Col. Peter Matthews
Stefan Bielinski

Peter Matthews was an officer in the garrison at Albany during the second decade of the eighteenth century. He may have been in New York in the early 1690s as a ship captain. Perhaps he was the nephew of Governor Benjamin Fltetcher and accompanied him to America in 1692. By 1697, he was on garrison duty in New York City. In June 1709, he witnessed a will in New York.

Traditional sources note that he was of Ulster Irish ancestry and was married to a woman named "Bridget." Several of their children established themselves in provincial society.

Later in 1709, he was a captain in a company serving on the expedition against Canada. By 1714, he had settled in Albany but retained his command. He was an officer and supporter of St. Peter's Anglican church. He was instrumental in its establishment - brokering the transfer of title to land literally on State Street.

During those years (beginning in 1703), he was a partner in the controversial Wawaywanda Patent for lands located in today's Orange County that were later developed by his son Vincent.

In 1715, he was appointed to the Commissioners of Indian Affairs - a responsibility often bestowed on the commander of the fort at Albany.

Calling himself "Colonel," he filed a will in May 1717. It stated that he was a resident of the "city of Albany." The will passed probate on June 27, 1719. His widow moved to New York where she filed her own will in 1721.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Peter Matthews has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Family information has been usefully compiled and is available online.

His children included Vincent, Edmund, Catherine, Flora, and Fletcher.

Will: "In the name of God, Amen, I Colonel Peter Matthews, of the city of Albany, being of sound and perfect mind, I leave to my dear and affectionate wife, Bridget, all estate, after payment of debts and funeral expenses, and I make her sole executor." Printed in Abstract of Wills, vol. 26, p. 196 and online.

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first posted 12/10/03; last updated 8/27/14