Homan Town Clerk 42 Years

Footnotes to Long Island History

Homan Town Clerk 42 Years


Thomas R. Bayles

            The office of town clerk of Brookhaven Town was held by Mordecai Homan of Yaphank for 42 years, from 1807 through 1848, the longest term of that office to be held by one man in the history of Brookhaven Town.

            Mr. Homan was born in Middle Island November 5, 1770, worked on his father’s farm during his early years and taught school.  When he was 28 he married Miss Polly Buckingham of Old Milford, Conn., and purchased his brother’s interest in the old Homan estate at Yaphank.  He moved there with his bride and settled down to the active duties of a long and useful life.

            He was recognized as a leader in town affairs, and was soon elected a justice of the peace and became familiarly known as Squire Homan.  He was a popular politician and a much-loved citizen of Yaphank.  His greatest service to the town was in the office of town clerk.  He repeatedly refused the nomination to the state assembly and as supervisor, but continued to serve his town in a manner that has seldom been equaled, as shown by his long years of service.

            In Beecher Homan’s book, “Yaphank as it was”, published in 1875, the following quotation gives some idea of the high esteem with which the squire was held by his neighbors: “When age laid its unrelated hand upon him and forced him to lay aside his pen forever, it was a lamented period in Brookhaven Town.  Long years had he been the social friend and advisor of public men, a faithful servant and honorable leader. During all the years of public life not a word was spoken against him.  No one doubted Squire Homan’s veracity and honor, no one questioned his decisions.”

            As was the customs in those days the office of town clerk was located in the home of whoever was clerk at the time, so it was Squire Homan that kept the office in his home, which was located on the Middle-Island Yaphank Road, almost on the borderline of the two village.  His old homestead has in later years has been known in the later years as the Vanderbilt farm, and although still standing, has been badly gutted by fire.

            When old age compelled him to give up the office he held for so many years in 1848, he bade farewell to a long and bust public life.  He lived to see a successor established, Benjamin T. Hutchinson of Middle Island, and died March 8, 1854, at the age 84.  He was laid to rest in the cemetery across from Presbyterian Church in Middle Island, where for many years he had been the clerk and leader of the music.


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