Slavery in the Early Days of Brookhaven Town

Footnotes to Long Island History


JAN. 26,1950 


Thomas R. Bayles

       Slavery was practiced in Brookhaven Town at an early date and it may be said that the settlers practically brought the custom with them. The first record in Brookhaven town appears December 9, 1672, when Richard Floyd of this town bought of Richard Hudson of Rye, a Negro man named Antony, warranted to be sound in the wind and limb, the 48 pounds sterling, to be paid, in wheat, pork, or beef at  market rates. This Negro was sold again by Richard Floyd to John Hurd of Hartford, Conn., March. 9, 1674. On November. 13,1677, John Thomas bought of Isaac Raynor of Southampton, A Negro man named "Samboe" for 38 pounds, to be in whale oil at two pounds per barrel. In March.1678, Richard Starr of Brookhaven sold a Negro man named, Martin, to John Mann of Jamaica. In May. 1683, Ralf Dayton sold his Negro, Jack, for a three acre lot in New town, 8 pounds of beef and 4 pounds in money.

       An advertisement appeared in the Connecticut Journal do December 21, 1778, which reads as follows:

       "To be sold for cash, A Negro girl, 10 years old, large for her age, has been brought up in a family of children, among which she is very handy, and very active in the house way. Inquire of the printers."

       The gradual abolishment of slavery began soon after the Revolution, and under the act of February 27,1788, persons wishing to set free any slaves were required to obtain licenses from the trustees and justices, which were granted on evidence of the slaves being under 50 years of age and capable of providing for themselves. The town records show the certificates of 66 slaves set free under that act during the years between 1795 and 1831.

       The act of March 29, 1799, required the registration of all slaves children, in order that their owners might hold them until they reached a certain age. Among those who registered slave children born to their possession during the years between 1798 and 1834 appear the following names of men who were prominent in the early life of the town: Samuel Carman,1; Goldsmith Davis,1; Gen.William Floyd,2; Col. Nicholl Floyd, 17; Timothy Miller, 2; William smith, 8; Josiah Smith, 4; Gen. John smith,7; Stephen Swezey,1, and Abraham Woodhull,1

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