Rutger Bleecker


Rutger Bleecker was born in July 1745. He was the eldest son of John R. and Elizabeth Staats Bleecker. He grew up in the Pearl Street home of a prominent merchant and surveyor.

In January 1756, he was one of two Rutger Bleeckers named in the will of his wealthy and aged namesake grandfather.

Beginning in 1766, his house and property were valued on city assessment rolls. Although only twenty-one, he was taxed comparable to that of Albany's established businessmen. In 1768, he held a tanning pit on the south side of Foxes Creek and other lots in the city as well. Later, his accounts were paid from the city treasury.

In October 1768, he married Kingston native Catherine Elmendorf. By 1788, as many as five children had been christened at the Albany Dutch church where both parents were members. Two others were baptized in Kingston and Schenectady. The last daughter was born in Albany on January 16, 1788 - after the death of her father.

At the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, he was selected to represent the second ward on the Albany Committee of Correspondence. He contributed to the American cause, served as firemaster in 1776, and signed a number of oaths and petitions in support of the Revolutionary cause. However, in July 1778, he was one of three merchants summoned separately by the Albany commissioners and compelled to sign the oath of allegiance to New York State.

In March 1784, he was identified as an Albany merchant when he witnessed the will of Abraham Verplanck.

In September 1787, Rutger Bleecker filed a will. It named his wife as principal heir and referenced but did not name their children. His brother and brother-in-law also joined Catherine as co-executors. He died in October and was buried from his church. He had lived but forty-two years and was survived by both his parents. His widow was listed on the second ward assessment roll in 1788 and lived on in their Pearl Street home for more than two decades.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Rutger Bleecker is CAP biography number 228. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. The life of a same-named, slightly older contemporary seems to have been confined to New York City.
He may have been the Rutger Bleecker for whom the town of Bleecker was named. We believe that he also held additional lands beyond Albany.

first posted 8/15/09; last updated 3/14/17