Reeve Howell

Reeve Howell
Middle Island

Reeve Howell was an American Revolution patriot as well as a father to many children. He lived during the difficult, yet exciting time of the American Revolution.

 Reeve Howell was born in Middle Island in 1738.  He was the son of John and Hannah Reeve Howell.  John Howell, Reeves’ father, moved from Mattituck to Middle Island and built a house in Middle Island.  This later became property of Reeves.  The house was located on the north side of Middle Country Road 500 feet east of the Presbyterian Church.
Reeve Howell
Howell homestead, photo from the collection of Donald Bayles.

In 1769, Reeve married Bathsheba Clark.  Together they had seven children.  Their children included Isaac, James, Daniel, Deborah, Mary, Bathsheba, and William.  They lived on an estate from south of Granny Road, north past Middle Island line up to Route 25.  He also owned property on the north side of Route 25. Reeve appeared on the 1775 Brookhaven Town tax list.  He paid 8 shillings and 9 pence in taxes.  This property was most likely sold to Joshua Swezey before 1802.

Reeve was an American Revolution patriot.  Fighting between England and her colonies began in Lexington, April 1775.  Colonists were asked to sign the association to show support for the Continental Congress.  Reeves became a patriot when he signed the association in May 1775 and again on June 8, 1775 at Brookhaven, Fourth Company Limits.

In August 1776 the Patriots were defeated at the battle of Long Island.  With Long Island now under British control many patriots fled to Connecticut, becoming refugees.  Howell chose to stay on Long Island.  To stay here without the British army taking his farm and livestock he had to sign the Oath of Loyalty to King George III in 1778.  Reeves signed this at the age of 40 and listed his occupation as a farmer.

On the first day of   May 1781, being Election Day for the town of Brookhaven Reeve Howell was chosen as a fence viewer. He served as a fence viewer for many years, serving 8 times between 1781 and 1792.

Reeve Howell died September 3, 1802.  He was sick for a number of years before he died.  Reeve was buried in the Middle Island Presbyterian Church Cemetery, also known as the Union Cemetery. In his will, which was written in 1797, he left his farm to his sons. He also left 6 sheep and one cow to each of his children and one cow to his wife, to be kept by his son Daniel.

Written by,
Kim Campo
June 2003

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