Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"the life of the little colony"

from "Southampton—Her Records and Her Landmarks" by Lizbeth Halsey White, Reprinted from the New York History, Vol. XIV, No. 4, October 1933.  

“In loving memory, October 1933”
We must go to the Dutch records, to learn of the adventures of the part of the Company, which sailing from Lynn down Long Island Sound [in 1640] made a landing at Cow Bay, adjacent to the Dutch settlement at New Amsterdam. They were shortly arrested by the Dutch authorities and imprisoned in the fort at New Amsterdam, and released only upon the promise to depart and never again return. From the testimony given at the inquiry we learn that hey had come to Long Island to plant and make a plantation; that twenty families were to come and if the land should be good they expected a good many. We learn also the names of the eight men who had a part in this expedition of whom six were under 28 years of ge. Edward Howell, the leader of the company and Daniel Howe, captain of the vessel, were of more mature years. A woman and a child were among the number. The time of the release of the prisoners is given as May 19, 1640, giving ample time for the party to make its passage down Long Island Sound and into the waters of Peconic Bay, named by the settlers the “North Sea”—a name given also to the hamlet which grew up around it.

Tradition tells us that, when the woman of the party stepped ashore after her long and tedious voyage, she exclaimed “For Conscience’s Sake, We’re on dry land once more!” and thus originated the name of the landing place of the colonists of 1640. From the records it is easy to infer that the woman was Eleanor, second wife of Edward Howell, and that the boy was their son Arthur, born 1635, who later became a picturesque figure in the life of the little colony.

When the settlers landed they discovered they were in the vicinity of an encampment of the Indian tribe of the Shinnecocks and near the headquarters of the sachem, Mandush.

Making their peace with the Indians, they made their way through the woods and wilderness to a ridge of land within sight of the “South Sea,” where were built their first rude habitations. On the corner of Meeting House Lane and Old Town Road, where now is the hospital garden, in 1641 was built the earliest church to which had already come its first minister. The name Abraham Pierson stands first on the Indian deed, finally consummated December 13, 1640, and which he no doubt helped to compose.

*Paper read before the New York state Historical Association, at Southampton, October 6, 1932. The author, Mrs. Edward P. White, had been town historian since 1923 and was most active in preparing for the meeting of the Association. AS already noted in New York History, April 1933, Mrs. White Died very suddenly on October 25, 1932. We are indebted to her sister, Miss Abigail F. Halsey, for the manuscript of this paper. Editors.

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