The Redistribution of Loyalist Land
Intriguing set of two manuscript deeds for land adjacent to the Hudson River near Lake George, made during the immediate pre- and post-Revolutionary period. Each deed contains a map of the lands ceded and a description of the transaction. Both deeds are related by the involvement of Thomas Porters, who received land in both deals. One map is dated 1798 while the other is undated but is also 18th century.
The deeds are particularly interesting as they name Ebenezer Jessup (namesake of the Jessup River) as the previous owner of the parcels of land and note that he acquired them in 1771. Jessup was a prominent land speculator in Albany County, New York, and acquired 1.6 million acres of land, including 1.15 million that were purchased in 1771. They consorted with some of the leading representatives of the crown and were considered important developers of the frontier region. The town of Corinth on the Hudson was originally named Jessup's Landing, but was renamed following the Revolutionary War.
Jessup's fall from grace was precipitated by his commitment to the Loyalist cause. He served as commander to 90 men and took his family to Canada in 1776, fighting throughout the war in the Hudson and Champlain valleys. For his actions, he was condemned to death in absentia by the state of New York, his lands to be ceded. They were passed on to large landowners by 1785 and redistributed over the next several decades. Jessup attempted to gain compensation for the lands, but this was never granted.