John Griffith


Referred to variously, John Griffith probably was an Englishman who lived in Albany during the third quarter of the eighteenth century. He was a businessman and provincial placeholder. The sketch that follows represents what we think might be the activities of this one individual.

In August 1756, John Griffith married a woman named Rachel Achest at St. Peter's Anglican church. Their children were baptized at St. Peter's in 1759 and 1761. He later witnessed baptisms there and also witnessed marriage bonds.

In August 1765, it appears that his goods were carried on Martin G. Van Bergen's sloop.

In 1766 and 1767, "Griffis"'s first ward house was valued on the Albany assessment roll. In December 1766, his pasture lot in the lowlands to the north of the Beaverkill was referenced in the city council minutes.

In February 1772, "John Griffiths" was directed to vacate a tract of land located in eastern Albany County.

In 1774, he was identified as one of two salaried "gaugers of liquors" in provincial records.

In January 1776, a "John Griffiths" offered to supply and deliver pig iron for use as ballast in American ships.

In March 1777, the opportunistic "Griffiths" joined with Robert Boyd in petitioning the New York Convention regarding the use of a blast furnace. Later that month, an informant affirmed that he "saw John Griffiths late of the County of Albany at New York, heard him called Captain, saw him in company with Cunningham the provost Marshal & was informed that Griffiths had some appointment in Colo Rogers corps."

In January 1780, he witnessed the issuance of an administrative bond. On that occasion, he was identified as "late of Albany County, now of New York City." That was the last reference to him thus far encountered.

In 1793, he owed more than fourteen pounds to the estate of William Charles.

At this point, we have many unresolved questions and seek defining demographics in order to sort out the John Griffiths'.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Griffith is CAP biography number 8276. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Perhaps he moved to New York City during the 1770s and was listed on the New York census in 1790! His name has been associated with other marriage partners during this time period. The printed Calendar of Wills includes probate information on a number of similarly named contemporaries. Subsequent estate information also has been found online. However, we are not at all certain that this information relates to the one-time Albany resident.

first posted: 11/25/05; re-cast and revised 10/6/10