Among his progeny, our man is revered as founder of the feast who sits at the head of the long extended family table. His burial place in theOldCemeteryat the Presbyterian Church, marked by possibly the oldest English tomb table inAmerica, is a pilgrimage shrine for his descendants. Carved from English blue slate, it’s believed the stone arrived fromEnglandwith Barnabas; the pious epitaph written himself, the date of death etched in at the anointed hour. From the cemetery can be viewed the site of ‘The Castle,’ his home and first English frame house inNew YorkState. It towered for 235 years over the corner ofMain Streetand Horton’s Lane until its 1879 demolition, still lamented as a tragic loss to many, including myself. (Southamptonnow claims the oldest NY English frame house, the 1648 Thomas Halsey Homestead. Cutchogue’s Old House nearly so; home of Barnabas’s daughter Mary and her husband John Budd.) Cherished personal effects carried fromEnglandwere bequeathed and preserved – his bible, musket, and grandfather clock (rumored to be inNorth Carolina, I can almost hear my grandfather’s clock ticking). Some were photographed, all were coveted.
Our first hint of Barnabas inAmericais in1640. InJune of that year, in theNew Hampshiretown ofHampton, were recorded fifty-seven land grants. Listed among them was Barnabas; expected but not arrived for “If he come” is added. He didn’t come until March of 1641 and then, quick as you please, only to sell. He’d already journeyed to Southold so his appearance now inNew Hampshirewas a settling of affairs. Perhaps he needed funds, or had made his decision to settle exclusively in Southold; eggs all in one basket. Barnabas surely had planned to departEnglandforNew Hampshireby spring of 1640, an 8 week crossing, to settle inHampton, but something delayed him. There was no arrival until fall and then to catch the ferry out ofNew Haven, destinationLong Island.
There are two possibilities regarding Barnabas’s mysterious whereabouts in 1640. The king’s men sometimes barred “heretics” opposing the Anglican Communion from emigrating. Oftentimes they’d steal away, sometimes altering names to board ships undetected. A curious thing about Barnabas; there is no extant baptismal record for him in Mowsley (where he was surely born in 1600) and he allegedly referred to himself on occasion as “Benjamin,” the name given his second born son. He hailed from a region lorded by Puritan sympathizer, the Earl of Warwick, and a relative, Thomas Horton, kept close alliance with the dreadful Oliver Cromwell (later serving at his command at Naseby and as regicide). Could Barnabas have caught the eye of royal authorities? Was his no-show atHamptoncaused by a showdown in Mowsley?
A more likely cause is found in an entry easily overlooked in our panoramic lens. Her name was Anne.
The Elizabethan age had passed leaving violent discord and a swelling of poverty and crime, a consequence of the Dissolution of monasteries and the crown theft of manorial estates. Englishmen were on the move in a great migration not seen since William conquered. The Hortons, an important yeoman farming family in Leicestershire since the 13th century, descendants of Henry de Horton, free tenant of the Gobion family in 1268, attached to the Knaptoft manor house of the earls of Lancaster and Warwick, were the oldest family in Mowsley. John Horton’s 1345 house shared a common wall with the churchyard cemetery, its foundation still there. The 18th century brick home of Joseph Horton has a disused bake-house still on site. This was what Barnabas left; a 400 year old flourishing family hearth. Merry Old England had lost her merriment.
Baker, landowner, and reasonably wealthy, in 1622 Barnabas married Anne Smith of Northamptonshire. They had two sons and in1629, adaughter. Anne likely died at childbirth leaving Barnabas to name the infant girl. Her name was Anne. A widowed father in need of a wife, in 1630 he married 19 year old Mary Langton of Mowsley. With three daughters by 1637, she was pregnant at the family’s arrival at Southold in 1640. This child, Caleb, was the first English child born onLong Island. Three more children would be born at Southold where Barnabas would serve as constable, deputy, bailiff, commissioner, customs officer for wine and spirits, and alderman. He died at 80, his will revealing extensive livestock, land holdings, and legacies. As to his mysterious whereabouts and delay; in the year1640, inthe town ofMowsley, eleven year old Anne Horton died. Barnabas did not come because his heart had been broken.