Albert L. Hotchkin

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

ALBERT L. HOTCHKIN was born in the town of Chatham, Columbia Co., N. Y., March 8, 1833. His grandfather, Geo. M. Hotchkin, was a native of Madison Co., N. Y., where he lived during his life.

His father, Geo. M. Hotchkin, settled in Columbia County about 1830. He married Harriet Curtis and reared a family of three sons and one daughter. He was a farmer by occupation, in politics a Whig, and was honored with various offices of trust in his town. He removed to Troy in 1846, where he died one year afterwards, at the age of fifty-three. His wife survived him only six weeks.

Albert L. Hotchkin was the third son, and received a fair education in early life. In the year 1845 he came to Troy, and was for two years a clerk in the drug store of R. L. & G. Drake. His father, possessing only limited means, was unable to render pecuniary assistance to his children, and hence young Hotchkin, at the tender of age of twelve years, set out for himself, and, unaided and alone, with only a single sixpence in money, reached Troy, there to contend for position with young men of wealthy parentage and trained business ability. Upon the conclusion of his clerkship in the drug store he returned to Columbia County and worked for three years on a farm. Subsequently he was with W. & L. E. Gurley for a few months, and for two years with the celebrated Dr. Green (throat and lung physician), of New York. Returning to Troy, he spent several years as a clerk in the hat store of A. P. Barringer, where he became so familiar with the business that, in 1861, he started the hat and cap business for himself in Harmony Hall block, on River Street.

In 1862 he removed his business into the place formerly occupied by James H. Darrow, where, in the great conflagration of that year, he lost all the property he possessed.

In the year 1861 he married Delia M., oldest daughter of Leonard Smith, an extensive furniture merchant of Troy. With no capital but experience and undaunted resolution, Mr. Hotchkin began to work out a fortune for himself. For six years he was the general manager of the furniture house of his father-in-law, whose death, in March, 1868, necessitated a change in the management of the business, and a co-partnership was formed by Mr. Hotchkin, Geo. D. Smith, and Otis Smith, with the firm name of Smith, Hotchkin & Co. In March, 1878, Otis Smith withdrew from the firm, and July 1, 1878, Geo. D. Smith also retired, leaving Mr. Hotchkin sole owner of the business, which he continues.

His indomitable perseverance, active business habits, and integrity in all his dealings with other men have given him a worthy place among the business men of Troy. In politics Mr. Hotchkin was formerly a Whig, but is now a member of the Democratic party. For nineteen years, and until January, 1879, he was treasurer of the Troy fire department, and held various other offices of trust. He represented the Tenth Ward in the Common Council of Troy for the years 1863-66. He was elected fire commissioner, and held the office for six years. In the fall of 1873 he was elected county treasurer, and held the office for three years. He is now the sheriff of Rensselaer County, having been elected in the fall of 1876. Since 1864, Mr. Hotchkin has been a member of Apollo Lodge, and is a member of high rank in the Masonic fraternity, has also been a member of the board of trustees since the building of the Masonic temple. He served seven years in the 24th Regiment of the National Guard.

Penny Chatfield writes in 2006, "Thank you for putting the bio sketch of Albert L. Hotchkin on the web. I am researching for his descendant. For your information, he died in Seattle, WA in 1899. He and his family moved to Washington state in about 1885. His wife, Delia, died in Seattle in 1913. He, his wife, and three children are buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Seattle. Thank you again." Thank YOU, Penny, for this very helpful update!

Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

Go Back to Rensselaer Co. Biographies
Go Back to Home Page