Annals of Hempstead
Annals of Hempstead
Henry Onderdonk Jr.; Jamaica, L.I.; June 188(?)0.
(Courtesy of James Pearsall)

"The Annals of Hempstead" is the title of a pamphlet by Henry Onderdonk, Jr., just published in the flourishing Long Island village of Hempstead. It contains a great deal of curious matter gathered from the old records of the ancient township of the name which formerly included North Hempstead, when it was called by the Dutch name of Heemsteede. Mr Onderdonk, the compiler, is a well-known Long Island antiquarian, who has given the public various contributions to lockal history. The extracts made in the pamphlet from the minutes kept by the town authorities and from the journals of individuals give and idea of the quaint manners of early times on Long Island, the regulations adapted to preserve order and enforce justice and generally the transactions of the inhabitants with each other and their neighbors in the adjoining settlements. A chapter is given to "Revolutionary Incidents," and two to the Long Island Quakers, all of which have a special interest for the residents of that island now rapidly increasing in population.-"William Cullen Bryant, in the New York Evening Post"


"I have read portions of the history pertaining to the Friends, and find it indeed an interesting document, as it gives to Long Island and New York Friends an epitome of the most interesting features of their history. I hardly know of any record that is or ought to be equally interesting to Friends, as it comprises an aggregate of historical materials nowhere else to be found; and in so readeable and condensed a form that it may be pronounced a gazetteer of Friends' history for Long Island and New York city. I should like to have portions of it reprinted in the Friends Intelligencer, so that it would with certainty be understood among Friends as a portion of verified history, and the record by that means be long perpetuated."........GIDEON FROST


Hempstead was bought of the natives by Rev. Robert Fordham and Mr. John Carman, in 1643. As it was under Dutch jurisdiction, they also obtained a patent from Gov. Kieft, Nov. 16, 1644. Some of the conditions were that they should pay the government a tax of the tenth of their farming produce in ten years after the first general peace with the Indians, to use the Dutch wieghts and measures and the new style. This patent, written on parchment, was in the Town Clerk's office in North Hempstead a few years ago. In the suit for the Marshes a portion of it was copied by the lawyers and reprinted in Mr. Thompson's history. It is recorded in full in New York Deed Book, iii, 100.

Indian wars were prevalent at the time of settlement, as appears by the following extracts from Dutch writers:
1643, October 24. - Long Island is stripped of people and cattle, except a few insignificant places over against the Main, which are about to be abandoned. The English who settled amonst us have not escaped. They, too, except at one place, are all murdered and burnt. - Col. Hist., i, 190.

1644, April.-Rev. Mr. Fordham sent word to Gov. Kieft that he had just arrested seven savages, on a charge of stealing pigs, and had them confined in a cellar at Hempstead, but that he durst not treat them inhumanly, as he could not answer for the consequences to himself. Kieft sent fifteen or sixteen soldiers, who killed three of the Indians in the cellar and took the others to their boat. Two were drowned while being towed along by a string around their necks, the other two were dispatched with soldiers' knives at the Fort.-Doc. Hist., iv, 105.

-Kieft being informed that Penawitz had killed some people and set their houses on fire, sent out in three boats one hundred and twenty soldiers who landed in Cow Bay and marched toward Hempstead. They formed in two divisions and destroyed two villages and killed one hundred and twenty Indians, with a loss of one slain and three wounded.-Col. His., i, 186.

1647, May 11.-Peter Stuyvesant -the Dutch Governor of the Colony till September 8, 1664.

1647, August 23.-Delegates from Hempstead appear before the Governor and report that the savages around them are lured on by Indians from the Main to attack the people and destroy the village. The Governor sends his Secretary in a yacht to inquire into the truth of the report, who also takes a piece of cloth and some trifling presents for the chief, in order to a renewal of friendship.

1649-"Hempstead is superior to all the settlements in the Island, for it is very rich in cattle." So say the Dutch writers. In 1657 there were 306 cattle and 74 weaned calves at pasture, all owned by 38 planters.


1650-These orders made at a General Court held at Hempstead, September 16, and consented unto by a full town-meeting held October 18:

Forasmuch as the contempt of God's word and Sabbaths, is the desolating sin of Civil States and Plantations; and the public preaching of the Word by those who are duly called thereto, is the means ordered of God for edifying, converting and saving the souls of men; it is ordered by the authority of this Court that all persons in this town shall duly resort to the public meetings on the Lord's day and public days of Fasting and Thanksgiving, forenoon and afternoon, under penalty of 5 guilders for the 1st absence, 10 for the 2d and 20 for the 3d. Those who remain refractory shall be liable to further censure of the Court either for aggravation of the fine or for corporal punishment or banishment. One-half the fine to be given to the informer.
By order from the magistrates was subscribed,


After the appearance of the Quakers at Hempstead, this order was re-enacted by the magistrates and approved by the Governor and Council, October 16, 1657; and recorded by John James, Town Clerk, June 16, 1658.-Rec. A, 31.

1651, September 25.-The magistrates of Hempstead write a letter (No. 4) to the Directors at Amsterdam, in which they thank them for powder and lead an request them to send some every year; and "we will satisfy you with such pay as we receive."

They complain that Dutch traders at Manhattans sell powder and lead to the Indians. "Since our last letters, wherein we besought reform, hundreds of those Indians coming on the Island have killed our cattle and carried them off to their own plantations to feast upon, and sold some of the meat to the Dutch at Manhattans in place of venison. They have driven out of the pasture through the swamps our remaining cattle over our standing corn, so that we have this summer been damaged more than 1000 guilders. 'Tis a matter of small moment in their eyes to kill a good ox merely for the horns to carry powder in; sometimes they slay a man, sometimes a woman, plunder the houses, purloin our guns, pry into our affairs, endeavor to drown the people, strip the children in the fields and woods, prowl abroad with masks, slaughter our hogs, and when we demand satisfaction challenge us to fight, boasting of their greater number of men and guns.

"We dread a cruel insurrection, and shall be obliged to abandon our habitations and your Honor's jurisdiction. We beg you to send over some servant men, who are here as precious as gold, both in regard to our work and our protection, and provide us goods on more reasonable terms. We now buy supplies at excessive prices elsewhere when liquors are all out at Manhattans. We shall do our best to make due returns in produce, the proceeds of our servants' labor, viz.' in corn, beef, pork, butter, tobacco, staves, or such like wares, in exchange for such merchandize as we shall receive.
"I, John Moore, minister of the church of Hempstead, so attest this to be a true copy."-Col. Hist., ii, 157.

1652, April 8- The Governor declares the election at Hempstead illegal, as they had not sent him a double set of names as the patent required. Consequently, all they had done since Capt. Thomas Topping went away was null. Richard Gildersleeve, Mr. Coe and Daniel Whitehead were magistrates in 1652.-Dutch MSS., xi, 58

1653, December 11.-John Seaman, Willaim Washborn, Robert Coe and John Hicks, with deputies from other English villages, send a remonstrance to the Governor on the abridgement of their freedom and privileges; and express fears of an arbitrary government.- Col. His., i, 552

1654, March 12.-Francois Frans was sued for smuggling from New England into Hempstead 670 pounds of gunpowder and quantity of goods, and trading them off there.-Dutch MSS., 249

1656, March 12.-In the general peace with Tackpausha and his Indians convened at Hempstead, it is mutually agreed that all injuries since 1645 shall be forgiven and forgotten. The Governor agrees to build on the Northside a house or fort to be furnished with Indian trade or commodities.-Rec. A, 22.

1656, November 16.-The Town Clerk objects to paying tenths at present, as no general peace with the Indians was made till this year, and he demands indemnity of the Governor (according to cevenant) for damages done by the Indians.-Dutch MSS., xii, 41.

1656, December 19.-The Directors of the West India Co. promise to ship from Amsterdam bells for the churches of Flatbush and Hempstead, next spring. -Dutch MSS., xii, 45.
A drum was yet used at Hempstead in 1705.

1656, December 21.-John Seaman and Richard Gildersleeve are appointed magistrates.-Dutch MSS., viii,308

The following is the first entry on the first page of book A. of Hempstead Records. We give it literally, but hereafter will use the modern spelling of words:
March 17, 1657, Stylo novo.-Choosen by the towne of Hempsteed for Townesmen for the abovesaid yeere, Fransis Wickes, Richard Brutnall, Richard Vallingtyne, Robord Marville, Adam Mott.
Wee the magistrates of Hempsteed doe herby ingage owrsives to stand by and bare out the full power the abovenamed Townesmen in all such actes and orders as shall conduce for the good and benefite of this towne for this preasant yeere, giveing oute of land and resaiveing in of inhabbetantes onely exsepted. Given under owr handes, this 16 of Aprell, 1657, stylo nove.--Ri. Gilderselleve, Jno. Seaman.

1657, July 17-The Governor visits Hempstead and holds a meeting in hopes both of the settling of Rev. Mr. Denton's continuance there, and in regard to an agreement of the tenths; but both were broke off by some turbulent spirits. As he was in haste to return home he sends word to the town that he shall expect the tenths on the field for the year past. He also says: "Mr. Robert Fordham, some time minister of Hempstead, left the place and the exercise of the ministry without our wish or knowledge, and for little or no reason. Therefore we cannot admit of his coming back again."

July 25-The town sent Capt. Seaman to the Governor to disavow the act of these turbulent spirits and to say that they are content to pay the tenths (100 skeples of wheat) and desire to embrace Mr. Denton's ministry.
The Governor is appeased and writes, July 29, "About the continuancy of Mr. Denton amongst you we shall use all endeavors we can. If he cannot be persuaded, you must look for another able and godly man, where unto we on our side shall contribute what is in our power.-Doc. His., iii, 190.

1657.-A quarter's rate is made for Mr. Richard Denton for his wages for the year the sum being 17.10, the levy being 31/2d. the acre. The gatherers are William Washburn and Thomas Demont.-Rec. A., 12.

1657, July 6.-It is ordered that whosoever shall (on being ordered by the Townsmen) refuse to gather any town rate, shall pay for his first refusal thereof six carolus guilders. Rec. A., 3.

1657, August 5.-At Hempstead (say the Dutch ministers) there are some Independents; also many of the Dutch persuasion and Presbyterians. They have a Presbyterian preacher, Richard Denton, an honest, pious and learned man, who has in all things conformed to our church. The Independents listen attentively to his preaching, but when he begins to baptize the children of parents who are not members of the church, they sometimes burst out of the church.-Doc. His., iii, 107.

1657, December.-The Town Clerk complains to the Governor that "We cannot get the Indians to show us the general bounds of our lands, whereby there is much difference amongst ourselves concerning our proportions; and of late they have done us much mischief by killing our swine and chasing our cattle. John Smith of late hath suffered the loss for 30 or 40 in swine which he found killed or hurt in their quarters. Being met together to-day we make our grievances known to you, and humbly crave redress under your Honor's direction, how to save ourselves harmless for the future. Further, we humbly desire to know when you will be pleased to accept your payment concerning Mr. Denton's quarterage, and to desire you to accept of oats and some wheat, which is the best payment we are able to make."-Col. MSS., viii, 663.

1658, January 30.-The Town Clerk asks of the Governor some powder, lead and flints, and 40 soldiers with an officer to compel the Indians to carry out their agreement, that is, "to lay out their lands, and give satisfaction for past injuries. The Indians only brought in some of their dogs and killed them but have reserved some of the best." -Dutch MSS., xiii, 73.

1658, March 4.-Another quarter rate is made by the Townsmen for the sum of 17.10, for the payment of Mr. Denton's last quarter, to be paid in wheat at 5s. per bushel, or oats at 2s. 6d. The sum levied upon this rate at 31/2d. per acre of meadow amounts to 19.1.-Rec. A., 12.

1658, April12.-Ordered by the town that whatsoever person shall open the town-gates, and neglect to put up the bars and shut the gates, shall forfeit for such defect 5s.-half to the informer.-Rec. A., 17.

1658.-At a Court holden at Hempstead the 18th of April, present Mr. Richard Gildersleeve, Magistrate, Mr. John Hicks, Mr. Robert Forman and Richard Willits, Assistants. Forasmuch as Mary, wife of Joseph Schott, and the wife of Francis Weeks, have, contrary to the laws of God and this place, not only absented themselves from public worship but profaned the Lord's day by going to a conventicle in the woods where were two Quakers, and now justify their act by saying they know of no transgression they had done, for they went to meet the people of God, it is ordered that each party shal pay 20 guilders and costs.
Whereas we find by woful experience that of late a sect hath taken such ill effect amongst us as to seduce certain of our inhabitants who (giving heed to seducing spirits under the notion of their being inspired by the Holy Spirit of God) have profaned the Sabbath and neglected to join with us in the true worship of God as formerly they have done, now be it ordered that no person whatsoever shall give entertainment to or hold converse with the people called Quakers, or lodge them in their house but for one night only, and then they are to depart quietly and without debate next morning.

1658, May 2- It is ordered that every inhabitant give in to be enlisted by the Town Clerk all lands plowed, reaped or gathered by him, viz.; hollows, uplands, and homelots (except one Holland's acre or morgen by patent allowed for each man) whereby our tythe may be paid unto the Governor according to our agreement, being 100 schepels of wheat. For neglect hereof 10s. forfeiture for each acre manured; and if any give in less than he had, 10s. for each acre so conceled.-Rec. A., 20.

1658, October 23, was "Humiliation Day," new style.

1658, November 27.-John James is chosen Town Clerk, being his second year of service by the permission of God Almighty.-Rec. A., 33.

1658, November 27.-All sellers of wine, beer or any manner of drams or strong liquors are required to make entry of them unto the Town Clerk, and pay 5 guilders the anker for Spanish wines or any kind of drams; for the half-fatt of strong beer 2 guilders; for the anker of French or other wine 3 guilders. One-half to be used to buy ammunition for the town, the other half to pay for the schooling of orphans and poor children.*-Rec. A., 32.
(*1659, November 11, - Joseph Schott enter 2 ankers of brandy; John Smith Rock 2 ankers of drams and 3 of brandy on retail; John Smith Nau one auker anise on retail; Robert Jackson 6 ankers of drams on retail; Adam Mott 3 ankers brandy on retail; Richard Bruduill 2 ankers brandy.-Rec. A., 83

1658, November 27.-The Town Clerk transmits to the Governor the names of Richard Gildersleeve, William Schadden, Robert Forman and Henry Pearsall-all men of honest life- and desires him to appoint two of them magistrates. He adds, "It hath pleased God after a sickly and sad summer to give us a seasonable and comfortable autumn, wherewith we have been (through mercy) refreshed and gained strength of God, so that we necessarily have been employed in getting winter food for our cattle and thereby have prolonged our wonted time of choosing magistrates." Gildersleeve and Forman were appointed.-Dutch MSS., xii, 98.

1658, December 19.-Aeltie Cornelissen, aaron Forman, Thomas Foster, Jan Harman, John Hicks, Thomas Ireland, James Pine, John Smith, Simon Searing, Jeremy Wood and William Yates are summoned before the Governor for non-payment of excise. On his recommendation they paid it to John La Montague, Jr., "the customer," farmer or collector of the tavern keepers' excise.Dutch MSS., viii, 1073.

1659, January 14.-The magistrates revive the order against the sin of DRUNKENNESS; as they find by daily experience that it is practised in Hempstead to the dishonor of God. Transgressors to pay for the first fault 10 guilders; for the second, 29, and for the third, to stand to the determination of the Court.

1659, March 24.-Granted to Josias Forman the Walnut Hollow and the Cherry Tree Hollow, as a free gift for two years, for the help of him and his family.-Rec. A., 46.

1659, February 3.-Some of the public debts and charge of the town for the year past, brought in by the persons undernamed.

Mr. John Seaman, for killing 2 wolves, 2.
Thomas Langdon, do. 6 do., 6.
Robert Marvin, do. 1 do., 1.
Half-bushel corn to an Indian, do.1
do., (part pay))
To another Indian (part pay)do.1 do., 4.
Edward Spragg, for burning the Neck, 12.
Mrs. Washborn, for making 2 Hollands
shirts for the Sagamore.
James Pine, for drink expended upon
the Sagamore, and for laying out the
town bounds
Simon Searing, for wine to the
Indians, by order,
Mr. Hicks, for 61/2 ells of linen,
at 2 guilders per ell,
Do., for 2 ells trading cloth for the
Indians, at 12 guilders,
Robert Jackson, exchange of kettle
to the Indians' use
To the same, for a voyage to the Neck
by himself and horse,
Adam Mott, 4 days' beating the drum, 6.
John Smith Rock, for his horse, one
day, lent to the Sagamore
Mr. Gildersleeve, for entertainment of
the Indians,
Henry Pearsall, for a bottle of drams
to the Sagamore, by order,
Goodman Pearsall, for the use of his
team in carrying the corn to the
town-house for the rent,
To the same, for viewing the ox-
pasture fence,
Town Clerk, for 18 month's service, 3.
Thomas Rushmore, for mending the
town-fence on the Neck,
To the same, for helping carry the
corn for the rent of the town-land
Mr. Gildersleeve, for one journey to
the Dutch concerning the tenths,
George Hewlett, for mending the town-
gate, west side,
Mr. Seaman, 2 days' travel in laying
out the bounds,
John Ellison, for his horse-hire in lay-
ing out the land,
To those that helpt to quench the fire
when the town was indangered,
Joseph Mead, for a voyage from Stam-
ford to Fairfield, about procuring a
minister, with letters from Hempstead to
Rev. Mr. Wakeman,
-Rec. A., 38