Catherine Wetzel Ostrander


Spelled and referred to variously, according to family-based resources future Albany resident Catherine Wetzel/Witrel/Hetsel was born in February 1753. She appears to have been a native of East Camp on Livingston Manor.

According to family-based and other sources, by Eastertime 1774, she had married Rhinebeck native John Ostrander, Jr. They were married by the pastor of the "German Presbyterian" church of "East Camp" - then on Livingston Manor. By 1794, the marriage had produced a number of children who were christened at East Camp and then in Albany.

In February 1777, the Ostranders had two children and were living at East Camp when he was commissioned an officer in the Revolutionary army. That Spring, their house burned and they narrowly escaped with their lives. When Ostrander left to join his regiment at Saratoga, the homeless Catherine took her family to Albany to be closer to her husband. Her later affidavit sheds light on her Albany sojourn.

Catherine followed Ostrander's regiment to winter quarters in Johnstown and was living in a small room there when her third child was born in June 1779.

After enduring most of the war without her husband at homes on both sides of the mid-Hudson valley, these Ostranders moved to Albany in the Spring of 1784. They then became prominent first ward residents as John Jr. was appointed sheriff of Albany County in 1792.

Her husband died early in 1800 and she was named as his beneficiary - but not as executor. The census taken later that year, identified "Catherine Ostrander" as the head of the second ward household. Their son's house was configured next door.

In September 1803, she conveyed a lot "in a place called Vodde mart" on the corner of southeastern Green and Beaver Streets to John Bryan.

In October 1813, the widow attested that her son Philip had died at Fort Wayne in the Indiana territory.

In 1813, the first city directory identified her home at 63 Beaver Street where she lived for a number of years. In 1820, she was living at 61 Hudson Street.

Catherine later stated that she moved from Albany to Tully in Onondaga County with her son John in 1832.

In 1837, she was living in Onondaga County when she applied for a widow's pension on behalf of her late husband's Revolutionary War service. She deposed that then she was over eighty-five years of age. The lengthy affadavit vaguely detailed Ostrander's wartime service and testified to the particulars of her life.

On November 13, 1847, an Albany newspaper reported that "Catharine Ostrander [had] died at Tully, aged 97; widow of John Ostrander a revolutionary oflicer and former sheriff of Albany."

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Catherine Wetzel Ostrander is CAP biography number 6619. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

East Camp: At this early point in my exploration, these links are different but valuable: Germantown overview, history department, and Lutheran History. what an interesting settlement

first posted 10/30/12; updated 3/9/13