NAHA Header

NAHA Logo

A Little More Light on the Kendall Colony
By Richard Canuteson
(Volume 18: Page 82)

On October 9, 1825, a small sloop of less than forty tons' burden put into the harbor of New York City, bearing fifty-three Norwegian immigrants bound for new homes in the northeastern part of Orleans County, New York. Ninety-eight days on the Atlantic separated these doughty pioneers from their homes in the vicinity of Stavanger. They represented in part a group of Quakers who found it difficult to live according to their faith in Lutheran Norway, and in part individuals who sought greater opportunities than could be found in the homeland. {1}

They were met in New York by Cleng Peerson, who had been their advance agent, and who had spent three years in America working and investigating the opportunities for settlement. A brief visit that he made to Norway in 1824, and a letter that he wrote to Thormod Madland, one of his countrymen, in December of that year apparently stimulated the group's momentous decision to leave Norway and migrate to America. {2}

Peerson bought land for the party from Joseph Fellows, agent for the Pulteney Estate in America, with an office in Geneva, New York. When the immigrants arrived in New York they ran into difficulty with the federal authorities, who impounded the little ship under the provisions of an 1819 law which required that passenger ships be of at least five tons' burden for each two passengers. The owners of the sloop were subject to a fine, but with the help of friendly persons in New York, the matter was appealed to Washington. The owners' petition for relief eventually reached [83] President John Quincy Adams, who granted them a pardon and remission of the fine. {3}

After the sloop, which originally had cost 1,800 specie dollars (about $1,370 American), had been sold for about $400, the party embarked by boat for upstate New York, taking the Hudson River to Albany and then the Erie Canal to Orleans County. A few of the immigrants remained in New York City, and at least two settled in Rochester. {4}

The settlers had undertaken a tremendous task in at tempting to carve out homes in the Orleans County forests. The area north of the Ridge Road, U.S. 104, in this section is still known locally as the "Black North" because of the original density of the forests. Nevertheless, they set to work to clear land and open farms. Twenty-four of them crowded into a small log house, which served as their shelter in the first winter season. Friendly neighbors assisted by providing work, sparked by the services of Peerson, who knew some English, as an intermediary. {5}

In 1833 Peerson set out afoot to seek new and more favor able lands for settlement. Across Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and northern Illinois he traveled, and finally located a tract in La Salle County, Illinois. The following year six families from the Kendall colony moved to the new site on the Fox River. During the next two years others followed, until finally only one family of the original group remained, to be joined for a short time by another which had first settled in Rochester. {6}

Since that time the Kendall Norwegian colony has remained, until very recent years, a distinct entity, numbering at various times anywhere from thirty to sixty persons. To this center have come new families and individuals, some of [84] whom remained while learning English and then moved on to other areas. The colony has now become scattered; there are no longer any Norwegian families living on the Norway Road, center of the original settlement, and only a few are in the immediate area.

The investigations here reported were undertaken for the purpose of shedding a little more light, if possible, on aspects of the Kendall Settlement during the period when it was still the home of the "sloopers." The research has been carried on at rather wide intervals over a period of about five years, and the materials consulted have been largely documentary, aside from the reading that was done to provide the back ground.

Most of the information that follows in Section I came from the Pulteney Papers, records of the estate from which the sloopers bought their land. These papers are stored in the office of the Steuben County Clerk at Bath, New York, and for the most part are in bundles placed on shelves in a small room over the entrance to the building, which is itself far from fireproof. There is no index of any kind, and the arrangement is not at all orderly. Research with this material was a matter of painstaking but still rather hit-or-miss searching. The investigation revealed a map and certain ledger entries of definite value, which are described below. A later recheck showed no additional information.

Some further information as to the early years of the settlement, which will be reported in Section II, came from the records of the town of Murray, Orleans County, before the town of Kendall was set off in 1837, specifically from the Murray Road Book of 1830-38.

An indication of the difficulties that were encountered in the search, and of the fate of some records which might have yielded further data, is in the following story, told to the writer by Thomas V. Hayes, town clerk of Murray. At an earlier date, which the narrator did not identify, a new town [85] clerk was elected. He collected the town records and took them to his home, where he expected to establish his office. However, his wife intervened, declaring flatly that he was not going to bring "that stuff" into her house; whereupon the boxes of records were set outside, where at least part of them were damaged beyond repair by the weather.

Early local histories either ignore the Norwegian settlement entirely, or present only a few lines such as are found in Arad Thomas' Pioneer History of Orleans County:

"About the year 1825, a company of Norwegians, about fifty-two in number, settled on the lake shore, in the north east part of the town. They came from Norway together and took up land in a body. They were an industrious, prudent and worthy people held in good repute by people in that vicinity. After a few years they began to move away to join their countrymen who had settled in Illinois, and but few of that colony are still in Kendall.

"They thought it very important that every family should have land and a home of their own. A neighbor once asked a little Norwegian boy whose father happened to be too poor to own land, where his father lived? and was answered, 'O, we don't live nowhere, we hain't got no land.' {7}

An identical item appears in an 1879 Historical Album of Orleans County, published by Sanford and Company of New York. It is probably taken from Thomas, which antedates it. There are no local newspaper materials available; the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester, Massachusetts, lists only one or two issues of Orleans County papers of that era; the New York State Library has none.

Principal agent of the Pulteney Estate in America was Robert Troup, who, after he turned over the Geneva sub office to Joseph Fellows, spent most of his time in New York, making periodic visits to the Bath and Geneva agencies. His [86] papers, in the New York Public Library, reveal some information on two issues possibly related to the Kendall settlers, which is summarized in Section III.

I

It is well known that Cleng Peerson traveled from the Quaker settlement of Farmington, Ontario County, to Geneva, where he purchased land for the prospective settlers from Joseph Fellows, subagent under Robert Troup for the Pulteney Estate. {8}

It is pertinent to clarify the source and nature of the Pulteney tract in which the Kendall colony lands lay. The property had come into the possession of the Pulteney family as the climax of a complicated series of land transactions following the Revolution. The conflict between Massachusetts and New York over the claim of the former to parts of upstate New York, based on colonial charters, had been re solved by an agreement to give New York sovereignty over the area, while Massachusetts retained the soil rights, subject to purchase from the Indians. Under this agreement all of New York west of a line running from Sodus Bay through Seneca Lake to the Pennsylvania line was sold by Massachusetts in April, 1788, to Phelps and Gorham, subject to extinguishment of the Indian title. The tract contained an estimated 6,000,000 acres, and the price was $1,000,000 in Massachusetts Consolidated Securities. The market value of these securities, however, was only $175,000, making the actual price about three cents per acre. In July, 1788, the Six Nations sold Phelps and Gorham a tract of about 2,200,000 acres bounded on the east by the Phelps line of purchase, known as the Pre-emption Line, and on the west by a line twelve miles west of the Genesee River. {9} [87]

In the meantime a rise in the market price of the Massachusetts securities, which the partners had expected to purchase at the depressed rate to make their payments, forced them to surrender to Massachusetts that portion of the tract, about two thirds of the total, to which the Indian title had not been extinguished. {10}

In 1790 Phelps and Gorham sold part of the tract which they had paid for, and for which they had obtained title from the Indians, to Robert Morris. This transaction involved about 1,200,000 acres. Morris in turn sold the area to Sir William Pulteney, John Hornby, and Patrick Colquhoun, who subsequently became known as the London Associates. This group sent Charles Williamson to manage their interests in the Genesee country. {11}

Morris, in 1791, bought through an agent the tract which Phelps and Gorham had relinquished, and two years later sold all but the so-called "Morris Reserve" to a group of Dutch bankers, later known as the Holland Land Company. Their agent, Joseph Ellicott, set up headquarters at a town-site later designated as Batavia. {12}

The Morris Reserve consisted of a strip twelve miles wide along the east side of the tract that Morris sold to the Dutch interests. A section of this reserve, known as the Triangle, consisting of about 87,000 acres, and including the present towns of Clarkson, Hamlin, and Sweden in Monroe County, and Bergen and part of Le Roy in Genesee County, was sold by Morris to Bayard, Leroy, and McEvers. Another tract of 100,000 acres, lying west of the Triangle, and including the present towns of Kendall, Murray, and Clarendon in Orleans County, and Byron and parts of Bergen and Le Roy in Genesee County, was sold to Craigie, Watson, and Greenleaf. {13} [88]

Oliver Phelps then bought an undivided half of this tract in 1794, and conveyed it to De Witt Clinton in 1795. The land reverted to Phelps, who then sold it to the state of Connecticut, payment by that state being made out of school funds. As a result the land was eventually sold by the Connecticut school fund commissioners. Craigie sold the other half of this area to Charles Williamson and Thomas Morris, and eventually, through Williamson, the title passed to Sir William Pulteney. {14} It is this latter area which figures in the sale of lands to the Kendall colonists.

No record has been found of the actual transaction between Fellows and Peerson, in the Pulteney Papers, other than the materials which are described below. The Troup Papers have been searched without important result. Nor has any record of any of the original deeds involved in the sale been found in an exhaustive search of the grantor-grantee and mortgage records of Orleans, Ontario, and Genesee counties. The only transactions or entries found which related to any of the sloop party were the 1876 sale by Henry Harwick (Hervig) of his forty-acre farm in Kendall to John Elliott for $4,800; his purchase of a house and lot on Albion Street in Holley, New York, from Abner Ray for, curiously, $406; and the sale of the same property after his death, by his executor, to James B. Pratt for $1,800. Harwick's will appears in full in the Orleans County Deeds. It is obvious that Christopher and Christina Harwick, the two children who had survived their mother, had predeceased their father, for his will makes bequests only to nieces and nephews in Nor way and in this country, and to his housekeeper. Christina died in 1883, the same year as her father, but the exact date has not been found. The actual death record of Christopher Harwick has not come to light. {15} [89]

It should here be noted that any reference to Ontario County as the location of the colony is incorrect, since Genesee County had been set off from Ontario County in 1802, and the Kendall area was then a part of Genesee County. Orleans County was set off the same year as the Kendall purchase, November 12, 1824. {16}

Two letters in the Pulteney collection are of general interest, as indicating the authenticity and extent of the powers with which Fellows was clothed and his fidelity as land agent. The first letter, obviously from Troup because of the similarity in handwriting and because it was found with a collection of communications from him, was written to Fellows from Albany on November 10, 1810:

"You will receive herewith the following powers of substitution and letters of attorney.

1. A power from me in behalf of Sir John Lowther Johnstone and his wife.
2. A power from me in behalf of Sir James Pulteney, Sir Thomas Jones, and Christopher Codrington.
3. A letter of attorney from me as trustee for the Pulteney family.
4. A letter of attorney from me as trustee of Sir William Pulteney, deceased.

"These powers of substitution, and letters of attorney will be found to embrace the whole real and personal estates of the Pulteney family in this State. The object . . . is to clothe you with authorities competent to the various businesses of the Pulteney land office at Geneva, . . . where you will be pleased to fix your future residence, as soon as possible after the receipt of this letter, and where you are hereby appointed not only to take charge of that department under [90] my agency . . . heretofore . . . conducted by Mr. John Heslop and Mr. Robert Scot; but likewise to take a general superintending charge of all the concerns of my agency in the eastern district of the State.

"Your salary is settled at two thousand dollars per annum, from the 1st instant, to be paid quarter-yearly, with the additional allowance of a horse, and to be kept at the expense of the Agency.

"The new brick house at Geneva, and lately occupied by Mr. Scot's family, is appropriated to your use.

"I have given you this appointment from a sense of gratitude for the faithful services you have for several years past rendered to the Pulteney Estate, under my agency, and also from my confidence in your talents, your diligence, your integrity, and your zeal. I hope you will see fit to accept the appointment, and if you do, I shall permit myself to indulge sanguine expectations, that the Agency will be so managed as to prove honorable to me and beneficial to my principals." {17}

Evidently Troup's expectations were not in vain, for some years later, under date of August 5, 1824, we find Troup again writing Fellows from Geneva:

"About to quit this village . . . on my return to the City of New York as the place of my future residence . . . I commit to you the general superintendence and management of all the concerns of my agency as well in this department as in that of Steuben County, and in other parts of the state.

Since my residence here I have had abundant reason to be satisfied with the ability, diligence and fidelity with which you have executed the general trusts reposed in you." {18}

Later writers have accepted the statement of Ole Rynning that each of the settlers who purchased land in the Kendall settlement bought about 40 acres at a price of $5 per acre. Entries in the Pulteney Papers cast a little more light on the [90a]

[91]
actual land purchases, especially when the tables listed be low, giving the outstanding amounts on the contracts (Table 1), the original principal on the purchases, and the accrued interest (Table 2), are compared with the accompanying map, which was also found in the Bath office. The map shown here is a small portion of a much larger map showing the Pulteney lands and the Connecticut Reserve as alternate sections. From the larger map a section was photostated, and from this copy was made the enlarged map shown.

The map shows Cleng Peerson to be the owner, presumptively at least, of four tracts, alone or in partnership with someone else: Lot 15, at the mouth of the creek, 78.52 acres; jointly with Nelson (probably either Nels or Cornelius Nelson Hersdal), the east part of Lot 25, approximately two thirds of the 154.89 acres; the south part of Lot 26, possibly three fifths of the 170.44 acres; and the western part, about two thirds, of Lot 27, 153.70 acres. The eastern part of the latter lot is labeled with the name Anderson, which does not appear in the tables below, but which could be Knud Anderson Slogvig, as the name "Canute" Anderson appears in the Murray Road Book.
Stangeland and Rossadal, the names garbled, share Lot 37, 97.50 acres; Hervig and "Neilson," Lot 49, 90.46 acres. The first three names are, of course, identifiable without difficulty, but Neilson does not appear in any list of early arrivals, nor in the road book. It is possible that it is a garbled version of Nelson, and thus could be either of the brothers.

Olson and "Dalt," probably Dahl, have Lot 50, 91.38 acres, the name "Moon" above their names being crossed out by a line which shows only faintly. Dahl could be Andrew (Endre) Dahl of the sloop; Olson could be either Thorstein Olson Bjaadland or Christian Olson, who arrived in the colony in 1829. The road book lists both Christian and "T." Olson as property owners. A question may also be raised [92] whether the name "Orlson" on Lot 24, 108.14 acres, could be a garbled form of Olson, since there appear to be two Olsons owning property.

George Johnson of the sloop and Knut Evenson, who came to Kendall in 1831, share Lot 62, 99.61 acres, and there is another lot to the south of this one, of 96.74 acres, marked simply "Norwegians." To the west of this tract is another of 98.50 acres labeled with the names "Knoutson" and "Regorison." With the aid of J. Hart Rosdail, descendant of Daniel Stenson Rossadal, identification of these has been established. "Knoutson" is evidently the same person as the "Oliver Canuteson" listed in the Murray Road Book; he has been identified by Mr. Rosdail as Halvor Knudson, who came to Kendall in 1831. The name Knoutson also appears in the list of accounts due as having purchased land in 1831.

The name "Regorison" on the map and "Yart Regorison" on the agency records was identified with the aid of Mr. Rosdail, who pointed out that Gert Hovelang or Hoveland of the road book was Gjert Gregorius Hovland, the indefatigable letter writer. It is quite evident that Gregorius became "Regorison" or "Regorrison" or "Rigorison" in the various records, while "Gjert" was rendered as "Yart."

A question also arises as to Lot 14, west of Peerson's creek-mouth tract, labeled "Thompson." In common with such names as Anderson, Johnson, and so forth, Thompson is not exclusively a Norwegian name, but in this particular connection we may ask if this Thompson could be Nels Thorson Thompson. The writer found in the records of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Rochester, the entry of Thompson's marriage to Bertha, his brother Oyen's widow, which Mr. Rosdail reports to have been the first Norwegian marriage in Rochester. R. B. Anderson states that Thompson returned to Kendall in 1828. {19}

Table 1, taken from the "Agency Cash Book," Pulteney [93] Papers, appears to be a list of amounts outstanding on con tracts. Names are given as they appeared in the cash book.

Table 1 {20}

These amounts, with four exceptions, prove to be those due on January 1, 1833, with the additional interest for the year added in the second column. The lesser amounts in the second column for Cleng Peerson's second entry and for that of George Johnson may indicate small payments on account. Seven per cent added to the second entry for Pearson, Evenson, and Johnson should total $484.17, and it is possible that in reading the figures from the old records, with their ink turning rusty in spots, the figure 1 could have been read 6, or it might have been originally entered thus incorrectly. There is also a wide disparity in the figures for Canute Evenson, for 7 per cent added to $304.86 totals only $326.20; possibly he purchased additional land. The figures differ too much to have been misread completely.

Table 2 is an "Abstract of debts due the Surviving Executor of the late Countess of Bath at 1st January, 1839; and under the Agency of Joseph Fellows." [94]

Table 2 {21}

Several questions arise, and are yet unanswered, with regard to this tabulation. What was the nature of the bond listed in the name of Cleng Peerson, and what obligation did it cover? The table above is dated 1839, and the bond 1837, so it may be assumed that the bond may have covered the unpaid balances and accrued interest to December 21, 1837, on the entries in the name of Peerson on two lots and Peerson and his associates on the third parcel of land. At least, the bond is for the total amount of $1,625.85 in 1837, whereas the accrued total of the indebtedness on these parcels of land in 1839 had reached $1,768.18. It may be fairly assumed [95] that the lower figure was the total on the date of the bond. But was the bond paid? Were the other amounts paid? Or if not, to what extent might payment have been made? Further search of the papers has revealed no answers.

Another interesting question is raised by the relatively small amount of Cleng Peerson's 1824 contract. Does this amount of $176.22 indicate that Peerson may have had cash for part payment on the land he purchased, or did he buy only one lot at that time, or was part of the contract paid off?

Still another question may be asked about "Rosdell's" second purchase in 1835, since in the same year, according to J. Hart Rosdail, he bought land in Illinois. At a time when he would normally be expected to be selling his property in Kendall, why did he apparently buy more land? Also, why do these contracts apparently remain unpaid two or three years after many of the settlers who made them had moved on to Illinois?

The tabulation also indicates that some of the landholders made an effort from their scanty earnings to pay at least part of the interest each year, while others did not, or could not, with the inevitable result that compound interest at 7 per cent in some cases more than doubled the amount of the debt. There is no data at hand to account for the names "George" and "Peter" Nelson in Table 2; therefore it must be assumed that if they were not later arrivals who have not been accounted for, the names are erroneous. No census or other records are available to permit a check of these names.

This section of this report, in summary, simply supplies some additional, but not entirely conclusive evidence about the landholdings of the settlers, but leaves the final status of these accounts in doubt.

II

A further small amount of additional light on the colony is shed by entries found in the road book of the town of [96] Murray, of which Kendall was then a part. For the purpose of keeping the roads in condition, the town officers met annually and divided the roads of the town into districts, each under a resident of that area as overseer. Each "taxable inhabitant" was then assessed a poll tax of two days' labor plus one day for each $100 of real estate valuation.

Two versions of the records were found. In the state library at Albany, in Volume 91 of "D.A.R. Unpublished Cemetery, Church, and Town Records," was found a transcript of the road book entries, in which the assessments were listed for the odd years, while in the even years were listed those who "appeared" (i.e., those who worked out their tax), and those who "disappeared." The volume of the road book which the writer consulted in the office of Town Clerk Thomas Hayes of the town of Murray listed only the assessments, year by year, with no indication of whether the taxpayers worked or not. Since the road book entries were more complete and include some names not listed in the D.A.R. records, they are used rather than the latter. Table 3 is a summary of these records, with explanatory material supplied by the author enclosed in parentheses. Most of the names are as given in the record.

The asterisks in the columns signify that the individual was overseer for the year. The letter D indicates the entry from the D.A.R. transcripts designating those who did not "appear." It should be noted in passing that Cornelius Nelson was listed as "disappearing" in 1834, when he had died the previous December. The entry "Illinois" denotes the individuals whom Anderson specifically mentions as having gone to that state in the year indicated.

There is no reason known for the failure of the commissioners to assess a man one year and skip the next, nor for the assessment of Cleng Peerson for 1836, after he had gone to Illinois, unless he still had some property in the community. Nor is there an explanation of the double entry for [97]

Table 3

Peerson, except that his name appears both ways on some of the records, and there may have been an impression that there were two persons of the name.

J. Hart Rosdail states that Ove (Aave) Rosdell was his great-grandfather, oldest son of Daniel. Aave became 21 on December 4, 1830, and therefore of age to pay tax in 1831. Mr. Rosdail also stated that he was puzzled by the entry for Daniel made in 1836, since Daniel bought land in La Salle County, Illinois, the previous year. He surmises that the son went to Illinois before the father. "L. Rosdail" was Lars [98] Rosdail, who was born February 20, 1812, and therefore of legal age. {22}

Several names are unexplained: Canute Canuteson may have been a brother of Halvor. The entry Canute "Ielsaw" or "Ielsan" remains a total puzzle. R. B. Anderson states that Knud Anderson Slogvig went to Illinois in 1884, so there is no explanation of the failure of the commissioners to assess him in 1832 and 1833. It is possible that the garbled entry mentioned above was intended to be his, since it is for the year following the only assessment against him. A colloquialism appears in the 1836 listing for Mrs. Nelson, in which she is entered as "Miss" Nelson. Gjert Hovland is listed in 1888 as "Y. Gregorus" and in the following year the same way, minus the initial. The next year he was listed as Yart Gregorus.

III

Early writers assert that Andrew Stangeland was a member of the sloop party. The letter from Peerson to Thormod Madland, referred to at the beginning of this report, indicates that he came over earlier, probably in 1824. {23}

The Troup Papers in the New York Public Library reveal an angle of interest with regard to this controversy in a cryptic statement from Troup to Joseph Fellows, on January 14, 1825:

"I have been favored by Mr. Schermerhorn with your letters . . . of the 24, 25 and 27 ult. The first enclosed a letter from A. Cederburgh and O. Stangeland of the 19th September last to you, and your answer to it of the 23rd ult. . . .

"I do not perceive that I can add any useful information to that contained in your letter to Messrs. Cederburgh and Stangeland, and therefore I have contented myself with signifying in the margin of it, my approbation of its contents. There is no vessel in this harbour bound to any port in [99] Sweden, and I have concluded to send the letter to [ms. illegible] with a report to forward it to its destination by the Gothenburg mail from London." {24}

If "O." Stangeland may be presumed fairly to be "A." Stangeland, this letter adds a bit more evidence to the assumption that Andrew Stangeland was in America before the sloop party came, and that in the exchange of letters referred to, he and an as yet unidentified companion wished to for ward letters to Sweden, and thence presumably to Norway.

Early in 1827 a meeting was held at Lockport, New York, at which discontented settlers first broached the subject of taxing the lands held by the Holland Company to provide for roads, schools, and so forth. Although the Pulteney lands were not yet involved, Robert Troup, as principal agent, was apprehensive lest the movement spread to the estate for which he was manager, and he proposed a meeting at Canandaigna of agents of the two estates to consider the problem of modifying the terms of sale, possibly accepting produce as part payment, and a self tax on the agency of the Pulteney Estate; i.e., a setting aside of part of the proceeds of land sales to provide the area with the roads, schools, and bridges that the settlers appeared to be demanding. Troup also pro posed employing a capable person living in the affected area as a kind of public-relations counsel to prepare newspaper material in the interest of the land companies. However, in a subsequent letter he suggested that since the Pulteney Estate had not yet been "attacked" there was no reason for coming out with a public statement of policy. {25}

His apprehensions were justified about a year later when the settlers of the Hundred Thousand Acre Tract held a meeting at which the proceedings were, in Troup's words, "very harsh against the agency." Troup agreed to meet the complainants in July at Geneva in an effort to settle the [100] dispute. A few days later he asked Fellows for a tabulation of the prices at which lands could then be sold, and the out standing balances due on the contracts. {26}

Troup's concern over the situation and his moderate attitude are displayed in his reply to a letter from James Taggart, one of the settlers on the Hundred Thousand Acre Tract, in which Taggart inquired about an advertisement for the sale of certain farms on April 1. Troup replied that the advertisement was probably inserted before Fellows knew of his plan for a meeting and that he felt that it would be improper to sell any of the farms after agreeing to meet with the settlers. {27}

The date fixed for the meeting at Geneva was Tuesday, July 22, 1828. Three days later Troup had reached a prompt decision, and wrote to Abraham Cantine, leader of the settlers, and others of the group, offering certain concessions: (1) a 15 per cent abatement on the interest on all contracts on which the interest would be extinguished by April, 1829; (2) 15 per cent abatement in arrears of interest amounting to more than $100; (3) equitable relief in the few cases in which the remaining contract balances exceeded the cur rent value of the land. A few days later he evidently came to the conclusion that his offer could be misconstrued, and wrote Cantine again that he was going to instruct Fellows to move at once against contracts on which nothing had been paid, and that he did not intend to wait until April to collect on the back debts. {28}

Apparently the concessions offered allayed the unrest, for the remainder of Troup's correspondence makes no mention of the matter except to deal with a similar period of unrest in the Steuben County section of the estate.

For our purposes the important and unanswered question [101] is the possible extent to which the Norwegian settlers might have taken part or interest in the discontent over the land contracts, and the extent to which they might have profited by the concessions made. Considering the sturdy independence of the settlers, and the difficulties they were encountering in establishing themselves, it would seem to be a reasonable assumption that they at least took an interest in the proceedings. The question may be raised whether their language handicap might have held them back from participating in the actual meetings. Again we can only speculate that after three years they might well have achieved a sufficient understanding of English to follow what was going on, if not take an actual part.

The quest for information, some results of which have been here reported, has included a number of possible sources, nearly all of which have proved quite barren. All the cemetery records in the area have been searched, as have the cemeteries themselves, for indication as to the burial place of, for example, Cornelius Nelson Hersdal. No such information has been uncovered for this period; there are a few entries in the Mt. Hope Cemetery records in Rochester for, as an example, the Ole Johnsons, and some later residents. Census records are missing between the incomplete record of 1830, and the census of 1850. Records of several old churches in Rochester were searched, and the only findings were of the Nels Thompson marriage, and a few baptisms and marriages of Norwegians in the city, not identifiable with residents of Kendall. The grantor-grantee records in the county clerks' offices in Albion, Batavia, and Canandaigua, as stated previously, revealed no transfers of property prior to 1835, and none by actual members of the sloop party. What has happened to the Fellows records and other indications of the land sales still remains a mystery which might possibly be solved by further investigation.

Notes

<1> Theodore C. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, 1825-1860, 42, 46-48, 50 (Northfield, 1931).
<2> Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 36, 38, 381-385.
<3> Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 52, 391; Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America: The American Transition, 601-616 (Northfield, 1940).
<4> Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 41, 52-54.
<5> Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 54, 55.
<6> Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 61-63; Rasmus B. Anderson, First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration, 1821-1840, 104 (Madison, Wisconsin, 1895).
<7> Arad Thomas, Pioneer History of Orleans County, 273 (Albion, New York, 1871).
<8> Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 382.
<9> Helen Cowan, Charles Williamson, Genesee Promoter, Friend of Anglo American Rapprochement, 3, 4 (Rochester Historical Society Publications, vol. 19-Rochester, New York, 1941); Thomas, Orleans County, 16; Alexander C. Flick, ed., History of the State of New York, 5: 154, 155 (New York, 1934).
<10> Flick, History of New York, 157.
<11> Flick, History of New York, 158.
<12> Flick, History of New York, 159.
<13> Isaac S. Signor, Landmarks of Orleans County, 36 (Syracuse, New York, 1894).
<14> Orsamus Turner, History of the Pioneer Settlement of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase, 565 (Rochester, New York, 1870).
<15> Orleans County Deeds, Liber 82, p. 65; Liber 85, P. 228; Liber 86, p. 229. The Harwick will is in Liber 92, p. 579. These records are to be found in the office of the county clerk at Albion, New York. The item about Christina Harwick's death is in Index of Surrogate's Records: Wills and Administration:
Prior to 1897. The petition for letters of administration, dated October 5, 1883, gives the date of death only as "Month of October" and lists Henry Harwick as "Only heir and next of kin," which further supports the assumption that Harwick survived both his children. Surrogate's office, Albion, New York.
<16> Signor, Landmarks of Orleans County, 3-5.
<17> "Letter Book 1810-1815," p. 175, Pulteney Papers. These papers are in the office of the Steuben County Clerk at Bath, New York.
<18> "Letter Book July, 1819-Nov. 1824," p. 562, Pulteney Papers.
<19> Anderson, First Chapter, 96.
<20> "Agency Cash Book," Pulteney Papers. This cash book covers the years 1842-50 but is unpaged. "Book page" in the table refers to the ledgers.
<21> "Estate of Lady Bath: Abstract of debts due the Surviving Executor of the late Countess of Bath, 1st January, 1839; and under the Agency of Joseph Fellows." Not paged; Pulteney Papers.
<22> Anderson, First Chapter, 99.
<23> Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 385.
<24> Robert Troup to Joseph Fellows, January 14, 1825, in the Troup Papers, New York Public Library.
<25> Troup to Fellows, January 20, 24, February 5, 22, 1827; Troup Papers.
<26> Troup to Fellows. February 21, 27, 1828; Troup Papers.
<27> Troup to James Taggart et al., March 21, 1828; Troup Papers.
<28> Troup to Fellows, July 14, 1828, Troup to Abraham Cantine et al, July 25, 1828, Troup to Cantine, July 30, 1828; Troup Papers.

 

<<   Previous Page   |   Next Page   >>


 

Contact Us | Privacy | Legal
Comments, questions and feedback can be directed to naha@stolaf.edu.
Copyright © 2000-2016, The Norwegian-American Historical Association. All rights reserved.

 

To the Home Page