James Mc Gourck


Spelled variously but distinguished here as "the elder," Albany resident James Mc Gourck was born in Ireland in about 1752. We seek definitive information on his origins and path to Albany. Our lack of certainty here, is inspired by the life of a younger, same-named contemporary.

In his twenties at the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, we expect to be able to connect him to wartime activities.

In December 1785, his two separate accounts for "James McGur___y" were among those ordered paid by the Albany council.

In October 1779 (but not in March), the property of "Jas McGourck" first was valued on the city assessment roll.

Based on internal evidence, the elder James Mc Gourck was a resident of the second ward. In 1788, the second ward property of "James Mc Gurkey" was assessed modestly. At that time, one or more taxed individuals appear to have shared his home. In 1799 and in 1802, his house and lot on Pearl Street and his personal property as well were valued moderately.

In 1790, his household in the second ward was configured on the Albany census and included a man and two unspecified females. A decade later, his census return showed a man over forty-five years of age, a girl, a woman, and two slaves living in his first ward household. At that time, younger, same-named individual appears to have been counted alone in a separate second ward household.

In 1785, he was identified as an "original" member of the First Presbyterian Church.

In September 1794, meetings to organize Union College were held at "the house of James Mc Gourck in Albany." Perhaps this individual was the "James Mc Gouch" who pledged eight pounds toward the establishment of the college in December of that year.

In October 1795, James Mc Gourck of the city of Albany recommended that a Herkimer County merchant be naturalized. The next year, his house was referenced in the newspaper as the staging point for John Clark's mail service between Albany and Boston.

During the early 1800s, a James Mc Gourchy was identified as a grocer on community based documents. In 1803, the name with the occupation of grocer appeared on a freeholder list.

The elder James Mc Gourck died in November 1804 at the age of fifty-two. He was buried in the First Presbyterian plot. His will passed probate a month later.

At this point, we recognize that two same-named individuals were living in the city of Albany during the post-Revolutionary war era. This sketch represents our first attempt to distinguish them within the community context. With unresolved issues, we move on for now!

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of James Mc Gourck has no CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted 8/5/13; updated 2/1/14