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Benjamin, Joshua, Grissel, Patience, Eliza, Ann and Mercy. Two of the daughters, Grissel and Patience, are said to have been very handsome women. Both of them had very romantic courtships, Grissel at first being engaged to a wealthy young Englishman named Latimer Sampson, chief proprietor of what is now known on Long Island as Loyd's Neck. Mr. Sampson, being seized with consumption, died before their marriage, leaving all his possessions by will to his intended, Miss Grissel Sylvester. This was in 1674. Two years later she married James Loyd, of Boston, and became the progenitor of a distinguished line of descendants.
Patience Sylvester became the wife of Benjamin L'Hommedieu, an exiled Huguenot. Their meeting and courtship is so sweetly told by Mrs. Martha J. Lamb, in her article entitled, “The Manor of Shelter Island,” that I shall make use of her language in telling it, namely: “The marriage of Patience Sylvester, the sister of Mrs. Lloyd, was also an exceptionally romantic affair. Among the exiled Huguenots of the period was Benjamin L'Hommedieu, who settled in Southold. There being no church on Shelter Island, the Sylvester family were accustomed to attend Sabbath worship in Southold. One pleasant Sunday morning soon after his arrival, L'Hommedieu was attracted by an extremely novel object moving over the sparkling waters of the bay. As it came nearer he observed two remarkably handsome young women in a barge with a canopy over it, and six negro slaves rowing it. The vision haunted him. He went to church that morning, and despite Puritanical customs, permitted his eyes to remain open during prayers. The story is so like every other love story that it is hardly necessary to say that his French heart was hopelessly lost before the preacher had reached 'Amen' in his benediction. The sequel was a beautiful wedding, and Miss Patience Sylvester was henceforward Mrs. L'Hommedieu.” She and her husband were likewise blessed with a remarkable progeny. The third daughter, Eliza, married Jonathan Brown, of this island. Of the sons three died without issue, leaving their inheritance of the island to Giles, the eldest son, so that in time Giles became the owner of four-fifths of the island, the other fifth being inherited by the second son, Nathaniel, who at this time lived in Newport, R. I. And now we come to the obituary note of Capt. Nathaniel Sylvester, the first white settler on the island, and whose relation to the memory and place is of such lasting interest to us. This truly good and noble soul passed away
in 1680. What we have been able to learn of him justifies the high eulogy that is chiselled into the stone erected to his memory by the Horsford's in the old cemetery upon their estate, and which reads as follows: "To Nathaniel Sylvester, First Resident proprietor of the Manor of Shelter Island, under Grant of Charles II, A. D. 1666. An Englishman intrepid. Loyal to Duty, Faithful to friendship, The soul of integrity and Honor, Hospitable to Worth and Culture, Sheltering ever the persecuted for conscience sake.”
We turn now to another family, which likewise became prominent in the history of this island. I refer to the Nicoll's family. The date of this family's appearance in America is 1664, and the occasion and person through whom the family came to the New World was Matthias Nicoll, brother of Col. Richard Nicoll, commander of the expedition sent out by the Duke of York to take possession of New Amsterdam, Long Island and other territory. Upon the capture of New York and the assumption of the Governorship of the Colony by Col. Richard Nicoll, Matthias Nicoll was appointed by his brother, the Governor, secretary of the colony and member of the Governor's council. He was also appointed a judge of the Court of Sessions, and in 1672 became the first Mayor of New York. He was then a very prominent and influential citizen in the early history of this country. He died in the latter part of 1687. One son at least survived him, named William, who it is presumed by the historian Thompson, was born in England, and came over when a boy with his father in 1664, as in 1683 he was appointed the first Clerk of Queens County, which position he held until 1688. He was highly educated, choosing the profession of law, in which he became very prominent, being one of the ablest lawyers of the New York bar. Col. Richard Nicoll was succeeded in the Governorship by Col. Lovelace in 1667. Col. Lovelace's term was brought to a sudden end by the appearance of the Dutch and their retaking of New York in 1673. While under the Dutch rule Anthony Color was Governor. Then came the restoration again to English rule, bringing with it the appointment of Edmund Andros as Governor. He continued until 1683, when Col. Thomas Dougan was commissioned by the Duke of York to act as Governor. During the term of Gov. Dougan Charles II died in 1685. His brother, the Duke of York, succeeded him, taking the title of James II. He immediately revoked the powers which had been given to former governors to call assemblies in which the people were to have a voice in the govern
ment of the colonies, and determined that the governors should rule solely by his direction and instructions. All the colonies of New England now came under the King's power, including New York. And over all these Sir Edmund Andros was appointed ruler or Governor, with authority to appoint deputy or lieutenant governors in each colony. Under this power Sir Edmund Andros appointed Francis Nicholson Governor of New York. This order of things continued until April, 1689, when news having reached America that James II had been driven from the throne by the English, and that William and Mary had been proclaimed rulers of England, the people of Massachusetts arose against Andros, seized him, and after a period of confinement sent him to England. This happened at Boston. At New York the people likewise arose, led by one Jacob Leisler, who seized the fort and had himself proclaimed Governor under the pretence of holding the government for William and Mary until their properly authorized representative appeared and took command. This Leisler was an adventurer, seeking more his own personal ends than those of his superiors. William Nicoll therefore opposed him, and because of this opposition, he with others who had the courage and honesty to take such a stand, were put in prison. They remained in confinement until the arrival of Gov. Sloughter, in March, 1691, when they were released. Leisler was brought to trial, and William Nicoll, whom he had imprisoned, was appointed one of the King's councillors to conduct the prosecution. The result of the trial was a verdict of high treason, for which Leisler suffered death. Mr. Nicoll was subsequently appointed by Gov. Sloughter a member of the Governor's Council. Four years later, in 1695, he was sent to England by the Colonial Assembly on an important mission, for which service the Assembly allowed him $1,000. In 1698 he again suffered imprisonment for a short time at the hands of the Earl of Bellamont, who had been appointed Governor and who was of the same character as Leisler. In 1701 he was elected a member of the Colonial Assembly from this county, but not being a resident of the county he was not allowed to take his seat. He then moved into the county, taking up his residence at Islip, where he owned an immense tract of land of 9,000 acres. He was again elected to the Assembly in 1702, and continued a member of that body until his death in 1723. For the most of the time he was Speaker of the House, until failing health forced him to resign this high office in 1718. Altogether he served in the Assem