Peter Dox was born in October 1742. He was the son of Abraham and Rebecca Marselis Dox. He seems to have been the only son in a small Albany-area family. His father appears to have died while Peter was still a young boy. During the mid-1760s, his widowed mother's property was valued on assessment rolls for the West Manor.
Afterwards, William Johnson and others knew him as a merchant and as a skipper on the Hudson River. As late as 1797, an Albany voter list still identified him as a skipper. Still later, he was called a "merchant."
Revolutionary War era information is available for indivduals with his name. In March 1777, he was ordered to appear before the Albany committee and denied charges that he owned the liquor and other illegal merchandize that was carried on his sloop between Albany and Fishkill. Afterwards, the Albany Peter Dox was accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia regiment.
In January 1778, he was appointed constable. In 1782, he was named chimney viewer for the third ward. During the 1780s, he had a number of dealings with the city government regarding rents and accounts. Beginning in 1779, with one exception, Albany assessment rolls valued his properties as either real estate or personal property but not as a residence.
In 1790, the Watervliet census configured his household north of Albany near the Van Rensselaer Manor House. In 1800, his third ward residence included ten family-age members and four servants. In August 1797, a great fire destroyed his dwellinghouse (and place of residence) and stables on Montgomery Street and his dwellinghouse and stable on Dock Street. Each of those houses had boarders lived there.
In 1808, "Peter Dox and Sons" were invited to the funeral of a North Albany neighbor.
By 1813, he had left the city as only the address of his son, Peter P. Dox, represented the family in the first city directory. In November 1815, that son, Peter P. Dox, died and Peter senior attended the funeral from Peter P.'s house on North Market Street. All of his other children were buried in central New York.
"Captain" Peter Dox died in November 1831. The newspaper notice stated that "he was born in Albany in 1742, saw the struggle that was made in the old French and Indian war, and was actively engaged in the war of the revolution." At that time, he was eighty-nine years old and a resident of Hopeton, Yates County. He is said to have been living at the residence of his son, Abraham Dox, and is said to have been buried in the Woodlawn cemetery in Elmira.
Sources: The life of Peter Dox is CAP biography number 567. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
first posted 11/10/09; updated 1/29/13