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    Description

    John Kelly Autograph Letter Signed. One page of a bifolium, 7.5" x 12.75", New York; October 21, 1787. Addressed to a James Parker who wrote to Kelly inquiring about a land purchase he wished to make. The letter recounts how land purchased from Native American tribes in the New York area was eventually made available for purchase to the public. It reads in part: "...I was favored with your letter...signifying a desire to purchase from the Indians a tract of Ten miles square in the Genesce and Seneca Country within the State of New York for the purpose of forming a settlement thereon...I can only at present observe, that by a law of this state, no private person can purchase of this kind must be made for the benefit of the state by Commisionerd [sic] appointed for that purpose. The Lands so purchased are laid out into Townships by the Surveyor General and then sold at public venue [sic] to the highest Bidder...Until these lands are settled, which will not be in many years, it is not probably, that the Commissioners of the Land office would make any further sales, consequently no purchase from the Indians could at present by effected..." The letter contains a key at the bottom left, which Kelly uses to provide more information to Parker about the various plots of land he references throughout the letter. Written transcription accompanying the lot.

    John Kelly (1744-1832) was a veteran of the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. He was responsible for destroying the bridge at Worth's Mill over Stony Brook during the Battle of Princeton. This action delayed Cornwallis and prevented him from reinforcing Mawhood, which would have almost certainly changed the outcome of the battle.

    Condition: Letter has 7", 3" and 2" open and closed tears along old folds, however it is isolated to the address leaf and does not affect the legibility of the letter. There is 2" hole due to paper loss from removal of wax seal. Remnants of red wax seal remain. Several smaller holes to main body of letter do not affect legibility. Moderately soiled and toned with some minor foxing throughout.


    More Information: "New York 21th: October 1787
    Dear Sir
    On the 18:th instant I was favored with your letter of the 11:th current, signifying a desire to purchase from the Indians a tract of Ten miles Square in the Genesce and Seneca Country within the State of New York for the purpose of forming a settlement thereon and desiring to know, if Seth Reed of Unbridge in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or Edward pain near the Forks of the Delaware has Authority form this state to purchase lands from the Indians in the Country; and if not, who has such authority or how could such a Licenses be procured? In answer to these queried, I can only at present observe, that by a Law of this State, no private person can purchase of this kind must be made for the benefit of the State by Comisssionerd appointed for that purpose.

    The Lands so purchased are laid out into Townships by the Surveyor General and then sold at public Vendue to the highest Bidder, but cannot be disposed of under one shilling per acre payable in the pubic securities worth perhaps three or Four shillings in the pound.

    Very large sales have already been made, 192000: Acres consisting of three Townships of Ten miles square each, situate on the Susquchannah River and upon the Unadellah branch there of purchased from the Oneida Indians by this state, were last year sold [key symbol] 120000: Acres near Fort Stanwix adjoining Cosby's manner on the Northside of the Mohawk river have also been sold, [key symbol] Forty Townships of 24,000: Acres each, on the Northeast branch of Hudson's river likewise been sold [key symbol] and Ten Townships of 64,000: Acres each, on the Southside of the river St. Lawrence, have also been sold on the 10th of July last. [key symbol]

    Until these Lands are settled, which will not be in many years [key symbol] it is not probably, that the Commissioners of the Land office would make any further sales, consequently no purchase from the Indians could at present be effected unless the actual formation of a settlement in that country accompanied with other objects, would perhaps insure the Commissioners to make such a purchase!

    Many other circumstances relative to settle negotiations, which require time and close investigation, shall be attended to and explained to you as far as is consistent with the communication of Transactions of so delicate a nature to a Gentleman with whom I have not the honor of a personal acquaintance. I have the honor to be
    Dear Sir

    Your most obedient and most humble servant

    John Kelly

    [key symbol] middling good Lands a considerable quantity Interval
    [key symbol] Very good Land
    [key symbol] A Broken Country
    [key symbol] Rich Level Land and a fine Country
    [key symbol] Seven years is given for settling one family on every 640 Acres"


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    19th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 471

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