Matthew Gregory


Matthew Gregory was born in August 1757. He was the fourth son in the large family of Ezra and Hannah Betts Gregory of Wilton, Connecticut.

He was a soldier in the Revolutionary army. In 1777 he was a sergeant and quartermaster in the 8th Connecticut regiment. In 1778, he was identified as "Sergeant-Major." In 1779, he was called an ensign. In January 1781 he transferred to the 5th Connecticut. In December of that year, he was commissioned a Lieutenant. In 1782, he transferred to the 3rd Connecticut. He retired from the army on January 1, 1783. He had served at White Plains, Monmouth, Valley Forge, and at Yorktown. Afterwards, he was granted a pension for military service.

After the war, he returned home and joined the Society of the Cincinnati. About 1791, he moved to Waterford, Saratoga County, where he kept a small inn. In 1794, he was named one of the trustees of "Half Moon Point."

During the early 1800s, he relocated to Albany to take charge of the Tontine Coffee House - formerly operated by Ananias Platt. The establishment seems to have come into Gregory's hands by 1801 when he issued the following advertisement:

"Tontine Coffee House. Mat. Gregory, from the village of Waterford, has taken the Tontine Coffee House, State street, in the city of Albany. He has also provided himself with a large yard, stable, &c., for horses and carriages, for convenience of the gentleman traveler. The house has been kept for three years past by Mr. Ananias Platt, and will be open and ready to wait on those who may be pleased to call on him, the 15th inst. Every attention in his line of business shall be strictly attended to, by the public's humble servant. MAT. GREGORY."

The Tontine Coffee House at 53 State Street was the most fashionable hotel in Albany. About 1805, Gregory acquired the Eagle Hotel - located on the corner of Court (Broadway) and Hamilton streets.

In 1810, his household of sixteen people first was configured on the Albany census. The first city directory in 1813 noted his address at the Eagle Tavern at 103 Court Street. Having become wealthy, Gregory retired from the hotel business in 1814 at the age of fifty-seven. In 1815, his address was given as "Public Square." Over the next quarter century, he acquired stately Congress Hall and lived in a number of grand residences near the Public Square. In retirement, he was known as a former Revolutionary War officer.

His wife, Elizabeth, was a native of England who died in 1826 and was buried in the Episcopal church plot. The marriage produced only a son (who never married) and a daughter.

In 1820, his address was given as "Public Square." As late as 1830, he was listed in the directory at "Park Place."

Matthew Gregory died in Albany in June 1848 and was buried from his Albany church. This Revolutionary war soldier had lived ninety-one years. The Albany Orphan Asylum received a bequest of $2,000 from his estate.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Matthew Gregory is CAP biography number 8273. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. A sketch written by the husband of his niece appears in Random Recollections.

first posted: 2 /25/08