Special Collections has an exciting new acquisition just in time for Culper Spy Day: an original manuscript land deed signed by Culper Spy Ring member Caleb Brewster and Justus Roe, brother of spy Austin Roe, transferring land from Selah Hulse to Benjamin Flyde [Floyd] for ‘sheare of meadow number nineteen’ in Brookhaven, New York, Suffolk County on 28 April 1775. The document states that ‘in consideration of three pounds lawfull money’ the ‘sheare of meadow number nineteen lying on John Woods Island in the town of Brook Haven… drawn on the original right of Captin Nickles…’ was sold to Benjamin Flyde and witnessed by Justus Roe and Caleb Brewster. Legible is Selah Hulse’s original red wax seal at his signature.
Caleb Brewster (1747-1827) was born in Setauket and was prominent member of the Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War, with direct reporting to General George Washington and Major Benjamin Tallmadge. The popular television series “Turn: Washington’s Spies” focuses on Brookhaven and the Culper Spy Ring’s efforts to turn the war in favor of the Continental Army. The spy ring was particularly active between 1778-1781, supplying key information to Washington regarding ship movements, planned enemy raids in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and the plot to surrender West Point to the British. Brewster was recruited to the Ring undoubtedly because of his seamanship and knowledge of the northern Long Island coastline and Connecticut coast.
Purchase tickets for Culper Spy Day, Saturday, September 16 here.