Abraham Eights
Stefan Bielinski

Abraham Eights was born in 1745 or 1746. He came to Albany following the last French and Indian War. By 1766, he had taken up residence on the Albany waterfront where he began to earn a living as a sailmaker.

Early in that year, he joined the crusade for American liberties when he signed the constitution of the Albany Sons of Liberty.

In June 1770, he married Catherine Brooks at St. Peter's Anglican Church. At that time, he was a member and supporter of St. Peters. Later, he joined the Presbyterian Church where he was an elder and trustee for the last thirty years of his life. Over the next two decades, their eleven children were baptized in three Albany churches.

By the eve of the American Revolution, he was making sails for Albany boats and also selling his wares in New York City. In 1774, he leased a lot adjoining his waterfront property. Gaining stature in his adoped home, in 1775 the Albany Committee appointed him a lieutenant in the city militia. Although he soon resigned that commission, he supported the American cause with contributions. After the war, he was granted a land bounty right in connection with the city regiment of the Albany militia.

In 1779, his waterside holdings were valued substantially on the spring assessment roll.

Now in middle age, Abraham Eights prospered in post-war Albany. He sold barrels of sugar and other imported items from his waterfront home. He was becoming a riverside mainstay - booming Albany's most visible sailmaker whose work was sought by neighbors and newcomers alike. By 1799, he had taken a lease on a large portion of the new third ward dock. Later, he held the municipal appointment as "Dockmaster." A pillar of the reconstituted Albany Presbyterian church, he also served as a city fireman.

Abraham Eights made his will in 1806. At that time, the sixty-year-old said that he was "weak in body" He lived for another fourteen years. He died on January 10, 1820 at age seventy-four. His estate went to his wife and then nine surviving children. His son, Jonathan, became a prominent physician, His grandson, James Eights, was one of them most historically interesting characters of nineteenth-century Albany.



the people of colonial Albany The life of Abraham Eights is CAP biography number 7800. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Because he ultimately became an officer in the Albany Presbyterian Church and also cannot be connected using family sources, we do not believe that he was related to the Albany Yates family - even though "Abraham" was a popular Yates family name and the name of his first son who died young! Most likely, he was a Scottish immigrant.

Residence: That site later was known as 28 Dock Street. His house and property were listed on the city assessment roll of 1766.

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first posted: 7/3/01; last updated 6/21/12