John J. Pruyn


John J. Pruyn was born in April 1755. He was the son of Johannes S. and Jannetie Van Alstyne Pruyn. He grew up a middle child in the large family of an Albany shoemaker and minor officeholder. His mother was the daughter of a mostly rural Albany County family that traced its roots back to New Netherland. A number of John Pruyns were his Albany County contemporaries. This individual was known as "John J." and also as "John I. Pruyn."

Coming of age at the outbreak of the War, we expect to find substantive information on his wartime activities. Perhaps he was the John Pruyn who was listed as one of the Albany militiamen to be exempted from service in the Fall of 1779. Afterwards, he was among those Albany residents who were accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia regiment.

In January 1778, he was among those constables called before the Albany Committee to take the oath of allegiance.

By 1783, he had married Albany native Ariaantie Verplanck. By 1793, at least five children had been christened at the Dutch church in Albany.

In 1786, he was appointed chimney viewer for the third ward. In November 1798, "John Pruyn" was listed as a baker on a list of eligible jurors. In 1800 and afterwards, Dutch church accounts included payments to "John J. Pruyn" for baking bread sometimes "for sacrament."

Perhaps he was the "John Pruyn" whose properties were valued in two places on the city assessment rolls for 1779 - the house and personal holdings in the third ward and the second ward lot of Samuel and John Pruyn" (perhaps his brother) was accorded a moderate assessment. However, in 1788, his real and personal property on upper State Street appeared on the first ward tax list. Two years later, the census configured his (John J. Pruyn) household in the same location next to the Websters' corner with two men, two boys, a female and one slave.

"John I. Pruyn's wife" died late in 1795. After that, he relocated to the third ward. In 1799, the assessment roll valued only his modest "house and lot." The census in 1800 showed only an adult man and two adolescent sons at the same riverside location.

John J. Pruyn died in March 1802 and was buried from the Dutch church. He had not reached his forty-seventh birthday.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John J. Pruyn is CAP biography number 3559. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 8/10/10