John Ram


Spelled variously, John Ram (also Johan Otto Rham) probably was born about 1740. We suspect that he was a native of Germany.

In March 1765, he married "Catherine Barbara Hoogstrettein" (Catharina Hogstrasser) at the Albany Dutch church. By 1779, at least four children had been christened in Albany churches. He does not appear to have been associated with the Albany Lutheran church. In December of 1765, he was naturalized - meaning he had not been born in a part of the British Empire.

Ram may have been the "Johns Baker" listed in the house of Bogardus on the assessment roll in 1766. By 1779, he was identified as the owner of a house and lot in the third ward and of a lot along Foxes Creek. He maintained that property on what became lower Columbia Street for the remainder of his life.

In August 1775, the Albany committee noted that his child had smallpox. At that time, he was identified as a baker. Otherwise, except for a small contribution for relief in 1775, his name has not yet been encountered on the records of wartime Albany. In his thirties for most of that time, we seek to account for John Ram's wartime activities.

Even though he had been living in Albany for more than a decade, in 1781, he was identified as a baker and was among those newcomers who purchased the freedom of the city.

In 1790, Ram's household included Catherine and three other females. A decade later, they were joined by a younger man and a young girl for a total of seven household members.

In July 1803, John Ram was one of three leading members of the apparently defunct German Reformed Church who successfully petitioned the Dutch church leaders to permit their deceased kin to be re-interred in the Dutch church plot. "Johannis Ram" was buried from the Dutch church on January 1, 1805. His will passed probate in June. His widow lived on in the home at 31 Columbia Street until her death in February 1826.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Ram is CAP biography number 1123. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 1/30/09