The Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of East Hampton
The Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the town of East Hampton represent the original government of East Hampton. The Trustee positions were created and granted sole authority over the Town of East Hampton, by King James II through the Dongan Patent dated December 9, 1686. Although the Nichols Patent had defined the boundaries for the Town of East Hampton in 1666, the Dongan Patent is one of the earliest of the New World documents to provide for a representative government by elected officials in North America. As the original governing body of East Hampton, the Trustees managed and made allotments of the Town's "common lands." Since their creation in 1686, the Town Trustees have continuously functioned as an autonomous governing body and represent an important historic link to the earliest roots of our democratic Nation.