1. New Hampshire Land Grants

Caption: Example of township plan in grants (one of the earliest at 1749), of the town of Bennington (named after Benning Wentworth). (Vermont Historical Society)

In 1749, Benning Wentworth, the Royal Governor of New Hampshire, distributed land grants, “in townships of six miles square each, by the name of Hinsdale, Brattleboro, and Fulham” [1]. Other families then settled on the Hoosook River without titles were later granted land rights by Wentworth [1]. After New York Governor George Clinton heard of the land grants being distributed west of the Connecticut by Wentworth, he formally asked Wentworth to cease and desist. He claimed that New York owned the land that Wentworth was selling. Governor Wentworth ignored the request of Governor Clinton after several exchanges through pen and paper. The Governor of New York then began selling land to groups of settlers to start towns under New York jurisdiction [2]. New York went to the crown and attempted, “to prove that the colony had an ancient and indisputable title to the lands west of the Connecticut river, in virtue of a grant of King Charles II. to his brother James Duke of York, containing, ‘all lands from the west side of the Connecticut river, to the east side of the Delaware-bay” [3]. New York’s argument was shaky at best, but in 1764, the privy council sided with New York. The privy council’s ruling made all of the New Hampshire land purchases invalid, which meant they the towns established would have had to re-buy their land through New York [2].  Between 1749 and 1764 New Hampshire residents settled 129 towns in the New Hampshire Grants [4].

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Citations

  1. Ira Allen.  The Natural and Political History of the State of Vermont. London: J.W. Myers, NO. 2 Paternoster-Row, 1798. Reprint 1969. Japan: Tuttle Co., Inc, 18.
  2. Vermont History Explorer. New York Patents. Vermont Historical Society. Accessed March 28, 2017. https://vermonthistory.org/explorer/vermont-stories/becoming-a-state/the-new-york-patents.
  3. Ira Allen, The Natural and Political History of the State of Vermont, 22.
  4. Vermont History Explorer. New Hampshire Land Grants. Vermont Historical Society. https://vermonthistory.org/explorer/vermont-stories/becoming-a-state/the-new-hampshire-grants.

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