John Given


John Given served as Albany sheriff from 1796 to 1800.

We seek information on his origins and path to Albany. However, he probably was born about 1760. Or perhaps, he was the John Given named as a son or grandson in the will filed by John Given of Ulster County in 1751.

He does not appear to have been in Albany during the era of the American Revolution.

In 1785, he was a member of the Albany Presbyterian church. Perhaps he did not marry as we find no family information for him in the extant records of early Albany churches.

In September 1787, he was paid from the city treasury.

In 1790, a "John Given" and an unnamed (and of an unspecified age) female were identified in a household on the census for the town of Halfmoon.

In 1794, he was among those who subscribed in support of Union College.

In September 1796, Given was appointed sheriff of Albany city and county. As such, he was required to hold no other office and to be a resident of the county. He served until superceded in the Fall of 1800. Official papers and legal actions regarding the course of his tenure have been preserved in a number of private collections. His "Day Blotter" for/from 1798 has been a useful source of community information.

During the late 1790s, he acquired at least one waterfront lot from the city. That property was sold following his death in 1806.

The Albany assessment roll for 1799, assessed his personal property under the first ward house of James Fairley which it appears that Given shared with a Black woman who possibly was the absentee Fairlie's housekeeper. He also owned a lot and wharf on the third ward waterfront. A decade later, the second ward census for 1800, noted John Given, another man about his age, and a boy under ten in a second ward household. In 1804, he was identified as a resident of Dock Street who boarded two state senators.

The assessment roll for 1802 noted his lot on Lion Street and stated that he was a non resident.

John Given's passing in March 1806 was noted in the newspaper. Letters of administration were issued on his estate in October 1806.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Given is CAP biography number 8189. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 12/30/10