James P. Van Benthuysen


James Parker Van Benthuysen probably was born after 1710. He was the son of Baltus and Lydia Daily Van Benthuysen. He grew up in a merchant's home in the first ward. "Jacobus Perreker" was one of the four living children noted in the will filed by his father in 1720. However, his baptism does not seem to have been included in the baptism records of the Albany Dutch church. His mother re-married in 1723.

In February 1741, Jacobus/James married his younger Albany neighbor Sara Cooper at the Albany church. By 1767, ten children had been christened in Albany where he was a regular baptism sponsor and pewholder. Several of his sons later became Albany residents.

In 1739, he was named constable for the first ward. The next year, he was appointed high constable. In 1756, his household was configured on a census taken by the British army. He was identified as a turner as was his namesake kinsman. During the 1760s, his account was paid from the city treasury. In 1763, his name was included on a list of Albany freeholders. At that time, his holdings were valued modately.

Over the next decades, he may have been the "Jacobus Van Benthuysen" who was referenced as a Hudson River skipper. Except for that and the above, his name is otherwise missing from the community record.

He is believed to have filed a will in 1769 which named his wife as heir and co-executor. Also named were six sons and two daughters. However, it was not probated until 1790 - more than a decade after his passing. He may have died in October 1769 as a New York newspaper reported that an old skipper named Jacobus Van Benthuysen fell into the river at Poughkeepsie and drowned. From 1779 on, the widow Sara Van Benthuysen was listed on community-based surveys as head of a first ward home.

The will of James Parker Van Benthuysen passed probate in Albany in September 1790.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of James Parker Van Benthuysen is CAP biography number 5344. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 9/10/08