the earliest

The earliest history of Saugerties is a 1770 document refered to as "The Memorandum" kept in the Special Collections room of the New York State Library.

A digital copy of The Memorandum with its writing transcribed is found here. Its full title is "Memorandum for a brief for Lt. Swords' trial, 1770". It is a single sheet of note paper with a scribbled list of events put into chronological order by adding numbers placed independent of the order of the writing. The names of occupants and ownerships from the first Indian deed up to the time of the writing is listed.

The numbers organize a progression of history supporting a November 6, 1767 Crown grant of 2000 acres overlaying much of the present Village of Saugerties and extending west over the Hoogebergs at the Winston Farm.

It is a document written by William Cockburn in his capacity as land surveyor. In the eighteenth century the surveying profession required a knowledge of most of the important historical references of the community. Surveyors used their archive of ancient deeds and maps and notes daily for varifying the boundaries they marked. Will Cockburn's notes and sketches fill ten cartons in the State Archives' Cockburn Collection.

William Cockburn was not just a local surveyor. He was surveyor and confidant to Cadwallender Colden, the Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of New York; a recognized intellectual of the period. This memorandum can be trusted to have used some pretty solid sources that are yet to be discovered in these cartons.


1. Act of Assembly in 1683

2. Patent of Kingston

3. Indian deed to Esopus where Tediachkemach (the Esopus Kill) is the northern boundry

4. Martin VanBergens affidavit to prove the Kattskill Indians claimed so far down Hudson River to the south that the Corporation made no purchase from them

5. The conspicuousness of the Esopus Creek for to fix the bounds of a County and the extreme smallness of the other creek about a miles distance

6. That Peter Winne commonly called Pet the Sawyer lived on the big creek, a vestage of his house still visable, from him it took its name. Afterward it was called John Woods Creek from his living on it and now Jacobus Pierces Creek for the same reason, as well as the Esopus Kill.

8. Sawyer had a sawmill on the little creek from whence it was called Saw Creek and afterwards by other names of persons living on it, very small and almost dry more as half way up and sometimes no running water at the mouth

9. When High Germans came over about 1710 the Corporation did not claim over the big creek as will appear by the Germans making terpentine on the north side (now Sagertjes) and were forbid when they came over the creek and told by the trustees that land on the south side was the Corporations and must therefor keep on the north side out of their bounds

10. That no lands being settled on the north til Lochermans the trustees about this time extended their claim and settled the High Germans under them

13. Mathews patent in 1731 in Albany

14. Ordinance in 1733

15. Warrant to run the line in 1765. The Justices objections that they concieved the Sawyers Kill the bounds of the County as far as it gave them an eastern extent northsouth it will not give them a western extent for the head is to the east of the mouth and within 1 1/2 mile of the Hudson River

16. The order of Council after a long hearing on the granting of Swordes patent

17. Patents of Lieutenant Swards, Josia Harper and Richard Spraight in 1767

18. The working on the highways and other public duties performed in Albany County to the southward of Valantine Fieros house

19. Valantine Fiero a Justice under Albany

20. William Snyder in Lochermans patent. Nicholas Trumpour formerly Valantine Fieros, Johannes Wynkoop, Evert Wynkoop, William Dedrick, Myndert Dedrick, Andrew Elich all in Mathews patent within the claim of the Corporation and alway done public duties in Albany and paid taxes. Johannes Trumpour land in the same patent paid duty in both counties

21. Hardenbergs patent is to go down the "Caderskill to the bounds Kingston on said kill". This makes against us and can only be answered in this manner: that Hardenberg was an Esopusman and probably allowed their extended claim in order fix a boundry for him. But it is denied that the great patent claimed much further which is evident from a verdict obtained against the corporation where now Sam Wells lives two miles to the eastward of the foot of the mountain (margin note: how can therefor an older patent by a younger)

22. Myndert Scutts patent in 1711 runs from Hudson River "at Sawyers Kill the bounds of Kingston" this must be answered the same way as above the Corporation claimed to the kill and began to settle. But it will not from there follow they had any right so to do. The sawyers Kill from the sawyer having his mill on it does not from there follow the large creek was not the sawyers creek also and the one certainly meant by the Legislature

23. Godfried DeWolfens patent the same answer

24. Meales and Hays ditto

25. Beekman and Livingston called Kiskatamaniske in 1719 says in "Albany or Ulster or both" They were sensible of the Corporation claim and in order to be sure expressed it in that manner tho if it was in Ulster that would not have saved their land from Kingston - but they have never pretended it.

The Great Knot, April 27, 2011

Michael Sullivan Smith, 2015
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