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acknowledgment of the independence of the states, or the withdrawal of the British fleets and armies. The terms offered in these propositions look very much like a total abandonment of all the antecedent arrogant pretensions of the crown, and to present the case of a mere nominal connection with and not subjection to the head of the British empire. If the hopes of America were elated by the auspicious events which had happened, the fears of Britain checked her vaulting ambition and drove her to propose an accommodation, which, if offered three years. sooner, might have produced a reconciliation.
Miscellaneous Incidents, from 1783 to the Present Time — Hostile Feelings towards the Indians and Tories after Peace — Old England District — Justices of the Peace Appointed in 1772 —1784—Immigration before the War — New England Emigration — Character of the Population— Militia Officers — Allusion to the Shay's War in Massachusetts — Justices Appointed in 1791
— Difficulty about the Stamps — Clerk's Office Burnt in 1804 — War of 1812
— Militia of the County — Bounty Lands—State of the County after the War — Cholera—Jail — Court House — Clerk's Office.
The restoration of peace between the former colonies and the crown did not restore internal tranquility within the borders of the upper valley. The surviving inhabitants awoke, not as from a pleasing dream, whose thought, if so it may be called, had run riot in elysium, but to the sad and woeful reality of slaughtered relatives, ruined habitations, wasted fields, and a devastated country. When they first went abroad from the blockhouses, forts and places of refuge, would they not remember the hand which had inflicted the wrong and been made the instrument of a cruel and tyrannous chastisement? The Indians, those who were known to belong to the hostile clans of the Iroquois, could not safely pass through or sojourn in the country. Not a few of them, who ventured upon the hazardous exploit, forfeited their lives. The men who had been almost abandoned by the country, during the whole war; and particularly during the harrassing campaign of 1780, to their own resources and exertions, felt it to be no wrong to shoot an Indian, when and wherever they met him, in peace or war.
But the most sore trial the survivors were put to, and the greatest cause of irritation they had to suffer, was the return of the tories after the peace, claiming a restoration of their forfeited estates, and compensation for property destroyed and taken for public use during the war. A unanimous feeling of resistance to this claim pervaded the whole valley, and, for several years after the war, he must have been a bold and resolute man, who would visit the country a second time on such a mission. If one of these Mohawk tories got out of the country on his first visit after the peace, without meeting with some disagreeable interviews with the German population, he was a lucky man.
The "old England" district, embracing a small portion of the territory in the south part of this county, and a portion of Otsego and Madison counties, on the Unadilla river, erected by the colonial government, was organized as a part of Montgomery county in 1784, and officers appointed by the court of general sessions. Rudolph Shoemaker and Frederick Bellinger were appointed justices of the peace in Tryon county, May 26th, 1772; and George Henry Bell and Andrew Finch, Jr., were appointed to the same office in Montgomery county, July 8, 1784 These persons then lived within the present limits of this county.
The county had received a considerable accession to its population, between 1725 and 1775, from the country below, from Columbia county, New York and Germany, chiefly of German extraction, with some Low Dutch or Hollanders from the borders of the Hudson. The din of war had scarcely ceased along the valley, ere the sturdy New Englander was seen wending his toilsome way along the valley, with his face set towards the Royal Grant, or the woodland regions of Warren, Columbia, Litchfield and Winfield. The earliest New England settlers found their way into the woods north and south of the river, about the year 1785, and from that time forward to 1800, the emigration from the southpart of this state and the Eastern states was very rapid, and exceeded ten thousand the first fifteen years after it fairly set in. The foreign emigration was nothing during this period. The Celt could not be spared, the loyal Scotch and English would not come, and the wars in Germany were consuming the population of that empire. No event of sufficient importance to attract special attention occurred from 1783 to 1791, except the organization of two towns in 1788, which is noticed in another chapter.
I will notice here the first organization after the war, in 1786, October 2d, made in the regiment of local militia in the German Flats and Kingsland districts, and arranged as follows:
Field and Regimental staff.—Henry Staring, lieut. colonel; Peter Weaver, major, 1st battalion; Patrick Campbell, major, 2d battalion; John Frank, adjutant; Melchert Fols, paymaster; William Petrie, surgeon.
1st company.—Jacob Petry, captain; Dederick Petry, lieutenant; William Father, ensign.
2d company.—John Meyer, captain; William Clapsaddle, lieutenant; Henry Frank, ensign.
3d company.—Adam Staring, captain; Liutwick Campell, lieutenant; Lawrence Herter, ensign.
4th company.—Peter P. Bellinger, captain; Joost Herchimer, lieutenant; Peter Fox, ensign.
5th company.—Michael Meyer, captain; Peter F. Bellinger, lieutenant; George Weatirce, ensign.
6th company, (light infantry).—William Colbreath, captain; Daniel C. White, lieutenant; George J. Weaver, ensign
These militia arrangements must indicate the numbers and strength of the population capable of bearing arms; and although three years of peace had intervened in which there had been a large influx of population, quite enough to make up two companies, we have three organized companies less at this time than there were in 1775. The names of the officers are copied as found in the council minutes. Ensign William Father, I think, represents William Feeter, and George Weatirce, represents George Weaver.
The recuperative energies of the Teutonic race were not long unseen or unfelt when left free to act, and the fields that were laid waste by war for years, again waved with golden harvests and the accomplished woodman's axe was doing its work in the sturdy forest. 0! what a priceless boon to man had grown from the stern calamities of a war whose dirge had just been sung by mourning thousands.
A fact which to some extent illustrates the American character has come to my notice while preparing this work for the press. It is this. A considerable portion of the New England emigration between 1787 and 1793 was from Massachusetts. Many of these people had been implicated in or connected with the disturbances in that state which terminated in what has been called Shay's rebellion. Now the history of that affair is briefly this. During the contest recently ended that state had contributed largely in men, money and credit to the support of the common cause, its commerce had been destroyed and its manufactories languished on the return of peace by the introduction of foreign fabrics. The whole debt of the state, domestic and due to the confederation was about $10,000,000, and in the year 1785 a tax of one and a half millions of dollars was levied on the people and property in the state, equal to about four dollars for every man, woman and child in it. With no money to meet this heavy excessive burden the commercial and agricultural classes became more and more indebted to the state. John Hancock resigned the office of governor, and was succeeded by Mr. Bowdoin by a legislative appointment. Soon after his reelection in 1786, numerous symptoms of discontent were exhibited in different parts of the state, and especially in the western towns, whose population was confined to agricultural pursuits.
In August 1786 a convention of delegates from 50 towns convened at Hatfield, Hampshire county " to consider and provide for the grievances they suffered." In consequence of the disorderly proceeding of the people in different parts