The Seaman family of Long Island
The Ancestors and Descendants of Captain John Seaman CAPTAIN JOHN SEAMAN, was born in Essex, England, between 1603 and 1610, came to America in 1630 with the Winthrop fleet of ten vessels, nine hundred immigrants, and died early in 1695 in Hempstead, Long Island. His will is dated August 5, 1694 and was proved March 20, 1695. In 1631 and 1632, John Seaman, Thomas Moore, William Cooper, John Underhill and others were co-operating with Captain John Mason, John Winthrop and Sir Richard Saltoustall, in the efforts to effect settlements in New Hampshire and these colonizations efforts not being successful, we next find all of these, a little later on, in Connecticut and Long Island. They were not Pilgrims, but were a Puritanic section still adhering to the Church of England. Captain John Seaman and others went from their first landing to Watertown, Massachusetts, which they left to escape the imposition of a tax, which the Massachusetts Bay Colony proposed to levy on all the settlers for the purpose of fortifying Newtown (now Cambridge). From Watertown they went to Weathersfield, Connecticut, where they stayed but a short time, having some dissensions concerning church matters. In 1636 John Seaman owned two acres of land at Wrights Island in Weathersfield. In the Catalogue of Puritanic settlers of Connecticut we find it recorded: "John Seaman, one of the original purchasers of the town of Stamford, where he settled in 1641. It is supposed he moved from Weathersfield to Stamford." The settlers at New Haven who had no charter has purchased property in various places, among them being what is now called Stamford, Connecticut, and an arrangement was then made with these discontented settlers of Weathersfield and the settlement at New Haven, by which the Colony from Weathersfield obtained right to settle Stamford, then called Rippowam. The list of these settlers included the name of John Seaman, the purchase price being on hundred bushels of corn, and John Seaman obtained six acres. "From Roxbury, Massachusetts, he (John Carman) went to Weathersfield, Connecticut, and thence in company with John Seaman whose ancestors were also burned at the stake in England." John Seaman owned land in Salem, Mass., in 1643. In 1646 John Seaman and his brother Caleb are recorded in New Haven, Conn. At this period came the Pequod Indian War, and Captain John Mason was given chief command (as Major) of the Connecticut Troops. To John Seaman he gave command of one of the Companies and John Strickland (who later became his father-in-law) was lieutenant of John Seaman's company. Hence John Seaman's title of Captain. The histories of the day record "John Seaman, later of Hempstead, Long Island, bore arms with demi-seahorse for crest." Another record states that on October 6, 1646, Caleb Seaman was fined 10 shillings for not carrying arms, and on November 3, 1646, "Caleb Seaman desired his fine might be remitted for defect of arms, he going shortly for England. Upon his request it was remitted provided he goe for England." Captain John Seaman was one of the sixty-two original signers (in Connecticut) of the Hempstead compact of land, and in 1647 we find him settled in Hempstead, Long Island, where he became on of the most prominent men for half a century "and had left such a host of descendants as to be remarkable, genealogically." The Town Records of Hempstead, Long Island, state: "It seems probable that in the previous year Captain John Seaman coming from the eastern end of the island, had settled land adjoining what was subsequently the eastern boundary of the Hempstead Purchase, and had secured title to a tract comprising more than twelve thousand acres, which, in 1685, under the Dongan patent, became part of the town of Hempstead." From that time on we find his name in many pages of history, recording a life of ceaseless activity in the establishment of his section of America. "Once he signed an agreement or pledged his faith he never disclaimed his share of it." In a Provincial Convention called in New Amsterdam, by writ of Governor Stuyvesant, December 11, 1653, John Seaman and William Washburne were Representatives. December 21, 1656, John Seaman and Richard Gildersleeve were nominated by Governor Stuyvesant. "March the 17th, 1657, Stylo Novo. Chosen by the towne of Hempstead for townsmen for the abovsaid yeare ffrancis Weeckes, richard brutnall, richard vallingtyne, robert bedille, Addam Mott. "Wee the magistrates of the towne of hempsteed doe hereby ingage our selves to stand by and bare out with full power in all such actes and orders as shall conduce for ye good and benefit of this towne of hempsteed this present yeare giving oute of Land and receiving in the inhabitants onely excepted given under our hands this 16th of April 1657 Stylo Novo. R. Guildersleeve, John Seaman. teste John James." July 17, 1657, Governor Stuyvesant visited Hempstead, and a few days later, July 25th, John Seaman was again sent to the Governor by the town on errands of peace. March, 1658, John Seaman, and others were sent by the town in concert with Chekanow, an Indian representative of the Montauk Sachem and other Indians, to lay out bounds of the town to be known by marked trees, and to "continue forever." "Mr. Seaman was allowed 8 s. for two days travel in laying out the boundaries." In 1658 he had 20 gates (lengths) of common fence to make, 30 cattle, 15 cows, 43 acres of meadow. February 1659 "Mr. John Seaman was allowed a bounty of 2 pounds for killing two wolves. For many years a bounty of 20 s to 25 s each was paid by the town of Hempstead for killing wolves." "This may sartyfi that the constable hath satisfied for the woulfs two to two indians and one to Captain John Seaman twenty shilens for ech woulfe." In 1664 John Seaman was again appointed by the town on a Commission about the bounds, and was often subsequently employed in like service. In 1665 he became Captain of Queens County Troop of Province of New York, October 2. 1665, Captain John Seaman served on a Grand Jury at Hempstead in a charge of witchcraft, "but-let it be recorded to the credit of John Seaman-the accused was not convicted." In 1666 the Village of Jerusalem in the Town of Hempstead, was settled by Captain John Seaman and his six sons, to whom a special patent was granted by Governor Nichols, for a considerable tract of land which had previously been purchased by them from the Meroke tribe of Indians. It is recorded that its location was pleasant and its population about 150. May 1669, Thomas Rushmore was ordered to give up to Captain John Seaman the colors he received from the Govenor. In 1668 and 1669 assessment upon land holders shows Captain John Seaman was one of the largest landowners, his payment being 4 pounds, 3 s., 4 p. From Land Papers "March 6, 1668 Confirmation on L.I. from Gov. Nicholls to John Hicks, John Seaman, Richard Guildersleeve and others, freeholders of ye said town." Six of his sons also held land under the new patent. July 3, 1671, he was sent by the town to New York to treat with the Govenor about the east bounds. August 1673, Schepen for Hempstead. May 14, 1674 appointed to hold Court with the Scout at Jamaica. "At a Jeneral townd Meting Held in Hempstead the 14 day of May in the yeare 1674 Captain John Seamans was elected as chosen by the Ma Jer Vot to be a committee to keepe Cort with the Scout at Jericho. Nathaniel Pearsall Clark." Commissioner of boundaries for a dozen years, 1674 to 1686. WILL dated August 5, 1694 and proved March 20, 1695: Benjamin Fletcher, Governor, etc. To all to whom these may come. Know ye that at New York the 20 of March, 1694/5, the last will of JOHN SEAMAN was proved and his sons Benjamin and Thomas were confirmed as executors. In the name of God, Amen. I, John Seaman the elder, of Hempstead, in Queens County, upon Long Island, alias Nassau, being weake and infirm in body, and knowing that it appertaineth to every man to set in order all worldly concerns, so yt after decease no suite, trouble, or calamity may ensue. And being well advised with the great and weighty work I am now about, do make and declare this my last will and testament. I leave to my oldest son John a certain lot of 22 acres, of which he is now in possession, and where he now lives; also another lot of 20 acres of meadow upon the neck called the Great Neck, being eastward and within the bounds of said town of Hempstead. I leave to my 5 sons Jonathan, Benjamin, Solomon, Thomas and Samuel, 400 acres of land according to a Patent, granted by Governor Richard Nicolls, lying at a place commonly known and called by the name of Jerusalem, within the bounds of Hempstead, to be equally divided between them. Also a certain neck of meadow lying eastward from said town of Hempstead called in ye Indian tongue Ruskatux Neck. Bounded east by the Oyster Bay line, and upon Hempstead west, and to be equally divided. I leave to my 3 sons, John, Nathaniel, and Richard, the remainder of my meadow, whereof one half is already confirmed to my son in law, Nathaniel Pearsall, with four or five acres of upland for his convenience of yardidge, for wintering his cattle. Which said meadow is situate upon a neck called by the name of the Half Neck, or in the Indian tongue Muskachim. I leave to my eight sons, John, Jonathan, Benjamin, Solomon, Thomas, Samuel, Nathaniel and Richard, all the upland lying and situate upon Ruskatux Neck, as also upon the neck called Half Neck, except the four or five acres confirmed to my son in law, Nathaniel Pearsall. I leave to my sons Nathaniel, and Richard, my lot of meadow at a neck called Sticklands Neck, as also a parcel of meadow lying upon New Bridge Neck. I also give them 150 acres of upland situated and lying at a place commonly called Success, by virtue of an order from the Town. Also a certain parcel of land, being 316 acres, lying at or near the Harbor head, so called, being already confirmed to my said two sons by deed of gift. I give all my rights in the undivided lands in Hempstead to my 8 sons. I leave to my wife Martha a certain house lot adjoining to the land of James Pine, being three acres, during her life, and then to my two sons, Nathaniel and Richard. I also leave them the remainder of my house lots, and the pasture and the field at the eastward of the town called the Holly. I leave to my wife Martha one half of the dwelling house for life and then to my son Richard, and the other half to my son Nathaniel. I leave to my wife one third of the movables, and to my two sons Nathaniel and Richard the other two thirds. I leave to my daughter Mary Pearsall two cows. I leave to my wife six acres of meadow at the Hay Bridge during her life and then to my sons Richard and Nathaniel. I leave two thirds of my remaining live stocks to my five daughters, Mary Pearsall, Hannah Carman, Martha Pearsall, Sarah Mott, and Deborah Kirk, and to my daughter Elizabeth Jackson 20 shillings. I leave to my sons Richard and Nathaniel all my armes except my large gun, which shall be for the use of all my sons. Makes wife Martha and sons Benjamin and Thomas executors, and "my friends Thomas Powell and John Townsend, Sr., overseers." Dated August 5, 1694. Witnesses, John Smith, John Carle, George Fowler. In describing the history of Jones Beach State Park [on the south shore of Long Island, NY] there is an interesting note: "Most of the land conveyed by the Town of Oyster Bay and a portion of the lands conveyed by Hempstead were in an area where title was in dispute. This brought on what became known as the SEAMAN-GORE case which lasted for ten years and ended in the United States Supreme Court. The case involved the claim of title by the heirs of John Seaman who received a royal grant in 1666. The private interests in the case were opposed by the Towns of Oyster Bay and Hempstead and before the State got into the suit the towns allowed judgements to be entered against them. Commissioner [Robert] Moses had the case reopened. Subsequent investigations disclosed instruments of title theretofore unknown and the action was tried all over again. This resulted in a decision holding that the State had good title and that John Seaman relinquished all claim to the beach land when he applied for and received confirming patents in 1686 from the Governor General of New York which did not include the area in dispute." [from: Blakelock, Chester R. "Long Island Forum" Feb. 1953] the same paragraph was published in another article by the same author in "Long Island Forum" on October 1957." Much of this information was donated by Jim Rubins of Napa, CA. He has his own Web Page Descendants of Capt. John Seaman, Hempstead, Long Island, NY which is well worth visiting.