Thursday, March 26, 2015

THOSE PLACES THURSDAY: KIMBER FORT AND MILL

The following post was previously published Feb. 5, 2015 on my other blog Casper Kimber Connections.

6th Great Grandparents George Kimber and Sarah Westfall’s claim to fame sits on Rt. 284 in Unionville, New York. Their neighbors, James Clark and Sarah Van Auken, shared the limelight with them.

Kimber Fort, New York State Historical Marker
Kimber Fort, Rt. 284 on the state line between
New Jersey and New York in Unionville, NY
Image shared Courtesy of Ancestry.com Member dondew 2281

The New York State historical marker above celebrates George Kimber’s early settlement at Unionville in the Town of Minisink, Orange County, New York. Great Grandfather’s lands straddled the New Jersey/New York state line and were part of the border wars known as the New York – New Jersey Line War. Raids between the Sussex County, New Jersey and Orange County, New York men began as early as 1701 and lasted until 1765. During this time, George Kimber bought land.

No deeds were recorded in Orange County. However, I was able to locate George Kimber in early records.

Richard Gardner, a surveyor, was hired by the New Jersey Proprietors to find out what settlers lived along the Wallkill River. It was all about money. The New Jersey Proprietors wanted anybody on the disputed lands to get a lease and pay a fee. If not, they would be kicked out.

George appeared in Mr. Gardner’s October 13, 1752 entry. On this particular day Richard Gardner visited Jonathan Cooly’s place. Jonathan Cooly had previously bought 100 acres for 40 Pounds from the Bloom’s and Wisner’s. He was worried the New Jersey Proprietors would claim it. Mr. Gardner told him Jersey would give him a lease and warned if he didn’t secure his land with a lease somebody else might come along and take it. Mr. Cooly decided it would be wise to have a lease. Jonathan’s brother, Isaac Cooly, and George Kimbel heard their conversation and they both agreed to take leases for land which was about 3 miles to the west. George told the other men how he was thrown off land about a month ago where he had lived for seven years owned by Mr. Clows.

In February of 1753 William Tilsworth sent a letter to Thomas Dekay, a New York man, asking if Dekay would defend him if he didn’t take a Jersey lease. Dekay was a feisty one and sent word that he would defend him. Furthermore, he would burn down the houses of those that had already taken leases. A few of the men were worried but Richard Gardner said Dekay was just mad. Dekay had promised to pull down Richard Gardner’s house last fall and hadn’t been there yet. Mr. Gardner named Great Grandfather as one of a group from the Drowned Lands that already taken leases. I hope Great Grandfather didn’t have to tangle with Thomas Dekay and his sons.

I learned of Richard Gardner’s Journal from Frances Sodrick, the late Pine Island, New York Historian. Frances prepared abstracts of the journal. Recently I found Liese Uptegrove-Ade’s transcription “Diary of Richard Gardiner Surveyor for the Proprietors of New Jersey, October 1752 - March 1753” online at


prepared using a photocopy of the original manuscript in the possession of the New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey. Many thanks to both for their work.

Transcriptions of Richard Gardner’s journal entries follow. They contain the vernacular of the times and I suggest you read the entries aloud.


     “Octob. 13 [1752] I went to Jonathan Culy’s which is about a mile West from James Walls. He told me that he had bought one hundred acres of land thare, for 40 pound, of the Blooms and Weasnor – I asked him if he was not afraid the Jerseys would take it, he said he was, and if he had known as much when he bought as he did now he would not have bought. I told him the proprietors did not simply holding the land as far as the Line that was run by Mr. Clinton, and would Lease and defend it so far. I also show’d him a Lease, he further said that if takeing a Lease of the proprietors would not hinder his recovering the money he gave for his deed, he would take a Lease. I told him when the Line is confirm’d I sopos’d he might recover his money if he Lease’d as well as if he did not Lease if it fell in the Jersey side, he said that he would take a Lease for a hundred acres joining, and if he could find out that he could recover his mony if he Leased he would come under Lease, I told him that that he had got good land and if he did not secure it somebody would would (sic) for him before long. He said he was afraid of it, thare happen’d to be his brother Isaac Cooly & George Kimbal by and heard us talek, and theay both agreed to take Leases for land that lay westward from thare about 3 miles from thare, that them theay might have it provided that theay would settle it imeditely which theay agreed too. Said Kimbal told me that about 7 years agow he settled a place about ½ a mile below Clinton’s Line upon that Mr. Clows own’d, and that theay turn’d him of it about a month past. – He said Jonathan Cooly’s Land is well timbered and meadow’d and is worth 60£ per hundred I think and has cleard near 20 acres, and been settled about two years.”

“On or about the 20th of February 1753. William Tilsworth wrote a letter to Dekay for an answer to know whether the patentees would defend him if he did not lease of proprietors, which he was to let him know immediately after the Supreme Court in New York. Dekay afew days aftar send John Hubs to tell him that he would come in a few days and survey out his land and give him a lease and defend him, and those that he had taken leases of them or else theay would burn down their houses over their heads, which Boysleon Courtrait, Jacob Bogart and and several others ware very uneasy about it and theay told of their news, unto me. I told them that Dekay would not come for he only was in a mad fit, for he threttend to pull my house down last faul, but he haint been yet, nor wolt come, neither will any of the patentees agree with him for to lease and defend any of the settlements heare away. & he is not sufficient of himself to defent himself, I told them also that I had been down the Drounded Land lately and James Bill, George Walls, James Walls, Benjamin Knap, George Kimbal, Isaac Culy, Jacob Midday, and Thomas Schonehover, have all taken lease now, and several other would but the snow coming on put it by, so that Dekay will have but a very small number on this side the Wallkill that will comply with his motion if any.  P. Cortrait Sd that Joseph Barton had got a title bond of Weasoner and the Blooms. I told him I saw it, and I put him out of conceit so that he wrote to me since I came from thare for a lease and Joseph Wallen, Ruben Knap and Hendrick Dacker Jr., had sent for me to come and lease to them, but the blank leases is all filed so that I have not for them yet, well says he if all them comes under leaes Dekay may stay at home.”


It took 222 years but George Kimber's deed did make its way back to Orange County. His deed dated December 13, 1762 granted by the New Jersey Proprietors was presented to the Town of Minisink by Margaret W. Myers in March 1984 and is currently in possession of the Minisink Museum. The deed was for 2 tracts of land containing about 161 acres. The first tract contained 90 acres and 24/100 of an acre and was situated between Joseph Barton and Elijah Inman's lands. The second tract ‘on the west branch of the Wallkill most northerly corner of a tract of land ‘returned to said George Kimber the tenth day of August 1759’.

My Line
6th Great Grandfather George Kimber and wife Sara Westfael
5th Great Grandfather Samuel Kimber and wife Maria Bennett
4th Great Grandfather Benjamin Kimber and wife Keziah Bennett
3rd Great Grandmother Charity Kimber and husband William P. Clark
2nd Great Grandfather Jeremiah B. Clark and wife Harriet C. Ogden
Great Grandmother Grace Lee Clark and husband Jerome W. Wilson
Grandmother Viola Lillian Wilson and husband Frank Leroy Doty
My Mother
Myself

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