The United States of America is facing economic sequestration in 2013. With great hardship foisted on us by an unrelenting government and without sufficient warning to provide for ourselves what government had promised to provide.
In 1777, sequestration became a common process throughout the American colonies. Specifically in Vermont–The first officers of the Commission of Sequestration was appointed 6 March 1777 by the Provincial Congress of New York. Three officers were appointed for these [Vermont] counties and towns:
Albany County–Schenectady, Albany, Claverack
Charlotte County–Salem, Whitehall, Willsboro (In 1784 became Washington County and in 1788, the northern part became Clinton County
Cumberland County–Hartford, Brattleboro
Gloucester County–Norwich, Newbury, Thetford
What is sequestration?
The Webster’s New World Dictionary, 3rd edition says: “the taking and holding of property pending resolution of a legal dispute; confiscation of property by court or government action.”
4 June 1777 the inhabitants of Vermont met at Windsor, supported their claim of independence from New York, and established their own government–all principal officers were involved in the granting of lands to prospective settlers. These officials took over the sequestration and confiscation of lands from those persons “living in or owning property in the State of Vermont who remained loyal to the British government.”
A special Court of Confiscation was established to seize and hear the cases. So successful was this effort that it was unnecessary to levy taxes to support the government’s efforts.
PS Stay tuned–I have a new checklist of sequestration and confiscation records for you–documents largely untouched and practically forgotten on archive and library shelves. They are essential for early Vermont–for much of the land granted in Vermont towns was land sequestered and confiscated from earlier settlers and claimants.