Martin Hebeysen (Hebwiser)


Family-based materials tell us that Martin Hebeysen or Hebwiser was born in Germany in March 1738. Thus, his parents were Christian and Eva Christina Steussler "Hebeisin," citizens of the parish of Zeuttlingen. Perhaps he was the "Martin Hebeisen" who was among the passengers on the ship Sally that had sailed from Rotterdam and had taken the oath of allegience in Pennsylvania on October 29, 1770.

In America and in his mid-thirties at the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, we expect to be able to connect him to wartime activities.

After the war, he received a land bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia regiment. His inclusion on that list may have meant that he was in Albany during the war years. However, his name has not been found prior to the mid-1780s in the community-based records thus far encountered.

signature of Martin Hebeysen from church recordsHe was married but presently we lack information on his spouse but that he had a childless marriage. From the postwar period on, he was a member, pewholder, and sometime trustee and treasurer (resigned in 1811) of the Albany Lutheran church. Church records reveal that he joined the church about that time and that he was a blacksmith by "profession" or trade. He was an active churchman for many years and was "strenuously opposed" to the abandonment of the German language in services - after which he stopped attending church.

Beginning in December 1786, his account was paid from city funds. In 1801, he paid seven dollars for a grocer's license. He does not seem to have held any civic positions.

In 1788, his house and lot were included on the Albany assessment roll in the first ward. His real property was valued as neglible and his personal holdings at somewhat more. In 1790, the first ward census showed that his household included two men and a woman. A decade later, the census showed only the older couple and a slave in the Southside household.

In 1813, the first city directory identified him as a grocer living at 67 Hudson Street - a few buildings east of South Pearl Street . He was a fixture at that address in directories at least until 1822.

According to his tombstone, "Martin Hebeysen, a native of Zuettlingen in Germany," died June 19, 1827 at age eighty-eight years, seven months, and eight days. He was buried in the Dutch church plot of the Albany cemetery. At that time, he still was living at 67 Hudson. His will passed probate in August. The "widow of Martin Hebeysen" (still unmaned) was listed in the directory in 1830. The couple left no direct heirs.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Martin Hebeysen (Heywiser) is CAP biography number 8387. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources

Origins: Translation of an affidavit from Germany dated 1786. From the collection of the Colonie town historian.

first posted: 10/20/08