Isaac Switts
Stefan Bielinski

Isaac Switts was born in September 1706. He was the son of Albany newcomers Cornelis and Hester Visscher Switts. These Schenectady expatriots set up their home in Albany's third ward. Among other things, his father ran a sloop - an enterprise that eventually was passed on to Isaac.

In February 1728, he married Schenectady resident Maria Vrooman at the Albany Dutch church. By 1746, their six children were baptized at the Albany church where he was a member, pewholder, and occasional baptism sponsor. In 1768, he also joined St. Peter's Anglican church along with "his negro," Tom.

This Switts family lived in a "good house" in Albany's third ward where Isaac was known as a skipper. He also was a merchant. In 1750, he was elected assistant alderman and was a contractor of the city government. Among his customers was Sir William Johnson - who counted Capt. Switts among his regular informants and carriers. Although Switts owned additional acreage in Schenectady and on the outskirts of the city, he was primarily a sloop captain whose career spanned several decades.

He was an officer in the Albany County militia. By the late 1760s, no doubt with Johnson's help, he had become lieutenant colonel of the Albany city regiment. Beginning in 1742, His name was included on lists of Albany freeholders.

Isaac Switts died in December 1787 and was buried from the Dutch church. He had lived more than eighty-one years! His will passed probate in September 1791.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Isaac Switts is CAP biography number 5661. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

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first posted: 10/15/04