Van Tromp to be compelled to give of their ill-success in reduc-
ing these truculent Puritans to subjection, and it might have been
expected â€” the idea of treating these people as subdued rebels and
subjects of executive clemency was simply ridiculous. Governor
Winthrop did all in his power to help the Long Island people in
In the month of August of this year, 1673, previous to the
visit of the " Zeehond," the Southampton people addressed a let-
ter to the New England colonies, setting forth the demand of the
Dutch to surrender to the arms of the Prince of Orange, and
64 HlSTORY OF SOUTHAMPTON.
their deplorable situation, and the necessity through their weak-
ness, to submit to these demands, this declaration serving to re-
move any odium attaching to their sudden and unwished for
change of allegiance. On the receipt of this John Winthrop,
Major of the .Connecticut militia, was sent with such force as
could be spared in a vessel to Southold, to assist the Long Island
people. *February 25, 1673-4, Major Winthrop writes from
Southold of a spirited engagement between his forces and the
" Snow," a Dutch ship, with one ketch and two sloops, who first
summoned the town of Southold to" surrender. Upon this Major
Winthrop in command replied :
" Sir : . . . I am here appointed by the authority of his
Majesty's colony of Connecticutt, to secure these people, in obe-
dience to his Majesty and by God's assistance I hope to give a
good account thereof, and you may assure yourself that I will re-
ceive you in the same condition as a person that disturbs his
Captain John Howell, with forty soldiers from Southampton,
and twenty from East Hampton, came promptly at the summons
of Major Winthrop for assistance, and took part in this engage-
ment. The Dutch withdrew their forces and the last that was
seen of them the vessels were on their return passage through
But their High Mightinesses were soon compelled to surrender a
second time the province of New York to the English crown. It
was in July, 1673, that Captain Manning, commander of Fort
James, in the absence of Governor Lovelace, made the surrender
of New York to the Dutch, and November 10, 1674, the Dutch
Governor Colve again surrendered it to Edmund Andros, in be-
half of the King of England. Thus closes the history of the
civil changes of the town down to the war of the revolution.
Here it may be proper to relate one incident that grew out of
the English repossession of New York, illustrating the high and
mighty way persons in authority in those days were apt to deal
with their subjects. As soon as the new Governor, Andros was
firmly in his seat at New York, to increase his revenues he turns
* Winthrop Papers, Mass. Hist. Coll., 3 s. vol. 10, p.
Civil Relations. 65-
on the Long Islanders and demands that the three easternmost
towns shall take out new patents for their lands from himself. In
response they unite in sending him the following letter, found on
record in the State archives at Albany, Council Minutes, vol. 3,
pt. 2, p. 7.
" To his Honour Edmund Andros, Esq., Governor of New
" The humble retiirne to your letters (directed unto us, the
subscribed) by order and advice of the three eastermost towns on
" May it please your Hono r Being informed by yo r Honâ„¢ Let-
ter of Novemb r 5th, that the Much desired reestablishment of his
Ma tys Authority at New Torke to the dispossessing tht Insulting
forraigner, is at length accomplished, by y r Honâ„¢ Happy arrival,
the which we heartily congratulate, and seeing by virtue of yo r
Hon rs Receipt of tht place & Government in behalf of his Mat 7
from the Dutch, demand is made of these three Towns in Re-
establishing the Constable & Overseers, which were in place of
trust amongst us when the Dutch came to Fort James in July
1673, with all due Respect to y r Hon r be pleased to understand
tht although Fort James was not faithfully kept for his Ma ty but
unmanlike delivered to his and our Enimyes, whereupon the poor
naked unheeded people of severall Townes were forced to sub-
ject unto or suffer the fury of the Dutch, yet his Ma tys Loyall Sub-
jects in these three Townes, putting their lives in their hands,
with expence of great part of their poor Estates to his Mat ys ser-
vice, back'd with the undenyable Demontration of ojj (now) asso-
ciate Cordyall Affection, o r very loving Neighbours of his Mat yB '
Colony of Connecticott, Succeeded by the blessing of almighty
God they never were in the Power of the Dutch, either to be
Challenged as conquered by them, or to bee delivered to y* Hon 1 "
now, o r Instrumental Saviours haveing in our Extremity not only
Protected us, also Governed us, Establishing and Commissionate-
ing officers here, both Civill and Military. To whom also we
are engaged by the Oath of God, and formerly by Patent privi-
ledge, by his Mat ys Expresse Grannte, wee cannot either in civil-
ity or in faithfullnesse doe more or less without application to
these his Mat yB substitutes that were so ready to take us up when
his Royall Highnesse Lieutenant had left us miserable without
either Aide or Councell, Starre or Compasse to be vassulaged,
would we have suffered o r selves (as they) to have been huf t out
of our Loyalty, Priviledge and Substance by an Insulting
Enimy, but wee would not be too Tedious, which might abuse.
%q History of Southampton.
yo r Hon 13 patience. Praying alway for ye health and happynesse
of our Gracious Soveraigne, his most Excellent Majesty of Great
Britaine, desiring yo r Hon rs compleat Felicity in your enjoyment.
"Which is all at present from yo r Honâ„¢ very humble Servants.
Southold, November ye 18th, An 1674.
" Hereupon ye Governor desired the advice of ye aforenamed
Persons [the members of his Council] what Course was best to
be taken for ye effectual asserting and settling his Matys and Eo 11
Highnesse Authority in these three Towns, pursuant to his Mat ys
Letters Pattents, & his Royall Highnesse Commission then pro-
duced, authorizing him thereunto.
"It was unnanimously advised: That the Governor should
with all Expedicon dispatch an Expresse with reiterated orders to
ye said Towns, for the Admission and resettling of ye Constables
and Overseers in their places forthwith as directed in the former
Orders, and for default to be declared rebells and prosecuted ac-
" That ye Governor by ye same Expresse send an Order com-
manding John Mulford, John Howell and John Young, who
signed ye said Letter forthwith to make their personall appear-
ance before him at New Yorke, to give an account of ye said Let-
ter, and make answer to wht may be objected against them. The
which if they do not do presently Obey to be declared Rebells,
and proceeded against accordingly ; as also all others within this
Government who may or shall presume to abett or assist them in
such Rebellious practices ag st his Mat 73 and Royall Highness Au-
thority, to incurre the like penalty. All which, after mature de-
liberation, was resolved on and accordingly ordered by the Gov-
So far the Minutes of Council. In desiring to engage in the
business of reissuing patents, Governor Andros, and after him
Governor Dongan, only did on a small scale what their sovereigns
had been doing and did all the time â€” that is, to issue to com-
pany after company of applicants, or to some royal relative or fa-
Civil Relations. 67
vorite, patents for the same land over and over again. Thus the
charter of Connecticut gave to that colony the land west of the
Connecticut river to the present boundary of New York ; and the
charter of New York, given in 1664, grants to that colony the
tract of land eastward to the Connecticut river. So long as the
golden stream continued to flow into the royal revenues, however,
it mattered little to the monarch how his subjects in distant
America settled their disputes growing out of these conflicting
grants. Doubtless Charles the Second looked upon it all as a
good joke. However, to complete this episode in the history of
the three towns, we may add, they were compelled to obey the
Governor's mandate and take out new patents. And soon after, to
answer the many charges against him of malfeasance of ofSce,
their lofty master was himself put under arrest and sent back to
England, and another reigned in his stead.
68 HlSTOEY OF SOUTHAMPTON.
DUBING THE BEVOLUTIONAEY "WAS OCCUPATION BY THE BBITISH
PEBSONAL INCIDENTS COLONIES SOLDIEBS IN THE SLAVE-
Dueing the Revolutionary war the people of Suffolk county
were exposed to peculiar hardships. So remote from the field of
operations, it was a region strategically not worth defending, but
by its wealth of forage and stock well worth the attention of the.
enemy while in occupation of New York. Until recently it has
not been known how extensively the inhabitants participated in
the actual struggle in the field, nor has another element in the
history of the Island during this period been estimated at its due
importance in influencing the condition of the people. This was the
oath of allegiance to the British crown exacted by Governor Tryon
of the islanders, and will be referred to presently in the course of
the narrative. There are four factors in the history of the war in
Long Island, or four several points to be treated in writing this
history. The first is the prelimirary steps showing the spirit
with which they entered into the contest. Second, the battle of
Long Island overthrowing all the plans of the inhabitants and of
the commanding officer for the protection of the Island. Third,
the oath of allegiance that sent all that could get away into exile
within our lines on the main, chiefly in Connecticut, it being under-
stood that a liberal representation were fighting in the field.
Fourth, occupation by the British for seven long years while
the land was plundered by friend and foe. In the first place
the people of English descent on the Island were intensely loyal
to freedom and the cause of independence. Taking Southampton
and East Hampton as examples of the patriotic feeling generally
pervading the east end of the Island, we learn from the records in
the office of the Secretary of State of New York * just what was
done in those first days that ushered in the war of independence.
* Calendar of historical MSS. relating to the war of the Kevolution, published in 1868.
During the Revoltjttonaey Wak. 69
As early as the summer of 1775, associations were formed through-
out the county composed of the male inhabitants capable of bear-
ing arms, from 16 to 50 years of age, the members of which pledged
themselves to the support of the measures of the provincial con-
gress, and the union of the American colonies to resist the oppres-
sion of the British government. Every male inhabitant in East
Hampton and Southampton signed his name to this instrument of
association. In Southampton two or three hesitated at first, but soon
joined with their neighbors in this pledge of resistance to the claims
of royalty. As the signs of war became more ominous this feeling
crystallized in the formation of two regiments, whose services were
ready at the call of their country. April 5, 1776, the First
Regiment of Suffolk county reported thirteen companies, 1030
men, officers and privates, made up from the county west and
north of Southampton. February 10, 1776, the Second Regiment
reported nine companies, 760 officers and privates, of whom East
Hampton furnished two companies, Bridge Hampton two, Sag
Harbor and Bridge Hampton jointly two, and Southampton three
companies. Bridge Hampton doubtless furnished as many as
three companies. In addition to these, Bridge Hampton, East
Hampton and Southampton furnished a company of minute men
to act as a home guard. The staff officers of the Second Regiment
were David Mulford, Colonel ; Jonathan Hedges of Bridge Hamp-
ton, Lieut-Colonel and Uriah Rogers and George Herrick of
Southampton, Majors ; Adjutant, John Gelston ; Quar. Master,
Phineas Howell ; Sergt. Major, Lemuel Pierson ; Drum Major,
Elias Matthews. This was the first step, the preliminary work to
the fast coming contest.
When G-eneral Sir "William Howe awoke one morning and
saw that General Washington had during the night occupied and
fortified Dorchester Heights which commanded Boston and its
harbor, he saw that for the time being New England was lost. He
accordingly sailed away with all his forces to Halifax, pre-
liminary to moving on New York. Washington divined his plans,
and sent a large body of troops who were posted, some in the city
and some, the largest body, on Long Island in the rear of Brook-
70 PIistory of South ampton.
lyn. guarding the approaches to the city. Four days after the land-
ing of the troops of General Howe on Staten Island, his brother,
Admiral Richard Howe, arrived with reinforcements, and then
the American army of 9,000 troops was confronted with the Brit-
ish and Hessians to the number of 30,000. The British, under
General Clinton, landed 10,000 troops in the rear of the Americans
on Long Island, and marched upon them in three divisions. On
the 27th of August, 1776, the opposing forces met and began the
famous battle of Long Island, so disastrous to the cause of the
patriots, and one that was lost through the neglect to fortify or
guard one of the approaches to the American position.
In this battle were engaged, besides the two Long Island regi-
ments before mentioned, two other bodies of troops, as follows :
A regiment of minute men, whose officers were, Col., Josiah Smith, of
Moriches ; Lieut. -Col., John Hulbert, of East Hampton ; 1st Major, Isaac
Eeeve, of Southold ; 2d Major, Jonathan Baker, of East Hampton ; Adj.,
Ephraim Marvin; Qr. Mr., Ebenezer Dayton, of East Hampton.
East Hampton Company.
Capt., Ezekiel Mulford ; 1st Lieut., John Miller; 2d Lieut., Nathaniel
Hand. Commissioned February 23, 1776.
First Southampton Company.
Capt., Zephaniah Kogers ; 1st Lieut., Nathaniel Howell, Jr. ; 2d Lieut. r
Matthew Sayre. Commissioned February 23, 1776.
Second Southampton Company.
Capt., David Pierson; 1st Lieut., John Foster, Jr.; 2d Lieut., Abraham
Rose ; Ensign, Edward Topping. Commissioned February 23, 1776.
First Southold Company.
Capt., John Bay ley; 1st Lieut., Joshua Toungs ; 2d Lieut., John Tuthill;
Ensign, James Reeves. Commissioned May 3, 1776.
Second Southold Company.
Capt., Paul Reeves; 1st Lieut., John Corwin; 2d Lieut., David Horton;
Ensign, Nathaniel Hodson. Commissioned May 3, 1776.
During the Revolutionary War. 71
Brookhaven, Smithtown, Manor of St. George and Moriches
Capt., Selah Strong; 1st Lieut., William Clark: 2d Lieut., Caleb Brewster;
Ensign, Nath'l Brewster. Commissioned April 4, 1776.
May 30, 1776, a return of this regiment gives Isaac Overton,
2d Major, vice Baker, and Captain, Nathaniel Piatt, vice Selah
The second military organization was an Artillery Company at-
tached to Col. Smith's Minute Regiment, the officers of which
were as follows â€¢
Capt., William Rogers, of B. H.; Capt. Lieut., John Franks; 1st Lieut.,
Jeremiah Rogers; 2d Lieut., Thomas Baker, of E. H. ; Lt. Fireworker, John
The rosters of these military bodies have never been published
excepting that of Col. Smith in Munsell's History of ISTew York,
and it is not known whether they are in existence.
A third regiment of Suffolk county is mentioned and commis-
sions were issued to its officers, but no roster has been found.
There is a paper in the archives of the State Library indorsed
" Return of the names of the persons for officers of the Second
Battalion in Suffolk county, taken according to the directions of
the Provincial Congress by the committees of East Hampton and
I suppose this to be the list of the commissioned officers of the
Second Regiment whose staff officers were before mentioned, but
of the regiment as reconstructed after the battle of Long Island.
The list is as follows :
Capt., David Howell ; 1st Lieut., Jeremiah Post ; 2d Lieut., Paul Jones ;
Ensign, Zephaniah Rogers.
Capt., John Dayton ; 1st Lieut., Isaac Mulford Huntting ; 2d Lieut., John,
Miller, Jr. ; Ensign, William Hedges.
Capt., David Pierson; 1st Lieut., Daniel Hedges; 2d Lieut., David Sayrej
Ensign, Theophilus Pierson.
72 Histoky of Southampton.
Capt., David Fithian; 1st Lieut., Samuel Conkling; 3d Lieut., Thomas Baker;
Ensign, Daniel Conkling.
Capt., Stephen Howell; 1st Lieut, John White, Jr.; 2d Lieut., Lemuel
Wick; Ensign, Isaac Halsey.
Capt., William Rogers; 1st Lieut., Jesse Halsey; 2d Lieut., Henry Halsey;
Ensign, Nathaniel Rogers.
Capt., Josiah Howell; 1st Lieut., Nathaniel Howell; 2d Lieut., Matthew
Howell; Ensign, William Stephens.
Capt., Samuel L'Hommedieu; 1st Lieut., Silas Jessup; 2d Lieut., Edward
ConkliDg; Ensign, Daniel Fordham.
Capt., John Sandford; 1st Lieut., Edward Topping; 2d Lieut., Philip Howell;
Ensign, John Hildreth.
The officers above named of the " battalion " were commissioned
September 13, 1775, and were composed of some of those of
Colonel Smith's Minute Regiment which was disbanded as a regi-
ment after the battle of Long Island, as it is reported, by the
orders of "Washington, in order that such as was needed to protect
their homes should return, and others as preferred could enlist
under a new organization.
The third element in the history of this war was the oath of
allegiance exacted by Governor Tryon. This included the prom-
ise not only to refrain from engaging actively in war, but also
from furnishing any supplies to the American army and from
harboring or assisting in any way those who were in the field. In
short, as Rev. Dr. Buel of East Hampton wrote in bitter irony, they
were " subjects of his Majesty, King George." Large numbers
were compelled to remain for the support of their families. Many
heads of families to avoid taking the oath of allegiance fled to
Connecticut, and remained while their farms were tilled by slaves
During the Revolutionary War. 73
under the direction of the women or some neighbor who could
not get away. These were frequently men past the age of bear-
ing arms but utterly unwilling to take the oath of allegiance. Dr.
Buel of East Hampton, in correspondence with Governor Tryon,
made vigorous endeavors to mitigate the terms of this oath, but
all his efforts seemed to be in vain. So revolting was it to the
feelings of the people that tillage was neglected, and only enough
land was cultivated to keep the inhabitants from starvation, while
the heads of families above fifty years of age to escape insult and
imprisonment of person and confiscation of property were com-
pulsory exiles in a neighboring colony. Not all fled thither â€” not
all could. Some had wives or sisters or daughters to protect,
and some were too poor or too infirm to depart and were com-
pelled to remain as " subjects of his Majesty King George."
Mere neutrality did not satisfy the royal Governor. Not only the
allegiance to the crown, but material aid in carrying on the war
was demanded and taken. This brings us to the fourth element
in the history, the British occupation from the battle of Long
Island to the evacuation of New York city, November 25, 1783.
During all this seven years the Island groaned under the oppressive
occupation of their soil by the hostile invader. Their circumstances
exposed them, however, to sufferings and outrages from both par-
ties. Their forced submission to the Royal Army (their misfor-
tune, not their fault), caused them to be viewed with suspicion by
their brethren upon the continent, and often invited parties of
plunder from that quarter. Multitudes fled for shelter and pro-
tection to the shores of Connecticut.
" Dr. Buell writes from E. Hampton, Sept'r 22, '76, that the
People are as a torch on fire at both ends, which will speedily be
consumed, for the Cont. Whiggs carry off their stock and pro-
duce, and the British punish them for letting it go, â€” hopes the
Whigs will not oppress the oppressed, but let the stock alone.
" The history of that seven years' suffering will never be told.
Philosophy has no adequate remedy for silent, unknown, unpitied
suffering. . . . Left to the tender mercies of the foe ; plun-
dered by countryman and stranger of their property and ripened
harvest ; robbed of the stores which they reaped and garnered ;
74 Histokt or Southampton.
slandered by suspicious brethren ; taunted and scoiied at by the
mercenary victors, they never wavered. Their hearts were in
their country's cause ; and in the memorable language of their
great compatriot, ' sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish,'
they were true to their country. Unterrified, unalterable, de-
voted Americans." *
Aside from these occasional raids, from friend and foe,, the
winter of 1778-9 was memorable for the occupation of South-
ampton by the British. A squadron of cavalry were quartered
there, who, by their disregard to the rights of property and usages
of war contrived to gain the ill-will of all the inhabitants. One
old house standing in 1866 still bore marks on the kitchen floor
of the axe of the British quartermaster. They constructed two
or three small earth-works or forts overlooking , the. town, the es-
carpments of one of which are still quite sharply defined. fThere
were two small iron field pieces, carronades, in possession of the
town, which the inhabitants, it is said, placed in the belfry of the
church as weights to the town clock, to prevent them from falling
into the hands of the enemy. It is certain one of them was re-
moved thence in 1843, when the spire was demolished, and the
other had been used for many years on the anniversaries of our
Onderdonk, in his Revolutionary incidents of Suffolk and
Kings counties, cites some of the newspapers of the day, which
state that in February, 1779, fourteen companies of light infantry,
700 men, were quartered at Southampton. In March the force
was increased to 2,500 men by the coming of General Clinton with
a body of troops. In April of the same year 500 foot and 50
horse were in Southold, and 100 men and two field pieces at Sag
Harbor. The number of men actually in possession was a vary-
ing quantity, as the plans and circumstances chanced to determine.
During the occupation by the British, such frequent calls for
forage were made upon the farmers that sufficient food did not
remain for their own stock. A kind Providence, however, pro-
* Hon. Henry P. Hedges' Address at 200th anniversary of East Hampton, L. L, 1869.
t These cannon had been probably in the possession of the town since 1691-1734, when arms
were sent from New York to assist the people on the east end in repelling foreign privateers.
Dtjeikg the Bevolutionaky Wab. 75
vided for their wants. The frost came out of the ground early
in February, and continuous warm weather brought out the grass
abundantly, and their cattle were saved from starvation.
However, the rigors of a military occupation were somewhat
softened in Southampton by the presence of the commander-in-
chief, Lord Erskine. He had his headquarters while remaining
here in the house late the residence of "William S. Pelletreau.
He was a man of integrity and even-handed justice and restrained
to some degree the soldiers quartered in Southampton from com-
mitting the depredations so common in the neighboring parish of
Bridge Hampton. It is said that his coming here prevented the
use of the church for stabling purposes, which was the design of
the officer in command before Lord Erskine's arrival. At length,
having become convinced of the injustice of the cause of Eng-
land in her quarrel with the Colonies, he resigned his commission
and returned to Europe.
A Mr. Benjamin Foster, who resided in a locality known by
the name of Littleworth, had one or more petty officers quartered
in his house. He was a very devout man and not ashamed to own
his Lord. One of these British officers one day asked him in
derision to pray with him. Mr. Foster replied that he had regu-
lar hours for prayer, and if he would come in the morning when
the family were assembled for prayers he should be welcome.
This the officer did, bringing with him a comarade to enjoy the
proceeding. But his comrade soon divined the motive which led