The Story of Isaac Van Scoy  - Early East Hampton

The following item is about Isaac Van Scoy, who was the father of Mercy Van Scoy, and who was the grandfather of John Edwards who married Deborah Penny. THE GREATER part of this genealogy was compiled by the late Henry L. Van Scoy in 1897. This has been added to and brought up to date largely by Mrs. Everett J. Edwards.

    With the first settlers who came to the New Netherlands from Holland were three brothers, Abraham, Peter and Isaac Van Schaick or Van Scoyack. Abraham settled in Albany, Peter near the present city of Hudson, N.Y., and Isaac in or near the Town of Oyster Bay, L.I. We find no account of their children but there is proof that Cornelius Van Scoy I (the East Hampton branch has always spelled the name thus). grandson of Isaac Van Schaick, came to East Hampton and in October, 1727 married Patience, daughter of Isaac Barnes of Amagansett. This Cornelius and his wife in 1737 removed to New Salem, Westchester Co., N.Y. with three or four children, one of whom was Jonathan, bapt. 1736, leaving one, Isaac, then five years old, to be brought up by his grandfather, Isaac Barnes. No Van Scoys are now living in East Hampton Township, but a few still live in Eastern Suffolk County.

    The following bit of history concerning the first Van Scoy to live permanently in East Hampton was found in an old account book, and is probably a word-of-mouth tradition handed down to his great-grandson, the late Henry Van Scoy.

    In February 1757, Isaac Van Scoy of Amagansett married Mercy Edwards, and in the spring moved to that section of the town known as Northwest, or Alewife Brook Neck, about six miles north of East Hampton Village. Northwest was a wooded wilderness of large timber. Into this lonely spot he went, with his wife, his axe, and his gun, game such as deer being plenty at that time. For a tenement for himself and his wife, he took out some dirt from the side of a hill, split some logs and put them up for a ceiling, putting turf on top for a roof. In a few years he built a snug frame house, and in or about 1771, he had built for himself a two-story 34 by 30 foot frame house, and in this he lived the rest of his life.
    William D. Halsey, in his "Sketches from local history" relates that when Isaac Van Scoy's oldest child was born, "he set out in his door yard an oak tree (yellow bark) which was five feet high at that time. At this time (October, 1934) 1 have measured this tree and the following are the dimensions-height 98 ft., circumference one foot from ground 17 ft., diameter 5 ft., spread of branches 90 ft." The venerable giant was blown down in the hurricane of September, 1938.
    Fifteen children were born to Isaac and Mercy in this wilderness; seven died in infancy. Mercy died in 1782, and Isaac then married the widow of Jonathan Osborn, who had a large family by her first husband. Isaac spent his time chopping and carting wood and clearing and tilling the soil. He was a man who did not believe there was any such thing as "I can't do it." When he was married he did not know the letters of the alphabet, but he soon learned, and was a fair reader for his time. He was 85 when he died, never was sick in his life. He rode six miles to church, and home again, walked into the house, and sat down dead. The day he died his courage was equal to his will.
    In the Revolutionary War, the British lying in Gardiner's Bay often made raids on Isaac Van Scoy's farm. For safety, nights he had a handy hayfork standing by the head of his bed. On a certain day he had 50 English pounds paid him by some one. Some of the British being on shore, got wind of it, and broke into his home to get it. "The money!" they demanded. He told them they should not have it. They asked him where it was. He told them-they made a rush for it. With his two-tined pitchfork he killed one on the spot, and wounded two more. Arnold Squires Van Scoy of Hampton Bays, L.I. tells the same story, which he heard from his grandfather, with this added: Isaac was taken prisoner and put aboard a British warship at Sag Harbor to await trial. One dark night some friends and neighbors rowed out to the warship and managed to free him through a porthole. He had to hide out until the war ended.
    ISAAC VAN SCOY 2 (s. of Cornelius Van Scoy, he actually 3d generation in America and originally Van Schaick) b. April 1732 d. Nov. 2, 1816, m. 1757 Mercy, dau. David Edwards of E.H. and settled in Northwest, E.H.,* where she d. Oct. 5, 1782 ae 50, and he d. Nov. 2, 1816. After the death of his first wife, Isaac 2 m. Elizabeth, widow of Jonathan Osborn; she was b. a Dibble, 1729, and d. 1824.. Ch. of Isaac 2 and Mercy who survived were Isaac 3 b. 1758, Mercy 3 (who m. John Edwards of Sag Harbor and had ch. Russell, Patience, Isaac, John and Abraham); Elizabeth 3 b. 1759 (who m. Jeremiah Bennett, had 10 ch. and d. Oct. 11, 1858 ae 98;) Patience 3 (who m. John Payne, merchant of North Haven, Sag Harbor, and had 9 ch.); Elsie 3 (who m. John Edwards of Amagansett and had ch. Nancy, Joseph, Rebecca, John Dudley, and d. Sept. 17, 1838); Mebetable 3 (who m. Jonathan Osborn, Jr. and had ch. Polly, Harvey, Jonathan, Mulford, Abraham, Isaac Van Scoy, Betsey; and d. ae 79); David 3 b. March 9, 1765, d. Feb. 2, 1854; Mary (Polly) 3 b. July 4, 1774 (who m. Dering Ranger of Northwest Nov. 1796 and d. 1833; she had ch. Stephen b. Jan. 9, 1798, Sylvester b. Aug. 23, 1801, and Alfred b. June 29, 1807).

*The once extensive sheep and cattle farm, the fields of grain and hay, have all reverted to forest; only a stony hollow, the well, a few lilac bushes and stunted apple trees mark where the old house stood. The old Northwest school house stood on Van Scoy property. [The above is taken from "East Hampton Histories..." by Jeanette Edwards Rattray]

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