Administrative History

New York's revolutionary government began seizing the personal and real property of suspected Loyalists in the summer of 1776. Statutes of 1779 and 1784 authorized the forfeiture and sale of real property of "persons who have adhered to the enemies of this State." An individual's real property became forfeit to the state when he was adjudged guilty of treason, either by an act of attainder passed by the State Legislature, or by trial and conviction in the Supreme Court of Judicature. Commissioners of Forfeitures were appointed to manage, sell at public auction, and convey by deed the lands forfeited to the state.

The Commissioners of Forfeitures operated in four disctricts: Western District (Albany, and Tryon/Montgomery Counties); Eastern District (Charlotte, Cumberland, and Gloucester Counties); Middle District (Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster Counites; and Southern District (New York, Kings, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties).