Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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although not of the slightest interest to the colonists on this side of the
water, involved them in the war that followed, which was known
as King" George's war, the declaration of which was made March
15, 1744, by France. Three months later the news reached Albany
and again the inhabitants were excited and filled with anxious fore-
bodings. Governor Clinton visited the place and held a successful
conference with the chiefs of the Six Nations, cementing their friend-
ship for the English and cautioning them against the wiles of the
French. He sent to Albany six 18-pounder cannon with a supply of
ammunition and other military stores. While the governor was mak-
ing preparations for an attack upon Crown Point, the French and In-
dians descended upon old Saratoga (now Schuylerville), burning the
fort and twenty houses, killing about thirty persons and carrying away
eighty prisoners. Excitement ran high in Albany. Refugees came in
large numbers and soldiers were quartered in the place. Two com-
panies of His Majesty's fusileers were sent to Albany and the Indians
were kept in readiness for an expected attack. Through the influ-
ence of Sir William Johnson the Mohawks in August, 1746, agreed to
take up again the hatchet against the French. Later in that year Gov-
ernor Clinton sent five additional companies of soldiers to Albany,
while Massachusetts and New York made active war preparations, col-
lecting troops and munitions at Albany. The campaign continued in
1747; troops were sent from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other prov-
inces, with Albany as a center of operations. The later events of this
war are not of paramount interest for these pages. Albany sufTered
little from the strife ; indeed the traders there had made considerable
profit during its progress. The-war was concluded October 18, 1748,
by the treaty of Aixda-Chapelle.

It would seem to have been a part of the plan of the Almighty that
this country should not pass under French dominion, but should be
preserved for the descendants of the Pilgrims and the English immi-
grants who came after them. After a few years of peace the war that
was to settle finally this matter was begun under a declaration from
England made May 17, 1756, which was followed by a similar one from
France on the 9th of the following month. From the date of the cap-
ture of Louisburg in 1745 the French had extended and strengthened
their domain, and the treaty of 1748 found them with a population of

about 100,000, and with a line of posts from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of
Mexico. They soon became aggressive. Trade interests were con-
stantly clashing, and the stake as a whole was a magnificent one for
the conqueror. Uncertainty as to the fealty and action of the Indians
also continued an unceasing cause of anxiety and jealous}'. The French
determined to hold control of the Ohio River region, and when the
English attempted to build a fort at the forks of that stream, the
French seized the place and finished the fort — Fort Duquesne.

The details of this war belong to and are found in general history,
rendering it unnecessary, as it is impracticable, to follow them fully in
this work: but their relation to Albany county may be briefly de-

On the 28th of August, 1754, a body of Indian allies of the French
invaded this province, burned the buildings of some Hoosick settlers
and took back as prisoners to Canada about sixty of the vSchaghticoke
Indians. Lieutenant Governor De Lancey now ordered the fort at
Albany to be fully repaired ; he sent a company of soldiery to the fort
from New York and ordered that two hundred men from each regi-
ment of militia near Albany- should be in readiness to march ti> the
city at short notice.

At a meeting of the Common Council held May 29, 1T53, the follow-
ing petition was sent to Governor De Lancey :

That the City of Albany is a frontier town, and the defense thereof is of great
oon.sequence to the safety of the whole province in case of War with the French ;
that the city is altogether undefensable, exposed to the incursions of any enemy, and
the corporation, by reason of the heavy debt they are under, occasioned by the great
expense we were at during the late war, and no wise able to fortify the city unless
assisted by a provincial Tax; and whereas, your Excellencies have prepared a
petition to be laid before the General Assembly, praying they would be pleased to
lay a tax of jfG.OOO on estates throughout this province to defray the expense of
building a wall with bastions or batteries at convenient distances, for the defence of
said city and security of the province.

The document closes with a prayer that

His Excellency will recommend to the General Assembly, in the most pressing
terms that you think proper, to raise the sum to t'G,000 for defraving the expense of
said Wall.

Similar application was made by the Common Council for better pro-
tection in May, 1750. During all of this war period (about nine years)
many troops were quartered in and near Albany. In IToG an ordinance
was adopted by the Common Council forbidding all tavern keepers and

all other persons from selling liquor to any of His Majesty's troops or
harboring- any of them after 9 o'clock p. m. At that time there was a
regiment encamped on the hill about on the site of the old Capitol.
When General Abercrombie was here in 1756 it is believed that 10,000
troops were encamped near by on both banks of the river. The dusky
Indians mingled with the gaily-uniformed soldiers, martial music re-
sounded on all sides, and flags floated over the scene. Business was
active, especially in furnishing supplies of every kind to the army.

The principal events of this war were: The abortive effort to capture
Fort Niagara and Crown Point in 1755 by Governor Shirley and Sir
William Johnson respectively; the attempts made against Fort Du-
quesne, a second against Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and a third
against Niagara in 1756, all of which were comparative failures; the
capture of Oswego by Montcalm in that j^ear; the capture of Fort
William Henry on Lake George by Montcalm in 1757; the campaigns
of 1758, involving successes by the English at Louisburg, Fort Du-
quesne and Fort Frontenac, the reoccupation of Oswego, and the de-
feat of the English under Abercrombie at Ticonderoga by Montcalm;
the capture of Niagara in 1759 by the English, the fall of Quebec in
September of that year, and the final surrender of Montreal and all
other French posts in 1760, ending French power in America forever.

During this war Albany was a center of military activity. The ex-
peditions of 1755 and 1750 started from there and included Albany
soldiers, among whom was the brave Schuyler. During the winter of
1755-6 the preparations for an expedition against Niagara in the fol-
lowing spring went forward at Albany. There General Win slow made
his rendezvoiTS with 7,000 men, waiting the dilatory steps of Lord
Loudon, then commander of the English forces. The delay gave the
gallant Montcalm opportunity to capture the forts at Oswego, which he
held until 1757. At Albany also were gathered the troops for the ex-
pedition against Crown Point under Sir William Johnson in 1755. This
expedition abounded in brilliant and stirring events, including the
death of Dieskau, the French commander. Johnson was a man of
ardent temperament, energetic and active, and when he was delayed by
various causes he complained bitterly of the people at Albany. Under
date of September 6 he wrote:

Our expedition is likely to be extremely distressed and, I fear, fatally retarded for
the want of wagons. The people of Albany county and the adjacent counties hide
their wagons and drive away their horses. Most of the wagoners taken into the


service have deserted; some horses are quite jaded and some few killed by the
enemy, and several run away. Most of our provisions are at Albany.

And again he wrote: "Those people are .so devoted to their own
private Profit that every other public Principle has ever been sacrificed
to it." 1

On account of the man^' discouraging circumstances Johnson re-
turned to Albany for that winter, after having- Iniilt Fort William
Henry and garrisoned it with six hundred men,

The advance of Montcalm upon Fort William Henry in 1757 caused
much alarm and excitement in Albany. Oswego had fallen, an e\-ent
which Johnson characterized as "a mortal wound." Montcalm had
already shown his militar}' genius and his tireless energy, and his ap-
proach upon any point justified alarm. The slaughter of the garrison
of Fort William Henry after its capture, by the Indians under Mont-
calm, which the French general has in vain attempted to justify, added
to the anxious forebodings of the inhabitants of Albany and its vicinity.
Frontier settlers came to the city in great numliers.

In Col. John Bradstreet's memorable expedition against Fort Fronte-
nac in the summer of 1758, soldiers from Albany county participated.
Among the officers were Captains Peter Yates and Goosen Van Schaick
of Albany, the latter becoming in later years a colonel in the Revolu-
tionary army. Bradstreet captured the fort, thus rendering easier
the seizure of Fort Duquesne and hastening the end. These events
raised a cry for peace throughout Canada, the resources of which coun-
try were nearly exhausted. " I am not discouraged," wrote the brave
Montcalm, in evident disappointment, "nor my troops. We are re-
solved to find our graves under the ruins of the colony." He foresaw
the end.

In the early summer of 1758 Abercrombie's army was encamped on
the flatlands at the south of Albany, preparing for its expedition to
Ticonderoga, where it met a crushing defeat at the hands of Montcalm's
troops, who were inspired by the gallantry of their leader. In Aber-
crombie's army also were many Albany soldiers, who shared in the
general mourning for the death of the brave and genial Lord Howe on
that field, and whose body was buried first in Schuyler's famil)' tomb
and later under St, Peter's church. In the months of May and June,
1751), Lord Jeffre}' Amherst, a brave and efficient English officer, ap

1 For an nf Johnson's papers, sfu Dol-. Hist,, vol. 11, p. ,'4,", Klilii.

pointed commander-in-chief in September, 1758, was at Albany with
the army, preparing for the movements upon Crown Point and Ticon-
deroga, and the other important events that closed the long struggle.


From the fall of Montreal to the beginning of the Revolution peace
reigned in the territory of Albany county. Again the fur trade became
an absorbing interest. In the spring of 1766 Sir William Johnson was ap-
pointed Trade Commissary, an ofiEice which gave him general supervi-
sion of barter with the Indians, and from that time forward for nearly
ten years he wielded almost autocratic power over the Iroquois and
lived in a lordly way in the Mohawk Valley. Johnson's policy was to con-
centrate trade at the important points, Albany, Oswego, Niagara, Fort
Pitt and Detroit, where he appointed commissioners of trade. He in-
troduced regulations prohibiting traders from going out among the
Indians, the salutary effects of which were at once apparent. As a
means of further continuing peaceful relations between the English
and the Indians, a meeting was held September 19, 1768, at Fort Stan-
wix (now Rome), whither Sir William, his three duputies (Guy John-
son, Daniel Claus and George Croghan) and Governor Franklin of New
Jersey proceeded. Twenty bateaux of presents for the Indians were
taken along. Arrived at the fort they were met by commissioners
from Virginia, by Lieutenant-Governor Penn and Messrs. Wharton and
Trent, representing trade interests. By October 1 about eight hun-
dred Indians had assembled. The object of this council was to estab-
lish a "Property Line "between the white men and the Indians.
After six days of the usual ceremonies at such gatherings the line was
fixed to begin at the junction of Canada Creek and Wood Creek a little
west from Rome, and extend thence southward to the Susquehanna
River. The whole matter was concluded November 5, 1768, and was
ratified by Johnson in July, 1770.

The project of dividing Albany county was liroached in the Assem-
bly in the spring of 1769 by Philip Schuyler. While this measure was
favored by Johnson, he earnestly objected to the proposed line of divi-
sion. Said he:


Albany county is much too large, but the manner in which it is proposed to be di-
vided is in many respects extremely inconvenient, and it would prove disagreeable
to about all of the inhabitants. The only rational boundary, it has appeared to me,
would be at the west bounds of the township of Schenectady.

Again in the Spring of 1772 the subject was brought ftjrward, and
towards the close of that session a ImII was passed under which all that
part of Albany county west of the present cast line of Montgomery
county was erected into Tryon county.

An act of the Legislature passed in 1703, relating to the office and
duties of supervisors, remained in force with slight changes until 1772,
when, on March 24, it was amended so far as it related to Albany
county, authorizing the annual election to take place on the first Tues-
day in May. The same act provided for the election in this county of
two overseers of the poor, two constables, two fence viewers, and one
town clerk. Previous to that date the duties of clerk had been per-
formed by the supervisor. After the adoption of the first Constitution
the office of supervisor and the time of his election was changed by act
of the Legislature (March 7, 1788), providing for holding town meetings
in the several towns in the State for choice of town officers. By that
act the town of Albany was authorized to elect two assessors, instead of
one as in other counties.

The establishmeht of the Property Line, before described, did not
long suffice to preserve inviolate the Indian territory. The influ.x of
new settlers and the avarice of traders led to encroachments which soon
provoked complaints. ' These prepared the way for the hostility against
the colonists during the war of the Revolution which soon followed.
The Indians had adopted a well-settled policy against further encroach-
ment on their territory, even to resisting it by war; and the Iroquois,
who had hitherto preserved uniform friendship toward the colonists,
now, with the exception of the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, opposed them.
Eighteen hundred of their warriors allied themselves with the British
and only two hundred and twenty with the colonists. The atrocities of
the former, under such leaders as Johnson, Butler, and Brant, will long
be remembered throughout New York and Pennsylvania.

With the beginning of the war Albany again became a center of

> At a congress of the Si.x Nations at Jolinson Hall in June and July, ir;4, a Seneca orator com-
plained that the white traders encroached upon their territory, followed their people to their
hunting: . grounds with goods and liquor, when they "not only impose on us at pleasure, hut bv
the -.neans of carrying these articles to our scattered people, obstruct our endeavors to collect


military activity. Albany county, as it then existed, organized seven-
teen regiments of militia under the laws of 1775. Theofificers of those
which belonged wholly or in part to this county were as follows :

FiKsi, Cri V ok Alkanv.

Jacob Lansing, jr., colonel; Dirck Ten Broeck, lieutenant-colonel; Henry Wen-
dell, first major: Abraham Cuyler. second major; Volckert A. Doiiw. adjutant;
Ephraim Van Veghten, quartermaster.

First Company. — John Barclay, captain ; John Price, first lieutenant ; Abraham I.
Vates, second lieutenant ; John Scott, ensign.

.Second Company.— Thomas Barrett, captain ; Matthew Vischer, first lieutenant;
Abraham Eights, second lieutenant; John Hoagkirk, ensign.

Third Company. — John Williams, captain; Henry Staats, lieutenant; Barent
Van Allen, second lieutenant; Henry Hogan, ensign.

Fourth Company. — John M. Beeckman, captain; Isaac Ue Freest, first lieutenant ;
Abraham Ten Eyck, second lieutenant; Tennis T. Van Veghten, ensign.

Fifth Company. — Harmanus Wendell, captain; William Hun, first lieutenant;
Jacob G. Lansing, second lieutenant; Cornelius Wendell, ensign.

Si. xth Company. — John N. Bleecker, captain; John James Beeckman, first lieu-
tenant; Casparus Pruyn, second lieutenant; Nicholas Marsehs, ensign.

Third REi-.iMKNr, First Rensselaerwvck Battalion.

Abraham Ten Broeck, colonel ; Francis Nicoll, lieutenant-colonel ; Henry Ouack-
enbush. first major; Barent Staats, second major; John P. Quackenbush, adjutant;
Christopher Lansing, quartermaster.

First Company. — Henry Quackenbush, captain; Jacob J. Lansing, first lieutenant ;
Levinus Winne, second lieutenant ; John Van Woert, ensign.

Second Company.— Abraham D. Fonda, captain; Henry Oothoudt, jr., first lieu-
tenant; Levinus T. Lansing, second lieutenant; Jacob J. Lansing, ensign.

Third Company.— Peter Schuyler, captain; Abraham Witbeck, first lieutenant;
Henry Ostrom, second lieutenant; Peter S. Schuyler, ensign.

Fourth Company. — Barent Staats, captain; Dirck Becker, first lieutenant; John
Van Wie, second lieutenant ; George Hogan, ensign.

Fifth Company.— Gerrit G. Van der Bergh, captain; Peter Van Wie, first lieuten-
ant; Wouter Becker, second lieutenant; Abraham Slingerland, ensign.

Third Reoimeni — New Organization.

First Company.— (See Third Company, first organization.)

Second Company.— Abraham D. Fonda, captain; Henry Oothoudt, jr., first lieu-
tenant; Levinus T. Lansing, second lieutenant; Jacob J. Lansing, ensign.

Third Company (at first Fifth Company, Fourth Regiment).— Jacob Ball, captain;
John Warner, first lieutenant; Peter Dietz, second lieutenant; Joshua Shaw, ensign.

Fourth Company.— Jacob J. Lansing, captain; Levinus Winne, first lieutenant;
John Van Woert, second lieutenant; Peter Do.x, ensign.

Fifth Company '(at first organized as Fourth Company, Fourth Regiment).— Jacob


Van Aernam, captain; John Groot, first lieutenant; George Wagoner, second lieu-
tenant; Frederick Crantz (Crounse?), ensign.

Sixth Company. — Abraham Veeder, captain; James Burnside, first lieutenant;
John Voorhuyse(Voorhees?), second lieutenant; Andries Ten Eyck, ensign.

FouKTH Rec;imeni'. Second Renssei.aerwvck Battalion.

Killian Van Rensselaer colonel; John H. Beeckman, lieutenant-colonel; Cor-
nelius Van Buren, first major; Jacob C. Schermerhorn, second major; Jacobus Van
der Pool, adjutant; John A. Lansing, quartermaster.

First Company (First Company, Fifth Regiment, new organization). — Conrad
Ten Eyck, captain; Peter Witbeck, first lieutenant; Albert H. Van der Zee, second
lieutenant ; John L. Wilbeck, ensign.

Second Company (Second Company, Fifth Regiment, new organization). — Will-
iam P. Winne, captain; John De Voe, first lieutenant; Philip C. Look (Luke?), sec-
ond lieutenant; Cornelius Van der Zee, ensign.

Third Company. — Volckert Veeder, captain; Abraham Veeder first lieutenant;
Jacob La Grange, second lieutenant; Andrew Truax, ensign.

Fourth Company. (See Fifth Company, Third Regiment, new organization.) —
Jacob Van Aernam, captain ; John Groot, first lieutentant ; George Wagoner, second
lieutenant; Frederick Crantz (Crounse?), ensign.

Fifth Company,— (See Third Company, Third Regiment.)

Fourth Regiment (As Newly Organized, February. ITTU.)

First Company. — Isaac Miller, captain ; Hendrick Schaus, first lieutenant ; Johan-
nes Lodewick, second lieutenant; Johannes Miller, ensign.

Second Company. — Ichabod Turner, captain; Joel Pease, first lieutenant; Jona-
athan Niles. second lieutenant; Joel Curtis, ensign.

Third Company. — Luke Schermerhorn, captain; James Magee, first lieutenant;
Reuben Knap, second lieutenant ; Aaron Hammond, ensign.

Fourth Company. — James Dennison, captain; Stephen Niles, first lieutenant;
Obadiah Vaughan, second lieutenant; Oliver Bentley, ensign.

Fifth Company. — Nicholas Staats, captain; Obadiah Lansing, first lieutenant;
Philip Staats, second Heutenant; Leonard Wilcox, ensign.

Sixth Company. — Jacobus Cole (Koole?) captain ; Anthony Bries (Brice?) first lieu-
tenant; Harpent Witbeck, second lieutenant; John Van Hagen, jr., ensign.

Seventh Company. — Abraham J. Van Valkenburgh, captain; Daniel Schermer-
horn, first lieutenant; John J. Van Valkenburgh, second lieutenant; Martin Yim
Buren, ensign.

Fifth Regimem, Third Rensselaerwyck Battalion.

Stephen Schuyler, colonel ; Gcrrit G. Van der Bergh, lieutenant ; Peter P. Schuyler,
first major; Volckert Veeder, second major; Maas Van Vranken, adjutant; Francis
Marshall, quartermaster.

First Company. — Cornelius Van Buren, captain ; Nicholas Staats, first lieutenant ;
Obadiah Lansing, second lieutenant; Philip Staats, ensign.

Second Company, John H. Beeckman, captain; Jacob C. Schermerhorn, first lieu-


tenant; Abraham I. Van Valkenburgh, second lieutenant; Jacobus Vanderpoel,

Third Company. — Volclcert Van Veghten captain; Gerrit T. Van den Bergh, first
lieutenfint; John Amory, second lieutenant; Jacob Van Schaick, ensign.

Fourth Company. — (See First Company, Fourth Regiment.)

First Company. — Philip De Freest, captain; Ryneer Van Alstyne, first lieutenant ;
Peter Sharp, second lieutenant; David De Forest, ensign.

Sixth Company (1st Company of Sixth Regiment, new organization.) — John J.
Fonda, captain; John P. Fonda first lieutenant ; George Berger, second lieutenant;
George Sharp, ensign.

Sixth Regiment, Fouktii Rensselaerwyck Battalion.

Stephen J. Schuyler, colonel ; Henry K. Van Rensselaer, lieutenant-colonel ; Philip
De Freest, first major; John Fonda, second major; Volckert Oothoudt, adjutant;
Jacob Van Alstyne, quartermaster.

First Company. — Henry H. Gardinier, captain; Jacob Van der Heyden, first lieu-
tenant ; Adam Beam, second lieutenant ; Henry Tinker, ensign.

Second Company. — Cornelius Lansing, captain ; Lodewyck Snider, first lieuten-
ant; Andries Stool, second lieutenant; Jacob Weiger, ensign.

Third Company. — (See Third Company, Fourth Regiment.)

Fourth Company. — (See Second Company, this Regiment, and Fourth Regiment.)

Fifth Company. — Caleb Bentley, captain ; Samuel Shaw, first lieutenant ; David
Huestes, second lieutenant; Thomas Crandall, ensign.

Sixth Company. — (See Fourth Company, Fourth Regiment.)

Sixth Regiment (New organization.)

First Company. — (See Sixth Company, Fifth Regiment.)

Second Company. — (See First Company, Si.xth Regiment.)

Third Company. — John Lautman, captain; Peter Vosburgh, first lieutenant; John
Schurtz, second lieutenant; Conradt Best, ensign.

Fourth Company. — (See Second Company, first organization Fifth Regiment, and
First Company in Sixth Regiment, first organization.)

Fifth Company. — (See first organization in Sixth Regiment.)

Sixth Company. — Jacob De Freest, captain; Martinus Sharp, first lieutenant; An-
dries Miller, second lieutenant; John Crannell, ensign.

Seventh Company. — Florus Banker, captain; Christopher Tillman, first lieuten-
ant; Abraham Ten Eyck, second lieutenant; Jonathan Sever, ensign.

At the inception of the difficulties leading to the war the inhabitant.s
of the cit)' of Albany, and of the county within its jjresent limits at
least, were not inspired with warm sympathy for the cause of the col-
onists. The mayor (Abraham C. Cuyler) and most of the aldermen
openly espoused the royal cause. As early as 1773 the increasing diffi-
culties with the mother country entered largely into local public affairs
in the city, and the charter election of that j'ear was a very exciting


one. The last election for aldermen and assistant aldermen under
colonial laws was held vSeptember 29, 1775, when the following- were
chosen :

First Ward — Aldermen, Peter W. Yates, Gerrit Van Sante; assistants, Jacob
Roseboom, Aries La Grange.

Second Ward — Aldermen, Guysbert G. Marselis, John J. Beeckman; assistants,
Cornelius Van Schelluyne, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer.

Third Ward — Aldermen, Thomas Hun, John Ten Broeck ; assistants, Abraham
Schuyler, Abraham Ten Eyck.

The last meeting of this board under provnicial laws was held at the
city hall March 25, 1776. The English laws were then for a time
superseded by the authority of the Continental Congress and State
governments. From the date last given to April 17, 1778, there was
no meeting of the Common Council of Albany. John Barclay was ap-
pointed mayor by Governor Clinton September 27, 1777; the aldermen

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 5 of 138)