Major Isaac Overton


Major Isaac Overton


Isaac Overton was an American Patriot during the Revolutionary War. His parents were David and Anna (Hulse) Overton. Their marriage produced six children who were David, Isaac, Anna, Abigail, John, and James. Isaac's mother passed away after twins John and James were born. Isaac's father David then re-married; his second wife was Susannah (Palmer) Overton. This marriage also produced six children: Palmer, Susannah, Nathaniel, Messenger, Justus, and Nehemiah. All of David's children were born in Coram. The family home was located on what is now called David Overton Road on the west side of Mill Road.

Isaac was born February 15, 1740 and was first married to Anna Swezey. This marriage produced six children by the names of Isaac, Phebe, Joel, Stephen, Anna, and Anna. Anna Swezey Overton died on March 12, 1782. Several years after Anna's death, Isaac married his second wife, Deborah. Rose. This marriage, however, only produced one child, a daughter named after her mother.

By trade, Isaac Overton was a blacksmith. He made many items for shoeing horses and "ironing," or maintaining, wooden plows. Other items Isaac made consisted of auger bits, hay forks, chopping knives, hog rings, hinges and various farming tools and hardware. The family home and blacksmith shop were located on Mill Road towards the Yaphank mill. This was a good location, because as many local farmers traveled the road to bring materials to the mill, they could also stop at Isaac's blacksmith shop. His shop was a very busy one; his ledger grew to 200 pages between the years 1767 and 1774.

During the Revolutionary War, Isaac was a Patriot who was loyal to the American cause. He was a member of the Committee of Safety which met at Coram. This committee closely watched the actions of the local Loyalists who supported the British. As a Patriot, Isaac signed the Association on June 8, 1775. By doing this, he pledged support to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in the struggle against England. Signing the Association also gave Isaac the title of Esquire. On February 20, 1776 he was appointed to Colonel Josiah Smith's regiment. He declined the Office of Adjutant of Colonel Smith's regiment on April 4th and was made a 2nd Major on May 30, 1776. This part of the Long Island Militia was sent to the eastern end of Long Island to protect against raids by passing British ships. The local minute men especially wanted to prevent the further taking of cattle, an important resource.

Only a few days before the Battle of Long Island, Isaac wrote a letter to Captain Daniel Roe, who was stationed on Shelter Island with Isaac's two brothers, Nathaniel and Justice. The letter, dated August 19, 1776, explains that Isaac received a letter from New York which warned that an attack was expected on Long Island within days or even hours. "The Tores [Tories] begin to held up their heads," Isaac wrote to Roe, "and he that is not for us is against us." The letter ends with Isaac asking Captain Roe to send him 200 pounds by return messenger for a trip Isaac expected to make to New York. But the British invasion and occupation of Long Island a few days later greatly changed Isaac's plans.

By September of 1776, Isaac and other local Patriots were forced to flee with their families to Connecticut. The refugees from Long Island tried to take important belongings and supplies with them, to keep them from British hands and help them in their new locations. Captain Peter Latimer brought some of Isaac's cattle to New London on September 13, 1776. Records state that Isaac traveled from Southold to New London and then to Norwich: "in Sept. and Oct. 1776, with 10 [ten] in the family, he was brought over by Captain John Vail." A few months later, in January, 1777, more of Isaac's possessions, as well as some of those belonging to his father, David, were safely transported across the Long Island Sound by Captain Richard Spink.

Isaac remained in Connecticut for more than four years. On March 22, 1780, he was permitted to go to Long Island, but only for provisions, and he returned to Norwich. Then on February 20, 1781, Isaac petitioned the General Assembly of Connecticut. Isaac explained that his invalid brother, Aaron, was with him in Connecticut, but that their father, David, had remained on Long Island. David Overton was then nearly 80 years of age and needed Isaac's services back home. Isaac asked the General Assembly for "leave to return with his family of 10 persons, cattle and effects." Permission was granted, and Isaac and his family returned to their native Long Island to care for his father and re-establish themselves.

Sadly, Isaac's wife, Anna Swezey Overton, lived for less than a year after returning home. Isaac remarried, and, according to town records, "some time after May 7, 1797 when he served as a Trustee in the town of Brookhaven and before the town tax list of 1799, he bought property in Bayport, in Islip town," adjoining Brookhaven's western boundary. Isaac Overton died in Bayport, New York, on January 10, 1799, little more than a month before his 59th birthday. He was buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery in Coram.

Written by,
Brendan Bailey
June, 2001

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