The purpose of this information page is to describe the community-based organization, account for its formation, and identify its founding members - all during the time prior to the Industrial Revolution. For a more comprehensive understanding of the Society from then to now, please consult the resources listed below. This offering is still in its early stages of development.
Although present in some numbers (Livingston, Glen, Sanders) since the city's earliest days, many were recent arrivals and less likely to support the community-based initiatives that led to the American Revolution. Predominately Presbyterians, their meeting house and other distinguishing cultural markers would be much less visible during the wartime years. During the late 1770s, a number of prominent Albany Scots were called out as enemies of liberty although they appear to have been more interested in trade than in turmoil. A prime example of this situation was Albany native John Stevenson, the son of a colonial city treasurer who had married an Albany woman of New Netherland ancestry.
With the coming of peace, however, Albany's Scots (defined here as Calvinists rather than Catholics) were able to move forward. During the 1780s and afterward, a steady stream of Scottish ancestry newcomers settled in Albany where they sought to set down roots.
By the early 1800s, Albany's Scots had become a visible part of the community landscape. In 1802, eighteen Scottish ancestry Albany men formed the "United Irish and Scotch Benevolent Society" with Andrew Brown, a native of Scotland, as its first president.
In January 1803, merchant entrepreneur James Caldwell was elected President. On October 3, what was called a "special meeting" marked the first of what appear to be more regular gatherings that detailed the organization's aims and operations.
In 1903, a centennial publication recounted the Society's first century of operations. It also provides (often detailed and interpretive) sketches of its leaders. The St. Andrew's Society of the City of Albany located at 150 Washington Avenue continues that legacy today. Its substantial website answers many questions about one of Albany's premier historical organizations.
Online resources: Albany Society Website;
Online resources: General Philadelphia chapter records date from the late 1740s. History of Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York, 1756-1906. For Albany: 1803-1903 Centennial Year: Historical Sketch of St. Andrew's Society of the City of Albany.
Click here for references to the Albany St. Andrew's Society on this website.
1800: The city census in 1800 included fifty households with the surname prefix "Mc." The first city directory in 1813 listed an even larger number of "Mcs." We believe that only a minority of them were Irish Catholics. At the same time, we recognize that the Mcs and Macs were not the only people (and probably a minority part) of Scottish heritage present in the community.
Present at the formation in 1802: John Robison, James Caldwell, Geo. Pearson, John Gill, Donald Mcleod, John Reid, John Mcgaffin, James Moore, Francis Mccabe, Wm. Mcclelland, Robert Mcclelland. Alexander Cumming, John Barber, Wm. James, John M. Pearson Peter Boyd, John Cumming, Arch'd Mcintyre.
first opened 1/30/16, linked and online 4/10/17