Saratoga Patent
Stefan Bielinski

In 1684, the term "Saratoga Patent" is said to have appeared on provincial rolls when Governor Dongan is said to have granted the petition of Pieter Schuyler, Robert Livingston, and others to purchase a tract of land on the upper Hudson from the Mohawk Indians. General Philip Schuyler, a descendant of an original patentee, later claimed that the tract originally was partitioned in 1685. However, not until October 1708 did Governor Edward Hyde (Cornbury) confirm the petition for a deed. At that time, the named patentees were Colonel Peter Schuyler, Robert Livingston, Esq., Dirck Wessels, Esq., Jan Jan Bleecker, Esq., Johannes Schuyler, Esq., and Cornelius Van Dyck - grandson and heir of Cornelius Van Dyck for a tract of land that is said to have embraced six square miles on both sides of the Hudson River. A present-day scholar noted that the patent encompassed some 150,000 acres.

For more than the next hundred years, heirs of those patentees counted their shares in the Saratoga Patent among their treasured possessions. Chief among these were the Schuylers (founding settlers of today's Schuylerville). Over time, a surprising number of other early Albany people as well held title to parcels in this tract. Follow this link to more on the Saratoga Patent in the context of the people of colonial Albany.

Understanding the real property assets of the people of colonial Albany is essential toward more fully appreciating their scope of their activities and lives. Until the 1780s, most parcels in the Saratoga Patent still were owned by Albany people. However, many of those shares were subdivided and leased to tenants. Along with the adjoining Kayaderosseras and Clifton Park Patents, and a number of others as well, the Saratoga tract provided structure for the New York settlement of the land north of the Mohawk and west of the Hudson in the years before and after the American Revolution. In 1791, those entities became Saratoga County. However, until then the Saratoga Patent and the other preferential grants were prime settlement vehicles for the land north of the Mohawk that until then was part of old Albany County.

Albany businessman John R. Bleecker is said to have surveyed and mapped the patent in 1750. A number of others, including William Cockburn, have produced maps and diagrams of parts of the patent. We seek a useful graphic representation (preferably from the 18th century) beyond the diagram shown below.



What follows has been copied from chapter 18 of Nathaniel B. Sylvester's History of Saratoga County (1878): "In the earlier years of the colonial period the old Indian hunting-grounds lying within the boundaries of the county of Saratoga were purchased one after another from their aboriginal owners, and thereafter became known in history as land-grants or patents. The most famous of these old patents still retain their old Indian names, - the patents of Saratoga and Kay-ad-ros-se-ra.

The patent of Old Saratoga, which grew out of the old hunting-ground of the river hills from which the county and the springs derive their name, was among the earliest purchases made of the Indians in Saratoga County. It was purchased of the Mohawks as early as the year 1684, but the Indian deed was not confirmed by the colonial government and the warrant for the patent issued till the year 1708, as will appear by the following copy thereof. An engraving of Saratoga County in 1840 is shown on the map facing this chapter.


By his Excellency, Edward, Viscount Cornbury, Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief of the Provinces of New York and New Jersey, and territories depending on them in America, and Vice-Admiral of the same, etc., in council this 25th day of October, 1708.

To Major Berkley, Esq., Attorney-General of the Province of New York:

"You are hereby required and directed to prepare a draft of a patent of confirmation for Colonel Peter Schuyler, Robert Livingston, Esq., Dirck Wessels, Esq., Jan Jan Bleecker, Esq., Johannes Schuyler, Esq., and to Cornelius Van Dyck, the grandchild and heir-at-law of Cornelius Van Dyck, deceased, for a certain tract of land situate and being to the northward of the city of Albany, on both sides of the Hudson river, formerly granted onto some of them and others, under and from whom the rest do at present hold and enjoy by patent from Colonel Tomas Dongan, sometime Governor-in-Chief of the province of Now York, the limits and boundaries of which land are to be ascertained in the manner, that is to say:

appers to be a diagram showing second partitionBeginning at the south side of the mouth of a certain creek on the west side of Hudson's river, commonly called by the Indians Tionoondehowa, and by the Christians Anthony's Kill, which is the uppermost bounds of the land formerly purchased by Goosie Gerritson and Philip Peterson Schuyler, and from thence descending westerly into the woods by the said creek, on the south side thereof, as it runs six English miles; and if the said creek do not stretch so far into the wood, then from the end thereof east by a straight line until it shall be six miles distant from Hudson's river, upon a measured straight line; and from thence northerly by a line parallel to the course of Hudson's river, until it come opposite to and bear east from the south side from another creek's mouth on the east side of Hudson's river, culled Tionoondehows, which upon Hudson's river is computed to be distant from the mouth of Tionoondehows aforesaid about twenty-two English miles, be it more or less, and from the left termination by a straight line to be drawn east to the north side of the mouth of the said creek, Tionoondehows; and from thence continued east six miles into the woods on the east side of Hudson's river, and from thence by a line southerly parallel to the course of the said Hudson's river, and six miles distant from the same, so far southerly until it come opposite to and bear east six miles distant from the north side of the mouth of Schardhook Kill, which is the boundary of Schardhook patent, late belonging to Henry Van Rensselaer, to hold it thence, in manner following: that is to say, for so much thereof as by the former patents had been divided for arable land to Peter Schuyler, lot No. 1, and one half the lot No. 6, to and for the use of the said Peter Schuyler, and of his heirs and assigns forever, to Robert Livingston; his lot, No. 5, and one half the lot No. 5, to and for the sole use to Dirck Wessels; his lot, No. 3, to and for the sole use to Jan Jan Bleecker; his lot, No. 2, to and for the sole use to Johannes; his lot, No. 4, to and for the sole use also to Caroline Van Dyck, the grandchild and heir-at-law of the said Caroline Van Dyck, deceased; the lot No. 7 in trust, nevertheless, to and for the use or uses for which the farm is devised by the last will and testament of his said grandfather, deceased; failing which use or uses, to the use of himself, and his heirs and assigns forever, and for so much as remains undivided according to the heir's use of, positively, that is to say: to Peter Schuyler and Robert Livingston, to each of them three-fourteenth parts; and to each of the others two fourteenth parts of the whole undivided land contained in the said patent, the farm being divided in fourteen equal parts, at and under the yearly quitrent of twenty bushels of winter wheat; and for your so doing this shall be your sufficient warrant."

Signed "Cornbury" and dated as above. {Land Paper v. 4, p. 165.}

Sources: At this time, we have not moved beyond the sources cited within the above as our focus is the people of colonial Albany and their world. However, abundant resources are available to support a CASHP-style enquiry on the people of the old Saratoga Patent. This presenttation was prompted by the mention of the patent in the will of General Philip Schuyler. It is in its early stages of development. We were surprised by the large number of early Albany people whose lives intersected with the Saratoga Patent - more than justifying our venture in this direction.

This Link to patent-related materials represents an essential pioneering effort and is directly responsible as well as enabling for our development of this exposition early in 2013. Thank you to Leslie B. Potter and NYGenWeb!

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first posted 10/20/12; last updated 2/22/13