Edward Willett


Edward Willett was born in April 1731. He was the son of Edward and Aletta Clowes Willett. His father is said to have been a Quaker farmer, teacher, and tavernkeeper on Long Island. He also was called "Edward Willetts, Jr." Albany resident Elbert and the distinguished Marinus Willett were his younger brothers. His younger kinsman, skipper Edward S. Willett, was an Albany mainstay and contemporary.

He probably was not the same-named individual who operated a tavern in Manhattan in 1754. Instead or perhaps additionally, he was a schoolteacher and was employed by the SPG. In 1772, he was identified as a schoolmaster in Albany and as someone who offered "good Private lodgings" for newcomer Scots.

In April 1752, perhaps this Edward Willett married Elizabeth Bodine of Lebanon, New Jersey. That marriage does not appear to have produced children. In August 1762, he married Mary Gale. By 1775, five children were christened at the Albany Dutch church. The last son was baptized six months after the father's death.

The Willetts were members of St. Peter's Anglican church. Edward's name was on a list of communicants dated December 1771.

During the mid-1760s, a "Willet" appeared on the Albany assessment rolls. With no first name given, we suspect that Edward Willett was that individual with a minimal assessment for property in the third ward.

According to family-based materials, Edward Willett died in Albany in September 1774. He was buried from St. Peter's. Thus, his widow may well could have been the "Widow Willet" whose third ward property was valued in 1779 and in 1788. However, information for Edward Willett of Albany has been found for times after his supposed burial date.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Edward Willett has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
Because so many same-named individuals are at risk during this Albany resident's lifetime, an uncomfortable uncertainty accompanies this sketch.

first posted: 1/20/10