Page: 3 of 4
    Pages 1 - 2  - 3 - 4 Next

    George Filer Jr. became a surgeon who practiced in Northampton, Massachusetts.  He married Edith Shaw in 1665.  According to the General Court in Northampton, January 28, 1665:   

    George Filer of Northampton on being presented to this Court as one reasonably well fitted and qualified for a Surgeon, was allowed by this Court to such work, service and employ.   

    On March 25, 1672/3, George Filer of Westfield (MA) presented by the jury for diverse disorders, first entertaining Quakers and also for absenting himself from God’s publick on Sabbath and for contemptuous speeches of the Ministers….  Called Quakers our religion that is his own.  Ordered to pay county 5 pounds or else to be well whipped.  George moved to Shelter Island (NY) in 1674.  He died in 1681. 
    Samuel Filer, the son of George and Edith Filer, was born in Northampton, MA in 1666.  Samuel was in East Hampton, Long Island, as early as 1677.  He fought in the French and Indian Wars and is recorded on the muster rolls of East Hampton for the Indian wars of 1717.  He married Abigail Osborn in 1691.  She was the daughter of Thomas Osborn and from one of the founding families of East Hampton, NY.  They later moved to East Guilford, CT, now called Madison.  Samuel died February 26, 1732/3.


    "Samuel Fyler," then so spelled, was in East-Hampton as early as 1677-8, and from him the line runs down to the present day. Many of this stock have removed from East-Hampton to localities far distant. The family has been industrious and aspired to mental culture.   

    From the History of East Hampton

    Thomas Filer was the son of Samuel and Abigail Osborn Filer.  He married Jane Miller of Northampton, MA in 1733.  They had a son, Jonathan Filer, March 7, 1747.  Jonathan married Tryphene Leach (Leek) in 1772.  She was the daughter of Daniel and Hannah Talmage Leach (Leek) later referred to as “Granqy Leake.”  They moved to Connecticut in 1774 and then to Ballston, New York.

    Jonathan Jr. married Lydia Stillson and they lived in Cooperstown, NY.  They are the parents of Jonathan Walter Filer.  Jonathan Filer Jr. died in 1852 and is buried in Florence, NY.  J. Walter Filer married Eunice Woodworth and moved to Illinois and later to Kansas where he died in 1887.  Their daughter, Anna Persis Filer married George Whitfield Hemenway in Chicago.   

       From The Fyler-Filer Family Genealogy and History by Jean Fyler Arnold 




    From The Story of Long Island Presbytery and Churches
    By George Nicholson 


1740     A great Quickening (higher consciousness) swept the land like a tidal wave and many were initiated into a personal experience of God.  Organization was impossible to hold or contain the unpredictable outbursts of God propelled men.  As often happens, it was accompanied by some distasteful excesses of zeal.  The conflict of the radical and conservative forces; the New Lights and the Old Lights split the Synod of Philadelphia and caused inner disharmony for 18 years.  The New Lights were given to flaming oratory, fierce spotlighting of sin, and unreserved emotionalism.  The Old Lights kept to a reserved, dogmatic and reasoned theology.  The New Lights emphasized revelation and regeneration; the Old Lights organization and education.  The initiative lay with the New Lights who preponderated in ability and zeal.  The split was healed in 1758. 

1764     “Came a great religious movement which burst forth as a life giving fountain in East Hampton and spread all over Long Island and far beyond.  In two years it doubled the membership and strength of many churches far and near.”  Thus in twenty years after the formation of Suffolk Presbytery there has been made from Montauk to Newtown, a religious revolution as marvelous in degree and excellence as the civil revolution which soon thereafter followed, and made the separate Colonies one united Nation, with freedom in Church and State, from the Penobscot to the Mississippi.  150 members were added to the church in East Hampton in 1764. 

George Whitefield preached at Shelter Island during the mid-century revival.  He wrote:

“Shelter Island is become another Patmos.” 

Presbyterianism through its church courts and its democratic set up, provided ready made machinery for making vocal the revolutionary sentiment.  The Presbyterians were often completely identified with the Colonial cause.  A Presbyterian Minister, The Rev. John Witherspoon, was one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.   

Presbyterianism whose bedrock principle was “constitutional republicanism” possessed at the time of the Revolution “the most powerful inter-colonial organization on the continent in yearly Synod.  Eleven of the fifty-five members of the Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence have been identified as Presbyterians.  Walpole, Prime Minister of England called it a “Presbyterian rebellion.” 

The Long Islanders refused to contribute by law to the Church of England but only to the church of their choice.  East Hampton like the other early Island churches was a Town Church.  

George Whitefield Preaching

"...There was a great stir of religion in these parts of the world both amongst the Indians as well as the English, and about this time I began to think about the Christian religion, and was under great trouble of mind for some time." That is how Samson Occom, direct descendant of the great Mohegan chief Uncas, described the effect of the Great Awakening on himself when he was sixteen years old. As a consequence, he put his faith in Jesus Christ.

At this time Samuel Occum (Samson Occom) emerges as the most colourful figure of that time.  Born of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut and converted at the age of 18 in the 1740 revival, he sought education and became first a teacher and later a minister in Long Island, chiefly to the largest Indian tribe at Montauk.  Occum’s progress stimulated the Rev. Whitaker of Norwich to think of [establishing] a College for Indians and Occum went with Whitaker to England to canvass for “Moor’s Charity School”, later Dartmouth College.  Occum the Indian preacher was a novelty in Britain.  He collected 7000 pounds in England (the King subscribing 200 pounds) and 3000 pounds in Scotland.  He met with a chilly reception from the professionals (the bishops, etc.)  Says Occum …”they are indifferent whether the Indians go to heaven or hell” and “they never gave us one single brass farthing.” 

Occum taught the Indians letters with wooden blocks.  He was versed in the use of herbs.  A musician too; he left three hymns.  His weakness?  “He was overtaken sometimes by the besetting sin of the poor Indians” and confesses to the Presbytery about being “shamefully overtaken with strong drink.”

                                         Dartmouth College 

Letter to Reverend Samson Occum

        Rev'd and honor'd Sir,

        I have this Day received your obliging kind Epistle, and am greatly satisfied with your Reasons respecting the Negroes, and think highly reasonable what you offer in Vindication of their natural Rights: Those that invade them cannot be insensible that the divine Light is chasing away the thick Darkness which broods over the Land of Africa; and the Chaos which has reign'd so long, is converting into beautiful Order, and reveals more and more clearly, the glorious Dispensation of civil and religious Liberty, which are so inseparably Limited, that there is little or no Enjoyment of one Without the other: Otherwise, perhaps, the Israelites had been less solicitous for their Freedom from Egyptian slavery; I do not say they would have been contented without it, by no means, for in every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance; and by the Leave of our modern Egyptians I will assert, that the same Principle lives in us. God grant Deliverance in his own Way and Time, and get him honour upon all those whose Avarice impels them to countenance and help forward tile Calamities of their fellow Creatures. This I desire not for their Hurt, but to convince them of the strange Absurdity of their Conduct whose Words and Actions are so diametrically, opposite. How well the Cry for Liberty, and the reverse Disposition for the exercise of oppressive Power over others agree, --

        I humbly think it does not require the Penetration of a Philosopher to determine.--

Phillis Wheatley
The Connecticut Gazette, March 11, 1774

Lyman Beecher, perhaps the best remembered of the great East Hampton ministers, became a national figure through a sermon on the evils of dueling following the death of a man killed in a duel.  It is a pointer to the times that this was a national issue and the sermon was widely distributed.  Beecher had a great zest for life.  He was an eloquent advocate of temperance.  His was also a strong voice for orthodoxy against Unitarianism which was also a strong and peculiarly American theological issue.  It was natural that a man of such forthright views should himself be a target of criticism.  Beecher experienced the season of revival in East Hampton and on one occasion spoke of 50 persons being brought in.  Beecher’s distinguished family was to make a mark on American life and letters.  His removal from East Hampton turned out to be a good thing, for in Cincinnati the family came up against the slave problem in a big way.  This was the raw material for the famous serial “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” which roused the American conscience as much as anything.


The present spacious church in East Hampton was built in 1860 under the Rev. S. Mershon.  This is one of the loveliest villages in AmericaHere it was that the famous song Home Sweet Home was inspired.  For more than 300 years this Town Church ..has pointed the people to God. 

From The Story of Long Island Presbytery and Churches                           

The Osborne Home

The English & Natives appear to have lived on good terms. The lands on the East end of Long Island as well as the neighbouring Islands - Shelter Island, Gardiners Island, Plum Island & Fishers Island - were purchased of the Natives. Some French writer, I think Raynal, speaks in praise of the Great William Penn for having set an uncommon Example in purchasing the Soil of Pennsylvania of the Native Indians, and which if it had been followed by the Settlers of New England and Virginia would have prevented some wars that took place. This Frenchman, like many European writers who have never been in the country, did not understand himself sufficiently on the subject. The fact was that the Settlers of Virginia & New England purchased their lands of the Natives before Geo. Fox the Founder of the Quaker's Sect published their principles in England in Oliver Cromwell's time, and a long time before the celebrated William Penn settled in Pennsylvania. There is no doubt but the regular purchase & the warrantie deed from the four abovementioned Sachems, in 1648, prevented difficulties between the Natives & English. Some Indian writings on record in East Hampton speak of the friendship & amity of their neighbours the English about 1660.  
Gov. Winthrop in his Journal, and Gov. Hutchinson in his History of Massachusetts, p. 88, mentions that in 1640, a number of families removed from Lynn to the West end of Long Island, and bought land there of James Farret Agent to the Earl of Sterling; but getting into some quarrel with the Dutch, they removed to the East end, and settled at Southampton & chose one Pierson for their Minister. Probably Southampton was settled before East Hampton. Tradition informs us that before East Hampton people built their first grist mill (which went with cattle), they went to Southampton to mill, and carried their grain on the back of a bull that belonged to the Town for the use of their cows. If this is true, no doubt Southampton was settled first.


The first section of the township to be actually settled by white men was Gardiner's Island, which, in 1639, as we have seen, became the property and the home of Lion Gardiner. The settlement of East Hampton, in 1648, seems to have been simply a part of the extension movement of Connecticut, and from the first the colony recognized itself as an integral part of that commonwealth. The general opinion of its early settlers is that expressed by Professor Johnston in his mongraph on "Connecticut," that it was a party of pioneers from Lynn for whom the land composing the township was originally secured, and in French's Gazeteer, a most valuable work which seems now forgotten, we read: 

"Settlement in the western part of the town was commenced in 1648 by a company of English families from Lynn, Mass. The trustees named in the patent were John Mulford, Thomas Baker, Thomas Chatfield, Jeremiah Concklyn, Stephen Hedges, Thomas Osborne sen., and John Osborne." 

Rev. James seems to have been a man of singular piety, and possessed of many characteristics which those associated with him deemed singularities, but he was a zealous, active and thorough-going minister, eminently fitted to be the spiritual leader and guide and comforter of the people among whom his lot was cast, and he aspired apparently to be nothing more. Whatever the nature of his eccentricities they were harmless, and they did not abate the respect his people evidently had for him, or weakened his reputation as a shrewd, sound business man. Of the respect of the people there is no doubt, for they voted him many privileges, such as giving his corn precedence at the mill, presenting him with another town lot and half of the dead whales that drifted on shore. He was keenly interested in the religious welfare of the Montauk Indians; studied their languages, compiled a catechism for their use in their own tongue, and was the first paid instructor of the Long Island Indians, receiving an allowance for that service for several years from the Society for Propagating the Gospel in New England. The good minister seems to have gathered considerable property and to have passed through life quietly and peaceably, 

Thomas James Minister of 
Easthampton as followeth. 
Whereas your Excellencies Supplicant was Informed that you were offended with me, in Respect of some expressions of mine in a Sermon preached Oct. 17, 1686. I thought my self bound in duty, & from the High Respects I have of your Excellency in New York & have waited your pleasure to this Day in order to your Excellencies satisfaction & have submitted my self to your Excellencies Censure, and knowing your Excellencies Clemency am emboldened humbly to ask your Pardon, of what through any Error in my Apprehension I have given occasion of offence to your Excellency my Intentions being Right in whatever proceeded from me at that tyme; and that your Excellency be graciously pleased to remit the Penalty imposed & what fees may be exacted upon me before the tyme of my being summoned to appear before you & ye Honorable Council, considering the great charge I have been at for about 3 weeks tyme since my coming from home this being the first tyme (for almost forty years of my being a minister of the Gospel) that I have been called to account by any Authority I have lived under, or given any cause for the same, nor needed at this type had there been yet favorable construction of my words as they deserved. So hoping as God hath got you as a father over this Comonwealth, so you will exercise a fatherly compassion towards your humble Petitioner, who hath & shall continue your Excellencies humble Orator at the Throne of Grace, & stand ever obliged to your Excellency in all hearty affection, & dutiful….[Here a word or two illegible in the original copy]. 

As might be supposed of such citizens, discontented and expressive of their discontent even when the royal regime was so firmly established that even the possibility of change was undreamed of, from the first, although isolated from the centre of events, they eagerly watched every movement in the impending struggle, and when the crisis came the people were unanimous to favor a change, and even Dr. Buell at one time threw off his gown and shouldered a musket to do battle for the liberties of his country. The feeling in East Hampton is clearly shown by the fact that when the Provincial Congress, with the view of fully estimating the sentiments of the people, sent out what was called articles of association to the various communities, every adult male signed the copy received in East Hampton, the only instance of such unanimity on the Island. 

The document is well worthy of a place in the annals of the township, not only for its value as indicating the patriotic sentiment of the people, but as furnishing a list, practically, of its active male inhabitants at the time. It is, in effect, as follows: 

In June, 1674, after the reconquest from the Dutch, a renewed petition to be joined with Connecticut, is made in vain, p. 370. Yet for two centuries East-Hampton in untiring industry, in adventurous enterprise, in intellectual culture, in free aspirations, in modes of thought, in devotional fervor, was essentially Puritan. Disunited in government, it remained essentially in spirit a fragment of New England. The early history of the settlers reveals nothing of which their descendants need be ashamed. The transforming hand of the Puritan swept away its wilderness and planted the harvest. The free soul of the Puritan burst the bands of oppression and instituted freedom. The burning devotion of the Puritan revealed to the world a light that growing in radiance shall yet lead the millions into "the new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness."

BRIDGE-HAMPTON, February 26th, 1887.  

From the History of East Hampton 

"Persuaded that the Salvation of the Rights and liberties of America, depends, under God, on the firm union of its inhabitants, in a vigorous prosecution of the measures necessary for its safety; and convinced of the necessity of preventing the Anarchy and confusion, which attend the dissolution of the powers of Government, we, the Freemen, Freeholders and Inhabitants of East Hampton, NY  being greatly alarmed at the avowed design of the Ministry, to raise a Revenue in America, and shocked by the bloody scene now acting in Massachusetts Bay, do, in the most Solemn manner Resolve never to become Slaves, and do associate under all the ties of Religion, honour and Love to our Country, to adopt and endeavor to carry into execution, whatever measures may be recommended by the Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention, for the purpose of preserving our Constitution, and opposing the execution of the several arbitrary and oppressive acts of the British Parliament, until a reconciliation, between Great Britain and America, on Constitutional Principles, (which we most ardently desire) can be obtained; and that we will in all things, follow the advice of our General Committee, respecting the purposes aforesaid, the preservation of Peace and Good Order, and the safety of individuals and private property.

Signed by Filers, Osbornes, Millers, Talmages, and Leeks, et al

"These may certify that every male in the Town of East-Hampton have signed the above Association, that are capable of bearing arms.  
By Order of the Committee,  

From the History of East Hampton


In Suffolk County, in the east end of Long Island, there is neither a church of England, minister, nor any provision made for one by law; the people generally being independents, and upheld in their separation by New England emissaries" - Documentary Hist. of New York,     From The History of East Hampton 

The three eastern towns of this County--Southampton, Southold and East-Hampton--were the back bone of the county, if not of the whole Colony of New York, in advocating representative government and resisting encroachments upon their liberties. As between the Colonists and the King, the Governors were uniformly servile to him, and hostile to them. In this, Andros and Dongan, "the Catholic," were alike. Fletcher was "covetous and passionate." Cornbury "had every vice of character necessary to discipline a colony into self-reliance and resistance." (See Bancroft History of U.S.)  The conflict between our Puritan forefathers and these governors was long, unequal, and often resulted adversely to the people.  
"But freedom's Battle once begun, Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son, Though baffled oft is ever won."  
The conflict waged in 1681 for chartered rights, and representative government never ceased until freedom won at Yorktown.

The Dongan Patent

There was an attempt in 1682 to levy customs without a colonial assembly, which had been defeated by the Grand Jury, and trade became free just as Andros was returning to England. In 1683, the newly appointed Gov. Dongan was instructed to call a general assembly of all the freeholders, by the persons whom they should choose to represent them. In October, 1684, the assembly met and claimed in a bill of rights as Englishmen, that "Every freeholder and Freeman should vote. Trial to be by Jury." "No tax to be levied but by consent of the assembly," etc. In 1685, in less than a month after James the Second ascended the throne, he prepared to overturn the institutions he had conceded. By ordinance a direct tax was decreed. The titles to real estate were questioned that larger fees and quit rents might be extorted, and of the farmers of East-Hampton who protested against the tyranny, six were arraigned before the Council. (See Bancroft's Hist.U. S.,) In May, 1686, Gov. Dongan was endeavoring to compel the people of East-Hampton to purchase a new patent at an exorbitant price, and they were resisting the attempt at extortion.

The proprietor vote of that date regarding the four men on whom a warrant had been served; the vote of "the purchasers and proprietors of this town," June 11, 1686, choosing a committee for the defence of their rights; the committee vote of June 14, 1686, appointing "Lieutenant John Wheeler and Ensine Samuel Mulford" to defend the town's interest, all relate to this controversy with the Governor. 

July 29, 1686, ten persons complained to the Governor that the town will lay out no land to them, and he by order in council then directed Josiah Hobart, High Sheriff of the County, to lay out to each thirty acres. The written protest against this laying out, dated October 6, 1686, was deemed a libel, and an information to that effect filed by the Attorney General. Warrants issued for the arrest of Stephen Hedges, William Perkins, Jeremy Conkling, Daniel and Nathaniel Bishop, Samuel Mulford, Robert Dayton, Samuel Parsons, Benjamin Conklin, Thomas Osborne and John Osborne. October 17th, 1686, Thomas James preached from the text Job xxiv, 2: "Some remove the land mark." Nov. 18th, 1686, Sheriff Hobart attested under oath to the text and, teaching of the sermon. The same day an order in council was entered that a warrant issue against Minister James on the ground that the sermon was seditious. A like information against him was filed. A warrant for his arrest issued Nov. 18th, 1686. He was arrested, and some three weeks thereafter petitioned the Governor for his release, reciting this as "the first tyme (for almost forty years of my being a minister of the Gospel) that I have been called to account by any authority I have lived under."            (from Documentary History of New-York)

Deep Hollow Ranch 1658
The oldest cattle ranch in the U.S.