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The Fordham Family of Long
Reverend Robert Fordham
abt 1603, Puritan Founder of Hempstead, LI, New York
From the History of Hempstead - Hempstead was
settled in 1643 by a band of Puritans who sailed across the Long Island
Sound from Stamford, Connecticut in search
of a place where they could more freely express their particular brand
Protestantism. They were led by the Rev. Robert Fordham and John
both disciples of the Rev. Richard Denton, the leader of their sect.
landed on Long Island at what is now called Roslyn village and trekked
across a great prairie where they stopped between two fresh water
and several small ponds. They bargained for the land with the leaders
the local native tribes and made an agreement that allowed them to
establish a "town spot" at what is now the Village of Hempstead as well
as establishing property rights to what are now known as the Towns of
Hempstead and North Hempstead.
In 1631 on the
ship "Lion", came John Eliot, the wife of Governor Winthrop, the
Robert Fordham, and many Puritans.
The Rev. Robert Fordham, the pioneer of Hempstead,
succeeded Pierson in the ministry of Southampton, and concerning that
W. Wallace Tooker, in an unpublished monograph says:
"His arrival and
locating at Southampton undoubtedly gave a boom to that weak colony,
then to a great extent disorganized by the departure of Minister
and the few who agreed with him, as well as by the dissensions that
it. The best and most influential townsmen, however, remained to
'the well-beloved servant of the Lord, Mr. Fordham,' as they expressed
in April, 1649, in their contract with him as their minister. Before
coming to Southampton the townsmen had become dissatisfied with their
town site, which possessed many disadvantages unseen and unthought of
the haste of laying out the first settlement, and after his arrival
began to lay out and to build upon the new, now represented by the
present wide and beautiful main street of Southampton village. So, with
Fordham's ministry, the town of Southampton entered upon a different
order of things, as well as upon a new era of prosperity, which has
continued until the present day. Under Mr. Fodham a new church building
was erected in 1651. This church stood until 1707, when a third
structure was erected, which was occupied
by the congregation until 1845, when it was replaced by a more
Mr. Fordham continued to act as minister
until his death in 1674, and long before that he enjoyed the reputation
of being the wealthiest man in Southampton. Yet his stipend never seems
to have exceeded 80lb, so he must have largely engaged in mercantile
affairs and been a good business man.
New York City Wills, 1665-1707
Page 188.--"Whereas ROBERT FORDHAM, of Southampton in the East Riding
of Yorkshire, upon Long Island, minister, dyed in or about the month of
November, 1674, leaving no formal will in writing, yet as a nuncupative
will before sufficient testimony did declare his will to bee that
his son, should have his House and Land, at Southampton. After which an
Agreement was made by said Joseph Fordham and his mother Elizabeth, on
part, and the rest of the brothers and sisters, on the other part, by
each has quietly possessed his proportion, and proof of the said
will having been made at last Court of Sessions held at Southampton,
8 last, the said Joseph and Elizabeth Fordham are confirmed as
March 25, 1678/9. By order of Council. Matthias Nicoll, Sec."
Page 189.--The deposition of Captain John Howell, aged about
forty-eight years, being deposed saith, "that three or four days before
Mr. Robert Fordham died, being sent for to Mr. Robert Fordham's house,
hee went into Mr. Fordham's new room. Mr. Fordham lay sick upon ye bed,
this deponent asking him how he did. Mr. Fordham answered hee was ill.
This deponent thereupon moved him to set his house in order, and used
some arguments to persuade him. Mrs. James
being present did persuade him to the same purpose, and finding that
would prevail, Mrs. Fordham being present desired this deponent to ask
Fordham who should have his house and land. He answered, Joseph. Then
deponent asked him what hee would doe for his son Jonah, and Mr.
answered, a small matter, Twenty pounds. This deponent told him it was
small matter, indeed, and said hee was his son. Said Mr. Fordham, a
son, and said hee had given him many twenty pounds and he had wasted
and he was not bound to give to rebelious children. And further mention
made about his son John, Mr. Fordham asked who it was best John should
left withal, and this deponent answered he thought with Joseph, and Mr.
said hee thought soe too. Mrs. Katharine James attests to the truth of
is above mentioned (only as to the many 20 pounds given Jonah) and they
testify that to their apprehensions Mr. Fordham was in his right
Taken upon oath the 27th November, 1674, before me. John Youngs.
[NOTE.--The lands mentioned in the foregoing documents are all in the
town of Southampton, and for their location the reader is referred to
Printed Town Records. Mrs. Katharine James was the wife of Rev. Thomas
of East Hampton, W. S. P.]
March 8, 1798
Wellsville, Cache co., Utah
ELIJAH FORDHAM )Engraving of a wagon pulled by two oxen]
BORN MARCH 8, 1798 IN NEW YORK DIED SEPT.
9, 1879 IN WELLSVILLE, UTAH
THE SON OF GEORGE & MARY BAKER FORDHAM, HE JOINED THE CHURCH OF
JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS IN 1833. HE CROSSED THE PLAINS
IN [“Faith in Every Footstep” emblem of Utah Pioneers] ERECTED TO THE
MEMORY OF ELIJAH FORDHAM. AN IMPORTANT CHARACTER IN EARLY CHURCH
HISTORY, HE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH, WAS A
CARPENTER BY TRADE AND CARVED THE OXEN FOR THE BAPTISMAL FONT IN THE
NAUVOO TEMPLE. ON JULY 22, 1839, HE WAS MIRACULOUSLY HEALED OF
MALARIA FEVER BY THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH PROPHET AND OTHERS
ADMINISTERING TO THE SICK. HE WAS ACTIVE IN THE CHURCH ALL HIS
LIFE. THIS MEMORIAL ERECTED MAY 30, 1947.
Fordham Abt. 1642
His will, dated August
28, 1688, was proved at a Court of Sessions held at Southold, New York
on October 16 & 17, 1688. New York City Wills, 1665-1707
Page 185.--"Agreement made this 26 November, 1674, between
Mr. Joseph Fordham, and his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Fordham, of the one
part, and Mr. Jonah Fordham by his agent, Lieutenant Edward Howell, and
Edward Howell himself and wife Mary, and respecting John Fordham and
Mrs. Hannah Clarke, daughter of Mr. Robert Fordham, deceased. Which
Agreement is a Total and final Conclusion.
"First. That Mr. Joseph Fordham with his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth
Fordham, shall bee lawfully possessed as executors of the estate of
said Mr. Robert Fordham.
"Second. That the said Mrs. Elizabeth Fordham shall have one third of
the movable goods as appraized.
"Third. That the said Mr. Joseph Fordham shall have for him and his
heirs the ?250 alotment now in his possession, and part of his father's
accommodations in this Towne, with two-thirds of the movables.
"Fourth. That John Fordham shall have 45 acres of land which were his
father's, and is lying at Meaccocks within fence, with a Home Lot in
Town Plot adjoining to Mr. Robert Fordham's home accommodations
called Jonas his lot, being 3 acres. Also ?75 in current pay.
"Fifth. Jonah Fordham shall have ?100 of the living stocks which is of
his deceased father's estate. Also the books bequeathed to him by his
father in his life time. Also 50 acres of land formerly laid out to Mr.
Robert Fordham, lying against the mill path between the Towne and the
Hollow commonly called Littleworth, and ?50 of commonage. Also a little
parcel of land, 3 acres, lying in Captains Neck between John Woodruff
and Ellis Cook. Also 4 1/2 acres of land in the Little Plain and one
Home Lot, 3 acres, which Mr. Robert Fordham bought of Mr. Browne.
"Sixth. Lieut. Edward Howell and wife Mary shall have 40 acres of land
at Meacocks unfenced or not yet layed out, and 20 acres
in the next division, where Mrs. Elizabeth Fordham shall appoint, and a
right of commonage. Also 2 lotments of meadow in Shinecock neck, and
of the living stock.
"Seventh. Mrs. Elizabeth Fordham shall satisfy her daughter, Mrs.
Hannah Clarke, for what is due her, out of her third of the
"Eighth. If John Fordham become chargeable to them with whom he may
dwell, it shall be made up out of his estate. Elizabeth Fordham, Joseph
Fordham, Edward Howell, Mary Howell.
"Witnesses, John Howell, John Youngs, Henry Pierson."
Fordham abt 1638
-- The deposition
of Captain John Howell, aged about forty-eight years, being deposed
saith, ''that three or four days before Mr. Robert Fordham died, being
sent for to Mr. Robert Fordham's house, hee went into Mr. Fordham's new
room. Mr Fordham lay sick upon ye bed, this deponent asked him how he
did. Mr. Fordham answered hee was ill. This deponent thereupon moved
him to set his house in order, and used some arguments to persuade him.
Mrs. James being present did persuade him to the same purpose, and
finding that nothing would prevail, Mrs. Fordham being present desired
this deponent to ask Mr. Fordham who should have his house and land. He
answered, Joseph. Then this deponent asked him what hee would doe for
son Jonah, and Mr. Fordham answered, a small matter, twenty pounds.
This deponent told him it was a small matter, indeed, and hee was his
son. Said Mr. Fordham, a rebelious son, and hee had given him many
twenty pounds and he had wasted them and he was not bound to give to
rebelious children. And further mention being made about his son John,
Mr. Fordham asked who
it was best John should be left withal and this deponent answered he
thought with Joseph, and Mr. Fordham said hee thought soe too. Mrs.
Katharine James attests to the truth of what is above mentioned (only
as to the many 20
pounds given Jonah) and they both testify that to their apprehensions
Fordham was in his right mind.'' Taken upon oath the 27th November,
before me. John Youngs. Note. -- The Lands
in the foregoing documents are all in the town of Southampton and for
location the reader is referred to the Printed Town
Katherine James was the wife of Rev. Thomas James, of East Hampton.
HISTORY AND VITAL RECORDS OF CHRIST'S FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF
HEMPSTEAD, LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK. - The second minister to
be installed here was the Rev. Jonah Fordham, a young man, son of
Robert Fordham, whose name heads the list of grantees in the Kieft
patent. The Rev. Jonah had probably spent some of his boyhood days in
Hempstead. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1658, and
was settled here as minister in 166o. His ministry was uneventful, if
we may judge from the Town Records. Like his father, he seems to have
had an inclination for practical affairs, for business and
trade. He remained in Hempstead until the death of his
father in Southampton in 1674, when he removed there, becoming his
father's successor as the minister of the Southampton Church, and also
the inheritor of his father's considerable worldly possessions.
Page 248.--In the
name of God, Amen. I. NATHAN FORDHAM, of the town of Southampton, in
Suffolk County, being weak in body. I leave to my wife Abigail my best
bed and furniture, with the curtains; Also my Large Iron Kettle, and
six pewter plates, 4 pewter basons, one two-quart bason, four common
chairs, and my Great chair, and my chest with drawers, Looking glass,
my woolen wheel and my best Dutch wheel, and all my sheets, and all my
provisions. I leave to my daughter, Sarah Bowdich, "my bed now at
Daniel Sayres." All my movable estate is to be sold, and
all debts paid, and the rest to my children. I make my wife Abigail and
David Gelston, executors.
Dated January 9, 1772. Witnesses, Matthew Halsey, Josiah Cooper, Hannah
Sayre. Proved, December 8, 1774. (Names of children not given.)
[NOTE.--Nathan Fordham lived at Bridge Hampton, and was probably the
owner of the cleared tract of land on the road to Sag Harbor, known as
"the Old Farm."--W. S. P.]
Abigail White, abt
1701 spouse of Nathan Fordham (above)
Page 147.--In the
name of God, Amen. I, SARAH WHITE, widow of Captain Ephraim White, of
Southampton, in Suffolk County, being sick...... To my grand daughters,
Anne, Charity, and Sarah Fordham, ?35 when 18.
NOTE: Sarah Herrick
White mother of Abigail names three Fordham grandchildren in her Will.
Dated October 1, 1756. Witnesses, Samuel Huntting, shopkeeper, Elias
Pelletreau, goldsmith, John Mackie, doctor. Proved, October 20,
[NOTE.--The testatrix was a daughter of James Herrick. She died October
12, 1756, aged 74. Her homestead was in the centre of Southampton
village, and lately owned by Edwin C. Halsey, deceased.--W. S.