Henry Onderdonk.

Documents and letters intended to illustrate the revolutionary incidents of Queens county; with connecting narratives, explantory notes, and additions online

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Online LibraryHenry OnderdonkDocuments and letters intended to illustrate the revolutionary incidents of Queens county; with connecting narratives, explantory notes, and additions → online text (page 1 of 22)
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In the course of the year there will, probably, be
published a second volume, entitled, the Revolutionary
Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Counties, with an ex-
tended account of the Battle of Brooklyn, the prison
ships at the Walleboght, the whale boat warfare, and the
illicit trade in Long Island Sound. Any information will
be thankfully received and duly acknowledged.



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'Posterity delights in detaila." — J. Q. Adams.




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J;3 rcspectfullB EnscrfbetJ,




The present work is not a history, but rather a con-
tribution towards a history, of Queens County during
the Revolution. The materials are derived from the fol-
lowing sources :

I. The printed Journals of the Continental and New-
York Provincial Congresses ; and the MS. Journal, Let-
ters and Papers of the N. Y. Provincial Congress.

II. The military papers of Col. John Sands and
Major Richard Thome, kindly loaned me by T. W.
Smith and J. W. Thome, respectively.

III. Force's American Archives, Almon's Remem-
brancer and Parliamentary Register, Gentleman's Mag-
azine, and the Brodhead Documents.

IV. Rivington's Gazette, Gaine's Mercury, Holt's
Journal, Loudon's Packet, Hartford Courant, New Haven
Journal, New London Gazette, New Jersey Gazette,
Kollock's New- York Gazetteer.

V. Sparks's Writings of Washington, Graydon's Me-
moirs, Hinman's Connecticut, Simcoe's Journal, Gaine's
Almanac and Register, Thompson's Long Island,


Strong's Flatbush, Dunlap's Works, Haliburton's Nova

VI. Conversations with aged people of Queens

Many thanks are due to G. C. SchaefFer, of Columbia
College Library ; to Geo. H. Moore, of the Historical
Rooms, New- York : to S. F. Haven, of Antiquarian Hall,
Worcester ; to E. C. Herrick, of Yale College Library ;
and to Messrs. Robbins, Brinley and Parsons, of the
Connecticut Historical Society, for their courtesy in lay-
ing open the treasures of their respective libraries ; and
also to Gen. Johnson, B. F. Thompson, the Historian of
Long Island, the Rev. John Goldsmith, Rev. J. B. Felt,
Dr. E. Seely, and H. Floyd Jones, for sundry communi-

As this work is necessarily imperfect, the author
would feel under obligations to any one who will take
the trouble to send him any corrections, or point out
other sources of information.

Jamaica, L. I., May 1, 1S46.


(A star is prefixed to papers never before published.)
rise and progress of the revolutionary spirit.

1 Resolutions at Oyster Bay, on the passage of the Stamp Act.

2. Meeting at Jamaica and election of a Committee.

3. Address of Jamaica Committee to Delegates in Congress.

4. Protest of Jamaica Loyalists against Committees.

5. Committee of seventeen chosen at Newtown.

fi. Resolutions passed by the Committee at Newtown.

7. Protest of Newtown Loyalists.

8. Meeting at Oyster Bay.

9. Committee chosen at Flushing.

10. Poetry picked up in Queens County.

11. A Provincial Convention to be held.

12. Vote of Jamaica.

13. Vote of Newtown.

14. Hempstead Resolutions.

15. Vote of Flushing.

16. *Vote of Oyster Bay.

17. *Certificate of Minority at Oyster Bay.

18. Queens County has no vote in Convention.

19. A Provincial Congress to be held.

20. Lieutenant Governor Colden addressed at Jamaica.

21. *Protest of Oyster Bay Justices.

22. Election of Deputies in Queens County.

23. Congress opened with daily prayers.

24. List of Committee Men in Queens County.

25. *Form of Association.

26. Congress consider the state of Queens County.

27. Congress order Members from Queens to take their seats.

10 contents.


28. Congress appoint a day of fasting and prayer.

29. 1 cwt. of gunpowder voted Joseph Robinson.

30. *A. Lawrence and G. Belhune examined.

31. Arms impressed from Non-Associators.

32. *List of Jamaica Minute Men.

33. Cow and Great Neck separate from Hempstead.

34. Vote of Queens County for Deputies.

35. The Asia supplies arms, &c., to the disaffected.

36. Resolutions of Congress against Queens County.

37. Continental Congress order delinquents to be disarmed.

38. Col. Heard's Expedition into Queens County.

39. *Evidence against one of the disaffected.

40. Congress order Queens County to be regimented.

41. Expedition of Ward and Seers in Queens County.

42. Guard stationed at Rockaway.

43. Disaffected not to move into Cow and Great Neck.

44. A delinquent at Cow Neck advertised.

45. Arms of Non-Associators to be given to recruits.

46. Association of forty Jamaica Militia Men.

47. British pilot boat taken at Rockaway.

48. Petition of twelve disarmed Jamaica Militia Men.

49. Election of Deputies in Queens County.

50. Jamaica Committee revived.

51. Disobedience in Capt. Sands's Company.

52. *List of the Militia of Cow and Great Neck.

53. Currency counterfeited at Cold Spring.

54. *List of Militia Companies in Queens.

55. Congress order able-bodied citizens to return to New- York.

56. Disaffected not to move into or pass through Jamaica.

57. Jamaica Committee send a delinquent to New- York.

58. Congress vote gunpowder to Jamaica Militia.

59. Newtown boys raise the King's standard.

60. *Proceedings against the disaffected of Queens.

61. Congress vote jClOO and 1 cwt. powder to Queens County.

62. *Gen. Scott orders Queens County drafts to New-York.

63. *Defaulting Militia hunted in the swamps.

64. *Information respecting certain persons at Jamaica.

65. *Swamp fight in Hempstead.

66. *Queens County Committee apply for 500 troops.

67. "Warrant to search for arms at Hempstead.




68. Washington sends a party after the disaffected.

69. *List of prisoners sent from Hempstead.

70. Election of Deputies in Queens County.

71. Election of Militia Officers at Cow Neck.

72. Election of a Militia Officer at Jamaica.

73. *Stock lobe removed from South Side of Queens County.

74. *A11 secreted persons to be apprehended.

75. Congress approve the Declaration of Independence.

76. *Boats hauled up at Hog Island.

77. Congress vote 10,000 cartridges and 1,000 fhnts to Queens County.

78. Congress vote $10 bounty to recruits.

79. *Report on the state of Stock in Queens County.

80. *Militia drafted to drive off the Stock.

81. List of Officers of drafted troops.

82. *Gen. Woodhull's Letters to Queens County Militia.

83. *List of Recruits in Queens County.

84. *Congress grant money to Queens County.

85. Officers of Jamaica Minute Company.

86. Howe's Declaration posted in Queens County.

87. *Col. Birdsall ordered to Rockaway.

88. *Defaulters hide in Massapequa Swamp.

89. *Lieut. J. Townsend stationed at Matinecock.

90. *Sergeant Manee stationed at Sands's Point.

9 1 . *Sergeant Hicks stationed at Hewlett's Point.

92. *Warrant to take security for removal of Stock.

93. *Gen. Greene orders the new Levies to his Camp.

94. Half the militia of Queens ordered to Brooklyn.

95. Congress vote i)200 to Flushing for support of fugitives from N.Y.

96. *List of Capt. Nostrand'smen stationed at Rockaway.

97. Capt. Suydam seizes a boat at Rockaway.

98. *List of Officers of Col. Smith's Regiment.

99. Congress order Gen. WoodhuU to drive off Stock.

100. Woodhull writes to Congress for assistance.

101. The enemy's ships off Great Neck.

102. Queens County Militia recross to Long Island.

103. *Pay Rolls of Queens County Militia.

104. British Army march to Newtown.

105. British erect a Fort at Ilell-Gate.

106. British embark at Newtown Creek and land at Kip's Bay.

107. British Officers quartered at Newtown.





108. British Light-Horse enter Newtown.

109: do. do. Flushing. >

110. The Highlanders at Flushing.

111. The Light-Horse seize WoodhuU at .Tamaica.

112. Woodhull's dying declaration.

113. Elias Bayles, of Jamaica, carried off.

114. Other Whigs of Jamaica seized.

115. Light-Horse enter North Hempstead.

116. do. visit Col. Sands's house.

117. do. carry off Adrian Onderdonk.

118. do. do. Major Thome.

119. Oyster Bay Committee break up.

120. Kings County Light-Horse cross the Sound.

121. Ministerial Troops at Oyster Bay.

122. George Townsend and John Kirk carried off.



123. List of 1293 Petitioners.

124. Gov. Tryon reviews the Militia of Queens County.



125 — 167. Incidents at Newtown.

168—211. Incidents at Flushing.

212 — 288 Incidents at Jamaica.

289 — 337. Incidents at North Hempstead.

338 — 367. Incidents at Hempstead.

368 — 430. Incidents at Oyster Bay.

431 — 480. British Proclamations relating to Queens County.

481 — 519. List of Troops that lay in Queens County.



520 521. Evacuation of Queens County.

522 — 525. Emigration to Nova Scotia.
526. Celebration of the Peace.
527—530. Suits against LoyaUsts.
531. Tax laid on Queens County.






1. On the passage of the Stamp Act, the following pro-
ceedings took place in Queens county :

To the Committee of the Sons of Liberty in New-York :

Gentlemen- : — By order of a Committee of the Sons of
Liberty in Oyster Bay, we are to acquaint you, that at a
meeting of the inhabitants, on Saturday, February 22, 1766,
it was unanimously agreed and resolved —

I. That the person, crown and dignity of our rightful sove-
reign. King George III., with all his just and legal rights of
government, we will, to the utmost of our power, support,
maintain, and defend.

II. That the liberties and privileges, which we as Enghsh-
men have still enjoyed, particularly those of being taxed by
representatives of our own choosing, and being tried by our
own juries, we will also support, maintain, and defend.

III. That the late Stamp Act i.s destructive of these our
liberties, and is by us deemed to be arbitrary and unconstitu-
tional ; that as such, we will, to the utmost of our power, en-
deavor to oppose and suppress the same.



IV. That the measures which you have taken, and the
several noble efforts you have made, in vindication of the
general cause of liberty, we do heartily approve of. and that
with our lives and fortunes, we stand ready to assist you in the

V. That the Committee now chosen, do signify these our
resolutions to the Sons of Liberty at New- York and else-
where, as they may think proper; that the said Committee do
for the future keep up appointed meetings, as may be thought
necessary, at the house of George Weekes. in Oyster Bay, and
maintain a correspondence with your Committee, in which we
expect your concurrence. — Holt. March 6. 1766. 9

The Stamp Act was soon repealed, and we hear no more
of public meetings in Queens county, till the passage of the
Boston Port Bill, when a number of persons assembled at the
inn of Increase Carpenter, and requested Othniel Smith,
constable, to warn the freeholders to meet at the Court House,
to take into consideration the state of public affairs.

2. At a Town Meeting of the Freeholders and Inhabit-
ants of Jansaica, held in the Court House, on Tuesday, the
6th of December, 1774 :

Resolved. 1. That by principle and interest we have been
always iieartily attached to the Royal House of Hanover, as
the guardians of the civil and religious liberties of the whole
British Empire ; and that we esteem it our duty to render true
and faithful allegiance to George the Third. King of Great
Britain, as our only rightful sovereign ; and to support and
maintain the just dependence of the colonies upon the Crown
of Great Britain, under the enjoyment of our constitutional
rights and privileges.

Resolved. 2. That it is our undoubted right to be taxed only
by our own consent, given by ourselves or our Representatives;
and that all arts made by the British Parliament, imposing
taxes on the Colonies, are unjust, unconstitutional, and a mani-
fest infringement of our dearest and most invaluable privileges.

Resolved. 3. That we have esteemed it our greatest civil
happiness and glory to have been born subjects to the Crown,


and members of society under the most excellent Constitution
of Great Britain ; that we regard ourselves as one people with
our mother country, connected together by the strongest ties
of affection, duty, interest, and religion ; and that we lament as
the greatest misfortune * * the unhappy disputes that have of
late years subsisted between us. * * *

Resolved, 5. That we heartily sympathize with our brethren
of Boston and the Massachusetts Bay, under their present un-
exampled sufferings ; and that we regard the Acts of Parlia-
ment, under which they now groan, as cruel, unjust, unconsti-
tutional, and oppressive in the highest degree, levelled not
only at them in particular, but at the liberties of the other Co-
lonies, and the British Empire in general. * *

Resolved, 6. That we do most gratefully acknowledge the
difficult and important services rendered to theix, country, by
the late General Congress, held at Philadelphia, and that we
do highly approve of the measures by them concerted for the
public good of their constituents, and that we will use all pru-
dent and constitutional endeavors to carry those measures into

Resolved, 7. That we do appoint for our Committee ot
Correspondence and Observation, the following gentlemen, viz :
Rev. Abm. Keteltas, Capt. Richard Belts, Mr. Waters Smith,
Dr. John Innes, Cnpt. Ephraim Bayley, Mr. Joseph Robinson,

Capt. Joseph French, Mr. Eiias Bayley, Mr. William Ludlum.*

Resolved, 8. That this Committee do, in our names, present
an address of sincere and hearty thanks to the worthy Dele-
gates of this Province, for their cheerful acceptance and faith-
ful discharge of the arduous and important trusts committed to
them by their countrymen.

Resolved, 9. That this meeting have as heartily approved
of, and always been as ready to promote every prudent and
constitutional measure for the redress of grievances, and the
preservation of those invaluable liberties which have been in-
fringed by the British Ministry and Parliament, as any of their
brethren, and that it is not their fault that they were not sooner
convenedf for this important purpose ; and that they do highly
resent and heartily disapprove of the conduct of the super-


visor,J and any other person, by whose backwardness, igno-
rance, negligence, or remissness, this meeting has been so long
delayed. — Gaine, Dec. 19, '74.

* Two of the Committee declined serving: one was absent, and one
left them in their meditations.

t Lieut. Gov. Colden to the Earl of Dartmouth, Oct. 5, 1774:
" A great deal of pains has been taken to persuade the counties to
choose delegates for the Congress, or to adopt those sent by the city of New-
York. Several counties have refused. In Queens county, where I have
a house, and reside in the summer season, six persons have not been got
to meet for the purpose, and the inhabitants remain firm in their resolu-
tion not to join in the Congress."

X " The supervisor, Capt. Benjamin Whitehead, had received a letter
from the New-York Committee, but on consulting with the leading men
of the town, he concluded to take no notice of it."

3. January \dth, 1775. Address from the Committee of
Correspondence of the Township of Jamaica, presented to the
Delegates who represented this Province in the late General
Congress :

Gentlemen : We cheerfully embrace this opportunity of
publicly acknowledging, in behalf of ourselves and our con-
stituents, our most grateful sense of the arduous, faithful, and
important services, you have rendered your country in the pre-
sent alarming conjunction of affairs.

Permit us to declare our hearty acquiescence in the prudent,
just, and well-concerted measures, adopted by you at the last
General Congress, held at Philadelphia, and to assure you,
that we will exert our utmost endeavors to cai'ry those mea-
sures into execution.

We ardently pray that the Supreme Disposer of events * *
may signally reward and succeed your noble and generous
designs and efforts for the redress of our grievances, and the
vindication of our injured rights and liberties.

We joyfully anticipate the pleasure of seeing your names,
and the names of your very respectable brethren of the Con-
gress, enrolled in the annals of America, and transmitted to
the latest generations, as the friends and deliverers of your
country ; of beholding your conduct and measures applautled


and adopted by every city, town, and county, in the British
Colonies, and of having your just and well merited praises re-
sounded from one end of this extensive continent to the other.

Gentlemen, with hearts penetrated with unutterable grati-
tude, and overflowing with benevolent wishes for every blessing
on you and your posterity, we have the honor of being your
affectionate countrymen, and much obliged humble servants.
By order of the Committee.


To Philip Livingston, John Jay, Isaac Low, Henry Wisner,
James Duane, John Alsop, Simon Boerum, and William
Floyd, Esqrs.

4. Jamaica, Jan. 27, 1775. Whereas, a few people in
this town have taken upon themselves the name of a Com-
mittee, said- to be chosen by a majority of the inhabitants, we
the subscribers, freeholders and inhabitants of the said town-
ship, do think it our duty to declare, that we never gave our
consent toward choosing that Committee, or making any re-
solves, as we utterly disapprove of all unlawful meetings,
and all tyrannical proceedings whatsoever ; and as we have
always been, so it is our firm resolution to continue, peace-
able and faithful subjects to his present Majesty, King George
the Third, our most gracious sovereign ; and we do further
declare, that we do not acknowledge any other Representa-
tives but the General Assembly of this Province, by whose
wisdom and interposition we hope to obtain the wished redress
of our grievances in a constitutional way.

Signed by 136 persons, {names omitted,) 91 of whom are
freeholders, and the others very respectable inhabitants.
There are not above 160 freeholders at most in this township.

5. Newtown, Bee. 10, 1774. The election of a Com-
mittee of seventeen persons, for the purposes mentioned in
the association entered into by the Continental Congress,
for corresponding with the other Committees of this Province,
having this day come on, pursuant to advertisement of the


supervisor, a great number of the most respectable freeholders
assembled at the Town House, and the following persons
were unanimously chosen, viz. :

Jacob Blackwell, Jonathan Lawrence, John Alburtis,

Richard Alsop, Esq., Samuel Moore, Abm. Brin^kerhoff,

Daniel Rapalje, Esq., William Fnrman, James Way,

Philip Edsall, William Howard, Samuel Morrell,

Thomas Lawrence, Jeromus Remsen, Jonathan Coe.

Daniel Lawrence, Samuel Riker,

6. This Committee did not meet till December 29th,
(owing to the small-pox in Col. Blackwell's family,) when
" having seriously considered the consequences that must
evidently flow from the several acts of the British Parlia-
ment to raise revenue in America, and likewise that of
having power to bind the people of these Coloniffs by statute
in all cases whatsoever ; and that of extending the limits of
the Admiralty Court, whereby the judges are empowered to
receive their salaries and fees from effects to be condemned
by themselves, and his Majesty's American subjects deprived
of the right of trial by jury ; that of empowering the Com-
missioners of Customs to break open and enter houses, with-
out authority of any civil magistrate ; stopping the Port of
Boston ; changing the form of government in Massachusetts
Bay ; and the Quebec Bill :' all which, as appears to us,
are absolutely intended to deprive his Majesty's most dutiful
and loyal subjects of the American Colonies of their most
inestimable rights and privileges, by subjugating them to the
British Parliament, and driving them to the dire necessity of
havinf^ their property taken from them without their consent :
Resolved, 1. That we consider it our greatest happiness and
glory to be governed by the illustrious House of Hanover, and
that we acknowledge and bear true allegiance to King George
the Third as our rightful sovereign, and under his protection
have a right to enjoy the privileges of the Constitution of
Great Britain.


2. That man ought to have the disposition of his property,
either by himself or his representatives.

3. That it is our indispensable duty to transmit unimpaired
to posterity all our most valuable rights and privileges as we
have received them from our ancestors — particularly that of
disposing of our own property.

4. That as some mode of opposition to the Acts of Parlia-
ment imposing taxes in America, has been thought necessary
by the inhabitants of the different Colonies on this Continent,
to secure their invaded rights and properties : which mode has
been left to the determination ol" the Delegates sent by each
Colony, and met in Congress, at Philadelphia, in September
last: they having, among other articles of their association,*^ re-
commended that a committee be chosen in every county, city,
and town, whose business it should be to observe the conduct of
all persons touching said association ; and, as we are willing to
establish harmony and union, we will, so far as our influence
extends, endeavor that the measures of Congress be strictly
adhered to in this town.

5. As we highly approve of the wise, prudent, and consti-
tutional mode of opposition adopted by our worthy Delegates
in the General Congress, to the several late tyrannical and op-
pressive acts of the British Parliament, we therefore render our
most sincere and hearty thanks to those gentlemen for their pa-
triotic spirit in so cheerfully undertaking the difficult and ar-
duous task, for their faithfulness in council, and great wisdom
in drawing conclusions, which, through the influence of Divine
Providence, we trust will be the means of securing to us oi
liberty and privileges as freeborn Englishmen, and again re
store harmony and confidence throughout the British Empire,
which is the hearty wish of all the friends to liberty and foes
to oppression.

Signed by order of the Committee,

' The Quebec Bill extended the limits of that Province so as to border
on the wesiern frontiers of the United Colonies. It established arbitrary
government therein, discouraged ihe settlement of British subjects, so
that by the influence of civjl principles and ancient prejiulices, the Catholic
population might not unite with the free Protestant Colonies.


'By this Association, signed Oct. 20, 1774, the members of Congress
pledged themselves not to importer consume tea, or any articles from the
British Possessions, until the revenue acts of Parliament were repealed.
They also recommended that a committee be chosen in every county,
city, and town, to observe the conduct of all persons touching this Asso-

7. Newtown, Jan. 12, 1775. We, the subscribers, were
no way concerned in certain resolves signed by Jacob Black-
well, Chairman, entered into by some inhabitants of New-
town, approving the proceedings of the Continental Congress ;
neither do we acknowledge any other representatives but the
General Assembly of the Province.

Signed by 58 persons, {names omitted.)

Oyster Bay, Bee. 30, 1774.

8. " In December, 1774, there was a notification, signed
by several of the principal freeholders, and set up in differ-
ent parts of Oyster Bay, requesting the freeholders to meet
at George Weekes', on the 30th, to take into consideration

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Online LibraryHenry OnderdonkDocuments and letters intended to illustrate the revolutionary incidents of Queens county; with connecting narratives, explantory notes, and additions → online text (page 1 of 22)