Official Portrait of Col. Albert Pawling as Mayor
Circa 1819; Artist: Unknown
Current location: Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy
Col. Albert Pawling
1750 – 1837
“…a man beloved and confided in by all, regardless of party. He had been one of the greatest benefactors to the Village and City of Troy.
~ George Baker Anderson, 1897
Col. Albert Pawling was born on April 22, 1750 in Marbletown, NY, son of Col. Levi Pawling and Magdalena Burhans. At the age of 25, he joined the Patriot army, serving as a junior officer under Gen. Richard Montgomery during the Battle of Quebec in 1775. In 1776, he was appointed Brigade Major under Gen. George Clinton of New York. “In 1778, he became aide-de-camp on the staff of Gen. George washington and received a personal commendation for valor from the general. In 1780, he rose up to the rank of colonel and commanded a regiment of swiss soldiers, known as “Pawling’s levies”, who guarded forts in Ulster and Orange Counties in Upstate New York for the remainder of the war.”
Col. Pawling was married twice. In 1782, he married Geertje Ten Eyck, a union that produced two children, Cornelia and Matheus. After the death of his first wife in 1789, he married Troy resident Eunice Porter Bird in 1812.
In 1789, Col. Pawling moved to Lansingburgh, then to Troy, where he established a business with Col. Abraham Ten Eyck. Col. Pawling was active in politics, working to secure Troy’s position as the County seat for the newly established Rensselaer County in 1791. For his efforts, he was elected the first Sheriff of Rensselaer County. Col. Pawling spearheaded the building of the first Rensselaer County Courthouse and Jail, the First Presbyterian Church, and promoted the construction of a turnpike road from Troy to Schenectady that led to increased western trade. After Troy’s incorporation as a village, Col. Pawling served many terms as a Village Trustee, later serving as Village President in 1802-3, 1804-5, and 1815-16. On April 15, 1816, three days after Troy was chartered as a city, Col. Pawling, was appointed the first Mayor of the City of Troy, a position he held until 1820. After his retirement in 1820, Col. Pawling remained active, serving on various community boards. He was one of the organizers for the visit to Troy by the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824.
Col. Pawling died at the age of 88 on November 10, 1837. He was buried in Old Mount Ida Cemetery, on Albia Road, later renamed Pawling Avenue in 1867. The entire community mourned the death of Col. Pawling, who was remembered as a father to the Village and City of Troy.
“I never knew a man having higher notions of honor and integrity…Colonel Pawling was always among the foremost in promoting the interests of the village…always the advocate of a high standard of morals.”
~ Hon. John Woodworth, 1853