The Whitesborough Patent: manuscript ledger recording sale of land in Delaware County NY
by Foote, Ebenezer; Charles Hathaway
1844. Hardcover. Good + condition. A fascinating record of land speculation and ownership of New York state land as it passed from the original British patent holders, including Henry White (British, d. 1786) based in New York City, to Ebenezer Foote (1756 - 1829), who fought in the Revolutionary War. Foote saw action at Bunker Hill, survived Valley Forge, and was captured and escaped from captivity in Bridewell Prison in New York City. After the war Foote became a merchant, land agent, politician, judge and a founder of Delaware County. The Whitesborough patent was granted to several individuals including Henry White, a loyalist, New York City merchant, and member of the Council authorizing the granting of patents. He chose the upstate land (ca. 1770s) "from an idea that it might in remote times be beneficial to his children", perhaps thinking of a time when he and his children might have to flee the city. White remained a loyalist throughout the war, returning to England. His land in New York was confiscated by the state in 1779, whereupon he appealed to the Commissioners of Forfeiture for compensation, with limited results. He died in England in 1786.Ebenezer Foote, who purchased the land in 1799, was very active after the war, serving as member of the New York legislature (1792, 1794, 1796, and 1797) and working in the mercantile business in Newburgh and Ulster County until 1797. Foote helped found Delaware County and moved to Delhi. Foote served as the first county clerk of Delaware County (1798 - 1801), as a member of the state senate (1798 - 1802), and conducted an extensive land agency. In 1810, Foote was appointed the judge of the New York Court of Common Pleas, serving until 1816, and then again, from 1828 until his death in 1829.The ledger records Charles Hathaway acting as agent. William Sherriff, whose name is noted here, was one of the original Whitesborough patent holders, and had served as Quarter Master General for the British in the Revolution. A notice signed by Hathaway at the title page states, "Account of lands sold by the late Ebenezer Foote, and of lands contracted by Charles Hathaway, in the Whitesborough patent, for Capt. Wm. H. Shirriff (sic) the proprietor, rendered in May 1844".The ledger includes an alphabetical index of the names of the land purchasers, followed with the lot numbers, acreage, purchase price and payments recorded, on the first 95 double pages. Beginning with earliest date of 1816 and carrying through to 1850. At the rear of the volume a manuscript folding map shows the location of the lots. Map unfolds to 26" wide x 9 1/2", and extends to the Delaware River in the northeast, and showing lots numbered 1 through 40. It appears that 9 of the 40 lots have been subdivided, and new owners recorded. 8vo, 95 hand numbered pages are completed in a beautiful hand calligraphy, with about 20 double pages left blank. Faint foredge tide mark. Full brown calf with blind stamped decoration, gilt title at spine, "Ledger"
(Inventory #: 22047)
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