Sheriffs of Albany, 1686-1800

Richard Pretty1686
*Casper Teller 1691
Johannes Appel 1692
Simeon Young 1696
Johannes Groenendyck 1698
Thomas Williams 1699, 1712, 1723
Jonathan Broadhurst 1700
Jacobus Turck 1702
David Schuyler 1705
Henry Holland 1707, 1720
Samuel Babington 1716
Gerrit Van Schaick 1719
Henry Holland, Jr. 1739
Philip Verplanck 1722
Thomas Williams 1723
Goosen Van Schaick 1728
James Stevenson 1731
John Lindsay 1732
John R. Bleecker 1746
Jacob Ten Eyck 1747
Thomas Williams, [Jr.] 1748
Richard Miller 1749
James Wilson 1753
Abraham Yates, Jr. 1754
Jacob Van Schaick 1759
Harmanus Schuyler 1761
Henry Ten Eyck 1770
Hendrick J. Wendell 1777, 1782
John Ten Broeck 1781, 1786
Peter Gansevoort, Jr. 1790
John Ostrander, Jr. 1792
John Given 1796
Harmanus P. Schuyler 1800

Solomon Southwick 1808

Data base numbering


The sheriff was an annual appointment of the royal governor. He served both city and county. Typically, appointees were recommended by members of the governor's council. A number of the sheriffs were former soldiers. Others were prominent Albany residents. Appointment to the sheriff's office rewarded loyalty. It was a position of responsibility and also opportunity - as sheriffs collected fees for executing legal papers, caring for prisoners, and a range of other functions!

During the New Netherland era, the schout fiscal acted as chief law enforcement officer. Gerrit Swart was commissioned schout of Rensselaerswyck in 1652. After 1664, the sheriff was nominated by the Albany magistrates and confirmed by the proprietary governor. In 1670, Swart was superceded by Captain Silvester Salisbury.

*Teller was appointed by Jacob Leisler. Probably, he did not actually serve.

The Bicentennial History of Albany described the office as follows: "This officer, during the colonial period, was appointed annually by the Governor-General and Colonial Council. Under the first Constitution, he was appointed annually by the Council of Appointment, and no person could hold the office for more than four successive years; he could hold no other office, and must be a freeholder. Since the adoption of the Constitution of 1821, he has not been required to be a freeholder, is elected for three years, and is ineligible for the next succeeding term."

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first posted 01/28/02; last revised 2/8/13