Neefus, David Carshore
Autograph Letter Signed. Smoky Hollow (Claverack), New York. April 19, 1847, to Josiah Sutherland, Hudson, New York

folio, one page, in very good, clean, and legible condition.

$ 100.00 | Contact Us >

“The inhabitants residing in this vicinity of the Town of Claverack to the number of 108 (mostly Democrats) have petitioned the PM Genl to remove Edward Gernon,...the Anti Rent Postmaster at this place for abuse of the office…and have accordingly recommended my name for the appointment. I am therefore induced through the suggestions of,,, many of your Democratic friends residing in this section to request your aid in my behalf – as they are of the opinion that a letter from you to the PM Genl...would be of great service in accomplishing our object...The political and private course pursued by the said Gernon since the organization of the Anti-Renters in this county has been in perfect union with that faction in direct opposition to Democracy and Law  and Order. While on the other hand I have firmly maintained and defended the latter...Please forward me your testimonial...and I will forward the same to the PM Genl….”

The” Anti-Rent War” of 1839-1845 in upstate New York was a virtual insurrection by tenants of the rich “patroons” who owned much of the land in the Hudson Valley, declaring their independence from the “manor system” and demanding land reform – which they ultimately received through the New York Constitution of 1846. During the conflict, it took the Governor’s dispatch of 700 militiamen to subdue the rebels who, disguised as “Calico Indians”, resisted tax collection and law enforcement, and sometimes tarred and feathered their enemies.

Neefus was a blacksmith and grocer who had worked as a clerk in the post office in Smokey Hollow (which, through his efforts, was renamed Claverack). He was later elected County Clerk and finally, at the end of the Civil War, was appointed Postmaster, a position he held for the next 35 years. Joshua Sutherland, his correspondent, was a prominent Democratic attorney who was later elected to Congress in the 1850s.

The Anti-Rent War was one a series of “civil unrest” incidents of the 1840s which included the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island and the anti-Abolition and anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia.