Philip Riley
Stefan Bielinski

With his celtic name occurring in many variants in the record, Philip Riley probably was born in New York City in 1719.

By December 1742, he was in Schenectady where he married Eva Vandervolgen. The marriage produced two children before her death. In 1749, he married Hester De Graff. Their two children also were baptized in the Schenectady Dutch church. In October 1755, Riley took as his third wife Schenectady native Jannetje Van Slyck. That marriage produced four children, the last two being baptized in the Albany Dutch church. in 1761 and 1766.

Riley seems to have worked on the frontier. In 1747, he purchased goods for the Cayugas on behalf of William Johnson. Later, Johnson paid him for repairing "Cayuga arms." During the 1750s, he worked among the Indians as a gunsmith.

By the late 1750s, he had settled in Albany where he helped arrange burials on behalf of the Dutch church. Traditional sources refer to him as "voorlezer" (lay teacher). Beginning in 1762, he was paid by the Albany government for tending the town clock. This annual contract appointment may have begun for him during the 1750s and continued until 1770. By the mid-1760s, he was the owner of a house in the third ward.

Philip Riley died after 1770. Perhaps he was still in the area in 1780 when a "Philip Riley" posted a hundred pounds as bail for William Rogers! His third wife and some of their descendants were buried in the Schenectady cemetery.



the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Philip Riley/Rylie/Reilley is CAP biography number 1512. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. We seek defining information on his background! Perhaps he also was known as "John" or "John Philip" Riley.

Jane Van Slyck (wife of Philip Riley) died in 1824 at age 86. She was buried with the family of her son, James V. S. Riley!

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first posted: 8/30/02; revised 3/13/09