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Previous Chapter :   12.A   Brush Families in the USA

Section 12
The Great American Mystery
1610-1700

Chapter 12.B
Thomas Brush of Southold and Huntington

The two founding fathers of many of the Brush family lines in the USA were Thomas and Richard BRUSH of Huntington in Long Island. Despite the frequent references to them as a pair of names we must look at them separately. Thomas, of Southold and Huntington, in this chapter and Richard of Huntington in the next chapter. There is, perhaps surprisingly, no evidence of what family link there was between them. A full discussion of the possible relationships is in chapter 12.D .

The most comprehensive, and to date the most definitive, work on Thomas and Richard, is still a July 1935 article Thomas and Richard Brush of Huntington Long Island by Conklin Mann in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Record at Vol. LXVI No. 3 page 201 and a continuation of that article in 1936 in Vol LXVII ("Mann").

The first mention of Thomas is in the records of Southold, on the eastern tip of Long Island. Mann says that Thomas BRUSH was in Southold "probably as early as 1650 or 1651". He does not say specifically why he believes this but it seems to derive from assumptions about the link to the Conklin family (1). I believe it could have been earlier than this.

The first references to Thomas Brush are in the record of the lands of Thomas Mapes, a very prominent Southold resident, contained in the printed collection (1882) of Southold records, the Southold Town Record, Vol, 1 (the "STR"). This land record, beginning at page 10, is dated December 1652. These descriptions routinely define parcels of land by reference to the adjoining land and its owners. At page 13, one of Mapes's holdings of meadow is described as bounded by land "formerly Thomas Brushes" and one of his field holdings by land of "Thomas Brush on the west". The first of these indicates that by that date Thomas has already owned and disposed of some land.

Compared with some of the other names in the land records of the early 1650s, Thomas's name does not appear very often suggesting that his holdings were not very extensive.

On 8 October 1655 John CONCKLYNE and Thomas BRUSH both swear affidavits concerning the non-cupatitive will of a Mr FROST which was then proved at New Haven CT on 26 May 1656. Southold or Huntington? FROST is one of listed Southold names?. The affidavit of John Concklyne junior, quoted in Mann, indicates that Mr Frost(2) specifically requested the presence of Thomas Brush to bear witness to his will. Why is not made clear.

In December 1655 the land record for Mathias Curwin identifies his home lot as lying to the west of Thomas Brush's lot (and to the east of Barnabas Horton). The footnote says Curwin's lot was opposite the Presbyterian Church and Parsonage. It also suggests that Curwin was part of the original Youngs group of 1640.

At March 1656 there is another reference to land formerly owned by Thomas Brush, but then owned by Thomas Mapes.

The next entry naming Thomas, in Volume 1 of the Southold Town Record , is a footnote to an entry dated 6th January 1658 recording the lands of Joseph Young junior. This says, of the 'home lot' of Joseph Young, that "Thomas Brush was the first owner of this home lot; he soon removed to Huntington." The reference to Thomas being first owner of his lot indicates he received it by grant rather than by purchase. But this is just a footnote written in 1882 and the basis for this footnote is not stated. But the identification of his neighbour as Curwin supports the view that Young's lot was previously Thomas Brush's.

Captain Underhill, a man of some prominence came to Southold only at 1654. The lot to the other side of him identified as John Concklynes at 1658. So the lot of Thomas Brush was right in the centre of those of prominent figures in the community.

The Brush lot was on the west side of the village off of Town Street between Horton's Lane and Beckwith Avenue. {Who owned the land to the west of Thomas's?}

There is also a reference in a 16?? entry to a hill "commonly called Brushes hill"

Thomas is mentioned as being "prominent and upright in character." That is an interesting choice of words. It clearly suggests that he was known, directly or by repute, to the author of the record at 1653 as an established presence. [ What of the location of his lot and the timing of those in adjacent lots?]

These four references all provide support for the Conklin Mann conclusion that Thomas arrived "probably as early as 1650 or 1651". If he had already been granted and disposed of land by 1652 he cannot surely have arrived any later. Apart from the fact that Thomas married Rebeccah Conklin there is actually nothing to counter the idea that Thomas had not been there earlier. He had been granted a home lot in the centre of the town, had acquired and disposed of land by 1652 and had a hill named for his family. They all suggest to me that by 1652 he had already been there for more than a couple of years. He need not have arrived with the Conklin family. We do not actually know when they married. Conklin Mann asserts that the ages of Thomas's children lead to the conclusion that it was about 1650/51, "probably soon after the Concklynes reached Southold from Salem". Which leaves completely open the question of whether Thomas was in Southold before their arrival.

As late as 1669 (at page 147) there is another reference to land belonging to Mapes but formerly by Thomas Brush and a reference ?? to the meadow known as the Brush meadow. These references to past ownership or to land named after Brush seem to be unusual. The 1669 reference is again to land of Brush on one side and Youngs on another. These seem to me to point to the idea of Brush having been present early in the land allocation process.

The lack of earlier references is not surprising. Very little is known of the period before 1651 when the Southold Town Records begin.

At least to an English eye it seems strange to see such a small community labelled as a town. By English standards of the period it would I think count simply as a village.

Southhod town census 1698: https://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/nn/census/inhabsouthold.shtml Main list 800 names by households Indians, ffreemen, Servants, men, wemen and Children in number Whose Names Cannot be known because not Contant To any Name &c - 40 One hundred thrity and two ffamelyes; Consisting of Christians, old and young - 800; Indians, old & young - 40; Slaves, old & young - 41; In all - 881 It appears that Thomas BRUSH was not part of the original group of 1640 settlers led by Rev YOUNGS. There are listings of the original Youngs' group [ where? ] and he is not among them. But Case, who wrote the 1882 footnotes, was dismissive of such lists: There is also evidence of other settlers in the area before the arrival of Youngs in 1640 (the Osman deposition article) and of arrivals not part of the Youngs' group. This is supported by a key piece of evidence about Thomas (a tiny scrap) , namely a quote said to be taken from the records of Fairfield County, Connecticut: "Thomas Brush, son of John, …. removed to Southold." The original source of this much quoted sentence is not identified in any reference I have seen, despite repeated searches. How contemporaneous was it? What is the context in which it was made? How are other similar entries written? Apparently Fairfield County was only created on May 10, 1666 as one of four original counties created in Connecticut , which raises the question of why its records would include a reference to the movement of someone who left over fourteen years earlier. Within Fairfield county there were only four towns established before 1666: Fairfield 1639 , Greenwich 1640, Norwalk 1651 and Stamford 1641. It appears to be clear that there was no direct migration from England to Southold. Everyone travelled first to some other location. Generally to Massachusetts, or (just three ships?) to New Haven (or Fairfield) . Most New Haven (and Fairfield Co.) residents came first to Massachusetts and then move around the coast by boat to Long Island sound or across country to the southern shores of Connecticut. There are plenty of examples of travel along and across the Sound between communities. It seems to have been a normal feature of life in these communities rather than some great expedition. The notes to the Huntingdon Town Records identify a great many of those mentioned as having come from Southold. The Huntingdon Town Records are of the same nature as the Southold records. They are a publication, originally in 3 volumes, prepared by a committee appointed by the Huntington town meeting in 1885. It contains printed copies of a range of documents dating from 1653 - 1873 and is acompanied by footnotes added by the editor Charles R. Street. At the start of volume 1 is a certificate signed by the Town Clerk, Brewster Sammis, confirming that it is "a correct and exact copy" of the original records. It is however a selection and some documents "of no particular interest" were not included. Examples of Mobility: Henry Whitney moves from Southold ( buying land in 1649) via Huntington 1658 via Jamaica LI to Norwalk Scudamore ( aka Skidmore) - Cambridge MA, Fairfield CT. Underhill appears at Stamford, Oyster Bay and Southold and plenty of other places. Gardiner - all over the place Ackerly at Stamford and Southold Stamford also founded around time of 1640 by religious dissenters Webb in Stamford and Hartford - and LI? Stamford : http://www.rootsweb.com/~ctfairfi/stamford/settlers_page.htm Moorhouse in Stamford plus Fairfield Norwalk and Southampton http://www.americanrevolution.org/morehouse.html Hempstead settled in 1643 by settlers from Stamford; Stamford settled from Wethersfield under grant from New Haven http://www.billputman.com/Pine.pdf A Benjamin Pine ( of Hempstead?) married a Mary Brush Dickerson also Salem and Southold Ensign Timothy Conklin, was born in Huntington 21 Feb 1699. His father, Timothy Conklin, Jr., was deeded, for the sum of 46 pounds, twelve shillings, by Thomas Brush of Huntington and his wife Susanna, land in Stamford, Connecticut. It was bordered on the Mianus River and Piping Brook and was bounded on the north by the Colony line. Plus lots on Conklin southold/huntingdon It is surely inherent in the fact that the documents 'of Fairfield County' record the movement of Thomas Brush to Southold that the movement was from Fairfield County - Fairfield, Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich and other towns and hamlets- rather than from somewhere else, such as New Haven. Conklin Mann says that "It has been said that Thomas was in Salem with the Concklynes, but I have found nothing that gives authority to the statement." the records printed as the Huntington Town Record ("the HTR")(3)


Next:
    Section 12: Chapter X ??????


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(1) back to text    The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut, Frederic C Mather, 1913. Available online at archive.org


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(2) back to text    Nothing is known of Mr Frost. There is a suggestion in Moores Index that it was John Frost, whose daughterFrost, Mr., D. 1655: prob. M. ; c, perh. John - "William, &c. 1655. Sept. 18. Inventory of his estate, £29 Is., by Barnabas Horton and Thomas Moore, appraisers. 1656. May 17. Verbal will proved at N. H. by John Oonkling and Thos. Brush in favor of John Conkling, sen. Frost, William and John. 1655. William at Setauket, Brookhaven. 1658. Sarah, daughter of John, married Thomas "Youngs, son of Bev. John: see No. 784. 1663. Indian deed to them and Capt. Underbill, Queens county. https://archive.org/stream/cu31924072101797/cu31924072101797_djvu.txt Full text of "Town of Southold, Long Island. Personal index prior to 1698, and index of 1698 .." Moores Index


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(3) back to text    Vol. LXVI No. 3 page 201


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(4) back to text    Vol LXVII


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(5) back to text    http://www.lhconklin.com/bio/genealogy.htm "On January 24th, 1625, my ancestor, John Conckelyne married Elizabeth Allseabrook at St. Peter's Parish, Nottingham, England……... Between the years of 1628 and 1635 John and Elizabeth appear to have lived in Nutthall, a few miles northwest of the city of Nottingham. Around the year 1638 Ananias Conckelyne journeyed to Salem, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His brother John and wife Elizabeth followed him and arrived before the 30th of May, 1639. The brothers probably came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony under contract as glass-makers, and together, in 1640, they began what was the very first glass works in New England. Indeed, Grenville McKenzie, and others, say that it was the first in America! According to Salem records of 14 Sept 1640 cited by Mann, "John Concline [was officially] receaved an inhabitant of Salem." Also, "Granted to John Concline ffive acres of ground neere the glasse howse [and] Granted half an acre more of land for the said John Concline neer the Glass howse. " No further connection of the Conckelyne brothers with glass-making at Salem has been found in the records and it seems probable that they turned to other fields. Apparently, Salem officials still were optimistic about the Conckelynes' future in the town and, on 30 May 1649, they granted each of them 4 acres of meadow land. John visited several towns along the Long Island Sound during the autumn and winter of 1649 with a view to settling in one of them, and, in late April 1650, he, Ananias and members of other Salem families, including Thomas Scudder, removed to Southold, New York". Scudder is also a family ending up in Huntington. John was recorded as a property owner at Southold by January 1653 but probably owned land there as early as 1651." At Page 2 of the Southold Town Record the entry relating to lands of William Wells, apparently from 1651, refers to the adjoining home lot of John Conkelyne. Southold history also shows MOORE moving from Salem in 1650

In his 2005 article, mentioned in the previous chapter, John Strong discusses the purchase of some land at Southold by John Conklyn. The discussion is about the process of land acquisition from the native american tribes and the english colonial authorities but it contains a lot of useful detail. Strong states that Matthew Sunderland, the father in law of Southold resident William Salmon, purchased a plot of land from James Farrett (the agent of Lord Stirling) on June 18, 1639. Salmon them purchased the land from Paucump, the local sachem, but he apparently never occupied the parcel because after his death the title went to John Conklyn, who married Salomon's widow. Conklyn went back to Paucump and paid him thirty shillings for the same parcel.2 This suggests that Paucump viewed his transaction with Salmon as gift exchange rather than as an absolute transfer in the English sense. Conklyn's willingness to make the second payment also indicates that he understood the cultural differences. It was John Conklyn, not William Salmon, who went to Wyancomb for a confirmation of the earlier purchases.

New Haven 1881




The BRUSH Families of the British Isles
       © David Brush 2006 to 2020


The BRUSH Families
of the British Isles
© David Brush 2006 to 2020