James Robichaux


Spelled and referred to variously, Albany resident James Robichaux probably was born about 1740. We seek defining information on his origins and path to Albany. However, he most likely belonged to one of the Robichaux families who came to maritime Canada during the first half of the eighteenth century. We are curious regarding the life of a same-named contemporary!

He served as an officer in the Revolutionary army. He was identifed as one of nine captains of the "First Canadian Regiment," also known as "Col. Livingston's additional regiment of line." His date of commission has been given as November 20, 1775. In 1778 and afterward, muster rolls described his company as composed of forty men. He was retired from military service when the regiment was disbanded on January 1, 1781.

Early in January of 1777, he was called "Capt. Robisson" in the Albany Committee minutes when he was "assaulted by negroes." Two days later "Nero" and "Jeremy" were found guilty of the assault and beating. Later in January "Capt. Robesson" petitioned the Committee for expenses for the "abuse committed upon him by negroes."

In October 1777, innkeeper Richard Cartwright asked for a pass for his son and the "daughter of Capt. Robisson" to go to Canada.

In November 1778, he carried a letter to "Financier" Robert Morris who observed to the original sender that "Capt. Robisson, he has after a great deal of difficulty got his wife back again. She is a very Intelligent woman and has made many Shrewd Observations on what is going forward at New York."

His first wife was Margaret who died in August 1795. He then married Hannah P. Usher who died in June 1806. In September 1799, James and wife Hannah witnessed a baptism at the Albany Dutch church.

The city assessment roll in 1788, valued Capt. Robersheau's" house and property mosestly and showed that Dirck Schuyler was living there as well. In 1790, the third ward census configured only the household of a "John Robison" in a location nearby other survey references to James Robicheaux. A decade later in 1800, the census configured Robicheaux's home with no children, but nine men and a woman over the age of forty-five.

In February 1787, the Albany Gazette advertized that "James Robaudet" offered "Dancing and Fencing Lessons at his house at the corner of State and Pearl Streets opposite the city tavern . . . Private lessons at people's own homes available upon appt. Also offers his services to people of Schenectady 3 times a week whenever he can have 20 subscribers."

In October 1796, the first public meeting of Catholics is said to have been held at his house. He was a member and trustee of St. Mary's Roman Catholic church.

A great fire in August 1797 destroyed his "dwellinghouse and stable" on Dock Street.

In February 1799, he testified to the character of Abraham Livingston, who served under him during the war. At that time, he was a resident of the city of Albany.

One-time Albany resident James Robichaux died sometime after 1800. This individual most likely was of French Canadian and Catholic background. However, the many variations of his name and so many same-named contemporaries encountered in our sweep of Internet-based resources all dictate caution and cause us to move on for now leaving many unanswered questions.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of James Robichaux is CAP biography number 1163. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

"Robisson" - not at all certain that the reference (or any of the references to Robisson for that matter) is to the subject of this sketch.

first posted: 6/30/12