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The Beginning, the Settlement of Ticonderoga

Dear Brother,

I must inform you of the melancholy death of my Brother John.  He was crossing from Fort George (Fort William Henry) the 25th of November with Hall.  They set out from Fort George at 12 o’clock and encountered a fierce wind until they got above the narrows (Lake George) when they perceived a squall arising.  My brother ordered Hall to down sail which he did and then turned for an island which was at a short distance but before they could reach it the boat filled with water and perceiving that they were sinking they endeavored to make their escape but my Brother was entangled with a rope about his body with the sheep, as we suppose and was drowned.  Hall made his escape to the island.  We set out after them Saturday night and found them on Sunday and Monday at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  Hall had been upon the island three days and four nights.  One horse, six cows and five sheep were saved. He had three wagon loads of goods on board which he had brought from Albany which are most of them lost as far as we can find out.  He had 15 bushels of corn and 30 bushels of turnips which were all lost.  (This was the fatal ending of John Stoughton, Ticonderoga’s first settler.)

Elizabeth Stoughton Wolcott (1766-1805) Daughter of John and Ruth Stoughton

For background:  The French and Indian War was fought in North American during the mid-1700s.  the principals were England, France and Spain, who at that time were also engaged in wars in other areas of the world.  In North America their interest was primary an economic one, to protect their established Colonial colonies.

Like must conflicts this War was costly.  The conflict was scarcely underway when the English king, in order to enlarge the ranks of his army, promised grants of land to each discharged soldier that had faithfully served his enlistment.  As the “War” was formally ended by the Treaty of Peace in Paris in 1763 this land grant contract between king and soldier was widely utilized.  (Terms:  Field Officer – 5,000 acres, a Captain – 3,000, Lieutenant 2,000, a non-commissioned officer 200 and a private 50 acres with additional stipulations that included – restrictions for “Gold and Silver Mines, large diameter trees suitable for nautical use, settlement of other families, rents, etc.)  Up and down the Lakes Champlain and George valleys ‘reduced” soldiers made application for their land grant entitlement.  Many former military men were successful in being award land here.  However, most who were awarded these land grants had no intention to settle down on their grants quickly sold their claims to land dealers for some “quick cash.”