Robert Harpur Collection
Manuscript Collection 428
Autographed document signed by Robert Harpur (b. 1731, d. 1825).
4pp. (2 leaves), 7½" x 12½", New York, NY, dated 1786 January 27.
Two page transcript of a 1693 legal description of land owned by William "Tangier" Smith, "Lord" of the Manor at St. George in Mastic; a one-page survey map of this same tract; and a statement testifying to the need for and veracity of this transcript.
Acquired from Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts in April 2009.
Processed by Kristen J. Nyitray, Head of Special Collections and University Archives and University Archivist, May 2009.
Transcribed by Christine Astras, Intern and MLS Candidate, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, CUNY Queens College, August 2011.
Robert Harpur, a Revolutionary War patriot, was a librarian, professor mathematics and natural philosophy, and tutor at King's College (now Columbia University) from 1761 to 1775; from 1777 to 1784 he was a member of the New York Assembly; and from 1778 to 1795 was Deputy Secretary of State. He was born in Ballyba, County Monaghan, Ireland on January 25, 1731 and eventually settled in Binghamton, New York. The State University of New York at Binghamton was originally named Harpur College in his honor.
This collection consists of a two page transcript of a 1693 legal land description, a one page survey map of this same tract, and a statement testifying to the need for and veracity of this transcript signed by Harpur. The land tract in question concerns William "Tangier" Smith (1655-1705), an English-born mayor of Tangier, Morocco and an early Long Island settler and land speculator. Titled "Pursuant to his Excelly The Governours Warrant bearing Date ye. 19th of this Instant September 1693," these detailed two pages describe the perimeters of a large piece of land in what is now Brookhaven Town, a survey performed by the Surveyor-General of the Province, Augustus Graham. The history of this tract is as follows: On May 25, 1691 Smith purchased a large area of land from John Mayhew, the Sachem (chief) of the Setalcott People who had adopted an English name and leader of the Unkechaug Nation, between the Mastic River to the east, the Connecticut River to the west, the Bay to the south and "Country Road" (present-day "Middle Country Road" or "Route 25") to the north. On October 9, 1693 Governor Benjamin Fletcher granted Smith a patent for this land, which became the Manor of St. George. (Fletcher was later charged with bestowing excessive land grants.) This document is an 18th century copy of the original 17th century survey that Smith commissioned after receiving Fletcher's official land grant. The areas documented on the map include: "Country Road" (Middle Country Road); "Yaphank"; "Conneticutt River"; "East Conneticutt River"; "Seponack"; "Unquachock"; Floyds Neck; "Eburns" or "Snake Neck"; "Mastick"; "Mastick River"; "Hog Neck"; "Head of Mastick"; "Puncatawe Neck"; and "Snakes River."
Pursuant to his Excelly The Governours War
rant bearing Date ye. 19th of this Instant
I have surveyed certain Tracts of Land for Coll.
William Smith lyeing [sic] [and] being scituate [sic] on ye. South Side of
the Island of Nagsaue in ye. County of Suffolk being
bounded Westward from ye. Main Sea or Ocean to the Wes-
termost [sic] Bank of a River called East Conneticutt, and so
along the Bank of the said River to a Creek run[n]ing--
out of the said River called Yaphank and so along
the South West Bank of the said Creek unto its--
head the whole Creek to a marked Pine Tree
at the head of the said Creek and so in a direct North
Line untill [sic] it comes to the Bank of Conneticut River
aforesaid to a marked Tree on the West side of the said
River and from thence along ye. Wester[n]most Bank of
ye. s[ai]d River unto ye. s[ai]d Rivers head ye. whole River and
all the Branches ther[e]of included [and] from thence along
the West side of Conneticutt Hollow to the Country
Road near the Middle of the Island aforesaid to a
marked tree there and so bound Northwardly by the
said Country Road to a Red Oake [sic] Tree marked be-
ing distant from the other marked Tree five miles
and two furlongs and so in a direct South Line
from the Easter[n]most marked Tree near to the Country
Road aforesaid to a pine tree marked with WS and
three Notches at the head of the Main Branch of Mas-
tick River and from thence along the Easter[n]most Bank
of said River the whole River included to the Main
Sea as also two small Tracts of upland and Meadow
called Puncataue and Hogs Neck bounded Eastward
from ye. main sea to a River or Creek Called Sinnekes
River and from thence in a direct North Line to the Country
Road bounded North by the said Country Road and West by
Bounds aforementioned and South by the Sea and also one Tract--
of Beach Meadow and Bay lyeing [sic] along the South Side of--
the Island aforesaid with all the Islands in the said Bay between
the Main Island aforesaid and the Beach from a certain Gulf
or Inlett [sic] called Huntington East Gulf to a certain Stake on the
Beach Eastward to a place called Cupchaugue being the Towne
of Southhampton[‘]s Wester[n]most Bounds and South of a Neck
called Setaukneck the said Beach and Bay being from the
East to the West Bounds twenty four miles and seaven [sic] chains
In regard of thickets swamps and mo[o]rish ground I could
not exactly measure the East and West Bounds of the aforesaid
Tracts but by best computation I can make the said East--
and West bounds are eight miles each, the North Bounds--
five miles and a halfe [sic] the South something leys; [sic] within the
said limitts [sic] are as I am informed three pattents [sic] granted by
Coll. Dongan conteining [sic] in all Eight Hundred acres of the
best Land all the Meadows between Conneticutt and Mastick
River as I am informed were long since purchased [and] enjoyed by the
Towne of Brookhaven I have been round [and] through the
Tracts aforesaid and doe [sic] not beleive [sic] it within their Bounds
is conteined [sic] above five hundred acres of Good Land ye. whole
Tract being generally very sandy Brushy Barren [and] unimprove-
able [sic], what Good Land there is lies scattered in small parcells [sic]
no Meadow but little on the Beach~
Performed the 30th day of this instant 8mber [September]
Pr. Augus Graham Surv-Gen [Surveyor General]
In page 1, the 12th line, there is a Blank left, and in the
30th line a smaller Blank denoting that the original
at those two places, (and also in line 32of same page
where after mar is another small Blank) cannot--
be read owing to the decay of the paper~
Those three Blanks Being thus noted I Certify
the aforegoing [sic] Return of Survey and Map to
be true Copies of their respective originals filed
in the Secretary[‘]s Office of the State of New York
Examined and Compared therewith this 27th
day of January 1786~
By me Rob. Harpur D. Secry.
Bounds [and] Survey of
William Smith, firm