Collection inventory

Finding Aids

Christopher Yates Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: 2001-01-01

Revision history:
12 Mar 2007 converted to EAD (MRC)
6 Jul 2016 pkg rehoused as Oversize 1 (MRC)
2 Nov 2016 minor box changes for SULF (MS)

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Yates, Christopher, 1737-1785.
Title: Christopher Yates Papers
Dates: 1677-1936
Quantity: 2.7 linear feet
Abstract: Christopher Yates was Quartermaster-General during the American Revolution. Collection includes correspondence, 1728-1848; financial records, 1732-1841; legal records, 1677-1898; military records, 1777-81; and miscellany. Correspondents include John De Lancey, Elizabeth De Lancey Yates, Joseph Yates, and Judge Robert Morris of New Jersey. Financial records of John Butler, Peter Van Benthuysen, and Christopher Yates family are included. Also includes a journal by Captain Thomas Butler, 1756.
Language: English, some Dutch
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Christopher Yates (1737-1785), a member of the prominent Yates family of Schenectady in colonial New York, was a surveyor by trade. He served as a captain under Sir William Johnson in the French and Indian War, taking part in the attack on Fort Ticonderoga and in the capture of Fort Niagara. At the outbreak of the Revolution, Yates offered his services in the Continental Army and received a commission. He fought at the Battle of Saratoga.

Most of Christopher Yates' service was spent as quartermaster general at Saratoga and at other posts. As quartermaster, Yates served beneath Philip Schuyler, Morgan Lewis and Timothy Pickering. His duties were to obtain and transport all types of supplies for the Continental forces in his area. Yates seems to have served well in this difficult post, for he is said to have been highly respected by both his superiors and his men. Nor did he turn his position to personal profit, for he returned home to Schenectady at the end of the war nearly penniless. Christopher Yates married Jane Bradt in 1760, and they had ten children.

Members of the Yates family who are represented by only a few items in these papers include Christopher's father, Joseph Yates, a wealthy landowner in Schenectady; Jellis Yates, brother of Christopher, who served as a private and lieutenant of the line all through the Revolution; Christopher's eldest son, Joseph C., the Governor of New York State from 1823 to 1825; Andrew, another son of Christopher Yates, who graduated from Yale and became a professor at Union College; and a third son, John B., who served in the War of 1812 and became a member of Congress. Other families mentioned in the papers include the Bradts, Fondas and De Lanceys. The genealogical chart, though incomplete, should help to clarify these family relationships.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Christopher Yates Papers are organized in five sections: correspondence, financial records, legal records, military records, and miscellany. The materials date from 1677 to 1936, with the bulk falling between 1750 and 1800. Most of the papers are in English, though a few, relating to the Van Benthuysen family and dating from early provincial New York, are in Dutch.

Correspondence (boxes 1-2), which dates from 1728 to 1848, is arranged chronologically. In addition, an alphabetical index of correspondence appears at the end of this finding aid. There are also three letterbooks, which have been placed at the end of the correspondence section.

The bulk of the letters date from Christopher Yates' service as quartermaster general during the Revolutionary War. Yates' letters were frequently an informal conveyance of orders, and many letters deal with specific needs for lumber, wagons and various other supplies. His notable correspondents included Philip Schuyler, Morgan Lewis, Walter Livingston and Timothy Pickering. Christopher Yates' correspondence also contained news of the progress of the war. There is a copy of a letter from General Washington to General Gates which describes the Battle of Monmouth, and one letter of September, 1775 which gives an account of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The correspondence in Christopher Yates' letterbook (1780-1781) is similar to his individual letters and has been included in the index.

There is a small amount of correspondence in the 1800's consisting mostly of incoming letters to Elizabeth (De Lancey) Yates, wife of New York Governor Joseph C. Yates. These letters contain local and family news. Two letterbooks, dating from 1805 to 1829, belonged to John De Lancey. De Lancey had extensive correspondence with Joseph C. Yates and Judge Robert Morris of New Jersey. Most of De Lancey's letters deal with business and legal affairs.

Financial records, which date from 1732 to 1841, include papers of several members of the Yates family, John Butler, Peter Van Benthuysen and the Morris Canal Co. The folders are arranged alphabetically, and the items include bills and receipts, statements of account, bids, estimates, account books and receipt books.

Legal records comprise individually listed legal documents arranged alphabetically by the name of the chief person involved. These papers range from 1677 to 1898, with most from the 1700's. There are numerous items relating to members of Christopher Yates' family, as well as documents of the Bradt and Fonda families. The materials include deeds, bills of sale, apprenticeship papers, complaints, wills, affidavits, notes of recognizance, bonds, warrants, stock assignments, quitclaims, and certificates of appointment and election.

Documents of land transactions in Albany County, N.Y., are numerous. Items of special interest include a brief for Onondaga Nation v. Thacher (ca. 1898), known as "the Wampum Case," which contains accounts of Iroquois beliefs and customs in the use of wampum. Also, there are five records of sales or bequests of slaves, mostly in New York State.

Military records are divided into three sections: records of the British Colonial Army, the American Continental Army and the U.S. Army. The British Colonial Army material includes a few receipts, and a journal of Captain Thomas Butler, dated April and May of 1756. Sir William Johnson ordered Captain Butler to command an expedition to Oswego to guard that outpost against attack by the French. The Journal is probably unpublished, but references to the Butler expedition may be found in the Sir William Johnson Papers (Albany 1922), IX, 429. In this journal, Butler describes the course of his journey, noting all the reports of his Indian scouts, particularly with regard to the activities of the French. Butler's journal also contains detailed accounts of his expenses, consisting largely of pay given to the Indians of the Six Nations who accompanied him.

The records of the American Continental Army are divided into two groups: quartermaster papers and resolutions of Congress. The quartermaster papers (1777-1781) comprise a large body of material related to Christopher Yates' service as quartermaster general. In this position, Yates was responsible not only for transport and distribution of supplies in his area, but also for some manufacture of needed goods. At Saratoga he had charge of a sawmill producing lumber for buildings and boats. The papers, reflecting his activities in obtaining all types of supplies and labor for the Continental Army, include receipts, notes, contracts and agreements, orders, payrolls, reports, and account books. There are four copies of resolutions passed by Congress between 1779 and 1781. They concern appointments, debts, loyalists and soldiers.

The U.S. Army material, dating from the 1800's, includes several commissions of descendants of Christopher Yates, and some records of a company in the 2d Regiment of Light Dragoons.

Miscellany includes some biographical material on the Yates and Fonda families. There is a paper on the Yates family which was read in 1936 before the Schenectady County Historical Society. Another item of interest is a printed copy of Sermons to Assess, dated 1770. Other materials include a surveyor's field book, maps, music books, sermons, verse and miscellaneous printed matter.


Access Restrictions: The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.A few items in the collection are restricted due to their fragile condition. These items are noted in the inventory below and are accessible with special permission only.

Use Restrictions: Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Butler, Thomas, 1748-1805.
De Lancey, John, ca. 1741-1829.
Lewis, Morgan, 1754-1844.
Quackenbush, Nicholas.
Van Benthuysen, Peter.
Yates, Christopher, 1737-1785.
Yates, Elizabeth De Lancey.


United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
United States. -- Continental Army.

Genres and Forms

Public records.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Christopher Yates Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 1970.

Table of Contents


Financial records

Legal records

Military records


Restricted material

Selected index to correspondence


Box 1 [General] Undated
RESTRICTED: Letter to C. Yates restricted due to condition, see Restricted Material, Box 6
Box 1 [General] 1728-1731
RESTRICTED: Letter Livingston to Van Slyck (1731) restricted due to condition, see Restricted Material, Box 6
Box 1 [General] 1758-1768
Box 1 [General] 1773-1774
Box 1 [General] 1775
Box 1 [General] Jan-Dec 1776 (9 folders)
[General] Mar-Aug 1777 (6 folders)
RESTRICTED: Letter C. Yates to Hay, Lansing and Visscher restricted due to condition, see Restricted Material, Box 6
Box 1 [General] Jan-Dec 1778 (10 folders)
Box 1 [General] Jan-Dec 1779 (12 folders)
Box 1 [General] Feb-Dec 1780 (10 folders)
RESTRICTED: Letter C. Yates to Peak (1780) restricted due to condition; see Restricted Material, Box 6.
Box 1 [General] Jan-Dec 1781 (11 folders)
Box 2 [General] 1782-1786 (5 folders)
RESTRICTED: Letters unknown to Van Benthuysen (1783) and C. Yates to Ellice (1786) restricted due to condition; see Restricted Material, Box 6.
Box 2 [General] 1798
Box 2 [General] [MISSING Nov 2016] 1816
Box 2 [General] 1820-1822 (3 folders)
Box 2 [General] 1824
Box 2 [General] 1826-1828 [MISSING Nov 2016]
Box 2 [General] 1832
Box 2 [General] 1834-1835 (2 folders)
Box 2 [General] 1845-1846 (2 folders)
Box 2 [General] 1848
Box 2 John De Lancey 1805-1813, 1814-1829 - 2 bound volumes plus fragments (3 folders)
Box 2 Christopher Yates 1780-1781 - fragments
Financial records
Butler, John
Box 2 Statements of account
Box 2 Morris Canal Co., Newark, N.J. 1841 - construction; bids and informal proposals; final estimates; miscellaneous material (2 folders)
Box 2 Van Benthuysen, Peter 1759-1779
Box 2 Yates, Abraham 1751-1767
Box 2 Yates, Christopher 1766-1783
Oversize 1 Yates, Christopher and others 1774-1794 - account book
Box 2 Yates, Joseph 1732-1764
Box 2 Account books 1762-1791
Box 2 Bills and receipts 1709-1773, 1779-1822 (2 folders)
Box 2 Statement of account 1734-1772
RESTRICTED: Van Slyck statement of account (1743) restricted due to condition, see Restricted Material, Box 6
Legal records
Box 6 Albany, N.Y. to J. Knickerbocker - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1709
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 2 Bradt, A. - Memorandum 1751
Box 2 Bradt, A. to A. Fonda - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1752
Box 6 Bradt, A. to F. Van Den Cogard and others - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1747
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 2 Bradt, A. to J. Vrooman - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1755
Box 6 Bradt, A. to J. L. Vrooman - Deed, Albany County N.Y. 1751
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 6 Butler, J. to A. Wemple Deed, Tryon County, N.Y. 1773
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 3 Clement, P. to D. Marenes Bill of sale, sawmill and iron works 1738
Box 3 Copernol, W. to A. Laninoy Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1737
Box 3 Courtney, H. to J. Boshart Apprenticing of his Bons 1772
Box 3 Davis, J.L. - Complaint 1782
Box 3 De Graff, A. to D. Marenes - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1742
Box 3 Dellemont, I. with F. and D. Van Petten - Agreement concerning construction of sawmill 1748
Box 3 Dutch Reformed Church of Schnectady to C. Van De Volgen and others - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. [?] 1757
Box 3 [?] Flyrse, A. - Will 1758
Box 3 Fonda, A. to C. Yates Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1761
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 3 Fonda, R. to her daughters - Bequest of slaves 1755
Box 3 Grant, W. and M. Kennedy - Recognizance, Tryon County, N.Y. 1782
Box 3 Gray, D. and others - Affidavits 1776
Box 3 Hearsay, D. to the Mohawk Bridge Co. - Deed, Schnectady County, N.Y. 1813
Higgel, M. and others - Complaint 1781
Box 3 High, M. and others - Recognizance, Tryon County, N.Y. 1782
Box 3 Hughan, J. to C. Yates - Deed, Tryon County, N.Y. 1775
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 3 Livingston, H. to M. Smith - Bill of sale of slave, New York, N.Y. 1792
Box 3 Lyne, J. to C.H. Toll - Deed, Tryon County, N.Y. 1783
Box 3 Marenes, D. to P. Clement - Bond 1783
Box 3 Marenes, D. to S. Keemstraat - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1736
Box 3 Marselis, A. to J. Simmons - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1735
Box 3 Onondaga Nation v. Thacher ("the Wampum Case") - Brief for plaintiffs, tsc ca. 1898
Box 3 Phillips, J. - Will undated
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 3 [?] Playton, O. to W. Willis - Bill of sale of slave, Philadelphia, Pa. 1726
Box 3 Rose, I. to J. Sanders - Bond 1777
Box 3 Schnectady Fire Insurance Co. - Petitioners for an act of incorporation 1830
Box 3 Schuyler, P. to C. Van Benthuysen - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1707
Box 3 Service, C. to New York State - Petition for assistance 1785
Box 3 Sevits, A. to A. Marselis - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1770
Box 3 Staats, G. to J. Yates - Bill of sale of slave, Rensselaer, N.Y. 1798
Box 3 Thomas, L. - Warrant for arrest 1811
Box 3 Van Cornelius, F. to P. Van Benthuysen - Bill of sale of slave, New York, N.Y. 1729
Box 3 Van De Werke, J. to D. Fonda - Bond 1755
Box 3 Van Eps, A. to J. Condry. Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1766
Box 3 Van Eps, C. to J. Van Eps - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. ca. 1763
Box 3 Van Eps, E. - Will 1741
Box 3 Van Eps, J. with P. Luwes - Agreement concerning land transfer, Albany County, N.Y. 1754
Box 3 Vrooman, J. to J. Fonda Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1767
Box 3 Walter, J. and others - Recognizance, Tryon County, N.Y. 1782
Box 3 Wemp, J. and others to W. Marynus and others - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1719
Box 3 Wendell, J. to J. Yates - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1738
Box 3 Willson, A. to constables - Order 1770
Box 3 Wimple, H. to J. Van Eps - Bill of sale of cattle, horses and goods 1769
Box 3 Winne, Pieter to Joseph Yates - Release, sawmill company, Albany Co. 1749
Box 3 Yates, A. and others to C. and J. Yates - Quitclaim 1769
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 3 Yates, A.J. to J.A. - Stock assignment, Texas Railroad Navigation & Banking Co. 1837
Box 3 Yates, A.A. - Admission to New York State Bar, Certificate of election, New York State Assembly 1857, 1887 (2 folders)
Box 3 Yates, C. - Declaration of candidacy, Schnectady, N.Y., undated; Will and probate 1782-1824 (2 folders)
Box 3 Yates, Jane and others to C. Peck and others - Deed, Montgomery County, N.Y. 1787
Box 3 Yates, J.B. 1805-1815
Appointment as Master of the Court of Chancery of the state of New York, by Morgan Lewis, 1806
Appointment as Notary Public, 1808
License to practice before the Court of Chancery of the state of New York, 1815
License to practice before the New York State Supreme Court, 1805
Box 4 Yates, J.B. to J. Auchard - Deed, Herkimer County, N.Y. 1794
Box 4 Yates, Joseph to N. Stevens - Deed, Albany County, N.Y. 1749
Box 4 Yates, J.C. 1799-1822
Appointment as Justice of New York State Supreme Court, 1808
Appointments as Master of the Court of Chancery of the state of New York by John Jay, 1800
Appointments as Mayor of Schenectady by John Jay, 1799-1800
by George Clinton, 1801-1804
by Morgan Lewis, 1805
Certificate of election as Governor of New York, 1822
License to practice before the Mayor's Court of Albany, N.Y., 1791
Box 4 Yates, J.C. and S. Southwick - Appointment as Regents of the State University of New York 1812
Box 2 Miscellaneous 1677-1774
RESTRICTED: Two items (unidentified, in Dutch, 1696; Van Benthuysen memorandum, 1757) restricted due to condition.
Military records
British Colonial Army
Box 4 Journal of Captain Thomas Butler on a mission to Oswego for Sir William Johnson 1756
Box 4 Receipts 1761-1764
American Continental Army
Quartermaster Papers
Box 4 Books 1779-1780
Box 4 General instructions 1780
Box 4 Summaries 1778-1780
Box 4 Contracts and agreements 1779-1780
Box 4 Orders and instructions 1778-1779
Box 4 Payrolls 1778-1779
Box 4 Receipts and notes 1777-1778, 1779, 1780, 1781, undated (8 folders)
Box 4 Receipt books 1776-1777, 1779 (2 folders)
Box 5 Inventories of goods 1777-1781
Box 5 Requisition orders 1779
Box 5 Summaries of goods and labor 1780-1781
Box 5 Miscellaneous 1777-1785
Resolutions of Congress
Box 5 On appointments and dismissals 1779
Box 5 On debts 1781
Box 5 On loyalists 1780
Box 5 On soldiers 1780
U.S. Army
Yates, Austin A.
Box 5 Captain, New York State Volunteers 1862
Box 5 Major, New York Volunteers 1898
Box 5 Major, U.S. National Guard 1898
Yates, John B.
Box 5 Captain, New York State Militia 1809
Box 5 Lt. Colonel, New York Militia 1810
Light Dragoons, 2d Regiment
Box 5 Muster rolls 1813-1814
Box 5 Payroll 1813
Biographical material
Box 5 Unidentified (Dutch) 1740-1793
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 5 Fonda, Jellis and children 1785-1800
RESTRICTED: Restricted due to condition.
Box 5 Yates, Andrew 1794 - Bechelor's degree from Yale, signed by Ezra Stiles
Box 5 Yates, Joseph C. 1799 - Philomathean Society, Union College
Box 5 On the Yates family 1931-1936
Box 5 Field book: Hendrik Frey's survey of Sir Henry Moore's land 1767
Imprints (Vols. 3-5)
Box 5 Backus, Azel, Inaugural Discourse 1812
Box 5 (Murray, James), Sermons to Asses 1770
Box 5 Norton, A.S., Sermon 1821
Box 5 Harlem: John De Lancey's farm 1791
Box 5 Mohawk Valley: Arent Bradt's land undated
Box 5 Music books: Hymns, carols, songs 1864-1879
Box 5 Printed matter, miscellaneous 1822-1882
Box 5 Verse, anonymous undated
Box 5 Unidentified diary fragments [1759?] - possibly Christopher Yates; recounts siege of Niagara
Restricted material
Box 6 Originals of items listed above as restricted

Selected index to correspondence

All letters are incoming to Christopher Yates, unless otherwise indicated