Historic Documents

Historical Document Collection

The ancient documents preserved within the Town Clerk’s Historic Division begin with the Disposal of the Vessell, a contract with Captain Daniel How, whose ship brought the first settlers and their households from Lynn, Massachusetts to the Southampton colony in 1639.

The minutes of their subsequent meetings, land swaps, and purchases from the Native Americans, highway construction, and granting of rights to construct mills and other amenities for the fledgling colony - all of this and more is chronicled in the record books and manuscript material that make up the archives of Southampton Town.

Historical Document

Selection of the Collection

Selections from this extensive historical collection may be found here. Researchers are encouraged to contact the town historian for further inquiries.

  1. The Disposal of the Vessel
  2. James Farret & Lord Stirling
  3. The Indian Deeds
  4. Hogneck Deed
  5. Andros Patent
  6. Patent of Governor Dongan

The Disposal of the Vessel (1639)

The earliest document pertaining to the settlement of the Southampton colony or "Plantacon" is The Disposal of the Vessel, an agreement made between eight settlers from Lynn, Massachusetts and Daniel How, the captain of a ship who agreed to transport them and their families to Long Island. Prior to setting sail, the settlers or "undertakers" as they were known exchanged their investments in the boat with Howe, on condition that he would carry their possessions in three trips annually for two years. Articles of agreement spelling out the nature and purposes of the venture were signed by the settlers and dated March 10, 1639. It is on this basis that Southampton Town claims to be New York State's first English colony, although the distinction is disputed by Southold Town, many of whose earliest records have been lost.

Original Settlers

The names of the original settlers are legendary in town history - Howell, Farrington, Stanborough and Sayre are among them - and the actual colony appears to have been established by June of 1640. It was not without its early mis-steps, however, as the Massachusetts emigrants first found their way to Cow Bay in Manhasset, which was then under Dutch rule. After a brief detention, the so-called "strollers and vagabonds" were permitted to leave the area, whereupon they ventured eastward on Long Island Sound until discovering a protected inlet at Conscience Point (North Sea). There they exercised their right to stake out a settlement of "eight miles square of land" which was granted by James Farret, the agent of William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, who received his patent to settle all of Long Island from Charles I of England in 1636. It is apparent that at this early date, the conflicting claims of the Dutch and English to settle Long Island remained unresolved, as evidenced by the Lynn settlers' ordeal in Manhasset (now Town of North Hempstead).

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