York Rent Riots
April 29, 1766
The city alarmed from the approach of the Country Levellers called the West Chester men. The militia ordered to hold themselves in readiness. Letters Received from them in town declaring that if Mr. Courtlandt does not give them a grant forever to his Lands, they will march with their Body now collected and pull down his House in town and also one belonging to Mr. Lambert Moore.
May 1, 1766
Six men (a Committee from West Chester people being 500 men now lying at King's Bridge) came into town to explain matters . . . . The Military applied to on account of the Levellers on which they dispersed. Sons of Liberty great opposers to these Rioters as they are of opinion no one is entitled to Riot but themselves.
May 6, 1766
Proclamation issued I00£ reward for the taking of Pendergrast, Chief of the Country Levellers and 50£ for either Munro and Finch, two officers, "en second."
June 28, 1766
Advises from the Manor of Livingston that the Levellers have rose there to the number of 500 men 200 of which had marched to murther the Lord of the Manor and level his house, unless he would sign leases for 'em agreeable to their form as theirs were now expired and that they would neither pay Rent, taxes, & nor suffer other Tenants. The Levellers met by Mr. Walter Livingston the Son who made a sally with 40 armed men -- the 200 having only sticks -‑ obliged them to retire, not without their threatening a more respectable visit on the return of Col. Livingston of the Manor.
June 29, 1766
Seventeen Hundred of the Levellers with firearms are collected at Poughkeepsie. All the jails broke open through all the counties this side of Albany of the East side of the River by people headed by Pendergrast. 8000 cartridges sent up to the 28th Regt . . . .
This morning arrived the 28th Regimt with Pendergrast the principal country Rebel ring leader . . .
Accounts from the Circuit, Pendergrast is indicated for High Treason . . .
Wm Pendergrast, who was tried at Poughkeepsie and found guilty of high Treason and received Sentence of Death, begged leave of the Court to admit him to deliver a few words viz. "That if opposition to government was deemed Rebellion, no in member of that court were entitled to set upon his Tryal."
SOURCE: "Journals of Capt. John Montresor, 1757‑1778," New. York Historical Society, Collections, XIV, 363‑365, 375‑377, 381, 384.