Affidavit of George Rankin
[26 November 1793]
Personally appeared before me Chas Williamson one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas for the County Ontario in the State of New York. Geo. Rankin of Newtonpoint1 in the County and State aforesaid who being duly sworn, deposeth and saith that he this deponent with three other Men in Two boats passed the British Garrison at oswego within the jurisdiction of the State of New York, About 20th August last, that said Boat had on board Cargoes consisting of Castings, Tar, Iron, and one Barrel Gin; valued at about 500 Dollars, that he this Deponent with said Boats proceeded to a place called the 18 Mile Creek,2 where about one half of said Cargoes were landed—and from there proceeded with the remaining part of said Cargoe to a distance of about 12 Miles from the Garrison at Niagara both of which said places, where the Cargoes were landed is within the jurisdiction of the County of Ontario in the State of New York.
And he this deponent further saith that he went to Tarento now in the possession of the British with a view to obtain permits for Entering said cargoes in the British lines—that permits were Granted, and now in possession of this Deponent—but that in the Intermediate time a Seizure was made of said Cargoes at the several places, where they had been landed by Men (as this Deponent was informed) under the direction and orders of a Revenue Officer of Upper Canada.
And he the Deponent further saith that in Consiquence of said Seizures he personally applyed to a Sheriff of one of the Counties in said Upper Canada for a writ of Replevin—that said Sheriff replyed that he could not grant a writ of Replevin as the seizure had been made within the jurisdiction of the Goverment of the United States.
And further this Deponent saith that the Cargoes mentioned as Aforesaid had not to his knowledge while as his property been out of the jurisdiction of the United States and that he saw an advertisement at Niagara exposing to sale said Cargoes as Contraband property and as such he believes was actually sold—which said advertisement was signed by a Mr McKnab whome this Deponent believes to be a revenue Officer under the Goverment of Upper Canada.3
And this Deponent further saith that a Mr Lafferty and James McDonald were Chief Owners in the property together with this Deponent—that said permits were granted in their Several Names that he this deponent veryly believes that said Men will be materially affected by loss of said property—as being men in low Circumstances in Life.
And further this Deponent saith not.
Sworn before me Chas Williamson this Twenty sixth Day of Novr 1793 at Bath in the County of Ontario and the State of New York.
Copy, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.
1. Newtown Point was officially renamed Elmira in 1808.
2. Eighteenmile Creek, which flows into Lake Ontario, is located in Niagara County immediately north of Lockport.
3. Colin McNabb (c.1764–1810) was appointed superintendent of inland navigation at Niagara in 1788 and collector of customs at that place in 1801.