Captain Pieter Winne

Stefan Bielinski

Pieter Winne was born in May 1690. He was the first of the eight children born to the marriage of Albany mainstays Frans and Elsie Gansevoort Winne.

The boy grew up along the Albany waterfront - learning from a successful father the changing realities of the fur trade and also how to turn farm and forest products into marketable goods. By his late teens, Pieter Winne was running family errands and earning extra income from jobs performed for the Albany government.

By the 1720s, he was skippering his own boat on the Hudson River - carrying cargoes for his family and other community people as well. Called "Captain" Winne, his basic run was between Albany and New York with frequent stops at the river ports in-between. excerpt from Captain Winne's receipt book Although he also transacted business from the Winnes' riverside home, he was widely known as a "skipper" and was among the most active of the Albany-based Hudson River carriers. His recently recovered receipt book for the 1730s and 40s provides much insight on the nature and rhythms of his frequent trips.

In 1715, this young man was elected to the Albany city council as an assistant in the third ward. In 1726, he was elected third ward alderman and served for several years. During that time, he was active the development of the city's external lands and also served as a member of the Indian Commissioners. A prominent figure in his native community, Pieter Winne also had an identity beyond Albany.

His monthly trips to New York brought him into contact with many of the leading people of colonial New York. These contacts and his person business downriver made him an attractive choice to represent Albany at the provincial level. In 1737, he was elected to provincial Assembly for the city of Albany. Except for a four year hiatus from 1748 to 1752, he served in the Assembly until his death. His prominence also qualified him to receive a share of several patents for frontier lands during the period of peace in the 1730s and 40s.

Pieter Winne was one of a few successful early Albany men who did not marry. He inherited his parents' home and then perhaps brought in his sister Catharina and her husband, Abraham Douw, to live in the Winne house. His long-term business connection with Douw explains why his family was provided for in Winne's will. Both men were partners in the Sacandaga Patent of 1741.

In his will, filed in 1753, Pieter identified himelf as a "gentleman" of Albany and stated that he was "in health." Without direct heirs, the bulk of his substantial estate was left to his brother-in-law Abraham Douw and to Pieter's nephew and namesake, Pieter Winne Douw. Captain Pieter Winne died in June 1759. He had lived for seventy-three years.



the people of colonial Albany The life of Captain Pieter Winne is CAP biography number 3032. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. His career is contextualized in an online essay entitled "River People in Early Albany."

Skipper: His attraction to sailing probably followed his sister's marriage to Abraham Douw whose family had long been Hudson River boat owners and skippers.

"Receipt Book belonging to Pieter Winne, 1733-1760," in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art. The excerpt shown is a receipt for one pound ten shillings and five pence signed by Richard Miller on May 17, 1746.

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first posted 01/03/02; last revised 12/28/13