On this day in 1688, Royal Governor Thomas Dongan transferred Governor of New York to Edmund Andros.
King James II established the Dominion of New England in America (1686) and it expanded to include New York and New Jersey (1688).
Governor Dongan is important to Saratoga because he issued the original Patent in 1684 or 1685. The original Saratoga patent embraced six square miles on both sides of the Hudson River. Governor Dongan’s “Charter of Liberties”, drafted in 1683 by the first representative assembly in New York as an instrument of provincial government.
The hallmark of Governor Thomas Dongan’s administration, the charter defined the colony’s form of government, affirmed basic political rights, and guaranteed religious liberty for Christians. It divided the colony into twelve counties, or “shires,” that were to serve as the basic units of local government. Freeholders from each shire would elect representatives to serve in the assembly. The office of town supervisor also originated at this time in a directive to each town to elect a freeholder, to be called the “town treasurer,” “to supervise and examine the publique and necessary charge of each respective county.” It is of interest to note that the original function of this office, called the “town supervisor” after 1703, was to allocate county expenses among the towns. County boards of supervisors and county legislatures developed from the meetings of the colonial town supervisors for the purpose of apportioning county expenses.
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There is no individual who defined this community more than Royal Governor Thomas Dongan. It is the determination of our forefathers, including Governor Dongan in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.