Hochstrasser, Jacob (1730)

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY

Jacob Hochstrasser was born at about 1730 in Germany[1]. He came to America with his family at about 1765 and settled first in Albany, NY. From there he removed to the Town of Guilderland and then to Berne some time at around 1775 and was one of the original settlers there. [2] He was one of a committee to petition the Legislature to set off the Town of Berne from Rensselaerville, and the chairman of the committee to draft the town laws. He was the first supervisor of the town of Rensselaerville in 1790, and of the town of Berne in 1795 when it was created from the town of Rensselaerville, and the first Justice of the Peace of the towns. [1]

Marriage & Children

He married Maria Elizabeth Merselis at about 1753 in Germany[3], and had the following children:


Additional Media


by Harold H. Miller

George E. Shultes asked, "Who can inform us who Jacob Hochstrasser was, where he lived, etc.,"

The first supervisor of Rensselaerville and Berne was the Jacob Samuel Hochstrasser, b. ca. 1730 in Brenshcelbach, Hamburg, Germany, son of Samuel. About 1754 in Germany Hochstrasser married Maria Elizabeth Merselis. I now identify Jacob as the first Justice of the Peace of the Town of Berne; he was called Jacob Hochstrasser, Esq. and his son was Jacob Hochstrasser, Jr.

Jacob must have immigrated with his brother Paulus. The earliest record of the Hochstrasser’s in the Albany area that I have found so far is the Oct. 1765 Albany Reformed Church baptism of Paulus, Jr., son of the brother of Jacob, Paulus, Sr. and his wife Elizabeth. Since two of Jacob’s children were baptized in the same church in 1768 and 1771, it appears that the family initially settled near the city of Albany, perhaps in Guilderland or maybe even Knox.

The only Hochstrassers shown on the 1787 Van Rensselaer survey map of the western half of the Rensselaerwyck Manor (Berne and Knox) are Jacob's sons Paul b. 1759 and Balthazar living near what is now East Township, in what is now the Town of Knox. Balthazar's 1786 Schenectady marriage record to Catherine Achenbach, says he was born in Germany; since he was born 31 Dec. 1764, their father Jacob and his brother Paulus, Sr. must have immigrated in 1765. This is contrary to the legend in Our Heritage, the history of Berne written in 1977, that the Hochstrassers came to Berne with six other families led by Jacob Weidman in 1750.

Buried in the Beaverdam Cemetery is: Judith, wife of Jacob Hochstrasser, Esq. died April 10, 1789, aged 18 yr. My initial thought was that, because of her young age, this could not be the wife of the elder Jacob, Sr. who had earned the title of Esq. due to his prominence and success in the town; however, the younger Jacob would have been identified on her tombstone as Jacob Hochstrasser, Jr. Surprisingly, I found an 18 October 1788 marriage of Jacob Hochstrasser and Judith Hone in the First and Second Presbyterian Church in NYC. She was probably his third wife.

The 1790 federal census has Jacob Hochstrasser listed in the Town of Rensselaerville near his son Baltus in the area that is now the Town of Knox.

From 1793 - 1797 Jacob was one of several men who represented Albany County in the New York State Assembly.

Hochstrasser, Arthur E., was born in the town of Berne, February 5, 1847. The founder of the Hochstrasser name in America was Jacob Hochstrasser, the great- grandfather of Arthur E. He was a native of Holland and was one of the pioneer settlers in the town of Berne. He was one of a committee to petition the Legislature to set off the town of Berne from Rensselaerville, and the chairman of the committee to draft the town laws, and was the first supervisor and first justice of the peace.

Paul I., the grandfather of Arthur E. Hochstrasser, was born in the town of Berne in 1762. He was a shoemaker by trade, and a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He settled in the town of Knox, where he erected a saw mill and manufactured lumber for some years, but returned to Berne and purchased 200 acres of land, a portion of which embraced the White Suiphur Springs, and there spent his remaining days. His wife was Dorothy Fisher.

Peter Hochstrasser, the father of Arthur E., was born in Berne on the homestead, April 18, 1800. He was a wheel-wright by trade, his principal manufactures being spinning wheels, flax and wool wheels; he also owned a farm of seventy-five acres which he supervised. His wife was Eliza Weidman, born in Berne July 20, 1808. daughter of Col. Jacob Weidnian. Their children were Jacob M., John, Charles (who was a soldier in the Rebellion), Arthur E., Catharine. Margaret and Sarah. He died April 20, 1880, his wife February 15, 1887.

Arthur E. Hochstrasser learned the turner's trade and when eighteen purchased a factory and engaged in the manufacture of bedsteads; three years later he formed a partnership with his brother Jacob M. in a saw mill and manufactured lumber, bedsteads, etc. In 1882 he sold his mill interest and engaged in general mercantile business in the village of Berne and in 1891 he erected his present store building. He owns and resides on the place where he was born. He was town clerk from 1882 to 1885, was town committeeman, president of the town Republican organization from 1886 to the present time, and has often been chosen as delegate to town, district and State conventions. Mr. Hochstrasser is a member of the Masonic fraternity and was one of the charter members of Helderberg Lodge of Odd Fellows. He is one of the active promoters and contributors in and to the proposed Albany, Helderberg and Schoharie railroad, of which he is also a stock-holder. September 25, 1868, he married Josephine, daughter of Edward Settle of Berne, and they have one child. Fred P. His wife died March 1, 1882, and February 4, 1885, Mr. Hochstrasser married Hattie, daughter of Henry W. Weidman, and they have two children, Margaret and Chester.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York


  1. 1.0 1.1 Landmarks of Albany county, New York, Edited by Amasa J. Parker
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revolutionary War Pension File of Paul I. Hochstrasser (S13434)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Bernehistory.org