John Ostrander
Stefan Bielinski

John Ostrander was born in February 1734. He was a younger son in the large family (as many as 15 births) of Albany residents Johannes and Elizabeth Vandenbergh Ostrander. By the time of John's birth, these Kingston natives had settled permanently in Albany's first ward from where Johannes (seems to have been known as Van Ostrande") was elected and then re-elected to the city council.

In June 1763, this John was twenty-nine when he married fellow Rensselaerswyck resident Marritje Van Alstyne at the Albany Dutch church. By 1779, six of their children had been christened there. However, a younger, same-named contemporary (but not his son) later became the county sheriff.

These Ostranders made their home on the hill in the second ward. During the 1760s and afterwards, his holdings were valued moderately. In time, the homes of their sons would be located nearby.

We are uncertain whether he was the John Ostrander who was identified in a legal paper as the schoolmaster of Rensselaerswyck in February 1774.

In 1772, he was appointed city marshall and served for a number of years. He also was a constable in the second ward on a number of occasions. John Ostrander also served in an Albany company of the colonial militia.

In 1775, he his civic activities shifted to the Committee of Correspondence. During the war years, John Ostrander served as bell ringer, town sergeant, and marshall. Thus he was required to attend the daily meetings of the committee, keep rosters, and serve warrants on those who refused to serve or otherwise cooperate. In March 1776, he was commissioned ensign in the Albany militia regiment and was replaced as marshall. He continued to serve as constable - indicating that he remained close to home.

In 1790, their second ward home was configured on the city census. A decade later, only four people remained in his household.

John Ostrander died sometime after 1813 when his home was listed in the first city directory at 51 Chapel Street. After that, the Second Presbyterian church stood on that property.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Ostrander is CAP biography number 1478. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

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first posted 12/30/04; revised 2/1/13