I found this information from old books, and other people's family trees. If there are any untruths let us know. Thank you. How I am related by marriage to the Sands Family, and more about my Stillwell Ancestors. By Vicky Moon, 2010
Captain Kidd visited Block Island around 1699, where he was supplied by Mrs. Mercy (Sands) Raymond, daughter of the mariner James Sands. The story has it that, for her hospitality, Mrs. Raymond was bid to hold out her apron, into which Kidd threw gold and jewels until it was full. After her husband Joshua Raymond died, Mercy removed with her family to northern New London, Connecticut (later Montville), where she bought much land. The Raymond family was thus said to have been "enriched by the apron." This story is told in all of Captain Kidd’s history. When the century opened the two most important land owners in the vicinity of the ferry were Comfort and Joshua Sands, whose farms included all of the fifth and about half of the fourth wards and were bounded by the river, Fulton street, the Navy Yard and Concord street. The Sands property was broken up about 1802, when the owners began subdividing it into building lots. They argued that the hill so fashionable and exclusive, was too steep and difficu1t of access to be available for residence purposes. The two Sands farms had, before the revolution belonged to Jobn Rapalje, a great great-grandson of the first settler, and a wealthy Tory land owner, whose adhesion to the mother country led to the confiscation and sale of his property by the state authorities. Comfort and Joshua Sands being the purchasers. The price paid for the property at the sale on July 13, 1784 was £12,430 in state scrip. The area of the farm was 160 acres. It was first surveyed for subdivision into building lots in 1787 and received the name Olympia. The Navy yard dates from this period and the land it occupies was purchased by The United States government for $40,000. Simultaneously with this improvement a portion of the Comfort Sands property was purchased by Irish refugees who came to this country after the suppression of the rebellion of 1798. The Sands family descended from James Sands who moved from England to Massachusetts. They were not Loyalists. James Sands, born 1622 England died 1695 Block Island Rhode Island. Two of John and Elizabeth’s sons were Comfort and Joshua, above. John and Mercy Sands brother, James son Samuel was the father of another Mercy SandsShe was the grand niece of the above Mercy Sands. This Mercy Sands married Richard Stillwell. She was his second wife. Richard’s parents were Richard Stillwell Sr. and Mary Freelove Cook, my 11th great grandparents.Richard Stillwell Sr. was the oldest son of Nicolas Stillwell who arrived in Virginia in 1638. He was a tobacco farmer and was also known as “Valiant Stillwell”He sailed north to New Amsterdam (N.Y.) in 1645. Richard Jr’s grandparents were Nicholas Stillwell and Abigail Hopton, my 10th great grandparentsand his great grandparents were Nicholas Stillwell and Catherine Van Keuren, my 9th great grandparents. Richard Stillwell’sJr. 1671-1743, first wife was Lydia Bowne who died, no children. His second wife Mercy Sands 1693-1746. They married in 1708.Notice their age difference. When they married she was 15 and he was 37. He was one of the founders of the Presbyterian church of Manhattan. He died in Shrewsbury, Monmouth, NJ. I also want to note that the Sands brothers Joshua and Comfort bought my other Rapalje ancestors lands. The Rapalje family who were Loyalists and had their land taken away from them.