Casimir Goerck's Map of The Baron Von Steuben Township, Given To Baron Von Steuben for His Service As George Washington's Chief of Staff During the American Revolution
Finely executed map of the Township of Steuben, New York, showing the original patent of 16,000 acres granted Baron von Steuben lands, as surveyed in the Spring of 1787 by James Cockburn.
The present survey is signed by Goerck at the bottom left. Goerck was a major surveyor in New York at the end of the 18th Century.
This finely executed survery map locates the 160 lots created by Cockburn and locates approximately 50 lots purchased by approximately early land owners, including names such as Woodruff, Mitchell, Lopez, Morgan, Walker, Platt, Weeks, Fuller, Green, North, Case, Cornish, Stafford, Burk, Ball, Adams, Brooks, Star, Waterbury and others. Lot 160 is identified as "Reserved".
While dated 1769, the map (and Township) was likely created circa 1789, shortly after Baron von Steuben acquired land in the region from the State of New York and commenced land sales. On May 5, 1786, the New York State Legislature passed a law providing for the sale of lands belonging to the state. One section of the law authorized the commissioners to grant to Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben a tract of 16,000 acres in any township laid out in accordance with the act. Baron von Steuben selected a section of land which he believe would be near the portage at Fort Stanwix, but in fact wound up with a tract 5 miles north of the Mohawk River. James Cockburn surveyed the tract in the spring of 1787, creating 160 lots of approximately 100 acres each.
In 1787, von Steuben retained Samuel Sizer of Springfield Massachusetts to build a house, fence in 60 acres and build a saw mill. Because the land selected was not on the Mohawk, Steuben had difficulty selling land and was compelled to give away 20 farms to accelerate the settlement process. Von Steuben's land is shown on the map as a vertical rectangle at the bottom of the map (lots 113, 114, 125, 126, 136, 147 and 148), flanked at the bottom on each side by 4 lots each owned by Von Steuben's long time companions, William North (his aide-de-campe during the Revolution), and Benjamin Walker, another of Washington's senior staff officers. Lot 146 is shown as owned by Samuel Sizer.
Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben
Baron von Steuben (1730-1794), was a Prussian-born American military officer. He served as inspector general and Major General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He is credited with being one of the fathers of the Continental Army in teaching them the essentials of military drills, tactics, and disciplines. He served as George Washington's chief of staff in the final years of the Revolution.
Von Steuben was instrumental in many of the American victories, including the defeat of the British at Yorktown in 1781, where the Baron received the overture of capitulation from the British General Cornwalls. During 1778-1779, von Steuben prepared a complete set of regulations for Continental troops, the "Blue Book", which became the United States Army training manual. In 1783, von Steuben became an American citizen. In 1784, von Steuben was discharged from the military with honor, and turned his energies to preparing for the defense of New York Harbor and designing the plans for a military academy that were later realized at West Point. In 1788, the State of New York, wishing to express its gratitude for his service, granted him 16,000 acres north of the Mohawk River.
The property owned by Baron von Steuben shown on this map was likely his final home, where he died in 1794.
Casimir Goerck was a American Surveyor active in the 1780s and 1790s in New York. He is perhaps best known for his survey work in New York City and his role in production of the Mangin-Goerck Plan of New York City, first published in 1803. Casimir Goerck made surveys in 1785 and 1796, that became the foundation for the future gridded street scheme for Manhattan. The city's leaders intended the orderly design to increase the value of the land by eliminating haphazard street networks, especially in the northern areas, which left some plots unconnected to roads. In 1797, Goerck collaborated with Joseph François Mangin to produce New York City's first real estate map, the huge Mangin-Goerck Plan. Goerck's death at the end of 1798 left Mangin to complete the map alone.
This a 20,000 acre tract of land granted to Lord Holland, which in turn was transferred by his son, Henry Richard Holland on November 17, 1796, to Horace Johnson, Seth Johnson and Andrew Craigie.
The map references at the lower right "Peter Service and Others: This refers to Peter Servis. In 1769, 25,000 acres north of Cosby Manor was given to Peter Servis and twenty-four others, thereafter being known as the Servis Patent. This grant eventually passed to Sir William Johnson and it, with other grants, was seized in 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War and resold by the State of New York. The Servis Patent was purchased by the Holland Land Company in 1792 (the adjoining Holland Patent takes its name not from this company but from Lord Holland). The Holland Land Company eventually accumulated holdings of 3.6 million acres in central and western New York.
To the southwest of the township there is an area labeled "Jellis=Fonda and Others." This is the so called Fonda Patent, granted to Jelles Fonda, William Floyd, Abraham G Lansing, Floyd Jr Lansing, Ezra L'Hommedieu, and John Taylor. Governor Clinton was one of the original proprietors of the Fonda Patent. Fonda's Patent was the first patent granted in Oneida county after the Revolution, on January 31, 1786.
Fonda Patent was then in Montgomery County. Jelles (or Giles) Fonda was the patentee and lived in Caughnawaga (now Fonda), and was an active business man. He was a major in the British service under Col. Guy Johnson, but in the Revolution was an active supporter of the colonists in the struggle for independence. In the fall of 1781, when Sir John Johnson raided his old neighborhood in the Mohawk Valley, the father Jelles Fonda, then eighty-four years old, was forced from his bed in the night, taken to the Mohawk River, tomahawked and scalped and left on the bank of the stream.
Jelles Fonda had been engaged in the Indian trade at Caughnawaga, where he had a store and had extended his trips and his trade to Fort Stanwix, Oswego and Niagara, and became a man of wealth for those times. When the war broke out he had upon his account books over $10,000 of accounts, most of which he lost. The patentee was State senator eight years, and county judge of that county. The patent was issued on condition that within three years a settler for each 500 acres should be located on the land. The land of this patent is mostly in Rome and Floyd, with some in the town of Western, and there was quite a rush of settlers to those towns as the three years period approached its close. The Oneida county records show that in 1786 Mr. Fonda sold portions of his patent as follows: an undivided one-eighth to john Lansing, jr, who was afterwards chief justice and chancellor of New York ; an undivided one-eighth in 1788 was sold to each ofthe following: Gov. George Clinton, William Floyd (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence), Stephen Lush, In 1787 the patent was surveyed into 100 lots by john Taylor. The owners gave perpetual leases, reserving an annual wheat rent, so much per acre, payable in Albany. That was then the easist way for the settlers in a new country to pay their rent and for their lands. Each year loaded teams with wheat for rent wended their way down the valley, stopping over night at the country taverns, the teamsters generally taking with them their own provisions and oats for their horses. The usual wheat rent was "8 bushels good merchantable winter wheat for each 100 acres."