George Merchant


According to his obituary, George Merchant was born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1757. His father had emigrated from Stuttgart, Germany in 1745. George was the youngest of eleven children. He graduated from Princeton University in 1779. From 1780 to 1782, he taught in a grammar school in Princeton. He then relocated to Albany.

Although we have found no record of his actual contribution, he later received a land bounty right for service to the Revolutionary cause in conjunction with the Albany militia regiment.

His wife was New Jersey native Elizabeth Spencer. By 1790, their children had been christened in Albany churches. In September 1791, George or his namesake was confirmed in St. Peter's Episcopal Church.

Merchant first came to Albany to teach school - serving as rector of the "Seminary Academy" beginning in 1780. It was located on North Pearl Street. He soon entered business as well. He served on the boards of a number of community-based institutions.

In March 1794, he was named co-executor of the will of William Shepard.

He first lived in a house in the second ward. By 1800, he had relocated across town to upper State Street where he kept boarders and resided for the rest of his life.

This well-known businessman held a number of local judicial offices and was appointed city and county clerk in 1815.

George Merchant died in August 1830 at the age of seventy-three. He was buried in the Episcopal cemetery plot. A monument called him as "kind and affectionate father." His will passed probate in September 1830.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of George Merchant is CAP biography number 1021. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 11/20/05