John Heaton
Stefan Bielinski

John Heaton was a painter known for a number of limner portraits of early Albany people. He was an Albany resident during the 1730s and 40s.

In June 1730, he married Maria Hooghkerk at the Albany Dutch church. During the 1730s, their children were baptized in Albany and he witnessed a number of baptisms in the church as well.

He painted portraits for the Wendells and other prominent regional families. His portrait entitled "Boy of the Van Rensselaer Family" stands out as the only known likeness of an eighteenth century Afro Albanian. He also painted the reknowned "Van Bergen Overmantle."

In 1731, he purchased lot number eight on "the Plain" from the city. Three years later, he still had not paid for the land. In November 1736, he was appointed firemaster in the first ward. His name appeared on a freeholder list for the first ward of Albany in 1742.

After 1742, however, his name dropped from Albany rolls. Perhaps they were the John "Eton" and Marytie Hoogkerck (from Albany) who were mentioned in Reformed church records in Bergen County, New Jersey in 1749 and during the 1750s. Their daughter, Mary Van Buskirk, lived in Bergen County as well.

Much more to come!


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Heaton/Hatton/Heyton/Eton is a CAP biography number 8391. This profile is derived chiefly from community-based resources. We presume he was of Scottish ancestry. However, we have found no clues to his origins or passing. The most comprehensive information on his work appears in 200 Years of Collecting, 51-52.

Family information: We are indebted to Alfred Wolkomir of Rumson, NJ for tracking the Heatons to New Jersey.

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first posted: 7/25/03; revised 4/20/04