Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from George Clarke, 15 August 1797

From George Clarke1

Catskill [New York] August 15. 1797. “… I waited on Mr. Scott2 Attorney at Law at Cattskill, to know if he had obtained your Answer & Opinion respecting my Title to the Land at Cattskill Point.… I have made every enquiry in my Power in order to discover the deed of Trust from John Lindesay3 … (which Deed is not recorded but only noted as a memorandum on the Margin of the Patent to Lindesay) but have not as yet been fortunate enough to discover in whose Hands it is.… I should wish to know your sentiments as to the loss of the Deed, & what effect the memorandum may produce in a Court of Law.… I request the favor of your forwarding your advice generally & Particularly on the Subject, to Mr. Scott at Kattskill.…4

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Clarke was the owner of extensive lands in New York State.

2John Vander Speigle Scott was a lawyer and politician of Catskill.

3John Lindesay was the sheriff of Albany County. The Lindesay patent, located in what is now Catskill, New York, contained four hundred and sixty acres. On July 26, 1684, Gysbert Uytden Bogaert purchased the land from the Indians, but a patent was not obtained until August 22, 1783, when the land was owned by John Lindesay (from information supplied by Mr. Raymond Beecher, Curator, Greene County Historical Society, Coxsackie, New York). In July, 1738, Lindesay had received a draft of a certificate “for a tract of land, in the county of Albany, lying on the west side of Hudson’s river, near Katts kill, of which Helmer Janse died seized, leaving no heirs” (N.Y. Colonial Manuscripts description begins Calendar of N.Y. Colonial Manuscripts: Indorsed Land Papers; in the Office of the Secretary of State of New York. 1643–1803 (Albany, 1864). description ends , 235).

4An entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, under the date of June 16, 1797, reads: “received of George Clarke Retainer v. Patentee of Salisbury 75” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). In his Law Register, 1795–1804, H recorded: “George Clark ex patent Lindsay v Patentees of Salisbury” (D, partially in H’s handwriting, New York Law Institute, New York City). For the Salisbury patent near Catskill, New York, see the map at the end of Alexander C. Flick, ed., Conquering the Wilderness, Vol. 5 of History of the State of New York (New York, 1934). A later entry in H’s Law Register, 1795–1804, reads:

v } Ejectments
Divers Ulster

Scot for Plaintif of Counsel” (D, partially in H’s handwriting, New York Law Institute, New York City). Catskill is currently the county seat of Greene County, which was formed on March 25, 1800, out of Albany and Ulster counties. Until that date Catskill was in Ulster County.

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