John Cortney


Spelled (Courtney) and referred to variously, a John Cortney was christened at the Albany Dutch church in February 1744. That individual was the son of John and Maria Vanderlinde Cortney. For now, this sketch proceeds under that assumption.

Perhaps he was the enlisted man "John Courtney" whose name appeared on the muster roll of an Albany militia company in August 1767. Also in that month, he was paid by the city government for "bringing stone" to the docks.

In March 1768, Courtney and John Bromley were granted rights to the Greenbush ferry for a year. Their contract was renewed in 1769 with the added requirement that they have two boats and "ample hands."

About 1775, he married Bridget Seeger. By 1791, more than three children were christened in Albany churches.

About thirty at the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, we expect to find wartime information relating to this Albany resident. Variable spellings of the surname in the most logical Revolutionary wartime sources cautious us against assigning qualitative information.

In October 1779, he was assessed modestly ostensibly in association with Thomas Seeger (the son of matriarch Bridget and possibly Courtney's brother-in-law).

In 1788, the personal property of "John Cortney" was among those accorded the most modest assessments perhaps under the boarding house of Ralph Thompson and at the end of the first ward enumeration.

The first Federal census in 1790 does not appear to have counted the household of John Cortney anywhere in New York State. However, in 1800, the first ward household of "John Cortney" included two children and a middle-aged couple.

Albany resident John Cortney was dead by the end of 1801 when the Dutch church posted a charge for a pall and hearse for John Cortney. In March, the church grave digger was paid for Courtney's funeral.

In 1813, the first city directory listed the home of widow Bridget Cortney at 4 Maiden Lane. The widow Courtney died in 1834 at the age of seventy-seven.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Cortney is CAP biography number 7709. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted 9/20/15; updated 1/31/16