Gerrit Graverat (or Graveraet) was born in April 1745. He was the last of eleven children born to the marriage of Isaac and Alida Gerritsen Graverat. However, most of his ten siblings did not survive to raise families of their own. His father was an middling mainstay of the water level north end of the city.
In 1766, he joined his neighbors in signing the constitution of the Albany Sons of Liberty. The next year, he was on the roster of an Albany militia company. Perhaps he was the "son" living in the third ward with "Alida Geveraet" (his widowed mother) in 1767. However, that individual may have been his older brother who did become an Albany resident
Some time after that, this younger son went west - reaching Detroit as early as 1769 (reportedly in the employ of Israel Ruland). He ultimately become a silversmith in association with the Albany Harsens who would establish themselves on an island in the St. Clair River as early as 1778. Gerrit Graverat married their daughter Sara - who was twenty years younger than Graverat. The marriage produced four sons and a daughter who settled in the Great Lakes region.
Gerrit Graverat died about 1790 on Harsen's Island. His widow lived until 1802.
Sources: The life of Gerrit Graverat is CAP biography number 8234. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
The terms of Graverat's arrival in Detroit are the subject of some debate. Did he work for the Long Island-born Ruland or for Jacob Harsen - his future father-in-law? He sometimes has been referred to as "Isaac" Graverat. The Lakes-region story of this Albany native and of his in-laws is fascinating but beyond the scope of this website.
first posted 11/30/07; updated 10/13/15