Because I have been exploring the family history that was recorded in 1867 by Daniel Hildreth III (1800-1881), a subject of several posts here, starting with this one. The opening paragraph of that account is a bit hard to understand, but it seems to be saying that the original Hildreth settler to Long Island had two sons, Joseph (our ancestor) who settled in Southampton, and John, who settled in Bridgehampton.
I think most researchers of Long Island Hildreth's might agree that the original settler was probably Thomas Hildreth. There is also much agreement that Thomas had a son named Joseph, but there does not seem to be any trace that Thomas had a son named John. So Daniel III was just wrong.
But let's think about this. Joseph, son of Thomas, had 9 sons, whose status became:
- Joseph, Daniel, and Jonathan all presumably died in childhood, before 1698
- Benjamin and John left Long Island (Benjamin, I think to NYC, and John to Orange County, NY)
- Joseph (second child with this name) and Ephraim had only daughters
- Isaac and Nathan (my ancestor) lived their lives on eastern Long Island
Of the two sons of Joseph who had families on Long Island:
- Nathan Hildreth had 8 children that we know of, all of whom, it seems, lived in Southampton. Daniel III descended from this branch.
- Isaac Hildreth had one son who we know survived to adulthood, namely John Hildreth, 1729-1795. This John was born in Bridgehampton and died in Sag Harbor. This John had several descendants with names that include Luther, Isaac, John, and later Lester, Shadrach, Matthew, all names showing up in censuses and tax lists during the lifetime of Daniel III, and Daniel III most likely would have known them to be relations from another branch.
So, as I often find in personal accounts, even when I find a statement that is wrong, there is still somewhere an element of truth in it. In this case, Daniel III knew that one branch of the family lived in Southampton, and the other in Bridgehampton (true). He knew the name John was associated with the Bridgehampton clan (also true). That John Hildreth would probably have been known to both clans because he served as an Ensign during the Revolution, and died just shortly before Daniel III was born. Daniel III knew some things about John Hildreth, who was his first cousin, twice removed. But Daniel III did not grow up nor live in Bridgehampton, and so his knowledge of that branch's history was less informed than it was for his own branch in Southampton.
As always, comments welcome.