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SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK

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DANIEL McALPIN
After serving 40 years in the service of the British Army, Captain Daniel McAlpin decided to make America his home. With his wife Mary and three children, James Murray, Isabella and Mary, he settled at Saratoga Lake, then the Town of Stillwater. In May of 1774 he purchased on the west side of Saratoga Lake in the present Town of Malta between 900 and 1000 acres of land and immediately proceeded to improve it. His first house was built in 1775 and he managed to cultivate between 50 and 60 acres.His second house was built in 1776 and he made it his primary residence. Both houses were timber log plankered and floored. The houses were valued at 100 and 200 respectively. A value of 1 Sterling per acre unimproved and 2.10 Sterling improved was placed on the land. Captain McAlpin had 20-25 servants in constant employ on his farm. By the summer of 1777 there were at least 170 acres in high cultivation. James Campbell a fellow Loyalist lived 25 miles from McAlpin. In March 1777 he was walking the farm with McAlpin. He attests to "at least" 170 acres in high cultivation and states that McAlpins farm was well stocked. He places a value of 250 Sterling on the stock. Mr Campbell also tells us that McAlpin had a great deal of furniture which he assumes to be worth about 125 Sterling. Mr Campbell also remembers that there were "many hundreds of Bushels of wheat in the barn" and a "large quantity of farm utensils." Captain McAlpin purchased a large portion of his land at Saratoga Lake from "one Palmer" according to testimony from his wife Mary McAlpin. One can assume that this is Beriah Palmer who at the time was acting as an agent for absentee land owners. McAlpin also purchased 125 acres from Edward and Ebeneezer Jessup in 1775. The name Clarke has been associated with the purchase and a claim of a mortgage was later placed against the estate by Thomas Barry and Joshua Bloore. Barry and Bloore were Merchants of Albany NY. They are listed as suppliers for the Continental army as well as their apparent business of making loans against real estate. They also acted as bondsmen. Each were members of St. Peter's Anglican Church of Albany. Captain McAlpin also was granted 3000 acres of land in Gloucester which was then in the province of New York but now in the state of Vermont. He received this by grant from Governor Tyron in 1773. McAlpin also purchased 3000 acres from a Mr.Kelly and others the same year. Mary McAlpin states that her husband owned "6000 acres on the White River at a place called Sun Castle." All these acres as well as his estate at Saratoga would be eventually seized by the New American Government. His property at Saratoga was seized by order of the Albany Committee dated 9 October 1777. Michael Dunning of Malta, George Palmer of Stillwater and James Gordon of Ballston as "Commisssioners Appointed by The State for the Purpose of Securing Tory Effects" seized all McAlpin's land and effects. Captain McAlpin was a staunch Loyalist and soon to find himself persecuted by what he considered to be "a pack of Rebels". In August of 1775 Captain McAlpin was summoned by the Committee of Albany to join the Rebel cause and attend training with all his servants. Although the summons was repeated McAlpin managed to avoid the order until May 1776. On the 18th of May McAlpin was brought before the Albany Committee with Lt. Thomas Swords and John and Thomas Mann. McAlpin refused to join the Rebels and it was ordered "Captain McAlpin and Lieut. Swords to their lodgings with a sentry at their door." The Manns were dismissed and released. On the 5th of June 1776 it was ordered by the Committee that Captain McAlpin, Lt. Swords and James Munro be "removed from the place where they are now confined and confine them in the room prepared for them at the fort." McAlpin and Swords with John Munro were put in the Tory Goal at the Fort in Albany. McAlpin remained there until 19 July 1776 when he was liberated on parole as long as he did not leave the City of Albany without the permission of the Committee. It was ordered July 1776 that Daniel McAlpin, Thomas Swords, John Munro and 26 others be removed to Connecticut to be "disposed of as Governer Turnbull shall order and direct." They were directed to leave on the following Monday under guard of Coll.VanSchaick. McAlpin and Swords "with others" sent a letter dated 27 July 1776 asking for a delay in their departure. This was granted and it ordered they "Depart from this place for Connecticut on Friday next." Mary McAlpin was frantic for the safety of her husband. She appeared before the Committee and asked for her husband to be Liberated upon his entering into parole. Her request was denied. On 2 August 1776 the board reversed itself and ordered Daniel McAlpin held over until the next General meeting due to his offer to "Sign a Parole of the Tenor." McAlpin was released on Parole and it was resolved to appoint a committee to send to General Schuyler to ask him whether "he conceives it proper that Capt. McAlpin should be liberated from confinement, upon certain restrictions and what those restrictions should be." The appointees were John Taylor and Philip P. Schuyler. The General determined that due to his advanced age that little or no harm might be expected from McAlpin and he had no objections to his release. Mary McAlpin states that "Due to his ill state of health he was permitted to return to his estate on his parole." The Committee ordered he be released and permitted to go home under restrictions. Mary McAlpin states her husband was confined for a total of 15 weeks. Still refusing to join the Rebel cause McAlpin was active in recruiting men for the King from his Saratoga Lake home. It is later noted that McAlpin brought over 300 men to the ranks of the King's Army. Six weeks after his release his house was surrounded by a party of the American Forces and he was made prisoner and detained while his house, barns, outbuildings and the area were searched. It was well known of McAlpins attachment to the King's cause and he was constantly harassed by his neighbors and the American Rebels as he called. It was also well known that there was a large body of Loyalists in the area both at Ballston and Newtown (Smith Corners, Town of Halfmoon). Joseph Bettys the spy was from Ballston and Stephen Hooper of the Round Lake was a spy operating in the area. Many Loyalists suffered greatly at the hand of their neighbors. The following extract from the "Andover Review" for May, 1889, is taken from the "Montreal Star" of June, 1889, it gives us some idea of the ill- treatment the Loyalists received from the Rebels, and the provocation which led the former to inflict such heavy punishment upon their persecutors:
"There was naturally persecution of Loyalists during the eight years of strife. Measures were adopted in citizens' private committees and Acts in Legislative bodies for punishment of the adherents of the Crown. Tar and feathers were the usual decree of the mob, and the committees varied it by house-breaking, smoking out, cattle maiming, and poisoning, way-laying, insulting, plundering, and driving the owner from his estate, or shutting him up-a prisoner in his neighbor's house, or even in gaol. Legislative penalties were more dignified, but also more severe. Prescription, confiscation, banishment, imprisonment, transportation with prohibition of returning, attaining of treason, were the usual awards."
McAlpin was soon to experience such treatment. In February 1777 Captain McAlpin received information that he was to be arrested again. He gathered all his male servants and according to Mary McAlpin "betook himself to the woods" where he remained for a fortnight waiting to join with a party of Loyalists and flee to Canada there to join Burgoyne. McAlpin and 41 others made a break for Canada . Here we have conflicting information. Mary McAlpin states that it was February and Captain McAlpin remained in the woods for a "Fortnight" which is two weeks. Mary tells us that due to his being closely watched by the Rebels the Loyalists are immediately pursued by a large body of their militia and the party of Loyalists are captured. Captain McAlpin escaped and hid in the hollow of a tree for a week. No small feat for a man of advanced age in an Adirondack Winter. At that time some local Loyalists found a place for him to hide until he could joined Burgoyne at Ft. Edward which he did. The Committee of Saratoga reported that a dangerous Combination was carried on against the United States of America at one "Captain McAlpins" in April. The Committee ordered McAlpin's estate searched and all of McAlpin's papers to be seized and brought before the board. On 9 April 1777 the Committee is informed that "Daniel McAlpin, John Morrel, Thomas Swords and others the principal Ringleaders in a dangerous Conspiracy" had made their escape. It is not until the 17th April 1777 that Col. VanSchaick is called for and told that McAlpin and a number of Torys are gone to Canada by way of Jessup's Patent and through the woods to Crown Point. It is ordered that parties be sent out from Ft. George and Ticonderoga to intercept them and a reward of 100 dollars be given for the capture of each person. We do know that Col.VanSchaick was successful but was it February or April? Were all captured or did others escape with McAlpin? Captain McAlpin was given a command of the Corps he had raised by order of Sir William Howe. According to Neil Robertson, a Lt. in McAlpin's Corps of Volunteers, McAlpin began to raise this unit in September of 1776. I believe McAlpin's Corps was attached to Brig. Fraser's Brigade as was Captain Edward Jessup's Corps of Loyal Americans. Peter Drummond who lived with McAlpin at Saratoga Lake was commissioned a Lt. on 4 November 1776. Records indicate he was an officer in Jessup's Corp of Loyal American Rangers. I mention him because he lived with McAlpin and in 1781 he is listed as belonging to "Late Major McAlpin's Corps" I find it odd that he is not listed as an officer with McAlpin in a list of his officers in August 1777. Mary McAlpin who remained at home in Malta was soon to suffer the fate of many Loyalists and their families. According to Mary McAlpin's testimony "From the day her husband left to the day she was forced from her home the Captain's house was never without parties of the Rebels present. They lived at their discretion and sometimes in very large numbers. They destroyed what they could not consume.Shortly after the capture of the fleeing Loyalists a group of armed Rebels with blackened faces broke into the McAlpin's dwelling house. They threatened Mary and her children with violence and menace of instant death. They confined them to the kitchen while they stripped every valuable from the home. A few days after this, by an order of the Albany Committee, a detachment of Rebel Forces came and seized upon the remainder of McAlpin's estate both real and personal." Mary McAlpin was taken with her children in a wagon to Stillwater. They were locked in a small cold hut "without fire, table, chairs or any other convenience." There they remained for a week before being taken to Albany. On the 9th of May 1777 an order was issued by the Committee that the familys of Capt.McAlpin and Johnathan Jones be immediately removed and all such effects belonging to them seized. It was resolved that George Palmer, Dunning and Gordon effectually seize all the goods and Chattels belonging to McAlpin and Jones. It appears the leader of the Rebels with Blackened Faces was a Major Nicholson. A committee of Mr.Taylor and Mr.Cuyler discussed the complaint of George Palmer concerning the actions at McAlpin's with General Gates . On 27 May 1777 the committee reported that General Gates highly disapproved of the conduct of Nicholson and ordered him to deliver the effects taken from McAlpin to to Mr.George Palmer at once. On 28 May 1777 George Palmer reported that the families and effects of McAlpin and Jones were at Stillwater.He also reported that Mrs.Jones desired to go to Pittstown to her mother's house and Mrs.McAlpin desired to be removed to Albany. They were ordered to be moved at their own expense and to take with them only the clothes they were wearing. At this time Chauncey Grahm jr and Charles Moore were instructed to join Palmer in disposing of the McAlpin and Jones effects. On 25 September 1777 George Palmer appeared before the committee and informed them that "some time since by order of this board" he had seized a Considerable Quantity of furniture,farming utensils and cattle formerly belonging to Capt.McAlpin. He asked that the cattle be sold due to the want of pasture and the advance of the British Troops. The cattle were sold the next day. McAlpin participated in the ill-fated Battles of Saratoga with Burgoyne. After the defeat he refused to surrender to General Gates. He and many of the Loyalists he commanded made their escape to Canada. McAlpin continued in the service of the Crown. He was elevated to the rank of Major of a Corps of Older Loyalists and placed on Barrack duty. According to Mary McAlpin her husband continued to command until "Through long and severe fatigue his health was so impaired and his constitution so broken and worn out that he never recovered." After languishing five months he died. This was sometime after March 1780. At that time he had signed a statement for Issac Mann Jr. attesting to his service in the Revolution. Richard Dorrough 1996

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Richard Dorrough and Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County
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