IT HAPPENED THIS WEEK IN MASTIC 225 YEARS AGO
THURSDAY AUGUST 5, 1784
"THE ORIGINAL SALE OF PATTERSQUAS FARM"
Confiscated by Bill of Attainder
The Estate Of Colonel Richard Floyd esq.
THE FLOYD MESSUAGE
Here are some glimpses into my further research about early times on Mastic Neck, gleaned from some old rare books and documents I found from the 18th and 19th century. I will be including them in even greater detail in my " Mastics from Blue Blood To Blue Collar " book .
The old saying "the first casualty of war is the truth" wasn't that old in 1784, when Richard Floyd's brother Benjamin, who was also a loyalist during the American Revolution, was able to purchase his brother's main property in a private deal from the Commissioners of Forfeitures. Richard Floyd, who was not only well liked by his neighbors, the Tangier Smiths and relatives Woodhulls and Floyds, was more or less a victim of religious intolerance ( Episcopal vs Presbeterian ) and greed and envy, cloaked in political retribution.
The hostilities had ceased, the Treaty of Paris between England and America was only 11 months old and the U.S. Constitution was still three years down the road, when "Pattersquas" the 600 plus acres that apparantly was "the finest farm in all of Mastic" along with Richard's 32 acres at Nocomack ( Smith's Point ) and his 320 acres in Middle Island was sold. Pattersquas farm went to Richard's brother Ben for 3,112 pounds sterling or about one third of what it was really worth ( well over 9,000 Lbs.)
"Pattersquas Farm" would eventualy become the town and center of Mastic Beach in the 1930's, and the homestead became the Bayview Hospital in 1949.
From Webster's Dictionary : Messuage
Main Entry: mes·suage Pronunciation: 'mes-wij Function: noun Etymology: Anglo-French, probably alteration of Old French mesnage dwelling house, ultimately from Latin mansion- mansio habitation, dwelling, from manEre to remain, sojourn, dwell : a dwelling house with the adjacent buildings and curtilage and other adjoining lands used in connection with the household
Not only was all of Richard Floyd's lands confiscated under the Bill of Attainder, which was passed during the war in 1781, and would not of withstood a Constitutional test, and our ex post facto laws, but Richard could of been hanged if he did not leave.
Richard evacuated to New Jersey in November 1783 and stayed for seven months. He then went to Stafford, Connecticut before moving to New Brunswick, Canada in early 1786, he would die there in 1792. His wife Arrabella and his two children stayed behind in Mastic, perhaps thinking someday he would be able to return? Arrabella stayed on at the home and re hyphenated their last name to Floyd - Jones adding her maiden name to it. Still fearing retribution by revengeful patriots, she moved the family papers, much of her furniture and valuables for safekeeping to her cousin by marriage, Ruth Woodhull's ( the General's widow) home just down the Neighborhood trail. They were destroyed when the Woodhull homestead burned down on April 5, 1874. The cause of the fire is unknown. Arrabella died in May of 1785 and is buried in the Woodhull graveyard on Neighborhood Road, In 1787 Benjamin Floyd sold Pattersquas to Dr. Daniel Robert, son in law to William Smith for Lbs. 2,750 It remained in the Robert family for another hundred years when it was sold outside the family to G.E. Taylor in the 1870's. It was repurchased by Dr. Charles Robert, when millionaire Taylor ran into financial troubles in the depression of the 1880's. It was put on the market when Charles Robert died in 1906 but did not sell. It finally sold outside the Robert family in 1922, 10 years after Dr. Charle's widow Adelma T. Robert died.
But back in the days during and just after the Revolution here are some excerpts as written from a deposition I found in the Canadian Archives where Richard Floyd put in a claim to the Crown for his property loss.
Case of Col.Richd. Lloyd (sic)
late of New York April 28,1786
Claimt.Sworn, Saith :
He is a native of America,was settled on Long Island in the year 1774. Had formerly been Major of Militia of Suffolk County. In 1775 was appointed Lieut. Col. When troubles first broke out continued quiet. Was called upon by the Committee & was fined & Command of Militia was taken from him. Claimt. had declared that he would not act with the Rebels & had refused acting, which made them take away his Command of the Miltia.
Joined the Brit. as soon as he could after their Landing on Long Island.In Decem.1776 was appointed Col.of Militia by Govnr. Tryon; assisted the Brit.all in his power. Keeping his Country quiet & defending it against the Rebels. Continued till the Evacuation;then was obliged to go off from Long Island ......
.....he cannot return to New York , has intentions of settling under the Brit. Government at New Brunswick.
Produces Certificate from Gen. Ludlow to his Integrity recommending him as a Loyal Subject and that his attachment to the Government had been Conspicous & thereby marked him out particulary .......
......produces Confidential Letters from Govnr. Tryon in 1776 & 1777. In the first mentions a Loyal address from many Inhabitants in Suffolk Co.which had been presented to Gen. How (sic) & delivd. by Claimant to Govnr. Tryon for that purpose.
......Produces Letter from Lord How (sic), Nov 22,1776 applying to Claimant to procure Pilots that knew Navigation about the East End of Long Island. Claimant says in consequence of this Letter he went himself with a Pilot who was afterwards employed aboard the Fleet.
Claimant says he did all he could towards raising men for Col. Fanning's Regiment. He went around the county at his own expense for that purpose, but with little success......
Claimant was possessed of a farm called Mastic, consisting of diverse Tracts in Brookhaven South, in Long Island alltogether consisting of 700 acres.
Claimant had 500 acres of Upland part of this Farm by Will from his Father Richard Lloyd(sic) bearing date of 22nd Feby.1768 whereby his Father devises to him & his Heirs his Neck & Farm of Land called Pattersquash in Brookhaven and all his other Lands in the Manor of St. George & Township of Brookhaven.
Claimant's Father died about 14 years ago. Claimnt.was in possession before his Death by gift & has been ever since. Produces Patent to him by James II to Richard Lloyd(sic) Great Grandfather of Claimant of a parcel of Land consisting of about 500 acres in Pattersquash in LOng Island.
Claimant was also in possession of 200 acres of meadow, these meadows were adjoining the other farm. Claimant thinks this farm worth L 9,000. There was a good Dwelling house,which Claimant himself had built, and lived there.A large Barn and other outbuildings. He had never let it . The lands were highly improved.The meadows would fetch 20 or L22 per acre. This Land has been Confiscated.
Produces affidavit from Issac Stoutenburgh & Phillip Van Courtland , Commrs. of Forfeited Estates, that they sold on 5th of Aug. 1784 the Farm or Tract of land being the Homestead whereon Richd.Lloyd had formerly resided to Benjamin Lloyd for L 3,112.Claimant said his Bror. is in Possess. of this & bought it on his own Acct.
Claimant was also possessed of a Certain Tract of Land adjoining to the former, from the Mouth of the Mastik River to the Middle of the Island. Had this from his Father under his Will. This was in the Manor of St. George had been many years in the family. Produces Deed from William Smith to Claimant's Grandfather in 1716 of this Tract in Consid. of L200. Values it at L 1,200 Cury. Says this has been sold by Commrs and is in poss by his Bror.
the deposition goes on to detail the property in Middle Island and mentions deeds from others including his Cousin William Floyd. It also mentions lots on South Beach ( Fire Island ) In all the Richard Floyd estate originally totaled well over 3000 acres. He also says he could not get away or else he would of sought protection of The British Govt. He also states he was so reduced in his circumstances he could not afford to go to England or support himself. He also produces testimony from James Murison of Old Field, whose family estate was also confiscated
Murison testified among other things that ,,,,,,"he knew Claimant , that Richard Floyd was as Loyal as much as was in his power. He joined the British very soon and assisted them as much as he could. Knew that he had suffered much and was in great distress and that might of prevented his quitting the States.
He had been on the very large farm known as Pattersquash. It was a very fine farm and he reckoned it to be the finest one in all of Mastic. Some parts were highly improved. Some lots worth L 15 acre some 40 shillings. It could maintain 300 head of cattle.... knew that it was a florishing farm and could not estimate what it might be worth. He also knew of the lots on South Beach
Richard Floyds Testimony continued :
Says he lost six Negroes & considerable personal property. They were taken by Commissioners just after the Evacuation of New York. Negroes were worth L 40 each. His brother Benjamin bought all his personal (live)stock.
He produced aa affidavit from Samuel Carman & Henry Nicoll that his estate was worth L 9,750 and from three others who valued it at L9,825 Cury.