Sep 24, 2020 - Sale 2546

Sale 2546 - Lot 77

Price Realized: $ 3,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
(COLONIAL WARS.) Letter describing Indian scouts and raiding parties on the New York frontier in King George's War. Unsigned manuscript letter in period hand to unknown recipient. 1 pages, 12 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches; laid into paper mat and silked on verso, irregularly trimmed, folds, moderate wear and soiling. Saratoga, NY, 5[?] May 1746

Additional Details

This letter captures the spirit of the small raids which characterized King George's War on the northern New York frontier, with the French and their American Indian allies repeatedly attacking smaller settlements. The far northern settlement at Saratoga (now the village of Schuylerville) had been destroyed in a such a raid in November 1745, with civilians moving further south. Here, a British and Indian scouting party operating in this northern no-man's land reports seeing tracks of a raiding party heading south from Lac du Saint-Sacrement (soon to be renamed Lake George) to the outlying English settlement at Schenectady. The news was sent with haste to the settled area, but men were in short supply--the recipient was urged to send the messenger back north immediately, as no man could be spared for long. In full:
"Saraghtogue, 5 May 1746. Gentlemen: This day our scouts went out to the westward & just now Gerrit Quackenboss with one Indian returned and informs me that on the road from the lake St. Sacrama to Schenectady they found that a number of the enemy had passed. They compute there had been ab't 70 in number who were gone directly to Schenectady. The tracts seemed fresh, gone yesterday at farthest. The remainder of the scouts are not yet come in, for they expected to find more farther. Please to send the bearrer up directly. I am, gentlemen, your humble serv't.
The letter bears an intriguing postscript: "P.S. Brant the Indian desires the news may be sent to the Mohawks' country forthwith." The Brants were an important family among the British-allied Mohawks throughout the 18th century; this note may refer to the sachem Peter Brant who became the stepfather of the famous Joseph Brant.