History From America's Most Famous Valleys
The Mohawk Dutch and the Palatines
by Milo Nellis
Their background and their influence in the
The United States of America
This book is presented as so many others are on the Fort Klock site, without making any judgment call on the correctness of the information. There is careful research contained within the book and perhaps the reader might derive some insight into their family research from the information contained herein.
A PEN SKETCH OF JUDGE JACOB G. KLOCK
Judge Jacob G. KLock was, as his middle initial Indicates, a son of George Klock, Sr. This fact can be verified by recourse to the administration papers of George KLock, Sr., on record at Fonda.
It is essential and pertinent to our subject to here state that George Klock, Sr., was probably the most prominent man in the patriot cause in this immediate vicinity when the Revolutionary war broke. For years he had persstently opposed and defied Sir William Johnson and his bastard brood of half breeds and savages, although the odds against him were overwhelming. In 1754 he had with his nephew, William Nellis, Jr. obtained the Klock and Nellis; patent of 16,000 acres to provide land for the growing pioneer families. The following year (1755) Johnson obtained the chief credit for successfully defeating the French and Indians at Lake George and was munificently rewarded by the English crown with title, money, and estate. His position was undoubtedly greatly strengthened by the support of his uncle, Sir Peter Warren, whose record in the English navy was enviable.
In 1762 when Johnson, equipped with his new wealth and in the ascendancy of his power, built at Johnstown he found the Klocks and Nellises and their Dutch and Palatine neighbors a complete barrier to his westward progress. They were a despised and lowly people, they had lived at peace for 50 years in the midst of the Indians who had invited them hither, they were not of Johnson's nationality nor religion and their influence on the Indians, and their geographical location rendered them a menace to his ambitions. In 1760 George Klock had built his home on the banks of Crum Creek on the north side of the Mohawk only a short distance from the upper Canajoharie Castle (now Indian Castle). Thus it came about that George Klock, as one of their leaders, became the target for all the intrigue and abuse the Johnsons could instil in the savages. How powerful this influence was can be better understood when it is realized that Sir William Johnson was father of 100 Indian children and that the Indians, who felt flattered and honored by this form of familiarity, actually looked to him as father and chief, regarding him as their own.
He furthermore was living with King Hendrlck's granddaughter, Molly Brant, as his wife, and had sent her brother, Joseph Brant, to a New England school. Under this subtle influence the Indians accused George KLock of stealing land around their castle, to which Lieut. Governor Cadwallader Colden and his associates had acquired a fraudulent title in * 1733, when George Klock was a child. They also accused him of using rum as an aid in defrauding them, but rum in those days was universally used. In the absence of physicians and modern medical substitutes it was medicine, anasthetic, and panacea for all ailments as well as a beverage, and the records show that whenever the Indians made any deal they not only expected rum but demanded and received it, quite as much from the hand of Sir William Johnson as they did from George Klock. One complaint against George Klock was by preacher Lappins who was himself begging Johnson for rum. for medical purposes. (Doc. History, Vol. IV, page 336)
Pitted against these fearful odds, George Klock never faltered. He and his people had paid the English in money for much if not all of the land they obtained, as their deeds still in existence will show. In the winter of 1773 (* Doc. History, Vol. II, page 1004) George Klock made a trip to Europe, probably in an attempt to lay the troubles of himself and his oppressed people directly before the crown, but the Johnson intrigue preceded him and he was driven home. On his return the Indians robbed his home and, under the Johnson protection, admitted it and were sustained in the defense that he had cheated them and that they took only whatbelonged to them. While George Klock was thus engaged, his brother Jacob had been busy as one of the prime movers in the organization of the Tryon County Vigilance committee to check the Johnson influence. They first met at Stone Arabia, August 27,1774, (see Simms, Vol. I, page 489) and had early announced their intention ''to be free or die." They chose George Klock's brother Jacob as their colonel. So it was that the Indians had publicly complained before Sir William Johnson and renewed their old charges against George Klock on the very day that Sir William died suddenly under the suspicion of suicide. And so it was that with Sir William laid away his son, Sir John Johnson, and his son-in-law, Guy Johnson, found themselves in full control of Sir William's large interests, but the vigilance committee's activities promptly curbed them and they soon fled to Canada. Sir John escaped through the wilderness north from Johnstown, while Guy Johnson, under pretense of an Indian conference, took Joseph Brant with him and fled hastily up the Mohawk to Oswego and thence via the St. Lawrence river to Montreal. Guy Johnson proceeded directly to England, accompanied by Brant who repeated before the English authorities the complaints against George Klock and pledged the Indians to the English cause. Brantwas royally entertained and featured and returned to America at English expense on an English war ship. On Brant's return he was promptly called to conference by General Herkimer at Unadilla, acting under direction of the vigilance committee. At this conference it was George Klock's son-in-law, Ebenezer Cox, who aroused Brant's ire by an impatient remark whereupon Brant threatened General Herkimer and his whole company, and six weeks later it was this same son-in-law of George Klock who was first to fall a victim of Brant's sharp shooters when Brant, promptly warned by his sister Molly of Herkimer's march, ambushed and surprised Herkimer's army on Oriskany's bloody field.
It will thus be seen that George Klock's son, Jacob G. Klock, came naturally into a position of importance, for he was well educated, considering that he was born and reared in a wilderness filled with savages and wild beasts where the ordinary comforts of even the civilized life of his time were luxuries. He was born March 9, 1738, and died September 8, 1814. He was therefore approaching the age of 40 years and was in the prime of life when the trying days of '76 came. The new state government was formed in 1777, and when the assembly met at Kingston in September of that year immediately following the battle of Oriskany and again at Poughkeepsie from January to April and in June, 1778, Jacob G. Klock was there as the representative from Tryon county (see supplement to N. Y. in the Revolution by Roberts printed by Quayle, Albany 1902, page 154).
Again (page 158 same record) we find him in the senate for the western district which met at Poughkeepsie in July, 1782, and at Kingston, January to March, 1783. It is interesting here to note that on this occasion the name of his brother-in-law, Christian Nellis, Jr., appears as attending the session but is noted as not being a member.
Jacob G. Klock continued in the senate until 1784, nearly 7 years in all. He therefore represented his district during the entire period of the war. On page 261 of the same record we find that Jacob G. KLock, together with Christopher Yates, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, and Henry Oathout were made Commissioners of forfeiture for the western district comprising Albany and Tryon counties. Their work began October 22, 1779, and continued eight and one half years, until March 21, 1788, when the office was abolished. A side light on the duties of this commission is found in the following quotation from Benton's History of Herkimer County, page 120. 'The act of October 20, 1779, declared 'Sir John Johnson, late of the county of Tryon, knight and baronet, Guy Johnson, Daniel Claus and John Butler, now or late of said county esquires, and John Joost Herkimer, now or late of the said county, Yeoman, to be ipso facto, convicted and attained of voluntary adhering to the fleets and armies of the king of Great Britain, in the cruel and unjust war then waged by him against this state and the other United States with the intent to subvert the government and liberties of this state, and the other United States and to bring the same into subjection to the crown of Great Britain. Their estates real and personal were declared forfeited to and vested in the people of the state * * (page 121) "Other persons were convicted and attained by the same act, some of them civilians and all the persons named in the act were perpetually banished from the state, and their return to it was denounced a felony punishable with death without the benefit of clergy."
From the Civil List of the Colony and State of New York by Edgar A. Werner, published by Weed, Parsons & Co., Albany, 1888, we learn that Jacob G. Klock was appointed Judge of Montgomery County, February 2, 1778. (County name having been changed in resentment to the Tory propensities of Governor Tryon and in honor of General Montgomery who fell at Quebec.) We find him acting in this capacity as late as May 1, 1787, when he appeared at the proof of the will of his uncle, Johannes Klock. He also drew the last will of his uncle Col. Jacob Klock which was admitted to probate at Johnstown June 12, 1788. He probably continued as judge until his death in 1814. Thus we have him in the three-fold capacity of senator, commissioner of forfeitures, and judge over a long term of years.
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