Abraham J. Yates
Stefan Bielinski

Abraham J. Yates was born in December 1732. He was the youngest son of Albany residents Joseph and Henrickie Hooghkerk Yates. He grew up in a modest smith's house in Albany's first ward.

In 1761, he married Albany native Jannetie Bradt. They set up their home on the southside of Albany along what would be known as Hudson Street. The marriage produced five children - all baptized in the Albany Dutch church between 1763 and 1774.

Abraham J. Yates was a baker - working from his modest frame home. Over the next quarter century, he was able to acquire additional lots near his home and bakery. Like other Yates family members, he was connected to city hall in service positions as a constable, firemaster, inspector, and roadmaster. He also was compensated for contract work. In January 1766, he was named in the will of his childless brother.

In March 1770, he took a step forward when he "acquired" the four city docks for the next year. He seems to have held that right to collect rents into the war years. In 1776, he was designated as the "dockmaster" for the next year.

In 1775, he was appointed ensign for the first ward watch company by the Albany committee. He also supported the crusade for American liberties with financial contributions. In June 1777, he was elected to and served on the committee for the first ward. Later, he received a land bounty right in association with the second regiment of the Albany County Militia.

In April 1778, he was named assistant alderman for the first ward when the city corporation resumed operation. He was elected to that office in September and again in 1779. Following the war, Abraham J. Yates was in his fifties and an Albany mainstay - the head of one of five Yates households in the first ward in 1790. A decade later, his household also included two boys, his wife, a younger woman, and a slave.

In December 1794, he filed a will. pronouncing himself in "perfect health, sound mind, memory, [and] understanding," Abraham J. Yates left his entire estate to his "beloved wife" Jannetie Yates. However, she died in November 1804 and he passed three months later. Abraham J. Yates had lived seventy-one years.



the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Abraham J. Yates is CAP biography number 4440. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. His was identified fairly consistently as "Abraham J. (sometimes interpreted as "I.") Yates - thus helping prevent confusion with contemporary Abraham Yates/Eightses!

Docks: Acquired means leased. That lease was renewed by the Common Council in 1772, '74, and'74. Abraham J. Yates was called "dockmaster" by the council in March 1776, empowered to collect rents, and was required to post bonds. Although the record clearly identifies the person as Abraham I. (J.) Yates, we wonder at the fact that sailmaker Abraham Eights later was identified as the dockmaster. Just a misktake or coincidence, eh?

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first posted: 7/15/02; last revised 11/7/08