early to Brookhaven. In 1672 Robert Hudson of Rye sold a
negro man named Antony, who had belonged to John Ogdon of Rye, to
Floyd of Brookhaven. Two men were to look him over and guarantee him
in "wiend and lime". For him Richard Floyd was to pay to Alexander
of Milford 48 pounds sterling in two installments, " and alsoe to pay
shillings here in this towne, and lett his horse go to Southould
it is to be understood the pay be in wheat or pork and beafe at
was signed by Hudson and Floyd. Why the money or rather goods was to be
paid to Brian instead of Hudson I cannot find out, or what Floyd's
going gratis to Southold had to do with it. Any way, Richard Floyd did
not keep Antony long, for in two years we find him selling him to John
Hurd of Stratford, Ct.
is a still earlier slave transaction. Isaac Rainer of So»thampton
sold a negro man named S amboe to John Thomas of "Setakett elles
for nineteen barrels of whale oil in good thick casks to be delivered
unkachaunk upon the beach." The value was 38 pounds." -
quoted from Kate W. Strong - 1950
Dr Clarence Ashton
a one time slave on the Cutchogue farm of James Wickham Reeve,
was later owned by the Hon. William Wickham, was "one of the most
men ever mentioned in the annals" of Southold town. Such was the dictum
of Rev. Dr. Epher Whitaker, former unofficial historian of the town.
familiarly known as Lymas or Lymus, was the son of "Reuben the Lawyer,"
a slave of Deacon James Reeve. Lymas bore the name of his paternal
who was the son of Pomp and Dorcas. The elder Lymas and his brother
were baptized Nov. 12, 1775 by Rev. John Davenport who the following
married the widow of his immediate predecessor in the local church,
acquiring a daughter of twenty summers.
the Lawyer and his son Lymas bore the family name of one of the
settlers of the town. It was given Reuben by his owners and bestowed on
Lymas in baptism and later in a deed for a small parcel of ground which
he held until a few years before his death.
the Reeve boys of English lineage twitted a son of Lymas and his wife
his grandfather Reuben stole their family name, the black boy came back
with the prompt and apt rejoinder, "but your family had first stolen
Reeve was greatly respected by all his contemporaries. The intimacy
him and his neighbors when he was 77 years old is illustrated in a
notice dated June 11, 1861. His name appeared thereon with Edward
G. B. Reeve, Charles R. Reeve, G. L. Conklin Jr. and J. F. Horton. The
notice forbade the taking of fish from Mattituck pond near which they
Those who evidently had been so doing were requested to "secede
Secession was of course at that time a word with a punch.
Lymas was above the medium size. He was credited with being once the
man in the town. He learned to read and write and "to cast up accounts"
accurately. "Aunf Betty" Reeve, his owner, entrusted him with the
management of her large farm.
in 1806 joined the Cutchogue Presbyterian Church, of which he later
an official. At the time of his death he had been enrolled as a member
twelve years longer than any of his associates.
education was conducted mainly by Betty, a slave of Joshua Tuthill,
of Deacon Ira Tuthill. She was a ponderous woman, weighing about 300
She had become entirely blind when 50 years of age-before Lymas was
Betty had a retentive mind and had committed to memory much of the
and many of Watts' hymns. During the forty years she lived in blindness
the scene of her daily labor was chiefly in the kitchen of Deacon
parents. There she instructed Lymas and others. She died about 1820 at
the age of 90 years.
became a free man in 1813. Asked whether he did not wish and pray for
deliverance of his fellow men from slavery in the South, his reply was:
"Oh, yes! but I more desire the deliverance of men here and everywhere
from the dominion and bondage of sin."
worshiped with Elymas Reeve at a meeting of the Presbytery of Long
held at Mattituck about 1850, stated that in the midst of some routine
business the moderator requested this humble and modest Christian to
in prayer. "Forthwith", said the observer, "all sounds of whispering
moving feet, rustily dresses, books and papers were hushed with perfect
the "deep, powerful, magnetic voice" of Lymas Reeve "in tones not less
sonorous than a trumpet poured forth a flood of adoration and praise so
majestic in thought, so profound in feeling, so graceful and biblical
language", said the narrator, "that all hearts were affected as the
are moved by the mighty wind."
he who was present: "It has been my happiness to hear the prayers of
Christian ministers of renown, and the devotions of not a few other men
of note - judges, senators, governors and scholars in the highest
of science - but I have never heard any man pray with more propriety,
and fervor than Lymas prayed." .
in 1822, when about 30 years old, married Hagar whose ancestors had
to an English family in the western part of Suffolk County. They reared
four daughters and four sons.
"Aunt Betty" Reeve, Lymas' former owner died in 1820 she gave him an
of her farm land. At the death of his father Lymas succeeded to the
of the latter's house and three and a half acres of land previously
as the Obadiah Hudson place, once owned by Timothy Reeve who became a
in New York City.
Mattituck was opened for settlement in 1660 the main thoroughfare ran
of the pond. In 1710 the road was changed to the north side of the
fresh pond" (Marratooka Lake) as it is now. The houses of the large
were located on the north side of what came to be known as the Kings
now the South Road, a part of Route 25.
Lymas and Hagar moved into an old house on the north side of the pond
it and the warm rays of the sun, with its back to the relocated
The title to the house had passed before that date from Gershom Howell,
a carpenter, to Parthenia Reeve, daughter of Lymas and Hagar. There
lived for several decades, Lymas for forty-five years. This property
the land which came to Lymas from his father were sold at his death by
his children to Irad Gildersleeve.
Reeve had a daughter Josephine (Silone) Yates who became a woman of
an accomplished lecturer and prominent representative of the colored
in the National Association of Women's Clubs. She resided in Kansas
B. Reeve, the youngest son of Lymas and Hagar, born 1831, graduated
Columbia University and from Union Theological Seminary in a class of
all of whom were white but himself.
years he was a professor in Howard University near Washington, D. C.
he became the Pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, which
a membership of more than 300. He was also honored with the degree of
old age came upon Lymas the maladies of his body were multiplied. He
April 10, 1870, a pleasant Sabbath near the time of the annual town
day which he had often attended at Southold.
neighbor and intimate friend Rev. James T. Hamlin of Mattituck preached
Lymas' funeral sermon in the Cutchogue Church. Rev. Hale, pastor of
church and Rev. Edwards of Aquebogue also took part in the service.
was buried in the old Cutchogue cemetery beside Hagar who had died
his contemporaries said of Lymas that he was a man of integrity,
frugality, equanimity of temper, amiable in disposition, full of
helpful in his relations with men, rich in faith towards God, and very
patient in sickness and affliction.
on the August 1951 issue of Long Island Forum - no copyright