Henry Hart
Stefan Bielinski

Henry Hart was a businessman who came to Albany during the American Revolution.

According to Internet-based family resources, Henry was born in England in or about 1730 to Ezekiel and "Mrs. Judah" Hart. Thus, he had several siblings who were born as early as the 1720. He is said to have moved to Albany and "married a Dutch girl." We seek more definitive information on his origins and path to Albany. Other similiarly named individuals were his contemporaries.

In March 1779, his home near the Market House was included on the tax rolls with his personal property assessed at a rate comparable to other merchants. In 1781, he was identified as a non-native-born merchant who paid for the right to conduct business in the city.

Perhaps, he was one of four brothers in a family-based, intercontinental trading network. If so, new and diverse research doors swing open.

In October 1782, Henry did marry Elizabeth Visscher in the nearby Albany Dutch church. Two of their children had been baptized there by 1784.

Henry Hart advertized in the New-York Gazetteer in December 1782 - offering imported items in exchange for lumber and grains near the Market House in Albany. In April 1783, he sold tea and sugar to the army. He also supplied rum for the Albany city council. In 1785, his back apartment was rented to Alexander Laverty, a "tayler from London."

Although he was accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia, except for appearing as a witness in May 1781, his name is absent from the minutes of local Revolutionary era organizations. But during the 1780s, he witnessed a number of military bounty claims for lands in Onondaga County. In January 1784, he was identified as a patentee of land in Tompkins County.

He is said to have died in Albany in 1787.

An inventory of the estate of a deceased neighbor filed in January 1788 noted a substantial debt due from "Hendrick Hardt."

His name did not appear on the Albany (or elsewhere in NYS) census in 1790. The last recorded reference to him came in 1799 when a second ward lot was assessed as belonging to the "heir" of Henry Hart!

We seek information on his later life, passing, and fate of his family.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Henry Hart is CAP biography number 8358. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Perhaps he was the Henry Hart who applied for a Revolutionary war pension and still was living in Troy in 1840. Or was he the kinsman of Albany native and writer Bret Harte (1839-1902) whose father was named Henry Hart? Curiously (but possibly of no relevance here), a Henry Hart was killed by Indians in Tryon County in 1778 or 1779. Perhaps this collection of business papers from 1782-93 at the New-York Historical Society relates to our current subject.

We are much more confident of the relationship of a nephew, the Jewish Canadian merchant Ezekiel Hart (or perhaps Moses Hart), who is said to have helped settle this Henry Hart's estate during the 1790s. But see this summary and The Jewish Encyclopedia on the Jewish Hart family of colonial America.

A search via Google.com in June 2012 has provided additional leads as well as digressions.

Home | Site Index | Navigation | Email | New York State Museum

first posted: 2/5/04; revised 6/21/12