Have You Heard of Upstate New York’s Anti-Rent War?
If you think that you have a troubling relationship with your landlord or tent, this historic story will change your mind. It may even make you feel lucky to do so in 2022.
Did You Know That The “Second American Revolution” Happened?
Known for being the Anti-Rent War and "Second American Revolution". This movement changed this small, upstate town forever.
It All Began With Two, Prominent Individuals In New York.
According to the New Netherland Institute, Stephen Van Rensselaer was a former United States Representative. He was also known as a businessman and landowner.
Van Rensselaer was in the New York Militia, gained the title of Major General and a was politician. Alexander Hamilton was known for so much. According to Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association,
He "was a founding father of the United States, who fought in the American Revolutionary War, helped draft the Constitution, and served as the first secretary of the treasury. He was the founder and chief architect of the American financial system."
Were Alexander Hamilton And Stephen Van Rensselaer good landlords?
Hamilton and Van Rensselaer were given land, acreage in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
What Is The Anti-Rent War And Why Did It Start?
According to Delaware County, NY Genealogy and History Site,
In the early 1700's, "Lord Cornbury, the royal governor, granted a patent to the Hardenburgh family. Landlords who represented the wealthy families of the area leased the land to tenant farmers whose objections to the oppressive methods began shortly after the birth of our nation, in 1787."
Although the Anti-Rent idea began in Albany, it spread to other counties which included Delaware.
In the 1800's, after Stephen VanRensselaer died, those who received his belongings became strict about the collection of rent on the land.
This enforcement sparked outrage which led to those who were renters to disguise themselves as Indians. At the time, this was illegal to do.
Who Were The "Anti-Renters"? What Did They Do?
According to the New York State Library, Those who accompanied the land as renters would have to pay the landlords, VanRensselaer and Hamilton (their families too) what they owed them at the time.
The rent consisted, "of ten to twenty bushels of winter wheat per one hundred acres, "four fat fowl," and a day's labor with a team of horses and wagon. In addition, the tenant was to pay all taxes and use the land for agricultural purposes only, while the patron kept all timber, mineral, and water rights, as well as the right to exploit those resources." However, renters were approached to sign what was referred to as an "incomplete sale contract".
If they didn't, they would have to leave the farmland that they worked on without receiving any pay or compensation VanRensselaer's son, also Stephen and William Paterson VanRensselaer, chose to attempt to collect rent from those who were living and working on the land. They insisted that the police get involved to pursue this more.
Who Won The Anti-Rent War?
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However, the tenants didn't back down and instead said that they wouldn't pay more which led to the Anti-Rent War in New York State.
However, an undersheriff named Osman Steele went to the farmland and was attacked by the renters also known as "Calico Indians". He was shot and did not survive.
In the end, the Anti Renters had won. There's also historic marker that highlighted this event.
Have you heard of the Anti-Rent War?