William Brown


Based on subsequent sources, Albany resident William Brown was born prior to 1756. A number of same-named contemporaries are at risk in the region. We seek precise information on this individual's origins and path to Albany. However, the following may be of some value.

In March 1761, a William Brown was identified as the son and heir in the will of Thomas Brown of Stonington, Connecticut. That recently encountered resource may hold the key to basic family questions.

Perhaps he came of age prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 1775. However, so many William Browns are at-risk for the 1760s and the 1770s that we have not assigned additional qualitative information on this Albany resident at this time.

In August 1776, he married one "Polly" (aka Mary) Cadogan at the Albany Dutch church. At the time, the partners were identified as single people of "this county." A number of children were christened by William Brown during the later 1770s but only the daughter baptized on March 10, 1779 could claim "Mary Cadogan" as her mother. Over the next decade, more children were presented by the couple at the Albany Episcopal church.

This William Brown served the Revolutionary cause - at least partially in an Albany-related context. In June 1775, a William Brown was commissioned first lieutenant in the First New York Regiment. The following July, he was elevated to captain. After the war, a William T. Brown was awarded a land bounty right in conjunction with the city militia regiment.

In March 1779, his lot only was valued on the Albany assessment for the third ward. That October, another city roll placed modest value on two pieces of property for William Brown. However, in 1788, two separate listings assessed the residence and property of William Brown in the second and third wards. In 1799, the first ward assessment roll had two entries for William Brown. His house and lot in the first ward was valued very modestly. Another entry, also in the first ward, valued moderately only the personal property of William Brown. Perhaps he was reserving space in the shop of artisan Nehemiah B. Bassett at 42 State Street.

In 1790, the census for the city of Albany listed the second ward household of William Brown. Living there was a man, 2 younger males, and four females. A decade later, he was enumerated in the first ward in a house with an adult male, three children, but no women were counted.

In April 1798, he was identified on an Albany jury list as a mariner. He often was called "Captain."

Beginning with the first edition published in 1813, he was listed in the city directory as a merchant at 44 and/or 42 State Street.

During the probate of the will of a first ward resident dating to 1788 - but proved in 1818, William Brown was identified as the husband of Elizabeth, the daughter of the testator's sister. Perhaps, Elizabeth was a second wife or else the spouse of a different William Brown.

On December 24, 1825, the Albany newspaper reported that "Captain" William Brown died at age sixty-three. He was buried from his residence at 42 State Street. His will was probated in Albany County in July 1826. His widow survived until 1834.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of William Brown is CAP biography number 7461. This somewhat speculative sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. With so many same named contemporaries, we have been deliberately cautious in the assignment of qualitative information.

first posted 3/20/16; last updated 5/30/16