An Early American Manuscript Posting Announcement

Autograph Notice forbidding hunting on the lands of 15 subscribers, headed “Advertisement” and likely intended for publication in a local newspaper.

N.p. [Colonial America]: August 6, 1767.

Price: $750.00

About the item

1 vols. 8-1/4 x 6-1/2 inches. An Early American Manuscript Posting Announcement. Some stains, old folds, some cracking, but all present, and attractive overall.

Item #12978

An intriguing document, written in various hands on fine laid paper on which appears to be a French watermark of an elaborate cartouche over the words “V. Guerevin”. It is titled “Advertisement” and reads: “This is to Give notes to all Persons that we the subscribers do forworn all Persons from hunting with Gun or Dogs on our Lands / August ye 6th 1767” Below this are the signatures of 15 individuals, four of whom, unable to sign, have made their mark on the document under their name. Among the legible names are those of Laurence Riley, William Abbott Lener, Thomas Dutten, Richard Von Cade, James Reed, Edward Stevenson, John Jouller [?], John Abbott, Dennis Morris, Jacob Morris, Mary Morris, Woolma Donovan, Foster Donovan.

Although there is no indication of where this document originated, we believe it to have been in the American Colonies--possibly, in view of the names, in the area around New York. While the posting of individual property was, and is, commonplace, it is highly unusual to find a group doing so collectively, and this would most likely happen if each of the holdings was relatively small. The nature of the notice suggests that the properties were contiguous, and were probably farmland. In the England of the day, the number of small, independent farmers owning contiguous property was not large--small farmers usually worked as tenants to a large landowner, who typically enjoyed hunting and shooting over his estates. In addition, it was far more common in America than in England for members of the same family to have land adjacent or in proximity to one another, as may have been the case above with the Morrises and Donovans. Small farmers were the backbone of Colonial America, and this document is a tribute to their spirit of enterprise and independence, which was soon to come to fruition in another form.