Jan 25, 2011

The Other Declaration of Independence...

The Bronck House Today
On May 17, 1775, more than a year before the Continental Congress signing in 1776, the inhabitants of Coxsackie, New York, signed a Declaration of Independence.  They gathered at the Bronck House, a homestead built in 1663, now the oldest structure still standing in upstate New York.  There are 225 signers, most of them Dutch freeholders from the Coxsackie District of the Colony of New York.  The Declaration was found in the 1920's in an attic at Albany, New York by Mr. John M. Clark, then president of the Albany Institute and History and Art Society, who presented it to the Institution, where it remains.  The document was pronounced authentic by Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Wyer, who served, respectively, as State Historian and State Librarian at that time, and by the State Archivist.

The Declaration

Persuaded that the Salvation of the Rights and Liberties of America, depends, under God, on the firm union of its Inhabitants, in a vigorous prosecution of the Measures necessary for its Safety, and convinced of the Necessity of preventing the Anarchy and confusion which attend the Dissolution of the Powers of Government:

THAT the Freeholders and Inhabitants of Coxsackie District, in the County of Albany, being greatly alarmed at the avowed Design of the Ministry to raise a Revenue in America, are shocked by the bloody Scene acting in the Massachusetts Bay; Do in the most solemn manner, resolve never to become Slaves; and do also associate under the Ties of Religion, Honor and Love of our Country to adopt and endeavor to carry into Execution whatever Measures may be rendered by our Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention for the purpose of preserving our Constitution and opposing the Execution of several arbitrary and oppressive Acts of the British Parliament, until a reconciliation between Great Britain and America or constitutional principles (which we most ardently desire) can be obtained; and that we will, in all Things, follow the advice of our general Committee, respecting the purpose aforesaid, the preservation of Peace and good Order, and the Safety of Individuals and private property.

Dated at Coxsackie the Seventeenth of May in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand seven hundred and seventy five. (signed by 225 citizens of C
oxsackie - only 211 still legible)

I am proud to note that I am the direct descendent of two of the signers of this Declaration, Martin Hallenbeck and Abraham Hallenbeck.  You can see the family connection by clicking here.

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