David Phillips
David Phillips
to John P. Uline

Information on this page was submitted by the late Lin Van Buren. Lin wrote, "Here is my abstract of a deed, fairly typical of many of the era, which illustrates well the land-ownership situation in Rensselaer Co., NY for nearly a century after the U.S. had become an independent country. Many people whose names appear in deed books conveying their farms to another or whose entries in censuses indicate that they were "owners of land" did not actually OWN their land. The FREEHOLD of much of the land in Rensselaer Co., NY was owned "in perpetuity" by the Van Rensselaer family, as descendants and heirs of the original patroon, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer. It is the LEASEHOLD possession of this land that we see being conveyed in the deed books. Even if a leasehold was traded 100 times, the freehold -- and therefore the right to receive annual "ground rent" -- remained with the Van Rensselaer patroon's descendants well into the second half of the 19th century."

Rensselaer Co NY Deed Book 49 pages 175-176, made 10 April 1840, recorded 28 April 1840: James PHILLIPS and Dorothy his wife of Greenbush, grantors; to John P. ULINE of Greenbush, grantee; for $3,500; 101.2 acres on the east side of Hudson's River [doesn't say what town this land was in in 1840], part of the 152.7 acres that had been conveyed by indenture lease dated 14 October 1789 by Stephen VAN RENSSELAER, Esquire, Lord and Proprietor of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck, to Timothy PHILLIPS. One of the 1840 co-ordinants was in reference to "the northeast corner of the dwelling house as described in the original lease" -- i. e., a house that was standing on that spot in 1789 was still standing there in 1840. The 1840 transaction was subject, just as the 1789 one had been, to "the yearly rent of ten bushels and eight pounds of good, merchantable winter wheat in and upon the first day of January of each and every year, also four fat fowls, to be delivered at the Mansion House of said Manor". It was also a requirement that the leaseholder "perform at said Mansion House one day's service with carriage and horses in and upon the first days of January of two years out of every three years". [Timothy PHILLIPS was the eldest son, and grantor James PHILLIPS was the youngest son, of Joseph PHILLIPS (1738-1803) and wife Dorcas VICKERY (c1743-1813). It was Timothy PHILLIPS who in the late 1780s blazed the trail that first brought this Phillips family from Fredericksburgh, Dutchess Co., NY (now Putnam Co., NY) to Rensselaer Co., NY; during the 1790s, Timothy PHILLIPS's parents and siblings followed him and settled in Schodack. The Dorothy Phillips in the deed is Dorothy WEATHERWAX, who married James PHILLIPS on 14 October 1806 at the Dutch Reformed Church in the village of Wynantskill, town of Greenbush (now North Greenbush), Rensselaer Co., NY.]

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Debby Masterson

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