being confined for fifteen years. He was said to have been about sixty.

His passing was reported in a number of local and regional newspapers. One noted that "During the whole period of his confinement, he was in the most abject poverty; though when committed to prison, he was in possession of considerable property; and it is said, offered his creditor undoubted security to pay his whole debt, on condition of being discharged from arrest, which was refused."


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first posted: 9/5/06