ISAAC DE GRAFF

By
James F. Morrison

 


State of New York
Schenectady County

    On this thirteenth day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and thirty-two personally appeared in open Court before the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for said County now sitting Isaac De Graff a resident of the City of Schenectady in said county; aged nearly seventy five years, who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress Passed June 7th 1832 -

    He was born in the then Township of Schenectady in the then County of Albany, now of Schenectady in the State, then Colony of New York on the 16th day of November 1757- the Record of his age as contained in his father's Bible.

    When he was called into the service of the United States in the army of the Revolution, he was living in the then Village now City of Schenectady aforesaid and since the Revolutionary War he has lived in the then Township of Schenectady and since the incorporation of said city in 1798. he has always lived in the city aforesaid -

    He entered the Service of the United States i in the   month of October 1776 as asst. Deputy Commissary of Issues - He received his appointment under that date from Elisha Avery Deputy Commissary General of Issues.  He was stationed at the then Frontier post of Johnstown in he then County of Tryon now County of Montgomery in said State.  He continued to serve under said appointment until about the month of August 1777 when said Avery resigned his office.  He the claimant was then continued in the same station of Deputy Commissary of Issues by appointment from Ebenezer Winship Deputy General Commissary of Issues as successor to said Elisha Avery and he served at the same station at this last appointment until about the month of October 1778.  when James Gray succeeded said Ebenezer Winship.  By said James Gray the claimant was continued in office until the first-July in the year 1780.  When in consequence of a change made in the Issuing Commissary department at the post of Johnstown aforesaid on the 1st July 1780 his term of service closed.

    The whole of the period for which the claimant served as Commissary of Issues was about [crossed out nine months] three years and eight months.

    The following are the names of some of the regular officers whom he knew or who were with troops stationed at the posts where he served and such Continental and malitia regiments or companies as he can recollect.  viz:   Colonel James Livingston Regiment, Colonel Goose Van Schaicks, Colonel Lewis Dubois Colonel Frederick Fisher's of Militia - The French Refugees under Captain Mannay:   Major Ezekiel Taylor of the Militia.  Captain Samuel Sackett of the Continental troops Captain William Satterlee's also of the Continental troops Captain Walter Vrooman of the Rangers besides others which might be enumerated.

    His different appointments as aforesaid and Sundry vouchers and letters relating to his services were in his possession until the 17th of November 1819 when the same with most of his other papers were destroyed in the great fire which at that time devastated part of the City of Schenectady then these he had no other documentary evidences.  He can produce others who can testify to his services besides those whose depositions are hereunto annexed.  He flatters himself however that there will be sufficient evidence of his services to be found in the department of Washington -

    The following are the names of persons to whom he is known in his present neighborhood & who can testify as to his character for veracity & then belief of his services as a Commissary of Issues as aforesaid viz Simon A. Groot of the City of Schenectady & John Sanders of the town of Glensville in said County of Schenectady.

    He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State -

Subscribed and Sworn                                                                             Isaac Degraff
the day and year aforesaid
John L. Vrooman Clerk

SOURCE:  PENSION APPLICATION S23193 [N.Y.], NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WASHINGTON, D.C..


Isaac De Graff, although he lived until 1844, very few of his papers has surfaced which is due in part by his collection of manuscripts burning up in a fire.   I have searched for Elisha Avery's Papers and I have so far found very few.   Isaac must have sent letters and copies of inventories to Avery.

Isaac could have given a good insight as to what was kept in Fort Johnstown and to what troops, items or supplies were issued.  Perhaps he could have given more insight on Captain John Littel, who commanded Fort Johnstown at various times or on the Third Battalion of Tryon County Militia which garrisoned the fort.

From a letter of Captain Samuel Sacket of the Fourth New York Continental Regiment of February 26, 1779, we learn of a fire at Fort Johnstown which gives some interesting information.  We learn that there were barracks, stables and a list of stores that belonged to the Commissary of Issues and about the fire that was unknown until this letter surfaced in THE PETER GANSEVOORT PAPERS, NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY.

Three other items of note that is not mentioned in his pension application and should be discussed.  The first, what is his rank.  According to many historians such as Nelson Greene, claim that Isaac acted as a Major in the Commissary Department.  This maybe true as Nicholas Quakenboss of Captain Jacob Gardinier's Company [First Company], was appointed to the Quartermaster Department in 1782 and from some of his correspondence that exist, he is at times addressed as  Major.  DeGraff has also been listed by Lou D. MacWethy as serving as a Major in the Third Regiment of Tryon County Militia which is also incorrect.

The second item, again several historians such as Greene and MacWethy in their Rosters of the Battle Oriskany of those men engaged, killed, wounded or captured at this battle list Isaac as being engaged.  It would seem that if Isaac was in this battle, which was the bloodiest battle fought on New York State soil, he would mention that he was there.  There are no affadavits from witnesses to his service that say he was at Oriskany either.

The third item:  did he have any staff or a special detachment to guard these stores.  Did the guards or staff come from the various detachments that were stationed at Fort Johnstown.  So far I haven't found any lists with names or letters that suggest that he had either which may support that idea that men from various detachments at the fort were drafted to assist or guard the Continental Stores.

  


DEGRAFF Family Papers

 

The following letters are from the DeGraff family papers, Amsterdam and they were printed in the
Amsterdam Democrat, November 11, 1897, page 1.

 

Tribers Hill December 30th 1775

Capt. Emmanuel DeGraff’s Company is to consist of all abled bodied men below the village creek and south side of the Mohawk River between the King road and the river until it comes to the county line, and the north side of the river northward or up the river until it comes to the division of Hanson and Abeel’s patent.

By order of the Committee
Sampson Sammons
Deputy Chairman

 


Warrensborough July 12 1777


Sir You are hereby Required by orders from the General to Deliver out of your Company Six able Bodied Men Immediately without Delay with four days Provisions to march to Fort Schuyler.
        N.B. Your men are to meet with the other Companies at Capt. Robert Yates at ye Nose with all Speed.

From your obedient servant
John Bliven Majr



To Capt Emanuel DeGraff

Caughnawaga Octr 19th 1776

Sir
    You are hereby commanded by order of the committee to me directed to apprehend Timothy McCartey and son and commit them forthwith to Johnstown goal; and also to make diligent search after these Torys which have deserted from Albany, to wit; Cornelius Phillips, Hendrick Brown, Francis Pruyn, Melia Knight and John Gibson. You are also ordered by the General to fine all them that were warned in Albanybush and were to appear on the day according to the warning.

Frederick Fisher Col.

 

 

To Capt Emanuel DeGraff

Caughnawaga Sept. 11th 1778

Sir I require you hereby to march your company to the house of Mart Van Alstine, well armed and two days rations, so that you can be there the 13th inst at 10 o’clock in the morning.

Sir, I am your obedient servant
Frederick Fisher Col.


To Capt Emanuel DeGraff

The following excerpts are from Colonel Frederick Visscher’s Copy Book for 1779. This copy book also contains part of the year for 1780. Sometimes orderly books, journals, diaries, account books, etc. contained entries twenty years past their intended use which proves the lack of paper at times and that no matter how out dated it may be there was always use for it at another time.

Caughnawaga March the 28 1780

Sir

    I have ordered one third of the Regt to Sacondaga block house and Luck upon it proper that a Field Officer Schould take the Command I therefore hereby Require you to Repair to Johnstown tomorrow morning and Recaive the Detachmant so ordered and march them to Sacondga block house and there take your Station and from there you Seand Schouts towards Crownpoint they schould by Rite Stay out 3 days and after the first Schout is gone a day you Seand an other for feare of an Axcidant.

    I have ordered part of the men to Take Snow Schoes along for that purpose - I Reacon it would be proper that you Seand one other Schout to the Northweast from the Poast.

    Sir as sone as you make eny discovery you Let me know by Exsprass I trust upon you that if the Enemy Schould Cum that they Schould not get you in a Surpraise as they have dun at Skansburgh which is a Leate Exsemple.

Sir I am your H. Sirt
F. Fisher Colo


Colo Veeder

March the 29 ordered the Remainder of the Regt onder Arms and Stationed as follows...
Captains De graaf McMaster & yomans at ould Fort Johnsson Snocks at Trips Hill

Mebes at Conyns

Fisher and Gardenier at Buttelbery

Yetes and Veeder at Adam Fondas
and Pages, wimples, wimps to Johnstown untill farther orders

March 30th the above ordered to keep gaurd both by Night and day and to Send Schouts out

Sir
    I find it Nescassary to order a Court Marcial to Leve Fins upon all the delinquents that have neglected there Duty when ordered out in actual sirvis.

    I therefor Require you to be Presidand of Seaid Court and procaide there on Tuesday Neaxt the Fourt of this Instant, Seaid Court is ordered for Captains De Graaf, McMaster, Yomans, Mebe, Lieut Thomas Van Horner, Peter Young, Francis Pruin, Josiaeh Swart, Lowerns Schowler, Peter Van Olinder.

To Major Newkerek

 


   

Linda Kreisher generously typed the following information.   She is researching the FONDA family starting with Douw Jellise b.1640 appx. and the Marlette family starting with Gedeon b. 1624.  Most of her research has been centered around New Jersey and New York, especially Albany, Fultonville, Fonda, Herkimer & Montgomery Counties and the Mohawk Valley. 

  


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Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:36:07 PDT