This marker is located on the north side of Montauk Highway, just east of Islip Town Hall.

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The land patent for what is now Islip Hamlet has its origins in political intrigue, rebellion and perceived religious persecution, not to mention land and business transactions tied to a longstanding family relationship.

To begin with, real estate deeds were officially recorded in the Province and City of New York in 1673.[1] In 1683, the Province of New York was divided into the following counties: Kings (Brooklyn), Queens (which at that time included Nassau), Suffolk, Dutchess, Richmond (Staten Island), New York (Manhattan), Orange, Ulster, Albany, Westchester (including portions of the Bronx), Dukes and Cornwall.[2]

The land which makes up Islip Town traces its beginnings to individual patents granted to six men: William Nichol, Andrew Gibb, Stephen Van Cortlandt, Thomas and Richard Willets and John Mowbray. Essentially, Islip was founded as private fiefdoms whose masters had no common background or religious beliefs or a desire for a particular form of government.[3] These patents were unusual since most patents on Long Island were filed as group patents from men and their families generally having a common religion and origins; the common thread of these men appears to be economic and political relationships. Islip's patents are the only land grants purchased from the Island's native population which followed the creation of Suffolk County.

Andrew Gibb and Colonel William Nichol were business and political associates and friends. The genesis of their relationship evolved from their fathers.[4]  While little is known of Gibb's father, Nichol's father, Matthias, had an illustrious political career. In 1664, he was appointed Secretary of the Commission to govern the land holdings of the Duke of York and Albany, brother of King Charles 11.[5]  The land grants directed by this Commission were Charles II's response to the Dutch attempt to resolve boundary disputes under the Holland Treaty.[6] At the direction of the Duke, one Commission member, Colonel Richard Nichol (no relation to Matthias or William),[7] forcibly overthrew Dutch authority in New York, which had been led by Peter "Old Silver Nails" Stuyvesant.[8]

Matthias Nichol held the Secretary position following the appointment of Richard Nichol as Governor and his successor, Governor Lovelace. In 1671, Matthias also appointed Mayor of the City of New York.[9] In his later years, Matthias held several political positions, eventually leading to a Queens County judgeship (1683-1687).[10]

William Nichol, born in England in 1657, was trained as a lawyer and subsequently joined the army. After two years of service, he returned to the colonies to resume the practice of law.[11] His first patent was granted by Governor Donegan on December 5, 1683 confirming the November 29, 1683 purchase from Winnequaheagh, Chief of the Secatoque Indians.[12] By then, William had become Clerk of Queens County and held that office until May 17, 1688, when Governor Donegan appointed him Attorney General of New York. Gibb, the "merchant of Setukett,"[13] had served as Deputy Clerk to Nichol and, having discharged the Clerk's duties for the last year of Nichol's term,[14] became Clerk-- a position he held for 14 years.

Earlier, following the creation of Suffolk County, Gibb had been the first Supervisor for Brookhaven Town.[15] Gibb served in this position until 1686 when he became Town Clerk and one of Brookhaven's seven "first modern trustees."[16] In July of that year, Nichol married Anna Van Rensselaer, whose relatives included the Schuylers, Livingstons, Philipses and Van Cortlandts. The month before his marriage, William completed his second patent grant from Governor Donegan within what would become Islip Town.[17]

While William and Andrew's rising political futures were assured in the colonies, significant changes were occurring in the English monarchy. On February 16, 1685, Charles II, "sitting in the midst of his frivolous court, turned pale, sickened and died, leaving the Duke of York to carry on as James 11."[18] A Catholic, the new king initially kept in office his fellow Catholic, Governor Donegan-- albeit with significant restrictions on the Governor's authority.[19] Donegan was eventually replaced when King James added the provinces of New York and New Jersey under the authority of Governor Edmond Andros of New Eng1and.[20]

In the latter part of 1688, James II abdicated the throne to King William III of Holland and Mary (James II's Protestant daughter) in what is known as the Glorious Revolution.[21]

Immediately, Governor Andros was imprisoned in Boston. His Lieutenant Governor, Richard Nicholson was arrested by Captain Jacob Leisler (a Protestant Huguenot) of New York's militia under the command of Colonel Bayard. Leisler then accused Bayard, who was also the Collector of Taxes for the Port of New York, of being a "papist" and led the Leisler Rebellion, a mutiny of the militia to control the City until such time as King William appointed a new governor.[22]

Leisler and his associates felt that they were protecting New York from religious persecution;[23] the incursions into upstate New York by France (a Catholic nation) and the Indians were viewed by Leisler as confirmation of his notion. Leisler embarked on a ruthless campaign of throwing into prison all who opposed him. Bayard, together with the Schuylers, Van Cortlandts, Livingstons and Nichols-- all of whom had received royal land grants-- were wrongly suspected of taking part in a plot to restore King James to the throne.[24]

As a result, two parties were formed: the aristocrats, who associated with or favored James II, and the democrats, who were friendly to William and Mary.[25] More correctly, they were anti-Leisler detractors and Leisler followers respectively.

One leader of the opposition was William Nichol, who refused to surrender his appointment as Attorney General and was imprisoned for this and other acts. Leisler tried to arrest Stephen Van Cortlandt, Nichol's uncle-in-law and an outspoken opponent, but he avoided capture.[26] Gibb also refused to surrender his appointment and papers as Clerk of Queens County to Daniel Denton, a Leisler associate. A warrant for Gibb's arrest was issued, but Gibb avoided capture by returning to Brookhaven.[27]

William and Mary eventually appointed Henry Sloughter as Governor. Unfortunately, Sloughter's Lieutenant Governor, Richard Ingoldsby, arrived in New York two days ahead of the Governor.[28] Ingoldsby attempted to relieve Leisler of his command of Fort James (site of the Custom House at Bowling Green). However, Leisler refused to surrender the fort. Skirmishing went on between Ingoldsby's and Leisler's forces, until the arrival of Governor Sloughter who presented proof of his authority to Leisler.[29] Despite misdirected loyalty to William and Mary, Leisler was accused of treason. William Nichol was one of the prosecutors in Leisler’s trial. In May of 1691, Leisler was hanged for his actions. Governor Sloughter died mysteriously four months later.[31]

In what would seem to be a restoration of political favor, the Islip patents were issued to associates of Nichol, all of whom were opponents of Leisler: Andrew Gibb, Stephen Van Cortlandt, the Willets and John Mowbray. The first of these patents was given to Gibb on March 26, 1692 from Governor Ingoldsby for:

"All that certain tract of vacant land on Long Island commonly called and known by the name of Winganhappagne River, being bounded on the east by Winganhappagne River, south by the Bay, west by Orewake River and north by a right line from the head of Winganhappagne River to the head of Orewake River."[32]

The quitrent (tax) on this patent was four shillings annually.

Gibb, with his wife and son, moved onto his holding shortly after his patent was granted. Subsequently, on April 1, 1704, Gibb leased his property to William Richardson.[33] His whereabouts beyond that time have been difficult to trace.


[1] "Manna-Hattan. The Story of New York, The Manhattan Company, New York (1929); p. 226.

[2] Ibid., p. 227.

[3] Patrick J. Curran, The History of Islip Town, A Doctoral Thesis, 1983; p. 1.

[4] Ibid., Patrick J. Curran, p. 4, 9.
George Lewis Weeks, Jr., Some of Town of Islip's Early History, Consolidated Press, Bay Shore (1955); pp. 6-7.
History of New York, Suffolk County "The Town of Islip", W. W. Munsell & Co., New York (1882); p. 3.

[5] Benjamin F. Thompson, History of Long Island From Its Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time, New York (1839); Book II, P. 206.
Idem., Patrick J. Curran, pp. 2-3.
Idem., George Lewis Weeks. Jr., pp. 1-2.
Idem., History of New York. Suffolk County, p. 3.

[6] Idem., "Manna-Hattan. The Story of New York, pp. 45-46

[7] Idem., Patrick J. Curran, p. 2.

[8] Ibid., p. 2.

[9] Ibid., pp. 2-3.

[10] Ibid., p. 2.
Idem., History of New York, Suffolk County, p. 3.

[11] Idem., George Lewis Weeks, Jr., pp. 1-7.
Idem., History of New York. Suffolk County, pp. 3-4.
Idem., Patrick J. Curran, pp. 3,5-6.

[12] Ibid., pp. 3-6.
Idem., History of New York. Suffolk County. pp. 3-4.
Idem., George Lewis Weeks. Jr., pp. 1-8.

[13] Brookhaven Town Records. Book A, p. 52.

[14] Idem., History of New York, Suffolk County, p. 3.

[15] Ibid., p. 24.
Idem., History of New York. Suffolk County, p. 4.
Paul Bailey, Long Island, A History of Two Great Counties. Nassau and Suffolk, Lewis Historical Publishing, Co. Inc., New York (1949); Volume I, P. 269, 318.
Idem., Patrick J. Curran, pp. 9-11.

[16] Ibid., pp. 3-6.
Idem., History of New York. Suffolk County, pp. 3-4.
Idem., George Lewis Weeks, Jr., pp. 1-8.

[17] Idem., Brookhaven Town Records, Book A, p. 52.

[18] Idem., "Manna-Hattan. The Story of New York, p. 62.

[19] Idem., Patrick J. Curran, p. 6.

[20] Ibid., p. 6.
Idem., "Manna-Hattan. The Story of New York, p. 62.
Jacqueline Overton, Long Island's Story, Doubleday, Doran & Co., Garden City (1929); p. 87.

[21] Ibid., p. 88.
Idem., "Manna-Hattan. The Story of New York, pp. 62-63.
Idem., Patrick J. Curran, pp. 6-7.

[22] Ibid., p. 7.
Idem., "Manna-Hattan, The Story of New York, pp. 63-64.
Idem., Jacqueline Overton, p. 88.

[23] Idem., "Manna-Hattan. The Story of New York, p. 63.

[24] Ibid., pp. 63-64.
Idem., Patrick J. Curran, p. 7.

[25] Anna Temple Lovering, M.D., Stories of New York, Educational Publishing Company. Boston (1896); p. 53.

[26] Idem., Patrick J. Curran, p. 7.
Idem., George Lewis Weeks, Jr., p. 10.
Idem., History of New York. Suffolk County, pp. 3-4.

[27] Idem., Patrick J. Curran, p. 9.

[28] Idem., "Manna-Hattan. The Story of New York, pp. 65-66.
Idem., Jacqueline Overton, p. 89.
Idem., Patrick J. Curran, p. 7.
Idem., Anna Temple Lovering, M.D., p. 54.

[29] Ibid., pp. 54-55.
Idem., "Manna-Hattan. The Story of New York, pp. 65-66.
Idem., Jacqueline Overton, p. 89.

[30] Idem., Anna Temple Lovering, M.D., p. 55.
Idem., Patrick J. Curran, pp. 7-8.
Idem., George Lewis Weeks, Jr., p. 10.

[31] Idem., Jacqueline Overton, p. 89.

[32] Book of Land Patents, Secretary of State Office, Albany, New York; Volume VI, p. 372.
Idem., Patrick J. Curran, p. 10.
Idem., George Lewis Weeks, Jr., p. 24.

[33] Book of Deeds. Book A, Suffolk County Clerk’s Office. p. 96.