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Brookhaven Town Historian's Research on Drafting during the French and Indian War

Shaw's Historical Work Shows Town Had Soldier Draft Back in 1757


Extensive Research Brings Out New items -- Many Unrecorded Deeds Sought out and Their Facts Listed for use

The drafting of Brookhaven town men for military service goes back nearly 200 years, according to a document brought to public attention by Osborn Shaw of Bellport as part of his duties as town historian during the past year.

The ancient document is an order dated in 1757 to draft men for the French and Indian war.

The reference to the 1757 draft is mentioned in a paper owned by Samuel Floyd Dominick of Old Field, which carries the title, "Order to draft men for the French and Indian War," and reads as follows: "Received the 14th of march, 1757, of Joseph Dentan: a warrant from Colonle Floed an order to draft men upon the county received by me. (Signed) Obadiah Smith"

Other papers uncovered by historian Shaw and added to the file of public documents in Town Clerk Andrew D. Havens' office, according to the Shaw annual report filed with the Town board, include an order from Governor George Clinton, for inspection of enlisted men and their equipment on the Setauket green in 1748; an order assigning ten "neutral French" (Francis Commo, his wife and eight children) expelled from Acadia, in Nova Scotia, and described in Longfellow's "Evangeline." Also a Revolutionary war expense account of 1776; a receipt for hay, meals, etc., used by the "Queen's Rangers" in 1780; a certificate from the road commissioners, permitting a own pump to be installed beside the road at Coram. in 1833.

Also an agreement dated 1685, for an Indian to furnish a barrel of whale oil, at what is now Bellport, in exchange for a gun; and also, the opinion of the attorney general in 1716, concerning the lawful charges that could be made by the sheriff of Suffolk county.

In his report, Mr. Shaw said that during 1939 he had completed and filed with the town clerk a registry containing over 7,000 names and dates of deaths of persons buried in Brookhaven town, prior to the year 1883, copied from every known tombstone in every cemetery and private graveyard (about 130) in the town.

Mr. Shaw also said he was collecting data in 1939 for a similar register of births and marriages, from private records, family bibles, church records and other sources. He added that during 1940 he continued to collect such data, but the large area of Brookhaven has made the task of locating the material difficult, and , realizing that it may take a year or more, he had concentrated most of his efforts in 1940 either to copy or make abstracts of every unrecorded deed and historic document found among the old native families of the town.

"Most people," he reported, "have willingly consented to lend their old papers for the purpose, but a few have refused and it may require a personal letter of request, either from the supervisor or town clerk for me to peruse their documents."

He said he considers it desirable and important to have a record of unrecorded deeds in the town clerk's office, as they are valuable not only to the local historian and geneaologist, but especially valuable in searching titles of properties.

"This is especially true," he said, "of the whole southeastern part of the town, comprising the villages of Eastport, East Moriches, Center Moriches, West Moriches and the Mastic and Manorville sections. they are situated in what was known as "The Patentship of Moriches" and a part of Colonel Smith's 'Manor of St. George.'"

"Very few of the deeds for the section were ever recorded, and as it was not even a part of Brookhaven, until annexed by the State of Legislature in March, 1788, the town records, therefore, have only casual reference to it.

"But fortunately one family had preserved many, if not all, the unrecorded deeds relating to this section, beginning with several original Indian deeds dated 1679 and numerous subsequent deeds, covering a period of considerable more than 100 years. They effect principally Eastport and East Moriches.

"I have carefully copied the most important of these in their entirety and made abstracts of the lesser important ones. Altogether, there are 84 of them, and the copies I have made, I have in a book labeled 'Smith's and Moriches Patentships, also Great South beach, east of Quanch.' It has been placed in the town clerk's office as a public record.

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