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Mrs. Leek feeds the British

TALES OFMIDDLE ISLAND
Patchogue Advance
July 21, 1949
by
Thomas R. Bayles


…Another pre-Revolutionary house in Middle Island is the old Ashton homestead on the Bartlett road, which is owned and occupied by Miss Minnie Ashton.This was the home of Major Leek and his family during the Revolutionary War. It was the custom in those war years for the British soldiers who were riding through the Island to stop and demand dinner from any known sympathizer to the American cause, and one-day a party of soldiers stopped and Mrs. Leek prepared dinner for them.While waiting one of the British officers went around the dining room hitting the sides of the wall with his sword to see if there were any hidden panels behind which might be concealed valuables. The officer passed this by and did not find the hiding place

(As a matter of fact there was such a place back of a small panel above the mantelpiece and years later it was discovered by an odd coincidence The house had been sold to Alexander Monsell and at the time mentioned it was occupied by his grandson Nelson Monsell,who was born in the house in 1808. (This Monsell was captain of his own sailing vessel.) There was no regular minister in the Methodist church, one man supplying several parishes such as Coram, Mt. Sinai and Yaphank. At this particular time, the Rev. Mr. Dickerson came to Yaphank and was asked to spend the night with the Monsell family. While there, it was discovered that he was a descendant of Colonel Leek, and he told the story of the secret cupboard and how his great grandmother had her silver and valuables hidden there when the British were searching the house. Upon examination, the panel was found, and in the cupboard behind it was the hiding place built into the solid brickwork of the chimney.)

The old homestead has since been moved to Mt. Sinai. 

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