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family of Long Island
Robert Williams an early Proprietor of Hempstead
WILLIAMS was listed as one of the early proprietors of Hempstead, Long
New York, in 1647. In 1645-6 he purchased from the Indians a large
of land centered at what is now Hicksville. Thus he was well
in the Hempstead area for at least eight years before he appeared on
Oyster Bay purchase deed. Thompson in the "History of Long Island"
that he was a close relative of the celebrated Roger Williams.
In 1653, Robert Williams was one of a company of men
who accepted land from Indians by a deed from an Indian named Assiapum
for Oyster Bay, New York, it being the first record of conveyance in
"Anno Dni one thousand Six hundred & fifety th[ree] This writing
witnesseth yt Asiapum alias Mohenes have sold unto Peter Wright,
Samuell Maio, William Leuerich, Their heyrs Executors administrators,
& assignes all his Land Lyeing & Scituate upon Oyster Bay &
is bounded by oyster River to ye east side, & Papaguatunk river on
ye west side with all ye woods, rivers
marshes uplands, ponds & all other the appurtenances lying betweene
bounds afore named, with All ye Islands Lying to ye Sea ward excepting
Island Comonly Called Hog Island & bounded neere Southward by a
point of trees called Canteaiug. In Consideration of which bargaine
& sale he
is to receave as full satisfaction six Indian Coates, Sixe Ketles, Sixe
of wampum, sixe Hoes, sixe Hatchetts; three pair of stocking[s] thirty
or Muxes [heads for eel spears], twenty Knives, three shirts, & as
peage [black wampum] as will amount to ffoure pounds sterling In
whereof he hath set to his marke in ye prsence of
William Washborne, Anthony Wright, Robert Williams, Asiapum or Mohenes
X his mark on the back is the following:
Maio, Peter Wright & William Leuerich, doe accept of as joynt
purchasers with ourselves ye persons under specified to the like right
privileidgs as we ourselves in ye Lands purchased of Asiopum &
particularly mentioned in ye writeing made & subscribed by himselfe
& other Indians respectively interessed & in the names of such
as were absent acted by him & them all: witnes our hands: joynt
purchasers with us
Washbourne, William Leuerich, Tho: Armitage, Samuell: Mayo, Dan:
Whitehead, Anth: Wright, Rob: Williams, Joh: Washbourne, Ric: Holbrooke
With this document, still preserved in the town clerk's office at
Oyster Bay, opens the history of the village. There were ten men
of whom, Peter Wright and his brother, Anthony, Samuel Mayo and the
Reverend William Leverich came from Sandwich, Massachusetts. Of the
others, Robert Williams, Daniel Whitehead, Thomas Armitage, and William
and John Washbourne had already settled on Long Island at Hempstead.
Richard Holbrooke came
from Springfield, Massachusetts.
Robert Williams seems to have come from New Haven,
Connecticut, colony and evidently took up tracts of land in various
parts of Long Island. At a town meeting of Hempstead, on 14 March 1659,
"there was granted unto Robert Williams, by general vote of town
meeting, six acres of meadow land." "Also on the same day there was let
unto Robert Williams the town barn for the ensuing year, for the sum of
fifty-three shillings to be paid in corn at the usual prices, and the
yard is to be common both to the house and barn."
Robert married Sarah Washburn. They were the parents of five children.
Robert Williams made his will on 2 December 1680 and
it was proved on 23 April 1682. Letters of administration were granted
to Samuel Spicer and John Browne on 5 August 1682. The witnesses to the
will were John Winter, Richard Kempton and B. Honols. He left to his
son, Hope Williams, 100 acres of land; to another son, John Williams,
100 acres; and to a grandson Robert Williams, forty acres. He left to
his wife, Sarah, all his plantation, during her life "if she keeps
herself a widow."
He does not name his daughters in the will but makes
the following provision for them: "If my daughters marry and they want
land, if their husbands will come and dwell upon mine, they shall go to
my overseer and they shall give them land to live on, for them and
their heirs. If any of my sons or daughters doth walk disorderly,
according to the truth, they shall have no part or parcel in this my
will." He named as overseers his wife,
Sarah, and Samuel Spicer and John Browne.
Daughter Phebe Townsend and her husband, John,
evidently requested land as indicated in the transaction below, dated
30 January 1692:
"Whereas John Townsend ye Husband of my Daughter Phebe having often
times requested of me Land in Right of his wife according to ye Last
Will and Testament of my Husband Robert Williams deceased, and
Consulted w(th) John Bowne one of my Husbands Overseers concerning ye
Matter, wee do Mutally agree in Consideration of ye Necessity of ye Sd
John Townsend, And in order to ye ffulfilling of ye Will of ye Sd
Robert Williams, according to ye true Intent & Meaning, as also ye
exp(r)sse words of ye Sd Will, We ye Sd Overseers of ye will aforesd,
Have Given and Granted unto ye Sd John Townsend Husband of ye aforesd
Phebe Townsend daughter of ye Sd Robert Williams Aforesd ffifty Acres
of Wood Land and one Hundred Acres of Plaine Land for him ye Sd John
Townsend & his Heires to possesse and enjoy forever, ffor ye Sd
John Townsend to take up by ord(r) Und(r) our hands Deputing men to Lay
out ye Same where ye Sd John Townsend Shall Judge Meet near &
Convenient for him in any of ye Sd Robert Williams Land untaken up; But
if either John or Hope Williams Sons of ye Sd
Robert Williams Should obstruct the taking up of ye Sd Land &
ye very place where ye Sd John Townsend Shall at ffirst Judge ffitt,
Meet, Convenient, as Claiming right to take up ffirst, by virtue of a
former grant or Gift by their ffathers Will; that then it Shall &
may be Lawfull for ye Sd John Townsend in pursuance of this our Grant
to take up the Sd Wood Land & plaine Land in any place whereever he
Shall please throwout the whole Tract of ye Sd Robert Williams Wood
& plaine Land whereever he Shall
Se Cause it being Land not already taken up, To w(ch) wee Set our hands
Seales this thirtyeth Day of ye Eleventh Month, one Thousand Six
Signed Sealed & dd in P(r)sence of us John Bowne, Mare (W) Willitts
marke, James Townsend, Richard Willitts"
The mark of Sarah (S) Williams
"The Cape May County Magazine of History and Genealogy."
"OYSTER BAY TOWN RECORDS", Volumes I and II, published by order of the
town by Frederick E. Willets, Daniel Underhill, Edward T. Payne,
"The History of Long Island" by Benjamin F. Thompson, 1843
"The Village of Oyster Bay, Its Founding and Growth from 1653 to 1700"
by Van S. Merle-Smith, Jr., 1953.