William Crolius was the son of Johannes Crolius and Maria Clarkson. His paternal grandparents were Johan Willem Crolius and Veronica Corcelius. [3]


  • probably John (b. abt. 1751) [4]
  • Maria (c. 7 May 1758) [5]
  • Veronica (c. 21 Oct 1764) [6]
  • George Clarkson (c. 28 Oct 1770) [7]
  • Clarkson (c. 30 Oct 1774) [8]



  1. unknown, born early 1777 [10]
  2. Elizabeth Clarkson (b. 9 Jan 1786) [11]
  3. William Dobbs (b. 20 Aug 1792) [12]
  4. William Dobbs (b. 19 May 1798) [13]


William Crolius was born in 1753, among the eldest of a 20+ year span of children of John Crolius and Maria Clarkson. The family lived in Reade Street in New York City, 100 feet west of Centre Street, and operated a pottery established by William's grandfather (possibly the first pottery in New York).[14]

William Crolius married Mary Dobbs, daughter of Captain William Dobbs, in 1775, shortly before the Revolutionary War. William served during the War, including battles at Harlem Heights and White Plains, as assistant harbor master under his father-in-law, and in charge of provisions. He spent much of the war obtaining and delivering provisions for the Army, traveling all around the New York countryside, sometimes at great cost to his health. During one winter, his feet were injured from frost, a lifelong injury. His superiors at one point asked him to desist to save his health, but his dedication to supplying garrisons that were in dire need inspired him to persevere. (His war service is extensively documented in engaging detail in personal narrative statements by both himself and his wife found in pension application records.)

After the war, he returned to the pottery business, possibly setting up shop in Newark. He and his wife had at least two children. He lived to age 76, leaving a widow and at least one surviving son when he died in 1830.


No other William Crolius is known to be nearly contemporary with this one. There are a couple of known William Crolius born a few decades after this one (one in 1774 of unknown parents who married Lavinia Munson, and one in 1782 in New Jersey son of John Crolius and Jane Morgan and who married Anna Montayne), and there is a Johan Willem Crolius (aka William) born circa 1700 and said to have emigrated from Germany who is the common ancestor of all the Crolius living in New York at the time of the Revolution.


  1. ^ See Reformed Dutch Church records at 12 Dec 1753 (online extract)
  2. ^ Death date is given in pension application affidavit. His widow was living in Brooklyn in 1836, so it seems likely that's where William died.
  3. ^ Parents are both named in his christening record. See Reformed Dutch Church records at 12 Dec 1753. Also, his wife names his father ("John") and grandfather in pension application affidavit.
  4. ^ There are records of a John Crolius who with Jane Morgan christened several children in the Old Dutch Church between 1785 and 1799. He is likely a brother of William. Also, a biography of Clarkson Crolius Jr. notes that Clarkson Sr. had two elder brothers who fought in the Revolution. One was William. Was John the other?
  5. ^ See Old Dutch Church baptism at 7 May 1758.
  6. ^ See Old Dutch Church baptism at 21 Oct 1764.
  7. ^ See Old Dutch Church baptism at 28 Oct 1770.
  8. ^ See Old Dutch Church baptism at 30 Oct 1774. A baptism of the same name and parents is recorded for 17 Oct 1773, suggesting that the first Clarkson died in infancy and the name was reused. Clarkson, the mother's maiden name, was a prominent family.
  9. ^ Marriage date is taken from statement of Mary Dobbs in pension application affidavit.
  10. ^ In Mary Dobbs' account of her Revolutionary War experiences, she describes a meeting with her husband in which he "saw my first born for the first time which was only six weeks old". Estimating from her description of being some months after the British attacked New York, this would probably be early 1777. It is not known what happened to this child.
  11. ^ See Old Dutch Church baptism at 30 Apr 1786
  12. ^ See Old Dutch Church baptism at 9 Mar 1793
  13. ^ See Old Dutch Church baptism at 3 Nov 1798
  14. ^ See biography of Alderman Clarkson Crolius.


Old Dutch Church
Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York : baptisms from 1 January, 1731, to 29 December, 1800. Originally printed by New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, edited by Tobias Alexander Wright, 1902. On microfilm at LDS FHS 0017503. Also significant extraction available online at Olive Tree Genealogy.

Revolutionary pension application
Selected Records From Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Records of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, record group 15, at the National Archives, microfilm series M805. Pension application for William Crolius (at roll 233, file W10685) contains a detailed personal statement of his service. Complete transcription available here.

History of NYFD
Costello, Augustine E. Our Firemen: A History of the New York Fire Department, volunteer and paid. (New York: Knickerbocker Book Publishing, 1887, reprinted 1997). Contains some detailed biographical sketches, including Clarkson Crolius at chapter 25, part 2. (online transcription)



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