Settlement with Major William W. Hogan

A yellowed handwritten page shown next to a typed transcription of that page. Click on image to download pdf of transcription.
The third page from Barent Roseboom's ledger next to the transcription of the page.

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Historians often turn to military records because of the wealth of information they contain. Not only are large scale events or daily regimental activities documented, but individuals are often described in detail. This entry from Barent Roseboom’s ledger was recorded at Fort Ontario and involves the interjection of Major William W. Hogan of the New York Provincial Troops upon the debt of several individuals. Major Hogan resolved the debts of the named indviduals, several of whom are also known to have served in the colonial military. Connecting individuals to military records or information help to provide significantly more insight to the people that conducted business with Barent Roseboom. When we compare this list of men with the Muster Rolls of New York Provincial Troops, 1755-1764 for several names appear. In addition to recording the names of individuals enlisted, muster rolls also note who enlisted them and the specific date of their enlistment, where they were born, their stature or height, age, their trade or profession, and whether or not they were “fit for duty.”


 
Image of two pages from the published NY Muster Rolls with a box surrounding Augustus Pennell's information described below.
Page opened to a digital copy of Muster Rolls of New York Provincial Troops, 1755-1764, made available online by the New York State Historical Society.

New York State Historical Society. https://archive.org/details/musterrollsnewy00socigoog

The following information was found in the Muster Rolls of New York Provincial Troops, 1755-1764 for several specifically named individuals:

Augustus Pennell was born in Germany, enlisted in the NY Regiment on April 3, 1761, and was a professional cordwainer, or shoemaker. On June 21, 1761, Pennell was 36 years old and was average height at 5’8”.

John Dance was was 5’5” when he enlisted on April 2, 1762 at the age of 27. He was born in Ireland and served as a Labarour.

Peter Davis was mustered under Captain Street Hall on June 21, 1755. For 36 days of service, he was paid 2 pounds and 5 shillings.

Born in Ireland, Cornelius Duggon enlisted on April 15, 1761 at the age of 29. At the time, he stood 5’2” tall and served as a Baker for the NY Provincial Troops.

Benjamin Wampum was listed as serving within Captain Philip Schuyler’s is listed as a Private with the Campaign of 1760.

Sometimes information for individuals with more common names can be confusing. For instance, David Carter is mentioned several times in this muster document and likely refers to more than one individual. We know that a man named David Carter, age 35, served under Captain Ruben McLean in May of 1758. We also know that just one year later, David Carter, age 45, was serving as a Lockwood in the NY regiment in March 1759. Additionally, David Carter, age 33, was also a labourer in May 1761 and was noted again in March 1762 at age 49. Following the dates and ages listed, it can be assumed that more than one David Carter was enlisted in the NY regimental army between 1758 and 1762. A family tree or other documentation of the Carter family may reveal more information about David Carter.
 
A yellowed page with a handwritten entry lists the names of the men and the amount stopped in the account with Barent Roseboom.
The third page of Barent Roseboom's ledger.

NPS Image.

Book Keeping

While the debts were resolved in November 1762, this event was not recorded until October 1763. The amounts of the debts are significant because of the pay range that enlisted men received. Typically, a labourer would be paid about 1 pound, 17 shillings, 6 pence for one month of work. The debt owed to Barent ranges from 3 pounds, 16 shillings to 2 shillings.

In comparison, Majors serving in the NY regiment are not detailed within the payroll listings of the Muster Rolls of New York Provincial Troops, 1755-1764. Instead receipt of pay is listed as it relates to specific tasks or purposes. For instance, in April 1759, an entry in made in the Muster Rolls indicates that “to Majors £40 each, to furnish their respective tables.”

It is unclear whether Major Hogan stopped these men’s accounts with his own money and now the individuals owe Major Hogan OR if Major Hogan stopped these men’s military pay in order to resolve their debt to Barent Roseboom. The latter option would be similar to modern day wage-garnish practices. It is interesting to note the use of the word “stopped” instead of the term typically used in the ledgers to indicate a debt had been resolved (contra). Whether this entry notes a transfer of debt outside of Roseboom, or whether the accounts were resolved in a way that freed these men of debt to anyone, remains unknown at this point in time.
 

Further Questions

There are also three individuals listed at the bottom of the page that appear to have a continued open account with Barent. It is unclear if the amount they owe is represented as pounds, shillings, or pence. It is also unclear why their accounts were not stopped. Do they belong to Major Hogan’s company? Are they civilian individuals who also happened to be at Fort Ontario?

One of the main questions that may be solved by further studying the ledgers is: what did these individuals purchase or trade in order to become indebted to Roseboom?

Other questions relate to the nature of the transaction, specifically in regards to Major Hogan’s role. What were the motives of Major Hogan in helping Roseboom settle or stop the accounts of these individuals? Was there a personal benefit, professional gain, or was it an ethically or morally based decision for a commanding officer to help his troops? Could this be one of the earliest recordings of wage garnishing in colonial America?

To further explore the Muster Rolls of New York Provincial Troops, 1755-1764 visit: https://archive.org/details/musterrollsnewy00socigoog

Explore More of the Roseboom Ledgers

A Return of the NY Regiment
Payroll at Fort Edward
James Melton
John Fluno and John Dillebaugh
John Roseboom and Hendrick Roseboom


Resources

Ledger Glossary
British Monetary System

Last updated: October 5, 2017

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