Petrus Douw
Stefan Bielinski

Petrus Douw was born in March 1692. He was the fifth child and second son of Rensselaerswyck residents Jonas Douw and his first wife, Magdalena Quackenbush Douw.

In October 1717, he married Anna Van Rensselaer at her father's house in Albany. That act connected the upper middling Douws to the most affluent family in the region. At age twenty-five, Petrus was several years older than most early Albany grooms. However, the marriage was fruitful as their nine children were baptized in the Albany Dutch church between 1718 and 1736. Anna Douw died in 1756 but Petrus did not re-marry as he was surrounded by a number of adult daughters - two of whom would never marry.

These Douws shared in the family's extensive holdings on the south side of the city of Albany. Following an established family pattern, Petrus was a businessman and skipper of some note. In his earlier days, he was an officer in the Albany militia and was known as "Captain." He also was active in pursuing investment land. Petrus Douw retained his Albany holdings where he was known as the senior member of his family even into the mid-1750s. He was elected to represent Albany in the provincial Assembly and served from 1747 to 1758.

During the early 1740s, he built a country home on the east side of the Hudson. The retreat was within Rensselaerswyck and was called "Wolvenhook." A decade later, Petrus had moved across the Hudson where he lived for the rest of his life. His Albany holdings and offices fell to his son Volkert Petrus while the grandchildren were frequent guests at the Wolvenhook farm.

Petrus Douw died suddenly on August 21 1775. However, he had lived eighty-three years.



the people of colonial Albany The life of Petrus Douw is CAP biography number 2164. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

The Douw property was located on the south side of State Street and along the lower parts of the Ruttenkill.

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posted: 12/5/01; last revised 12/6/08