Grafton Anti-Rent Mutual Protection Association

Records, 1824-1867

Historical Note:
There appears to be little known about this organization. It seems to have been active from about 1843 until 1867, although it may have been active previous to and after those dates. The members appeared to have been assessed fees based upon a cost per acre of land owned (at one time, 3 cents per acre) and among other functions, the fees were used to fund the costs of attorneys in lawsuits related to the anti-rent crisis. 
On December 20, 1844, Elijah Smith and his uncle Plumb Martin, lumbermen in Grafton, were surrounded by about fifty “Indians” and during that incident, Smith was shot by Norman Goyer and died later. There is a receipt for payment by Goyer to the Grafton Anti-Rent MPA in the papers. In 1854, the Van Rensselaer family sold most of their remaining lands to Walter S. Church. Church brought hundreds of lawsuits to eject tenants for non-payment of rent and many tenant families who had worked the land for generations lost their lands. The receipts for payment for counsel, particularly to attorney, Anson Brigham, indicate that the MPA was fighting lawsuits for their lands until at least 1867.

Scope Note:
These records are chiefly financial and include receipts and lists of residents of Grafton who were supporting the organization. They provide one of the scarce sources of the names of those who may have been “Indians” in the anti-rent dispute that continued for nearly three decades.

Item List:

Folder 1:
Two receipts from the Rensselaer County Mutual Insurance Company to Henry Hydorn, April 21, 1842 and Sept. 20, 1843

Folder 2:
Lists of member of the Grafton Anti-Rent MPA with amounts of money received from them as part of their dues as members, six lists, four undated, one dated Nov. 5, 1861 and one dated March 12, 1859 (assessment for this was 3 cents per acre). Surnames such as Wagar, Hydorn, Lawler, McChesney, Littlefield, Dunham, Clickner, Hayner, Emerson, Bonesteel, Goyer, Coonradt, Shaver and others.

Folder 3:
Two receipts for subscriptions to the Albany Freeholder; to Peter T. Hydorn, dated Nov. 19, 1847 and July 6, 1847, signed by A.G. Johnson for C. F. Bouton.

Folder 4:
Promises to pay and receipts to individuals for payments of the Grafton Anti-Rent MPA, 1843-1863. Receipts made to the following persons, who it probably can be assumed were members of this semi-secret Association.


Allen, Jeremiah, 1853-1861
Barringer, Peter D., 1853-1857
Baxter, Sophia, 1855
Bonesteel, Jonas, 1854-1860
Bornt, Joel, 1858-1860
Branshaw, Israel, 1859-1860
Brock, Benjamin, 1855
Clickner, Adam, 1853-1860
Clickner, Sylvester, 1853-1859
Coonrad, George, 1853
Coonradt, George W., 1863
Coonradt, William P., 1857-1860
Coons, William W., 1853-1859
Crandall, David W. 1853-1857
Dunham, Bradley, 1860
Dunham, William L. B., 1853-1857
Durkee, John B., 1862
Emerson, David, 1859-1860
Ford, Ira B., 1853-1861
Gibson, John W., 1859-1860
Goyer, Norman, 1854-
Hayner, George P., 1855
Hayner, Henry F., 1856-1859
Hayner, William, 1854-1859
Hydorn, David, 1853-1861
Hydorn, Peter T., 1853-1859
Hydorn, William, 1853-1859
Lawler, Edward, 1861
Littlefield, H.W., 1854-1861
Littlefield, Hiram B., 1853-1861
McChesney, J.M., 1855-1860


McChesney, Richard, 1854-1860
McChesney, Walter B., 1854-1861
McChesney, William J., 1855-
Murphy, David, 1861
Ott, Adam, 1854-1860
Reynolds, Thomas, 1857-1861
Rifenburgh, George, 1857
Rifenburgh, Nelson, 1863
Shaver, Christian, 1855-1860
Shaver, James H., 1855-1859
Shaver, Nathan, 1855-1857
Simmons, David L., 1859
Simmons, William H. ,1855-
Smith, John L., 1855-1860
Snyder, Adam, 1853-1861
Snyder, Jacob, 1853-1857
Tilley, Nelson, 1859
Wagar, Adam, 1861
Wager, George, 1855-1857
Wagar, Peter, 1853-1861
Wagar, Jacob, 1853-1861
Wagar, William H., 1855-1861
Snyder, George, 1863
Wagar, Adam H., 1853-1861
Wilds, T. B., 1853-1859
Wagar, Adam, 1853-1860
Wager, Henry L., 1853-1860
Wagar, Jacob P., 1853-1860
Wagar, Simeon, 1853-1857
Weeden, James, Jr., 1861
Wagar, William N., 1853-1860

Folder 5:
Eight receipts to Executive Committee of the Grafton Anti-Rent MPA for payments to Bennajah Allen, Treasurer of the MPA, 1843-1844

Folder 6:
Orders (7) to Peter T. Heydorn, Treasurer from William Heydorn to pay various sums of money to various members of the MPA, 1853-1861.

One receipt of money received from Peter Hydorn for blacksmithing, 1853.

Folder 7:

Receipts of payments made to Peter Hydorn and others related to payment for counsels in “Indian suits,” and other actions, 1853-1867.