William Mc Kown
William Mc Kown is said to have been born in March 1762 or 1763. He then would have been the son of John Mc Kown who is said to have been born in Scotland in 1721, came to America in 1767, and to have died in Albany County in 1808.
William's wife was Catherine Spring. Between 1787 and 1797 four children were baptized by William and Catherine in the First Presbyterian Church. In 1800, his wife was listed as a new member. He was known in the church as an innkeeper.
In April 1786, his property was known as "Five Mile House" when the Albany city Council granted his petition to build a barn on his lot. In November 1787, the city government authorized repairs to the road from Albany to his house and then from his house to Schenectady.
In 1794, Albany explored having water drawn from a spring at the Five Mile House and carried by aqueduct to the city. No further mention of that initiative has been uncovered.
In 1797, he was identified as an innkeeper and as a freeholder in the second ward. By that time, his inn was a landmark stop on the road to Schenectady and perhaps the westernmost anchor in a settlement of newcomer Scots that began just above the recently developed public square and dotted the road west with modest homes and farms.
In 1800, the census showed his household included nine males and three females members.
In 1800 and 1801, he was identified as a licensed tavernowner.
After that, his name drops from Albany rolls and is more closely connected to the town of Guilderland which was erected in 1803.
William "Billy" Mc Kown appears to have died in 1843. He was buried in a family plot in Guilderland. His will passed probate in Albany County in October of that year. His family were the legendary founders of the hamlet of Mc Kownville - located just west of the present city limits on Western Avenue along today's US Route 20.
Sources: The life of William Mc Kown has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
[ Newpaper articles by the town historians ]: "Almost 200 years ago, hungry travelers on the Great Western Turnpike sought repast at "Billy" McKown's hotel and tavern located on the land where Western Ave, meets Fuller Road in the Town of Guilderland. Today, Burger King, located on that same acre of land, dispenses food to hungry Western Turnpike travelers.
This week, there will be on exhibit several wooden water pipes, which date back about 150 years. This should be an interesting exhibit, especially to oldtimers, who can remember when many municipalities were equipping their water systems with this form of piping. The exhibit will be located in the area of the farm museum and antique farm machinery exhibit, at the south end of the Fairgrounds. These specimens of wooden water pipe were taken from the ground beside the McKownville water filtration plant in 1966.
first opened: 11/30/10