Colonial Land Patents
In this connection, a sketch of land patents in this county, may not be out of place.
It is a fundamental principle in the English law, and has been from time immemorial, that the sovereign is the original proprietor of all the land in the realm, as well as of that in all the colonial dependencies, and the true and only source of title. All titles to land in the colonies passed to individuals from the crown, through the colonial or proprietary authorities. Notwithstanding this fundamental English principle, that government conceded to the Indians certain rights in the soil, at least those of occupancy which it was at least politic to extinguish before granting patents to individuals. In the early history of the colony it was the practice to issue instructions to the colonial governor to grant lands, with the consent of the council, "reserving moderate quit-rents, as he saw fit, and to have the patents recorded in the colonial office of the secretary of the colony". But it was not until after the appointment of Governor Fletcher in 1692, and the rascality practiced in his five years of mal-administration, that attention was called to the looseness of those instructions and the power that the governor possessed in the matter. During his governorship he made a fortune of
forty thousand pounds and granted away to a few individuals three-fourths of the lands in the colony. By his corrupt recklessness he came near ruining the colony by granting lands without reserving proper quit rents, thereby depriving his government of an immense revenue and nearly driving the Indians to the side of the French by reason of taking their lands without treaty, purchase or pay. He granted to a minister of Albany a tract seventy miles in length and twelve in breadth (about 620,000 acres) extending through what is now Washington county into Vermont, reserving as quit rent only one raccoon skin yearly. Another tract was granted to the same minister and another person of fifty miles in length and two in breadth on the northeast side of the Mohawk, containing about 130,000 acres, which included three of the Mohawk Indian castles, and reserving as quit rents one beaver skin yearly for the first seven years and eight beaver skins yearly thereafter; some authors say that this grant extended from Amsterdam to Herkimer; others from Fonda to Frankfurt. Another patent on the east side of the Hudson River was granted, four by twenty nine miles in extent, containing from 500,000 to 600,000 acres, reserving yearly as quit rent one otter skin. Many other patents of like import were issued, and the colonial Legislature of 1698 annulled them; but as such annulment had to be approved by the home government, a long and bitter controversy was carried on for years, finally resulting in their annulment, the issuing of more stringent instructions to the governors, and the adoption by the colonial council of more rigid measures. It, therefore, became the rule and the practice that patents should issue for only 2,000 acres (later for 1,000) acres. These persons were always the friends or the tools of the real party in interest, and when the patent was issued it was transferred by them to the interested party. The rule and practice were established to require the would be purchaser to apply in the first instance to the colonial authorities for leave to purchase the Indian title. If leave was granted a treaty was held with the Indians, and Indian deed obtained, frequently for a trifling consideration, and then the colonial authorities issued a warrant to the surveyor general to survey the land claimed to have
been purchased. Here again the Indians were often cheated as to the quantity of land they alleged they had sold. A map of the land was made, accompanied by field notes, and both filed. The attorney general was then directed to prepare a patent, which was submitted to the governor and council and if approved, was engrossed upon parchment, sealed and recorded, and sent to England to be approved and executed by the sovereign authorities.
Under this system grossly fraudulent practices prevailed, and some who were high in colonial authority were deeply engaged in defrauding the Indians of their lands and the government of quit rents. It was customary to reserve in the patents all gold and silver mines, a certain sum for quit rents payable annually, and in some cases large trees for masts for the navy. In some cases the patent was granted direct by the sovereign, as in the cases of the "Royal Grant" to Sir William Johnson in 1769, of 66,000 acres, he having first extinguished the Indian title. From and including 1705 to 1773 the government granted within what is now Oneida county, seven land patents, and tow others partly in the county and partly in Herkimer, of over 170,000 acres. The patents which were wholly or partly in what is now Oneida county, issued before the Revolution, were as follows: Oriskany Patent. - The first patent of lands in what is now Oneida county, and the second one in the State west of Albany, was issued April 18, 1705; it included over 32,000 acres in two parcels. The boundaries of one parcel commenced at the junction of Oriskany creek with the Mohawk and ran up that creek a distance of four English miles, and back into the woods a distance of two English miles on each side of the stream. The other parcel was on both sides of the Mohawk River, commencing at Oriskany Creek and running up the river a distance of two miles on each side to the Oneida Carrying Place; thence of the same width on each side of the "Indian path" which leads over than carrying place between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek to a swamp then located at what is now West Rome. The patentees were five in number, viz: Peter Schuyler, George Clarke, Thomas Wenham, Peter Fauconnier, and Robert Mompeson, to each one fifth. The patent required the annual payment of ten shillings as quit rents, to be paid on each Lady Day to the
receiver of customs in the city of New York. All gold and silver mines were reserved to the government. Why such easy terms were obtained for so great a tract of land will be more apparent later on when the names and official positions of the patentees appear. The patent is in what are not the towns of Floyd, Marcy, Rome, Westmoreland and Whitestown. The respective patentees parted with their undivided interests by deed, will or inheritance, but the patent was never sold as whole, nor divided, from the time it was granted in 1705 until after the Revolution, a period of eighty years.
Peter Schuyler, one of the patentees, was the first mayor of Albany in 1686, a member of the colonial council from 1692 to 1720, and in 1709, while president of the council, was acting governor of New York. In 1691 he was made commissioner of Indian affairs and held the office many years. In 1710 he went to England, taking with him several Iroquois chiefs to show Queen Anne what strong allies she had on the continent. The queen presented Mr. Schuyler with a silver vase as a token of her regard. He was great uncle of Philip Schuyler, of Revolutionary fame. The Schuyler and Livingston families were connected by marriage, and at the time of the Revolution William Livingston, the war governor of New Jersey, and his sister, Alida Hoffman, were the owner of Peter Schuyler's one fifth share of the patent.
George Clarke came to this country in 1762, and landed in Virginia. His wife was Anne Hyde, a relative of the royal family of England and a cousin of Lord Cornbury, who was appointed that same year by his cousin, Queen Anne, governor of New York. IN 1703 Mr. Clarke was appointed secretary of the province of New York, and held the position until 1736. Two years after his appointment as secretary his Oriskany patent was obtained. In 1736 Clarke became acting governor and continued as such until 1743. His son George was made secretary of the colony in 1738 and acted as such until 1778, excepting two years. In 1745 Governor Clarke went to England, having accumulated a fortune of over 100,000 pounds. On his way home he was captured by French cruisers, but was afterwards released and received indemnity for his capture from the English government. His wife died in New York city and was buried in Trinity churchyard. He died in England in 1759, at the age
of eight four years, and is buried at Cheshire. He left two sons. Maj. Edward Clarke and George Clarke, jr. By his will Governor Clarke devised his interest in the Oriskany Patent to his son George, who, at the breaking out of the American Revolution, went to England. By the will of the latter, made in 1776, he devised his interest in the patent to his two grandnephews, George and Edward Clarke, grandsons of Gov. George Clarke's son, Maj. Edward Clarke. Soon after 1776 George Clarke, jr., died unmarried. Maj. Edward Clarke died before the death of George, jr.; Edward Clarke, one of the devisees of George Clarke, jr., left one son, George Hyde Clarke, grandfather of that George Clarke who was latterly so well known in Otsego county and Oneida county, and who died at Richfield Springs a few years ago; he was the last George Clarke who owned an interest in the Oriskany Patent. Those two grandnephews of George Clarke, jr., devisees of part of the Oriskany Patent, reside in England and were minors during the Revolutionary war, and their property in this country was saved to them through the treaty between the two governments covering cases where the owners had remained abroad and taken no part in the war. George Hyde Clarke left one son, named George, who was the father of the George Clarke who died at Richfield Springs, as above stated. In December 1791, Edward Clarke, the grandnephew of George Clarke, jr., and the father of George Hyde Clarke, released his interest in the Oriskany Patent, or placed it in trust for his benefit, to the said George Hyde Clarke, grandfather of the last above named, came to New York in 1789, but returned to England; came over again in 1797, went back to England, and again came over in 1807 and remained. In 1835 he erected the imposing Clarke mansion, "Hyde Hall" at the head of Otsego Lake. He had a large estate in England as well as in this country. He willed his interest in New York lands to his son George before mentioned. The father was twice married; by his first wife he had five children, and by his second wife (relict of Richard Fennimore Cooper, eldest brother of the novelist) he also had five children, George, named above, and a daughter, widow of Duncan C. Pell; the others died minors. That an idea of Governor Clarke's wealth may be gained it may be stated that at his death in 1759 he owned in this country, in addition to his
riches in England, the following lands: one ninth of Nine Partners Patent of 40,000 acres in Duchess county; one half of the Corry Patent of 25,000 acres in Schoharie and Montgomery county; one half of the Oothoudt Patent of 13,000 acres in Otsego county; one third of four other tracts in Otsego and Delaware counties; one half of Cherry Valley Patent of 7,000 acres; one quarter owner of a patent in Greene county near Catskill; and owner of lands in Vermont and in what are now Fulton and Washington counties, making in all over 60,000 acres. The share and interest of the Clarkes in the Oriskany Patent remained in that family until 1887, a period of over 180 years, when it passed from George Clarke into other hands.
Thomas Wenham, another patentee of the Oriskany Patent, was in 1705 a merchant in New York city, colonel of the king's troops at Fort George, receiver of customs in 1702, and associate judge of the Supreme Court. He died in 1709, childless, and his property descended to his two sisters; one of the sisters married a Mr. Smith and their only child was Rev. George Wenham Smith, who inherited not only his mother's property, but that of his mother's sister, both of whom died in testate. After the Revolution, Rev. George Wenham Smith sold his interests in the patent to Governor George Clinton, who in 1786, owned that interest.
Peter Fauconnier, another patentee, was received of customs from 1702 to 1707, and held other positions. His interest in the patent passed to James De Lancy, lieutenant governor of the colony in 1753-4 and 1757-60. His was among the proudest and most influential families of New York. On his death his son, James succeeded to the estate and held one fifth interest in the Oriskany Patent at the time of the Revolution; as he adhered to the crown his property was confiscated by the State of New York. He went to England in May, 1775, and died there in 1800, aged about sixty eight years.
Roger Mompeson, before coming to this country in 1703, was twice member of parliament and once recorder of Southampton. In 1703 he was in this country and appointed judge of admiralty, and in 1704, was chief justice of New York and New Jersey; in 1705 (when he became one of the patentees) he was a member of the council, and in 1714, was chief justice of Pennsylvania. He remained chief justice of New Jersey until 1710, and of New York until his death in 1715. He is described by Governor Hunter as a lawyer of ability and a good judge. By Judge Mompeson's will, made 1712, but not filed in the surrogate's office until 1714, he devised to his wife Martha, his one fifth interest in the Oriskany Patent. She conveyed her interest therein in 1734 to John Chambers, after whom Chambers street in New York city was named. She died childless in 1763, after having been twice married succeeding the death of Judge Mompeson. In 1735 John Chambers conveyed to Gov. George Clarke one half of Chamber's interest in the Oriskany Patent, and will the other one half to his three relatives, James, Frederick and Augustus Van Cortland. James willed his interest to Augustus and died, and Frederick made the same disposition of his property, so that Augustus Van Cortland owned one half of one fifth (or one tenth) of the patent. George Clarke and Augustus made a division between themselves, in which the ground whereon now stand the Oriskany monument fell to Van Cortland. The boundary line is only a few rods from that monument. It was before Judge Mompeson and a jury that the celebrated trial took place, in 1707, of Rev. Francis Mackenzie, a Presbyterian clergyman, for preaching without having a license from the Bishop of London. He was acquitted.
The foregoing facts as to the genealogy of the Clarke family, and the connecting links in the chain of title of the Oriskany Patent, the writer obtained from the lips of George Clarke in 1890, not long before the death of the latter at Richfield Springs.
In 1779 the Legislature of New York passed a law confiscating the property of fifty nine persons, three of whom were married women. Among the number were James De Lancy, the owner of one fifth of the Oriskany Patent. Commissioners were appointed to partition confiscated property, and in 1786, the Oriskany Patent was divided into allotments and lots and divided among the five owners. The part which fell to De Lancy was set off to the State. To pay the expenses of the partition, a parcel of 697 acres was surveyed, which included Fort Stanwix and the "carrying place", now covered by the business portion of the city of Rome; that parcel was sold at auction in March, 1786, and was bid off by Dominick Lynch for 2,250 pounds. It formed the nucleus of Mr. Lynch's later purchases, which he designated for a city site to be called "Lynchville".
Cosby's Manor. - After issuing the Oriskany Patent nearly thirty years elapsed before another patent was granted for land in what is now Oneida county. The next patent granted was Cosby's Manor, the issuing of which was thus brought about: In 1725 Nicholas Ecker and other German associates of his obtained a license from Governor Burnet, of New York, to treat with, and buy lands from, the Indians on both sides of the Mohawk west of Little Falls. Ecker and his associates obtained a deed of the Indians of two parcels covering what later became Cosby's Manor. Nothing was done under these deeds for nine years thereafter, and not until William Cosby became governor of New York colony in 1732. He landed in New York city April 1 of that year, and in August thereafter assumed the duties of governor. He had married a daughter of Lord Halifax against her father's will, as she was much superior to Cosby in social rank. This marriage gave Cosby an advantage at court and procured for him positions which he otherwise could not have obtained. He came to New York with a bad reputation for ability and honesty. Soon after he became governor he was involved in violent controversies with other branches of the government and incurred the bitter hatred of many of those whom he came to govern. His administration was among the most stormy and turbulent of his times. It was at his instigation that Zenger, the publisher of the second newspaper in New York, was prosecuted for libels on the governor and tried in 1735. Chief Justice De Lancy, who presided at the trials, was a devoted friend of Cosby and he overruled all of the objections that William Smith, en., counsel for Zenger, raised on the trial, and finally debarred Smith from practicing at the bar. Zenger was thus left without counsel, as no New York lawyer dared to undertake his defense. In this emergency he and his few friends secured the services of Andrew Hamilton, an eminent member of the bar of Philadelphia. Hamilton was then eighty years old; he came on to the defense and after a bitter contest Zenger was acquitted by the jury, in spite of the hostility of the chief justice. Hamilton's eloquent and successful defense of Zenger has passed into history as one of the great events of the time. The verdict of acquittal was
received by Zenger's friends with tumultuous cheers, and in their excitement they carried on their shoulders from the court room the venerable counsel who had made such a magnificent plea and defense in behalf of the freedom of the press. On page 146 of Lossing's history of the Empire State is a graphic picture of that memorable event.
All the title which Ecker and his associates acquired by the Indian deeds was transferred to the person hereafter named, and on January 2, 1734, the latter acquired a patent, or rather two patents. The lands thus acquired on the same day are situated about one half in what is now Herkimer county, and about one half in what is now Oneida county; the western boundary is the Sauquoit Creek so as to take each side of the Mohawk; and includes about 43,000 acres. The lands in Herkimer county were patented to John Lyne and eight associates; those in Oneida county were patented to Joseph Worrall and ten associates; nine of the patentees in each patent were the same. Six days after the issuing of these two patents, both parcels were conveyed to Gov. William Cosby and have ever since been know as Cosby's Manor. It was provided in the patents that the patentees should cultivate three acres in every fifty within three years thereafter, and that all pine trees fit for masts for the royal navy, and all ores should be reserved. A quit rent of two shillings and six pence for every 100 acres was to be paid annually to the government receiver in New York city. No quit rents were to be paid, however, for thirty eight years thereafter, and the lands were sold for those quit rents in 1772, as will appear further on. In 1735 Governor Cosby made his will, devising to his son William that part of the manor lying south of the Mohawk, and to his son Henry that part lying north of the river, and all the rest of his lands in America to his wife, Grace Cosby. He made no provision for his only daughter. Through the management of the mother, the daughter became the wife of the Duke of Grafton, who later in life became a prominent figure in English politics. After a sickness of fifteen weeks Governor Cosby died in New York city March 10, 1736, and historians say, "universally detested". He was buried in Trinity churchyard and his will was proven in that city. In June, 1736, his widow sailed for England and
never returned. She left Sir William Johnson as her agent. The son Henry was the next one to die after his father, in testate and unmarried. The son William died next, unmarried and insane, and both sons before 1761. The daughter died about 1791. The widow, through her agent, sold the land north of the river for 6,000 pounds to Oliver De Lancy, Goldsboro Banyar, James Jauncey, and Peter Remsen. That was the parcel devised to the son Henry and was sold as containing 21,000 acres. By the correspondence between the parties, as found in the Documentary History of New York, it was discovered that there were two unpaid mortgages on the lands thus sold, and also quit rents since the time Governor Cosby became the owner; and further, it was claimed that instead of 21,000 acres, there were only 18,000. It does not appear from that correspondence how the difficulty was settled. Mrs. Cosby was clamorous for money, saying she was "needy". She died in 1767. As no quit rents were paid, proceeding were taken in 1771 to sell the whole manor for back quit rents, and it was sold by the sheriff of Albany county July 4, 1772, at the Albany court house. The Herkimer county land was bid off by Nanning Vischer, as containing 19,000 acres. The Oneida county land was bid off by Philip Schuyler for himself, John Bradstreet, and Rutger Bleecker, and the heirs of John M. Scott. The records of Oneida county show that in 1793 Mr. Schuyler bought of the Cosby heirs all of the lands in the manor south of the river, for $10,000. In the sheriff's deed to Schuyler, a strip of land of 1, 284 acres, next to the Bayard and Coxe Patents, was omitted, and this subsequently gave rise to serious difficulty, the forty claimants (Jedediah Sanger, Philip Schuyler, Rutger Bleecker and others), invoking the aid of the Legislature in 1810 and again in 1811, and commissioners were appointed to adjust the differences.
In Vol. V of Peter's U.S. Supreme Court Reports, and in Jones's Annals of Oneida County, and in Bagg's Pioneers of Utica, will be found a sketch of the long litigation which took place between Martha Bradstreet and Utica owners relative to lands in that city which Martha claimed in the manor. Samuel A. Talcott, Daniel Webster, and other eminent counsel were engaged in the case, and although Martha in part managed her own case, and was as well versed as to the facts and in many
the points of the law as were the lawyers themselves, she was never successful. The write of this remembers many anecdotes and incidents of that trial in Utica, related by William Tracy, Judge Gridley, and others who heard part of the trial, of the skill and ability of Martha in the part she took in the proceedings.
Sadequahada Patent. - The next patent granted of lands in what is now Oneida county, after Cosby's Manor, was a tract of some 6,000 acres, called the Sadequahada Patent (Sauquoit), sometimes called the "Morris Tract". It was granted June 25, 1736, to Frederick Morris and others. At that date Mr. Morris was secretary of the colony, in which office he succeeded George Clarke, one of the patentees of Oriskany Patent, and hence he was in good position to obtain titles to lands. A glance at the Oneida county map shows that this patent nicely fits up the valley of the Sauquoit Creek to what is now Coxe's Patent. It is also on the north side of the Mohawk and is bounded northerly by Holland and Sumner Patents. Parts of Marcy, New Hartford, and Whitestown are in Sauquoit Patent. At the time of the Revolution Hugh Wallace was owner of Sauquoit Patent and half of Sumner Patent; he adhered to the crown and by the act of 1779 was one of the fifty nine persons attainted of treason and his property confiscated. For a time he was confined as a political prisoner to the limits of Middletown, Conn., but later was allowed to escape. He and Robert Yates (afterwards judge from 1777 to 1790, and chief justice of the Supreme Court of New York from 1790 to 1798) were personal friends. To preserve his silver plate from loss, valued at 1,500 pounds, Mr. Wallace placed it in charge of Mr. Yates, and the latter, for greater security, sent it on board of a vessel. The vessel was captured by American cruisers and divided among the captors as lawful prize. After the war, Mr. Wallace returned to Ireland, his native country, and died in Waterford in 1788. The purchasers of that patent, after its confiscation, were Zephaniah Platt (father of Jonas Platt), Ezra L'Hommedieu, Melancthon Smith and Hugh White. It was arranged among the proprietors that they should beet on the tract to divide it in the summer of 1784. Mr. White came on from Connecticut and arrived at Whitesboro in June of that year; he was then fifty one years old and had a large family who came later.
"Line of Patent".- The encroachments made by the white men upon Indian lands while New York was a colony, created serious disturbances between the two classes and finally led up to, and resulted in, the treaty of 1768 at Fort Stanwix by which a boundary line was established by the English government and the various Indian tribes. That treaty was attended by representatives of various Indian tribes and squaws and children as well. Sir William Johnson represented the English government and was the principal manager and speaker on that side. Some 2,000 persons were present and the gathering continued about two months. There was not much difficulty in agreeing on the line outside of what is now New York; but there was great difficulty in agreeing on the line in what is now Oneida county, and it required all the eloquence, art, making of presents, and shrewd management of Sir William as to accomplish the agreement. The line, as agreed upon, starts at the mouth of Wood Creek, and extend thence for twenty two miles and sixty four chains in a direct line through the towns of Westmoreland and Kirkland (over College Hill), and Marshall and Paris to the Unadilla River in the northwest corner of the town of Bridgewater, and so on by various courses and distances to the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers and beyond. This line has ever since been known in history as "The Line of Property". After that line was established it seemed to incite the taking out of other patents, for within less than three years thereafter, six patents were granted in what is now Oneida County, embracing 160,000 acres of land.
Servis Patent.- The next patent after Sauquoit Patent was Servis Patent of some 2,000 acres, mostly in Trenton, granted February 28, 1769, to Peter Servis and twenty four others, but really for the benefit of Sir William Johnson. Peter Servis was a relative of the first wife of Sir William and twenty four others, were his tenants or hired retainers. Jones's Annals of Oneida County states that after the patent was issued Sir William made a great feast, roasted an ox, and when the patentees were "in a happy mood", procured an assignment of the patent to himself. Before the death of Sir William in 1774 he had conveyed away about half of the patent, as recited in his will. His executors, as provided by the will, sold the
remainder (about 13,000 acres) but to whom cannot be ascertained; and, besides, his title deeds in time of the Revolution were buried in the ground near Johnstown by his son, Sir John, and when recovered after the war were so moldy as to make the writing illegible. In a litigation concerning some of the lands, as it appeared, a deed or patent to Sir William was once in existence, and on proof of loss, the court allowed parole proof to be given of the deed or patent and the contents. The records of Oneida county show that as early as 1793 John Kelly, of New York, owned 2,000 acres in the southwest corner of Servis Patent, next to Holland Patent, and partly in Trenton and partly in Marcy. It is called the "Kelly Tract", in the deeds and on the Oneida county maps. It was subdivided in 1793 into twenty two lots by William Cockburn, surveyor. The records do not show who conveyed to Kelly. Not far from 1790 Gerrett Boon and others owned the Servis Patent, excepting the Kelly Tract, and other lands for the Holland Land Company. The records do not show who conveyed to Boon and others. In 1798 Peter Kemble, father in law of General Thomas Gage, purchased of Kelly the Kelly Tract. In 1795 the remained of the Servis Patent was divided into 191 lots by Calvin Guiteau, surveyor. Kelly died in 1801.
Holland Patent.- On the 20th of March, 1769, 20,000 acres, partly in Steuben, Trenton and Marcy, were granted to Henry Fox, Lord Holland. This is in no way connected with the Holland Land Company, as some suppose. Lord Holland was born in 1705 and the Fox family for more than a century stood prominent in position in English history; when young, Lord Holland was a gambler and a spendthrift, but later in his life he became influential in politics. He died in 1774, and his son Stephen, who succeeded to his titles, died a few moths thereafter. Richard Henry Fox as then about a year old, was grandson of Lord Holland and succeeded to the property. About 1795 the trustees of the will and of the property conveyed the property to Seth Johnson, of New York city, and Andrew Craig, of Cambridge, Mass., which conveyance is recorded in the Oneida county clerk's office. When this patent was granted it was supposed to contain about 20,000 acres, but on a survey made in 1797 by Moses Wright, then of Rome, it was found to contain 21,230 ½ acres; it was divided into 212 lots.
Gage's Patent. - On July 6, 1769, a tract of 18,000 acres, wholly in Deerfield, was granted to Sir Thomas Viscount Gage, then of New York city, formerly the tory governor of Massachusetts, and it was called Gage's Patent. Quit rents, all gold and silver mines and all time fit for masts was reserved. Sir Thomas Gage came to America with General Braddock in 1755 and was at the battle of Fort Du Quesne, and with General Amherst in 1759 in the expedition against Ticonderoga, and with General Wolfe at Quebec when that city surrendered to the English, and he was then appointed governor of that city. In 1763 he was made commander in chief of the British forces in North America and in 1770 lieutenant general. His home was in New York city until 1774, where he lived in a large double dwelling, numbers 67 and 69 Broad street, which was surrounded by elegant gardens. In that year he removed to Boston and assumed administration of civil and military affairs in Massachusetts; as commander he was succeeded by Sir William Howe in 1775, and Gage went to England in that year and died there April 2, 1787. H e was very odious to, and unpopular with, the American Whigs; the provincial Congress in 1775 declared Gen. Thomas Gage "an inveterate enemy of confidence". General Gage, while in Boston, offered pardon for all the rebels except Samuel Adams and John Hancock. As before stated he married a daughter of Peter Kemble, who espoused the American cause. This daughter died in 1824 at the age of ninety years. The records of Oneida county show that in March, 1788, one Jacob Lally, a mariner, for 5,900 pounds, conveyed Gage's Patent to Peter Kemble. Where Lally got his title the records do not show; perhaps from General Gage, so as to escape forfeiture. The records further show that on August 10, 1794, Henry Lord Viscount Gage conveyed this patent to Peter Kemble, his grandfather, for 1,991 pounds 5 shillings. That deed recites that Gen. Thomas Gage in July, 1786, made his will, devising all of his property to trustees to convey to said Henry, which they did on August 4, 1794, and said Henry conveyed as above to his grandfather, Peter Kemble. In 1803 Alexander Enos, jr., subdivided into lots the north part of the patent, and Calvin Guiteau, the south part. General Gage was the first military, and the last royal, governor of Massachusetts. He was personally esteemed, but particularly odious to
the Whigs of the Revolution. As showing how time softens the political asperities of political animosities it may be stated that in 1862 the Legislature of Massachusetts passed a resolution requesting and authorizing the governor of that State to receive a portrait of General Gage and place it in the State Library; and it was so done, and thus the portrait hangs, instead of its original, which the Whigs of 1775 would gladly have seen hung in the same place, or anywhere else, 120 years ago. The granddaughter of Peter Kemble, who had married General Sumner, offered this portrait to the library. Will the time ever come when the portraits of Jefferson Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee will hang in the State Library of Mass. ?
Sumner Patent.- In the northwest corner of what is now Marcy is a tract of 2,000 acres of land granted May 2, 1770, to Hezekiah Sumner, reserving gold and silver mines and trees for masts, to be free of quit rents the first ten years, and after than to be subject to the annual quit rent of 2s.6d. for every 100 acres. This tract has ever since been known as the Sumner Patent. The patentee was a subaltern officer, retired on half pay. It is believed he was the officer in charge of the British stores of Fort Stanwix at the time of the Revolution, and whose daughter was shot by the Indians in July, 1777. In fifteen days after he got the patent, for twenty-five pounds he conveyed it to Hugh Wallace and Goldsboro Banyar. As the former adhered to the crown his property was confiscated and his interest in the patent was sold in April, 1796, to John Clayton. The latter in a few days thereafter sold to John Kelly - the same who owned Kelly's Tract in Servis Patent. Judging by Kelly's will he must have been a queer personage. He made Alexander Hamilton, John V. Henry, Robert Troup, Peter Kemble, Goldsboro Banyar, Simeon De Witt, Egbert Benson, and Richard Harrison, all notable persons, his executors, and provided that his property should be held in trust, and his half interest in the Sumner Patent was to be conveyed in 1805 to his son, John J., on the express condition that the latter behaved himself properly, soberly, justly, and honestly, and neither turns drunkard, or horse racer, nor plays cards, dice or any other unlawful games; and also provided he does not become a debauchee or a vagabond. Kelly owned interests in other patents, which he disposed of by his will in a similar manner. The patent eventually was owned by Gov. George Clinton, and in
1814 was subdivided into twenty two lots by Benjamin Wright for the heirs of Mr. Clinton.
Coxe Patent. - The next patent in this county as dated May 30, 1770, to William Coxe, Daniel Coxe, Rebecca Coxe, John Tabor Kempe, then attorney general of New York, and Grace (Coxe) his wife. The Coxe family at that time were the descendants and heirs of the Dr. Coxe, of London, who became in 1696 owner of the patent granted to Robert Heath of lands south. This patent of 1770 was in consideration of release by the patentees of the Heath Patent. The Coxe Patent in Oneida county embraces 47,000 acres and is bounded by the whole length of the Line of Property, and includes parts of the towns of Westmoreland, Whitestown, Kirkland, and New Hartford, and some of Rome. For the first ten years the patent was to be free of quit rents. John Tabor Kempe adhered to the crown and his property was confiscated. In 1783 he went to England and there died. After the Revolution the patent was divided into seven grand divisions. General Washington, Governor Clinton, and Colonel Willett owned large tracts of land in this patent. The first division in Rome is known as the "Fan Lots" by reason of its shape.
Bayard, or Freemason. - Partly in this county, but mostly in Herkimer county, is a patent of land of 50,000 acres, granted June 12, 1771, to William and Robert Bayard, and fifty three others. It is called the "Bayard, or Freemason Patent" - why the latter name is not known, unless because the patentees, or most of them, were Freemasons. The Indian deed was obtained in 1766, but the patent was not issued until the date above given. At the time of the Revolution several of the patentees adhered to the crown and by the act of attainder of 1779 those disloyal persons were attainted of treason and their property confiscated. John Weatherhead was one of that number; he was an extensive importer in New York city. William Bayard, another owner, at first sympathized with the colonies, but later went over the British and departed for England; the property of both of those was confiscated. Bayard died in England in 1804, a very old man. April 11, 1787, an act of the Legislature was passed reciting that said patent before the Revolution had been surveyed into lots by Thomas Palmer and Beriah Palmer for the patentees,
but as the land was not actually divided, and that by reason of the death of some of the owners, the attainder and removal of others, it was impracticable to make a division without a new survey, which would be attended with great expense; therefore the Legislature appointed commissioners to make partion of the lands agreeable to the survey of said Palmers, and to ballot for the lots to be drawn and owned by the respective owners.
Fonda's Patent. - This was the first patent in Oneida county granted in New York after the Revolution. It was granted Jan. 31, 1786. It was then in Montgomery county. Jelles (or Giles) Fonda was the patentee and lived in Caughnawaga (now Fonda), and was an active business man. He was a major in the British service under Col. Guy Johnson, but in the Revolution was an active supporter of the colonists in the struggle for independence, for which he and his family incurred the bitter enmity of Sir John Johnson and his followers. In the fall of 1781 when Sir John raided his old neighborhood in the Mohawk Valley, the father of Jelles Fonda, then eighty four years old, was forced from his bed in the night, taken to the Mohawk River, tomahawked and scalped and left on the bank of the stream. Jelles Fonda had been engaged in the Indian trade at Caughnawaga, where he had a store and had extended his trips and his trade to Fort Stanwix, Oswego and Niagara, and became man of wealth for those times. When the war broke out he had upon his account books over $10,000 of accounts, most of which he lost. The patentee was State senator eight years and county judge of that county. The patent was issued on condition that within three years a settler for each 500 acres should be located on the land. The land of this patent is mostly in Rome and Floyd, with some in the town of Western, and there was quite a rush to settlers to those towns as the three year period came to a close. The Oneida county records show that in 1786 Mr. Fonda sold portions of his patent as follows: an undivided one eighth to John Lansing, jr., who was afterwards chief justice and chancellor of New York; an undivided one eighth in 1788 was sold to each of the following: Gov. George Clinton, William Floyd (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence), Stephen Lush, and John Taylor. In 1787 the patent was surveyed into 100 lots by James Cockburn. The owners gave perpetual leases, reserving an annual
wheat rent, so much per acre, payable in Albany. That was then the easiest way for the settlers in a new country to pay the rent and for their lands. Each year loaded teams with wheat for rent wended their way down the valley, stopping over night at the country tavern, the teamsters generally taking with them their own provisions and oats for their horses. The usual wheat rent was "18 bushels good merchantable winter wheat for each 100 acres".
Fort Bull is in lot 98, very near the line of the Oriskany Patent. That lot fell to the share of George Clinton and later to Mr. L'Hommedieu. Jelles Fonda died about 1792.
Oothoudt Patent. - Henry Oothoudt, Patentee - Soon after the close of the Revolution there was a great rush of settlers to the "Whitestown country". In 1786 in the northern part of what is now Oneida county, nearly 100,000 acres were grated to various patents. One of the conditions of the patent was that the patentee should within three years procure a settler for each 500 acres, as before alluded to. That proviso stimulated the activity of the patentee to place his lands in the market and at a low price. The most northern patent in Oneida county granted that year was 16,052 acres to Henry Oothoudt. About one half of the town of Ava is in that patent, and it also includes parts of the towns of Lee and Western. In the same year a patent of 1,900 acres was granted to Mr. Oothoudt, called "Oothoundt's Small Patent", which lies easterly of and alongside of the large patent. Mr. Oothoudt was a resident of Catskill and a person of prominence. In 1775 and 1776 he was a delegate to the provincial Congress, and in 1779 and 1780, member of assembly from Albany county. He was one of the three commissioners of forfeitures under the attainder act of 1779 and in 1789 was a delegate to the United States convention to form the United States Constitution. About 1790 he sold out most of his lands to various persons. In the northwest corner of the large patent, and including Ava Corners, 1,237 acres were sold to Daniel Hall, and the tract is marked on the county map, "Hall". In 1795 that parcel was subdivided into twelve lots. In November of that year James Cadwell, of Albany, who bough "Johnson Hall" in Johnstown, was owner and he conveyed the tract to Ezra Adams and Michael Hahn, and subsequent deeds so refer to it. The patent is not on record in Oneida county nor are the intermediate deeds to Cadwell. East of the Hall or Cad-
well purchase is a tract of 750 acres deeded by Mr. Oothoudt to Nathan Rosco, Isaac Knapp, and William Wiltsey, which is on the Blankman map of 1894 marked "Knapp, Rosco & Co.". In 1701 Andrew Clarke was owner. No deeds are on record prior to Clarke's, which recite the former conveyances. South of the last parcel is the "Carpenter lot" of 1,000 acres in said patent, conveyed by Mr. Oothoudt in 1790 to Benjamin and David Carpenter; the deed to them is not recorded. South of and next to Carpenter is a tract of 1,100 acres conveyed February 22, 1790 , by the patentee to Platt Rogers and called the "Rogers lot". In May, 1795, Rogers conveyed to Melancthon Smith. South of that parcel are 1,000 acres called the "Van Tine lot", conveyed by the patentee to Robert Van Tine February 20, 1790. South of the Van Tine lot and in Western, are 1,800 acres which Mr. Oothoudt deeded to Nicholas Boeram, called "Boeram's purchase". It was divided into twelve lots by Benjamin Wright. South of the aforesaid tract deeded to Hall, is a parcel of 1,350 acres deeded by Oothoudt to Nathan Rosco and Isaac Knapp, marked on said county map as "Rosco & Knapp". South of that parcel are 200 acres deeded to Daniel Ter Boss, marked on the map as "Ter Boss tract". in 1800 Ter Boss deeded to Andrew Hunter and two others. The county records show nothing of deeds prior to the one from Ter Boss. South of the Ter Boss lot and in the town of Lee is a parcel of 2,150 acres designated on the county map as the "Cooper tract" , and sometimes as the "Mappa tract", and also in deeds as the "Boone lot". In 1795 it was subdivided into sixteen lots by Calvin Guiteau. In 1790 it was deeded to Thomas Palmer by Mr. Oothoudt, but that deed is not recorded. Prior to 1800 the Holland Land Company became the owner of this tract and of 100,000 acres in Oneida county, and as Cooper, Mappa, and Boone had each and all been connected with that company, that fact may account for the above different designations of the lot. There was left of the above patent a parcel of 4, 432 acres, mostly in Lee and partly in Ava and Western. In 1793 Mr. Oothoudt caused this to be divided into twenty six lots. In July, 1795, he sold it to David Tallman; in December of that year the latter sold one half to Robert Bowne, so that it took the name of " Bowne's purchase". That is
east of the Mappa tract and includes West Branch. Mr. Oothoudt conveyed other parcels in that large patent, but none of the deeds are on record. Chief Justice Ambrose Spencer, as the county records show, owned 300 acres in 1833, near the "Bates place", in Ava.
Machin Patents. - Seven patents of lands in Oneida county, aggregating over 57,000 acres were granted to Thomas Machin in the years 1786, 1787 and 1788. The first one of 2,400 acres is partly in the town of Steuben and partly in Western. December, 1787, Machin sold this patent and by sundry mesne conveyances it passed into the hands of Charles Tillinghast. The intervening deeds were lost without being recorded and on application to the Court of Chancery, an order was made by that court appointing trustees to receive from Machin a deed of the patent, for benefit of Tillinghast, to take the place of the lost deeds, and in 1804 such a deed was executed by Machin, as appears by Deed Book eleven in the county clerk's office; hence this patent is sometimes called in the deeds, "The Tillinghast tract". In 1786 another patent of 2,400 acres next west of the Tillinghast tract was granted to Machin. in 1787 he conveyed it to Simeon De Witt, who for fifty years was surveyor general of this State, and hence in many of the deeds it is called the "De Witt tract". This tract includes Frenchville and North Western. In 1795 the patent was subdivided by Benjamin Wright into fourteen lots. In 1787 another patent of 2,400 acres was granted to Machin next west of the one last described and most of it west of the Mohawk. Machin sold the tract to Thomas and William Blurling, of New York city. In some deeds it is called the "Burling tract". In 1780 those two gentlemen conveyed 900 acres of this patent to Samuel Dean, of New Castle, in Westchester county. On March 3, 1786, a patent of 2, 096 acres in Western and next east of the Banyar Patent, was granted to Machin. In July of that year he conveyed it to Peter Nestle, and three years later Leonard Fisher, "surgeon barber", of New York city, was the owner of a large portion of said patent, and hence it is sometimes called the "Fisher tract". In August of the same year a patent of 1,600 acres in the town of Lee, next west of the Banyar Patent, was granted to Machin. In July, 1787, he conveyed it to James Giles and the latter conveyed to Joseph Bloomfield, of New Jersey. The latter had been
governor of that State, member of congress, and attorney general, and had seen much service and suffered severely in the war of the Revolution and was stationed at Fort Stanwix. He was cousin of the late John W. Bloomfield, of Rome. In April, 1793, Mr. Bloomfield sold the patent to his brother in law, Joseph McIllvane, and hence it is often called the "McIllvane tract". In the spring of that year John W. Bloomfield, as agent for Mr. McIllvane, came to this region on horseback to look after that tract. From Whitesboro he was accompanied by John Youngs, a brother in law of D.C. White, son of Hugh White. They examined the land and also explored adjacent lands; they purchased of George Scriba 6,000 acres nearly all in Lee and since called the "Six Thousand Acre Tract". Scriba sold to John Hall and others nearly 4,000 acres, called "the four thousand acre tract". In April, 1795, George Huntington, of Rome, purchased of Scriba 2,000 acres in Lee, called the "two thousand acre tract". Mr. Bloomfield returned to New Jersey via Wood Creek, Oneida Lake and Otsego county, and reached home after an absence of three months. In that year he took up residence at Taberg, and in 1812 removed to Rome, where he died in 1849 at the age of eighty four years. In May, 1787, a patent of 15, 360 Acres was granted to Machin in Ava and the south part of Boonville called the "Gore Patent". In June, 1788, a patent of 31,360 acres, lying partly in Forestport and extending into Herkimer county, was granted to Machin, thus making over 57,000 acres granted to him within three years. Thomas Machin, patentee of the above described lands, was born in England and came to New York in 1772. He was a skilled engineer and surveyor and during the Revolution rendered valuable service under the direction of Washington and Governor Clinton to the American cause, in placing obstructions across the Hudson at West Point and other places on that river to impede the passage of the British. He died in Charleston, Montgomery county, in 1816, at the age of seventy two years. He had a son named Thomas, who also became a noted surveyor. He died in Albany in 1875, at the age of ninety years.
Steuben Patent. - Baron Frederick William Steuben came to this country in the war of the Revolution and rendered valuable service to the American cause in disciplining troops. The United States gave him a pension of $2,500 yearly. The Legisl
ature of New York by an act passed May 5, 1786, recited that Baron Steuben had rendered very essential service to this State, therefore the Land Commissioners were directed to issue a land patent to the Baron, of one fourth of a township, equal to 16,000 acres, without fee or reward. A patent was issued to him June 27, 1786, which lies mostly in the town of Steuben, as shown on the Oneida county map. In 1790 the Baron went upon the tract, erected a log house, and in it, with a few domestics, he lived until his death November 28, 1794, at the age of sixty four years. He was buried at his own request in the center of a five acre parcel of woodland; in 1872 a monument, erected at his grave by citizens, mostly German, was finished. "After life's fitful fever he sleeps well":
How sleep the brave who sink to rest Withall their country's wishes blest; When spring with dewy fingers cold, Returns to deck the hallowed mold, She there shall dress a sweeter sod, Than fancy's feet have ever trod.
Dean's Patent. - An act of the New York Legislature, passed May 5, 1786, directed the Land Commissioners to issue letters patent to James Dean on the Line of Property and on Oriskany Creek, tow miles square, of 2,560 acres. That tract is in the town of Westmoreland, near Lairdsville. Mr. Dean was born in Connecticut and in early life was destined as a missionary to the Indians, and when twelve years old was sent to live with an Indian missionary in Broome county in this State, who was then laboring with a branch of the Oneida tribe. He soon became master of the Indian tongue and so perfect was he in that language that it was said he was the
only white person who spoke the language so perfectly and fluently that he could not be detected as a white man. He became such a favorite with the Indians that a female of the Oneida tribe adopted him as her son. He subsequently graduated from Dartmouth College. In 1774 he was sent by the Continental Congress to ascertain the views of the Six Nations as to the then impending war of the Revolution; he rendered valuable services to his country in that war. During most of the war period he was stationed at Fort Stanwix and Oneida Castle. By his efforts and those of Rev. Samuel Kirkland, the great body of the Oneidas were induced to remain neutral during the struggle. In the siege of Fort Stanwix and the battle of Oriskany, in August, 1777, Mr. Dean was absent down the valley, but he returned with General Arnold when the siege was abandoned, August 22. He always had the confidence of the Oneidas. For his services they gave him a tract of land two miles square. He chose for the location a tract on Wood Creek in what is now Vienna, and in the spring of 1784 he came from Connecticut to settle on the land. He remained there about a year, but found the location was too wet, which fact he communicated to the Indians, and in 1785 he left it. The Indians agreed that he might make another choice in any place on the west of the Line of Property, and he accordingly located near Lairdsville, as before stated, in the fall of 1785, and the State ratified the grant in the next year. He became judge of the old Oneida Common Pleas and was twice a member of assembly. He died in 1823, aged seventy six years; one of his daughters was the wife of Joshua A. Spencer, an eminent member of the Oneida bar. The deed to James Dean from the sachems and chief warriors of the Oneidas, dated August 11, 1785, recites that it is by consent of the nation and for great and important services by Dean, and as token of the esteem and affection borne him by the Oneidas. The patent from the State bears date February 6, 1787.
Kirkland Patent. - On the 5th of May, 1786, an act was passed directing a patent for 640 acres to be issued to Rev. Samuel Kirkland, in a square form, and to be bounded by a tract to be issued to James Dean, and one to be issued to Abraham Wemple; one half of the 640 acres to be to Mr. Kirkland in fee and the other half in trust for any minister who might be employed by the Oneidas. In 1846 the
Oneidas agreed to release their half of this patent from the trust. The treaty of 1788 recited that lands were intended for G.W. and J.T. Kirkland, and therefore an act was passed February 25, 1789, authorizing the Land Commissioners to issue a patent of one square mile to J.T. Kirkland, and one of the same to G.W. Kirkland, and a paten of two square miles to Rev. Samuel Kirkland and his heirs, the whole to be contiguous to , and bounded on, the Line of Property and adjoining the patent granted to Abraham Wemple. The Kirkland Patent is in the town of Kirkland, southwest of Clinton. Rev. Samuel Kirkland is too well known in history as a minister, a missionary to the Indians, beloved by the Oneidas, and a friend to the colonies in their struggle for independence, to require further notice. He was founder of the school out of which grew Hamilton College; he died in 1808 at the age of sixty seven years. G.W. and J.T. Kirkland were his sons.
Brotherton Tract. - Before the Revolution there were remnants of various tribes of Indians in New Jersey, some on Long Island, and some in New York. At the treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, as to the Line of Property, the commissioners from New Jersey bought of the Oneidas some 30,000 acres for the benefit of those remnants. Some settled on the tract purchased and a minister was furnished them. The tribes were remnants of the Mohegans, Narragansetts, Pequods, Montauks, etc.. In 1786 Rev. Samson Occum was preaching there. He was a highly educated and talented Indian. In the treaty of September, 1788, as to the Oneida Reservation, it was provided that the tract reserved for New England Indians, where Rev. Samson Occum preached should be respected. He had been to England, preached before King George III, and the latter presented him with a gold headed cane, and the first pulpits in that country were open to him. February 25, 1789, an act of the Legislature confirmed the grant theretofore made by the Oneidas by the name of "Brother Town", and a township with this name was formed and officers elected until about 1831. Being composed of different tribes, they spoke only the English language and in time lost their Indian pride and respect and became dissipated and demoralized. They sold out from time to time their interest in the land and moved to Green Bay. This tract is partly in Kirkland, but mostly in Marshall.
New Petersburgh. - In 1794 Peter Smith, father of Gerrit Smith, leased of the Indians a tract of 60,000 acres in Augusta and partly in Madison county. It took the name New Petersburgh.
Banyar Patent. - Partly in Lee and partly in Western, and next east of the McIllvane tract, are 5,000 acres of land granted by patent to Goldsboro Banyar July 11, 1786; it was subdivided into fifty lots in 1793, by William Cockburn and son, and C.C. Broadhead. Mr. Banyar was a prominent personage in his day and largely interested in lands in this State. He was born in London and came to America in 1738, locating in New York city. In 1746 he was deputy secretary of state, deputy clerk of the colony of New York, and deputy clerk of the Supreme Court. In 1752 he was register in chancery and in the next year judge of probate (Surrogate's Court). When the Whigs of New York city in the Revolution assumed power he removed to Rhinebeck on the Hudson. It was doubtful with which side he sympathized during the war, so closely did he keep his counsels. Before the Attack of Esopus (now Kingston) in October, 1777, Sir Henry Clinton sent a messenger with a sealed letter to Mr. Banyar; when the sealed answer was opened by Mr. Clinton it simply read: " Mr. Banyar knows nothing." In 1767 he married a daughter of Mr. Martin, then postmaster general, a widow of Judge Appey, judge advocate. After peace in 1783 he went to Albany and took an active interest in all that concerned internal improvements. He, Elkanah Watson, and General Schuyler were commissioners to report on the feasibility of constructing a canal (the Inland canal) from the Mohawk River through Rome to Wood Creek. He visited this region with those men and they made a report which is published in the Documentary History of New York. In the late years of his life he became totally blind and was led about the streets by a colored servant. He died in Albany November 15, 1815, at the age of ninety one, leaving a fortune. His son Goldsboro died in New York city in 1806.
Lansing Patent. - On September 12, 1786, a patent of 2,000 acres was granted to John Lansing, jr., and Stephen Lush, and subdivided into twenty lots. It was called Lansing Patent No. 1, and is in the north part of the town of Western, next east of the Curtenius Patent. One of Stephen Lush's daughters was the wife of Henry G. Wheaton, a noted lawyer of Albany. John Lansing, jr., was a prominent man
in the State and rendered valuable service to his country in the Revolution. He had been a member of the convention that framed the first United States Constitution; was mayor of Albany, judge of the old Supreme Court of this State from 1790 to 1798, chief justice from 1798 to 1801, chancellor of New York from 1801 to 1814. His death is involved in mystery. He left his hotel in New York city, December 12, 1829, to go to Albany on a boat up the Hudson, and was seen as he left the rotunda of the hotel, but never afterwards, nor was his body ever discovered. In the autobiography of Thurlow Weed it is stated that years afterwards he was informed as to how the chancellor was murdered and the motive for the deed; but Mr. Weed was not at liberty to give the facts. Next east of the Banyar Patent, and in the town of Western, is a patent of 2,000 acres granted Stephen Lush September 12, 1786, and subdivided into fifteen lots; it is next south of the Boeram and Taylor Patents. Next south of the Curtenius Patent is a patent of 2,000 acres divided into twenty lots. Partly in Steuben and partly in Western was granted to Lansing and Van Schaack September 12, 1786, and divided into twenty lots, next south of Lansing Patent No. 2. North of No. 2 and next to the town of Boonville, partly in Western and Steuben, is a patent of 2,000 acres granted to John Lansing, jr., L. Theal, and Quick, subdivided into twenty lots, granted September 12, 1789, called Lansing Patent No. 3. In September, 1788, a patent of 2,000 acres was granted to Richard Lush and Dr. Stringer, in the town of Western, next south of Lansing Patent NO. 1, divided into twenty lots.
Curtenius Patent. - On September 21, 1786, a patent of 2,000 acres was granted to Peter Curtenius and Jonathan Pierce, lying in the town of Western next to Boonville and called the Curtenius Patent; it was divided into twenty lots in 1793 by William Cockburn. Mr. Curtenius was born in New York city, always resided there and was a wealthy merchant. Besides this patent he owned thousands of acres in Oswego county which he purchased of George Scriba, the patentee. He was member of assembly in 1804 and in 1806; was appointed by President Jefferson marshal of the southern district of New York and held that office until 1812, when he was
appointed by President Madison and continued until 1814. Mr. Curtenius died about 1817 and the next year this widow with five children and two others by a former wife, moved to Whitesboro that the children might be educated. She purchased the residence of Arthur Bresse, the first surrogate of Oneida county (the former residence of Gideon Granger); a granddaughter of Mr. Curtenius became the wife of the late Edward Brayton, of Utica,. A daughter of Mrs. Curtenius married William Wolcott; another daughter became the wife of William S. Wetmore, a grandson of one of Whitesboro's pioneer settlers' she became a widow in 1846 and died a few years ago having resided in that village about seventy years.
Remsenburgh Patent. - There is a patent of 48,000 acres lying partly in Oneida county and partly in Herkimer county, granted December 28, 1787, to Henry Remsen, J.G. Klock and George Klock and John Van Sice. They had presented a petition to the Legislature stating these lands had been conveyed to them by deed dated May 28, 1766, and now on record in the office of the secretary of state. An act was passed May 5, 1786, authorizing a patent to issue of any ungranted lands, unlocated, in one parcel, if such a large parcel could be so located, etc.. A patent was thereupon issued.
Willett Patent. - On the 15th of September, 1786, a tract of 1,500 acres was granted to Col. Marinus Willett of lands lying partly in the town of Steuben and partly in Boonville. The name of Colonel Willett as the heroic defender of Fort Stanwix is too well known to require further mention, except that he died August 23, 1830, a few weeks past his ninetieth birthday, and the fifty third anniversary of the day the siege of Fort Stanwix was abandoned.
Scriba's Patent. - In August, 1791, John and Nicholas I Roosevelt, merchants of New York city, purchased by contract of the State some 500,000 acres at the price of three shillings and one penny per acre., lying partly in Oneida county, but mostly in Oswego county. The easterly boundary of this tract commences at the junction of Canada and Wood Creeks, in Rome, runs up the former stream and Fonda and Oothoudt Patents to Macomb's Purchase, being on the northern boundary of Oneida county. It includes what are now the towns of Annsville, Camden, part of Ava, Florence, part of Lee, part of Rome and Vienna in Oneida county. Besides the
Roosevelts, and Franklin and Robinson, George Scriba was interested in this purchase and On April 7, 1792, they sold to Scriba, and on December 12, 1794, a patent was issued to the last named mad; this had ever since been known as the Roosevelt Purchase, or Scriba's Patent. In 1793-4 Benjamin Wright subdivided this patent into twenty four townships and great lots. Mr. Scriba gave a name to each township, but in their reorganization only one in this county (Florence) retain the name given it by him. Township No. 1, named Fulda, is the northwest part of the town of Lee and the northeast part of Annsville. Township No. 2 is parts of Rome and Lee, and was named "Union". Township No. 3 is the northwest part of Annsville and was named "Solingen". Township No. 4 included the west part of Florence And was so named. Township No. 5 included the west part of Camden and was named "Linley". Township No. 8 included the east part of Camden and part of Annsville, and was named " Bloomfield", after the late John W. Bloomfield. Township No. 9 included the east part of Vienna and was called "Embden". Township No. 10 included the west part of Vienna and was named "Edam". Soon after his purchase Mr. Scriba commenced making improvements, built a store, saw and grist mills in Constantia, which he named "Rotterdam", and nearly 100 years ago he built a two story frame dwelling on the shores of Oneida Lake at that place, into which he moved; this house is yet standing. He sold off the "Munro Tract" one the shore of the lake; sold tracts to Alexander Hamilton and others; sold in December, 1794, to John W. Bloomfield and others the Six Thousand Acre Tract north of Lee Center in Lee; to John Hall and others the Four Thousand Acre Tract in the same town, and the Two Thousand Acre Tract in the same town to George Huntington in April, 1795, as before described. A tract of 7,147 acres he laid out on the north shore of Oneida Lake, which includes Cleveland, Berhard's Bay and Constantia, and called it "Scriba's Location". In the town of Annsville is a tract of 1,254 acres which he laid out and called "Scriba's Reservation"; it includes Glenmore, north of Taberg. Mr. Scriba was a New York merchant, a German, and at the time of his purchase was worth a million and a half dollars. But his great purchase made him "land poor" and he died in Constantia a
poor man, on August 26, 1836, at the age of eight four years; his remains were buried in that village. He left an only child, Frederick Scriba, who died years ago, leaving a widow, now residing in the old homestead; she had a son, George Scriba.
Franklin and Robinson Tract. - In January, 1795, George Scriba sold from his patent 75,000 acres, partly in Lee and Annsville, and a part in Ava, with some in Oswego county, to Abraham Franklin and William Robinson; it is known as the Franklin and Robinson Tract, and is sometimes called the "Quaker Tract", those persons being Quakers. It is recited that said parties were interested in the original contract of purchase commonly called "Roosevelt Purchase", and that they had paid their share of the purchase.
Muller Tract. - Franklin and Robinson mortgaged twelve lots (37 to 48, both inclusive), as surveyed by Benjamin Wright, making 1, 615 acres, to Rembrant Muller. That parcel extends north past Point of Rock and into Ava, east of the Fish Creek Reservation, to the county line. The mortgage was foreclosed and the premises sold on April 1, 1811, and bid off by Muller; since then the land has been known as the Muller Tract. That Muller was father of Adrian H. Muller, of New York city, so well known in connection with auction and real estate sales there. The latter died in October, 1886, aged eighty four years.
Sargeant's Patent. - John Sargeant was a native of New Jersey, attended Yale College and graduated there from in 1729. He became a tutor in that college, but relinquished his plans and was ordained minister in August, 1734, at Deerfield, Mass., and was then a missionary among the Stockbridge Indians in that State. He died July 27, 1749, at the age of thirty nine years, leaving three children; the youngest was named John and he afterwards became a minister. In 1775 young Sargeant took charge as missionary of the mission school of Stockbridge Indians. In 1785 he removed to New Stockbridge and took charge of a church there, where he passed six months each year. In 1796 he moved his family there and continued his labors among the Indians in this new home until his death, September 8, 1824, aged seventy seven years. A monument at his grave in Vernon, near his former home, states that he was missionary for thirty six years. By an act passed April 1, 1796, the Land Commissioners were directed to issue a patent a mile square, adjoining
land called New Stockbridge, for John Sargeant, Minister of the Gospel, who resides among the Indians at that place. That patent is located a little to the southwest of Vernon Center.
Oneida Reservation. - In the description of the Line of Property on a previous page in this chapter, an account is given of the cession by the Indians of all lands (except some reservations) lying east and south of that line. That was the first cession of lands by the Indians to the government within what is now Oneida county, and included about two thirds of the present area of the county. After the Revolution and on June 28, 1785, a treaty was made at Fort Herkimer, with the Oneidas and the Tuscaroras, by Governor Clinton and Indian commissioners, under which the lands of the Oneidas occupied by the Tuscaroras, lying between Unadilla and the Chenango Rivers, were purchased for $11,000. After this the Tuscaroras moved to the land of the Senecas.
On the 22d of September, 1788, a treaty was made at Fort Stanwix by the Oneidas and representatives of the State, by which the former ceded all of their lands in New York State (except as hereinafter stated); the main and larger part thus reserved has passed into history as the Oneida Reservation. The line of that reservation commenced on Wood Creek opposite the mouth of Canada Creek, where the Line of Property begins, and runs thence along the easterly line of the towns of Verona, Vernon and Augusta; along the southerly line, or nearly so, of the latter town, and so on westerly until it intersects a line due north to "Deep Spring" in Manlius, and on the east line of what is now Onondaga county; thence by the nearest course to Canasaraga Creek, and thence via Oneida Lake and Wood Creek to the place of the beginning; the Oneidas to hunt and fish forever in all that ceded territory. There was also reserved to the Oneidas one half a mile square at the distance of every six miles along the north bounds of Oneida Lake; also the lands half a mile in breadth on each side of Fish Creek. This cession by the Oneidas was made subject to the rights of the Brotherton Indians, under Samson Occum, and the Stockbridge Indians (a tract of two by three miles). The State was to pay the Oneidas for the cession, $2,000 in money, $2,000 in clothing and other goods, and $1,000 in provisions, with $500 towards building a grist mill and a saw mill at their village; and to annually thereafter on June 1st, pay at Fort Stanwix $600 in silver, or in clothing and provisions as the Oneidas might elect. The State was
also to grant to John Francis Perache a tract of land at the Line of Property, two miles square, in satisfaction of what the Oneidas had agreed to give Perache for an injury done him by one of their nation; and further, the State was to grant to John T. Kirkland, and also to G.W. Kirkland, other lands as a compensation for other lands which the Oneidas had intended for those persons; also to grant to Peter Penet certain lands for services rendered by him, to the Oneidas, the tract to be ten miles square. (A tract ten miles square, called "Penet Square", was set off in Jefferson county for this purpose.)
This treaty was written on parchment two feet square, with thirty five seals of the parties, and appended to it is a string of wampum made of blue and white beads strung upon deer skin cords. This belt is about two inches wide and nearly two feet long. The document was placed in the office of the secretary of state for preservation. The above reservation included what is known as the Wood Creek Reservation. April 26, 1832 a law was passed authorizing a sale of the latter reservation. The Oneidas became divided among themselves on religious matters, one party taking the name of the "Christian party", and another the "pagan party". IN 1805 a partition of the lands was made, by which the pagan party took those east of Oneida Creek. In February, 1809, the pagan party sold their lands to the State, which extended from Oneida Lake to Mud Creek, which empties into Oneida Creek south of Oneida Castle; a few reservations were made. This tract has passed into history as the "first pagan purchase". In 1807 the Christian party deeded a part of their tract to the State, and in 1809 the "Fish Creek Reservation" was sold to the State, comprising about 7,500 acres, excepting a few reservations. From time to time the Oneidas sold to the State and to individuals all of their lands, including their right to the Stockbridge and Brotherton tracts. A patent was issued to Perache in 1789, in pursuance of the treaty of 1788. The lands are in Westmoreland north of Spencer settlement.
Wemple Patents. - By an act of the Legislature passed May 5, 1786, a patent of 640 acres was granted to Abraham Wemple, to be located next to James Dean's patent and next to the Line of Property. The patent was issued February 5, 1789. April 1, 1796, an act was passed reciting that Abraham Wemple had aided the Oneidas while
refugees at Schenectady, during the late war; that a patent of one mile square by issued to Abraham Wemple, out of the lands purchased in 1795 of the Oneidas. That patent was issued in March, 1798, and the lands are situated in the town of Vernon, near the village.
Van Epps Patent. - The same act of 1796 which granted the patent to Wemple, ordered one to be issued to Abraham Van Epps, of two miles square, and it was so issued and included Vernon village. The act recites that Van Epps was a fur trader. After the Revolutionary war he again embarked in the business, but was plundered in Canada and his death remained a mystery. Young Van Epps took up the business in 1784 and came from Schenectady up the valley. In 1785 he located at Oriskany and there began trading with the large body of Oneida Indians then located there. About 1787 he settled in what is now Westmoreland. After he received his patent he moved upon it; he died in 1844 at the age of eighty one years. He had a store in Westmoreland and was the first merchant in Vernon.
Baschard's Location. - In the town of Vernon, to the southeast of Vernon village and extending to and including Vernon Center, is a tract of 4,911 acres, granted to T.L. Whitbeck and others (see Oneida county deed of books, No. 6), called Bashcard's Location. Its history is as follows: On June 27, 1786, a patent for 4,883 acres was granted by the State to "Bass Chard:, Samuel Hatch and others of the Isle of La Mott, in Lake Champlain. In the difficulties between New York and Vermont, that island was ceded to the latter State, and the New York Legislature, by act passed April 11, 1796, authorized a patent to the above patentees, or their assigns, for any unappropriated lands in New York, in lieu of said island. The parties located their lands in Vernon, as above stated, and hence the name of the "Location". About 1797 a company of wealthy farmers from Connecticut bough a part of this patent, a part of the Van Epps Patent, and a part of the Sergeant Patent, laid out a town plat six miles square and sold to actual settlers.
Bleecker Patents. - By a treaty made with the Oneidas the State agreed to grant a patent of lands to John I. Bleecker, for lands which the Oneidas had agreed to
give him, and on February 25, 1789, a patent called "Bleecker's South Patent", was issued; it lies in the town of Vernon, next south of Dean's Patent. By the same act another patent a mile square was ordered to be issued to Bleecker for further compensation for his faithful services; this patent is called "Bleecker's North Patent", and is located in Westmoreland next to the Line of Property, and next northerly of Dean's Patent.
Otsequette Patent. - An act was passed March 18, 1791, directing a patent of 1,000 acres to be issued to Peter Otsequette, of the Wolf tribe of the Oneidas, for Otsequette's use for life and the issue of his body. That tract is in Westmoreland, next to Dean's Patent and Bleecker's North Patent. Otsequette was a noted personage, was one of the chiefs who signed the treaty at Fort Stanwix in September, 1788, was highly educated and when a youth was taken to France by La Fayette and placed in French schools where he remained seven years. He could speak French with great fluency and recite with thrilling effect from the tragedies of Racine and Corneille. And yet he possessed Indian tastes and instincts and would drink whiskey from a keg and whoop like the lowest savage. In February, 1820, an act was passed reciting the death of Peter Otsequette (who died 1792), and that Anthony was his only surviving child and entitled to one half of the benefits of said patent, and that George and Henry Hill, infant children of a deceased daughter, are entitled to the other half; and Anthony, desirous of surrendering his half to the State upon being paid $3,000 and $42 annuity, it was enacted that those sums be paid and a release taken; in March, 1821, the share of the Hill children was disposed of in the same way.
Lawrence, or Smith Patent. - On December 23, 1793, a patent was issued for 1,896 acres to Melancthon Smith. The parcel is in Rome and includes Green's Corners, or Greenway, as now called. The contract was made in 1791 for three shillings and seven pence per acre. It was divided into lots by C.C. Broadhead, surveyor. Mr. Smith was a prominent man in his day, was largely interested in lands, was a member of assembly for New York and member of the Provincial Congress. Before 1800 he sold the land to Jonathan Lawrence, a merchant of New York, and hence it some-times called the Smith Patent and sometimes the Lawrence Tract. Mr. Lawrence
usually leased the land for life. Mr. Lawrence died in testate before 1816 and in that year his heirs partitioned the property among themselves.
McKesson Patent. - In Westmoreland and including Lowell, a patent of 4,080 acres was granted to John McKesson, of Mew York; it was contracted to him for three shillings, six pence per acre. A patent was issued to him May 20, 1795. He died September 18,1798, in testate, leaving no children and his real estate descended to his brothers and sisters, five in number. In 1801 the patent was partitioned among them; it was called the "two mile tract", and was supposed to contain 2,000 acres.
Adgate's Patent.- In 1761 Matthew Adgate, of Columbia county, purchased of the State by contract, a parcel of land in the north part of this county, estimated to be 45,000 acres., for two shillings six pence per acre. It is known as Adgate's Western Tract, and lies next to Macomb's Purchase. A patent was issued January 20, 1798. Another tract called Adgate's Eastern Tract, of 40,000 acres, was owned by Adgate, lying partly in Oneida county and partly in Herkimer county. In 1794, Benjamin Wright surveyed the western tract into lots west of Black River. Mr. Adgate was a member of the convention that formed the first United States Constitution, and a member of assembly.
Information that is
found in this collection has been donated to Oneida County, NY GenWeb page
by Jane Stevens-Hodge. Copyright©2002