Gerrit Van Zandt, Jr.
Gerrit Van Zandt, Jr. was born in January 1731. He was the son of Albany natives Johannes and Sara Hilton Van Zandt. He grew up in a large family in a weaver's home on the Southside. The existence of a number of similarly named contemporaries complicates the assignment of qualitative life information.
About 1755, he married Hester Winne. By 1762, three children had been christened at the Albany Dutch church where he was a member, pewholder, regular baptism sponsor, and, at the end of his life, a church benefactor.
Like many members of his family, Gerrit Jr. also lived in the first ward. Although, before his death, he would own extensive real estate in Albany and beyond, his individual holdings appear to have been of modest value. Not until 1799, did his house receive a valuation comparable to that of other Albany business people. However, his Albany lots, especially south of State Street, were numerous. Perhaps, his mill on the Onesquethaw Creek occupied a larger share of his energy.
In 1752, he was chosen constable for the first ward. In 1763, he was listed among the city's firemen. In 1770, he was elected assistant alderman. In 1772, he was elected alderman and served in that capacity until the suspension of the charter government after 1775. An unofficial observer stated that he was the city recorder in 1774. Throughout that time he was paid by the city for goods and services.
In his mid-forties at the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, we should expect to be able to document his activities during the War for Independence. We move cautiously in this area. However, he had succeeded his uncle as "Deputy Commissary of Stores and Provisions" for the crown - probably after 1773.
In 1760, he composed a Dutch-language tribute to the new minister, Reverend Eilardus Westerlo. During the 1770s, he was known as a land sales and lottery manager. Not until 1800, was his substantial Albany residence (probably along Washington Street - near that of Philip Schuyler) configured on the first ward census. In that year, he and Hester were alone in the house but were served by four slaves. Previously, he had bought and sold slaves on a number of occasions.
Gerrit Van Zandt, Jr. filed a will in April 1806. It detailed his extensive holdings. He died in July 1806 at the age of seventy-six. The newspaper called him a "respectable citizen." His will passed probate in August. His widow survived until 1813.
Sources: The life of Gerrit Van Zandt, Jr. is CAP biography number 263. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
first posted 12/25/06; updated 8/8/13