The Maturin and Johnston Families

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The Halesborough Township

There are several notes about Gabriel's involvement in applications for land patents though not all are clear in the records of their success or any subsequent sale.  In 1767 the following petition was lodged (35).
 
PETITION of William Sherriff, the said Richard Maitland, and Others, for a Grant of Land to form the Township of Halesborough.—(Land Papers, State Library, Albany, State of New York).
To his Excellency Sir Henry Moore, Baronet, Captain Generall, and Governor-in-Chief, in and over the province of New York, and the territories thereon depending in America, &c, &c.
The petition of William Sheriff, Richard Maitland, Gabriel Maturine, John Small, Stephen Kemble, Samuel Kemble, Richard Kemble, William Kemble, Henry Monro, John M'Neal, Francis Panton, Buckridge Webb, Henry Hornefer, John Sakerly, Thomas Wallis, James Glasford, Samuell Verplanek, Thomas "William Moorer Edward Goold, Medad Peraroy, Ebenezer Harvey, Jos. Burt, and Sheim Kentfield.
Humbly showeth,—
That there is a certain tract of vacant land lying to the eastward of Lake Champlain on Otter Creek, in the county of Albany, bounded to the north by a tract of forty-eight thousand acres of land lately granted by the name of the township of Socialborough.
That your petitioners are wilting and desirous to obtain HisMajesty's letters-patent for the said tract of land in order to cultivate and improve the same.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray your Excellency will be pleased by His Majesty's letters-patent to grant unto them and their heirs the quantity of one thousand acres each of the said tract of land, and that the same may be erected into a township by the name of the township of Halesborough, with such rights, liberties, and privileges as are granted to other towns within this province, and subject to such quitrents, provisoes, restrictions, and limitations as are agreeable to His Majesties instructions. And your petitioners shall ever pray, &c, &c.
Willm. Shirreff, in behalf of himself and the rest of the petitioners.

Endorsed.—Petition of William Shirreff and twenty-two others for a tract of vacant land. Feby. 17, 1767. Read in Council 1767, April 9. Read again and referred to a committee, and reported, and granted.

 

The Whitesborough Patent - the acquisition

Henry White, married to Eve van Cortlandt, was a merchant in New York and a consignee for tea (a very sensitive tenure in view of the East India Company's determination to pursue their monopoly in support of the Crown's taxation policy which led ultimately to the Boston Tea Party) as well as being a member of the Council which authorised the granting of Patents.  White later testified that the land was in "one of those places that he calls the Moon" and that "he patented it from an idea that it might in remote times be beneficial to his children".  He remained a Loyalist through the Revolution and returned to Britain afterwards so that his lands were confiscated by the State of New York in 1779.   The Commissioners of Forfeiture certified that they had sold 11,075 acres of White's 12,829 acres for £8,145 (in New York currency) which was about $1.84 per acre at $2.5 / £ NY or 8s.01d  British (at $4.55 / £ GB).  In 1784 White made a claim on the Commissioners of Parliament for compensation for the confiscated land at which he was asked if it were within the power of a Member of the Council "to get grants to himself of what lands he pleased" he answered "Not immediately; but to his friends who immediately afterwards conveyed to him" (36). White died in England in 1786 but his widow and daughter returned to New York.  On 1 June 1785 the Commissioners of Forfeiture conveyed Lots 10 and 40 to Henry Platner of Claverack, Columbia County, NY.  Platner was a dubious character but he must have subsequently rued the sale that day as he became involved with a very unsavoury selection of lawyers, including Erastus Root, Jacob van Rensselaer and Samuel Sherwood who between them achieved his ruin, ending with his false imprisonment for forgery.  Sherwood's action was condemned by Chancellor Kent as "Plunder . . . of a helpless and imprisoned convict who had left his family in shame and misery"; Platner was released from gaol by Governor Morgan Lewis in 1806 (37).

Hugh Wallace was a very active supplier of provisions to the British forces, also a member of the Council and a serial investor working with a very sharp London-born colonial official named Goldsbrow Banyar who as Deputy Clerk of the Council and the provincial Supreme Court was well placed to influence the patenting of lands. He also married Elizabeth Naden, the step-daughter of Abraham Mortier.   Banyar was a hidden name behind many of the nominees for Patents and became an extremely rich man, surviving the Revolution with his fortune intact by withdrawing to Rhinebeck NY until the outcome of the conflict was clear.   Wallace on the other hand was less devious, obviously supported the King and forfeited all his rights in The Act of Attainder in 1779.   

Major William Sherriff, Quarter Master General, drew one of the major portions of the Patent equal to Henry White but appears to have fallen foul of the law and was deprived of his title by a lawsuit brought by Solomon Simson, Manuel Myers and Solomon Myers so that the land was bought by Ebeneezer Foote from James White, Sheriff of Delaware County, on May 30 1799.  This is despite the fact that by a previous Deed of 5 July 1780 Peter Kemble (brother of Stephen following) had bought the same 9459 acres from Lewis Ogden of New York.   There may be some confusion here as Foote was given Power of Attorney by Peter Kemble for a number of transactions at this time.

Lieutenant Thomas Gamble was one of William Sherriff’s Assistant Deputy Quarter Master Generals.  He later acted as the New York agent for Philip Wharton Skene, the Patentee for 29,000 acres near Lake Champlain (38).

In 1758 General Gage had married Margaret Kemble, the daughter of the wealthy New Jersey merchant Peter Kemble.  The Kembles were related to many of the powerful families of colonial New York, including the van Cortlandts, Bayards and Stuyvesants.  Margaret's brother, Stephen, had joined the 44th Regiment of Foot as a 17 year-old ensign in 1757 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, rose swiftly through the ranks to become a Captain in January 1765 and Deputy-Adjutant-General of the Forces in North America in 1772.  Within two weeks of the Deed of Partition on 31 December 1772 Stephen Kemble transferred his title to the 4944 acres of land in Whitesborough to his brother Peter "of New Jersey".  There is some lack of clarity over this title, though, as it appeared that there was another Deed by Stephen selling this same land to John K Smith on January 1st 1772 despite the fact that the draw did not take place until May of that year.   Further Deeds in 1795 and 1796 indicate that the land was resold as a complete parcel finally to Ebeneezer Belknap referring in the Deeds to the purchase by John Smith.  In common with many of his peers Stephen Kemble kept his loyalty to the Crown despite being passed over for promotion in the Army.  Stephen served with the 60th Regiment in the West Indies and in Quebec, promoted to full Colonel in 1782, but retired from military service in 1787 after his complaints to the war Department at being made to serve under an inferior officer were ignored.  He was appointed Deputy Judge Advocate based in England until, in 1805, he sold his English property and returned to his birthplace at New Brunswick, New Jersey where he died in 1822.  

Gabriel died intestate so that by New York law his entire estate reverted to his elder brother Charles who lived in Dublin.

Whitesborough - selling the share

The five Whitesborough lots 2, 4, 8, 22 and 32 passed first to Charles Maturin but he died just six months after Gabriel on 9 May 1775 and in his will, proved on 8 May 1776, bequeathed the property to his wife Elizabeth to be held in trust and divided as she thought fit among their children in her last will and testament.   Elizabeth remarried George Cartland.  By a family agreement  for the proceeds to be divided equally among all seven of the Maturin children Lots 22 and 32 were sold by a Deed on 1 May 1798 to William Betts, merchant of Norwalk, Connecticut for the sum of $3,000 for 2000 acres of land.  Betts had some high- powered advice; not only did he buy at $1.50 an acre (when the local tax assessment was valuing land at $2 and Henry White's 11,000 acres had been sold twelve years earlier for $1.84 an acre), but he made the family wait for their money by paying $1,000 down, another $1,000 in November and the final instalment in the following May.  The 29-year-old Gould Hoyt was a witness to the Deed;  he would later make a fortune on land speculation in North Carolina which excited interest in a number of lawyers and prosecutors.  

The family did not get rich from this sale.  $3,000 was worth about £700 sterling at $4.40 / £.  A curate in the Church of Ireland had a stipend of about £120 a year so this was about 6 years salary.  It had to be split between the eight beneficiaries.

By Elizabeth Cartland's will, made on 3 December 1793, half of the remaining property was left to her elder daughter, Elizabeth Maria, whilst the other half was to be split between her other four daughters, Edith, Mary, Anne and Margaret.  Presumably her two sons, Henry and Gabriel, had been left bequests by their father, Charles. In fact Elizabeth Maria died on 5 July 1796 before her mother, who died 12 May 1801.  Being a "lapsed legacy" Elizabeth Maria's portion then had to be shared among the remaining six children and their new husbands.  In October 1800 Anne had married the fortune-hunting Molesworth Phillips (Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines who was lionised as a hero when he killed the Hawaiian who had murdered Captain Cook but was rather a tempestuous character; he had married Susannah, sister of the novelist Fanny Burney, but became a widower with her early death in January 1800).  Anne's twin sister Margaret married Thomas Quinan.   

When the family decided to sell the remaining Whitesborough lots in 1806 Edith, Mary and Henry appointed Captain Gabriel's widow, Mary Mallet née Livingston, as their "attorney"; she was then living in London as the widow of Jonathan Mallet.  At that time a woman could not be an attorney "learned in the law" so it must have been that she was acting as an individual on their Power of Attorney.  In 1806 Revd. Henry's brother Gabriel was a private tutor at Eton College but is described as being of Middle Temple, London and acted as a lawful attorney for himself and his sisters Anne (and Molesworth Phillips) and Margaret (and Thomas Quinan).  They sold the remaining three thousand acres in Lots 2, 4 and 8 to John Atkinson for 6 shillings an acre or £900 sterling.  In 1799 Atkinson was described as a merchant of the City of New York; he had 19,200 acres in one major holding and several smaller plots in the Delhi, Delaware area, valued at $2 an acre.  He bought the Whitesborough Lots for about $1.32 an acre.  

If half the proceeds was divided between the four daughters and half between all six children Molesworth Phillips must have been very disappointed with the paltry £187-10s-0d (less expenses) which was Anne's share.  To Henry as a  rector in a very poor parish in Donegal £75 would have been a useful sum equivalent to half a year's stipend.

Footnotes


(35) Land Papers, State Library, Albany, State of New York.

(36) Chapters in the History of Delaware County, New York - by John D Monroe, published by Delaware County Historical Association, 1949,  www.dcnyhistory.org/monroejohnd.html

(37) Settlement of the Village of Delhi - John D Monroe - Delaware County Clerk's Office - available online

(38) Correspondence between Skene and Gamble is held at the Historical Document Inventory of New York State Archives.

Land Patents