Dirck Bradt Van Schoonhoven
Stefan Bielinski

Dirck Bradt Van Schoonhoven was baptized in the Albany Dutch church in February 1720. He was the second son of the seven children born to Albany native Susanna Bradt and upriver landholder and one-time Albany resident Jacobus G. Van Schoonhoven.

By 1747, he had married Volkie Vandenbergh - another Albany native. Their ten children were baptized in the Albany Dutch Church between 1748 and 1767. These Van Schoonhovens set up housekeeping in a modest dwelling along upper Market Street near the northern city line. Sometimes Dirck was called a resident of Rensselaerswyck or Watervliet. On other occasions, he was identified as a citizen of Albany.

Although he had practiced the carpenter's trade and was an aspiring landholder, by the 1750s, Dirck had established himself as skipper of the sloop "Rising Sun" carrying cargoes between Albany and New York City. Over the next decades he was a well-known Hudson River slooper - hauling country produce downriver and returning with valuable cargoes on behalf of Albany merchants and Sir William Johnson as well.

Like his father, Dirck B. Van Schoonhoven was prominent in the Albany County militia. In 1755, he was commissioned an ensign in the Rensselaerswyck company. He served the city government as well - being appointed firemaster for the Third Ward in 1750 - first documenting a long-term connection to the Albany government that culminated in his election as assistant alderman in 1766.

In 1766, he joined a number of Albany people in opposition to the Stamp Act by signing a "constitution" of the Albany Sons of Liberty. Ten years later, he was running errands for the Albany Committee of Safety and was sent with a crew to serve as a carpenter at Ticonderoga. While not distinguished in any particular way, Dirck Bradt Van Schoonhoven was a well-known Albany personage during the 1770s and could be counted on to lend his support on behalf of friends and neighbors. After the war, he received a land bounty right for service to the American cause.

Abandoning the river trade, he seems to have retired to his Watervliet home located just north of the city line.. His only recorded public act of the post-war period seems to have been signing an anti-federal petition in April 1788.

Dirck Bradt Van Schoonhoven died in August 1795 at the age of seventy five and was buried from the Albany Dutch Church where he was a lifelong member.


the people of colonial Albany The life of Dirck Bradt Van Schoonhoven is CAP biography number 5884. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. His distinctive name (from his mother's family) makes him relatively easy to track. The difficulty in assigning a firm place of residence probably stems from eighteenth-century uncertainty regarding the "line" between city and patroonship!

"Support" here means he signed a number of petitions on behalf of unfortunate neighbors, witnessed several wills, and also witnessed a number of marriage contacts or "bonds."

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first posted: 3/24/00; last revised 3/16/09