John Milne
Stefan Bielinski

John Milne was an Anglican missionary and rector of St. Peter's church in Albany from late in 1727 to 1736. Previously, he had taught school and was thought to have had some medical training as well.

After the long illness and death in 1726 of Rev. Thomas Barclay, Milne's arrival was a welcome sight for Albany's growing English-speaking population. As with most Anglican clerics, Milne also was a missionary serving at Fort Hunter and Schenectady as well as in Albany.

Milne served well in these posts for almost a decade - increasing church membership, focusing on education, and rebuilding an Albany church damaged by fire in 1731.

On November 1, 1728, he married Maria Van Cortlandt, the widow of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer at the Albany Dutch church.

In 1736, he began serving as missionary to Monmouth, New Jersey. Soon after, he left Albany for the rectorship of Shrewsbury Christ Church. He preached there until April 1744 and then left Anglican service.

In 1744, he was identified as the resident farmer on Castle Island by Dr. Alexander Hamilton - the traveller and a friend. He called his host's home "Milne's Island." Hamilton's observations offer some perspective on Milne's character. Hamilton found Milne to be an avid agriculturalist who grew wheat and peas. He also learned that Milne had practiced medicine in Albany for many years.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Milne has no CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from community-based resources and from Frederick Lewis Weis, The Colonial Churches and the Colonial Clergy of the Middle and Southern Colonies, 1607-1776(Lancaster, MA, 1938; reprinted Baltimore, 1978). We seek defining information regarding his origins, marriage, and passing!

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first posted: 4/15/04