Reportedly of Bohemian origins, Frederic Philipse (1627-1702) was said to have been the wealthiest man in New York during the third quarter of the seventeenth century. In New Netherland when it fell to the Duke of York in 1664, he immediately signed on with the English. Thus, his property titles were confirmed and he was able to add to his fortunes in business, trade, and real estate. He established the Philipse family in the first rank of the colonial aristocracy.
He also staked a claim to participation in the Albany fur trade by purchasing an Albany house. In 1679, his Albany "house" was listed on assessment of householders along with the holdings of Thomas Delavall, George Heathcoat, and a number of other Manhattan magnates. Like the other absentee outsiders, his holdings were assessed at the maximum tax rate. In 1684, his Albany taxes were in arrears. Unlike the others who liquidated their Albany holdings within a few years, the Philipses still owned their Albany property in 1702.
This feature will focus on Philipse's Albany holdings. His wife, a widow born Margarita Hardenburgh, may have been trading in Albany during the 1660s. Perhaps the Albany interests of his brother-in-law, Gerrit Hardenburgh, who also was a housholder in Albany in 1679, had some bearing on Philipse's Albany incursion.
Clearly, Frederic Philipse (the patriarch of the Philipse family of colonial New York) did not have important plans for his Albany initiative and none of his family married into the Albany community.
Sources: Because he probably never visited Albany, the life of Frederic Philipse has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Numerous resources illuminate his long and extremely successful career. The purpose of this sketch is to provide some sense of the person who was the nominal owner of an Albany property in 1679. He has no Albany context as he was an absentee owner par excellence!
first posted: 1/10/07