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History of the St Andrew's Society of the State of New York
Biographies: Andrew Barclay

Fourth President

The Fourth President of Saint Andrew’s Society was a son of the Reverend Thomas Barclay and Anna Drauyer. He was born at Albany, Xew York, in the month of October, 1719, and died on the 19th June, 1775, at the City of Xew York, being buried in the family vault in Trinity Churchyard.

His father, the Reverend Thomas Barclay, was a native of Scotland and came to Albany, New York, at an early date, where he became the first Rector of St. Peter’s Church. The origin of the family in Scotland has never been accurately traced, but there is a strong indication that these Barclays came of ancient and honorable ancestry, and were probably related to the great Scottish family of the like name.

Andrew Barclay must have received a careful education, for he was early recognized among the Colonial families as a man of refinement, and through marriage allied himself to the ancient Dutch families of the Province of New York. The position of his brother, the Reverend William Henry Barclay, D.D., Rector of Trinity Church in the City of New York, was of great advantage to him and accounts for his removal from Albany to New York, where he soon became a prominent and successful merchant. His residence in this City was at Xo. 45 Hanover Square in 1791, and he lived at No. 136 Pearl Street in 1796, which was doubtless the same house under a new street name and number.

Mr. Barclay is said to have been a man of great kindness of character, devoted to his family and home circle, and of the highest probity. It is much to be regretted that so little can be gleaned concerning his business and social life.

He must have cherished his Scottish blood and ancestry, for he became one of the founders of Saint Andrew’s Society in 1756, and was successively Vice-President from 1758-1759, and President from 1759-1761.

In his will, dated the 12th August, 1763, and proved and recorded in the New York County Surrogate’s Office on the 25th May, 1776, he mentions his oldest son, Thomas, giving him a special legacy of £100, and directs his executors to keep up the sugar house and works in conjunction with his brothers-in-law, Jacobus and Isaac Roosevelt, and to devote the income of the business to the education and care of his wife, Helena, and his children, Thomas, James, Andrew, Henry, John, Ann, Dorothy, wife of Theophylact Bache, Catherine, Ann Margaret, Helena and Charlotte Amelia; he gives to his children £600 each and directs his wife to teach his sons to “learn the art or mistery of merchandizing or any other art or mistery whatsoever.” The executors named were his wife, Helena; his father-in-law, Jacobus Roosevelt; his brother, the Rev. William Henry Barclay; his brother-in-law, Jacobus Roosevelt, Jr.; his son-in-law, Theophylact Bache; and his sons, Thomas, James and Andrew; the will being witnessed by Nicholas Bayard, Jr., John Grover and Jno. Roosevelt.

Rivington’s New York Gazetteer, issue of Thursday, the 22nd June, 1775, contains the following death notice:

“On Monday last died Mr. Andrew Barclay, an eminent merchant and brother of the late Rev. Dr. Barclay, late Rector of this Parish, a most noteworthy and exemplary citizen, universally beloved by all who knew him.”

He married on the 14th June, 1737, Helena Roosevelt, daughter of Jacobus Roosevelt and Catharina Hardenbroek, and had issue: (1) Thomas; (2) James, born 1750; (3) Andrew; (4) Henry: (5) John; (6) Ann Dorothea, born 29th September, 1741, on the Isle of Curagoa, who married Theophylact Bache; (7) Catherine, born 1744, who married Augustus Van Cortlandt; (8) Sarah, born 1745, who married Anthony Lispenard; (9) Ann Margaret, who married Frederick Jay; (10) Helena, who married Major Thomas Moncrieff, of the British Army; (n) Charlotte Amelia, born 13th April, 1759, who married Dr. Richard Bayley.

It is unfortunate that no portrait of Mr. Andrew Barclay is known to be in existence. In the collection of pastel portraits and sketches of eminent men of Colonial and Revolutionary times made by St. Memin, there is a portrait erroneously labelled “Andrew Barclay,” but it is in reality a picture of Theophylact Bache, his son-in-law, as is attested by Mr. Barclay’s descendants living at the present time.

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