John Willis


John Willis probably was born before 1750. We expect to find material about his life under varied spellings including "Willis/Welles/Williamson." He may have been in Albany during the 1760s.

His wife was Jane Brett (probably not Bradt). Their son was christened at the Albany Dutch church in July 1779. In September 1771, he was entered into the register as a communicant of St. Peter's Anglican church. Later that year, his name appeared on a list of church subcribers. At that time, he was identified as a "journeyman to Mr. Fairchild, the blacksmith."

In April 1776, he was the subject of a complaint to the Albany Committee of Correspondence that he had been "speaking disrespectfully" about the American cause. He was ordered to appear but no follow-up entry is preserved in the committee's records.

A woman named Sarah Osborn later attested that during the winter of 1780 she lived at the Albany house of blacksmith John Willis and that she was married there.

In March 1779, his lot in the first ward was accorded a modest assessment. In 1788, his personal property was valued under a third ward home.

In 1790, the household of "John Willis" was configured on the census for Schenectady.

We seek information the later life and passing of one-time Albany resident and metal worker John Willis. Our quest is complicated by varied spellings of his name as numerous references to similarly named individuals exist for his lifetime and regional proximity.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Willis is CAP biography number 1519. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 4/20/10