Hunloke Woodruff
Stefan Bielinski

Hunloke Woodruff was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey in October 1754. He was the only child of merchant Joseph Woodruff and his first wife, Anne Hunloke - daughter of a mariner. His mother died in 1757 and his father re-married. Joesph Woodruff died in 1769 when the boy was fifteen years old. Hunloke attended Princeton until 1774. He then moved to New York City to live with his aunt, Eliza Treat. He studied medicine with Dr. Malachi Treat of King's College.

Probably through the agency of Treat, he was appointed a surgeon's mate in the First New York Regiment in July 1775. Woodruff served on the expedition against Canada. He later was named surgeon to the Third New York and served on the frontier. He retired from the army in 1781. By that time, he had settled in Albany and had begun to practice medicine.

In May 1779, he married Maria, the daughter of Colonel Jacob Lansing. Their eight children were baptized in Albany churches. He was a member and elder of the Albany Presbyterian church. He also supported the Albany Dutch church.

A prominent and successful physician and teacher, Dr. Woodruff was a leader of the post-war Albany medical community. At one time, he was the partner of Dr. Wilhelmus Mancius - who settled in Albany before the war. Together, they trained a number of prominent physicians. In 1806, Woodruff was president of the Albany Medical Society.

His home was on Pearl Street where he became an Albany mainstay. He saw patients in the small frame building adjoining his home. In 1800, his household included four children and two slaves. He also owned lots in the first ward. In 1786, he was elected assistant alderman for the second ward. He served for a year. Later, he was a trustee of the Albany library and other community organizations.

Woodruff suffered from scrofula - which ruined his health. He filed a will in November of 1810. He stated that he was "weak in body," provided for his funeral, and left his estate to Mary "as long as she remains my widow." Following hemmoraging from the lungs, Dr. Hunloke Woodruff died in July 1811 at the age of fifty-seven. He was buried in the State Street cemetery.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Hunloke/Hunlock Woodruff is CAP biography number 3524. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. The most useful family resource is Woodruff Chronicles: A Genealogy, compiled by Ceylon Newton Woodruff (Glendale, CA, 1967). Online family information. An anecdotal profile appears in Munsell's Annals of Albany, volume 9, pp. 91-92. Munsell called him as "a man of philosophical mind, characterized by charity and hospitality, valuing money only as it contributed to the comforts of his family and friends. By the public, he was highly esteemed."

The catalog of the paintings of Ezra Ames notes two portraits painted for Doctor Woodruff in 1808 and 1809. One belonged to a family member at the time of publication. Both remain unlocated!

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privately posted: 11/10/03; last revised 12/30/03