Peter W. Douw


The Albany resident generally known as Peter W. Douw was born in 1735. He was the son of Albany skipper Abraham Douw and his wife, Catalina Winne. He was named for his bachelor uncle and benefactor, Captain Pieter Winne.

His uncle's will made ample provision for young Peter's education, left him investment property and personal effects, and an equal share of a substantial estate as well. Before long, he joined his father on the river. By the early 1760s, he was identified as a skipper and, in 1773 he was called a "mariner."

In July 1762, he married Albany native Ryckie Van Schaick. The couple started out in a modest home in the first ward near the waterfront. Four children were baptized in the nearby Dutch church between 1764 and 1779.

During the Seven Years War, he helped his father in the movement of military cargoes. In 1767, his name was on the roster of the Albany County militia. As a river carrier, he was a part of Sir William Johnson's business network.

By the mid-1770s, he was able to employ family legacies to good advantage. Moving up the hill to the second ward, Peter W. Winne began to focus on his land-based business. With that came the business of public service. From firemaster in 1775, to member of the Committee of Correspondence in 1778, then assistant alderman 1778-83, and finally alderman for the second ward beginning in 1784, he now emerged as a fixture on the Albany city council.

In April 1788, he joined with other Albany antifederalists in publishing a list of their objections to the proposed constitution.

By 1790, he had moved again to a choice location in the third ward. By 1800, the children were gone and Peter and Ryckie were living in the substantial home on Market Street attended by several servants. By 1803, widow Ryckie was alone in the Douw house!

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Peter Winne Douw is CAP biography number 2165. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. We recognize that we still must engage his career after 1790.

A Revolutionary stalwart, he was called on to apprehend suspected loyalists and entrusted with confiscated goods. He was on the first city council elected under New York State in 1778.

first posted 0/0/15