Daniel Steele


According to traditional and online resources, Albany resident Daniel Steele was born in March 1772. He was the son of Timothy and Sara Seymour Steele of Hartford, Connecticut. He was known as "the younger" to prevent confusion with an older uncle who had settled in Albany during the 1760s.

We seek information on his formative years and path to Albany.

This Daniel Steele was in Albany at least by the early 1790s when he was known as a bookbinder as he practiced his craft in the State Street printing office of his cousin's husband, Charles R. Webster. He is said to have lost his stock in the fire that destroyed several blocks of the old Albany core in November 1793.

In April 1797, he married the younger Albany native Elizabeth Van Benthuysen at the Albany Dutch church. By 1817, perhaps eleven children had been christened at the Albany Presbyterian church. His mother was buried from the church in December 1808.

This Daniel Steele was a Southside mainliner for the remainder of his life. In 1799, his house on Hudson Street was valued modestly. In 1800, his household consisting of two adults and five children first was configured on the Albany census in the first ward. Three years later, a list of Albany freeholders identified him as a bookbinder. In November that year, the newspaper noted him opening "a circulating library, consisting of 400 volumes." He was a member and trustee of the Albany Mechanics Society.

Beginning with the first edition in 1813, his house on Liberty Street and store on Court then South Market Streets were listed in the annual city directory. By 1813, he was identified as a "bookseller." With his kinsmen "Webster & Skinner" and alone, he was a notable publisher of sheet music and also of law books.

His wife's brother, Obadiah Van Benthuysen (son of Obadiah), had been Steele's apprentice as early as 1801 and took over the business following Steele's death.

Daniel Steele died in July 1828 and was buried in the Presbyterian cemetery plot. Letters of administration on his estate were granted two days later. This transplanted Yankee had lived for fifty-six years.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Daniel Steele (the younger) has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 10/15/11