Johannes De Wandelaer


According to traditional sources, New Netherland pioneer Johannes De Wandelaer was born at Leyden in Holland probably before 1650. He appears to be the first member of his family to settle in Albany. However, we seek more definitive sources for his origins and path to the New World.

In March 1672, he married Sara Schepmoes of New York City - probably in New York. By 1695, the marriage had produced nine children who were christened in the Dutch churches of New York and Albany. Perhaps these De Wandelaers had followed Sara's older sister who had married the first member of the Albany Cuyler family. Over several decades, Johannes was an Albany church mainstay, regular baptism sponsor, and was involved with church finances.

This De Wandelaer family lived in both New York and Albany. In 1679, he was counted among Albany's householders. In 1681, he was among the Albany fur traders who petitioned the court to regulate access to the Indians.

During the 1670s, he was an active participant in the Albany real estate market with his home being located on upper State Street. During the 1680s, he served on Albany juries and as an assessor in the first ward. In October 1690, he was named assistant alderman under the regime of Jacob Leisler. About that time, "Johanes" and Sara were named in Letters of Administration granted by Leisler on the estate of Sara's deceased father.

From that time on, he also seems to have gravitated to New York City where he was identified as a merchant when he was admitted to the freedom of the city in 1697. In 1702 and 1709, however, his Albany property in the third ward was valued on city assessment rolls.

In 1696, he was elected assistant alderman for the first ward in Albany. The next year, he was one of those appointed to take the census. In June 1699, he was cited for illegal trading as he did not possess the freedom of the city (of Albany). His dual residency clouds a fuller understanding of his career.

Johannes De Wandelaer "Senr." filed a will in June 1705. No wife was named, but it provided for eight living children. His estate included a house and lot on Queen(s) Street in New York, land on the plain in Albany, and personal property. It appears that the three witnesses were residents of Albany. He died sometime after 1709.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Johannes De Wandelaer is CAP biography number 6162. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. In 2017, this attactive online exhibition offered more on the family.

first posted 3/15/06; last updated 11/17/17