Thomas Williams
by
Stefan Bielinski


Thomas Williams was an Englishman who emigrated to New York during the latter part of the seventeenth century. By the early 1690s, he had settled in Albany where he was the partriarch of the Williams family.

This "young man of [from] New York," married brewer's daughter Agnietje Gansevoort in 1692. By 1708, their nine children were baptized in the Albany Dutch church where both parents were members and frequent baptism sponsors. Agnietie Gansevoort died about 1710. In 1712, Thomas took for his second wife Hilletie Bronck - the mother of six more Williams children.

Williams's tavern and home on the east corner of Green and Hudson Streets were in Albany's first ward where for more than fifty years he was a prominent resident who owned several lots in Albany and in Schenectady as well.

Initially charged for trading without possessing the "freedom of the city," his status improved dramatically when he was appointed sheriff of Albany County in 1699. He served as sheriff at different times during the first three decades of the eighteenth century. In 1700, he petitioned the city council to build a jail or prison in Albany. His son was named sheriff in 1748.

In 1704, he was elected alderman for the first ward and appeared in Albany courts as plaintiff, juror, notary, and frequently as an attorney. At court, he seems to have been connected with John Collins - Albany's first professional attorney. He was a contractor for the city, delivered supplies to the garrison at Oswego, and worked for the Commissioners of Indian Affairs as well.

In 1714, he was among the supporters of the initiative that led to the founding of St. Peter's Anglican church. He was a mainline community member, continued to appear in court as an advocate, and in 1728, was identified as "a gentleman of Albany."

Thomas Williams died in November 1752 and was buried from the Albany Dutch church. He had lived in Albany for more than sixty years. His descendants became well established in eighteenth century Albany!

PAGE IN PROGRESS


notes

the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Thomas Williams is CAP biography number 6285. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. We seek defining information on his origins and background.




Home | Site Index | Navigation | Email | New York State Museum


first posted: 7/30/03; revised 3/10/07