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 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.
We seek defining information on his later life and passing.
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