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Moses Cantine

On Ulster County, New York, Census 1689  Moyse (Moses) Cantain, a French Protestant, whose wife had died on the passage to America.

History of New Paltz, New York   The first attempt at writing anything of a historical nature concerning New Paltz that we have seen is contained in the following paper, written by grandfather Peter LeFever and dated 1830.  One leaf of the original seems to be torn off and the memorandum begins abruptly as follows:  "It appears they settled in what is now called the old village and it is said they all laboured together and cleared their lands at first and afterwards divided the cleared lands by parole, without deed. On the 25th day of August, 1703, some of the original proprietors were then dead: the survivors met together and conveyed by their deed, bearing the above date, to each Patentee then living his proportion of the cleared land in their possession as the same had been divided by parole, and also his undivided twelfth part of the whole patent; and also conveyed to the legal representatives of the original patentees who were then dead, the full share of their ancestors. Andries Lefever having died without lawful issue, Simon Lefever being dead, they conveyed to Andries Lefever, Isaac Lefever, John Lefever and Mary Lefever, the three sons and daughter of Simon Lefever, all the lots and parcels belonging to them from their father Simon Lefever and from their uncle Andries Lefever; and also one fifth part of their grandfather's land (Christeyan Deyou, usually called Grandpere) as the same had been laid out and divided by parole and then in their possession; together with two twelfth parts and one fifth of a twelfth part of the whole patent of all the lands not yet laid out and divided.
Simon Lefever had been married to Elizabeth Deyou, daughter of the said Christeyan Deyou, called Grandpere in the French language, which means grand-father, who had devised to his son Peter and his four daughters each one fifth part of his land. His son Peter was also a patentee.
The widow of Simon Lefever afterwards married Moses Cantine, who was also a French refugee, by whom she had one son, viz. Peter Cantine, Esq., to whom the Patentees gave no share of the land of his mother, who thought he ought to have shared in his mother's land. (Peter Cantine was my mother's father.)
The Patentees afterwards entered into an article in writing to elect at their annual town meeting twelve men to represent the twelve Patentees--one from the descendants of each Patentee, who, to entitle them to that office must be a descendant of such Patentee he represented and a freeholder by heirship in such Patentee's share. These "Twelve Men," so called, had their by-laws, kept a book and record of their proceedings, made divisions of the whole patent (except some land on the north side of the patent and some other small lots) and entered their proceedings in a book. These "Twelve Men" were also empowered by another bond, or instrument in writing to defend the boundaries of the patent and to raise money for that purpose from the representatives of the Patentees, according to their several rights.
Shortly after the Revolutionary war it was discovered that the divisions made by the "Twelve Men" were not lawful, and void. They then petitioned the Legislature of the State of New York to confirm such division (which was done by an act of the Legislature) and directed their book, wherein they had recorded their division, to be deposited in the office of the county of Ulster, where it now remains, and a certified copy of the act confirming said division is now in the possession of my son, Daniel.
The "Twelve Men" continued to be elected until about the year 1820. Their coffer, and copy of the book wherein the records of the division is entered, and patent, and sundry records and other patents was left in the care of Ezekiel Eltinge."

Colonel Cantine's Letters To General Clinton
From letters to Gen. Clinton, which are now published, it is evident that his own regiment and the First Ulster Co. Regiment, sometimes called the  Northern Regiment, which was commanded by Col. Johannes Snyder, were both stationed in the northwestern part of our county. The time when these letters was written was about a year after the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, after which there were no important battles in this state. But, as will be noted from the letters, the First and Third Ulster County regiments, commanded respectively by Cols. Snyder and Cantine, were required at these stations on the western frontiers of Ulster and Orange counties, Col. Cantine being in command, not only of his own regiment, but of all detachments of militia in actual service on the frontier, including, not only the two Ulster county regiments mentioned, but detachments from the regiments of Colonels Woodhull, Hathorn, Newkirk, Hasbrouck and Tusten.  These were all Ulster and Orange county men. They were all needed to protect the frontiers from the attacks of tories and Indians. Their task was especially disagreeable, because it was not known at what moment a force of savages might swoop down on the scattered habitations.  In a letter to Gen. Clinton, written July 11th, 1778, Col. Cantine says:  "The men from Ulster County are posted, 40 at Mememacoting, 130 at Hunck, 80 at Great Shandaken, and at Little Shandaken the whole of Col. Snyder's regiment, which Returns I have Not as yet had. The Whole Will amount to about 400, a Number Quite Sufficient, I believe, to Defend posts at present where the proportions But Equal out the Different Regiments. This moment I am informed by Col. Newkark that Several of the Orange County men are on their Way to Peenpeck and Minsinck. I have sent Detachment from the Different posts to the Delaware. With orders to act against those who are taken an active part against us as Enemys, Leaveing others Unmolested, excepting those In whose possession the goods robbed from the Inhabitants of the frontiers Should Be found.  Have also at the unanimous request of the inhabitants of Lurienkil, Naponagh, Warwasinck and the Southern part of Rochester, Changed my post from Lackawack to this place (Honck Falls), finding it much more Convenient for keeping out Scouts and patroling parties, as the Woods on Both Sides of Lackawack are Exceeding Rof that it is Impossible to keep out Scouts at any Distance there. By the Last Returns of Col. Newkark, of the Orange County at Peenpeck and Minisinck, there where about Ninety men (that is) Eleven from Col. Woodhull's, fifty-nine of Col. Heathorne's, twenty of Col. Tusten's."

Money Promised When He Was Appointed At New Paltz
In a letter written at Rochester, Aug. 19, Col. Cantine says:  "I would Not have Changed my post from Lagawack to Hunk if It had Not Been at the Unanimous Request of the Inhabitants Concerned. Not But I judge that Lagawack would have answered the purpose as well as Hunk (Except) that of Keeping out Scouting parties mentioned in my Last and the additional Expense of getting up supplys for the Regiment. The Little money I was able to advance was soon Expended in Supplying the Regiment and Col. Newkark makeing Application to me for money in favour of the men he had employed to provide for the party at Peenpack and Minisinck till Such Time as it would be in the power of the Commissary to Supply them and that he could Buy much Cheaper for Cash; and as Your Excellency may Remember of Signifying at the time of my appointment, at ye New Paltz, to give me an order on the treasurer for that purpose, I haveing my promises, on the Exspectative of Being Supplyed In that manner and therefor would have been glad to have Received the order. But as it would take us out of the Common Course of Business I Shall Endeavor to Do without it.

Murder By Indians
In a letter, from Col. Newkirk, forwarded to Gen. Clinton by Col. Cantine, it is stated that about 20 Indians and one McDonald, a Tory, hadcome to the house of one Brooks, took the whole family, 11 in all, as prisoners, murdered and scalped one who was wounded and carried off the rest.

Escape From Indian Captivity
Another letter from Cantine to Clinton relates the wonderful story of the capture and escape of George Andries and Jacob Osterhout, who were captured by the Indians under a Mohawk chief and were carried almost to Fort Niagara; then at night while the savages slept Andries made a desperate attempt for liberty, got an ax with which he killed the three Indians who composed the party together with two squaws, who escaped. Andries and Osterhout got back to Ulster county in 19 days, almost starved. With the letter to Clinton is enclosed the affidavits of Andries and Osterhout, giving a full account of their escape from Indian captivity.

Paying His Men
In regard to paying his men Col. Cantine writes: Your Excellency will readily conceive that the making of monthly pay abstract for this Regim't will be attended with many Difficulties, when you consider that the monthly Detachment of the Different Regim'ts, of which this is composed, Do commence at Different Days. I, therefore would be glad to Draw a Sum of money in order to pay off the different companies as their time expires, making an abstract of the whole at the time when I shall be Discharged, and then account for the sum drawn.

Cowardly Behavior of Orange County Militia
In a letter written from Marbletown to Gen. Clinton, Aug. 28, 1778, Col. Cantine says:  I also had Information of the Unsoldierly Behaviour of the troops at them posts, which Caused my Going their to inquire into the matter which, haveing Done, I found that also to Be true. Capt. Miller, of Col. Heathorn's Regiment, haveing evecuated his post, on the freevilous Report that two Indians haveing Been Seen By some of his Scouts, which had Been out a few miles into the woods. He went off in Such a Hurry as to leave his Bread in the oven and his Beef in the well. Notwithstanding he was in a fort which, with the men he had in it, might In my opinion have Been Defended against five hundred men. Lieut. Tryon, of Col. Ellison's Reg't, Hearing that the enemy was back of Jacob Dewitt's mill at the time Mr. Brooks' family was tacken, Run of, saying Every man for himself and God for us all, and went of with the greater part of his company, not Returning till the next day--if my information is Right. The conduct of these 10 men appeared so scandalous that I could not avoid laying them under Errest and ordered them to Repear at the court martial at Goshen on the 25th instant.

200 Indians Reported--Man Shot
The guard from Shandaken haveing fetch Down the Inhabitants of Packatacan with some of their Effects, Returned on the Evening of the 26th Instant.
Petter Hendrics, who left their, Came down Immediately after them with the following information that Harmania Dumon was going to his place at Pancatack and meet the guard Comeing from there about five miles from it. Dumon proceeded on to his house, Loaded his wagon with his effects, and on his Return about two miles from his house was shot through the Belly.  Peter Hendrics further Says that there was two Hundred of the Enemy and few Cattle that Seame to have Been Left was all taken.

Time of Some of Colonel Jonthana Hasbrouck's Men Expired
As the time of Capt. Conklen--who Lays at that post--of Colo. Hasbrouck's Regim't, is Expired to Day and No Relief is yet Come to that place, I, with the advice of Coll Pawling, Called some of my own Regim't to fetch down  Dumon as well as to Distroy ye provision on that place agreeable to yours on the 22d.

General Clinton Replies
In a letter to Col. Cantine, written at Poughkeepsie, Sept. 6th, 1778, Gov. Clinton speaks of the recent burning of three houses and the killing and taking prisoners of men on the frontier and says:  This Mischief, if I understand the Geography of the Country and am not mistaken as to the particular Situation of the above Persons' Habitations, might have been prevented had your Guard occupied the first Post at  Lackawack.

Plunder by the Militia
Gen. Clinton says moreover in another letter:  I am much surprised to learn that the Parties of Militia which have been sent out to the settlements on the Delaware to remove the Cattle and Effects from thence and thereby prevent their serving as Supplies to the Enemy, have considered what they have brought off as Plunder and accordingly appropriated the same to their own use. Upon what principle or by what authority this is done you best know. This is contrary to every Idea of Justice and good Policy and will be productive of much Mischief is certain.  I am bound, therefore, to call upon you to exercise your Authority as Commanding Officer of the Detachments of Militia in actual Service on the Frontier of Ulster and Orange Counties not only to prevent the like abuses in Future, but to have the past to be rectified as far as may be in your Power.  I am fully convinced that we are not to have Peace on our Frontier until the Straggling Indians and Tories who infest it are exterminated or drove back and their Settlements destroyed. If, therefore, you can destroy the settlement of Acquago it will in my opinion be a good Piece of Service.

Shortly afterwards in September Clinton writes to Col. Cantine that he has received a petition from inhabitants of Marbletown, asking that a guard be stationed on the frontier of that town to scout north and south and stating that he favored granting the petition provided he (Col. Cantine) approved it and could spare the men. He advises him to confer with Judge Pawling in reference to this matter, asks his opinion as to the number of men needed to proceed against the Indian town of Ocquago and says that he approves of offering a reward of $100 for the capture of Middagh and Parks, through whose agency much mischief had been done.

A week afterwards Col. Cantine writes to Clinton that he had received information, supported by affidavits, that Brant the Indian leader, was on the war path, with a force, variously estimated at from 200 to 450, that he has visited German Flats and Unadilla and it was reported would strike a blow somewhere in this quarter. As his men are not acquainted with the woods he asks for authority to employ one or two spies to go as far as the Delaware and give timely notice of the coming of Brant's savage warriors; he thinks that 600 or 700 men would be needed to attack the Indian town of Ochquago. He adds: But as my Regt. now Stands it is not in my power to undertake an Expedition of that nature, as the Reliefs are Comeing and going every week in the month. I have consulted with Judge Pawling But he thinks it will not answer with militia, as they are called out in classes, as many are men you can not depend on unless the number be greater than I mentioned.

On the 21st of October Gen. Clinton writes to Col. Cantine that Gen. Washington has sent him information, corroborating that from other sources that the Senecas and other tribes of Indians are prepared to attack the settlements. He considers Minisink in the most imminent danger and says that Col. Cortlandt's regiment is on the way from Peekskill to Rochester and that his brother's whole brigade will probably be sent out for duty on the frontier; but as it will be some time before they arrive a greater proportion of militia should be called into the service.

On the 22nd of November Gen. Clinton writes to Cantine from Po'keepsie  that he had received a letter from Col. Cortlandt (who it is evident had then arrived with his regiment) that it would now be safe to allow the militia in actual service on the frontier in Ulster county to return home except about 70 to be stationed as follows: 2 officers and 25 men at Shandaken, 1 officer and 10 men at Yeugh's creppelbush, 1 officer and 10 men at Queens kill, 2 officers and 20 men at Mamakating. Gen. Clinton says: As I am extremely desirous of making their Duty as little burthensome as may be consistent with the safety of the frontier settlement, it is therefore my desire that you dismiss for the present all but the above number. (History of New Paltz)


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