Sweezey, Daniel

from Yaphank As It Was Is and Was
by Beecher Homan



Downs, Sweezy is the eldest son and heir of the late Christopher Sweezy. His father kept a tavern for many years in the old homestead; that has since been demolished. In those early days, what is now Yaphank was then Millville, or Middle Island, an almost unknown hamlet of about half a dozen houses.


D. D. Sweezy is about sixty-five years old, sickly and broken-down.

His sympathy for the outside world and the suffering masses is limited. Generally agreeable and entertaining, sometimes arbitrary and self-willed. He looks out on the world, he sees the oppressed struggling in the sea of poverty, he knows the bleak winds chill the hearts of thou-sands, and that the inexorable demon ever haunts their door. His ears are deaf to their cries, and his eyes rest upon them as upon a Summer landscape.

Downs Sweezy is not a charitable man.!

In his dealings with men he is called honest and honorable, but exacting and stringent. If there be any enviable side of a bargain, he inevitably secures it.

The history of Downs Sweezy is the history of his brother, Van Ransellar. God has given them much of this world's goods. He has made their hearts smile with plenty. While others go down in the vortex, they prosper and are happy. Their " munificent " gifts are "showered " on the church. If the spiritual demands are satiated they regard the world and social decorum secure. But, who will appease the physical? None can satisfy the requirements of God with an empty stomach! Did the Israelites in the wilderness? Will our local poor? Then let our rich unlock their coffers! God has blessed them with abundance; but he never intended they should hoard while poor humanity cries - for bread. It is a solemn spectacle to see men, whose lives hang upon brittle threads, labor more eagerly on the road to riches as the grave draws nearer, and the curtain is rolling down over their last acts


By profession, Downs Sweezy is a miller and farmer. For years Van Ransaeller and himself worked the old mill their father owned. Time made rapid changes. Their father died; Van Ransaeller sold his interest to Downs, and the old mill was hauled down, and a more capacious and better modeled one built on nearly the old site.

His mills have proved paying institutions, and have a reputation of over sixty years' standing.


He has a wife and one child-a daughter. In them is centered his interest. Bread would be. deleterious to his stomach if his family pronounced it unfit food. May would be the dreariest month of the year if his family did not enjoy it; and thus he is known in the family. He is a pleasant man at home-affable and courteous.

Of late-Downs Sweezy has not given his business much personal supervision. He bas suffered many long years with a chronic disease, and twice tottered over the brink of the grave.

As long as the waves murmer on the shores of Willow Lake, and the groans of Sweezy's Mill are wafted to the ears of the villagers, the name of Sweezy will remain fresh on the annals of Yaphank's history.

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