William Kane


According to subsequent burial information, William Kane would seem to have been born about 1732. He does not seem to be related to James Kane or to the other Kanes who lived in eighteenth-century Albany.

In August 1765, he first posted an administrative bond. At that time, he was identifed as a merchant of Albany.

In 1767, his (William Caine) house and property in the third ward were accorded assessments comparable to the city's leading merchants.

He was a storekeeper in Albany. His account books from 1760-1771 and from 1764-1792 detailed business transactions.

In April 1766, he (Cain) was among those partners applying to purchase a tract of land from the Catskill Indians. In October 1771, he was one of fifty-five men who were granted a royal patent for a tract of 50,000 acres located south of the Mohawk.

His wife was Elizabeth Dox. The marriage produced a number of children, one of whom was christened in the Albany Dutch church early in 1778. Although, his family was interred in the Dutch church cemetery plot, Kane himself was a member of the Albany Presbyterian church.

In March 1776, he began seeking permission from the Albany Committee to be able to trade with the Indians as "the greatest part of his property was out there and that he would suffer greatly if not permitted to go." The Committee was moved and he was permitted to trade at that time. A year later, he was identified as one of those who was "suspicious and dangerous" and was scheduled to be incarcerated at the fleet prison at Kingston. He was able, however, to persuade the Committee not to send him away and did take the oath. After the war, he was accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the Third or Watervliet Militia regiment.

In 1788, he owed more than two pounds to the late Dr. Henry Van Dyck. His account books detailed Kane's business around Albany from the 1760s into the 1790s.

In 1790 and 1800, his household was configured on the census for Watervliet. A number of slaves also were included under his household. His Watervliet neighbors were his mother's family, the Marselises.

William Kane lost his wife in 1793. She was buried from the Albany Dutch church.

The first Watervliet town meeting in 1809 was said to have been held at his house. Its precise location is under investigation.

In August 1812, the Albany paper noted the passing of William Kane and that he had lived eighty years. Kane, his wife, and sons all were buried in the Dutch church plot.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of William Kane is CAP biography number 2529. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

Account Books: Noted in an exhibition catalogue. The ledger covering ". . . from 1764 to 1792, detailed his transactions before, during, and after the war of the Revolution in this city, showing the rise and decline of articles by reason of the war; for example: salt, $180 per bushel; tea, $25 per pound; rum, $85; shrub, $60 per gallon: chocolate, $12 per pound; flour, $40 per hun- dred weight; black handkerchiefs, $35 each. includes most of the old Albany names." His accounts are said to be in the New York State Library.

first posted: 10/30/09