Richard Floyd IV: Long Island Loyalist

Matthew M. Montelione

Abstract: Richard Floyd IV (1731/2-1791) was a wealthy Brookhaven landowner, military officer, and influential judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He was a steadfast Loyalist, who in 1776 was royally appointed Colonel of the Suffolk County militia. As a result of his intense dedication to the British cause in America, Richard IV was named in the 1779 Act of Attainder, passed by the Patriot New York Legislature. By 1784, the Colonel was stripped of his properties, and in 1786 was forced to leave Long Island for New Brunswick. I argue that the negative repercussions that Richard IV and other Long Island Loyalists endured for their royalist sympathies reveal a pattern of postwar alienation that most historians have previously overlooked in war-torn New York. Most importantly, the wartime experiences of Richard Floyd IV demonstrate how the American Revolution permanently ruptured familial, communal, political, and religious bonds developed over generations.

Keywords: American Revolution, Brookhaven Township, Richard Floyd IV, Loyalists, Mastic, Pattersquash farm, Suffolk County.

Articles VOL 24-2


The wartime experiences of Colonel Richard Floyd IV, a wealthy Brookhaven landowner and influential judge, provide an intimate lens through which to view the varied Loyalist perspectives on the Revolution. Richard IV, who was a steadfast Loyalist throughout the entire Revolutionary War, was one of only three Suffolk County Loyalists named in the 1779 New York Act of Attainder, which was passed by vengeful Patriots in the New York Legislature. Consequently, he suffered inextricable losses of both private and public nature at conflict’s end. I argue that the negative repercussions that the Colonel and other Long Island Loyalists endured for their royalist sympathies reveal a pattern of postwar alienation that most historians have previously overlooked in war-torn New York. Most importantly, the case of Richard Floyd IV demonstrates how, for Loyalists on eastern Long Island in New York, the American Revolution permanently ruptured familial, communal, political, and religious bonds developed over generations.[1]

“Richard Floyd IV: Long Island Loyalist” is a micro-history and is part of a larger work which uses letters, journals, court proceedings, land deeds, and other archival sources to test Judith L. Van Buskirk’s thesis in Generous Enemies (2002), in the context of Suffolk County. Van Buskirk states that, for residents caught up in revolutionary Manhattan, kinship relations, among other ties, trumped political allegiances throughout the war. But in Suffolk, by conflict’s end, no “generous enemies” awaited Richard IV and others at bargaining tables to compromise over political differences. Instead, due to the Colonel’s intense attachments to the mother country, vindictive New York rebels moved to usurp his properties in the aftermath of the Patriot-Franco victory over the Crown at Yorktown. By 1784, Patriots had succeeded in stripping Richard IV of all his landholdings in Suffolk County. In 1786, Richard Floyd IV was forced to leave Long Island for New Brunswick.[2]

Of vital importance to this study are a handful of works that together form a solid historiographical foundation of Long Island in the American Revolution. I am indebted to John G. Staudt’s detailed, statistical research concerning Suffolk County in The Other New York: The American Revolution beyond New York City, 1763-1787 (2005). Staudt provides a deeper context of Suffolk, its players, and their motives. However, the most telling histories of Long Island in the Revolution are antiquarian. Henry Onderdonk, Jr.’s Revolutionary Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Counties (1849) and Frederic Gregory Mather’s The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut (1913) were substantial contributions to the field, as testament to both works still being cited in current publications on the subject. Undoubtedly, these older sources contain biases due to the unchecked nationalism of the authors, but these texts are extensively researched and contain detailed collections of primary sources.

Thomas Jones’s History of New York during the Revolutionary War, and other leading events in the other colonies at that period, a primary account written in England in the aftermath of the American Revolution, published in 1879, proved most useful to this study. As Richard IV’s brother-in-law, Jones’s commentary provides intimate, indispensable information about Brookhaven’s premier Loyalist family. Jones, who was also named in the 1779 Act of Attainder, was understandably perturbed about the outcome of the war, and his pen reflected his discontent and bitterness. As a result, Jones’s account has rightly been criticized for containing inaccuracies and for being colored with personal opinions. Nonetheless, his narrative offers important insights into the Loyalist experience on Long Island, especially when compared with other works and primary sources.[3]

In the past, nationalistic impetus has led many historians of the American Revolution to ignore the Loyalist story. As “bitter losers of the Revolution,” Tories were long silenced in the American narrative. At best, William Franklin or William Smith (of New York City) might have been discussed, but at worst, historians saw Loyalists as backward looking losers and nothing more. However, the burgeoning historical literature on Loyalists, most notably by Maya Jasanoff, opens doors to fresh outlets of inquiry and to new methods of thinking about Loyalists and their rightful places in American annals.[4]

For the Royal Cause

Figure 1: Map of Long Island, by William Fadden. 1 January 1779. Courtesy of Stony Brook University Libraries.
Figure 1: Map of Long Island, by William Fadden. 1 January 1779. Courtesy of Stony Brook University Libraries.

In autumn 1776, Richard Floyd IV of Mastic was hopeful for a speedy and peaceful reconciliation between the mother country and its loyal colonists. In early November, Richard IV, along with his friend Thomas Fanning, arrived in New York City from their native township of Brookhaven, a journey of over fifty miles. In dedication to the royal cause, they passed through Long Island’s heartland of forests, meadows, plains, and small agrarian towns to deliver six Loyalist declarations from the Committees of Suffolk County to British Governor William Tryon.[5] In Brookhaven’s pledge to Tryon, Richard IV and others rejected “the orders of Congress” to not support the British cause in America. Instead, they were “desirous to obey the legal authority of Gov’t,” and “rely upon your Excellency’s clemency… to protect us, agreeably to the laws of the Province.” Essentially, Richard IV and Thomas sought to obtain imperial protection for Loyalists—Suffolk County’s “well affected subjects.”[6]

The time was ripe for Loyalists to profess their love for the Crown and for the British Constitution. In late August 1776, the American Revolution began in earnest when at least fifteen thousand British troops and roughly five thousand Hessians landed on western Long Island. Aided by Loyalists from Kings County and its eastern neighbor Queens County, the Crown’s disciplined forces easily displaced the unprepared Continental resistance in the Battle of Long Island, also known as the Battle of Brooklyn. It was a decisive British victory, and after the Patriots retreated westward across the East River and onto York Island, torrents of redcoats swarmed eastward into Suffolk County. The Crown established martial rule, and almost immediately applied to loyal Islanders for assistance in the war effort.[7]

Even before Governor Tryon requested the Committees of Townships of Suffolk “meet respectively as soon as possible… for the purpose of revoking all their proceedings under the Congress, and formally dissolve their unlawful associations” in September 1776, Loyalists took early initiative to pledge their support to King George III.[8] For instance, in March 1775, as tensions flared among Tories and Whigs on Long Island, the Trustees of Brookhaven town, in which Richard IV’s younger brother Benjamin Floyd was an officer, sent a loyalty pledge to a New York newspaper. Benjamin also circulated a “paper for signatures” in support of the British, in which he attained an estimated one hundred signatories. Without a doubt, Richard IV—the sole head-of-household Loyalist in Mastic and outspoken judge—had a hand in the oath’s promulgation. Reputable, wealthy, and deeply embedded in royal Suffolk County’s political orbit, Richard IV was eager to show his devotion to the Crown.[9]

Throughout late 1776, Richard IV organized Loyalist committees and drafted pledges of allegiance in Suffolk County. In Richard IV’s final oath of loyalty to Governor Tryon, dated 28 November 1776 and co-written with Thomas Fanning and Frederick Hudson, the gentlemen declared their “Loyalty and unshaken Attachment” to “our gracious Sovereign, in this Time of Distress and Trial,” being “anxious to testify our Affection for him.” Along with over 150 signatories, they petitioned the “King’s Commissioners, that They would restore this County to His Majesty’s Peace, altho’ [sic] many of the most respective Inhabitants and a much greater Number of the inferior Classes have been driven off by the Calamities of War, or sent Prisoners to New-England.” Richard IV and his Loyalist circle in Suffolk hoped “that the Numbers still remaining and who have voluntarily subscribed, may be deemed sufficient” to entitle the district to “His Majesty’s Grace.” They appealed to the Crown’s “enlarged sentiments” on behalf of their “absent fellow Inhabitants” who underwent intense “sufferings… for the Royal Cause.” The Loyalists implored Tryon to “present our Petition to the Commissioners,” as it was their “fervent desire, and… the greatest earthly Felicity, to remain Subjects of the British Government—In Union with the Parent State.”[10]

Figure 2: Richard Floyd, Thomas Fanning, and Frederick Hudson to Governor William Tryon, 28 November 1776. Microfilm Collection of the Institute for Colonial Studies, State University of New York at Stony Brook, reel HK. Stony Brook, NY: The Institute, 1965?. Microfilm, Special Collections, Stony Brook University.
Figure 2: Richard Floyd, Thomas Fanning, and Frederick Hudson to Governor William Tryon, 28 November 1776. Microfilm Collection of the Institute for Colonial Studies, State University of New York at Stony Brook, reel HK. Stony Brook, NY: The Institute, c. 1965. Microfilm, Special Collections, Stony Brook University.

In December 1776, Tryon acknowledged Richard IV’s devotion and appointed him Colonel of the Regiment of the Militia in Suffolk County. At forty-four years old, Richard IV became the commander of two small battalions of provincial militia that were responsible for provisioning the British war machine in Suffolk with manpower, sustenance, wood, and other myriad resources. They were also charged with protecting the county’s domestic sphere, by building forts and providing provisions to civilians when needed. The Governor placed “especial Truth and Confidence” in Richard IV’s “Loyalty, Courage, and Readiness,” to do “his Majesty good and faithful Service.” Colonel Floyd was charged to diligently “observe and follow such Orders and Directions… as you shall receive from Me, or any other your superior Officer, according to the Rules and Discipline of War, in Pursuance of the Trust reposed in You.” Richard IV capably fulfilled this duty for the entire war.[11]

Richard Floyd IV’s Personal Kingdom

The case of Richard Floyd IV deserves special attention due to his family’s long ancestral heritage on eastern Long Island. His great grandfather was Richard Floyd I, who had emigrated to New England from Brecknockshire, Wales around 1621. In the 1660s, Richard I established permanent residence in Setauket, Suffolk County, with his son Richard II, who was born around 1665. Richard I, a founding settler of Brookhaven Township, held influential positions in municipal government and became quite wealthy by purchasing land in Suffolk, complete with Indian servants and African slaves. In time, Richard I carved out a lucrative empire for his progeny in Suffolk County.[12]

On 12 January 1686, Governor of New York Thomas Dongan officially acknowledged Richard I’s ownership of Pattersquash Neck in Mastic, located on the southeastern shore of Suffolk County. Under the royal land title, Dongan stipulated that Richard I and his descendants pay an annual quitrent to the Crown, “the sum of two bushells [sic] of good merchantable winter wheat.” The marshy land, one of six large necks that jutted into the surrounding bay, was originally sold to Richard I around 1683 by county marshal John Jennings of Southampton. Jennings had declared ownership of the property “for the default of Mohave an Indian by his nonpayment of his fine and Court charges.” Eventually, the cape became known as Floyd’s Neck, in the Manor of St. George. Around 1700, Richard Floyd I died, and his son Richard Floyd II inherited the family’s fortunes.[13]

Over a decade later, Richard II, a prominent judge and officer of the county militia, tightened his family’s connections to imperial networks throughout New York by disregarding his former Presbyterian leanings and converting to Anglicanism. Endorsing the royal (and minority) faith must have made sense to Richard II, as it was the Floyd family’s connection to the Crown which helped them secure official titles to extensive properties, placed them in prestigious government positions, and provided them with opportunities to reap great social and financial rewards, that might not have been available to them otherwise. Historians have often marveled at how easily Richard II was able to break away from the majority sect and support the royal faith in Brookhaven. Most assuredly, his determination reflects Richard I’s economic success in the community, but also Richard II’s own prosperity and public popularity in Suffolk. To further strengthen their family’s ties to Anglicanism, Richard II’s daughter Charity Floyd—Richard IV’s aunt—married Samuel Johnson of Stratford, Connecticut, an influential Anglican minister who graduated from Yale, and served as the first president of King’s College in New York City.[14]

Consequently, Richard IV’s father Richard III, who also became a distinguished judge of the Court of Common Pleas and a Colonel of the Suffolk militia, inherited his father’s land in Mastic and Setauket around 1720. Along with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, Richard III took the lead in supporting the development of the Church of England in Brookhaven. Thanks in part to the support of Richard III, Caroline Church, Brookhaven’s first Anglican house of worship, was erected in Setauket in the 1720s. It was named in honor of Queen Caroline, who was the wife of King George II. In 1739, Richard III contributed £50 towards land for the church. His donation was the greatest of all parishioners, followed by his brother Nicoll Floyd, who contributed £25. Richard III’s leading endeavors in developing an Anglican foothold on eastern Long Island illuminate the powerful influence of the Floyds in eighteenth-century Suffolk County.[15]

While Richard II and Richard III spearheaded the local Anglican movement in Brookhaven, they also entrenched themselves in municipal politics. Along with their other career responsibilities, father and son served as members of the Brookhaven Committee, a group of landed and influential residents. Brookhaven Committeemen gained exclusive rights to extensive properties, issued fines to lawbreaking inhabitants, and tried to control all facets of maritime commerce in the area. In 1742, Richard III was made overseer for the booming—and coveted—fishing, clamming, and oystering markets of the South Bay, just west of Pattersquash Neck. In that same year, he was named the town supervisor by county officials. From roughly 1742-1762, he also served as the president of trustees.[16] Upon Richard III’s death in 1775, almost all of his bountiful properties and interests, most notably the Pattersquash estate in Mastic, passed to his eldest son and chief executor of his will, Richard Floyd IV.[17]

Richard IV was born to Richard III and Elizabeth Floyd on 26 February 1731/2, most likely in Setauket.[18] While the days of his youth are shrouded in mystery due to a lack of documents, he certainly was raised as a privileged gentleman at the Pattersquash estate, where he spent most of his time. From an early age on, like his father before him, Richard IV was raised Anglican, and groomed in politics and the military. Richard III undoubtedly instructed his son on how to effectively manage dual county positions while tending to the farm and its many sources of income.[19]

Richard IV was educated to some extent and was literate. As he matured, he earned a reputation for being well mannered, cordial, and generous.[20] His martial prowess earned him the rank of Major in Suffolk County’s West Battalion during the French and Indian War.[21] Following the Floyd tradition of strategic unions, at twenty-seven years old, Major Richard IV married Arabella Jones, born 7 December 1735, the sister of prominent Queens County judge Thomas Jones, on 26 September 1758. Throughout surviving sources, Richard IV’s elegant and patient pen exposes an amiable, considerate, and dignified man, bound by duty to his King but in love with his home and family.[22] In 1764, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Richard IV was appointed a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Suffolk County and assumed judicial responsibilities with Richard III at the County Hall in Riverhead, northeast of Mastic.[23] In 1773, Richard IV’s command in the province was further strengthened when he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Suffolk County militia.[24]

By 1775, Richard IV’s properties included Floyd’s Neck and other locations to “the South side of this Island, that… lie southward of the Country Road,” and northerly to “the middle of the Island.” He also became the heir to all of his father’s “Estate and Interest in the South Beach,” along with “half part of the South Bay,” complete with “Crooks and Islands therein, with all my negro and Indian servants belonging to the premises, and the household furniture, the stock of… Cattle horses sheep and hoggs [sic] and all the utensils of Husbandry… with all my Rights of Commonage Southward of the Road aforesaid.”[25] Richard IV’s farm, like many others on Long Island, produced plentiful yields of crops such as wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, oats, flax, and Indian corn. The Colonel owned sufficient quantities of livestock and at least a dozen slaves, and employed an unknown number of Unkechaug Indians from the bordering reservation, a practice which began with his forefathers. In general, the Unkechaug were of Algonquin descent, and served white landowners as servants. They became integral—willing or not—to the local maritime, agricultural, and household economies on eastern Long Island.[26]

Consequently, by 1775, Richard IV, Arabella, and their three children—Elizabeth (b. 1758), David Richard (b. 1764), and Ann (b. 1767)—lived comfortably and well nourished at their Pattersquash estate, and enjoyed the bountiful fortunes accumulated by the landed gentry in Suffolk County. At its height in the late eighteenth century, Richard IV’s personal kingdom, including lands beyond the Manor of St. George, totaled roughly nine hundred acres, and boasted an opulent and spacious residence equipped with servants and slaves, fertile farmland, woodlands, salt meadows, and sandy beaches. Financially secured, royally esteemed, and politically connected, Richard IV enjoyed his inheritance with his family in relative peace, until the American Revolution made neighbors into enemies.[27]

Figure 3: Map of the Mastic Peninsula, delineating freeholder properties, c.1775. Map by author and Pedro Lajud, Graphic Designer. Property boundaries estimated by MaryLaura Lamont at the William Floyd Estate. Aerial key of Long Island inspired by John Strong’s maps in The Unkechaug Indians of Eastern Long Island (2011).
Figure 3: Map of the Mastic Peninsula, delineating freeholder properties, c.1775. Map by author and Pedro Lajud, Graphic Designer. Property boundaries estimated by MaryLaura Lamont at the William Floyd Estate. Aerial key of Long Island inspired by John Strong’s maps in The Unkechaug Indians of Eastern Long Island (2011).

The mother country had entrusted Richard IV with the defense of his county, but it was not simply out of raw patriotism that he so ardently fought for the royal cause. Perhaps more importantly, he sought to defend his family and their way of life on the Mastic Peninsula. Nestling amidst the calm, brackish waters off Suffolk County’s southeastern shore, Mastic is bordered by the narrow Connecticut River and the South Bay to the west, the Mastic River and the Moriches Bay to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Throughout Mastic’s crooks and inlets, marshes mingle with salty waters that empty into the roaring sea.

In 1775, the peninsula was divided among (from east to west) William Floyd, Nathaniel Woodhull, Richard Floyd IV, and William Smith (see Figure III). By 1776, all three of Richard IV’s neighbors were confirmed Patriots. William Floyd, born 17 December 1734, was the Colonel’s younger first cousin and a wealthy contributor to the rebel cause. William represented New York at the First Continental Congress and later at the Second Continental Congress, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. All of the landed gentry’s properties together, along with other lands that extended in all directions, encompassed the Manor of St. George. Both branches of the Floyd family, the Woodhulls, and the Smiths collected rent from less economically fortunate residents who resided in the collective Manor, dominated local politics, and secured for their families whatever resources they desired in Brookhaven.

The Mastic Peninsula was truly a freeholder’s paradise. Mostly fertile lands provided sufficient yields to sustain a small nuclear family, and lucrative maritime opportunities offered the wealthy heads of household various outlets for profits. The bustling market on the South Bay supplied New York City and elsewhere with boatloads of fish, shellfish, and other provisions.[28] Large tracts of salt marshes provided copious amounts of salt hay, and there was also ample fresh hay. Indeed, Thomas Jones estimated that Long Island boasted at least fifteen stack yards during the Revolution. Further, Mastic’s dense forests of oak and hickory nut not only allowed for a plentiful source of timber, but also provided hunters with opportunities for woodland game like deer, rabbits, and wild fowls of all sorts.[29]

The Crown’s decisive victory at the Battle of Long Island increased the Colonel’s executive powers in Brookhaven, and reshaped the property delineations on the Mastic Peninsula. By August 1776, none of Richard IV’s Patriot neighbors stood in his way of supporting and promoting the British war effort on Long Island. Nathaniel Woodhull perished from wounds apparently inflicted by Crown troops, William Smith fled to the northward, and William Floyd escaped to Connecticut. Richard IV’s center of command in Mastic became a sort of Loyalist stronghold, where the Colonel must have entertained the British military on a number of occasions. His efforts were likely appreciated by the Crown, as Mastic was spared from a total reaping of its resources.

At war’s end, even William Floyd’s home, which suffered from plundering and systematic neglect, stood mostly intact in spite of being occupied throughout the Revolution by two Loyalists, perhaps with Richard IV’s blessing. While it is pure speculation, it was most likely due to the Colonel’s influence with Crown officials that his cousin’s estate was not utterly destroyed. The relationship of Richard IV and William remains obscured and complicated, due to the lack of surviving documents. Nonetheless, aspects of it can be tweezed out by looking at existing records left by the family before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.[30]

Committee Liberty

In 1718, Richard Floyd II — Richard IV’s and William’s grandfather — purchased for his son, Richard III’s brother Nicoll Floyd, 4,400 acres of land in Mastic.[31] On the peninsula, the Floyd brothers reaped tremendous fortunes for their families at the expense of slaves and laborers. Richard IV and Nicoll’s son William undoubtedly attended lavish dinners at each other’s estates, participated in joint hunting parties, and trained for combat side by side. In 1758, during the French and Indian War, Major Richard IV and Adjutant William served in the West Battalion together, one of two brigades in Suffolk County’s militia of eighteen companies totaling roughly 1,580 men. Of course, as Adjutant, William had to take orders from his superior officer Richard IV, and, while evidence is rather sketchy, it is at least conceivable that these experiences had a negative impact on the relationship of the cousins.[32]

There is no doubt that they interacted in the political sphere where Richard IV served as “one of his Majesties Judges” of the Court of Common Pleas in Riverhead. In 1770, William sold land to Jacob Eaton for “five hundred pounds New York money,” but he had to have the deed approved by Richard IV. Further, from 1760-1773, William and his family were frequently involved in minor lawsuits, mostly relating to the will of Nicoll, who died around 1751, and left young William with the entire Mastic property. It is unclear what role Richard IV played in these court cases, but Richard III presided over almost every one of them throughout his long political career.[33]

The natural personalities of the cousins must have clashed to a certain extent. Richard IV, far more of an extrovert than William, was known for being outspoken in his political beliefs and long appreciated in the community for his profuse hospitality to guests. In contrast, while records do not condemn William as being unwelcoming, the younger Floyd cousin was relatively stoic and more on the introverted side of the communication spectrum. Of course, as William had inherited the entirety of his father’s property at a young age, he must have been preoccupied with the management of his estate, and perhaps this contributed to his quiet nature.

Ideologically, the Floyd cousins stood in opposition to each other. Richard IV was a devout Anglican, and both his father and grandfather were heavily involved in the establishment of Caroline Church. Conversely, William, whose father seemingly had Anglican leanings, ultimately identified as a Presbyterian. Still, Richard III often petitioned William for Anglican church taxes, and had the legal right to do so through a “Legacy” left by Richard II. In September 1761, William paid Richard III £35 in taxes which enabled renovations for Caroline Church. It is uncertain whether or not the legacy continued after Richard III’s death, and it is unclear as to what extent the religious differences between the cousins contributed to their overall relationship.[34]

As with most families who spend enough time together, these contrasting personality traits and religious beliefs, “which in peacetime might be considered charming… and even sources of humorous anecdote,” probably caused real tensions between the cousins by the 1770s. By 1774, Richard IV took to Tory circles, while William joined Whig councils. Indeed, the latter became as staunch a Patriot as the former was a Loyalist. Still, in spite of their opposing positions, at stake for both Richard IV and William were their reputations in the community, their lands and fortunes, and their ties to family and friends.[35]

In 1775, within weeks of the clashes at Lexington and Concord, William helped establish the Brookhaven Committee of Observation and became its chairman by late summer. This group, mostly composed of zealous Patriots, attempted to thwart Loyalists in Brookhaven from assisting the British war effort in any way. The Committee circulated Association papers—essentially, Patriot roll calls—that were drafted and signed by Long Island men who vowed to follow the demands of the Continental Congress and Provincial Conventions. Residents who refused to sign the Association were marked out as Non-Associators and Loyalists. Of course, Richard IV steered clear of the Brookhaven Committee of Observation. Instead, according to the Patriots, he and other Loyalists proudly “declared that they will furnish” British “men-of-war and cutters with provisions.”[36]

Rebel bodies caught up in the frenzy pressured residents to sign the Association or face the consequences of mob violence. In fear of their lives, some wealthy Loyalists, like Thomas Fanning and Benjamin Floyd, signed in 1775.[37] But Richard IV did not. Indeed, the only mention of him on any Association pledge was to signify his refusal to sign one in spring 1775. Thomas Jones noted that his relation was “as loyal a subject as ever the king could boast of.” Richard IV’s stout resistance to Patriot harassment is particularly telling of his persevering personality in spite of personal setbacks and trying circumstances. His father and mentor Richard III died on 25 April 1775, leaving Richard IV the entire Pattersquash estate. Unlike Thomas and Benjamin, who realigned themselves with Britain in summer 1776, Richard IV never forsook his devout allegiance to the Crown. Labeled a Non-Associator, a “recusant,” and a “very bad” man by local rebels, Richard IV was marked out as a dangerous enemy to the Patriot cause.[38]

By the dawn of the American Revolution, political differences generally trumped kinship ties in Suffolk County. While Suffolk Loyalists considered the Association papers a dangerous nuisance and certainly an unwelcome intrusion into their lives, by 1776 tensions between confirmed Loyalists and Patriots boiled to a head. At the forefront of the rebel resistance in Suffolk County was William Floyd and the Brookhaven Committee, which by mid 1776 had dubbed itself the Brookhaven Committee of Safety. Sometime in late 1775, Committee aggression prompted Richard Miller, a staunch Long Island Loyalist and ambitious judge of the Court of Common Pleas, to seek exile. Miller was a former member of the pre-1776 Brookhaven Committee, and was close friends with Richard IV and Benjamin, and also with Anglican priest James Lyon and freeholder John Bailis. In 1778, all four of these gentlemen affixed their signatures on a memorial on behalf of a kidnapped Loyalist friend to Sir Henry Clinton.[39]

On 5 January 1776, Miller wrote from an undisclosed location to Benjamin, who had replaced him as town supervisor in 1774, that he longed “to see all my good friends once more,” but was aware of the Committee’s reward of twenty shillings “for any person to take me up and to bring me before their worships.” The defiant Miller remarked that the Committeemen “must first [find] out where I be before they can take me,” and was “fully of the opinion that if they was to know where I am they would not have courage enough… to attempt to take me nor neither do I think their force is sufficient.” The judge fumed at the thought of serving “three months Imprisonment,” or paying “a fine of three pounds” and signing “the association paper.” He looked forward to “better times and much better Liberty than Committee Liberty,” when Long Island would be “taken by our party Early in the Spring and kept as a place rendezvous for them and then undoubtedly we shall have liberty… to speak openly without fear of Congress or Committee.”[40]

However, Miller was fearful that if he returned home before the British occupation, the Brookhaven Committee would not give him a proper hearing. Miller believed that the Committeemen adhered to a principle “which is first to hang a man and afterwards to indite him.” He sarcastically challenged Daniel Roe, a Captain in the Patriot army, to pay him the “ten pounds” Roe had apparently offered for Miller’s capture, and the Loyalist would willingly return. Miller confided to Benjamin that he was certain “the poor Devil has not got so much money… if he had he would buy himself a new pair of Britches before the next Committee Meeting.” Sometime in 1776, Miller returned home but was captured somewhere in Brookhaven, and executed by men under Roe’s command.[41]

By mid-1776, due to a small local militia and a lack of imperial presence, the Brookhaven Committee of Safety asserted their self-proclaimed authority over Suffolk County Tories. Committeemen easily interrogated confirmed or suspected Loyalists, and those with familial connections to Loyalists, regardless of their social status. Still, determined Loyalists continued to resist what was to them a treasonous and illegal political body. Loyalist Andrew Patchin of Brookhaven frequently challenged the Committee of Safety during interrogations. Andrew was charged with damning the Congress “with very abusive and vilifying Language,” and openly insisted that citizens oppose the measures of Congress and Committeemen. He “particularly Dam’d Colonel William Floyd,” for coming “home from the Congress on purpose to make Disturbance and the Divil [sic] would have him, for he would go to Hell for what he had done.”[42]

Thomas Fanning also earned an infamous reputation among the Committeemen in 1776. He was placed under great scrutiny when they found that he regularly corresponded with his Loyalist brother Edmund Fanning, who was Governor William Tryon’s personal secretary.[43] This familial connection made the wealthy Thomas, who had been in and out of court with many future Patriots throughout the 1760s, an easy and convenient target for the intrusive rebels. He was cited to appear before the Committee “with all the Letters” from his brother “received within three months,” which probably contained British intelligence. At the hearing, the acerbic Loyalist confessed that he had the letters, but not with him, and that he would rather have “his flesh all pul’d off with hot pincers” than show them to the Committeemen.[44]

Thomas vigorously denied the legality of the Brookhaven Committee on a number of occasions, and hurled “abusive language… calculated to Dissuade and Discourage” all who might oppose the “Ministerial Troops.” Thomas was also accused of stating that the colonies would “never have any Peace” until “five or six of them damned Scoundrels on the Congress,” including John Hancock and Samuel Adams, were hanged. Thomas denied the accuser’s phrasing but stood by the sentiments. Abraham Woodhull charged him with stating that if he had “a hundred Lives, he would venture Ninety and Nine of them on the side of the King’s Forces, rather than one on the part of Congress.” Thomas proudly confirmed this accusation and wildly challenged “any three members” of the Committee, “if they dare,” to a pistol duel. Thomas was taken to New York for judicial punishment, but evidence is inconclusive as to his sentence. Although he was a Non-Associator, there are no records of Richard IV being interrogated or harassed by the Committee, perhaps due to a lingering bond with William.[45]

Loyalists suffered intense persecution under the Brookhaven Committee of Safety in the months preceding British occupation. The tide turned in late summer 1776, after the Crown’s victory on Long Island. The Committee disbanded, and William and other members fled elsewhere to fill Patriot coffers. In contrast, Richard IV readied himself and his troops for the protection of Suffolk County against rebel forces. Although recorded interactions between the Floyd cousins after 1770 have not been uncovered, it seems that, by summer 1776, whatever nostalgic bonds remained between the two heads of household were severed.

Restoring the Colonies to the Crown’s Protection and Peace

By late 1776, a highly lucrative marketplace on the South Bay resumed for residents in New York and for the British army and navy. According to Thomas Jones, the bay bustled with not less than “150 pettyaugers, schooners, and small sloops,” going “80 miles down the island” and returning “weekly to New York loaded with shell fish of every kind, wild fowl of all sorts, and in winter with large quantities of fish, with which the New York markets were plentifully supplied.” Merchandisers from New York City also bartered goods to Suffolk inhabitants for “hogs, lambs, calves, hams, smoked beef, cheese, butter, and poultry of all kinds.” Just like before the Revolution, when Brookhaven elites scrambled to gain exclusive rights to the South Bay’s plentiful resources, so did the British jump on the opportunity to seize southern Long Island’s impressive maritime market.[46]

Of course, as the invading army from across the Atlantic Ocean, Crown troops required more than foodstuffs to sustain the war effort in New York. Large quantities of “plank, boards, and shingles” were also purchased near the South Bay and taken westward. In late summer 1776, Brigadier General William Erskine ordered inhabitants to furnish the army with “whatever lays in their power,” including “wagons and horses” for transporting baggage.[47] Impressments of men, horses, and wagons was an almost constant demand laid upon Suffolk County inhabitants by British agents. Richard IV and other Suffolk County Loyalists readily answered the call to supply the British with whatever resources they required, under the assumption that suppliers would be paid in full for their contributions. Unfortunately, along with many other Long Island Loyalists, Richard IV was deceived by the British military government.

Richard Floyd dutifully gave the Crown “two horses worth sixty pounds, and a wagon worth twenty pounds,” but was not paid at the time of the exchange. Instead, British agents promised to pay their debt at a later date. Richard IV’s contributions saw service from August to the middle of December 1776. When the horses and wagon never returned at the close of the year, the Colonel most likely realized that payment would be long in coming. Eventually, Governor Tryon intervened on his behalf, but to no avail. No repayment for the horses and wagon ever came to Richard IV.[48] Seven years later, the Colonel would find himself still seeking compensation for horses and a wagon, valued at £70.[49]

British mismanagement of the various Commissary offices established under military law was to blame for the nonpayment of debts owed to Loyalists. Commissary departments quickly fell to corruption at the hands of self-interested individuals. Agents came from Britain and from all over the colonies, and purchased provisions from loyal Islanders at prices below their values (if they were paid at all at the time of exchange), sold them to their British superiors for much more, and pocketed the differences. Out of all the Commissary offices established for Long Island by the Crown—no less than twelve—it was perhaps the Quartermaster department which was the most loathed by Long Island Loyalists. According to Thomas Jones, quartermasters “refused to pay… for the horses and wagons lost in the service, or for the time of their being therein.” Instead, they “cursed and damned” sellers, turned them away, were “invisible” to many more, and “threatened” others “with the prevost for being rebels.” Apparently, some officers departed Long Island after two years, “richer than half the princes in Germany,” and “leaving successors to make their fortune in the same manner.” However, Tory disdain for the British mismanagement of Suffolk County must have paled in comparison to marauding Patriots and pirates, who infested the region throughout the entire conflict.[50]

In the early stages of the Revolutionary War, the Crown made modest efforts to fortify Brookhaven against attackers. The British ordered its agents and local militias, servants, and slaves to erect two forts along the township’s northern coastline to secure it against enemies, who were mostly exiled Long Island men in whaleboats, crossing the Long Island Sound from Connecticut and its surrounding areas. In spite of the Crown’s attempts to defend Brookhaven, Patriots and self-interested pirates found ways around the fortifications and to residences on both northern and southern shores, due to Long Island’s extensive coastline, and numerous creeks and inlets. It was not long before freebooters began infesting the profitable South Bay near Richard IV’s estate, navigating through many “little rivers emptying themselves” into the bay, all of which were fit for whaleboats. By late 1777, in spite of British protection, Richard IV and other Loyalists had just cause to worry about their safety.[51]

In December, Richard IV’s friend Major Frederick Hudson of Wading River, was plundered and seized from his home. In March 1778, the Colonel, along with Benjamin Floyd, who served as Lieutenant Colonel in the Suffolk militia, James Lyon, and John Bailis wrote to Sir Henry Clinton, who had replaced Sir William Howe as Commander-in-Chief, that “for his firm attachment to our Happy Constitution,” Frederick was “taken & carried to New England a Prisoner” of “Mr. Parson’s Brigade.” The Loyalists were “very sensible” of the victim’s “unhappy Situation” and the “Distressed feelings of his Family… the wasting condition of his Interest, and that the whole of these calamities are come upon him for his Loyalty,” and his love of government. They implored Clinton to “think of his unhappy Situation, and if possible… Direct some method whereby he may be restored to his Family, his Friends,” and “this county.” To make matters personally worse for Richard IV, his mother Elizabeth died, probably from old age, in April 1778.[52]

Suffolk County Loyalists suffered many misfortunes during the years 1778-1779. By early 1778, vicious whaleboat men who assailed Long Island had hijacked the south shore’s thriving commerce, and instilled dread in civilians. They “destroyed all the wood boats, hay boats, coasters, canoes… belonging to the inhabitants on the south side of the island,” and robbed residents of their “furniture, linen, wearing apparel, money,” slaves, “rum, wine, sugar, and salt,” killed their cattle, and burned their crops. In the spring, British war strategy shifted with changing leadership roles, and Clinton shockingly ordered the destruction of both Brookhaven forts. The “stores, provisions, and artillery” were brought away by troops “about six miles from New York.” Thomas Jones noted that no concrete reason was given by the Crown for these betraying actions, but it seems likely that Clinton chose to utilize the materials and manpower from the forts to further barricade the British stronghold of New York City.[53]

After 1777, Suffolk County residents were increasingly left to their own devices, at the mercy of Patriots, pirates, and disgruntled redcoats. Richard IV’s loyal inner circle was continually harassed. Thomas Fanning was abducted and taken to Connecticut in June 1778. In August 1779, Frederick Hudson, restored to his home in Suffolk, was again plundered, this time by a “party of rebels, with their faces blacked.”[54] Benjamin Floyd, while serving as both Lieutenant Colonel under his brother in Suffolk’s militia and Brookhaven town supervisor, bore the brunt of local frustrations. In summer 1778, Tryon, DeLancey, and the King’s soldiery “of near 1000 Provincials” traveled from New York to eastern Long Island to “secure the peaceable behavior of the disaffected inhabitants in that quarter,” and claim “about 1000 fat cattle for the army.”[55] After Benjamin entertained Tryon and his men at his lavish Setauket homestead in September, the British rank-and-file unexpectedly ransacked “all his apples, his Indian corn, potatoes, turnips, cabbages, the greatest part of his poultry, and burnt up all his fences.” Shortly after, Benjamin was again plundered, this time by raiders who carried him off to Connecticut in the middle of the night.[56]

Benjamin’s unfortunate experiences were most likely a result of his wishy-washy political nature. He had sent a pledge of loyalism to New York in 1775, the same year in which he had signed the Association. He was ostensibly a Loyalist, who was still tied to Patriot circles on Long Island through the rebel dominated (and mostly ineffective) Brookhaven Committee. Alexander Rose notes that it was because of these Patriot connections that Benjamin was released unharmed and brought back to Setauket shortly after his capture. Despite this temporary safety net, and the assumed security upon his return, Benjamin was again ambushed in the night by New England freebooters, who “took away his furniture” and “robbed him of £1,000 in cash.”[57]

Richard IV, always the staunch Loyalist gentleman, known for his “affability, politeness, fine manners, and profuse hospitality,” did not have the same issues with the redcoats as Benjamin did. The Colonel hosted the royal company at his Pattersquash home, “famed for its always open doors.” Indeed, the large British presence probably brought a brief sense of relief and security to loyal Mastic in the hot summer of 1778. There are no records of what the Colonel and the Governor discussed, but it is probable that Tryon, like Richard IV, was concerned with the raiding parties that infested Suffolk County.[58] During his trip to eastern Long Island, Tryon also presented oaths of allegiance to roughly 2,677 inhabitants capable of military service. The number that served under Richard IV in the Suffolk militia after the Governor’s exit was undoubtedly much lower.[59]

Despite a second visit by Tryon to Suffolk County in autumn 1778, after which he bragged that he had “brought all the inhabitants on the E. end of L.I., as far as Montauk Point, under an oath of peaceable behavior to his Majesty’s Government, and with good humor,” not much changed for loyal inhabitants in the long run. With Tryon and the British soldiery’s final departure, pirate attacks on the south shore resumed. Order was briefly restored in early spring 1779, when Commander-in-Chief Henry Clinton, along with “3 or 400 troops,” marched from New York to eastern Long Island to join “those who had been there several weeks, said to amount in the whole to 3 or 4000.” However, fearing that the French were set to assail New York City, Clinton commanded his soldiers to leave Suffolk County shortly after their arrival. While both Tryon’s and Clinton’s respective journeys to eastern Long Island in 1778 and 1779 may have brought to Loyalists a brief sense of security, their situation remained tense and uncertain. Violence ensued upon the destruction of the forts and the departures of the royal companies.[60]

Richard Floyd IV’s Unhappy Situation

Spring and summer 1779 proved to be especially unsettling seasons for Richard IV. On 12 June 1779, Richard IV wrote to Lieutenant General Daniel Jones, serving the British in New York, “In consciquence [sic] of an order just reciev’d [sic] from your Excellency requiring a draught of men from the Militia in this County.” Penning his letter from an undisclosed location in Suffolk County, Richard IV explained to Jones that “I am willing to exert myself in any thing for the assistance of Government in my power, but the situation of this County at present is such that is impracticable for me to comply with the request, without Laying myself so Exposed that I must quit my residence here, as I have not been able to lodge in my house this three weeks past and plundered within that space.” Richard IV, like Frederick Hudson and other Loyalists before him, was being hunted. While the Colonel was on the run from “Rebels being frequently in and about the county and continually cruising the South Bay ready to catch any officer that shall be found openly exerting themselves in behalf of Government,” his estate was plundered “three times, and his cattle, sheep, and several of his slaves” carried off. Richard IV’s experiences during this period were in some ways a precursor to the New York Act of Attainder, passed by the Continental New York Legislature in the autumn of that year.[61]

The controversial act stripped the most ardent Loyalists in New York of their land titles and all other “real and personal” estate. The Loyalists were branded as absolute “enemies to this State” and condemned for being adherent to the King, “his fleets and armies… with intent to subvert the government and liberties of this state… and to bring the same into subjection to the crown of Great Britain.” Over fifty of New York’s “notorious offenders” were “convicted and attainted” of the offense “aforesaid… for crimes committed before the termination of the present war.” Not surprisingly, Richard IV was convicted. The vengeful Patriots declared the Colonel’s estate “forfeited and vested in the people of this state,” and stripped him of his civil liberties in New York. Article II boldly declared that convicted royalist sympathizers were “for ever banished from this State; and each and every of them, who shall at any time… be found in any part” of New York “shall be… declared guilty of felony, and shall suffer death… without the benefit of clergy.” By 1779, Patriot intentions for Richard IV were clear.[62]

Thankfully for Richard IV, in 1779 British jurisdiction still reigned in southern New York, and the Crown’s military presence was still strong enough to render the Attainder law null and void. Still, the Act of Attainder encouraged freebooters to continue looting and harassing Long Island Loyalists. From 1779 onward, demands from the Crown for more men and more supplies for the western war theater were consistently rejected or simply could not be fulfilled by eastern Islanders, who from the start of tensions supported the royal cause to defend their homes from rowdy Patriots. In that same year, Parliamentary strategy turned from conquest by arms to a more diplomatic bid for the hearts and minds of rebellious colonists in New York. The Crown appointed General James Robertson as civil governor, and martial rule officially ended. In April 1780, Robertson issued a proclamation stating King George III’s wish for the “Revival of the Civil Authority, to prove to all the Colonies and Provinces, that it is not his Design to govern America by Military Law, but that they are to enjoy all the Benefits of a local Legislation and their former Constitution.”[63]

Robertson’s words must have brought sighs of relief from Loyalists, but post-military law Long Islanders were still burdened by royal demands to aid the war effort in ways almost identical to before. On 16 June 1780, due to the incredibly harsh winter of 1779-1780, when the British army almost ran out of fuel in New York City and many perished from the extreme cold, Robertson alerted Suffolk County residents of the “Necessity of a seasonable and ample” fuel supply for his Majesty’s troops in New York. Robertson instructed “the Inhabitants of Southold, Southampton, and East Hampton” to cut “3000 Cords of Wood,” or just about over a month’s supply of wood for the garrison in New York City, from the “Wood-Lands late belonging to William Smith and William Floyd.” It seems likely that, by 1780, Richard IV was again residing at home, and oversaw local operations on confiscated rebel properties. While there is no surviving evidence that confirms British acquisition of three thousand cords of wood from Mastic, this order sheds light on the special circumstances of the Mastic Peninsula, and indicates that Richard IV’s devoted service to the Crown spared Mastic from an ultimate reaping of its woodlands and other resources pre-1780.[64]

Undoubtedly, some amount of wood was cut from William Smith’s Manor of St. George as per Robertson’s demand, as workers were already there constructing a royal fort. Indeed, the proximity of the estate to the bay rendered it more vulnerable than the other Mastic homes to pirate raids, especially after the defenses in Brookhaven were torn down. The fortification of the Manor of St. George—which upon completion in late 1780 was renamed Fort St. George by the British—signaled the Crown’s last effort to secure eastern Long Island. Unkechaug laborers and enslaved Africans were involved in the harder, dirtier work required for building a fort, including digging ditches, cutting and cording wood, and constructing abatis. It is unclear for how long Britain’s easternmost defense was under construction, or how prominent of a role the Colonel had in its erection and management, if he had any at all.[65]

The British troops who arrived in Mastic around September 1780, required for transporting wood and defending the fort, may have provided a greater sense of safety—as did Tryon’s visits two years earlier—to loyal residents on the south shore. However, as was usual in revolutionary Suffolk County, security for Loyalists was short-lived. Thanks to double agent William Booth, who lived under Tory guise at Fort St. George, Benjamin Tallmadge, Setauket native and Continental spy ring extraordinaire, obtained plans of the defenses. Tallmadge also learned that Fort St. George contained a “depository of stores, dry goods, groceries, and arms, from whence Suffolk county could be supplied.” The young Major pestered Patriot Commander-in-Chief George Washington to grant him leave to lead his dragoons to Long Island, to sack the fort and burn hay in Coram. After Washington consented, Tallmadge and his troop of roughly eighty men sailed across the Long Island Sound from Connecticut in whaleboats, and landed on the northern coast of Long Island. The rebels eventually made their way south to Fort St. George, and Tallmadge later recalled that the impressive fort was a “triangular inclosure of several acres of ground, at two angles of which was a strong barricade house, and at the third, a fort, with a deep ditch and wall encircled by an abatis of sharpened pickets, projecting at an angle of 45 degrees.” The latter fort was nearest to the South Bay shoreline.[66]

In the early morning hours on 23 November, Tallmadge led his dismounted dragoons through the Mastic forest and near the “fort and houses… entirely connected by a strong stockade, quite high, and every post… fastened to each other by a transverse rail strongly bolted to each.” The Continentals descended on the fort and surprised the small British garrison of roughly sixty men, which housed redcoats and Loyalist refugees, the latter mostly from New England. After a brief battle, Tallmadge and his dragoons displaced the resistance, but struck Patriot colors prematurely. Though outnumbered, courageous Crown troops fired on the conquerors from the manor house. The unfortunate soldiers “were thrown headlong from the windows of the second story to the ground.” According to Tallmadge, his out of control dragoons “would have killed” all opponents “had I not ordered the slaughter to cease.” The British lost seven men, while the Continentals lost none.[67]

Following the sack of Fort St. George, the Continentals secured the prisoners, consisting of at least three officers, around fifty rank-and-file, and an unknown number of New England Loyalists. The captives “were pinioned two and two together,” and saddled with bundles of “valuable articles of dry goods” that would be appropriated for Patriot use in Connecticut. Tallmadge and his men burned the fortifications that contained an “immense quantity of stores, of various kinds.” They also torched a British ship, loaded with goods, docked in the South Bay. Lingering Loyalist hopes for lasting security in Brookhaven dissipated, as the Crown’s last attempt at fortifying Suffolk County burned to the ground.[68]

From 1780 onward, the number of Crown troops gradually thinned in Suffolk County. This was, to some extent, due to the end of military rule in the region, but the British also needed the manpower for their military campaigns against the southern colonies and to defend New York City. Nonetheless, Richard IV and his Suffolk County militia continued to do their jobs under Robertson’s civil government. From South Haven on 18 September 1781, Colonel Richard IV ordered Nathan Rose, a Captain of the Patriot army, to “take the charge of the prisoners that will be Delivered to you,” passed to “Mr Daniel Reeves,” who was expected to “safly [sic]… convey them to Capt Dingy,” who was ordered to deliver them “to the first Captain, in Queens County,” so that “they may be Safly [sic] sent to New York.” Richard IV urged Nathan to “fail not” in this command.[69]

Richard Floyd IV’s Peculiar Situation

After news reached New York that the Continentals and their French allies had forced the British to surrender at Yorktown in October 1781, Patriot disdain for Loyalists intensified. As the prospect of a British victory in America dwindled, rebels in the New York Legislature refused to overturn the 1779 Act of Attainder, and moved to enforce the property confiscations. By mid-1783, while a group of peace commissioners in Paris fleshed out the final details of British withdrawal from American shores, and with the Act of Attainder looming over his head, Richard IV found himself facing a tragic turn of events unimaginable in 1776. Benjamin Franklin, one of the American peace commissioners, was vindictive and personalized in his approach to the treaty, undoubtedly due to his estranged relationship with his Loyalist son William Franklin. Benjamin Franklin insisted on including Article V, “a limp nod” to Loyalists, which stated that the victorious “Congress shall earnestly recommend it to the legislatures of the respective states to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been belonging to real British subjects.” In other words, it was entirely up to state by state jurisdiction whether or not Loyalists were to be legally restored to their properties. A further stipulation, at Franklin’s urging, was that the aforementioned clause pertain only to Loyalists “who had not borne arms against the said United States,” excluding, not by name but by actions, Richard IV, along with thousands of other Loyalist military veterans.[70] However, as he had done in 1775 in spite of Association pressures, the Colonel stood strong against Patriot harassment in 1783.

From the British evacuation in that year to spring 1786, Richard IV “hovered about the neighborhood of Long Island,” delaying his departure for as long as he could, in hopes of obtaining a repeal of the Attainder. For unknown reasons, he was “unable to take his family to Great Britain,” but as a dutiful husband and father, was also “unwilling to desert them.” Richard IV probably laid low with his wife Arabella at Pattersquash farm for a time, but being stripped of his civil rights, could not linger in Brookhaven for long. By summer 1784, the Colonel’s estate, which was estimated as being worth £9,820 New York currency, started to be sold off to Patriots by right of the malicious 1779 Act of Attainder. On the run from angry New York Patriots, who would have relished seeing his corpse swinging from the gibbet, Richard IV took refuge with friends in New Jersey, and—of all places—Connecticut.[71]

During this tumultuous time, the Colonel was continually guided by the legal wisdom of his brother-in-law and attorney Thomas Jones, who lived in exile in England with Richard IV and Arabella’s daughter Elizabeth. In spite of the thousands of miles of ocean between them, Jones went to great lengths to help his family on Long Island after the war. Through letters, he closely worked with his sister Arabella to ensure that Richard IV’s plight did not fall on deaf ears in the mother country. Fortunately for Richard IV, who despite his turmoil was “well and Easy” in early 1784—at least according to Arabella—Jones took the liberty to send a memorial on his behalf to “the Commissioners appointed by Act of parliament for inquiring into the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists,” dated 9 March 1784, just weeks before the deadline. Jones was held up in writing the memorial because he needed to wait for their family friend “Mr. Willet” to send him the Colonel’s military commissions. It appears that Richard IV took his time in gathering the papers, or simply could not locate them in a timely fashion. Evidence suggests that, while the Colonel steadfastly adhered to the royal cause, he dealt with obligations of all kinds at his own pace, and was, at least to some extent, accustomed to “enjoying the fruits of his family’s success.”[72]

Although Richard IV persisted in his efforts to obtain a repeal of the Act of Attainder in the new United States of America, his hopes of returning home were effectively snuffed out in March 1786, after James Duane, the Mayor of the City of New York, affixed his seal to a testimony which confirmed the 1784 sales of the Colonel’s ancestral home.[73] Sometime in spring 1786, Richard IV sailed to New Brunswick. It must have been a harrowing voyage for the Colonel, who was not only financially ruined, but emotionally wounded as well. In spring 1785, Arabella had died from unknown causes in Brookhaven. Most likely, Richard IV was not with her at the time of her passing. Richard IV’s only son David Richard became increasingly estranged from his father, and his youngest daughter Ann married a Patriot. Surviving sources suggest that Richard IV was likely closest to his first child Elizabeth, but she moved to England with Thomas Jones in 1781, and remained there for the rest of the war. Without his family, Richard IV had likely lost the will to fight any longer.[74]

Figure 4: Photo of Tombstone of Arabella Floyd, by author. The grave also mentions her husband Richard Floyd IV, “who died at Mangerville [sic] St. John, New Brunswick, 1791.” width=
Figure 4: Photo of Tombstone of Arabella Floyd, by author. The grave also mentions her husband Richard Floyd IV, “who died at Mangerville [sic] St. John, New Brunswick, 1791.” Located in Woodhull Cemetery, Mastic, New York. Despite whatever nostalgic memories that Richard IV and William Floyd might have shared in their youth, William did not come to his cousin’s aid at conflict’s end. Undoubtedly, as a dedicated member of the Continental Congress throughout the war, he would have held some amount of sway with his cronies in the New York Legislature. William’s complete silence on Richard IV’s fate is perplexing but not altogether surprising, as neither gentleman left any records detailing what one thought of the other. There is also no evidence which indicates that the Floyd cousins spent much time together in Mastic outside of family gatherings and military affairs.Regardless of William’s opinion on the attainder of Richard IV, which remains impossible to determine, the younger Floyd seemingly did nothing to aid his older cousin at war’s end.[75]

Benjamin Floyd, who played both sides under British occupation, was not attainted like his older brother. Instead, in 1784, Benjamin was permitted to purchase most of Pattersquash farm. It is conceivable that, because of the warm relationship between the Floyd brothers, Benjamin was hopeful for the return of Richard IV to Suffolk County, and wished to secure the homestead for Arabella and the couple’s children who remained on Long Island. Perhaps he believed that David Richard, who was only a young boy during the Revolutionary War, had a chance to one day become the proprietor of Pattersquash farm. However, the Colonel never came back, and Arabella passed away a year after Benjamin purchased the farm. To make matters worse, New York Patriots forbid David Richard from inheriting his father’s estate. Regardless of Benjamin’s exact reasoning for purchasing his older brother’s land, he sold the property roughly two years after Arabella’s death.[76]

Sometime in 1788, Richard IV settled in Maugerville, New Brunswick. Along with other exiled Loyalists, he carved out a new home for himself in the wilderness. While the Colonel would never again amass the acreage that he enjoyed in Suffolk County, he was able to resume his farmer lifestyle in Maugerville, albeit in a far less luxurious manner.[77] Although Richard IV had originally claimed £5,343 sterling in losses, the Loyalist Claims Commission awarded him a total sum of £2,310 sterling in 1789.[78] With this money, he secured bond payments from fellow settlers and leased land in Maugerville.[79] However, Richard IV would never again see his family, nor set foot on his native Long Island. In February 1791, around his fifty-ninth birthday, Richard Floyd IV died intestate in New Brunswick.[80]


The story of Colonel Richard Floyd IV brings to light instances far grimmer in nature than historians have fully acknowledged in past narratives of the American Revolution. By looking at Suffolk County, the uprooting effects of war on family ties come to the forefront, and these insights beg scholars to revisit and reevaluate kinship relations on an individual basis in a variety of ways. For the Colonel and his family, civil war ruptured familial, communal, political, and religious bonds that had persisted in Suffolk County for generations. Richard Floyd IV’s wartime experiences illuminate the stress of local conditions, as experienced by loyal provincials on eastern Long Island, and ultimately expose the unfulfilled hopes and the severe losses of the American Loyalists.


[1]Richard IV inherited his namesake from his father Richard III, who owed it to his father Richard II, who inherited it from his father Richard I. Richard Floyd I was a farmer of Welsh descent who settled on Long Island in the seventeenth century. Due to the many Floyd relations present in late eighteenth-century Brookhaven, this study primarily employs first names to avoid confusion, and numerical indicators for those of Richard I’s legacy. Richard Floyd, without any number, refers to the fourth of the name. I use the terms “Loyalist” and “Tory” to identify those Americans who supported the Crown during the Revolutionary War, while I use the terms “Patriot” and “rebel” to denote those who favored separation from Great Britain. These labels, while perhaps considered derogatory by some historians, were nonetheless used extensively during this time and serve as ideological indicators. For the Attainder of Richard Floyd IV, see The New York Act of Attainder, or Confiscation Act. Courtesy of the digital collection of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. (Accessed March 2014). Along with Richard IV, the 1779 New York Act of Attainder also attainted Dr. George Muirson and Parker Wickham of Suffolk County. For an extraordinary account on the life of Parker Wickham, which includes figures of Richard IV’s family tree, see Dwight Holbrook, The Wickham Claim. (The Suffolk County Historical Society, 1986).

[2]Judith L. Van Buskirk, Generous Enemies: Patriots and Loyalists in Revolutionary New York. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002).

[3]Milton M. Klein and Ronald W. Howard, eds., The Twilight of British Rule in Revolutionary America: The New York Letter Book of General James Robertson, 1780-1783. (The New York State Historical Association, 1983), 3-4. Klein and Howard note that Jones might have been influenced in his political views by family relation and the “hard-line tory general” Oliver DeLancey. For more information on Thomas Jones and his account of the Revolution, see Joseph S. Tiedemann, “Thomas Jones: Embittered Long Island Loyalist,” Long Island History Journal, Volume 21, Issue 1 (2009).

[4]Van Buskirk, Generous Enemies, 71. See Maya Jasanoff, Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World. (Vintage Books, 2012).

[5]For Richard IV’s journey to York Island, see Henry Onderdonk, Jr., Revolutionary Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Counties, With an Account of the Battle of Long Island and the British Prisons and Prison-ships at New York. (Leavitt & Company, 1849), 57-61. On 11 November 1776, a newspaper reported that “The following declarations from the Committees of Suffolk and from all the Town Com’s were delivered to His Ex. Gov. Tryon on Thursday last, by Major Richard Floyd and Mr. Tho’s Fanning, who were deputed by the inhabitants to present the same.” The New York printer was mistaken on Richard IV’s military rank, and must have been unaware that he had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1773. See Memorial of Richard Floyd Esq, by Thomas Jones. 9 March 1784. Courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives, AO 13/12.

[6]Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents, 57-61. The other pledges, also signed throughout late October, were from Huntington, Smithtown, Southold, Southampton, and East Hampton. They all declared warm attachments to the Crown and the British Constitution.

[7]Van Buskirk, Generous Enemies, 21.

[8]Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents, 60.

[9]Staudt, The Other New York, 63-66. Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution: With an Historical Essay. (Little, Brown and Company, 1864), see Floyd.

[10]Richard Floyd, Thomas Fanning, and Frederick Hudson to Governor William Tryon, 28 November 1776. Microfilm Collection of the Institute for Colonial Studies, State University of New York at Stony Brook, reel HK. Stony Brook, NY: The Institute, 1965. Microfilm, Special Collections, Stony Brook University. On 2 December 1776, Tryon, who also erred on Richard IV’s military rank, replied to the Loyalist gentlemen stating that “I have presented their very dutiful and loyal Petition and Representation to his Excellency General Howe, one of the King’s Commissioners for restoring Peace to His Majesty’s Colonies,” who in turn promised to “take the earliest Opportunity of communicating with Lord Howe on the Occasion.” Tryon also praised the Loyalists for their “Attachment to the British Constitution,” which was “at this Season particularly commendable.” Tryon’s response is included at the bottom of the 28 November loyalty pledge (see Figure II). Richard IV’s sense of urgency in this pledge highlights the tumultuous and often violent circumstances that rocked Long Island at this time, as Loyalist militiamen and British regulars, understaffed and underfunded by imperial agents and their government across the Atlantic, struggled to maintain and defend a civilian population caught up in political and religious conflict well before 1776. The number of signatories on the late November pledge was given in Holbrook, The Wickham Claim, 78.

[11]William Tryon to Richard Floyd, appointment to Colonel of the Regiment of the Militia in Suffolk County. AO 13/12/454-466. Courtesy of David Library of the American Revolution, Pennsylvania.

[12]Richard Floyd I was probably the first slave owner in Setauket. See Beverly C. Tyler, “History Close at Hand: The Floyd family, one of Setauket’s oldest,” 2003. Courtesy of Town of Brookhaven, Historian’s Collection. For an in-depth discussion on Richard I and the family’s origin in Brookhaven, see Larry Lowenthal, William Floyd: Long Island Patriot. (Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, 2013), 6-24. Lowenthal’s work on Richard Floyd IV’s younger cousin William Floyd is well written but suffers from some inaccuracies concerning Richard IV. For instance, Lowenthal incorrectly assumed that Richard IV was born in 1736.

[13]Peter Ross, ed., William S. Pelletreau, A History of Long Island, From its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II. (The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905), 264-265. In this fashion, wealthy Brookhaven residents acquired huge tracts of land from Long Island Indians, who either did not fully understand English court proceedings, or could not pay the often hefty fines laid upon them by white judges and committees. John Strong asserts that it was Richard II, not Richard I, who purchased the Pattersquash property. See John Strong and Mary Laura Lamont, “The Richard Floyd Account Book, 1686-1690: A Search for Authorship and Historical Significance,” Long Island History Journal, Volume 24, Issue 1 (2015).

[14]E. Edwards Beardsley, D.D., Life and Correspondence of Samuel Johnson, D.D. Missionary of the Church of England in Connecticut, and First President of King’s College, New York. (Hurd and Houghton, 1874), 57.

[15]Edward P. Buffet, A History of Caroline Church, Prepared for the Two Hundredth Anniversary of its Organization. (Caroline Church, Setauket, 1923), 1-38. Richard II’s and Richard III’s efforts expose a clear link between Anglicanism and loyalism, embodied in Richard III’s eldest son Richard IV. The Floyd family’s devotion to the establishment of Anglicanism in Suffolk County, along with that religion’s link to loyalism in Brookhaven, is discussed at greater length in my larger work. In dealing with pounds during the American Revolution, it is often unclear (unless otherwise noted) whether British sterling or New York currency is being referenced. While both rates used pounds, New York currency was worth much less than British sterling.

[16]Stephanie S. Bigelow, Bellport and Brookhaven: A Saga of the Sibling Hamlets at Old Purchase South. (Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society, 1968), 16. For Richard III’s appointments, see John G. Staudt, “Suffolk County,” in The Other New York, The American Revolution Beyond New York City, 1763-1787, edited by Joseph S. Tiedemann and Eugene R. Fingerhut. (State University of New York Press, 2005), 64. The Floyd family was accustomed to paying their dues to the Crown in return for prosperity on Pattersquash farm. In the 1730s, the Floyds paid “two bushels of Wheat due for His Majestie’s [sic] Quit Rent.” See 1730, September 3. [Floyd Papers.] Museum of the City of New York.

[17]Copy of Will of Richard Floyd III. 1768. East Hampton Public Library. For the year of Richard III’s death, see Floyd family Bible. 1701. Courtesy of William Floyd Estate Archives. [FIIS 7024.]

[18]Floyd family Bible. 1701. Courtesy of William Floyd Estate Archives. [FIIS 7024.] In their Bible, Richard IV and his family wrote down the birthdates of family members. Richard IV’s birth year of 1731/2 reflects the Crown’s official switch to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian system in 1752. Surviving examples of Richard IV’s penmanship seems to match the handwriting in part of the Floyd family Bible, indicating that Richard IV recorded his own birthdate as “Febry [sic] 26th Anno 1731/2.” It is impossible to determine whether or not Richard IV (or, if not he, whoever wrote it) took into account the lost eleven days due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

[19]It is unclear why Richard IV chose to live at the Mastic estate rather than his father’s primary Setauket residence, but perhaps he preferred the marshlands and soft sandy beaches of the south shore as opposed to the hilly and jagged north shore. Larry Lowenthal notes that it might have been a custom of early Brookhaven settlers of the north shore to send their sons to the south shore. See Lowenthal, William Floyd, 16.

[20]While the surviving letters written by Richard Floyd IV prove that he was educated, the exact location of his schooling remains unknown. Evidence suggests that he was taught at both his homestead and elsewhere on Long Island. The extent of his education is also impossible to determine.

[21]For Richard IV’s rank and battalion in 1758, see “An Abstract of the Militia Roles Returned to the Honourable James Delancey Esq. Governor of New York Anno 1758 by Richard Floyd Esq. Colonel of the Regiment of Militia Foot for Suffolk County consisting of two Battalions,” 1758. [Floyd Papers.] Museum of the City of New York. Originally recorded by Richard III. It is unclear whether or not Richard IV saw much action during the French and Indian War. He most likely remained on domestic patrol in Suffolk County, as he did in 1776.

[22]Thomas Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War and of the Leading Events in the other Colonies at that Period. (New York Historical Society, 1879), lviii-lxviii. Interestingly, Richard IV’s aunt Charity Floyd wed Samuel Johnson on 26 September 1725. While it is impossible to determine whether Charity and Samuel’s date of marriage influenced the young couple’s choice of the twenty-sixth of September for their own wedding day in 1758, it is at least conceivable that the Floyds regarded this day as especially meaningful to their family.

[23]For the date of Richard IV’s appointment as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Suffolk County, see James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, eds., Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography, Volume II: Crane-Grimshaw. (D. Appleton and Company, 1887), 488.

[24]Richard IV’s appointment to Lieutenant Colonel courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives, Memorial of Richard Floyd by Thomas Jones his Attorney, London, 9 March 1784. AO 13 vol. 12.

[25]Will of Richard Floyd III, 1760. [Floyd Papers.] Museum of the City of New York. While Richard III crafted at least three wills during his lifetime, they all used similar prose and all bequeathed the lion’s share to his eldest son.

[26]Census of Suffolk County, 1776, Excerpted from Calendar of Historical Manuscripts Relating to the War of the Revolution. (Hunterdon House, 1984), 6. John A. Strong, The Unkechaug Indians of Eastern Long Island: A History. (University of Oklahoma Press, 2011), 103-131.

[27]Copy of Will of Richard Floyd III. 1768. East Hampton Public Library. Peter Wilson Coldham, American Migrations: The Lives, Times, and Families of Colonial Americans Who Remained Loyal to the British Crown, 1765-1799. (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2000), 231. It is entirely possible that Richard IV’s mother Elizabeth Floyd remained at the Pattersquash estate with Richard IV and his family after the death of Richard III in 1775.

[28]Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 269-270.

[29]Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 342.

[30]Lowenthal, William Floyd, 106-132. Larry Lowenthal clearly debunks the popular myth that William Floyd’s house was used as a stable under British occupation. While it is pure speculation, Richard IV’s motivation for preserving William’s homestead may have stemmed out of his respect for their family’s heritage in the area, or perhaps he and his family held on to some sort of nostalgic bond with William’s children, who grew up alongside Richard and Arabella’s children. It can also be assumed that had the war been won by the Crown, the Colonel would most likely have been awarded a royal title to his cousin’s land, so it would have made sense for him to stop its obliteration. Still, the Colonel’s exact reasoning for preserving William’s estate is unclear. It is extremely likely that William’s residence also served as a barracks for redcoats at various times. Interestingly, Nathaniel Woodhull, who was for many years revered as a martyr of the Patriot cause, took an oath of loyalty to the King sometime before his death. This suggests that Nathaniel may have had ulterior motives for accepting his mission to drive out cattle. Lowenthal offers a telling discussion on this subject in William Floyd, 46-61.

[31]Strong, The Unkechaug Indians, 111.

[32]“An Abstract of the Militia Roles Returned to the Honourable James Delancey Esq. Governor of New York Anno 1758 by Richard Floyd Esq. Colonel of the Regiment of Militia Foot for Suffolk County consisting of two Battalions,” 1758. [Floyd Papers.] Museum of the City of New York. Originally recorded by Richard III. The Suffolk County militia probably served the community as a defensive body, in case of maritime invaders. This assumption can be supported thanks to Benjamin Floyd, who in his later years recorded the “State of the Militia” for the year 1756. The total number of men was 1,584—the Suffolk County militia lost only four men from 1756-1758.

[33]Transcript of the 1770 deed between William Floyd and Jacob Eaton, with Richard IV’s reply. East Hampton Public Library. Book of Common Pleas, 1760-1773. Office of the Suffolk County Clerk. Riverhead County Clerk’s Historical Documents.

[34]Caroline Church Receipt, Richard Floyd III to William Floyd. 1761. Courtesy of William Floyd Estate Archives. [FIIS 9668, Box 1, Folder 21.]

[35]Lowenthal, William Floyd, 24.

[36]Benjamin F. Thompson, History of Long Island from its Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. I, Third Edition. (The Quinn & Boden Co. Press, 1918), 322. Holbrook, The Wickham Claim, 52.

[37]Frederic Gregory Mather, The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut. (1913, reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1972), 1058-1060. Frederick Hudson was also an Associator in 1775. See also “Copy of the Minutes of the Committee of Safety of the Town of Brookhaven, Moriches Patent and St. George’s Manor from April 16 1776 to June 25 1776 inclusive,” 1-15. East Hampton Public Library.

[38]Concerning Richard IV’s loyal character, see Thomas Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 331. For his Non-Association, see Mather, Refugees of 1776, 1060. As in the New York newspaper, he is incorrectly identified as holding the rank of Major. By 1775, he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. For derogatory Loyalist labels, see Mather, Refugees of 1776, 142.

[39]Holbrook, The Wickham Claim, 52-57. Memorial on behalf of Maj. Frederick Hudson, by Richard Floyd, Benjamin Floyd, James Lyon, Cyrus Punderson, and John Bailis, to Sir Henry Clinton. 10 March 1778. [Henry Clinton Papers, vol. 32:1], William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

[40]“A Brookhaven Tory’s letter addressed to Major Benjamin Floyd at Brookhaven,” January 5, 1776. “Copied from the original letter owned by Mr. LeRoy Smith of East Setauket and filed in this book by Osborn Shaw, September, 1942.” [52. Floyd Papers.] Courtesy of the Town of Brookhaven, Historian’s Collection. Miller had served Brookhaven as a justice throughout the French and Indian War, and as town supervisor of the Committee from roughly 1763-1773. For Miller’s accomplishments in Brookhaven, see Osborn Shaw, Records of the Town of Brookhaven, Book C, 1687-1789. (The Derrydale Press, 1930).

[41]“A Brookhaven Tory’s letter addressed to Major Benjamin Floyd at Brookhaven,” January 5, 1776. [52. Floyd Papers.] Courtesy of the Town of Brookhaven, Historian’s Collection. See also “Copy of the Minutes of the Committee of Safety of the Town of Brookhaven,” 1-15. East Hampton Public Library. In May, the Committee recorded an order given to Captain Selah Strong to apprehend Miller, and “give said Miller a hearing and receive Satisfaction if offered from him.” It appears that Miller’s sarcastic remarks about Roe in his letter operated against him. A Patriot account of Richard Miller’s death was reprinted in Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents, 54.

[42]“Copy of the Minutes of the Committee of Safety of the Town of Brookhaven,” 1-15. East Hampton Public Library.

[43]Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, see Fanning.

[44]“Copy of the Minutes of the Committee of Safety of the Town of Brookhaven,” 1-15. East Hampton Public Library. Copy of “1775 Tax List,” under Tax and Assessment Lists, 1665-1799. Courtesy of Town of Brookhaven, Historian’s Collection. Thomas Fanning’s tax rate in 1775 was £2, 18s, 8d, a relatively high amount compared to others on the list. See also Book of Common Pleas, 1760-1773. Office of the Suffolk County Clerk. Riverhead County Clerk’s Historical Documents.

[45]“Copy of the Minutes of the Committee of Safety of the Town of Brookhaven,” 1-15. East Hampton Public Library. As Thomas accompanied Richard IV on his trip to New York in autumn 1776, it seems unlikely that he was given serious punishment, but he could have briefly served jail time.

[46]Thomas R. Bayles, Early Mills, Roads and Industries in Brookhaven Town. (Brookhaven Town Bicentennial Commission, 1976), 1-2. Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 269-270.

[47]Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents, 44-45.

[48]Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 331-336.

[49]Col. Richard Floyd IV’s claims, August (?) 1783, courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives, AO 12 vol. 110, 160-161. Jones estimated that Richard IV lost £80, ten pounds more than what the Colonel later requested.

[50]Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 330-353. The Crown developed no less than twelve Commissary offices for Long Island, complete with a hierarchy of deputies. There was the Commissary of Forage, of Straw, of Cattle, of Artillery, and of Prisoners, to name a few. The Commissary of Prisoners eventually branched into at least four others, after French and Spanish players entered the war scene.

[51]Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 266-267. Jones stated the location of one of the forts as Brookhaven—a rather vague determination, given it is the name of the township, but Setauket was sometimes referred to as Brookhaven.

[52]Memorial on behalf of Maj. Frederick Hudson, by Richard Floyd, Benjamin Floyd, James Lyon, Cyrus Punderson, and John Bailis, to Sir Henry Clinton. 10 March 1778. [Henry Clinton Papers, vol. 32:1], William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. For the date of Elizabeth Floyd’s death, see Floyd family Bible. 1701. Courtesy of William Floyd Estate Archives. [FIIS 7024.]

[53]Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 266-271.

[54]Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents, 75-86. While evidence is inconclusive as to when Frederick Hudson returned to Suffolk after being taken in December 1777, he was plundered at least four times after he came home.

[55]Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents, 76.

[56]Alexander Rose, Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring. (Bantam Books, 2006), 130-131. Rose notes that it was because of Patriot spy Abraham Woodhull’s direct requests to General George Washington that Benjamin Floyd was allowed to return to Setauket unharmed.

[57]Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 268-269.

[58]Wilson and Fiske, eds., Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography, 488.

[59]Thomas B. Allen and Todd W. Braisted, The Loyalist Corps: Americans in Service of the King. (FoxAcre Press, 2011), 77.

[60]Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents, 75-86. Evidence is inconclusive as to whether or not the General and his party visited Richard IV at Mastic during their brief visit to Suffolk. However, it seems likely, as Clinton must have been aware of the Colonel and his royalist efforts, due perhaps to the latter’s bond with Tryon or past letters penned by Richard IV to Clinton and other British officials.

[61]Coll. Richard Floyd to His Excellency Lt. Gen. Daniel Jones Commanding in N. York. 12 June 1779. [Henry Clinton Papers, vol. 60:45], William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. For security reasons, Richard IV did not disclose where he was residing in Suffolk County during this anxious time. Likely spots include his Middle Island farm, South Haven, or Setauket with Benjamin and the militia. Richard’s children—Elizabeth, David Richard, and Ann, were probably staying somewhere in Queens County with family relations. While Arabella might have accompanied them, it can be inferred that she was with Richard IV in Mastic as late as 1782, due to the fact that the letters sent to her from Thomas Jones were handled at South Haven. For properties taken from Richard IV, see Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 268.

[62]The New York Act of Attainder, or Confiscation Act. Courtesy of the digital collection of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. (Accessed March 2014). Holbrook, The Wickham Claim, 88-98.

[63]Klein and Howard, The Twilight of British Rule in Revolutionary America, 91-92. A police court was re-established at Jamaica, with weekly sessions. Prior to this, New York City might have been the only place where Islanders under martial law were able to try minor civil and criminal cases.

[64]Barnet Schecter, The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution. (Jonathan Cape, 2003), 329-330. Klein and Howard, The Twilight of British Rule in Revolutionary America, 119-120.

[65]Perhaps it was Richard IV—who by 1780 had lived roughly four years under the constant fear of whaleboat men cruising the South Bay, ready to carry him and his family off to parts unknown—who initially suggested to Crown agents that a fort should be constructed at the site of William Smith’s manor house. Of course, a lack of documentation renders this assumption tantalizing but unsupportable. Richard IV might have relished the opportunity to utilize William Smith’s estate for royal ends, given the shaky and complicated relationship between the two heads of household. The Floyd-Smith relationship is explored at greater length in my larger work.

[66]Benjamin Tallmadge, Memoir of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge. (Thomas Holman, 1858), 39-40. For an intriguing and informative account of Tallmadge in the American Revolution, see Richard F. Welch, General Washington’s Commando: Benjamin Tallmadge in the Revolutionary War. (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2014).

[67]Tallmadge, Memoir of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, 40-42.

[68]Tallmadge, Memoir of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, 40-42.

[69]Col. Richard Floyd to Capt. Nathan Rose, from South Haven, 18 September 1781. U.S. Army. New York State. Queens County Militia. Records. Manuscripts and Archives Division. The New York Public Library. Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations. Richard IV and Nathan Rose probably knew each other well, as both of their families were involved in the Brookhaven Committee throughout the eighteenth century. Richard IV’s note sheds light on the interplay between Loyalist and Patriot officers at war on Long Island.

[70]Jasanoff, Liberty’s Exiles, 78-81.

[71]G.G. Ludlow and George Duncan Ludlow to Col. Dundar and Jeremy Pemberton. 16 April 1786. Courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives, AO 13/12. Copy of “Land Forfeited to the People of this State by the Attainder of Richard Floyd.” 5 August 1784. Courtesy of Town of Brookhaven, Historian’s Collection. Testimony of Ezra L’Hommedieu and other subscribers, evaluating the worth of Richard IV’s properties. 22 March 1786. Courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives, AO 13/12. Thomas Jones to Arabella Floyd. 4 November 1783. [Jones Papers.] Museum of the City of New York. It is interesting that Richard IV went to bordering regions in hopes of obtaining an appeal of an act passed in New York. However, details of his efforts in New Jersey and Connecticut are shrouded in mystery due to a lack of surviving sources. On 5 August 1784, Benjamin Tallmadge and his friend Caleb Brewster paid “seven hundred and thirty pounds” for Richard IV’s Middle Island farm, reserving “Four Lots and one third of an Lot containing Three hundred and Twenty Acres or thereabouts” for William Floyd. The spy ringers also purchased “Four Lots containing Thirty two Acres more or less,” for “two hundred and eighty eight pounds,” the lands being “Forfeited to the People of this State by the Attainder of Richard Floyd.” Peter Wilson Coldham, American Migrations, 231.

[72]Memorial of Richard Floyd Esq, by Thomas Jones. 9 March 1784. Courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives, AO 13/12. Thomas Jones to Arabella Floyd. 4 May 1784. [Jones Papers.] Museum of the City of New York. Of course, Richard IV’s military commissions might have been delayed by rough shipping conditions. In Richard IV’s memorial written by Thomas Jones, Jones laid out the Colonel’s military appointments, and stated that his brother-in-law’s property was valued at “£9750 current money of New York of the value of 5343:15:0 Sterling money of Great Britain.” Thanks to Jones, Richard IV could “at any time hereafter assert his right but it must be done in person and not by attorney.” Jones’s memorial is testament to their brotherly love, but perhaps more importantly to his love of Arabella and his love of family in general. Lowenthal, William Floyd, 21.

[73]Testimony for Richard IV’s property, notarized by James Duane in the City of New York. 29 March 1786. Courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives, AO 13/12.

[74]Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, lxviii.

[75]Lowenthal, William Floyd, 106-112.

[76]Copy of “Land Forfeited to the People of this State by the Attainder of Richard Floyd.” 5 August 1784. Courtesy of Town of Brookhaven, Historian’s Collection.

[77]An Inventory of the Estate of Richard Floyd, Esq., Maugerville. 21 March 1791. Courtesy of Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

[78]Charles Cooke to Richard Floyd. 21 February 1789. Hubbard Family Papers, New Brunswick Museum.

[79]Bond, Samuel Ryerse to Richard Floyd. 30 June 1789. Hubbard Family Papers, New Brunswick Museum. Lease, Richard Floyd to Israel Perley and Samuel Treadwell. 3 April 1790. Hubbard Family Papers, New Brunswick Museum.

[80]Copy of “A Memorandum of Baptisms, Marriages, and burials performed by John Beardsley… Rector of Maugerville.” Courtesy of Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.