Asser Levy


The name of Asser Levy appears in the story of New Netherland and in the early history of Albany as well. Since then, his life has taken on legendary proportion! This New Netherland pioneer was in America from the 1650s until his death about 1680. This businessman and butcher lived predominately on Manhattan but was connected by ambition to the early days of other places in the region as well. This offering focuses on his time in and connection to Beverwyck/Albany.

The first American named Asser Levy was a Jew who is said to have born in what is now Poland/Lithuania, emigrated to Brazil, and then to New Amsterdam in 1654. In October 1664, he was among those "Dutch" at New York who swore allegiance to "His Majestie . . . James, Duke of Yorke."

Asser Levy is said to have been the first Jew to own land in the colony when he made the first payment on the house of one Marcelis Jansen in September 1661. The parcel was well described and stood "on the hill" in the village of Beverwyck. Jansen certified that Levy had made the final payments on the property on November 1, 1661. The following September, he appears to have sold the property to Robert Sanders.

This individual appears to have been the subject of additional Albany-relevant references both before and after the transactions described above. However, our comprehension of those activities is incomplete at this time.

Asser Levy is said to have died between 1680 and early 1683 when his estate was in litigation.

Perhaps Asser Levy never spent a night in Beverwyck/Albany.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Asser Levy has no CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
     Online resources: Wikipedia; Jews in America; Jewish Encyclopedia; Jeffrey S. Gurock in American Jewish History; Dutch Notarial records; his estate; numerous additional sources via a search;

silently posted 4/30/14; last updated 12/2/14