David Fonda


David Fonda was born in January 1757. He was the son of Isaac and Susanna De Foreest Fonda. He grew up in a large family in the Pearl Street home of a woodworker and property holder.

Coming of age during the war, we expect to be able to uncover his wartime record. Near the end of the war, his account was paid by the Albany Commissioners. In any event, afterwards, he was accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia regiment. He was the older brother of Revolutionary officer John Fondey, Jr. In 1787 and again in 1800, David was identified as the quartermaster of an Albany militia regiment.

In 1780, he had married Catherine Ten Broeck - daughter of John Tobias Ten Broeck of Claverack and then New Jersey. However, their marriage has not been found in a sweep of the records of Albany churches. By 1790, seven children had been christened at the Albany Dutch church. In 1798, his daughter, Elizabeth, was among the students at the Bethlehem Female Academy in Pennsylvania.

In 1781, he was appointed chimney viewer for the second ward. At that time, he probably still resided in his father's home. In 1785, he was elected assessor for the third ward.

These Fondas made their home on Market Street in the third ward. This David Fonda was a merchant. His personal property first appeared on Albany rolls in 1779. Beginning in 1782, the New York and Albany newspaper advertized that he had for sale "cloths, metal ware, drygoods, groceries, and liquors next door to General Ten Broeck." The ads noted that he would take cash, notes, meats and grain in payment. Ultimately, his Market Street mansion would become an Albany landmark. In 1799 and afterwards, assessment rolls showed he owned an ashery and lot on Orange Street. During those years, he was a licensed grocer in the city of Albany.

The assessment roll for 1788 showed that his house and holdings in the third ward were valued substantially. In 1790, his household included nine members and two slaves. A decade later, his landmark household had grown to include eleven members and three slaves.

Over the years, he was involved in a number of civic activities and was among the original trustees of the Albany Library - incorporated in 1792.

David Fonda died in August 1805 and was buried in the church plot. He had lived but forty-eight years. In 1813, widow Catherine Fonda was listed in the first city directory in their home at 118 Market Street.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of David Fonda is CAP biography number 3776. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 5/10/09