• [Revolutionary War] Hamilton-Burr Duel Associate John Tayler Involved In Timber Sale With Early Land Agent

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    JOHN TAYLER (1742-1829) was a Revolutionary War Patriot, merchant and politician. He spent his young manhood as a trader among British forts. Using Albany as a base, he serviced Oswego, Fort William Henry, outposts along Lake Champlain and also on the Mohawk River. He kept a farm and a store on Lake George. In 1777, the threat of British attack forced Tayler to abandon his home and move his family to safety in Albany where he was known as a storekeeper as early as July 1776.

     

    The Battles of Saratoga occurred near his farm. The British used the Tayler house as headquarters.  He never returned to Saratoga and the war thrust him into public service.  He represented first Saratoga and then Albany on the county Committee of Safety and on the Committee for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies – where he worked to identify and suppress loyalists.  Tayler further supported the war by using his farm and businesses to supply meat for the Continental Army.  General Philip Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law, appointed him Clothier General of the Northern Army in 1776.

     

    Post-war, he served nine years as Lieutenant Governor of New York, four months as Acting Governor of New York and also in both houses of the New York State Legislature.

     

    The mortal duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804 was caused by ill words spoken by Hamilton at Tayler’s home in Albany, and later related in a letter by Tayler that was published in an Albany newspaper.

     

    HERMAN LEROY was an agent for the Holland Land Company.  He was involved in land dealings with Burr. In one instance, a contract was signed (later cancelled) by LeRoy, Burr and Hamilton (as witness).  This was documented in the book – The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton Volume One.

     

    One-page, ALS, September 4, 1787, Albany, addressed to LeRoy, Esq.

     

    “Sir,

     

    “As I had not the pleasure of seeing you before I left New York, I take the liberty of communicating my opinion respecting the timber you was wishing to procure.

     

    “The price of that article since the peace has been so low that few, if any, will, I believe, send timber to New York next Spring unless contracted for and the former price till of late was one shilling a foot. I do not think it could be procured for a lower price, altho I am persuaded was it to be purchased at New York, it could be had cheaper.

     

    “I will, if you think it necessary, make enquiry and transmit such information as I obtain or procure a quantity for you on commission or contract.

     

    “I am, Sir, Your most obedient servant,

     

    “John Tayler”

     

    Folds, toning, with a couple of light stains.  Beautifully written and quite easy to read.

     

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