Gysbert G. Marselis
Like several members of his family, Gysbert G. Marselis was a skipper - running a sloop on the Hudson between Albany and New York. This entailed conducting business with importers and arranging for the transport of items overland to clients including Sir William Johnson.
This Marselis family made its home on Pearl Street in the second ward. They were Albany mainstays for four decades from the 1760s to after 1800. He sometimes was referred to as "Gysbert G." or Gysbert Jr." to prevent confusion with several same-named individuals.
We believe that he was the person appointed firemaster in 1763. In 1769, he was elected assistant alderman. In 1770, Gysbert G. was chosen alderman and re-elected thru 1775. He was active in council work until it suspended operations at the end of the year. After the war, he again was elected to the city council. During the 1760s, he was recommended for the appointment as county justice. At that time, he also was identified as a trader. In 1767, he was listed on the roster of an Albany militia company.
In 1775, he stepped forward and was elected to the Committee of Correspondence. He served for more than a year. He was called barracks master and was placed in charge of repairs to the barracks and the jail. He appeared to be a revolutionary supporter when he signed the General Association in 1776 - copies of which were available, it was noted, at his landmark house.
However, his fortunes began to change in 1778 when he was cited to appear before the Commissioners of Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies. Like many skippers, he was suspected of disloyality and of seeking to trade with the enemy. He was tendered the "oath of allegience." But, upon reflection, he refused to sign. He was ordered to be removed from the community. The outcome of that order remains unclear.
After the war, he re-established his position in the community and may have owned additional real estate in the city of Albany as well. Well into his fifties, he may not have returned to the river. In 1788, the only Gysbert Marselis listed on the Albany assessment roll was a boarder in the house of his widowed mother. However, in 1790 and 1800, he was identified as a head of household in the second ward.
Gysbert G. Marselis buried his mother in 1800. He died in March 1802 and was buried by his widow. Letters of administration were issued on his estate in February 1803.
Sources: The life of Gysbert G. Marselis is CAP biography number 720. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
first posted: 2/10/07