History From America's Most Famous Valleys
The Wallace Land Patent of 1770
Ronald 'Ron' Baldwin
Copyrighted by the author 3 March 2005
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In 1770 lands in the New York colony of Great Britain was being granted or assigned to noblemen, officer's of the King's Army and land speculators. The area west of Albany controlled by several Iroquois Indian tribes was being invaded by 'squatters' which was putting pressures on the colonial government in New York City to open more land to settlement and to protect those already there, from the Indians.
For the most part, up to now, the Iroquois confederacy (the Six Nations) was a valuable ally of the British. Providing a defensive barrier against the French, in what was to become Canada. In order to stabilize the situation a delegation was sent to Fort Stanwix (the site later to be known as Rome) to negotiate a new treaty with the Six Nations.
Known as the Treaty of Fort Stanwix of 1768 (1), it arranged for the purchase from the Indians all that land south of the Susquehanna and Ohio River in return for a guarantee to their traditional homelands in western New York, surrounding the lakes now known as the Finger Lakes. Surrendered was the land south and east of a line running from Oneida Lake to the present day Unadilla river and south to the Delaware river then west to the Susquehanna and along it to below present day Tioga.(2)
Once accomplished a land rush was on in the newly opened territory. The King's representatives were busy writing up 'letters patent' granting land to speculators. Since the land could only be granted in 1000 acre parcels, by royal decree, many groups formed to purchase contiguous parcels, thus the Wallace group (Listed later in this document), of twenty-eight speculators were granted 28,000 acres along the Susquehanna laying in a strip two miles wide, one mile each side of the river's course.(3)
2. http://threerivershms.com/Iroquois1776.jpg map
3. Photo copy of Wallace Patent 'letters patent' in author's library. Pages 1-3, from NYS Archives
The original 'letters patent' for the Wallace Land Grant on file with the New York State Archives and transcribed at the end of this document, shows that they were required to pay, to the Crown, yearly rents of two shillings and six pence sterling per hundred acres. Once the land was assigned to a settler he then became responsible to pay the rents.
Perhaps of interest is the items found or that might be found on the land that were reserved to the King of Great Britain and all his heirs. The 'letters patent' reserve all mines of gold or silver and all white pine or other sorts of pine trees fit for masts, twenty-four inches in diameter and upwards, at twelve inches from the earth.
It was further required that every settler on these lands had to within three years, plant and cultivate three acres for every fifty acres assigned to him. Failure to meet these requirements or the cutting of pine trees reserved to the King would result in a rescinding of the 'letters patent'.
Many 'letters patent' were accomplished between 1768 and 1775 when the War of Independence began. This is an important turn of events because many of the land speculators were Loyalists and lost title to their 'grants' when the Bill of Attainder was passed by the New York legislature in October of 1779. Some 'letters patent' holders were supporters of the War of Independence and retained title under the new government.
While Sir William Johnson was the petitioner for Alexander Wallace his name is improperly attached to the Wallace Patent. A patent of 26,000 acres from the mouth of the Charlotte Creek properly bears the 'Johnson Patent' name.
In the Otsego County area the most well known Land Grants were the Croghan(later Otsego) the Hartwick, the Morris, the Johnson, the Fitch, Franklin, the Butler, The Robert Edmeston, the Willie Edmeston, The Middleton, the Upton, the Miller, the Reade (later Otego),the Schuyler, the Mckee, and the Wallace(4). Evidence of their existence can still be seen where present day property lines coincide with the old Patent lines and Great Lot(smaller portions of Patents) lines. Many are still populated with hardwood or softwood 'line' trees hundreds of years old.
The Bill of Attainder gave title to the state which in turn sold the grants to raise money to pay bills created by the War of Independence. Individuals, such as William Cooper of Burlington, NJ, who bought the Croghan Patent,(5) and small groups of speculators purchased the 'grants' and began selling or assigning parcels to settlers or other speculators. The old Wallace Land Patent was purchased by two lawyers from Albany, Abraham Lansing and Henry Brockholst Livingston.(6)
Alan Taylor, William Cooper's Town, Vintage Books, 1995, page 47
5. Alan Taylor, William Cooper's Town, Vintage Books, 1995, page 70 1
6. Herbert Gibson, Arrowheads, Fences, and Iron Horses, Unicorn Publications, 1976
When examining land transfer methods of colonial times we must understand that to own land was to hold wealth so only the wealthiest men actually owned land. The colonies operated under the laws of Great Britain with local variations thrown in. When the British were thrown out as rulers new laws were then written most of them based on what is called 'old English law'.
The accepted way of settling and improving wilderness lands was, a large 'grant' was broken up into more manageable size parcels and each 'assigned' to an individual, more popularly known as tenant farming. This individual cleared the land, planted crops and built 'improvements' under the supervision of the land owner, paying him a yearly rent for using the land. Rent could take the form of money, a portion of the crops raised, or time spent on lands the owner held for himself. To 'sell' land to 'lesser' men was unheard of until after the American Revolution.
It wasn't until William Cooper, hurrying to put settlers on the Croghan or Otsego Patent as he called it, that actual selling of land in small parcels with full transfer of ownership to poorer men was made popular. He pioneered this method of rapidly reselling lands with himself and his partners holding the mortgages thus agreed to, as income producing investments. Other speculators quickly picked up on this method of turning ownership of large land holdings into interest producing mortgages. Thus was Otsego County to become quickly settled and a prosperous county by the 1790's.
The lands of the Wallace Patent, lying just south of the patents that Cooper promoted and settled, benefited from his efforts. Soon settlements where present day Oneonta, West Oneonta, Otego, Wells Bridge (First known as East Unadilla),(7) Unadilla, and Sidney were opening the forest wilderness.
Enduring down through the centuries the south line of the Wallace Land Patent constitutes the Otsego - Delaware county line from where it turns south-south-southwest from the mouth of the Charlotte Creek up the ridge to a point where it turns west-southwest. Remaining approximately one mile from the Susquehanna, it follows along the high ground to a point southwest of Otego where it leaves the Wallace Patent line and turns sharply to the north-northeast down the ridge to the Susquehanna.
7. Shirley Boyce Goerlich, History of East Unadilla, RSG Publishing, 1998
Original Grantees of the Wallace Land Patent of 1770.
Anthony Van Dam
Nicholas C. Low
The Wallace Patent of 1770
(Transcribed from a photo copy of the original. Paragraphing done by the transcriber for the purpose of improving readability. The words and or spelling used is faithful to the original document, as is the punctuation)
George The Third By the grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith and so forth To all to whom these Presents shall come #### Greeting.
Whereas our trusty and well beloved Sir William Johnson Baronet by his humble petition in behalf of himself and his Associates presented unto our trusty and well beloved Cadwallader Golden Esquire our Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of our Province of New York, and the Territories depending thereon in America and read in our Council for our said Province, on the twenty first day of March now past did set forth, That the Petitioner and his Associates by virtue of a lycence for that purpose did purchase in our name of the native Indians Proprietors thereof a certain Tract of vacant land lying in the County of Albany to the south and southwest of Schohary beginning at a certain place where two roads or Indian paths meet, the one leading from Schohary to the house of Thenewasey an Indian, the other to Onohaghquago, which said place of beginning is near a creek or branch called by the Indians Adagughleingay, thence running down the said Creek to the place where it emptieth itself into the large branch of the Susquehannah River a considerable distance below the house of the before mentioned Indian Thenewasey, from thence along the said river until it meets or joins to Pensylvania Patent including all the lands unpatented from the said place of beginning to the said Patent Pensylvania, and all the unpatented lands on both sides or shores of the said creeks and river the breadth of two miles, that is to say a mile in breadth from the banks of the said creeks and river on each side from the place of beginning to the place where it meets or joins to the north bounds or line of Pensylvania Patent or grant as by the Indian deed for the said lands may appear containing by computation one hundred thousand acres, that the Petitioner and his Associates were desirous of obtaining grants only of part of the said lands, and that the lands immediately back of such part, had almost wholly been patented or surveyed in order to be patented by others: And therefore the Petitioner did humbly pray our said Lieutenant Governor would be favorably pleased by two or more several Setters Patent to grant unto the Petitioner and his Associates and their heirs, a quantity of the lands so purchased as aforesaid not exceeding fifty four thousand acres, under the Quit Rent provisoes, limitations and restrictions prescribed by our Royal instructions.
Which petition having been then referred to a Committee of our Council for our said Province, our said Council did afterwards on the same day in pursuance of the report of the said Committee humbly advise and consent that our said Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief should by two or more Setters Patent grant unto the said Petitioner and his Associates and their heirs, a quantity of lands so purchased as aforesaid, not exceeding fifty four thousand acres, under the Quit Rent provisoes limitations and restrictions prescribed by our Royal instructions. And whereas the quantity of twenty six thousand acres part of the said fifty four thousand acres of the land above described and so advised to be granted as aforesaid have already by our Setters Patent bearing date the eight day of May now last past, been granted to the said Sir William Johnson Baronet and some of his Associates in the said Setters Patent named: Wherefore in obedience to our said Royal instructions our commissioners appointed for the selling out of all lands to be granted within our said Province - have set out for the following persons, who are also of the number of the Associates of the said Sir William Johnson Baronet, to wit, Alexander Wallace, John Kennedy, John Shaw, John Hamilton, Hamilton Young, Robert Ross Waddell, Robert Alexander, Smith Ramadge, Anthony Van Dam, Thomas Marston, David Matthews, Charles Ramadge, John Miller, William Park, John Moore, James Stewart, Nicholas C. Low, Francis Stephens, Johnston Fairholme, William Stepple, William Newton, Hugh Gaine, John Rice, James Leadbetter, Charles Morse, Peter Middleton, James Rivington, and Robert McAlpine.
All that certain tract or parcel of land (being the residue and remaining part of the said fifty four thousand acres of land so advised to be granted as aforesaid) situate - lying and being on the south side of the Mohawk River in the County of Albany within our Province of New York and on both sides of the Susquehannah River, beginning in the north bounds of a tract of thirty thousand acres of land lately granted to Thomas Wharton, Keeser Meredith and twenty eight other persons, at the southwest corner of a tract of twenty six thousand acres of land lately granted to the said Sir William Johnson Baronet and his Associates, and runs thence along the said north bounds of the first mentioned tract of land North eighty one degrees West one hundred and fifty five chains to a tract of thirty eight thousand acres of land lately granted to Henry White and thirty seven other persons; then along the North bounds of the last mentioned tract of land South seventy four degrees West one hundred and twenty six chains, to a tract of two thousand acres of land lately granted to John DeBormiore a reduced Lieutenant; then along the North bounds of the last mentioned tract of land South fifty four degrees West forty four chains to a tract of twenty seven thousand acres of land lately granted to John Leake and his Associates; then along the north bounds of the last mentioned tract of land and the north bounds of a tract of twenty two thousand acres of land lately granted to James Clarke, and the north bounds of the aforesaid tract of twenty seven thousand acres of land granted to John Leake and his Associates South fifty nine degrees West two hundred and four chains to a tract of land surveyed for Augustine Prevost Esquire and his Associates; then along the north bounds of the last mentioned tract South fifty nine degrees West forty seven chains, and North eighty seven degrees West one hundred and sixty eight chains, and South fifty degrees West one hundred and twelve chains to a tract of twenty thousand acres of land lately granted to William Walton, and nineteen other persons; then along the north bounds of the last mentioned tract of land South fifty degrees West one hundred and ten chains to the northwest corner of the said last mentioned tract; then South fifty degrees West one hundred and sixty chains; then West three hundred and seventy two chains to the line run last year by Simon Metcalfe for the Indian Boundary Line agreed on at the Treaty held with the Indians at Fort Stanwix in the year one thousand seven hundred and sixty eight, then along the said line North nine degrees East to the Susquehanna River; then crossing the said river on the same course to the north side thereof; then along the East bank of a branch the said river called and known by Tienuderha as the same winds and turns to the southwest corner of a tract of twenty thousand acres of land lately granted to Clotworthy Upton Esquire; then along the south bounds of the said last mentioned tract of land East three hundred and twelve chains to a tract of land surveyed by Robert Picken for Staats Long Morris and twenty nine other persons; then along the southern bounds of the last mentioned tract North forty seven degrees East three hundred and one chains; North eighty seven degrees and thirty minutes East one hundred and eighty seven chains; North fifty nine degrees East two hundred and seventy four chains, and North fifty four degrees East one hundred and thirteen chains to a tract of sixty nine thousand acres of land lately granted to William Trent, Charles Reade, Thomas Wharton Senior and their Associates, then along the bounds of the last mentioned tract of land East twenty four chains; then North nineteen degrees East twenty three chains; North sixty degrees East seventy nine chains; North fifty degrees East eighty eight chains; North eleven degrees East sixty chains; North fifty six degrees East fifty eight chains; North sixty nine degrees East forty two chains; South seventy seven degrees East ninety chains; North eighty degrees East one hundred and eighty eight chains, and East fifty three chains to the aforesaid tract of twenty six thousand acres of land lately granted to the said Sir William Johnson Baronet and his Associates; then along the western bounds of the last mentioned tract of land South nine degrees West two hundred and twenty chains to the place where this tract began including the several islands in the said branch of the river Susquehannah called Tienuderha lying fronting to and opposite the West end of this tract and containing with the said islands twenty eight thousand acres of land and the usual allowance for highways.
And in setting out the said tract of land and islands our said Commissioners have had regard to the profitable and unprofitable acres and have taken care that the length thereof doth not extend along the banks of any river otherwise than is conformable to our said Royal instructions as by a certificate thereof under their hands bearing date the ninth day of this instant month of June, and entered on record in our secretary office for our said Province may more fully appear.
Which said tract of land and islands set out as aforesaid according to our said Royal instructions we being willing to grant to the said Alexander Wallace and his Associates their heirs and assigns forever, know ye that of our especial Grace, certain knowledge and meer motion we have given, granted ratified and confirmed, and do by these presents for us our heirs and succesors give grant ratify and confirm unto them the said, Alexander Wallace, John Kennedy, John Shaw, John Hamilton, Hamilton Young, Robert Ross Waddell, Robert Alexander, Smith Ramadge, Anthony Van Dam, Thomas Marston, David Mathews, Charles Ramadge, John Miller, William Park, John Moore, James Stewart, Nicholas C. Low, Francis Stephens, Johnston Fairholme, William Stepple, William Newton, Hugh Gaine, John Rice, James Leadbetter, Charles Morse, Peter Middleton, James Rivington and Robert McAlpine their heirs and assigns forever.
All that the tract or parcel of land and islands aforesaid set out abutted bounded and described in manner and form as abovementioned. together with all and singular the tenements, hereitaments emoluments and appurtenances there unto belonging or apportioning and also all our estate, right, title, interest profession, claim and demand whatsoever of in and to the same lands, islands and premises and every part and parcel thereof.
And the reversion and reversions remainder and remainders rents issues and profits thereof and every part and parcel thereof. Except and always reserved and out of this our present grant unto us our heirs and successors for ever all mines of gold and silver and also all white or other sorts of pine trees fit for masts of the growth of twenty four inches diameter and upwards at twelve inches from the earth for masts for the Royal Navy of us our heirs and successors.
To have and to hold one full and equal twenty eighth part (the whole into twenty eight equal parts to be divided) of the said tract or parcel of land, islands, tenements, hereditaments and premises, by these presents granted ratified and confirmed and every part and parcel thereof with their and every of their appurtenances (except as is herein before excepted) unto each of them our grantees above mentioned their heirs and assigns respectively, to their only proper and separate use and behoof respectively for ever as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.
To beholden of us our heirs and successors in free and common socage as of our Manor of East Greenwich in our County of Ghent within our kingdom of Great Britain: yielding rendering and paying therefore yearly and every year forever unto us our heirs and successors at our Custom House in our City of New York unto our or their collector or receiver general there for the time being on the Feast of the Annunciation of the beloved Virgin Mary commonly called Lady Day, the yearly rent of two shillings and six pence sterling for each and every hundred acres of the above granted lands and islands and so in proportion for any lesser quantity thereof; saving and except for such part of the said lands and islands allowed for highways as above mentioned, in lieu and stead of all other rents services dues duties and demands whatsoever for the hereby granted lands, islands and premises or any part thereof.
Provided always and upon condition nevertheless, that if our said grantees their heirs or assigns or some or one of them shall not within three years next after the date of this our present grant settle on the said tract of land and islands hereby granted so many families as shall amount to one family for every thousand acres of the same tract and islands, or if they our said grantees or one of them their or one of their heirs or assigns shall not also within three years to be computed as aforesaid plant and effectually cultivate at least three acres for every fifty acres of such of the hereby granted lands and islands as are capable of cultivation; or if they our said grantees or any of them their or any of their heirs or assigns or any other person or persons by their or, any of their prwity consent or procurement, shall fell cut down or otherwise destroy any of the pine trees by these presents reserved to us our heirs and successors or hereby intended so to be without the Royal licence of us our heirs or successors for so doing first had and obtained; that then and in any of these cases this our present grant and every thing therein contained shall cease and be absolutely void, and the lands islands and premises hereby granted shall revert to and vest in us our heirs and successors as if this our present grant had not been made, anything herein before contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
Provided further and upon condition also nevertheless and we do hereby for us our heirs and successors direct and appoint that this present grant shall be registered and entered on record within six months from the date thereof in our secretary's office in the City of New York in our said Province in one of the Books of Patents there remaining and that a docquet thereof shall be also entered in our auditor's office there for our said Province, and that in default thereof this our present grant shall be void and of none effect, anything before in these presents contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
And we do moreover of our especial Grace certain knowledge and meer motion consent and agree that this present grant being registered recorded and a docquet thereof made as before directed and appointed, shall be good and effectual in the law to all intents constructions and purposes whatsoever against us our heirs and successors, notwithstanding any misreciting misbounding misnaming or other imperfection or omission of in or in on wise concerning the above granted or hereby mentioned or intended to be granted lands, islands, tenements hereditaments and premises or and part thereof.
In testimony whereof we have caused these our letter to be made Patent and the Great Seal of our said Province to be hereunto affixed. Witness our said trusty and well beloved Cadwallader Golden Esquire our said Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of our said Province of New York and the territories depending thereon in America. At our fort in our City of New York the sixteenth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy, and of our reign the tenth.
The Wallace Land Patent of 1770 © Copyrighted 3 March 2005 by Ronald 'Ron' Baldwin
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