Thomas2 Terrill in Easthampton (Long Island, NY)
by Conrad W. Terrill, Oct. 2009
In 1883 the Town of Easthampton, Long Island, NY appointed a three man committee to transcribe the town records. The committee published their first two volumes in 1887, covering the history of the town, as recorded in the pages of these records, from its settlement in 1649 up to the year 1701. These two volumes are all we need to learn all there is to learn of Thomas2 Terrill from Easthampton town records, since Thomas left Easthampton in 1694. A
Click here to see transcriptions of the nine Thomas2 Terrill records.
The first mention of Thomas Terrill in these records was in 1685, when the town paid him two shillings "[f]or the meaking two hooks for ye pound gate." There is no deed recording the purchase by Thomas of any land in Easthampton up to this time, but there is a record of a sale in 1694 of 1/8 acre in town, which does not correspond to a record of purchase, so it may be that Thomas lived on that 1/8 acre in 1685, and perhaps earlier. (It's likely that many deeds were not recorded in the town records.) It's possible, in fact, that Thomas had been in Easthampton for nine years or so by 1685, since his brother Samuel, nine years older, had started practicing as a blacksmith in Easthampton in 1676, and had perhaps brought Thomas along to be his assistant. F The town had granted Samuel eight acres of land, plus an eighth acre in town on which to build a house, to establish his blacksmith practice there. It could be that Thomas helped Samuel build his house and shop. When Samuel sold the eight acre property, in 1681, he sold it to Capt. Josiah Hobart, and not to Thomas. Perhaps Thomas did not have the nine pounds to pay for it. Or perhaps he did not intend to farm, and so did not need it. There is no record, however, of the sale of the additional 1/8 acre.
We've heard, from other sources, that Thomas married Margaret Dayton, a daughter of Robert Dayton (a very substantial landowner in Easthampton—the son of an original settler). And we've heard that Margaret died in 1684, but we don't know the primary source of this information. If true, though, perhaps Thomas married Margaret as early as 1680, and perhaps that was part of the reason Samuel decided to accept an offer from Brookhaven, and (hypothetically) to leave the house and shop in Easthampton to Thomas. Thomas Terrill's name appears on a deed dated 14 Mar. 1687-8 by which Robert Dayton contracted with John Chatfield to do some fence maintenance. Since it's not likely that Thomas just happened to be there when the deed was signed, it's instead likely that Robert Dayton brought him along to the lawyer's house to sign as witness. Or, if the deed was signed at Robert Dayton's house, then Thomas was there, available to witness.
Thomas, during his years as a blacksmith in Easthampton, was not the only blacksmith in town. Others were also granted land. And they were not always allowed to stay. A Thomas Smith, given a very handsome grant in 1671 if he would practice for six years, soon fell into debt. The town felt compelled to expel him and reclaim the property four months later. He was given until the following May Day to move out. B A 1685 deed begins "In regard of ye want of a smith in the Towne yt (that) is a workman ..." (Was someone implying that our Thomas2 was not a hard worker?!) The cocky John Pinny wrote on to set the conditions to be met before he would practice in Easthampton, specifying the precise parcels of land that he wanted. His inpudence prevailed! He was given a four year grant, with "libertie to set himself upp a shopp & a dwelling house by ye othersmiths shopp." C The "othersmith" was not necessarily Thomas Terrill, since Samuell Daniell, a blacksmith who had decided to move away, sold his Easthampton property in May of 1687. D
A 1688 town record mentions that the town paid Thomas six shillings "for an Iron for paker" (a fire poker?). The first record of a property purchase made by Thomas is dated 4 Dec. 1688, when he bought two and a half acres from John Chatfield, yeoman, for thirty pounds. On 23 March 1690-1 Thomas Terrill, "Black smith," bought for 20 pounds a quarter of Benjamin Osborne's twenty-acre allotment in a certain tract of land commonly known as "Meanauket" (possibly Montauk, the land at the eastern tip of Long Island). It's most likely that Thomas used this land to graze sheep, hiring an Indian to watch over the flock. (Thomas certainly raised sheep later, in Elizabeth, NJ.) Thomas's last appearance on a list of town accounts was in a record dated 26 Nov. 1692. The town owed him five shillings "for severall Irons."
The three remaining Thomas Terrill Easthampton records all involve the sale of his property, in 1694; and all contain the standard boilerplate wordage used in the case of a person who was moving away. † In the first two deeds, dated April and May, Thomas was still "of Easthampton"; but in the third, dated in September, he was "of Elizabethtowne in New Jersy." In the first deed he sold, on 18 April, the two and a half acres that he had purchased from John Chatfield, to John Davis, weaver, for twenty pounds (so he took a net loss of ten pounds in the purchase and sale of this property). He acknowledged this deed in person on 7 May. In the third deed he sold, on 9 Sept., the quarter share of land (five acres) "at Cuntakcutt on the easward end of Long Island" that he had purchased from Benjamin Osborne, to Joseph Stretton, for twenty-three pounds (so, a net gain of three pounds). He acknowledged this deed the same day.
It's the second deed which concerns property not mentioned in a prior deed. On 3 May, 1694, Thomas sold to Robert Hudson, of Easthampton, Blacksmith, for forty pounds, land which he had formerly bought of Samuel Brook, part of his home lot, containing "one eight part of one Acre and two poles & half & twenty nine foote as it Layes with the steete of the Towne of Easthampton" (???). Thomas acknowledged this deed on 2 Oct. There are several interesting aspects to this deed. First: Robert Hudson was Thomas's nephew, the illegitimate son of his sister Hannah, born in 1670 (so he was about fourteen years younger than Thomas). Obviously, Thomas had taken Robert on as an apprentice, and probably informally—without a contract. Second: Robert paid forty pounds for this tiny piece of property, so it was of very high value relative to the other property Thomas sold. It's very reasonable to assume that it contained Thomas's house and blacksmith shop, including the forge and bellows. Both the house and shop had undoubtedly been home to Robert for many years. Third: Was this the same property that was laid out and deeded to Samuel2 in 1678? Is it possible? All we know of that street property was that it was 2.5 poles broad and eight poles long, which means that the area was exactly 1/8 acre. Of Thomas's street property we know the boundaries, but since we don't know the boundaries of Samuel's, this is of no use to us. The dimensional information is confusing. Two and a half poles (41.25 feet) seems a more comfortable street frontage than twenty-nine feet, though. Perhaps 2.5 by 8 poles was the typical size of a town lot. If it was indeed Samuel's lot, then Samuel must have sold it to Samuel Brook when he left Easthampton. But such a deed is missing from the transcripts of the town records. The ending line, "John Brook did Quitt Claime to said land on paige 39," is intriguing. But I cannot find any records at all from Book G, page 39 in the transcriptions of the town records, so that line does not lead to more information. Incidentally, what is meant by page 381/2, in case you are wondering, is that a record was tucked into the pages of Book G between pages 38 and 39, most likely.
From the dates of signing and acknowledging these deeds we can say that Thomas (of Easthampton) was in Easthampton up to at least 7 May, and back again (of Elizabethtown) on 9 Sept. and 2 Oct. We also know from a Milford, Connecticut Colony, deed, in which Thomas sold to his brother Daniel the property which he had inherited from his father, that Thomas ("of Essex County in the Province of East Jarsey") was in Milford on 17 and 18 May. It's likely that Thomas moved his family to Essex County, East Jersey, and purchased property in Elizabethtown, during the three-month period between late May and late August, and came back to East Hampton alone on horseback in September to tie up loose strings there, and to make sure that Robert Hudson was legally settled in. He probably returned to Elizabethtown soon thereafter.
Robert Hudson, blacksmith, married and raised a large family, and remained in Easthampton to the time of his death in 1723, at about age 53. In 1702 he served as a Constable, and from 1714 or earlier to his death he served as a Justice of the Peace. E
† "To all Christian people to whom these presents shall come, [name of grantor], of ye town of [usually the name of the town to which the grantor was moving] sendeth Greeting: Know ye that for diverse good causes and considerations him thereunto moving, but more especially for and in consideration of the sum of [number] pounds in current money to him in hand paid ..." This wordage is probably as old as England, and would continue to be used in such deeds for a long time to come.
A. Records of the Town of East-Hampton ..., Vol. I (1639 to 1679-80) and Vol. II (1679-80 to 1701-2), transcribed by town committee (Sag Harbor: John F. Hunt, Printer, 1887). (Availability) The references to the nine Thomas2 records can be found in the transcriptions.
B. Ibid., I:338, 349.
C. Ibid., II:163-164.
D. Ibid., II:210.
E. The Ancestry of Rev. Nathan Grier Parke & His Wife Ann Elizabeth Gildersleeve, by Nathan Grier Parke and Donald Lines Jacobus (ed.) (Woodstock, Vt., 1959), pp. 113-115.
F. See the companion story for Samuel2 Terrill.