Lieutenant James Bain

James Bain, which is variously spelled Bain, Bean, and Bayne, was

“born in Scotland in 1733. He was commissioned an ensign in one of the 77th Additional Companies that came to America in Spring 1758. He resigned his commission at Montreal, 17 September 1760, and took a lieutenant’s commission in Captain Joseph Hopkins’ Independent Company known as the Queen’s Royal American Rangers, 11 December 1761. He was placed on half pay when Hopkins’ Rangers were disbanded, 24 December 1763. In 1772 he exchanged from lieutenant’s half-pay with Francis Pfister to become a lieutenant in the 1st/60th Foot (Royal Americans), 2 May 1772 ‘in room of’ Francis Pfister. He subsequently became captain lieutenant in the 1st/60th, 2 May 1778, and captain, 25 December 1778. He went out on half pay, 10 October 1782, but returned as captain in the 2nd/60th, 16 April 1788. He is not listed in BAL 1795.”i

On May 8 of 1764 he applied for a land grant along with other officers. He had previously entered a letter for the same on April 11.

May 8. Memorial of Captain John Small, Lieutenants Ann

Gordon, John Gregor, James Bain and Adjutant Wm.

Gregor, praying a grant of 2,000 acres of land, lying on

Battens kill, bounded on the west by a tract granted

Isaac Sawyer and others; on the north partly by lands

granted Ryer Schermerhorn and others; on the east by

vacant land, and on the south by Wallamscock, (White

Creek, Washington Co.)”……..ii

On July 11, 1765 there is noted a return of survey for this land, so it seems he actually went up and surveyed the land in the Spring of 1765, probably with the same survey party that included Duncan MacVicar, and also included some soldiers (probably Ann Gordon, John Small, and William and John Gregor; along with a party of Indians.)iii

Whether James Bain ever actually settled on this land isn’t known for sure, but it would seem possible he did considering he went back to the military “in the room of Francis Pfister” in 1772. Pfister was married to Ann Macomb of Hoosick in 1770. Pfister’s father-in-law John Macomb owned 100 acres in White Creek and more land across the line in Shaftsbury. If Bain did, it would make him an early settler of White Creek. However, Pfister was living in Albany early in 1772, so Bain may have been living there, too. Both Pfister and Bain were members of the Mason’s “Master Lodge” in Albany in 1768/69.

James served in the 1st Battalion of the 60th during the Revolution, but was stationed in Jamaica, not America. He may have been on the expedition to Nicaragua in 1780/81, but seems to have been involved in recruiting, and probably returned to America shortly before Yorktown. He left the military before 1795 and died in June 1800 in Broughton Loan, a suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland.iv

James Bain, unlike other officers in the 7 Years War who sold their land sight unseen to speculators like Duane and Kempe and then went home, seems to have remained in the area and may have personally managed and sold off some of his patent between 1765 and 1772. However, since land in this patent was being sold off by John Munro after 1772v, it seems more likely that he sold this to Duncan MacVicar, who put it together with Lt. Ann Gordon’s 2000 acres and his own 2000 acres to create his 6000 acre “Clarendon Township”, half in present-day Shaftsbury and half in present day White Creek. MacVicar returned to Scotland in 1772 and left his land in John Munro’s hands.

Most of these officers had envisioned running a feudal estate where they retained ownership of the land and rented to tenants – however people wanted their own “pitches”, or land. They didn’t have much cash to pay for it, however, so the common practice was to let them live on a lot for 3 years in return for clearing it, then they would sit down with the owner and negotiate a price. Even then, the owner would often have to hold a mortgage on it, usually for three additional years.

James Bain seems to have gone home to Scotland after leaving the service and never returned to America.

i McCullough, Ian Macpherson: Sons of the mountains, Vol. 2. Fleischmans, NY. Purple Mountain Press. 2006

ii Calendar of Colonial Manuscripts, p. 338.

iii Ibid, p. 372.

iv The Scots Magazine or General Repository of Literature, History, and Politics. July 1800, p. 432