McLean, John
Account Ledger kept by General John McLean, Commissary-General of Military Stores for the State of New York, also includes Accounts for McLean's Estate, 1803-1824.

Folio, 158  pages of account entries, plus blanks , half leather, paper backed boards,  red leather spine label, lacks front board, first signature loose, rear board worn at edges, corners, spine chipped and worn, otherwise entries good, written in ink, in a legible hand, about twenty different accounts all dated from 10 April 1802 to 24 July 1824.

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This account ledger appears to have been used for various functions with over twenty different accounts kept in it. Most accounts are kept starting at the rear, however there are some accounts at the front as well. The following are the various accounts listed in this ledger and the dates ascribed to them (the accounts are not numbered, but given numbers here in the order that they are written in the ledger starting from the rear):

                1. Dates of Bonds, Mortgages, & Notes, 1799 - 1821.

                2. Cash Accounts, 10 April 1802 - 5 Nov 1808.

                3. Ordinary Expenses of Arsenal, 9 Nov 1807 - 10 Feb 1812.

          4. His Exc'y Dan'l D. Tompkins, Governor State of New York to John McLean Com'y Militia

Stores, 14 Oct 1810 - 20 Oct 1814., includes a list of 41 & 48vouchers, who for, what work done, amounts paid out. [These accounts are divided up in the front and rear of the ledger]

5. His Exc'y D. D. Tompkins  to John McLean  late Com'y Under the Act for erecting fortification

on the Narrows, 24 Nov 1813.

6. The State of New York for building the Arsenal, at New York, Laboratory, etc., Oct 1808 -Dec


                7. His Excellency Daniel D. Tompkins to John McLean, 14 Oct 1811-10 Apr 1816.

                8. The State of New York to John McLean, 1 Apr 1813 - 3 Mar 1817.

Also in this ledger are accounts for the estate of John McLean, upon his death in 1821, as follows:

9. Debts due by the Estate of John McLean, dec'd & chargeable.

10. Estimate of Personal Estate of John McLean dec'd with interest due at the date

of Inventory, 21 March 1821, with dates of charges from 7 Oct 1812-22 Apr 1823.

11. Amount received of Personal Estate by Mrs. Ann McLean for herself & Clinton McLean, 1

May 1822 - 10 Dec 1823, further account amounts received from the estate by James McLean, William B. McLean, William Ross, guardian of Mary M. Ross, as well as Installments received of M.S. loan, all dated Mar 1821 - Jan 1824.

12. Charges by William Ross against the original Estate, Accounts of Costs, etc. of William Ross,

personally paid by him, 20 Apr 1821 - 19 Sept 1823.

                13. His Exc'y for the Magazine, 25 Aug 1808 - 5 Sept 1808.

                14. John McLean, Com'y Mil'a Stores to Robert McLean, 17 May 1809 - 20 Nov 1811.

                Then there are further accounts related to McLean's role as Commissary for the Military Stores:

                15. Governors of the State of New York to Cash, for forwarding Military Stores to the Western

Frontier, 1803 - 12 March 1811.

                16. Governors of the State of New York, Eastern Frontier, 9 Nov 1808 - 4 Nov 1808.

                17. Governors of the State of New York, for Appropriations for Arsenal, 8 Jen 1808 - 7 July 1808.

                18. Governors of the State of New York, for the Appropriation of 1806 for purchasing & Equip'g

Brass Ordinances, 24 Sept 1808 - 20 Sept 1809.

                19. The Commander in Chief of the State of New York, 3 July 1809 - 9 Jan 1812.               

20. Advanced of his Excellency to Mather on Account of Arsenal House, 10 Aug 1810 -

16 Apr 1816.

                21. Statement of Expenditures & Receipts in the Commissary's Department, 1803 - 20 Dec 1806.

     General John McLean (1755-1821) was an American patriot, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and a long time Commissary General for the State of New York. He served in the Revolution with New York's Fifth Regiment under Capt. Alexander McArthur, his wife's cousin. During the Revolution, in 1782, a portion of the American army, consisting of a part of the Virginia line and some others, were encamped on the farm about one mile north of the village of Walden (NY), and on the north bank of the Tinn Brock, then known as the Wilemantown farm. The forces, a portion of the army at New Windsor, wintered at the place to protect a number of baggage-wagons, cannon and other munitions of war, sent for safety in the country during the winter. In October 1782, John McLean was sent as a special messenger from this encampment to the commander-in-chief at Newburgh on some important business, when he was waylaid, seized, tied to a tree, had his horse stolen, and left to the mercy of accident, to be relieved by the first neighbor that came upon him the next morning. This incident no doubt, together with his friendship with New York's Clinton family, soon after the war helped to contribute to aid the political preferment of McLean as Commissary General. The individuals who perpetrated this outrage on McLean at the time were suspected to be some of the gang of Claudius Smith, who was executed, but whose band of brigands was still marauding in the area.

     John McLean is listed as a Captain and the Commandant of the Veteran Corps of Artillery for the State of New York for 1809 to 1813. He helped to organize this group along more formal lines then previous enterprises. They were an Artillery Corps of Exempts, all veterans of Revolutionary War, over 45 years of age, and not liable for compulsory militia duty. They were equipped with brass 12 pounders and recognized by Governor Tompkins. The corps comprised veterans in the counties of New York, Westchester, Kings, and Richmond.

     Various government records available online, show that McLean's accounts were examined and audited for expenses and services performed by him under the directions of Ebenezer Stevens, relative to the arsenal, military stores and artillery in the city of New York in 1801. McLean is earlier found in 1799-1800 as a First Lieutenant under Brigadier-General Ebenezer Stevens, in Steven's regiment of artillery for New York City. He was still under Stevens at another accounting in 1808.

     Contemporary newspapers of the day print McLean's death notice, "New York City, Gen. John McLean, a revolutionary patriot, aged 66," which gives us McLean's death year (1821) and approximate year of birth (1755). 

     General John McLean was the son of John McLean (1724-?) and Margaret Robinson (1727-?). His father was an early settler of Blooming Grove, New York. McLean was born in Scotland. In 1779 he was said to be a "tentmate" of James Monroe. He married Ann Burnet (1764-1827) at New Windsor Presbyterian Church on 20 Jan 1784, at New Windsor, New York. Together the couple had eleven children. About 1790, McLean became the Commissary of the State of New York. He is said to have been an intimate friend of Vice President and Governor George Clinton. McLean died on 28 Feb 1821, at Newburgh, Orange County, New York and was buried at the Old Town Cemetery. Mrs. McLean joined her husband at Old Town Cemetery after she died on 15 July 1827.

     As the list above of the various accounts in the ledger shows, McLean was in constant contact with Governor Tompkins as it related to his work as commissary of the military stores. This ledger's accounts track the crucial period of the War of 1812 (1812-1815) and gives some insights into this event as it pertains to the supply and distribution of munitions, arms, artillery, of the military stores, arsenals, etc. of the State of New York. The State of New York played a major role in this conflict as the state's northern border with Canada was the central front of the war.

     As one might expect, the account ledger begins to see vast increases in expenditures in late 1811 and then more so in 1812 as the war begins.  Thousands of dollars are spent for rifles, powder, cannons, accoutrements, and even for the carting of carriages for artillery pieces as New York prepares itself and then enters the conflict. By January of 1812, over $22,000 worth of arms, munitions, artillery pieces, etc., are written up in the ledger, compared to a balance of only slightly over $1,200 earlier in 1811. The accounts for the list of vouchers, shows who was being employed during the effort, for cloth, iron work, transportation, tents, linens, timber, carpenters' work, etc., everything one might need to supply the war effort. By 1812, the expenditures exceeded $ 54,000. Overall, an interesting ledger, for a little studied period in history.