Johannes M. Beekman


Johannes M. Beekman was born in March 1722. He was the son in the small family of Albany residents Martin and Geertruy Visscher Beekman. He grew up in a blacksmith's home in the third ward.

In February 1754, he was almost thirty-two when he married Maria Nicolls of Rensselaerswyck She died after only one child. A decade later in January 1764, he married Elizabeth Douw, a younger sister of the mayor of Albany. That marriage produced four children who were christened in the Albany Dutch church where he was a member and pewholder.

Perhaps he was one of the two "Jno. Bak/teman"s listed on the census of householders taken in 1756. In 1763, his name appeared on a list of Albany freeholders.

He was identified as the first son in the joint will filed by his parents in September 1768. He was named to share the estate with his sister Eve Schuyler.

These Beekmans also lived in the third ward where his holdings were accorded moderate assessments. He seems to have earned a living as a contractor and served the community as firemaster (1753), constable, watch captain, and finally was elected alderman - first in 1778.

In May 1776, he stood up for American liberties when he was elected to represent the third ward on the Albany Committee of Correspondence. Previously, he had signed the "General Association". He was active in committee work for the balance of its life. First in 1778, he was elected to the Albany Board of the Commissioners for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies and served thru 1780. During that time, he also sat on the Albany city council. Afterwards, he was awarded a bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia regiment.

At the close of hostilities Beekman was into his sixties and seems to have withdrawn from public life. In 1790, five slaves attended the household - tying this Beekman household for the tenth largest number of slaves in the city.

Johannes M. Beekman filed a will in October 1787. It passed probate in July 1790. His widow lived on as the head of their household for more than two decades until her passing in 1811.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Johannes M. Beekman is CAP biography number 3863 This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted 1/30/06; last updated 11/24/17