Gerrit Witbeck


Gerrit Witbeck was born in March 1750. He was a twin and the eldest son of Albany-area residents Lucas and Geertruy Lansing Witbeck. Although his father held several parcels of real estate, the twins and their siblings grew up on a farm in Watervliet. As late as 1792, father and sons were involved in Watervliet-based land transactions.

In May 1774, Gerrit married Immetje Perry at the Albany Dutch church. At that time, they were identified as young people "of this county." By 1781, three children had been christened in Albany.

In May 1775, his name first appeared in the minutes of the Albany committee. He supported the cause and was paid for making spades and nails for revolutionary army.

In November 1777, he was appointed chimney viewer for the third ward. In July 1778, the city council received a complaint that his blacksmith's shop located on the middle dock obstructs the filling up of the dock inlet. He was ordered to remove that shop.

Either by inheritance or acquisition, by 1779 this blacksmith was paying taxes on four properties in the city of Albany. These included his house, lots located in the first and third wards, and his shop near the river.

In January 1787, the newspaper noted that he had opened a nail manufactory "in" Orange Street near the Dutch church. The assessment roll for 1788 valued his third ward house and property and also noted "Mr. Anderson (nailer)" living on the premises.

On August 8, 1788, he carried the farmer's flag in the Albany parade celebrating ratification of the Federal Consititution.

1790, his household in Watervliet included seven family members, another free person, and also four slaves. Perhaps he had relocated to a family farm leased by his father in 1769. Perhaps he was the Gerrit Witbeck who leased a 127-acre farm in Rensselaerswyck in 1794.

A piece of legislation enacted in April 1800, noted that Garret Witbeck was one of the "Superintendants of Highways" for Albany County. He also was a member of the Albany Masonic lodge.

We seek defining information on his later life and passing.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Gerrit Witbeck is CAP biography number 1791. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Perhaps his son drew a map for Stephen Van Rensselaer in 1799.

first posted: 2/20/10