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A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times
7: Adult Freeholders — Yates (Yets, Yetz, Yattes)

Prof. Jonathan Pearson

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[This information is from pp. 228-230 of A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times; being contributions toward a history of the lower Mohawk Valley by Jonathan Pearson, A. M. and others, edited by J. W. MacMurray, A. M., U. S. A. (Albany, NY: J. Munsell's Sons, Printers, 1883). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 974.744 P36, and copies are also available for borrowing.]

[Copies of this book are available from the Schenectady County Historical Society.]

[The original version uses assorted typographical symbols to represent footnotes. To improve legibility, the online version uses the form (page number - note number.)]

The first of this name in this vicinity was Joseph Yates, an Englishman who settled in Albany about 1664, when the colony was occupied by the English.

In early documents the name is very commonly spelled Yets or Yetz, which would be pronounced as at present — Yates.

He died in Albany and was buried May 22d, 1730.

He either learned the trade of cordwainer or shoemaker, or worked with Marcelis Janse Van Bommel, in Albany. He married Hubertje Van Bommel, and had seven children.

His son Robert settled in Schenectady, at the age of 23, (probably soon after acquiring his father's trade) and married Grietje Claase De Graaf of the Hoek in Scotia.

His village lot was on the Albany road near the present Ferry street.

His tan vats and tannery buildings were situated on the bank of the Mill pond on Mill lane (near Ferry street extended), where the considerable quantity of water required in tanning leather was at hand, as appears by the following: Whereas, the trustees of the Dutch church did "8th December, 1725, quit claim to said Ahasuerus Marselis and Robert Yates a certain piece of ground with the tan pits * * * * lying to the eastward of said Church's mill and to the south of the house and lot of John Myndertse [now Abraham Doty's], and on the west of a road that is to be left to the west of the fence of Captain Johannes Bleeker 16 feet wide for a passage [now Ferry street extended] to the pasture ground of said church mill," &c.

Robert Yates in 1741 bought a parcel of two morgens bouwland lying on east side of the car works lane, being a part of the original Van Curler's of Juffrouw's Landt.

In 1747 Robert Yates by his will left his interest in tan yards to his sons Joseph and Abraham, and in 1768 Abraham Yates of the "Mohawk Country" quit claimed the same to Joseph Robertse Yates (his brother) for 10 shillings. (228-1)

Robert son of Joseph, settled in Schenectady before 1712, and his nephew Joseph Christoffelse, also a cordwainer, married and settled there in 1734.

Abraham the son of the latter, owned a house (229-1) and lot on Union street opposite the court house.

[Woodcut: Abraham Yates House, 1710 to 1730]

Christoffel (son of Joseph Christoffelse and Eva Fonda), was a land surveyor and a man of intelligence and energy. He was colonel of a regiment of fatigue men (engineers who cut approaches to fords, constructed bridges, cut roads through the forest, built fortifications, etc.), during the revolution. He was a gallant soldier and was wounded at "Bloody Pond." He was at the battle of Saratoga where he picked up a book on fortification, bearing the crest and signature of Col. Frazer, 24th British Infantry, which is now in possession of the Hon. A. A. Yates, of Schenectady.

During the construction of his house (in Front street) he died, leaving a family in somewhat straitened circumstances. It is said that his brother Jellis had "practical" views and as executor urged that his nephews, should be taken from school and put to trade to earn their living, but their mother with greater foresight, insisted on their education, for which she made personal sacrifices and she was rewarded by the result; Joseph became governor of the State, Henry was a member of Congress, John engineer of the Welland canal and a millionaire, Andrew a minister and professor in Union College.

Other members of the family have occupied a high position in the civil, military or political history of the State and nation.


(228-1) H. Yates Papers.

(229-1) [The house now standing on this lot was doubtless built by Abraham Yates about 1730 as indicated by its style of architecture.

The pointed Dutch gable going out of fashion and higher buildings with gambrel roofs (as seen in cut [original size | 4x enlarged] of the church of 1734), coming into fashion — M'M.]

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