Jan Rosie
by
Stefan Bielinski


Born about 1654, Jan Rosie was a prominent French-ancestry resident of colonial Albany.

By 1671, he was identified as a "frenchman" living in Albany when he was called before the Albany court to answer questions about the Mohawks and the French. During that time, he appears to have moved between New York, New France, and the Indian country. Because of his nationality, he occasioned more scrutiny than most other newcomers - thus creating another set of records absent from the lives of people of similar means. In 1679, he swore allegiance to the King of England and applied to the Albany magistrates for a cartman's license.

During the 1680s, he acquired a houselot on Albany's southside. He also "owned" Albany pasture land. Later in the decade, he purchased two farm parcels on the Mohawk at Niskayuna. By 1683, he had joined the Albany Dutch church and was considered one of its principal members. With his wife, Elizabeth, he witnessed a number of church baptisms.

Jan Rosie was known more widely as an interpreter who frequently travelled to New France on Albany's behalf. Those travels were a risky business! In 1687, he was imprisoned in Canada for five weeks. As war with the French became more imminent, he was examined by New York authorities but found to be a "very honest man."

Over the next decade, he often was called on to carry dispatches to Canada while building a successful life in Albany's first ward. In 1697, Jan and Elizabeth were alone in their first ward home. He served the community as a juror, firemaster, surveyor, constable, and high constable. By the early 1700s, his holdings were valued in the top quarter of the community's wealth.

In June 1718, the will of the patroon noted that Rosie was in possession of a plot of pasture land in the Manor.

Elizabeth Rosie died in 1726. Jan lived on in his Albany home until 1737. Sick and alone, he filed a will in June 1737 that left his diversified estate to various friends and neighbors. This long-time Albany resident was buried beneath the Dutch church on November 1, 1737.

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notes

the people of colonial Albany The life of Jan Rosie is CAP biography number 6456. This profile is derived chiefly from community-based resources. He was sometimes referred to as "Jean de la Rose."

Origins: Rosie probably was not a Catholic as he swore several oaths (which Catholics avoided) and was a member of and contributor to the Albany Dutch (Calvinist) church. An affidavit dated September 25, 1688 stated that he was about thirty-four-years-old, understood French, and had accompanied Dirck Wesselse to Canada three times that year. NYCD, 3:563-64. Curiously, he was not identified as of French ancestry on the census of 1697.

Elizabeth Rosie: Rosie's wife died in 1726. She witnessed several baptisms with her husband in the Albany Dutch church. We seek her origins and information on childbearing! PAGE IN PROGRESS



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first posted: 4/25/02; revised 5/31/09