Ebenezer Belknap

Ebenezer Belknap (c1761-1842) was an inspector of customs at the Customs House in New York City. In 1817 he wrote to MVB, the state's attorney general, asking for advice regarding the legal status of nine plots of land in New York City that Belknap concluded were forefeited to the state because their former owner was not a U.S. citizen. Belknap sought confirmation of the veracity of his discovery because, if he was correct, he would receive 25% of the value of the land as a finder's fee when it was sold.