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Section 3
     The raid of Meigs, which had been taken in reprisal for those that Tryon had made on the Connecticut countryside were the impelling cause for the occupation of the Town of Southold. Fram early in 1775 there had been constant threats that troops would be stationed in the town. For longer than the memory of man ran the eastern towns had borne the reputation of being a stiff-necked and rebellious people. Dongan had denounced them in no uncertain terms and had withered them with the accusation that they were just like the New England colonies from which they had sprung.


     According to a diary contained in an almanac kept by Phineas Paine, Tryon and his army arrived in Southold on the 9th day of August, 1778 and remained until the 25th. He had a force of 1000, and when he was not raiding cattle pens, he administered the oath of fealty to the King. The late Henry P. Hedges went to some length to defend 
those who signed. Only the slang of this generation gives an adequate explanation. The. great majority of those who appended their names to Tryon's oath did it with their fingers crossed. Judging from the report that he made to Lord Howe, one is justified in thinking that he was the optimist of all time or that the Southolders were consummate actors, that phrase sounding better than that they were a bunch of condemned liars!
     At any rate he accepted the signatures to the oath he had procured under duress and returned to the west end of the Island. It was not long before he found that things were not what they seemed, and we find him encamped in Southold with 500 foot and 50 horse. That was in the April of the following year. Tryon's own headquarters were located in the house of Peter Vail, who had married Bethiah, daughter of Samuel, and sister of Jared Landon. Peter Vail purchased a house of Jared Landon and, according to the J. Wickham Case map, it stood about where the residence of Mr. Alfred Vail is now located. I cannot vouch for the correctness of this site, as there have been some seven Landon houses in Southold and about as many carrying the name of Vail.
     Since writing the preceding paragraph, I have found in a copy of the LONG ISLAND TRAVELER of May 11, 1876, a letter signed with the initials, W. H. V. In it the writer relates the true account of finding of cannon balls in the old Vail house. Briefly, in making alterations, a ball weighing 21/2 pounds was found in the chimney, and a larger one, 5 pounds to be exact, was found in digging a cellar to the westward of the old Vail house. Further, another 5-pounder was found across the street in the yard of what was known as the Boisseau house, now the residence of Michael Fisher. At Robins Hollow may be seen the two balls that were found near the site of the original James Horton house and probably the residence of Captain Barnabas, who is listed among our Refugees and helped to transport his fellow townsmen and, like Captain Wickham, commanded a privateer.
     Peter Vail, John Boisseau and Barnabas Horton were patriots of the first order. Their houses were naturally a mark for British artillery.


     To the Vail house came Tryon, and his force was encamped in at least three places. To the eastward, where Robert Lang now resides, some of the cavalry were quartered, in sight of their general's head quarters and where they would be most troublesome to the L'Hommedieus. At a point not far from the spot where Town Harbor road turns and becomes Terry Lane, the main body of the troops was stationed. At the west end of the village, as far from the Moore tavern as they could be placed, two companies of Hessians made their camp. To them it was a `bouwerie' lane and such it has remained, despite the efforts of some who have felt that the name was not nice enough.
     The coming of soldiers to Southold was simply one more locust added to a plague. The war had stripped the town of its doctors and the townspeople were just coming through the horror of an epidemic of smallpox. In a journal published many years ago in the Traveler, and given incorrectly as that of Jonathan Horton, 1, (there is but one 
Jonathan Horton, the first, and he was the youngest son of Barnabas of Mouseley) the details are sketched in. Facing a disease that all feared, the old and the youn.g had died, often without attendance. Incredible as it may seem, the journal of Long House John Conkling relates an account of a 14-year old boy, thrust in a pesthouse, stocked 
with food, and left unattended to fight alone with the most dreaded disease of the time.
     An added affliction was the appearance of the bloody flux. Colonel Josiah Smith came down with it during his tour of the Island. It was dreaded almost as much as the smallpox, and the children who, by luck, escaped the smallpox were victims of cholera morbus. With every simple of the day employed, the women of the town were powerless to stem the awful tide of the disease. Dr. Micah Moore, who dwelt in the little house by the entrance to the Village of Beixedon, had died a year or two before. Dr. Havens of Shelter Island was serving in the Hospital Service of the patriot army. Dr. David Conkling was languishing in the provost's prison in New York. He sent a letter to his mother, 
"Widow Anna Conkling, East End Long Island, By the favour of Mr. Maps", (possibly the same man who arranged for Jared Landon's release from the Southampton prison).
     There is a possibility that Dr. Ebenezer Way was still living at this time. Conkling paid a bill to a Dr. Way late in 1774. If he was the son of the doctor who married Irene Hobart, he must have been of a great age-well into his nineties at the time. It is impossible to trace him from the fact that often several sons in one family bore the same given name, with a middle name added to differentiate them, and then, to confound confusion, there was the ghastly historic trick of naming sons for dead brothers until one survived to carry on a pet name. With this digression, we return to the wornen of Southold who were fighting a pestilence. Their prayers were for a cold winter. It might not cure the smallpox, but the other diseases would end quickly. So much has been said about the old fashioned winters that I cannot refrain from citing the fact that, in these books, which cover more than 125 years of Southold, wood was drawn from the cuttings three times by sled in all those years. According to custom, wood was cut after the first snowfall. The undergrowth of cat briers was such that this was essential. Jonathan Horton sold a brush hook to a customer on Shelter Island in mid February, 1738, and the man took three axes at the same time. Two weeks later the customer returned the brush hook. Jonathan was not fooled. On the margin he wrote that `the hook was returned now that he has cut his wood.' The Landons, father and son, Joseph Cleveland, and John Conkling all confirm the apparent mildness of the winters. In fact John Conkling has an entry in his ledger: "I sot a goose, March ye 3d day, 1773." I do not think that John Conkling `sot' his goose unless the weather was more than mild.


     One of the first acts of Tryon after he had settled himself in the Peter Vail house was to issue an order closing the churches. It was an empty formality as far as Southold was concerned. The Reverend John Storrs had left the parent village in 1776 and was serving as a chaplain in the patriot army. Perhaps a word is needed as to the exact place of
the Old Church in the community. It was a state church, Congregational in form, with extreme leanings toward the Presbyterian. Marsh in his Ecclesiastical History (1828) offers the explanation that at the time of the Revolution, Presbyterial leanings meant not so much the form of government as it did that they demanded learning in their clergy. The outright Congregationalists were inclined to accept piety in preference to great learning.
     The Reverend Mr. Storrs was a graduate of Yale. He had charge of the Southold parish for 18 years, with an absence of 6 years when he was engaged in New England, sometimes with the army. Often times when he found a few of his old congregation, he baptized their children united the younger ones in marriage, and, too often, was called to bury their dead. Of his courage there can be no doubt. From the Records of the First Church, we may learn much of the man. In common with many of his time he drank. Once he confessed his sin to his congregation and was man enough to put it in the record even as he did the errors of the most humble of his flock.
     With the enforced closing of the churches, the moral law of the town was left without a representative. The church had asserted itself to be the guardian of the moralities. It did the work with such zeal that the cynical might say that it enjoyed all the pornographic details of the day. What had begun in an honest effort to cure certain evils which the elected authorities had persistently overlooked, degenerated into a sadistic hunt for possible offenders. To such lengths some of the old women, of both sexes, went in their search for victims that, not content with current scandals, they dug into the past, and in one case they went back some thirty years and aspersed the character of a woman who had been dead some ten years in order to hurl some accusa-
tion against her living widower.
     The evils which the church had set out to cure centered in a few rude houses at the east end of the village. "To go to Egypt" had a vicious connotation. There dwelt a few drab followers of the scarlet woman. They had long since been thrust out of the church by excommunication, a writ that denied them work at the hands of the members, and denied them burial in the ancient yard. Out of one of these mean houses came a certain Elnathan Butts. His story, has often been told how he murdered Joshua Horton and escaped into the British lines; how he stole an iron bar from the church; and, finally, how he died of smallpox. About the time he flourished, the leaden plate was taken from the altar tomb of the Rev. Joshua Hobart. Tradition has it that it was melted up to make bullets for the patriot cause. Dr. Conkling makes no mention of it, or any similar action, in his report to Col. Livingston on the available supply of munitions in Southold. I doubt if there was a person in good standing in the Southold of 1776 who would have had the temerity to touch with violent hands the tomb of the second pastor. The indignity of taking these stones from the graves they marked and rearranging them in meaningless geometric order would not have commended itself to that age. The supinity of a later generation was not in the spirit of the members of the Rev. John Storrs' 
     The power of the clergy at this time is well illustrated by the case of Jared Landon's brother-in-law, Lieut. Moses Case, ancestor of both Mr. Albertson Case and Mr. Jesse L. Case. Mr. Storrs brought the Lieutenant before the congregation and buried him under an avalanche of words: "cruelly insulted, spitefully and in unchristian manner set yourself in opposition to me"-and so on for a whole page. Under the ecclesiastical mountain of words there appears a mouse in the form of a charge that Case had made unfavorable comments on a singing class Mr. Storrs was trying to form. Trivial as it may seem to us, it took the influence of Brother Jared to save the culprit from expulsion from the First Church.


     Although the Town Meeting was now being held at Mattituck and a full quota of officers was being elected, the town was, in principle, without government. The sympathizers with the patriot cause refused to accept the elections as legal, and the officers-de-facto had no power to enforce their own regulations. Feelings ran high. Wounds were 
made that went unhealed for a hundred years. Tryon and his men foraged with impartial fervor. A horse was a horse, whether it belonged to a Tory or to a Rebel. Pay was uncertain, as the district had been flooded with counterfeit money. The commissary was accused of collecting large sums of the spurious bills and using them to pay off the King's debts, while the good money stayed in his pocket.
     While the loyal citizens of Southold were bearing up under their great load of troubles, military occupation, loss of crops, abuse both physical and oral, in constant danger of hunger and disease, subject to raids from both friend and foe (numberless men of unquestioned devotion to the patriot cause had occasion to complain to Governor Trumbull that they had been plundered by their fellow patriots), and being constantly threatened with the fate that befell the Acadians, we may leave them and consider the fate of those who fled to the Connecticut side.
     Their lot would have been infinitely easier if there had not been a division of authority. Beginning under the xgis of Connecticut, things ran smoothly until the New York Commissioner began to divide the work. Then hardships were the rule of the day. The inflexibility of the rules laid down to govern the Refugees made for hardships. In their haste, many had had little time to arrange their affairs on a satisfactory basis. Some in their haste had left crops ungarnered; some had hidden stores of grain; some had come away without the needed utensils; some had buried money; some had debts falling due; and some had come away without money and had none in either place.


     The authorities were being constantly petitioned to allow someone to return and to pick up some needed article. At first these had been permitted, but abuses arose from another cause and there had been a tightening of restrictions against going from the `main' to Long Island. The whole matter hinged on illicit traffic. This traffic was the dealing in imported goods, particularly from England. An embargo was laid on the products of the Mother country. To this the Tories of course paid no attention. The state of affairs was this: Connecticut had grain and no money. New York under the King's troops had money but was flourless. With their stock of money, the King's henchmen had tea, silks, and the other luxuries of the day. It was illegal for the English to treat with the King's rebellious subjects. It was forbidden for the patriots to chaffer with the minions of the tyrant. As Mather justly says: "Tea from China tasted better than tea from sassafras or sage. Silks from India were preferred to homespun." A tiny dribble of luxuries reached the market from the sale of prizes, but far from enough to supply the demand. From this condition of affairs arose the illicit trade. Often by arrangement, a storekeeper would stock up with the forbidden goods and arrange for a friendly captain from Connecticut to swoop down on him with a whaleboat party and stage a raid. Over to the `main' went the forbidden goods, which had been paid for at a private conference, and were sold and the money divided among the raiders.
     Some of these raids were in good faith; some of the expeditions were for the purpose named. Such a one, for instance, was the raid of John Tuthill, who had 13 `hhds of rum' and 10 of sugar, which he devoted to the use of the Continental army. So great were the abuses and so severe the strictures, that this traffic, both mala et bona fide, as 
our legal friends would say, was forbidden by both Connecticut and New York. The hardship to the Southold emigres was manifest. Two or three `of them were rich in money; some had broad acres that were bringing them in nothing, and for all they knew might be lost to them forever. The few with money helped some of the poorer ones. The  book of Samuel Landon contains many entries made at Guilford where-in he extended help to his less fortunate neighbors from Southold. He was an old man past eighty, but he sent to Southold by his son, Captain David, and had him bring over several sides of leather and his kit of shoemaker's tools. In his boyhood he had learned this trade. His 
father, Nathan, had been possessed of a fortune, but in accordance with the spirit of the times, each youth must learn a trade, and Samuel had obediently learned his. During the long years at Southold, he had employed a James Webb and Dayton Smith to carry on this business, which evidently came to him from his father, Nathan. But at the age of eighty, he takes up the last again and makes shoes for his long-time friends and neighbors. No one ever paid him for these shoes, and it is more than doubtful if he ever asked for any. In the same way, his son Jared carried scores of people after the Revolution, who had come back penniless after a self-imposed exile. Jared made no attempt to collect these debts due his father's estate and in turn his executors forgave those who were struggling up from poverty when it carne time to settle his estate.
     But there were many of the Refugees who did not have rich neighbors, and their lot was one of misery.  Connecticut had nothing to feed them with and New York was in much the same situation. It is hard to say whether the patriots who fled were not as badly off as those who stayed and suffered the outrageous slings of fortune at the hands of  tyrannical subalterns. Tryon attempted to soften the blow, as much for  his own ease as for the benefit of the people; but some of the under strappers were determined that the dictum of Sherman, 82 years later, 
should be correct in all essentials.
     Previously I gave you a list of those leaving Southold in the month of September and early October, transported by Captain David Landon sailing his brother-in-law's sloop, Polley. Captain John Vail had been quite as busy. I append a resume of his list of passengers, who totalled 150. Landon carried over 237.

William Horton and 3 in family
Dayton Smith and 5 in family
Eliakim Perry and 5  in family
Sylvester L'Hommodiu 2  in family
Elton Overton 10  in family
Isaac Overton 10  in family
John Overton 2  in family 
John Overton, Jr 9  in family
Nat. Overton 5  in family
John Clark 6  in family
Widow Mary Corwin 1  in family
Francis Frenchman (Francis Fournier) 6  in family
Moses Simons 6  in family
(Henry) Brown (Jr) 5  in family
Obadiah Hudson 10 in family
Daniel Osburn 6  in family
Francis Truman 6  in family
Benjamin Moore 6  in family 
Nathan Goldsmith 4  in family 
Ann Moore
William & Capt William & Jonathan Rogers and 6  in family
Capt Joseph Boothe and one horse
James Griffin
Christo Brown and 4  in family
Asa King and 2  in family
Rufus Tuthill and 7  in family 
James Havens, William Indian and three Indians
     This is a bare catalogue of names. The original record tells the exact number of loads of household effects. I have not copied them as they are not of importance for this account. Sufficient is the fact that the village carpenter, Eliakim Perry, carried more furniture than any one else, including the Rev. Mr. Storrs, whose name should head this list with 3 carloads of household goods and 8 in family.
     While Captains Vail and Landon were transporting these people and their smaller livestock, Captain Barnabas Horton of Hogg Neck. was ferrying oxen and cattle. Captain Gamaliel Baily and Captain
     Joseph Hallock were busy at the same task. Great floats, steered by a sweep and capable only of running before the wind, were employed. They were called `skimming dishes', just as a similar vessel on Cape Cod was christened a `planing mill'.
     Captain Thomas Leete of Guilford, who was most assuredly a better mariner than speller, rendered the following account:
"Decon free Gift Weles family, 4; Jonathan Weles, 4; Josiah Weles, 5; (Lt.) Jeames Davis, 12; Danel Both, 9; Stephen Baly, 2; Jessey Hemsted wife, 2 (!); (Lt) Azariah Tutel famely, 2; Nathaniel, Jeames and Joshshy Overton, 15; Joshay Horton, 4; Jeames Curran (Corwin), 6; Selah Dickeson, 5; Jonathan Horton, 6; David Hedges, 5; Capt. Jonathan Vaile family, 4; Isserel Case, 2; Thomas Hudson, 3; Peter Deanes, 7; Widdor Hedges, 3; Jeames Horton, 9; Joseph Hallock, 9; William Weles, 3; (Lt) Selah Reaves, 2; Widor (Abigal) Brown, 9; Isserel and Zabelon Hallock, 13; (Corp) Joshiway Weles, 3; Selah Weles, 2; Timothy Curran (Corwin), 2; Samuel Brown, 7; 1 Matthew Hedges; 
1 Nathanel Conklin; Ezeliel Hubbard., Singlemen.
     3 Wimmen."
     Captain Leete put in a bill for 3 shillings per passenger, but Thomas Dering and John Foster only allowed him 2 shillings. The reduction was made, in all probability, because the passengers were mainly children. Almost without exception this load was made up of those whose husbands and fathers were already in camp at Roxbury.


     While Dering and Foster carried on their business as Committee of Safety, the third member, Capt. Wicicham, turned to privateering. Previously he had taken his brother Parker's cattle from Robin's Island.
     Ezra L'Hommedieu established himself at the Penniman House in Cromwell (once known as the Upper Houses of Middleton). Here lie carried on the tremendous tasks that have marked him as Southold's first citizen. He had no more than reached Connecticut before he was in communication with the new leader of the Continental forces, Gen. George Washington. It was their not first correspondence. Washington in the spring of 1756 had ridden to Boston to put a Captain Dagworthy in his place. On that journey he had stopped and called on the family of Benjamin L'Hommedieu. A sad errand brought him to the out of the way town on the east end of Long Island. He came as a bearer of sad tidings, and it is necessary to go back to the days of Braddock's disastrous campaign to bring meaning to Griffing's account of 'Washington's visit to Sterling' (Greenport); as given on page 227 et seq., in 
Griffing's Journal.
     Beginning on page 168 of Rupert Hughes' Washington, there is quoted at length a letter to Col. George Washington and signed "Le Chavelier de Peyroney". He has written to thank Washington who had secured a promotion for him, and the tone of the letter indicates that the writer was on most intimate terms with the Virginian, whose name at the time was far from a household word. This Peyroney, actually William Chevalier de Peyron, was a Hugenot who had settled in Virginia and had taken up arms against his native land. Aside from the fact that he was called "the dancing master", we know nothing of him and he makes a lonely figure on the canvas of Washington panorama. That he was alone in Virginia is indicated by the fact that, after being wounded at Fort Necessity, he had to apply to the Virginia Assembly for new clothes.
     As their friendship ripened, he must have told Washington of his 'Family and of his relatives in an obscure village on the tip of Long Island. Benjamin L'Hommedieu 1st, had married a daughter of the Sylvester clan; his father, Pierre, had married Martha Peyron. There is little duplication of French noble names; hence we are justified in supposing that Martha Peyron, wife of Pierre L'Hommedieu, and William Chevalier de Peyron were closely connected. From our know. ledge of Washington, we know it is quite possible that he made this visit to bear, perhaps, the last words of the gallant Chevalier to his kin. The second Benjamin L'Hommedieu had died, and the young Ezra, two years out of Yale and now twenty-two, was head of the house. Washington had celebrated his twenty-fourth birthday but a week before. That the aristocrat of Virginia should feel drawn to the high born Hugenot was no more than natural. Washington passed from view, but Ezra L'Hommedieu was grateful to a gentleman who, in dead of winter, would take a journey of some hundred miles off his course to convey a message from the dead.
     Griffing, with his characteristic inaccuracy, gets the time wrong by a year. It was in 1756 that Washington rode to Boston to see Shirley and to put Dagworthy in his place. Joshua Hempstead, who kept a journal like the Salmon Record, confirms this visit. His diary may be seen at the Manuscript Room of the Astor-Lenox-Tilden Library. The Griffin,,, account confirms the often told story of Colonel Washington's especial appeal to the ladies. According to the custom of the day, the parlor of an inn was not the place in which one might expect to find the inn keeper's family. Hannah and Mary Booth turned a deaf ear and basked in the presence of the graceful gentleman from Virginia. Their friends, Mary Havens and Mary Youngs were allowed to share their triumph, much to the boredom of later generations, who grew weary of the stories beginning: "Now when I met General Washington ".
     Space forbids that I chronicle all the activities of the Southolders during those years. But there are a few names I must mention. Obscurity has been their portion. Their reward was like that of the late Charles E. Terry. I had asked Mr. Terry what he got out of the Civil War. "Rheumatism", was his reply


     Silvanus Dickerson, "The Spy", did a little better than Mr. Terry. He did receive two pensions from the government in return for the priceless work he did in keeping Washington informed of what went on within the British lines. Although he served in 1779 as a Cornet in Sheldon's Light Dragoons, he dropped his uniform, and under the guise of a pack peddler, passed through the enemy lines and thus secured the information he carried to Washington.
     Col. Thomas Terry died before the war really started, and the other entry in the records of a Thomas Terry has never been properly explained. It may have been a duplication. It may have been a younger man bearing the same given name as the patriot, who had served his King in the Mohawk Valley and was ready to serve his own people when they cast their lot with New England. This riddle may never be solved, since the Terry genealogical manuscript has been destroyed.
     From out of Vermont, Orange County, Westchester and Dutchess came the grandsons of Southold in answer to their new country's call. The number of Conklings would indicate that eventually they will dispute with theTuthills for the earth. They are our most prolific families. There are other god Southold names, notably: Horton, Dickin-
son, Wells, Griffing and Reeve that recur in the lists of other counties, but Conkling, like Abou ben Adhem, leads all the rest.
     I have not culled from the pages of Grifling the tales of the heroic women of old Southold. These anecdotes are as old as the practice of warfare. What matters it whether it be a Spartan woman or Mrs. Constant L'Hommedieu who bares her breast to the descending sword? We have all heard them with names dear to the relator. Their truth is as eternal as human courage, and we can accept them for chat they are worth in the consciousness that we will never be able to appreciate the hardships which they bore from 1776 to 1783.
     We have come to the end of our chronicle of the Town through the soul-trying days of the Revolution. To those men and women, who through exile and hunger, beset with disaster and overcome with disease, stripped of all they possessed save the courage with which they trod that dark Gethsemane of weary years, to come at last through the darkness into a new day made gloriously light with liberty, may we pause and give them credit: "For all we have of Freedom."

Wayland Jefferson, Feb. 17, 1932.