John Roff
Stefan Bielinski

John Roff probably was born during the 1730s. He may have been the "John Raef" who was an enlisted man in the militia company of John Winne in August 1757.

In October 1763, he obtained a lot along Foxes Creek from the Albany government. In 1776, he pruchased a land partly in Rensselaerswyck and partly in Albany and along the highway that led to the mills at Watervliet. He made his home there - on Market Street near the city line for the rest of his life!

He married Christina - the mother of his children. He was a member of the growing German-ancestry enclave that emerged on Albany's north side following the end of the Seven Years War.

John Roff was a Hudson River skipper and a merchant of modest means. His Albany home also included a shop which was rented to small vendors.

The War for Independence caused him some discomfort! In 1775, he was transporting people and cargoes for the Albany committee and contributing money to the American cause. A year later, he was denounced as a merchant who charged high prices and was confined to the Tory jail. Promising good behavior, he was released. However, he left Albany without a pass, was apprehended, and again was required to sign the oath of allegiance. In 1777, his children were afflicted with smallpox and were removed from Albany. In Canada, the Revolutionaries reported that Roff was known as a "friend of the king."

In February 1781, he was appointed to administer the estate of his deceased brother-in-law.

The end of the war restored Roff to business. But his sailing days were over and he kept boarders. His modest home was listed valued in 1788 and his houseold was configured on the city census roll in 1790.

John Roff died in October 1800 and was buried from the Albany Dutch church. His wife was noted as the head of the household on the second Federal census in 1800. She carried on at #1 North Market Street for a number of years.



the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Roff/Raaf/Raef/Ralph is CAP biography number 1026. Sometimes he was referred to as Johann Wilhelm Roff. This profile is derived chiefly from community-based resources. We believe he was of German ancestry and seek defining information on his background and origins! Care must be taken to not confuse him with Colonel John Roff of the Mohawk Valley!

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first posted: 12/30/02; revised 7/27/10