James Madison Papers

James Linsey to James Madison, December 1825

Having experienced numerous misfortunes previous to the Year 1806, I undertook on an enterprise In November of that Year I made a Jurney from Madison County in the state of Newyork where I then resided into New Jersey Where I Purchesed of Wm Scott of the citty of Trentown 8000 acres of land by Indenture bearing date the 29th day of Novr 1806 the Land was sold to Mr Scott by the sherif of Harison County Virginia to discharge a tax Lavied on Land. By Congress by an act passed the forteenth day of July 1796. It apeard that the tax on the Tenthousand acres of Land of which the 8000 acres I purchased was a part was not paid & the land was sold for the discharge of the tax And the time allowed by law for the redemption of the land so sold having expird, Joseph Scott was authorized as Marshal to Convay, by Indenture the Land Sold to the purchasers (Of Which Wm Scott was the purchaser of the above 10000 acres) By an act of Congress passed the third day of March 1804, I Made a Jurney to Hereson County in the Year 1807 I examined the Office of the Surveyor Cass by Major Wm Haymond he said there was no other tittle for the land then Eli Judson and those holding under him. The land was sold as his property for the discharg of the tax The want of health and other disapointments Causd me to Return to Newyork in the year 1808 and in 1810 I made a second Jurney and was then informed that Richard Smith hid an older Clame to the Land I repaird to the Seat of Government It was with much dificulty that I arived there I petitiond the Congress My petition was Referd to the comitee of Clames for the year 1812 The Comitee did not apear to dispute my right to a redress of Grevieneces But as war was About to comence between the United States and greate Britten it apeared to engross all the attention of everey branch of the House and Sum of the Comitee apeared not Sattisfid with the Evidene that there was an older Clame by Richard Smith I have Sine made three other Jurnies in hopes that I shuld obtain a Good tittle But have been disapointed and in the month of April 1821 it was proven by Daniel Stringer Clerk for the County of Lewis under oath that Richard Smith was dead But that he had made David Diel his Heir of the said Lands and David Diel was also dead Upon which evidence the Lands was Escheeted into the hands of the commonwealth, by William Hacker, Esqr. Who was appointd by the County Court for that purpose as the land then becam publick property I suposed I shuld have a right to the lands deeded to me. But I was told that there would be no respect paid to my tittle that was Superseded By an older tittle I Went back to Newyork State on account of not havein good health and returned again December Last hoping that A Sene the Justice of my Clame would prevail with the athority to Surender to me the Land Deeded to Wm Scott By the Marshal and by him Conveyed to me But finde a people Obstinently bent on holding Lands by fourceable possession and decidedly against any one having lands who do not favour their factious parties I ask Counsel of the Attorney for the Commonwealth I Reasoned with Wm Hacker and Daniel Stringer Clerk they all agreed in one thing Namly that I Culd not hold the land. And as a Jury when Called within the County of Lewis is as Likley to be made up of Such men as have possession of Lands belonging to sum Large survey which they are determind to hold Untill they are driven of by a superior Strength I Considered my prospect was that I Shuld be thrown in the Cost in any Suit I Culd bring in the County of Lewis

I in the year 1817 imployd James Pindle James McColey & Jonathen Jackson, Pindle sent to Richmond and had an answer from the recorder aserting that Judson had the land patented to him But it was after Smiths Patent McColey did nothing in the business Jackson Brought a <Suite> in behalf of Smiths heirs Contrary to his ingagement to me the <Suite> termanated in favour of Smiths hiers Smiths Survays Comprehend about 100,000 acres and include the land surveyed to Judson I have therefor abandoned the Idea of gitting Justice don me in any Court on the western side of the mountain The Iregularity of the Surveys The Conspiraty of parties and the oposition made against those who have purchased Land in an early or day then the time Clerk Stringer made his new surveys all Combine to discourage me from future expectation of holding land in Lewis altho I have paid for them, It his been Sogested that the Persons who Constitute the Court in Lewis are decidedly in favour of Friction and their Conduct apears to Justify the Idea Their Language and Conduct Better become a Company of Gamblers than the Gardiens of Retional Liberty and Just Rights Mr Stringer says I ought to have sold my right to the Land notwithstanding the Commonwealth has asumed an Exclusive right to Richard Smiths Land Daniel Stringer very much resembles a Man who one Preached in the Township of Pelham in Hampshier County in Massachusetts He was dismissed from the Church in that Place Charged with Hors Jockeing and freedoms with Neighboring women I do not Charge him with being the same But it is in your power to enquire into the Characters of the two names perhaps in one person by tracing him you may doubtless atain to his oragenel I supose that Wm Hacker one of the Justices of the peace & Escheat of the lands one oned by Richard Smith was once Known by the name of Wm Hack in the town of Greenwich in the County of Hampshire in Massachusetts there was a report Circulated that the said Hack was dead About the time I had the misfortune to have my propety taken from me by roberey Which Consisted of a store and goods in the Town of Pelham ajoining Greenwich There was a femely of Wests in Greenwich Esqr Hackers wifes name was West previous to her mariage Esqr Hacker was amerchantising in Harison County sune after the Circulation of the Report of Wm. Hacks death I have wrote on the subject in the County of Lewis which I am well presuaded come to the knowledge of Wm Hacker by hints from his wife but he his made no publick atack on me but Chuses to have me pass for a Crazy man and Given to intervention (both of which are false) I hope Circumstances Combine to Strengthen the Idea that Stringer is Merel and that Hacker is Hack The Guardians of the Liberties of the people of the united states have it in their power to make the discovery wheather the Idea is true or false There are several other publick Characters in Lewis who I believe are under the same impeachment with Clerk Stringer and Escheat Hacker If James Westfall is not Jacob Thompson he is like him Westfall is deputy Sherif There is a Near resemblance between Benjamin Riddle Esqr of Lewis & Sarah Thompson of pelham but Sarah wears petty or used to do so formely coats & Benjamin wares Briches I wish there Culd be a fare Examshon of the business be made & Benjamins <Chrixter> Claered as bright as the Known day Sarah Thompson had one finger taken off her right hand Benjamin Ridelle his also She resembled her father James Thompson B Riddle resembles the Same Old man & his Mother resembles old Mrs Thompson I Supose I shall be blamed for Discoverng on the unfortuat as it was told me the Thompson famely was brought to the town in Pelham but where did they git Cash to purchas Such a tract of Land Perhaps out of the produse of My patent Circular Saw mill as The Thompsons One ownd me for a Cosen they Culd make free with any thing that belongd to me I am brought to Poverty and they inrichd by my aconomy I Consider it a Conspiracy of Rober that have brought me to want and ask the help of the Government and every Honourable Citi<sen> to assist me to git Justice don I wish the Government would deal with them acording to their merit As my family sufers with me on acount of their intrigue I am of opinion that they were not related to me but I was cept in ignorence of them and was perhaps stolen from sum other famely Your with respect

James Linsey

NB. Respecting sum of the charcters spoken of in the last of my comunications You need not be troubled, But as you was Chief magistrate at a time I petitioned in 1812 I have given you a Corect Statement respecting facts and your opinion Comunicatd it to Mr. Munrow the Present President might be of Great use as I must becom an exile Unless business turn mor<e> favorable then they now appear

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

Index Entries