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Ebenezer Belknap to MVB, 25 September 1817


It appears on examination, that the lots of Delancy were sold by the commissioners of the State, to John Hembrow—an Englishman who came from on board a British Ship of war, soon after the peace of 1783—that he occupied the said land as a Garden for a Short time—was then convicted of Forgery and counterfiting money, for which he was condemned to Suffer death. Before the time of execution, he broke Jail & went to upper Canada where lived a few years ago, when he died, leaving no heirs. If confiscation of property at that time, followed condemnation, the land (I think) must belong to the State on that ground—if not, could he hold the land being a foreigner? Or, at any rate, must not the land revert to the State, as he had no legal heirs? Hembrow had indeed two children, but they were by a Kept woman & not by a lawful wife. I was myself at his house ten & or twelve years ago & knew the circumstances of the women, tho' I knew nothing about the land at that time—only that I often heard him say he had lands in the city of N: York.

I have made out a new Statement, supposing the old one cannot answer. If the name of Delancy ought to be expunged, I would thank you to erase, if not, please to present it to the Surveyor General in its present form. The facts above Stated, I am able to prove. Please to inform me, if I am correct in my conclusions. And also please to inform me if the whole be advertised again?

I have advertised these lands eight weeks in the Albany Argus & in the National Advocate New York—this was finished (I believe) last Februar[y] but I advertised them as Delancy's lands—not mentioning the name of Hembrow.

Be so good Sir, as to charge me with a fee and write to me Soon as possible.

I am Sir, your humble Servant

Ebenezer Belknap

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Source: N-Ar New York State Archives
Collection: Attorney General Papers (N-Ar)
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)