Simeon Baldwin


In August 1782, Simeon Baldwin was brought to Albany to be a teacher at the "academy." He seems to have held the post in Albany for less than a year. In 1783, he left to become a tutor at Yale. After that, he became a prominent and long-lived attorney and jurist. This sketch focuses on that Albany year.

Baldwin was born in Norwich, Connecticut in December 1761. He was the son of Ebenezer and Bethiah Barker Baldwin. His father was a farmer and blacksmith. His mother died and his father married a widow with whom young Simeon formed an enduring bond.

At age thirteen, he went to live with his brother in New Haven. Simeon was educated at Yale where he studied under his older brother, Ebenezer Baldwin. His brother died in 1776. Simeon graduated from Yale in 1781. He then taught school in New Haven.

Baldwin came to Albany at the request of the Albany city council to teach at the Academy. By 1783, he had become preceptor of the Academy but he remained only until September. Although, his name is mostly absent from the community-based record, he is said to have left Albany in November.

The best and most interesting source for his Albany experience is the complex memoir produced by his grandson, Simeon E. Baldwin. It contains a sketch entitled "A Plan of the city of Albany" said to have been made by Baldwin in 1782. The lengthy narrative detailed his business and observations on life in Albany in 1782. It provides a special (even intimate) window on the "best" people in the community during that time. [ Online transformation ].

While in Albany, he is said to have been trained in the law under attorney Peter W. Yates with whom he, for the most part, resided while in Albany. As he had no available sons at that time, Yates sought to become young Simeon's patron and mentor. He spent maany evenings in the company of local leaders and other interesting characters including fellow Yale graduate and teacher John Lovett and refugee North country developer William Gilliland. It bears repeating that his observations on them have proven unparalleled resources for fleshing out their lives. However, he found Albany society not to his liking and the unhappy Baldwin would soon return to New England.

A good part of Baldwin's discomfort in Albany was due to the slow flow of resources due him. Not until September 1788, was his final account for twenty-two pounds paid by the Albany government.

Baldwin settled permanently in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1787, he had married Rebecca, the daughter of Roger Sherman. She died in 1795 after bearing four children. In 1800, Baldwin then married her sister, the widow Elizabeth Burr - with whom he fathered five more children.

Attorney, jurist, and congressman, Simeon Baldwin died in May 1851 having lived into his 90s.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Simeon Baldwin has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from Internet and community-based resources. Wikipedia. Baldwin's Albany sojourn has been brought to life in an published article by Marta Wagner.

For fascinating reading, see The Life and Letters of Simeon Baldwin, by his nephew and namesake Simeon E. Baldwin [who, among other notable achievements, was president of the American Historical Association in 1906]; published in 1919. The long chapter entitled "Year as a Schoolteacher at Albany" begins on page 86 and has been transformed into a linked online resource.

posted 4/30/09; last updated 10/19/16