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The resettlement of Montaukett individuals from Indian Fields to points west reflects a desire to find work and accumulate, wealth, and goods. Leaving one’s family and homeland behind at Montauk would have been a struggle, whether the decision was to move twenty miles away to East Hampton village, to move eighty miles away to North Amityville, or to spend nearly a decade at sea.

While this likely created some conflict over one’s Native American identity and among kin relations, these moves did not necessarily destroy the tribal members’ sense of being Montaukett (see Strong 2001). Some Montauketts who left Indian Fields were listed as residents of the neighborhoods of Freetown and Eastville by the mid-nineteenth century. Like free black residents of the same neighborhoods, census takers categorized them as “free people of color,’ but their surnames-which included Pharaoh, Fowler, Hannibal, and Wright-can be traced to ancestral lineages of Montaukett heritage. electricity trading jobs Freetown and Eastville are remembered as multi-ethnic communities that were founded by free people of color who built churches together, worked together, and built futures together through marriage – but the historical legacies of these two neighborhoods are different. Read more about Freetown

In the quitclaim agreement he signed that day, Fowler gave up all of his right, title, and interest to what had been his home in exchange for an annual payment from Arthur W. gas or electricity more expensive Benson, the founder of the Brooklyn Gas Company and developer of Bensonhurt who had just a short time earlier become the owner of all of Montauk’s approximately 11,500 acres.

The Fowler agreement is part of a cache of documents preserved at the Brooklyn Historical Society and now available digitally from the East Hampton Library that had been fought over for much of the 20th century. Interest in the material has increased following an agreement that will preserve Mr. Fowler’s house in the Freetown section of East Hampton, which Mr. Benson had given him in exchange for his property at Montauk.

The Benson papers, as they have come to be known, contain a significant trove of records, including account books of the Proprietors of Montauk going back to the early 19th century and a 1724 record of a land sale between the Montauketts and the East Hampton Town Trustees. Those involving Benson’s takeover of the land paint a picture of his efforts to consolidate his newly bought property and rid himself of earlier promises made to the Montauketts.

By 1879, the Proprietors had decided to sell out, and Mr. Benson was the winning bidder, offering $151,000. gas zone edenvale However, before the deal was finalized, the Proprietors, on advice of their lawyer, decided to turn all of the material over to the town. This did not sit well with Mr. 100 gas vs 10 ethanol Benson, who about a year later managed to convince them to instead give them to him. In a journal entry among those digitized by the East Hampton Library, Mr. Benson was quoted as promising to keep the papers “in a safe at Montauk and make available for viewing to East Hampton and Southampton residents.”

The importance of the papers became clear early on when members of the Montaukett tribe sued Mr. Benson, then his estate, claiming that their rights had been obtained by fraud and “undue influence by the Bensons and their agents and employees.” Instead of being made available to the townspeople, John A. Strong, an authority on the Montauketts, wrote in a 1993 book on the tribe’s losses, the documents were kept by Mr. Benson and used by his lawyers to plan legal strategy.

Interest in the papers continued into the 20th century. In 1922, The East Hampton Star reported that they had been given by Mr. electricity projects for high school students Benson’s granddaughters to the Long Island Historical Society. In 1934 the East Hampton Town supervisor appointed local justices of the peace, Merton Edwards and William T. Vaughn, to a committee to investigate if copies at least could be obtained.

Negotiations with the Brooklyn Historical Society, as the organization was by then named, continued through the 1930s to no avail. In 1935 The Star reported that the records contained “accounts and receipts of the Proprietors of Montauk, a large number of documents relating to keeping cattle there, and 17 of the original Indian deeds and agreements. A number of these Indian deeds have never been transcribed and so are not to be found in the printed records of the town.”

The Benson family, who had bought Montauk peninsula from the Town Trustees, used it as a hunting preserve and planned to develop it. gas and bloating after every meal The promises were empty, the Montaukett homes at Indian Field containing their deeds and records were burned, and they were driven away from their ancestral home. Other Montaukett had moved away for better livelihoods to Eastville, a Native/African American settlement on the eastern side of Sag Harbor, while others lived in enclaves in Southold, Greenport, Amityville, and scattered through the Island.