John Gates

According to family-based resources, John Gates was born on November 3, 1748. Several same-named contemporaries were born into New England families.

Gates served in the Revolutionary army. He is said to have accompanied Benedict Arnold's expedition to Canada in 1775-76. He was an ensign in Col. James Livingston's regiment from 1776 to 1780. He is said to have served as a private, sergeant, and officer and to have retired from service on May 20, 1780. Afterwards, he received a land bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia regiment. In 1836, his widow applied for and was awarded an annual pension of $240 plus five years in arrears for his service. In March 1781, Gates joined with Philip Van Rensselaer in certifying that Hendrick Waldron worked at the armory in Albany - probably meaning he had some firsthand knowledge of that service or that Hendrick was his brother-in-law.

In March 1779, he married Albany native Geertruy Van Vranken at the Albany Dutch church. By 1788, five children had been christened in Albany. Later, he was a member of the Dutch church consistory.

After first lodging in the third ward house of Geertie's parents, by 1790 their home was enumerated separately aloth next to that of Geertruy's parents. For several decades, their residence at 5 Van Tromp Street was an Albany landmark. In 1800, their household included eight family members - none of whom were old enough to have been Geertie's parents. In 1809, John's house, lot, and workshop (all on Market Street) were valued on the third ward assessment roll.

In 1791 and 1796, he was a fireman in a third ward fire company. Later, city directories noted he was a tax collector and a director of the Eastern Turnpike Company.

In 1815, he purchased another lot on Van Tromp Street.

John Gates died in September 1825 and was buried from the Dutch church. An obituary summarized his service and stated that he had lived seventy-four years. Widow Geertruy received John's military service pension and carried on in their Van Tromp Street home until her death in 1839.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Gates is CAP biography number 6507. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. His war service pension file was obtained from the National Archives but included only affidavits testifying to his marriage to Gertrude and to the particulars of his pension award. It did not detail his actual service - presenting only a summary of his military career.

first posted: 10/15/09