Mortgage by John Laurance, John B. Church, and
Alexander Hamilton to Robert Gilchrist1
New York, August 21, 1802. Laurance, Church, and Hamilton give a mortgage to Gilchrist on an undivided one-half of Townships 9, 10, a portion of 17, and certain lots in Townships 21 and 15, all located in Scriba’s Patent, as security for the payment of $21,765. By the terms of the mortgage each is to pay Gilchrist $7,255 in five equal annual payments with interest from May 18, 1802.
Copy, Oneida County Clerk’s Office, Mortgages, Vol. III, 500–01, Utica, New York.
1. Gilchrist, a resident of Westchester County, New York, was a partner in land speculation with Theodosius Fowler, a veteran of the American Revolution and a resident of New York City.
This document concerns a purchase by H, John Laurance, and John B. Church of lands in Scriba’s Patent. On January 5, 1795, George Scriba had sold this land to Jacob Mark and Company (“Partition Deed among John Laurance, John B. Church, and Alexander Hamilton,” June 28, 1804). On January 8, 1795, Mark, who was indebted to Gilchrist and Fowler in the amount of $70,000, gave them a mortgage on Townships 21, 15, 9, 10, and a portion of 17 (Bill in Chancery, Robert Gilchrist v Jacob Mark, John Laurance, and others, May 20, 1801 [Chancery Papers, Copied Libers, Vol. 128, 469–85, Hall of Records, New York City]; Fowler’s Account Book, Stevens Family Papers, New Jersey Historical Society, Newark). On January 15, 1796, Laurance purchased for H, Church, and himself Townships 21 and 15, in which Mark retained an undivided one-fourth interest to be held in trust (Conveyance, Mark and wife to Laurance, January 15, 1796 [Chancery Papers, Copied Libers, Vol. 128, 507–10, Hall of Records, New York City]; Jacob Mark and Company to Church, H, and Laurance, May 30, 1797; Laurance to H, June 3, December 10, 1797, December 28, 1798; H to Laurance, December 26, 1798). On January 20, 1796 H made the following entry in his Cash Book, 1795–1804: “John Laurance Dr. to Cash for this sum dld John Laurance towards my share of two Townships of Land No. 21 & No. 15 in Rosevelts purchase, purchased of Mr. Mark 1000” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). H recorded additional payments for this land of $5,000 on January 21, 1796; $88.90 on March 30, 1796; and $5,326.65 on December 12, 1796 (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). See also “Account with John Barker Church,” June 15, 1797. In May, 1799, Laurance executed deeds to H and Church for their shares in this land (“John B. Church and Alexander Hamilton Esqrs for their Interest in Towns No 15 and 21 in Account with John Laurance,” n. d., and endorsed by H: “This the last accots. & ballance still due. I have never examined whether the principles of the account are correct. A H” [DS, New-York Historical Society, New York City]). By 1800, however, Mark had failed to make his payments to Gilchrist under the mortgage, was in debt to numerous other creditors, and was declared a bankrupt. In 1801 Gilchrist brought suit in Chancery to foreclose on the mortgage he held on which Mark still owed $41,000 (Bill in Chancery, May 20, 1801; Joint and Several Answers of Jacob Mark and others, May 17, 1802; Answer of John Lawrance, May 17, 1802 [Chancery Papers, Copied Libers, Vol. 128, 469–85, 486–97, 499–516, Hall of Records, New York City]). In order to protect the investment they had made on January 15, 1796. in Townships 21 and 15, H, Church, and Laurance redeemed the lands that remained subject to mortgage to Gilchrist by purchasing the residue of Mark’s holdings (Townships 9, 10, and part of 17, and one-fourth interest in Townships 21 and 15) for $43,530.33, the amount of principal and interest due to Gilchrist as determined by a master in Chancery (Master’s Report, May 18, 1802; Decree, May 31, 1802 [Chancery Papers, Copied Libers, Vol. 420, 401–03, 404–06, Hall of Records, New York City]; Final Decree, March 7, 1803 [Chancery Papers, Copied Libers, Vol. 128, 522–33, Hall of Records, New York City]; MS Minutes, 1801–1804, under dates of January 18, May 11, 17, 18, 31, 1802; March 4, 5, 1803 [Chancery Papers, Hall of Records, New York City]).
In the document printed above, H, Church, and Laurance gave a mortgage to Gilchrist on an undivided moiety of the lands as security for payment of $21,765, or one-half of the purchase price. A statement at the bottom of the document records that Gilchrist gave proof of satisfaction to a master in Chancery on August 13, 1805, and the mortgage was canceled. A bond and mortgage on the other moiety on similar terms was executed with Theodosius Fowler (“Promissory Note to Theodosius Fowler,” August 21, 1802).