John W. Yates


John Waters Yates was born in September 1769. He was the son of Christopher A. and Catharina Waters Yates. He grew up in a merchant's home that was located just north of the city.

He was sent to Columbia University and graduated in 1787. Although trained in the law (admitted to practice in Saratoga County in 1791), he became a clerk in the Bank of Albany and continued there until 1803 when he was named cashier of the New York State Bank.

In 1790, he was appointed an ensign in the militia. Five years later, he was promoted to lieutenant in John H. Wendell's regiment of the Albany County Militia. He held that commission for two years and then resigned.

In November 1808, he married Ann Metcalf at the Albany Dutch church. The marriage produced a number of children. These Yateses were associated with St. Peter's Episcopal church.

In 1810, the census return for his Albany household showed five boys under ten as well as four adult women living with him in his State Street home.

In 1813, he was a trustee of the newly formed Albany Academy and served as its first treasurer. Upon John W.'s death, his son succeeded him as treasurer.

In 1820, he was named first treasurer of the newly incorporated Albany Savings Bank with Stephen Van Rensselaer as its president.

In May 1825, I was not surprised to find the name of John W. Yates among the Albany worthies summoned to judge poetical submissions in a competition held at the new Albany Theater.

In April 1828, a newpaper noted that John W. Yates "first cashier of New York State Bank, graduate of Columbia in 1787, student for bar, 24 years cashier, aged 58, died, March 29, 1828." His will passed probate in 1828.

To a number of important contemporaries, John W. Yates was an unforgettable character. An especially descriptive profile appears in Gorham A. Worth's Random Recollections of Albany. In 1830, his widow was living at 304 North Market Street. Ann Metcalf Yates survived until 1846.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John W. Yates is CAP biography number 4418. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

About 1815, Ezra Ames painted his portrait. It is believed to be part of a private collection.

first opened: 12/10/08; posted 1/15/09