William Pitt Beers


William Pitt Beers was born in April 1766. He was the son of Samuel and widow Sarah Huntington Wetmore Beers of Stratford, Connecticut. He was a middle child in a combined New England family.

He graduated from Yale in 1785 and then studied for the law. Perhaps the most interesting (and personal) biographical sketch of him comes from his friend, Rev. Timothy Dwight, who stayed with Beers while he was in Albany.

In October 1793, he married Ann Sturgis, the daughter of a Fairfield jurist. By 1797, the marriage produced at least four children.

By 1799, Beers was living in Albany where his first ward house and holdings were valued on the city assessment roll. In 1800, the city census noted the household of "William P. Beers" with Beers and his wife, three young boys, and a slave in the same location.

In January 1800, he delivered what later was published as An Oration, On The Death Of General Washington; Pronounced Before The Citizens Of Albany, On Thursday, January 9th, 1800. By William P. Beers, Esquire.

Beers was known widely as an attorney and was politically active. In April 1805, he was at a meeting of Albany Federalists to nominate candidates for office.

In 1808, he was among the worthies on State Street invited to the funeral of Henry J. Bleecker

In 1810, he was identified as a trustee of the first Presbyterian Church.

A magazine feature published in 1857 (and widely reprinted), described "Albany Fifty Years Ago" and noted the home of William Pitt Beers located next to the landmark Lydius House on the corner of State and Pearl.

In February 1810, Beers was appointed city and county clerk. However, he soon became ill and his friend printer Charles R. Webster carried out the duties of the office as his deputy - paying the clerk's stipend to Beers's wife until the former clerk Charles D. Cooper was re-appointed the following March.

The Albany newspaper noted the death of William Pitt Beers on September 13, 1810 and that he was the "clerk of the city and county of Albany." He was interred in a tomb in "Ye old burying ground" in Fairfield, Connecticut. He had lived only forty-four years.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of William Pitt Beers is CAP biography number 7296. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted 3/20/14