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Overton family of Long Island
OVERTON From the Portrait and Biographical Record
The Long Island Overton
Isaac Overton, was the first known
ancestor of the Overton family to settle on Long Island, NY. He
is the progenitor of all the Long Island Overtons. He was born,
about 1638 or 1640, no doubt in England. He is said to have been
the son of Maj. General Robert Overton by his second wife, Hannah
Elton. Hannah and her son Isaac were among the erarliset settlers
of Southold, NY, which was settled in 1640. The first records of
Southold between 1640 and 1651 are missing, but the records beginning
with 1651 include entries regarding John Elton who was Hannah Overton's
brother and Isaac's uncle with whom they lived. There is no
record that Isaac's supposed father, Robert, was ever at
Southold. John Elton was one of the original home lot owners of
the town. In 1881 Rev. Epher Whitaker compared all of the known
town and church records, deeds, wills, tombstones and other documents
and compiled an accurate list of the first settlers of Southold.
This lists 138 inhabitants of the town during the pastorate of the Rev.
John Youngs, 1640 to 1672. John Elton and Isaac Overton are on
abt 1683-1744?), "The Giant," second generation
Isaac Overton was distinguished for his great physical strength;
was much known in this country, and through this then colony, from 1725
to 1744 at which last date his great-grandson, Mr. Jonathan Overton was
quoted as saying he died, aged near sixty. As a man he was mild,
disposed, and respected. Very many amusing stories of his feats
strength are told of him. The following was told by Jaded
who had from his father, Samuel Griffin; who was a neighbor of Mr.
and an eye witness to the fact.
The incident took place, at the house of
Mr. Robert Griffin, who at the time, 1725, kept an inn at
Southold. At, or near the date noticed, an athletic bull or
boxer, as he styled himself, came to Boston, from England. He
gave out that he had never met his equal for strength; or one that he
could not easily whip. Hearing of Overton's powers, he
repaired to Southold, to show Overton a "thing ot two," as he said on
at Mr. Griffin's. After partaking of refreshments, he requested
Griffin to send his boy after Mr. Overton; Mr. Griffin did so, but told
stranger that Overton was of retiring habits and rather bashful; and
not notice nor pay any attention to testing his strength in wrestling,
other sports, which he viewed degrading. Not knowing for what
he was sent for, Mr. Overton came with the boy. On being
to the stranger, and learning of his errand, he utterly refused to have
to do with him. Mr. Overton, the stranger soon learned, eas fond
flip, a beverage in those days made of beer, spirits and sugar.
was liberally supplied with this stimulus, yet not till a blow with the
of the hand from the stranger could he be aroused to defend
Then with the quickness of thought, he seized the bully by the seat of
trousers, and the collar of his coat, with his arms at full length, he
him as high as his chin, then walking around the room, crying at the
of his voice, "Mr. Griffin, what shall I do with him? Mr.
what shall I do with him?" And amidst the contortions, and
of the stranger, who was held as in a vise, and the roars of laughter
those present, let him fall heavily upon the floor. The stranger
not trouble Mr. Overton again. On another occasion, he
and put on a wheel of a loaded cart, which wheel had come off by reason
a loss of a linch pin. He also shouldered a cannon in New York,
four men ordinarily could not easily handle. There is not any
but Isaac Overton was one of the most powerful men, as to the bodily
this country has ever known.
Many tales are told of the "Giant's"
strength. At a town meeting he offered to lie on his back and
allow any six men to hold him down by his hands
and feet. When all were ready, the Giant gave one spring and
them off like so many flies. He was of so great stature that a
iron bed had been provided for him. Shortly before his death, he
involved in a discussion with a man of ordinary size. It was at
time. The man spat upon the Giant's plate. He was enraged
the insult; and reaching across the table, picked up his opponent and
him out of the window with such force that the frame was broken.
short time after this, the Giant suddenly died. It was supposed
he had been poisoned by the man whom he threw out of the window.
his death struggle, he grasped the top posts of his iron bed and
or broke, them in pieces, saying "I've been a strong man, but death is
Most of the information contained in this file, as well as
the paragraphs above, came from the
publication by Alvin R. L. Smith entitled "The Overton Genealogy," The
family of Long Island, New York 1966.