Hedges descendants in America

The first English colonists in the new land of America aboard the Mayflower arrived in 1620 setting foot in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. The first Hedges ancestor arrived 50 miles north of Plymouth in Lynn, Massachusetts with their son Stephen in the 1630's, only a decade after the first American colonists. William & Rose Hedges had both been born in Kent, England and as Puritans they thought it was time to leave the religious persecution in England to explore the new English Colonies in America. There is no record of any Hedges on an outbound ship for the colonies, so it's believed they left without official approval. They believed this new land was a utopia for God and religion was the central focus of the Puritan way of life.

They soon settled 300 miles south on Long Island, New York. First arriving in Southampton where they resided for a short period (William is first documented in Southampton in March 1644), they left the colony in 1649 for a new settlement to the east. The Dutch had settled the western end of Long Island and William & Rose helped to settle the eastern end with the native Indians living in the area in-between. They were some of the earliest settlers of East Hampton NY (founded in 1648). East Hampton historical records indicate William Hedges was there in 1650 immediately after the original nine settlers.

The first settlers of East Hampton purchased 31,000 acres from the colonial governors of both Massachusetts and Connecticut who had previously secured the land from the Montaukets, the indigenous people who inhabited eastern Long Island at the time. For the eight years of its existence, "Maidstone" (as East Hampton was first called, after Maidstone in Kent, England, the original home of some of the first settlers including the Hedges family) was an independent "plantation". The settlement attempted to unite with the colony of Connecticut in 1655-56, but this was not accepted. In 1659 the town of Maidstone was referred to as East Hampton. In 1664 after the Dutch surrendered New Netherlands to the English, East Hampton reluctantly became part of the province of New York. And in 1666 East Hampton is incorporated into Suffolk County by Royal Governor Richard Nicolls.

The Hedges family owned 20 acres of land bordered by the Conkling, Mulford, James, & Rose properties, all of whom were English families from Kent. Whaling, fishing, farming and cattle-raising were the basis of the settlers' early economy. The Hedges property was passed on to the eldest son from generation to generation, and for another 100 years his relatives continued living on the same plot of land that he settled. To this day there is still a permanent reminder of the early Hedges settlers in East Hampton as Hedges Lane is but two blocks from the ocean, the Hedges Inn is located on the same family property near the Pond, and an authentic 1773 Hedges Home was relocated in 2007 to save it from destruction and is now part of the new East Hampton Town Hall.