George Washington Papers

Indenture with Jedediah Sanger, 22 July 1790

Indenture with Jedediah Sanger

[New York?] 22 July 1790. GW and George Clinton lease for one year 234 acres on the south side of the Mohawk River in White’s Town, Montgomery County, N.Y., to Jedediah Sanger1 of that place, for £118.10, as witnessed by Tobias Lear and DeWitt Clinton.2

DS (partially printed), NUtHi, notarized by DeWitt Clinton before James McHughes, master of chancery, on 30 Jan. 1792, and recorded by Herkimer County clerk Jonas Platt on 8 Sept. 1792.

After their tour of central New York in July 1783, GW and George Clinton purchased from Marinus Willett and his wife 6,071 acres along the Mohawk River. GW did not completely repay the £2,500 he owed Clinton for the speculation until 1787. Clinton began selling the lands with GW’s permission in 1787 or 1788. Ten deeds surviving in Oneida County records conveyed lots ranging from 87½ to 358 acres at prices from $2 to $6.79 an acre, and all but 2,019 acres were disposed of by 1793. At least one surviving receipt testifies that GW received money from Clinton for the land sales. When GW wrote his will in July 1799, he still owned about one thousand acres, valued at six thousand dollars. George Steptoe Washington purchased them from GW’s executors on 5 June 1803 for five dollars an acre (GW to George Clinton, 25 Nov. 1784, and note 2, GW to Clinton, 9 June 1787, 11 July 1787; 9 July 1790 receipt, Walter R. Benjamin Autographs, The Collector, whole no. 874, item no. N–883, and Sotheby, Parke-Bernet, sale no. 4368, item no. 88A, 29 April 1980; Prussing, Estate of George Washington, description begins Eugene E. Prussing. The Estate of George Washington, Deceased. Boston, 1927. description ends 306–11).

1Sanger, one of the area’s earliest settlers and later newspaper owner, judge, state representative, and state senator, signed a preliminary document the previous day renewing his lease on the same 234–acre parcel that he had been occupying, for five shillings and “one Pepper-Corn, if demanded” at the expiration of the term (NUtHi).

On 3 Nov. 1791 Sanger, Timothy Little, and Henry McNiel wrote to GW in behalf of the settlers of Whitestown requesting from him a grant of twenty-five acres to support a religious minister. “The Petitioners with their Associates in the year 1787 first purchased and fixed themselves on the said tract of Land known by the name of Coxes Patent which was at that time intirely an unsetled Country. the District was then divided into four Divisions one owned by William Coxe Esqr. another by Rebekah Coxe & a third by Dr John Redman & a fourth as your Petitioners understand is now owned by your Exclency in Company with Governor Clinton. . . . the settlement is now supposed to contain about three thousand souls independent of the adjoining settlements, all of which have arived & fixed themselves there under regular purchasers since the year 1787 and though so numerous yet they have all the difficulties of reducing a Wilderness to a state of regular society to encounter. their means are therefore not so considerable now as they promise to be & as the establishment of Ministers of Religion among them with a decent support will tend to encorage sobriety industry Morality & Religion among the People, & to render them good Citizens.” At the foot of their petition, GW wrote, “I am willing to concur with Governor Clinton in granting such aid as the Petitioners pray for,” and affixed his signature (DLC:GW).

2On 26 Aug. 1790 GW and Clinton signed another indenture, witnessed by Lear and David Humphreys, with David Risley of White’s Town granting him a 204–acre lot already in his possession in that town for £163.4 (DS, partially printed, NHi: George and Martha Washington Papers).

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