James Dole was born about 1740. By the mid-1760s, he owned a house in Albany and was beginning to engage in the grocery and import business.
He married Albany native Anna Van Santvoort in 1767. Their son was baptized in 1768 at the Albany Dutch church where his wife was a member. Dole, however, belonged to St. Peter's Anglican church - a magnet for English-speaking newcomers .
These Doles lived in the first ward in a neighborhood called Southside. In 1771, the Albany Gazette advertized imported goods at his store "in Queens (Green) Street" opposite Cartwright's King's Arms. At that time, his stock included "fabrics, sewing instruments, buttons, playing cards, primers [and] drygoods, knee buckles, gunpowder, pewter, sugar, molasses."
By the end of the colonial period, he also had purchased a number of lots on the south side of the city and also along the Normanskill.
At the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, Dole managed to avoid trouble - subscribing for the relief of Ticonderoga and selling goods to the "public store" at Fort George in August 1776. But before long, he was under investigation for having left the city without a pass. Failing to appear before the Albany committee or to take the required oath of allegiance, in October 1777 the salt aboard his sloop was seized. Refusing again to take the oath in September 1778, he was confined, sent to Poughkeepsie, and he arranged for his exchange to the British in New York City. Settling his family in lower Manhattan, he conducted business at a number of locations. He passed the remainder of the war in New York while his Albany-born wife was prevented from returning home.
By 1790, he had returned to Albany and again was advertizing in the Albany paper. He also managed to sell some of the real property he had acquired during the 1760s. In 1800, his first ward household included his wife, four children, and a slave.
Two months past his sixty-first birthday, James Dole died in August 1803 and was buried from St. Peter's church. He was among a number of loyalists who returned from exile to participate in the resurgance of the city following the war. His widow lived on the south side of Albany until her death in 1833.
first posted: 3/1/04