Town’s Holdings Swelled (Part 3)

Footnotes to Long Island History

Town Holdings Swelled

July 7, 1955


Thomas R. Bayles


          (This is the third in a series of articles being written in conjunction with the Setauket-Brookhaven town tercentenary by Advance historical writer Thomas R. Bayles.)

          Beginning with the original purchase in 1655, the proprietors of the town gradually added to their holding by additional purchases from the Indians.

          On June 10, 1664, Tobaccus, sachem of the Unkechaug’s, (sometimes called the Patchogue tribe) who inhabited the south side of the town, sold to Governor John Winthrop of Connecticut the whole tract west of Bellport to the Islip town line at a creek called Nampkee, in the western part of Blue Point.  On this tract are the villages of Patchogue, East Patchogue and Blue Point.  This lay undeveloped for many years and was not annexed to Brookhaven town until 1773 by an act of the colonial assembly.  From that time on the section grew rapidly, especially after the Revolution.

          The same day Masseteuse and the Sunke-Squaw, together with Mayhew, sachem of Setalcott, sold to the town the tract of land from Mount Sinai or Nonowantuck to Wading River.  Old Field was bought from Wyandanche some time prior to 1659.  All these deeds and others confirming them are recorded in the town records at Patchogue.

          The town was first incorporated by a patent from Governor Nicolls on March 7, 1666, confirming the title to all lands which had been bought or should afterwards be purchased from the Indians within the territory bounded on the west by a line running across the Island at Stony Brook, and on the cast by a line running across the Island at Wading River.  The names of Capt. John Tucker, Daniel Lane, Richard Woodhull, Henry Perring and John Jenner appear as patentees in this document.

          On November 19, 1675, the Setalcott sachem, Gie, with four other principal men of the tribe, confirmed to Richard Woodhull, acting for the town, all former grants, and conveyed to him all the unsold land within the limits named in the patent as far south as the middle of the Island.  The same month Woodhull transferred his title to these lands to the inhabitants of the town.  This grant and confirmation of former grants appears to cover all the land claimed by the Setalcott tribe from Stony Brook to Wading River.

          A tract of land on the south side extending eastward from the Connecticut river to the Mastic river, and north to the middle of the Island, was purchased from the Indians by Col. William Smith in May, 1691, and a patent was granted by Governor Fletcher in October, 1693.  This included all the South bay and islands in the by between the mainland to and including the beach, from a certain inlet called Huntington East Gut (now Fire Island) to a place called Cuptwauge, the west bounds of Southampton town.  The lands included in this patent were confirmed under the title of the Manor of St. George.

          The tract of land extending from the eastern bound of Col. Smith’s former patent to the line of Southampton town was confirmed to him by another patent from Gov. Fletcher in 1697.  This whole section in the southeastern part of the town included the Manor of St. George, Halsey’s Committees were appointed to investigate the character and reputation of proposed settlers, and if they did not prove satisfactory to the townspeople, they were directed to leave within a specified time.  No individual inhabitant was allowed to sell of lease real estate to a stranger not accepted by the town as a proper person to become a member of the settlement.  By enforcing these restrictions, the society of the first settlements was kept measurably free from undesirable persons.

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