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Albany Post Road

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The Albany Post Road, also known as the "Queen's Road," and later the "King's Road" connected the colonial seaport of New York City (New Amsterdam) and the fur trading outpost, and second-largest city of Albany (Beverwijck), New York starting in 1669.[1] Each end of the road at New York City and Albany was a nexus of other significant migration routes. The Albany Post Road along the east side of the Hudson River was about 150 miles (241 km) long.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Albany Post Road was created with military communications apparently in mind during a period tension between the Second and the Third Anglo-Dutch Wars. In 1664 four English warships in the harbor compelled the surrender of the New Netherland colony to England, thereby starting the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The colony was renamed New York.[2] That same year King Charles II of England requested a postal road (later called the King's Highway or Boston Post Road) be built from Boston to newly conquered New York City.[3] The first ride carrying mail on the Boston Post Road was in January 1673.[4] In 1669 the New York government also designated a postal road from New York City to Albany, the Albany Post Road. It followed older trails of the Wiccoppe and Wappinger Indian tribes on the east side of the Hudson River. By 1671 these tribes had been hired to carry the mail between the two towns.[1] In July 1673, during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, a Dutch fleet recaptured New York, but the 1674 Treaty of Westminster returned it to England.[5]

In 1703, during Queen Anne's War the legislature authorized the widening of the Albany Post Road into a general public highway. This highway was named the "Queen's Road" in honor of Anne, Queen of Great Britain. When she was succeeded by George II and George III, the road became known as the "King's Road" (not to be confused with the King's Highway from Boston to New York City to Charleston). The Albany Post Road was widened for the military in the 1730s. Around that time taverns were built and occasional stagecoach service began along the route. In 1754, two years before the French and Indian War, the British Army again widened the road to help defend against invasion from Quebec. After 1763 milestones were added at the request of Postmaster Benjamin Franklin. During the Revolutionary War the road was fortified, defended, and frequently used for troop movements. After the war in 1785 the legislature established regular stagecoach service. Mail service went up the river on the east side road, and down the river on the west side road.[1]

In 1806 competing turnpike routes lessened the traffic on the old route. By 1850 railroads had made the Albany Post Road obsolete and stagecoach service stopped.[1]

Route[edit | edit source]

The counties along this migration route (south to north) were as follows:[6]

Connecting trails. The Albany Post Road linked to other trails at each end. Other trails also had junctions with it in two places in the middle.[7]

The migration pathways connected at the south end in New York City included:

The migration pathways connected at the north end in Albany included:

Between those ends the Albany Post Road also also had junctions with two other important migration routes:

Modern parallels. The modern road that roughly matches the Albany Post Road is U.S. Route 9 from New York City (Broadway) to Albany.

Settlers and Records[edit | edit source]

Settlers who came via New York City along the Albany Post Road may have arrived by sea, or by the King's Highway. Arrivals by sea were most likely from northern Europe and the British Isles. Settlers arriving via the King's Highway were most likely from New England, and their ancestors were most likely from the British Isles, Quebec, or France. In the 1820s many Irish workers were attracted to the area to help build the Erie Canal, and Champlain Canal.

Setters who started at the Albany end of the road may have begun in Quebec or Vermont.

No complete list of settlers who used the Albany Post Road is known to exist. Nevertheless, local and county histories along that trail may reveal pioneer settlers who arrived 1669 to 1850, and therefore who were the most likely candidates to have traveled the Albany Post Road.

For partial lists of early settlers who may have used the Albany Post Road, see histories like:

Dutchess County

  • James Hadden Smith, History of Du[t]chess County, New York: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers (Interlaken, N.Y.: Heart of The Lakes Publ., 1980). WorldCat entry. FHL Book 974.733 H2sm 1980.

Columbia County

  • Franklin Ellis, History of Columbia County, New York: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers (Philadelphia, Penns.: Everts and Ensign, 1878). WorldCat entry. FHL Book 974.739 H2co.

Rensselaer County

  • Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, History of Rensselaer Co., New York: with illustrations and biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers (Philadelphia, Penns.: Everts and Peck, 1880). WorldCat entry. FHL Book 974.741 H2s.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wikipedia contributors, "Old Albany Post Road" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 23 June 2011).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "New Amsterdam" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 24 June 2011).
  3. William Dollarhide, Map Guide to American Migration Routes 1735-1815 (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1997), 2-4, and 7. WorldCat entry. FHL Book 973 E3d.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Boston Post Road" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 24 June 2011). The first use of the trail for mail delivery was in 1673.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Treaty of Westminster (1674)" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 24 June 2011).
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 478. WorldCat entry. FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Handybook, 847-54.