John Clute was born in September 1728. He was the son of Johannes and Anna Clute. He probably grew up on a farm in Niskayuna where several generations of the Clute family owned property. He often was referred to as "John Clute, Jr."
In September 1752, he married Sara Van Arnhem of Rensselaerswyck at the Albany Dutch church. Between 1753 and 1775, their eleven children were christened at the Albany church where both parents were members, pewholders, and occasional baptism sponsors.
John Clute, Jr. stood out among Niskayuna's primarily farming families as a craftsman in an elite field. The census of 1756 identified him as a silversmith. Over the next three decades, his third ward property was taxed moderately on city assessment rolls. During those years, he also was known as a merchant. In 1763, the name of "John Clute. Jr." appeared on a long list of Albany freeholders.
During the 1750s, he served as firemaster, constable, and high constable. He also was paid on a number of occasions for services performed for the Albany city government. In 1768, he was identified as First Lieutenant in the First Regiment of the Albany County Militia.
Early in 1766, he registered opposition to the Stamp Act when he signed the constitution of the Albany Sons of Liberty.
In May 1775, he was appointed one of two clerks to transcribe the rough minutes and other papers of the Albany Committee of Correspondence. But a year later , he was denounced as "disaffected" and was charged with drinking to the King's health. Brought before the committee, he refused to sign the Association and was sent to the jail. He later was released after posting a bond for promising good behavior. In November 1777, he applied to the committee for permission to remove to Canada or New York City. That plea was ignored by the revolutionaries and he passed the rest of the war in Albany and without incident. In 1778, he was among those who were exempted from military service because they were fifty years of age or older. After the war, he was awarded a land bounty right for service in conjunction with the Albany regiment of the county militia.
John Clute, Jr. probably died during the 1780s as his name dropped from Albany rolls.
first posted: 2/15/05