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Matthias Corwin
Primarily From the Corwin Genealogy, Edward Tanjore Corwin, 1872

 
         Among the earliest settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, we find a Matthias Corwin,
         (pronounced Currin.) The Commoner's Record, at Ipswich, yet preserved, says, "Given and
         granted to Matthias Currin, two acres of land, lying unto his house, on the east end thereof,
         to him, his heirs, and assigns," etc. This was in 1634, and seems to be a second grant of
         land. The name in the same records is also spelled Curwin, and they note, concerning him,
         that he finally removed to Southold, Long Island.(1) The first grant was probably the fifty or
         two hundred acres given to all the first settlers.(2) It is said that he came from Warwick,
         England.??          In 1637, the Pequot war occurred in Connecticut, causing much suffering to the first settlers
         there, who had gone from Massachusetts. As early as 1631, Seguin, the Indian Sagamore of
         the Connecticut Valley, requested Governor Winthrop to send a colony thither. Individuals
         from Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire, England, had located at Dorchester,
         Mass., in 1630, under Rev. John Warham as pastor, and Rev. John Maverick as teacher.
         Roger Ludlow and Henry Wolcott were in this company. Sir Richard Saltonstall's people,
         the same year, settled at Watertown, Mass., under the care of Rev. Mr. Philips. In 1632, a
         congregation, under the lead of Rev. Thomas Hooker, of Chelmsford, Essex, England,
         settled at Cambridge, Mass., and were joined by certain others from Weymouth, Mass.
         These parties applied, as early as 1634, for permission to remove to Connecticut; but their
         request was denied. The next year, their renewed request was reluctantly granted.

         Thus Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield were settled in the spring of 1636. But the most
         distinguished company of emigrants that ever came to New-England, arrived in Boston, from
         London, July 26, 1637. Their pastors and leaders were Rev. John Davenport, a preacher of
         London; Governor Theophilus Eaton, a wealthy merchant, and others. They proceeded to
         Connecticut, and founded New-Haven, April 18th, 1638. In January, 1639, they framed a
         written constitution, the first example of such a thing in history. "There, by the influence of
         Davenport, it was resolved that the Scriptures were the only perfect rule of a
         commonwealth. A committee of twelve was selected to choose seven men qualified for the
         foundation-work of organizing the government. Eaton, Davenport, and five others were 'the
         seven pillars' for the new house of wisdom in the wilderness. As neighboring towns were
         planted, each was likewise a house of wisdom, resting on its seven pillars, and aspiring to be
         illuminated by the Eternal Light. The pleasant villages spread along the Sound, and on the
         opposite shore of Long Island."About this time, or shortly after, Matthias Corwin left
         Ipswich, and came to New-Haven.

         Says Hinman in his Settlers of Connecticut, p. 726, "Matthias Corwin was one of the leading
         men of Southold in its first settlement....It was first called Yennecock....Many of the first
         planters came with Rev. John Young, from Hingham, Norfolkshire, England. Mr. Young
         stood at the head of the civil and religious affairs, aided by Corwin, Wells, Tuthill, Horton,
         and others of his church. The name of Corwin was not strictly a Connecticut name, but only
         at the time Southold was under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut colony." We see from the
         above facts that Matthias Corwin took part in the settlement of at least two towns in
         New-England, namely, Ipswich and Southold, and perhaps three. For it is not certain
         whether the reference in Hollister's work,º which places him among the founders of
         New-Haven, refers to New-Haven. proper or to Southold, which was then in the colony of
         New-Haven. He had lived about six years at Ipswich, and he spent the eight remaining years
         of his life at Southold. His will may be found in the town records of that place. He was also,
         at times, a director of town affairs. In a description of his property
          new town was called Southold, and their county Suffolk, no doubt after Southwold,
          Suffolkshire, England. The band is said to have sailed from Yarmouth, Norfolkshire.

          They made this purchase in behalf of Connecticut. The tract extended from the eastern
          part of Oyster Bay to the western part of Holmes Bay, and to the middle of the great plain.

         Three years before his death, (1655,) no less than nineteen plots of land are described
         as belonging to him, situated in Southold, on the northern shore, on Tom's Creek, toward the
         north-west and the north-east, at Oyster Pond, toward the south-west, at Pechaconnicke
         River, and at Corchack, (Cutchogue.) His will mentions John, Martha, and Theophilus as
         his children, all of whom seem to have been of age at the writing of his will in 1658. Hence
         they were probably born at Ipswich, before 1637, or possibly some or all of them in
         England still earlier. The families of the two sons were large, embracing seven or eight
         children each, all of whom continued to reside at Southold or immediate vicinity. The names
         of John's children are positively known by his will, which has also been found. The other
         names therefore of the third generation, which are recorded in the census list of 1698, must
         belong to the family of Theophilus. Most of these removed eight or ten miles west of
         Southold, to Mattituck.

         In the fourth generation removals from the Island began to be made, though to a very limited
         extent, until the breaking out of the Revolution. Before that event, however, Amaziah, 1, had
         removed to Maryland, about 1750; Jesse, 2, to Connecticut, about 1760; Theophilus, 4, to
         Orange Co., N. Y., about 1760; Gilbert, 1, to Rockland Co., N. Y., about 1768; while
         David, 2, in his old age, accompanied his children to Orange Co., N. Y., about the opening
         of the war. But with the Revolution removals became frequent. That really broke up the
         family on Long Island.

         In April, 1775, a meeting was held at Southold, to secure the signatures of those who would
         support Congress. The list is preserved and printed in the Calendar of Revolutionary Papers.
         In May, the paper was carried around to get the signatures of those not present at the
         meeting. About 223, in the little town of Southold, L. I., agreed to support Congress, while
         only 40 declined. Among those who signed were most of the Corwins. (See Index,
         Revolution.)

         After the battle of Long Island, 1776, great consternation seized the people of Suffolk
         County. The American army being obliged to abandon the island, the more prominent Whigs
         of Suffolk County fled across the sound to Connecticut, carrying with them what they could,
         leaving their houses and farms to the enemy. The convention aided the removals. Many of
         these joined the American army. Some crossed over to the Hudson River and settled in
         Orange County, N. Y., while others afterward returned to the Island. (Prime's Long Island,
         p. 65. Onderdonk's Revolutionary Incidents in Kings and Suffolk Counties, L. I.)

         Since this first general scattering, the migrations have continued in every direction for a
         century, but the reader is referred to the particular names for further information. New-York
         State has always been the chief home of the family, especially the counties of Suffolk,
         Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Cayuga, and other counties in Central New-York. New-Jersey has
         had the next share, perhaps, especially Morris County. Ohio stands next, until now fully
         three fourths of the States have members of this family for citizens. They are found in each of
         the New-England States, excepting Maine, and in all the others, except, perhaps, Utah,
         Nevada, Delaware, and West-Virginia.(*) (See Index.)

         Not a few college graduates, clergymen, lawyers, and doctors are also found in this family
         record. Judges are here, and legislative members in various States. One has been a
         governor, a member of the President's cabinet, and an ambassador to another nation, while
         others have been members of Congress. (See Index.)
 

 Source: Primarily the Corwin Genealogy, Edward Tanjore Corwin, 1872.

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