Volckert Janse Douw
Stefan Bielinski

Volckert Janse was the son of Jan Douw of Friesland, Holland. Much lore surrounds the early part of his life! He is said to have been an officer in the Dutch army and then an exile in Denmark. He came to Rensselaerswyck in 1638. He was the founder of the Douw family of early Albany!

He married Dorothe Van Breestede in New Amsterdam on April 19, 1650. Over the next three decades the marriage produced eleven children who further established the family in Albany and its environs. During that time, he was a member and deacon at the Albany Dutch church.

By 1660, these Douws had settled in Beverwyck where he headed the list of principal fur traders. His Beverwyck-based business was multi-dimensional and he was an active litigant before the town court. Earlier, he had been called a skipper. He also operated an Albany brewery located near the river.

He was an Albany magistrate under both the Dutch and English, served as an Indian commissioner, and frequently represented others in court. more to come!

In 1679, his Albany home was included on the assessment roll. That property on the southwest corner of State and Court Streets remained in the family for many years. It was known as "Douw's Corner" into the nineteenth century!

Volckert Janse also owned substantial lands in various parts of the Hudson Valley. more to come!

Volckert Janse Douw made a will in 1680 and died in 1681.



the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Volckert Janse Douw is CAP biography number 2227. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

Land holdings included farmland in Rensselaerswyck; a number of islands in the Hudson; land at Esopus; acreage elsewhere in what became Albany County; more to come!!

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first posted: 5/15/03