Selah Hulse Land Deed

Authored by Nicole Castellano

Selah Hulse Land Deed to Benjamin Flyde. Two page deed written in 1775.

Selah Hulse Land Deed (April 28, 1775), Brookhaven Land Transaction Between Selah Hulse and Benjamin Flyde, Courtesy Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries

Selah Hulse (abt. 1715-1775 or abt. 1757-date unknown) is the owner of the piece of land in Brookhaven, Suffolk County that is being signed away in this land deed, which was written on April 28, 1775. This land was originally owned by Ebenezer Hulse (Hoff 2001, 10), who may be directly related to Selah Hulse, possibly being his father or his uncle (Deitz and Lythgoe 2011). Selah Hulse is giving this land to a man named Benjamin Flyde, who, during the time of the Revolutionary War, was a loyalist (Hull, Hoffer, and Allen 2018). While Selah Hulse himself is not mentioned to be involved with the American Revolution in any way, what is interesting about this land deed is that, while Benjamin Flyde is a loyalist, it is signed by two people who are related to the Culper Spy Ring, which is George Washington’s group of spies that would inform on the British (Bigelow 2018, 2).

These two signers are Caleb Brewster, an actual member of the Culper Spy Ring, and Justus Roe, whose brother, Austin Roe, was also a member of the Culper Spy Ring (“Full Text of ‘The Diary of Captain Daniel Roe'” 2018; Pennypacker 1931, 123). Caleb Brewster was a lieutenant and a whale boat captain who would ferry messages to other spies across the Long Island Sound while Austin Roe would carry messages across land (Bigelow 2018, 2; Pennypacker 1931, 123). Both spies have even worked together on several occasions in order to defend the East Coast from attacks, such as when they helped to defend Newport from an invasion of British soldiers by diverting a naval attack (Pennypacker 1931, 124).

While the process of the exchange of land in the 1700s is interesting, it is the names on this document that most represent the Vincentian values of St John’s University, particularly the opportunity and service traits, because these men dedicated themselves to protecting America from the British. The St. John’s Vincentian opportunity value is “occasions for serving others and preparing one’s self for a fulfilling life,” and the service value represents “Vincentian spirituality, a response to God’s call to give of ourselves” (Angel 2018, 2). These men both served others and gave of themselves by risking their lives to transport messages back and forth between Washington’s men while under the constant threat of death, and these actions helped to save lives and decide the fate of early America. Without these spies, America may not have won the American Revolution and become an independent nation.


Angel, Christine M. n.d. “Information Representation Through the Vincentian Lens of Transparency: Providing the Under and Misrepresented with a Voice within Our Cultural Heritage Records.” Evolution of Teaching Philosophy: 1-7. Accessed March 15, 2018.

Bigelow, Michael E. 2012. “A Short History of Army Intelligence.” Military Intelligence: 1-59. Accessed March 11, 2018.

Deitz, John, and Darrin Lythgoe. n.d. “Brookhaven/South Haven Hamlets & Their People.” Last modified 2011.

“Full Text of ‘The Diary of Captain Daniel Roe.’” Internet Archive. Accessed March 15, 2018.

Hoff, Henry Bainbridge. 2001. Long Island Source Records: From the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.

Hull, N.E.H, Peter C. Hoffer, and Steven L. Allen. 1978. “Choosing Sides: A Quantitative Study of the Personality Determinants of Loyalist and Revolutionary Political Affiliation in New York.” The Journal of American History 65, no. 2: 344-366.

Pennypacker, Morton. 1931. “The Two Spies: Nathan Hale and Robert Townsend.” The Quarterly Journal of the New York State Historical Association 12, no. 2: 123.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *