Four-page deposition on land fraud perpetrated through the use of soldier's bounties. Henry R. Van Rensselar.

Four-page deposition on land fraud perpetrated through the use of soldier's bounties

Claverack, Columbia County: June 20, 1790. Small folio, 13" x 8"; pp. [4]; previous folds, splits neatly repaired with some minor loss to text, overall legible and clean. Legal papers filed by Henry Van Rensselar regarding a land fraud scheme in which soldiers were impersonated, their rights to lots of property deeded to nefarious accomplices, and the resulting property to be split among the conspirators. Land bounty warrants were used by New York as a way of enticing men into service. In 1781 bounties were offered to raise two regiments of troops for three years' service, and the next year bounties were offered to any person or militia "class" providing a soldier to serve in any of the five New York Regiments. Van Rensselaer recounts that he was approached by Charles Vincent and offered one third of the bounties he had procured if he would go down and "take the acknowledgements." After some hesitation Henry agrees and meets Elias Jackson, Selah Francis and James Goodrich, Charles' co-conspirators. His conclusion is the following: "That when the deponent came to take the acknowledgement of the deeds on the last day ... he discovered that the person was withdrawn as to one of the deeds and a different person presented – and, this deponent farther saith that James Francis and Goodrich gave Jackson a conveyance for two thirds of the lots contained in the respective conveyances and that Jackson would not have his name inserted in the first deeds because he remarked it might lead to a discovery or suspicion – that it was agreed by Jackson Goodrich and Francis that Taine should go on with the deeds to the clerks office and get them recorded as soon as possible and immediately thereafter withdraw from the office. And this deponent farter saith that he understood at the time the deeds were executed from the whole of these … that the grantors were not in reality the soldiers who drew that lots but were persons that they had procured for the purpose of impersonating them." The Van Rensselar family was one of the most wealthy of early America and were prominent in New York politics and business. Herman Melville was a descendent. Item #54647

Price: $450.00

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