Minute Book 3: 1728-May through July: A Doctor is Sent to Oswego

There are no entries for April or June 1728.  During this time New York’s governor William Burnet was replaced by Colonel John Montgomerie, who arrived in New York on April 15th.  Burnet did not leave for his new position as governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire until July.  Many of the records preceding July 1728 are numbered in a way that suggests they are copies rather than originals, leading me to suspect that at some point the new governor had things copied and they got out of order in the process, perhaps leading to the loss of some materials.

The sole entry for May, a copy of a letter from the Commissioners of Indian Affairs to the governor, does not say which governor was being addressed, but the wording suggests that it was Colonel Montgomerie. The commissioners thanked him for acknowledging the importance of security on New York’s frontier and tried to convince him that they needed financial support to guarantee that security since their affairs were conducted on credit.

The letter shows that troops at Oswego were still becoming ill. It is unclear what disease was affecting them or whether it was the same thing that made people sick the year before.   The governor asked the commissioners to find a doctor to address the problem and in their letter of May 13th they said they had agreed with Charles Kerr, “a fitt person” “who understands Bleeding and Phisick,” to go to Oswego for a year in exchange for sixty pounds to be paid on his return. They planned to provide him with “wine Rum & sugar for the use of the sick men.” The governor approved their choice and on July 19th he received his orders to go to Oswego as “chirugeon.”

In Library and Archives Canada’s digital copy of the original minutes, the entry for May starts here on p. 216. The transcription is below.

[0436] 216

Albany 13 May 1728

May it please your Ex.cy

Your Ex.cys most Acceptable favours of ye 5th Instant

we Read. and are very glad for ye. kind Assurances your Ex.cy

pleased to give us that you intend to Imploy your thoughts

very much for the Securerity of our fronteer which is very

much of his Majesties Service Advantage of all his Subjects

in this Contenant, if there be no Incouragement to Support

the Credit for ye present Service we are at a loss how, It will

be Supported unless we Ingage our selves for it,

Pursuant to y.r Ex.cys Commands we have Agreed with

a fitt person, to Go to Osswego who understands Bleeding and

Phisick named Mr. Charles Kerr for £60 — Cred of the Governmt

for a year to Commence from the time we can send him thither

at his Return hither to be p. on Certificate from the Comm.

officer he has servd that time, we shall supply him with

some wine Rum & sugar for the use of the sick men and hope

that the next Assembly will provide for the payment of this

& all other Incidents that may Accrue for the Imediate ser=

=vice without which the settlement at Ossweego cant be

maintaind, in what manner & when we shall send Mr. Karr

to Oswegoo we cant tell to hire people on purpose will Cost

at Least £12– more when more provisions be sent thither

he may Conveniently go without much Charges to ye. Publick

however if it be your Ex.cys pleasure we Shall send him directly

& hire men for that purpose

[There are no entries for June 1727]

[0438] 217

By the Commissioners of the Indian affairs

att Albany

To Mr. Charles Kerr.

Whereas His Excellency John Montgomerie Esq.r

Capt. Generall and Govern.r in Chiefe of the Province of Newyork

New Jersey &c. has Directed us to send a fitt Person to the Garrison

at Osweego who understands Phisick and bleeding. and being Informd

that you are a person well Skilld in these arts: These are therefore

by Virtue of a Letter Received from his Said Excellency To desire

and Require You to go to Osweego as Chururgion for the said Garrison

assoon as may be with Such Proper Medicines as we Can now Supply

you with att Present and take under your Care for the time and Space

of one year from the date hereof Such Sick men which now are or Shall

be there belonging to his Majesties Garrison, for which Service

You are to be paid as p. Agreemt. with us by the Government or by

his Said Excellency the sume of Sixty pounds new york money.

Given under our hands in Albany the 19th. Day of July in the

Second year of his Majesties Reign Anno D.o 1728

Philip Livingston

Henry Holland

Joh: Cuyler

Dirck Ten Broeck

Johannes Lansigh


About hopefulwanderer

Writer, researcher, archivist, etc. @ahhunter
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