With these books an effort has been made to present the history of the whole of Long Island in such a way as to combine all the salient facts of the long and interesting story in a manner that might be acceptable to the general reader and at the same time include much of that purely antiquarian lore which is to many the most delightful feature of local history. Long Island has played a most important part in the history of the State of New York and, through New York, in the annals of the Nation. It was one of the first places in the Colonies to give formal utterance to the doctrine that taxation without representation is unjust and should not be borne by men claiming to be free-the doctrine that gradually went deep into the hearts and consciences of men and led to discussion, opposition and war; to the declaration of independence, the achievement of liberty and the founding of a new nation. It took an active part in all that glorious movement, the most significant movement in modern history, and though handicapped by the merciless occupation of the British troops after the disaster of August, 1776, it continued to do what it could to help along the cause to which so many of its citizens had devoted their fortunes, their lives. This is volume three out of three, covering the history of Nassau County, Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Suffolk County, Huntington and many towns more.
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A History of Long Island
From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time
A History of Long Island 3, Ross/Beck
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
CHAPTER LI. OLD COUNTY FAMILIES.1
CHAPTER LII. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON LONG ISLAND.44
CHAPTER LIII. NASSAU COUNTY.137
CHAPTER LIV. HEMPSTEAD.148
CHAPTER LV. NORTH HEMPSTEAD.180
CHAPTER LVI. OYSTER BAY.199
CHAPTER LVII. SUFFOLK COUNTY.245
CHAPTER LVIII. HUNTINGTON.259
CHAPTER LIX. BABYLON.271
CHAPTER LX. SMITHTOWN.275
CHAPTER LXI. ISLIP. 284
CHAPTER LXII. BROOKHAVEN.290
CHAPTER LXIII. RIVERHEAD.299
CHAPTER LXIV. SOUTHOLD... 316
CHAPTER LXV. SHELTER ISLAND.335
CHAPTER LXVI. SOUTHAMPTON.342
CHAPTER LXVII. EAST HAMPTON.358
Probably no family name was or is better known throughout Queens or Nassau county than that of Hicks, mainly, of course, on account of the celebrity which one at least of their number attained in religious circles. Most of them were Quakers of the most devoted class, intolerant of the wiles and vanities of this wicked world, and yet it is singular that they should one and all take pride in tracing the family descent from a warring knight, Sir Ellis Hix, who, the genealogical writers tell us, was one of the most trusted warriors of the Black Prince and was knighted for his valorous deeds by that hero in 1356 on the battle-field of Poictiers. How the descent is proved it is not easy to say, but it seems satisfactory to the genealogists and to the family, and in such circumstances no one has any right to dispute the correctness of the tree. Only it is singular that such vanity should find expression in the circumstance. The first of the family to settle in America was John Hicks, who settled at Roxbury, Massachusetts, and had a family of six sons and three daughters. Two of the sons, John and Stephen, crossed to Long Island in 1642 and settled in Hempstead, of which he became quite an active citizen, and he also acquired some property in Flushing-. Stephen bought from the Indians an extensive tract of land at Little Neck and settled there. One evil-minded biographer asserts that John's son Thomas in time also acquired a tract of land at Little Neck after, according to tradition, quite a rude dispossession of the Indians who had held the land in question. There is, however, it must be confessed, some dubiety about this matter, and probably it arose from the fact that some unregenerate aborigines returned and squatted on lands which Thomas had received from his uncle. The family biographers, as we shall see, speak in the highest terms of Thomas Hicks, as is right and proper when we recall the fact that he was the ancestor -of the most distinguished member of the Society of Friends that this country has produced. Many of the descendants of the pioneer brothers settled over Long Island and are to be found there, notably in Flushing, Hempstead, Rockaway and Oyster Bay.
The following sketch of the family and of the wonderful and useful career of Elias Hicks was written by one of the family, Mr. Isaac Hicks:
John Hicks settled at Hempstead, and it is from him that the extensive family of the name on Long Island and in New York are descended. Having been educated at Oxford University, he was a man of intelligence, and his natural force of character made him a leader in the youthful colony. He took an active part in public affairs, and his name appears in most of the important transactions of the time.
John Hicks left an only son, Thomas, who seems to have inherited his father's intellectual vigor and force of character. He occupied a prominent position in public and social life, and filled many places of trust and honor, among others that of the first judge appointed for the county of Queens, an office which he held for many years.
In 1666 he obtained from Governor Nicoll a patent for 4,000 acres, including Great Neck and lands adjacent. Here he erected a fine mansion and introduced the English manorial style of living.
He was a remarkable man in many respects, retaining his mental and physical powers unimpaired to extreme old age. A paragraph in the New York Postboy of January 26, 1749, states that ''he left behind him, of his own offspring, above three hundred children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren." He died in his one hundredth year, and left, among other children, a son Jacob, who was the grandfather of the subject of this sketch.
Elias Hicks was born at Rockaway, Long Island, March 19, 1748. His parents, John and Martha Hicks, were in moderate circumstances, but owned a good farm and comfortable home, where their children had excellent moral training, but otherwise received only a very limited education.
His father being a Quaker, although not a very active member of that society, Elias early imbibed the principles of that sect, but during his youth, while apprenticed to a carpenter, seemed inclined to prefer the gay society of the young people of the neighborhood. As he grew older he developed a vigorous and active intellect, and evinced a steadfast devotion to his convictions of right and duty which was ever one of the most marked elements in his character. He early took decided ground against the iniquity of human slavery, and later in life was among the pioneers in the cause of emancipation in the Society of Friends. This was one of the battles that he felt called upon to fight in the cause of truth and justice, and he devoted the energy and ability of a long life to the faithful championship of the oppressed negro. His father was an owner of slaves, and in his youth Elias plead long and earnestly until he effected their emancipation. Later in life, when the estate of his father-in-law, who was also a slaveholder, came to be divided, he resolutely refused to accept for his own share any portion of the money which represented the value of the slaves, but used it to purchase their freedom, and ever after took upon himself the care and support of those thus liberated; even leaving a bequest in his will for their maintenance in old age.
In 1666 he became a public preacher in the Quaker Society, and from that time until his death, when over eighty years of age, he was a faithful and tireless worker in. what he believed to be the cause of truth and righteousness. He was especially earnest in the conviction that service in the ministry should be free, and without the selfish stimulus of earthly reward, and to this end he was scrupulously careful when traveling in the service of the society, and on all other occasions, to defray his own expenses.
During the exciting years of the Revolutionary war he carefully maintained the peaceful principles of his sect, and such was the confidence reposed in his high character that he was permitted, in the exercise of his religious duties, to pass six times through the lines of the contending armies. He was scrupulously just in his business affairs, holding in all cases the dictates of conscience to be superior to the fallible laws of man.
In his dress, the furniture of his house, and all outward things, he carried to the extreme the principle of plainness and simplicity advocated by his society. In person he was erect, of commanding stature, and possessed in a remarkable degree that intangible attribute which we denominate "presence." In social life he was dignified but kind, a little reserved in manner, and giving the impression of great intellectual force, combined with a stern devotion to the convictions of duty. Affable in bearing, and inheriting the courtly politeness of the old-school gentleman of the last century, his society was much sought by intelligent people of all classes, who were attracted by his rare and varied gifts as a conversationalist.
His public addresses were not adorned with flowers of rhetoric, nor polished by scholastic learning, but were plain, logical discourses, delivered with a natural earnestness and eloquence which seemed to inspire his audience with a measure of his own strong faith, and to carry them onward to conviction in the principles he advocated with such force and sincerity.
His religious views were somewhat in advance of those popular in his day, and were the result of individual thought and experience, uninfluenced by theological reading or metaphysical study. While accepting, in its broadest sense, the Quaker doctrine that the Almighty Spirit directly influences the hearts of all mankind, and that a strict adherence to the manifestations of duty, as revealed to each individual soul, is the foundation of all true religion, he was disposed to assign a less exalted place to the Bible, as God's specially revealed guide to man, and to maintain the Unitarian view of Christ's divinity. He took strong and decided ground against the old-time belief in Satan's personal existence and active work in the world, holding that the weaknesses and unbridled passions of human nature were the actual and only evil spirit against which mankind had to contend. In his view God was all love, and he rejected every doctrine or theory that impugned the absolute wisdom and goodness of the Divine Being, or His universal affection for all the human family, however indorsed by conclave or synod. As it was his nature to think out his conclusions for himself, and then to take bold and fearless ground in maintaining his convictions of right, his advanced views naturally met with the disapproval of many of the conservative members of his society, and after a few years of excited discussion the Quakers in America divided into two separate bodies, which have ever since remained distinct. Those who united with the sentiments of Elias were called Hicksite, and those opposed to him Orthodox, Quakers. The former are the most numerous about New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, while the latter compose the bulk of the society in the New England and Western States.
Like most celebrated men of strong will and earnest convictionn of duty, Elias Hicks made a decided impression upon the religious thought of his time, although the circumscribed limits within, which the customs and principles of the Quaker Society of that day confined his labors prevented his working in connection with other associations; thus restricting his efforts to the endeavor to promote a higher standard of Christian life among his own religious associates.
During his long and active career he was constantly traveling about the country, addressing the meetings of his society, and wherever he went large and deeply interested audiences gathered to greet him. His noble presence and eloquent words made lasting impressions upon his hearers, the memory of which was ever afterward cherished in affectionate hearts and has been handed clown with a feeling of reverence to a later generation.
Elias Hicks died at Jericho, Long Island, on the 27th of February, 1830.
Many old families were represented among the residents of Flushing before it was opened up by modern improvements so as to develop into a metropolitan suburb. The Thornes could trace their descent to William Thorne, who settled on a neck of land which was called Thorne's Point until the name was supplanted by its modern designation of Willett's Point. The family were all intensely patriotic during the Revolution, and one died while a prisoner on a hulk in Wallabout Bay. The Cornell family claimed connection with Flushing from 1643, when Richard Cornell, a sturdy Quaker, settled within its bounds, and after a life of exceeding usefulness left a large family, by whom the name was retained in the front rank. The Lowerres were originally Huguenot refugees, and came to America in 1660 or thereabout, gradually developing into Quakers as time went on. These words might also be applied to the Embree family and to that of the Van Zandts.
Jamaica also furnishes the local historian with records of many old families, chief among whom is that of King. This family came to Long Island, where Richard King had long been a successful merchant. There his son, Rufus King, the most famous of the family, was born in 1755. He was educated at Harvard, where he was graduated in 1777, and then studied law in an office at Newburyport. His studies were somewhat disturbed by his becoming an aide to General Sullivan in that hero's Rhode Island expedition, but after its disastrous termination he was honorably discharged and returned to his desk. After he was admitted to the bar he rapidly won quite a prominent place, and as a member of the General Court of Massachusetts, to which he was elected, he was soon distinguished by the clear manner in which he handled all of the many pressing public questions then before that body. In 1784 he was elected to Congress, and was returned again in 1785 and 1786. In 1785 he offered his famous resolution that "there should be neither slavery nor unvoluntary service in any of the States described in the resolution of Congress in April, 1784, otherwise than in the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been personally guilty; and that this resolution shall be made an article of compact and remain a fundamental principle of the constitution between the original States and each of the States named in the said resolve." This was not pressed to a vote at the time, but the principle laid down was adopted in the ordinance of 1787 for the government of the Northwestern territory. In the movement to strengthen the Federal authority, which began to agitate the country almost as soon as peace was declared, Rufus King took a prominent part, his views being in favor of a strong central executive authority. He was recognized as one of the leaders, with Alexander Hamilton, of the Federalist party, and by voice and pen strove mightily that its principles might prevail. In 1788 he was chosen Senator along with General Schuyler from New York, and was reelected in 1795. But higher honors awaited him. He was offered the Secretaryship of State, and declined, but accepted the post of Minister to Great Britain. He left New York in 1796, and for eight years continued to represent his country at the court of St. James, although during the latter part of the time he was not in political sympathy with the then President (Jefferson). In 1804 he asked to be relieved, and when his successor was appointed returned to America and retired to a beautiful farm he had purchased at Jamaica. Thus began the long and honorable connection of his name with the good old village. There be mainly resided, keeping a watchful eye on public affairs, until 1813, when he was again elected to the United States Senate, and continued to serve until 1823. when he retired, as he hoped, to enjoy the leisure he had so richly earned. In reviewing his career in the Senate chamber we are unable to recall any policy advocated by him which was not wise, just and eminently patriotic, and his stanch opposition to slavery, to the indiscriminate sale of the public lands, sales often made upon credit and without guarantee, and in particular his opposition to the scheme of a political bank with a capital of $50,000,000 pledged by the government, showed that, strong Federal as he was, he was unwilling to lend aid to a scheme which in a few years would either have become bankrupt itself or would have paralyzed and bankrupted the trade of the country. In 1825, at the earnest solicitation of President Adams, Rufus King again entered public life by accepting once more the post of Ambassador to Great Britain, but after a few months' residence in London his health failed and he was compelled to resign. He died in New York City April 29, 1827.
The mantle of Rufus King fell upon his eldest son, John Alsop King, who developed much of his father's public spirit and high statesmanship. Educated for the bar, he had a taste of military experience during the war of 1812, when he served as a lieutenant in a cavalry regiment. He took up his residence near his father's home in Jamaica, and engaged in farming, but in 1819 was elected a member of the New York Assembly, where he soon became noted for his opposition to the policy and plans of De Witt Clinton, with the exception of that statesman's canal projects, which he heartily endorsed. He went to London with his father in 1825 as secretary of legation, and remained in charge of the affairs of the embassy from the date of his father's resignation until the arrival of the next appointee. In 1838 he was again returned to the Assembly, took part in 1855 in the convention at Syracuse at which the Republican party was born, and in 1856 was elected Governor of the State of New York. He declined a re-election, and when his term was over retired to his home in Jamaica, where he continued to reside until his death, in 1867. His widow survived until 1873, and then passed away, venerated by all who knew her for her kindly ways and Christian, beautiful life. Of her many benefactions to Grace Church, Jamaica, as well as the many gifts to that temple of other members of the King family, mention has already been made. The family is still prominently represented in public and commercial life, although their connection with Jamaica has almost become a memory.
A group of Jamaica families claim descent from Joris (or George) Jansen de Rapalje, who with his brother William came to America from Holland in 1623 in the same vessel with Peter Minuit, and from another brother, Antonie Jansen, who followed them in 1623. It is not certain that William ever married, but Joris founded the Wallabout family of Rapalyes, of whom we have spoken considerably, while Antonie, who married a Quakere'ss, had four sons, and they appear to have departed from the old Dutch custom in the way of transmitting surnames and stuck to the Jansen, which in due process of time became transformed into plain Johnson and as such became prominent in Kings as well as in Queens county. A family genealogist thus describes the fortunes of the Jamaica Johnsons and their collateral branches:
Hendrick Jansen, the youngest son of Antonie, settled at Gravesend and married a Stilwell, by whom he had four sons: 1, Jan (John), who settled at Jamaica, Long Island; 2, Claes, who settled at Six Mile Run, New Jersey; 3, Barent, who settled at Gravesend; 4, William, who 'settled at Gravesend. Barent, the third son of Hendrick, was the father of the Rev. John B. Johnson, a noted preacher of the Reformed Dutch Church, who was settled first at Albany, New York, and afterward at Brooklyn, where he died in 1803. Rev. John B. Johnson had three children: 1, Maria L., who married the Rev. Evan M. Johnson, rector of St. James's Church, Newtown, Long Island, from 1814 to 1827, when he removed to St. John's Church, Brooklyn; 2, Rev. William L. Johnson, D. D., who from 1830 to the time of his death (1870) was rector of Grace Church, Jamaica, Long Island; 3, Rev. Samuel R. Johnson, D. D., who was rector at different times of several Episcopal churches, and professor in the Episcopal Theological Seminary, New York City. Hendrick's children changed the Holland name Jansen to the English name Johnson, yet the Holland name was retained for many years in the family records.
John Johnson, the oldest son of Hendrick, was born at Gravesend, Long Island, December 5, 1705. He married (September 23, 1732) Catalina Schenck, who was born May 7, 1705. They had seven children: 1, Maria, born August 11, 1733, married Douw Ditmars, of Jamaica; 2, Catalina, born August 15, 1735, remained unmarried; 3, Elizabeth, born November 21, 1737, married Abraham Ditmars, of Jamaica; 4, Barent, born April 2, 1740, married Anne Remsen; 5, Martin, born October 25, 1742, married Phebe Rapalje; 6, Catharine, born February 18, 1746, died in infancy; 7, Johannes, born July 25, 1748, died in infancy. John Johnson held office in the Reformed Dutch Church at Jamaica. He died March 27, 1776. His wife died October 5, 1779
Martin Johnson, of Jamaica, born October 25, 1742, married (May 10, 1772) Phebe, daughter of George Rapelje, of New Lots. She was born February 25, 1754. Their children were: 1, Catalina, born May 14, 1773, married (November 5, 1791) John D. Ditmis, of Jamaica, and had children Martin, Dow I., John, Abraham, Phebe, Maria, Catalina and George; 2, Maria, born August 20, 1775, died in infancy; 3, Johannes (John), born February 27, 1777, died in infancy; 4, Maria, born May 10, 1778, married (November 30, 1798) Rem Suydam, of Newtown, and had children Phebe, Catalina, John, Maria, Nelly, Martin, Gitty, and George and Henry (twins); 5, Johannes (John), born September 26, 1780, died in infancy: 6, Martin, born March 14, 1782, died in infancy; 7, Phebe, born July 19, 1783, married (December 11. 1800) John I. Duryea, and had children Jane Ann, Maria, Alletta, Martin I., Sarah, Catalina and John I.; 8, Martin, born September 13, 1785, died in infancy; 9, Elizabeth, born January 25. 1788, married Willett Skidmore, and had children Phebe and Samuel; 10, Jannetie (Jane), born May 15, 1790, died in infancy; 11, Joris (George), born August 30, 1791, married (June 28, 1815) Catharine Smodiker, and had children Martin G.. Catharine and Phebe; 12, Johannes (John), born May 17, 1794, married (August 22, 1815) Maria Lott, and had children Martin I., Stephen, Phebe, Eldert, George, Maria Ann, Catalina, Henry, Jeremiah, Sarah, Ditmars and Catharine; 13, Jannetie (Jane), born February 22, 1707, died in infancy.
Martin Johnson, the grandfather of Martin G., died April 27, 1798. Phebe, his wife, died October 27, 1828.
Martin Johnson was earnest in the cause of independence, and was compelled to give up the best part of his house to the British officers, who occupied it while their army was encamped at Jamaica. He and his family were greatly discommoded, but it was better to submit quietly than to object and perhaps suffer more. Martin Johnson was an active member and an elder of the Reformed Dutch Church, and one of the committee to repair the church edifice after the Revolutionary war, during which it was dismantled by the British soldiers. He was one of the contributors to the fund for founding Union Hall Academy. The first building was erected on the south side of Fulton street, where Herriman's brick row now stands, and was opened May 1, 1792. Here his sons George and John were educated, when Lewis E. A. Eigenbrodt, LL. D., was principal, which position he held from 1796 to 1828.
George Johnson, born August 30. 1791. married (June 28, 1815) Catharine Snediker who was born December 5, 1788. They had three children: 1, Martin G. Johnson, born April 26, 1816, married (May 31, 1859) Margaret T. Nostrand, who was born February 19, 1815 — no children; 2, Catharine Johnson, born July 8, 1819, married (May 13, 1856) Elias J. Hendrickson, who was born August ID, 1812— no children; 3, Phebe Johnson, born January 4. 1824, married (June 19, 1854) George O. Ditmis (who was born July 22, 1818), and died December 27, 1866. James Hendrickson, the father of Elias J., was an elder and one of the pillars of the Reformed Dutch Church of Jamaica.
George O. and Phebe Ditmis had six children: I, Catharine, born November 26, 1856; 2, Georgianna J., born May 5, 1859; 3. John D., born December 18, 1860; 4 and 5, Martin G. J. (born January 30, 1862, died February 18, 1878) and Margaret N., born January 30, 1862, died in infancy; 6, Caroline Maria, born November 9, 1863, died in infancy.
George. Johnson, the father of Martin G., held at different times the town offices of supervisor, commissioner of common schools, inspector of common schools, inspector of election, commissioner of highways and assessor. He was an elder in the Reformed Dutch Church of Jamaica, and one of its most liberal supporters. He died May 14, 1865. His wife died December 15, 1858.
A short genealogy of, the Johnson family is as follows: Gaspard Colet de Rapalje, from France, married the daughter of Victor Antoniie Jansen, in Holland, by whom he had two sons and a daughter Breckje, who married her cousin, Victor Honorius Jansen, who was the father of Abram, who was the father of Antonie, who was the father of Hendrick, who was the father of John, who was the father of Martin, who was the father of George, who was the father of Martin G.
THE SNEDIKER FAMILY AS CONNECTED WITH THE JOHNSON FAMILY.
Jan Snediker, the common ancestor of the Snediker family, came from Holland to this country as early as 1642, and was among the first settlers of Flatbush, and his name appears in the patent of New Lots, 1667; by his will (1670) he devised his land to his son Gerret. (New Lots was then part of the town of Flatbush.)
Gerret Snediker, of New Lets (son of Jan), married; first, Willemtje Vocks; second, Elstje Denyse: he died in 1694. Children: Jan of Jamaica, Margaret. Christian of Jamaica, Abraham, Isaac of New Lots, Sara, born 1683 (married Adrian Onderdonk); Gerret and Elstje.
Abraham Snediker, of New Lots (son of Gerret), born 1677, married and had children Abraham, Johannes, Gerret, Theodoras, Elizabeth, Altie and Sara.
Isaac Snediker, of New Lots (son of Gerret), born 1680, married Catryntje Janse; died in 1758. Children: Garret, Abraham, Antie, Sara, Isaac, Catryntje (born 1721, married Douwe Ditmars), Jacob of New Lots, Femmetie (Phebe), and Elstje, born 1731.
John Snediker, of New Lots, married Neiltje, daughter of Johannes Lott, of Flatbush; she was born November 13, 1730. They had a son, Isaac I. (grandfather of Martin G. Johnson).
Isaac I. Snediker, of New Lots (son of John), born July 17, 1759, married Catharine, daughter of Jacob Rapelje, of Newtown. She was born January 18, 1760. They had four children: 1, Jacob, born May 18, 1787, died in infancy; 2, Catharine, born December 5, 1788 (the wife of George Johnson and mother of Martin G.), died December 15, 1858: 3, Nelly, born November 5, 1790, married (October 5, 1815) John E. Lott, of New Utrecht, Long Island (who was born December 16, 1789), had one daughter, Catharine, and died May I, 1866; 4, Jacob, born November 2, 1792, married (March, 1822) Anne Lott, daughter of Hendrick Lott, of Jamaica; no children.
Jacob Snediker belonged to the Reformed Dutch Church of New Lots, and was one of its firmest friends and supporters. He died September 20, 1859. His wife died August 22, 1867.
Isaac I. Snediker (father of Jacob) died February 1, 1804. His wife died September 9, 1796.
The Snediker homestead, on which Jacob Snediker and his forefathers were born and lived and died, is situated on both sides of the New Lots road, at the crossing of the New York & Manhattan Beach Railroad and the Brooklyn & Rockaway Beach Railroad. The house, probably two hundred years old, still stands in a good state of preservation. This farm originally extended to what is now the center of East New York; but Jacob Snediker sold forty-five acres of the northerly part to Whitehead Howard, and sixty-nine acres of the middle and easterly part to Abraham Vanderveer. The homestead still belongs to the heirs of Jacob Snediker. It has been in the family 215 years.
THE NOSTRAND FAMILY AS CONNECTED WITH THE JOHNSON FAMILY.
The Nostrand family derives its origin from Hans Jansen, who came to Long Island in 1640 from the Noortstrandt, in the duchy of Holstein. He married Janneken Gerrits Van Leuwen, and bad four 'sons — Jan, Gerrit, Peter and Folkert. His sons adopted the name of the place from which their father emigrated, which in the course of time has been changed to the present to the present name, Nostrand. Different branches of the family have in former times lived and their descendants still live in New York, Brooklyn, Flatbush, New Utrecht, Flatlands and New Lots, Kings county; in Jamaica, Flushing and Hempstead, Queens county; and in Huntington, Suffolk county.
Margaret T. Nostrand, the wife of Martin G. Johnson, is the daughter of Timothy Nostrand, who for many years was a merchant in New York. When he. retired from business he bought the farm on which his son George now lives, situated on the Brooklyn & Jamaica Plank Road, one mile west of the village of Jamaica, where he died December 21, 1831. Her grandfather, John Nostrand, owned and lived and died on the homestead farm at Valley Stream, in the town of Hempstead: it descended to his son, John Nostrand, Jr., and there he lived and died; after his death it belonged to his son Foster, who also lived and died there. On this farm Timothy Nostrand was born, February 8, 1767.
Timothy Nostrand married first (September 27, 1793) Garchy, daughter of John Suydam, of Newtown. Their children were: Sarah, born October 1, 1794, married James Bogart, died October 14, 1845; and John S., born March 16, 1796, who died, unmarried, February 6, 1836. Timothy Nostrand married, second (September 8, 1804), Catharine, daughter of Stephen Lott, of Jamaica. Their children were:
1. Stephen L., horn August 31, 1805, married (January 30, 1826) Cornelia L. Remsen, of Flatland. They had one child, Catharine Ann, who married Jacob Ryerson, of Flatlands.
2. Garchy (Gitty) Ann, born March 16, 1807, died, unmarried, January 8, 1831.
3. George, born February 5, 1809, married first (March 26, 1846) Mary Bogardus. They had one child, Henry L. Nostrand, who married Phebe W., only child of Dominicus Vanderveer, of Jamaica. George married secondly (October 12, 1859) Cornelia C. Van Siclen, of Jamaica. No children.
4. Catharine L., born December 31. 1810, married (April 7, 1836) Dr. Richard T. Horsfield, of New York. Their children are: Richard T., Timothy N. (who married Sophia Frisbie), and Catharine L. (who married John K. Underhill). Catharine L. Plorsfield died February 2, 1879.
5. Margaret T., born February 19, 1815, married (May 31, 1859) Martin G. Johnson. No children.
6. Timothy, born April 21, 1817, married first (October 19, 1853) Catharine Lott, of New Utrecht (cousin of Martin G. Johnson). Their children were: Ellie (deceased), J. Lott, T. Foster, Margaret (deceased) and George E. Timothy married, secondly Belinda Hegeman, of New Utrecht, who survives him. He died December 6, 1878.
All the children of Timothy Nostrand. Sr., are dead except George Nostrand and Margaret T., wife of Martin G. Johnson.
Timothy Nostrand, Sr., was one of the most prominent members of Grace Church, Jamaica, and was for many years warden, and for several years and at the time of his death, senior warden. The following notice of his death appears on the records of the church, January 2, 1832:
"The vestry have heard with deep regret of the decease of Mr. Timothy Nostrand, their clerk, the senior warden, of this church, and treasurer, and sincerely condole with the congregation with whom he was connected, and with his family, in the great bereavement they have been called to sustain; and we implore the Divine compassion on them that this afflictive providence may be sanctified to them, and to the church of which he was a member." He was a member of Assembly of the State of New York, and a trustee of Union Hall Academy. He died December 21, 1831. His wife Catharine died February 13, 1860.
THE DITMARS FAMILY AS CONNECTED WITH THE JOHNSON FAMILY.
Jan Jansjn Ditmars, the common ancestor of the family, emigrated from Ditmarsen, in the duchy of Holstein. He married Neeltie Douws; obtained a patent March 23, 1647, for 24 morgens, at Dutch Kills, Newtown, Queens county; died prior to 1650.
Douw Jansen Ditmars resided first at Flatbush, and finally settled at Jamaica. His first name was variously spelled Douwe, Douw, Dowe and Dow, and his surname Ditmarse, Ditmis, Ditmas and Ditmars. He held office in the Reformed Dutch Church, Jamaica, and died about 1755.
Abraham Ditmars, of Jamaica, married (June 18, 1725) Breckje, daughter of Abraham Remsen, of Newtown, and died on his farm at Jamaica, August 7, 1743. He was the father of Douw Ditmars and Abraham Ditmars, Jr. the two brothers who married two sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, the daughters of John Johnson, of Jamaica (great-grandfather of Martin G. Johnson).
Douw Ditmars, of Jamaica, born August 24, 1735, married Maria, the oldest daughter of John Johnson, of Jamaica. They had five children, John D., Abraham, Breckje, and Maria and Catahna, who were twins. He was an office holder in the Reformed Dutch Church. He died August 25. 1775.
John D. Ditmis, of Jamaica (son of Douw Ditmars), married (November 5, 1791) Catalina, the oldest daughter of Martin Johnson (grandfather of Martin G. Johnson). They had eight children: Martin, Dow, John, Abraham, Phebe, Maria, Catalina and George, who are all deceased except Maria.
Dow I. Ditmis, son of John D., married (April 22, 1817) Catharine Onderdonk, of Cow Neck (Manhasset). Their children are: George O., John and Jacob Adrian Ditmis, all of Jamaica. Henry Onderdonk, Jr., A. M., married Maria H., sister of Catharine Onderdonk, wife of Dow I. Ditmis.
Abraham Ditmis, son of John D., married (April 18, 1827) Katie Onderdonk, of Cow Neck (Manhasset). They had one child, Henry O. Ditmis.
John D. Ditmis held the military office of major; he was a member of Assembly in 1802 and 1804, and a State Senator from 1816 to 1820, and held the office of Surrogate of Queens county. He was a trustee of Union Hall Academy; he belonged to the Reformed Dutch Church. He died March 11. 1853; his wife July 6, 1847.
Abraham Ditmars, Jr. (son of Abraham, of Jamaica), born December 9. 1738, married Elizabeth, the third daughter of John Johnson (great-grandfather of Martin G. Johnson). They had four children — Abraham. born October 6, 1760; Catalina, born September 20, 1762, married Samuel Eldert, of Jamaica; John A., born April 9, 1766; and Dow, born June 12, 1771.
John A. Ditmars married Nancy, daughter of Johannes Wyckof, of Jamaica. They had three children — Margaret Ann, A. Johnson and Elizabeth, all deceased.
Elizabeth Ditmars married (December 30, 1839) Martin L Johnson, who was for some years, and at the time of his death, county clerk. He was the eighth son of John and Maria Johnson, and cousin of Martin G. Johnson. Martin L and Elizabeth are both deceased, but cue son, A. Ditmars Johnson, of Jamaica, survives them.
Dow Ditmars, son of Abraham Ditmars, Jr., studied medicine, and went to Demarara, South America, where he had a lucrative practice for fourteen years. When he returned he married Anna Elvira, daughter of Samuel Riker, of Newtown, and bought a farm at Hell Gate (now Astoria), where he spent the remainder of his life, and died, at an advanced age, in 1860. Their children were Thomas T., Richard R., Abraham Dow and. Anna. They are all deceased but Abraham Dow Ditmars, who is a lawyer in New York.
Abraham Ditmars, Jr., held office in the Reformed Dutch Church, Jamaica, and so did his son, John A. Ditmars.
Abraham Ditmars, Jr. (father of John A.) was a captain of militia in the Revolution. He was known among the British soldiers who were quartered at Jamaica as the "rebel captain," and he suffered much from their depredations. They stole the crops from his farm, the provisions from his cellar, and all of his fowls but one, which went to the top of the barn to roost. One day the soldiers ordered him and his family to leave the house, as they intended to burn it. He had to obey, and his sick wife was taken on a bed and placed in. the dooryard! But it seemed that an Almighty Power interposed; the consciences of the fiends stung them, and the dreadful threat was not executed.
So great became the demands upon him for the produce of his farm, and for the use of his men and teams for carting the supplies of the British army, that he at last refused to comply. For this the petty officer who made the demand arrested him, took him to the village of Jamaica, and locked him up in the dungeon in the cellar of the old county hall, which stood on the spot now covered by Herriman's brick row. He was confined until the next day, when he was brought before a superior officer of the British army, to whom he made a frank statement of the sufferings he had endured, and of the unreasonable claim's continually made upon him. The officer at once gave him an honorable discharge; and at the same time severely reprimanded the underling who had arrested him. This decision had a good effect, as he afterward did not suffer much annoyance. It is proper to say that the highest British officers always condemned the cruel and barbarous acts which were committed by the dregs of the army.
The home of Abraham Ditmars, Jr., was the farm of the late William C. Stoothoff, one and a half miles southwest of the village of Jamaica, and the old house, in which he lived and died, still remains. The home of his daughter Catalina, who married Samuel Eldert, was the old house on Eldert's lane now belonging to Henry Drew; and the old house on the Brooklyn '& Jamaica Plank Road now belonging to Dominicus Vanderveer was formerly the home of Douw Ditmars, of another branch of the Ditmars family. It is a singular circumstance that these three old houses, probably the oldest in the town, should all have belonged to members of the Ditmars family. They still stand as monuments of the solid style of building of the early Dutch settlers.
Abraham Ditmars and Abraham Ditmars, Jr., were contributors to the fund for building Union Hall Academy, and were two of the first trustees at the time its charter was signed by Governor Clinton, March 9, 1792.
Abraham Ditmars, Jr., died November 19, 1824.
John A. Ditmars was colonel of the State militia in the war of 1812, and he and his cousins George and John Johnson and their nephew Dow I. Ditmis were encamped at Fort Greene (now Washington Park), Brooklyn. They were under the command of Genera) Jeremiah Johnson, of Brooklyn, who was the cousin of George and John Johnson and John A. Ditmars. There our soldiers were for some time, in daily expectation of the landing of the British forces, whose vessels of war were lying off the harbor of New York; but the British wisely concluded to depart without landing.
INTERMARRIAGES OF JOHNSON, DITMARS AND RAPELJE FAMILIES.
The union of the Johnson and Ditmars families in this country began by the marriage of two sisters of Martin Johnson, Maria and Elizabeth, daughters of John Johnson, of Jamaica (great-grandfather of Martin G.), to two brothers, Douw and Abraham Ditmars, of Jamaica.
Catalina, daughter of Martin Johnson, of Jamaica (grandfather of Martin G.), married John D. Ditmis, the son of Douw.
Martin I. Johnson, a great-grandson of John Johnson above named, married Elizabeth, daughter of John A. Ditmars.
Phebe, daughter of George Johnson, of Jamaica, married George O. Ditmis, a grandson of John D. Ditmis.
Victor Honorius Jansen, of Holland, married Breckje Rapalje (written by different families Rapalje, Rapelje, Rapelye and Rapelyea). Martin Johnson, of Jamaica, married Phebe Rapelje. General Jeremiah Johnson, of Brooklyn, married Sarah Rapelje.
Breckje, sister of John D. and daughter of Douw Ditmars, of Jamaica, married (December 29, 1791) Peter Rapelje, of New Lots. Their children were Jacob, Dow and Peter.
Maria and Catalina were twin daughters of Douw Ditmars, of Jamaica, and sisters of John D. and Breckje Ditmars. Maria married Jacob Rapelje, of Newtown. They had one child, Susan. Catalina married John R. Ludlow, of Newtown. She was his second wife. They had one son, Ditmars.
Susan, the only child of Jacob and Maria Rapelje, married the Rev. Gabriel Ludlow, D. D., who for many years, and at the time of his death, was pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church at Neshanic, New Jersey. He was the son of John R. Ludlow by his first wife. Another son was John Ludlow, D. D., who was twice professor in the Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, New Jersey, for many years pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church at Albany, and afterward provost of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Hallet family formerly had many representatives in Jamaica, although Newtown seems to have long been more prominently associated with the name than any other locality. The pioneer of the family, William Hallet, settled in 1655 at what became known as Hallet's Cove, and, as we have seen, had quite a melancholy experience with the Indians. He survived his troubles, married a Quakeress and settled at Hell Gate until his death, when he had attained the age of ninety years. His descendants were long known as thrifty farmers, and seem to have spread all over the western end of Long Island. They were devoted adherents, most of them, of the Society of Friends, and in the persecution of these people by the authorities they seem to have been visited with a full share. In connection with the history of this family a story is told in Riker's "Annals of Newtown," which long created a deep sensation throughout the district and still, for its heartless atrocity, holds a prominent position in the criminal annals of Long Island. The details as given by Riker were as follows:
"Very near the present settlement of Middletown there lived a thrifty farmer, William Hallett, Jr., who held a portion of the land which his paternal grandfather had purchased of the natives. Near neighbors there were few or none, but his domestic hearth was enlivened by the presence of five children and a fond wife who was expected soon to add another to their store of conjugal comforts. In the family were two colored slaves, a man and wife, the former an Indian. Incensed, as was said at the time, because they were restrained from going abroad on the Sabbath, the woman meditated revenge and assured her husband that if he would only kill the whole family then, the farm and everything pertaining to it would become his own. He at last yielded to the wicked suggestion and accomplished the atrocious deed while his victims were asleep. It was on Saturday night, the 24th of January, 1708. Hoping to screen themselves from suspicion, they concluded to be the first to announce the tragedy, and with this intent the female fiend, the prime instigator of the deed, set out early the next morning for Hallett's Cove. Entering a house, her first exclamation was: "Oh, dear! they have killed master and missis and the children with an axe, and only Sam and I have escaped." The truth, however, was too palpable, and the guilty creature soon confessed who was the real murderer. Both were straightway arrested and lodged in Jamaica jail. Tidings of the affair were at once sent to Governor Cornbury, who immediately issued a special warrant to the judges, before whom, at Jamaica, the prisoners were arraigned for trial, and being found guilty, they were executed on the plains east of that village, on Monday, February 2nd, in the presence of a large concourse of spectators. The woman was burnt at the stake. Her accomplice was hung in gibbets and placed astride a sharp iron, in which condition he lived some time; and in a state of delirium which ensued, believing himself to be on horseback, would urge forward his supposed animal with the frightful impetuosity of a maniac, while the blood oozing from his lacerated flesh streamed from his feet to the ground. How rude the age that could inflict such tortures, however great the crime committed I * * * Mr. Hallett was a son of Captain William Hallett, then one of His Majesty's justices of the peace. He was in the prime of life, and had served the town in various public capacities. "The event which so prematurely terminated his life and those of his family produced a strong sensation in the province, and a law was passed shortly after, making mention of the occurrence and entitled 'An act for preventing the conspiracy of slaves.' The dwelling where the murder was committed is still (1852) remembered by many, it having remained until the beginning of the present century. It was built of brick and stood in the hollow on the west side of the road, opposite the late residence of Mr. Marks and within a few feet of the small housie now erected there. The well which belonged to these premises remains still in use. With this spot the juveniles were wont to associate the idea of ghosts and hobgoblins; it was noted as the scene of marvelous appearances witnessed by the timid traveler at the dim, mysterious hour of twilight, and was often pointed at by the passing school boy as "the haunted house." By some it is stated that the assassination of the Hallett family was only part of a plot among the slaves of the vicinity to possess themselves of the property of their masters. There must have been some evidence in support of this theory, for it is related that on Tuesday, February loth, a week and a day after the execution of the murderers, two negro men were put to death for complicity in the crime and several others had been arrested and were awaiting trial. Yet, had the murderous movement been a general one, it would doubtless be recorded that still others were punished. In the absence of such a statement it is fair to presume it was not."
The Burroughs family in Newtown can trace its American genealogy back to 1637, when John Burroughs landed in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1643 he seems to have settled in Newtown, where he occupied a farm that remained intact in the possession of his descendants until about 1835. Another noted Newtown family was that of the Rikers, whose American ancestor, Abraham Rycken or de Rycke, received a grant of land at the Wallabout from Governor Kieft in 1638. He got possession of what is now known, as Riker's Island about 1650. His sons Abraham and Andrew proved shrewd business men. and their extensive land purchases made them rich. Abraham was a public-spirited citizen of Newtown, and took a prominent part in the erection of the old Dutch Church there.
The Lent family is of common origin with the Riker family, being descended from Ryck and Hendrick, the eldest and youngest sons of Abraham Rycken, who, for reasons not clearly known, renounced their own name and assumed the name of Lent. Abraham Lent, son of Ryck, came from Westchester, county to Newtown in 1729 and took possession of a farm left him by his uncle, Jacobus Krankheyt, on Bowery Bay. He resided here until his death, in 1746, when his son Jacobus, for years a ruling elder in the Dutch Church, succeeded to the farm. His death occurred in 1779. Daniel Lent, youngest son of Jacobus, was the last of the family who occupied this estate. It was sold just prior to his death, which occurred April 20, 1797. Daniel, his only child that survived infancy, removed to Flushing Bay, and for years resided upon the farm.
The Alsop family goes back, or could go back if any of its representatives still exist, which is doubtful, to the roll of the first settlers of Newtown. Thomas Wandell, a major in Cromwell's army, seemed to get involved in some dispute with the Lord Protector, — a dispute, whatever its nature, so serious that Wandell had to fly for his life. He made his way across the Atlantic, and in 1648 we find him in Maspeth. In 1659 he bought a farm at Newtown and took up his residence there, marrying the widow of its former owner. He was quite an influential member of the local society, and was held in high esteem even on Manhattan Island. Having no children, he invited a nephew in England to join his fortunes with his in this country, and when he died, in 1691, he left his estate to that nephew, Richard Alsop. That young man had "taken" to the new country almost as soon as he arrived. He fell in love with a Dutch lady, but as she could speak no English and he did not know a word of Dutch, the billing and cooing customary to courtship had to be carried on with the aid of an interpreter. However, love, which laughs at locksmiths, triumphed over such an obstacle, and the pair were married. They lived very happily together on the Wandell property until his death, in 1718. His widow survived until 1757, when she passed away in her ninety-first year. Their son Richard succeeded to the property, and it remained in possession of the Alsop family until 1837, when the last of the name died and the property was sold to strangers — all except the old family burial plot, which is now enclosed in Calvary cemetery, a little Protestant plot in the midst of that great city of Roman Catholic dead.
The two following sketches of other Newtown worthies are from the pen of the late William O'Gorman, of Laurel Hill, and were written for the Long Island Star:
"Captain Richard Betts, whose public services appear for fifty years on every page of Newtown's history, came in 1648 to New England, but soon after to Newtown, where he acquired great influence. In the revolution of 1663 he bore a zealous part, and after the conquest of New Netherlands by the English was a member from Newtown of the Provincial Assembly held at Hempstead in 1665. In 1678 he was commissioned high sheriff of 'Yorkshire upon Long Island,' and he retained the position until 1681. He became a bitter opponent to Director Pieter Stuyvesant and the little town of Bushwick, which he had' founded. Lender leave from the Governor, the English settlers had planted their town, but were refused the usual patent, and in 1656 Richard Betts administered a severe blow to Stuyvesant by purchasing the land for himself and fifty-five associates, from the red men, at the rate of one shilling per acre. The total cost amounted to £68 16s. 4d., which, with the sum of £76 9s. paid to the sachems Pomwaukon and Rowerowestco, extinguished the Indian title to Newtown. For a long series of years Betts was a magistrate. During this time he was more than once a member of the high court of assize, then the supreme power in the province. He became an extensive landholder at the English Kills. His residence was here, in what is still known as 'the old Betts house.' It is further said that here within sight of his bedroom he dug his own grave, in his one hundredth year, and from the former to the latter he was carried in 1713. No headstone marks the grave, but its absence may be accounted for by the fact that his sons had become Quakers and abjured headstones. The old house, which we may enter by lifting the wrought-iron latch of heavy construction, worn by the hands of many generations; the polished flags around the old deep well, where the soldiers were wont to wash down their rations, are still as the British left them on their last march through Maspeth. This house is but one of several most ancient farm houses still carefully preserved for their antiquity, on the old Newtown road, between Calvary cemetery and Maurice avenue. These venerable companions have witnessed many changes, and now enjoy a green old age, respected by the community in 'which they stand.
"John Moore, the early ancestor of the Newtown family of this name, was supposed to be of English birth, though it is unknown when or whence he emigrated. He was an Independent, and the first minister of the town. Though not authorized to administer sacraments, he preached to the people of Newtown until his death, in 1657. In consequence of his interest in the purchase of Newtown from the Indians the town awarded eighty acres of land to his children, thirty years after his decease. One of his sons, Samuel Moore, became a grantee of land in Newtown village in 1662, and afterward bought an adjacent tract, previously owned by his father, which subsequently came into the hands of John J. Moore. In 1684 he bought a farm near the Poor Bowery, to which he removed.
"Among the distinguished members of the Moore family was Benjamin Moore, who was born at Newtown October 5, 1748. He received his education at Kings (now Columbia) College, and afterward became its honored president. After pursuing theological studies he went to England and was ordained to the Episcopal ministry. In 1800 he was appointed rector of Trinity Church, and in 1801 was elected bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York, and he continued in this relation until his death, February 16, 1816. His wife was a daughter of Major Clement Clark, of New York.
"His brother, William Moore, born at Newtown January 17, 1754, was a medical student and a graduate of Edinburgh in 1780. He then returned home, and for more than forty years was engaged in the duties of an extensive practice. For many years he was president of the New York Medical Society, and trustee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. His wife was a daughter of Nathaniel Fish, of Newtown. One of their sons, Nathaniel F., succeeded his uncle as president of Columbia College.
"Captain Daniel Sackett Moore was a successful and respected ship-master. He owned the Moore residence near Newtown village, and died here in 1828. His son, John Jacob Moore, the last of the sixth generation of the Moore family, died June 14, 1879, aged eventy-three years. The ancestors of this gentleman form an unbroken line of proprietors in fee from the original Indian purchase, in 1656, in the following order: Rev. John Moore, died 1657; Samuel Moore, died 1717; Benjamin Moore, died 1750; John Moore, born 1730, died 1827; Captain Daniel Sackett Moore, died 1828; John Jacob Moore, died 1879.
"The venerable Moore house standing on the Shell road was one of the mansions of the colonial period. It is carefully preserved and has been occupied constantly by the Moore family since its erection, more than a hundred years before the Revolution; no part of it is allowed to go to decay, nor is there much change save by additions, which are not allowed to displace the old structure. The same hall door — in two sections, of solid oak and secured by the original strong hinges, bolts and locks, and with the original ponderous brass knocker — is still spared; the old well-built stairway give access to the upper rooms; the ancient beams still exhibit their full proportions and are well varnished. This house occupied the center of the British camp for many years. The well beside it requires but one glance down its mossy stones to discover its antiquity."
The Kissam family of North Hempstead can point in its records to the names of many who have been prominent, locally at all events, in public and professional life for over two centuries and a half — a long time as genealogies go in the United States. The name of the American founder of the family has been lost "through the vicissitude of time," as Burkes' "Peerage" gravely puts it, and so gets over such a snag in its story of the origin of many noble families in Great Britain. Had the town records of Flushing not been destroyed by fire in 1789 it is possible that the name of the American pioneer would have been extant and so the genealogical tree of the family might have had a more symmetrical beginning. This now nameless pioneer seems to have arrived in America about 1640 and settled on a piece of land in Flushing. He did not long survive the change of country, for when he died he left his property in the care of guardians for the benefit of his only son, John. John was born in 1644 and in due time entered upon possession of his father's acres and like a good Dutchman settled down and cultivated them, bringing to the homestead as its mistress a Jamaica girl, Susan Thorne, whom he married in 1667. Their family consisted of three sons. The second son, John, in after years married and settled in Freehold, New Jersey, and it is thought that the youngest, Thomas, also removed to that colony. Daniel, the eldest, appears to have left Flushing and secured a farm on Great Neck. In 1703 he was elected a vestryman in St. George's Church, Hempstead. He had a large family, one of whom, Joseph, also became a vestryman in St. George's, and had a farm at Cow Bay. Daniel, a nephew of the last named, son of an elder brother, who also held a farm at Cow Bay, had quite an experience in public life, as he served as county treasurer from 1759 to 1782 and was for many years a member of Assembly and a justice of the peace. Some of his family, at least, were opposed to the Patriots during the Revolution, for we find one of his sons, John, accepting a commission as major from Governor Tryon in 1776. Another member of the family active in public life was Daniel Whitehead Kissam, who served in 1786 as a member of Assembly.
Richard Sharpe Kissam, born in 1763, was educated for the medical profession at Edinburgh, Scotland, and entered upon practice in New York in 1791. For thirty years he stood at the head of the active members of his profession in the city, and until his death, in 1822, he was regarded as one of the foremost surgeons of his time. From one of his brothers Governor John T. Hoffman of New York was descended. It is impossible to trace here all the ramifications of this family to the present time. Its members have married into nearly all the old families of New York and Long Island and it almost seems to us that a history of the various generations would almost include the story of the legal and medical professions in Manhattan from the beginning of the story of the United States.
In Suffolk county the number of old families which are still represented in every township is such that a volume or two would be needed to present even the usual meagre details of births, marriages and deaths, which form the genealogists' stock in trade. Here, however, a few may be selected at random to illustrate all the rest.
We may begin with a family whose connection with Long Island has long since terminated, which was really connected with it for a few years, genealogically speaking, yet some of the credit of affiliation with it must be given to Suffolk county, because there seems little doubt that when the most famous member of the family wrote the heart-touching words of "Home, Sweet Home," it was the memory of the interior of a little cottage in East Hampton that inspired the theme.
John Howard Payne was born in New York City, June 9, 1792. He was destined for a business career but early showed a predilection for literature and the stage. He edited some trifling publications while still in his teens, — publications now interesting only as curiosities, — and in 1809 made his first professional career as an actor in the old Park Theatre, New York, taking the part of Norval in Douglass' tragedy of that name, a part which used to be the starting point in the career of every budding Roscius. The play has long been relegated to the bookshelf and is never now acted, but in the early part of the past century it was a prime favorite. Payne's success in the part was most flattering and after playing it in many American cities he repeated it in Drury Lane Theatre, London, with equal commendation from the critics and the public. That success determined his career and for some twenty years thereafter he was associated with the stage as actor, manager and playwright. General James Grant Wilson writes: "While living in London and Paris, where he was intimate with Washington Irving, Payne wrote a host of dramas, chiefly adaptations from the French. In one of these, 'Clari; or, The Maid of Milan,' occurs his deathless song of 'Home, Sweet Home,' which made the fortunes of all concerned, except the always unfortunate author. By it alone, Payne will be remembered after his multitude of poems and dramas have been forgotten, which, indeed, has almost happened already. His tragedy of 'Brutus,' produced in 1818, with Edmund Kean in the principal part, is his only dramatic composition that still holds possession of the stage, with the single exception of 'Charles the Second,' the leading character in which was a favorite with Charles Kemble." In 1832 the wanderer returned to America, as. poor as when he left it, and pursued his theatrical career with varying fortunes, generally brief bits of success mingled with long periods of misfortune and poverty. Home he had none throughout his career since the death of his mother when he was a lad of thirteen years, and it was destined that he should die in exile from his native land. In 1841 he was appointed consul at Tunis and there he resided until his death, in 1852. His body was interred in a little cemetery on the shores of the Mediterranean until 1883, when it was removed to Oak Hill cemetery, Washington, and so poor Payne was home at last. His career was a sad one; poverty and he were close acquaintance's, he "fattened on trouble and starvation," as he said himself, and he often in later years told a story of the bitterness he once felt on hearing his famous song sung one night in London when he himself was unable to raise the price of a night's lodging and had to find a home in the streets. He made plenty of money but had no idea of how to keep it, and a hit, when it was made, only carried him and his friends — partners in his joys and often strangers to his sorrows — through for a few days and then the weary round of misery was faced again. The penalties of genius were never better illustrated than in the sad career of this gifted singer. The genealogy of the Payne family has been made a theme of special study by Mr. Henry Whittemore, and as much misunderstanding exists concerning the poet's ancestors and even concerning his birthplace, we give the record in full:
Thomas Paine, the progenitor of the family from which John Howard Payne descended, was the son of Thomas, supposed to have come from Kent, England, and presumably identical with Thomas Payne of Yarmouth, the first Deputy from that place to the Old Colony Court at Plymouth in June, 1639.
Thomas Paine (2), son of Thomas (1), came to New England when a lad ten years of age, and settled in Eastham before 1653, as he was constable there at that date. He was admitted freeman 1658. He represented Eastham at the Colony Court 1671-2-3, 1676-78-80-81, and in 1690. He removed to Boston before 1695. He was a man of more than ordinary education, and was a very fine penman. He died at Eastham August 16, 1706. He married Mary Snow, daughter of Hon. Nicholas Snow, who came in the Anne to Plymouth in 1623, and in 1654 removed to Eastham, Massachusetts. He married Constance Hopkins, daughter of Stephen Hopkins, of Plymouth, fourteenth signer of the "Mayflower Compact."
The children of Thomas and Mary (Snow) Paine were: Mary, Samuel, Thomas, Eleazer, Elisha, John, born March 14, 1660-1, Nicholas, James, Joseph, Dorcas.
Deacon John Paine, sixth child of Thomas (2) and Mary (Snow) Paine, was born in Eastham, Massachusetts, March 14, 1660-1. He was admitted freeman June, 1696. He was elected clerk of the town 1706 and reelected until 1729. He was Treasurer from 1709 to 1736, and Representative to the General Court at Boston 1703-9-14-16-18-24-5. He was of a literary turn of mind, and some of his spare moments were devoted to literary pursuits. Scraps of prose and poetry written by him are still in the hands of his descendants. He died October 26, 1731.
He married first Bennet Freeman, daughter of Major John and Mercy (Prence) Freeman, born March, 1671. She was "a pleasant companion, a most loving and obedient wife, a tender and compassionate mother, and a good Christian." By her he had John, Mary, William, born June 6, 1695. Benjamin, Sarah, Elizabeth, Theophilus, Joseph, Nathaniel, Rebecca, Mercy, Benjamin again.
He married, 2nd, Alice Alayo. and had by her Hannah, James, Thomas, Alice, Hannah.
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