COUNTY CONVENTION OF DRAFTED MEN
(Source: The Stamford Mirror, September 8, 1885 page 2 column 2)
transcribed by Linda Robinson, May 3, 2004
The men drafted in Delaware County in the first draft in 1863, held a County Convention in the Court House in Delhi, on Thursday, August 27th. William Fletcher, of Delhi, was made Chairman, and Stephen C. Lockwood, of Davenport, was chosen Secretary.
At the State Convention held at Utica on the 16th of last month, Rev. William Hull, of Hudson, the chairman of the State committee, was requested to meet with the men interested in the several counties to as great an extent as his time would permit, and in accordance with that request he appeared at the convention and made an address, and answered the questions propounded by the men.
From his address it appeared that when the first draft was ordered there was no law of the legislature authorizing towns, cities or counties to raise money by tax or loan to meet the expense. In two-fifths of the State, according to population, they did it without law, and provided the men at the public expense; in the three-fifths the men had to provide for themselves. In the winter of 1864 the legislature passed a law legalizing what had been done and providing that future drafts might be filled at the public expense. This was done at a large cost, and the only personal burden borne was by the men of the first draft in three-fifths of the State. These men claim that this was a discrimination against them, and an injustice---that a town ought to fill all quotas at the public expense or none. They therefore claim relief on that ground.
Another ground upon which they claim relief is, that when the proceeds of the $24,000,000 State bounty loan was distributed, it was to reimburse the towns for the expense they had incurred in meeting the last draft, and to pay them $200 per year for excess of years of service from preceding drafts. This excess came from the years credited to the towns, which had been furnished them by the men in the first draft. The speaker said:
"For instance, in Columbia county 405 men were drafted and held for three years each in the first draft, making a credit to the towns of 1,215 years. On settlement with the paymaster-general, the county had a credit of excess of years, preceding the last draft, of 725 years. Without the credit of the 1,215 years furnished by the drafted men of 1863, there would have been a deficiency of 490 years, and no money could have been drawn on that account. The credit of the drafted men of 1863 brought the county $145,000 in that settlement. That credit had cost the drafted men of 1863 the sum of $121, 500, and that sum should have been returned to them, as it was obtained on their credit. Should a town, city, or county plunder its own citizens? Shall one man do the work and another collect his wages and keep them? Ought not the towns to pay over the money of the drafted men to them, with interest? How can such a wrong be defended? In Oneida county, when this money came to the board of Supervisors from the State treasury it was proposed in the board that the drafted men of 1863 be reimbursed out of it, and the resolution was only lost by one vote; the resolution should have been unanimously carried."
In that settlement with the Paymaster General, Delaware County drew from the State treasury $212,200, of which $143,200 were to reimburse her for the expense of filling the last draft, and $68,000 on account of an excess of 345 years of excess of service at $200 a year. Without the credit furnished by the men in the first draft she would have no excess, and could not have drawn the $69,000.
The men desire the Legislature to pass an act, providing that if a majority of the taxpayers of a town, city or county petition the board of supervisors, that they refund the drafted men the expense of filling the first draft. The chairman of the State committee stated that the people were willing to right the injustice, and that wherever the feeling had been tested, that nine-tenths of the taxpayers and upwards had signed petitions to the Legislature for the passage of such an act. He state that 15,00 men were finely organized in 51 counties, 21 Senate districts, 78 Assembly districts and 753 towns. They had 21 on the State committee, 153 on county committees, and 3,336 on town committees, and that they would spare no effort to secure legislation which would result in submitting their claim to the judgment of the taxpayers of their localities.
The Convention appointed the following County Committee, viz: Chairman - William Fletcher, Delhi; Secretary---Charles McPhail, Delhi; Treasurer---William McCune, Brushland.
The following Town Committees were also chosen, viz:
Andes---Charles Carman, James Bretherton, William A. Hull, Robert Crozier, Alexander McGregor, Isaac Samuels.
Bovina---William McCune, Ferris J. McPherson, Theodore Dickinson, Jas. B. Thompson, Wm. Scott.
Colchester---Ferris Terry, John Biggar, James W. Shaver, W.W. Sackett, George T. Dann, Rudolphus Francisco.
Davenport---Warren Smith, Stephen Lockwood, George Smith, Rodney L. Hibbard, George Wilson, James Brown, Seth A. Warner.
Delhi---Tobias Stoutenburg, William Fletcher, Chas. McPhail, Alexander S. Oliver, Cyrus Hoag, James Ainslie.
Franklin---Porter Beach, Eli P. Howe, Ripley Betts, M.V.B. Jackson, Stephen Potter.
Hamden---Alonzo Miller, William Scott, Andrew Littlejohn, William Tweedle.
Hancock---Orrin P. Sutton, John H. Lobdell, Earl S. Lakin, Constart Broskins, N. Bonnefond, George Fuller, William C. Knight.
Harpersfield---John H. Houck.
Kortright---Adam C. Hills, Henry H. Kerr, Jas. S. Kerr, William H. McCracken, Martin Barker, H.B. Gerowe.
Meredith---Isaac Brownell, Walter Ainslie, Wm. Burns, James Sinclair, Osman Waterman.
Middletown---DeWitt Griffin, John D. Hubbell, Avery Boughton, Daniel Waterbury, Ransom W. Sanford.
Roxbury---Isaac Bookhout, Edward B. Moore, Andrew Sterley, Harvey B. Cronk, George D. Thompson, William Burroughs.
Sidney---Charles W. Niles, Warren Dewey, Foster W. Thompson, O.W. Foote, Edwin Wheat, Porter D. Searls.
Stamford---John B. Griffin.
Walton---Henry E. St. John, Robert Harby, L. St. John.
The convention passed the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the several newspapers of the county be requested to publish the proceedings of this convention.
Resolved, That out next Senator and Member of Assembly be requested to support a bill for our relief at the coming session of the Legislature.
The convention adjourned, subject to the call of the county committee.