Sometimes BSOs (bright shiny objects) give a much needed break from tedious research. The Stufflebean family lived in Albany County, New York in the 18th century. While looking at land record indexes (mortgage records, as they are called in that county), I decided to check the A entries because my Loyalist James Astle lived in what was Albany County in the days of the American Revolution.
Much to my surprise, there was an entry for James Astle in Volume 4, pages 47-49, involving Gerard G. Beeckman and Dirck Lefferts on 25 October 1773.
Bottom right entry
James Astle was a young married man in November 1773, having wed Elizabeth McLane in November 1770. Their first known surviving child, Hannah was born on 17 May 1773 and the family was apparently living in Schenectady.
I had never located any land records for James Astle. By 1783, he was in Quebec and then moved on to Ludlow, New Brunswick, Canada on the Miramichi River.
In fact, except for James’s marriage record and the births of Hannah, followed by her sister Angelica in 1774, James’s life in New York has been a complete mystery.
This land record was a fun surprise. I paged through this volume and noted that Mr. Beeckman and Mr. Lefferts, residents of New York City, made similar mortgage deals with a number of other men who had land in the Kayaderossera Patent, which I’d never heard of.
The Kayaderossera Patent was a tract of land granted by Queen Anne in the early 1700s to thirteen subjects (none of whom were named Astle or McLane). The land grant today comprises most of Saratoga County, New York, plus parts of several other counties.
However, due to protests from the Mohawk Indians over ownership rights and the French and Indian War, decades passed before the land was formally surveyed in 1770 when the acreage was divided into 25 allotments. Each allotment was then subdivided into 13 lots.
James Astle’s land is identified in two ways. First, it was in the town of Ballston. Second, it was Lot 3 in the VII Division, which I take to mean Lot 3 in the 7th allotment.
Lot 3, Allotment VII
Source: Wikimedia Commons
James Astle, like the other men, put up his land as collateral for loan, which was to be repaid in four installments of £77.10 each year for four years on the 13th September of 1775, 1776, 1777 and 1778.
His loan was quite substantial for the time. £308.40 totaled is the equivalent today of about $58,000.
What I don’t know is how James Astle came to be one of the owners of Kayaderossera Patent land, nor do I know how he relinquished ownership of it. There is no further record that he reneged on his mortgage payments, but the war had begun.
Did he not repay the mortgage and use part of that money to leave for Canada? I know he was in Quebec in 1783, but have no idea if he removed there during the war or at its conclusion. Albany County at the time actually extended all the way to the Canadian border.
Hmmm. A new to-do item to add to my research list.