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Full text of "History of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time"

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The Branch Libraries 
RICHMONDTOWN BRANCH 
200 Clarke Avenue 
Staten Island, N.Y. 10306 



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REFERENCE 



HISTORY 

-OF- 

RICHMOND COUNTY, 

(STATEN ISLAND) 

NEW YORK, 

From its Discovery to the Present Time. 



EDITED BY 
RICHARD M. BAYLES. 



1 Staten Island ! the name hath a charm to the ear: 
1 Fair Island of Beauty ! ' k The Gem of the Sea ! ' 
Let other harps sing of the scenes ever dear, 
But mine, be it tuned in its praises to thee. 

' Thou 'rt like a vast garden of verdure and flowers- 
Spread out in the distance, enchanting to view; 
With its green, shady knolls and luxuriant bowers, 
Surrounded by waters of loveliest blue," 

Anon. 



NEW YORK: 
L. E. PRESTON & CO. 



INS?. 

CTrf-M .i;;~ :.M ' W - 

10306 



COPYRIGHT, 1887, 

BY 

L. E. PRESTON & CO. 






rotss or j. tttu^x PROBST, 

Si', H.X. 




o/o%7 





PREFACE. 

The preparation of a history like this involves the employ- 
ment of a great variety of means, drawing from a multitude of 
sources. The compiler is frequently obliged to accept the 
statements of others without knowing upon what data those 
statements are made. The utter impossibility of any one man 
being able, during the brief term of one human life, to go to 
the bottom of every fact stated in a work of this kind must be too 
apparent to need explanation. There are a hundred ways by 
which errors may creep in. The editor can but use his best 
judgment as to the reliability of the authorities upon which he 
depends for statements, and his constant and most careful 
vigilance in guarding against erroneous statements. This he 
has done in the preparation of this work, and that vigilance has 
been rendered more effective by the experience the editor has 
had heretofore in the preparation of similar works in other 
h'elds. 

Opportunity is taken here to make expression of our gratitude 
for the generous response with which requests for information 
have been met by the ministers of the different churches, the 
officers of different societies, and others who were in possession 
of special information that was desired, in general; and we 
would also make particular acknowledgment of the valuable 
assistance which we have received from Dr. James Brownlee, 
Alfred de Groot, James McNamee, Governor G. D. S. Trask, 
Sidney F. Rawson, County Clerk C. A. Hart, School Com- 
miuioner Theodore Frean, Professor N.L. Britton, the family of 
the lau Gabriel P. Disosway, Dr. Arthur Hollick, Hamilton - 






iv PREFACE. 

Willcox, Ira K. Morris, William T. Davis and John H. Gar- 
retson. 

The readiness with which these gentlemen have answered the 
calls of the editor for the assistance that each could give, has 
encouraged him through the many weary months of labor which 
the preparation of this volume has cost. 

Besides all the sources of information and assistance which 
have been indicated there are many others which have been laid 
under contribution which we cannot mention specifically. Two 
of the most important, however, cannot be justly omitted. These 
are the " Annals of Staten Island," compiled by Mr. J. J. 
Clute, and the note books of Prof. Charles Anthon, both of 
which have been drawn upon for whatever they contained of 
sufficient value and as far as the limits of this volume would 
allow. The copyright of the former was purchased from the 
heirs of Mr. Clute, and the note books of the latter, from a relative 
in whose possession they were. These were gathered while he 
was a resident of the island and a professor in Columbia Col- 
lege, about 1850 to 1854, he at the time having in view the prep- 
aration of a history of the island, which project he afterward 
abandoned. From these note books we have obtained many 
important facts which have hitherto never been published, and 
we deem it especially fortunate that the books were discovered 
in time for those facts to be embodied in this work. 






TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. PAQE. 
Description of Staten Island (Richmond County) 1 

CHAPTER II. 

NATURAL HISTORY OF THE ISLAND. 

Geology. Flora of the Island. Animal Life. Indian Relics 9 

CHAPTER III. 

THE PERIOD OP SETTLEMENT 1609 TO 1683. 

Discovery. The First Settlement and the Settlers. Conquest by the English. 38 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE COLONIAL PERIOD 1683 TO 1775. 

Erection of Richmond County. Arrival of Huguenots. Division of Rich- 
mond into Towns. The Claims of New Jersey. Patents and Land 
Grants. Establishment of the Colonial Government. Administration 
of Justice. The Time of the French War. Colonial Description. 
' Colonial Customs. Statistics 90 

CHAPTER V. 

THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD 1775 TO 1783. 

Events Prior to the Declaration of Independence. The Coming of Howe. 
Incursions and Skirmishes. The Close of the War and the Evacuation 
of New York and Staten Island. Incidents of the Revolutionary Period. 157 

CHAPTER VI. 

UNDER THE REPUBLIC 1783 TO 1883. 

Condition at close of Revolution. Population. County Buildings. Manners 
apd Customs. War of 1812. Extracts from the Records. TheMilitia. 
Growth and Improvement. Earthquakes. Quarantine. The Civil 
War. Some Notable Events 2.)0 

CHAPTER VII. 

CIVIL DIVISIONS AND CIVIL OFFICERS. 

The County. The Towns. The Villages. Hon. Daniel D. Tompkins. Hon. 

Erastns Brooks. Cornelius A. Hart. . . 326 



VI TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VIII. PAGE. 

CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS. 

The Dutch Reformed Churches. The Episcopal Churches. Baptist 
Churches. Methodist Churches. The Moravian Church. The Roman 
Catholic Churches. The Church of the Huguenots. Unitarian Church. 
Presbyterian Churches. Lutheran Churches. Y. M. C. A 349 

CHAPTER IX. 

EDUCATION AND LITERATURE. 

The Schools of the Colonial Period. The Public Schools under the State 
Government. Richmond County College. Brighton Heights Seminary. 
Staten Island Academy. The Natural Science Association. News- 
papers. George William Curtis. John Adams Appleton. The Smith 
Family 445 

CHAPTER X. 

THE PROFESSIONS OF -LAW AND MEDICINE. 

The Bench and Bar. Henry B. Metcalfe. Alvin C. Bradley. Tompkins 
Westervelt. Lot C. Clark. Robert Christie. John and William H. 
Anthon. Theodore C. Vermilye. List of Practising Attorneys. Augus- 
tus Prentice. Richmond County Medical Society. I. K. Ambrose. 
Herman Beyer. Alfred L. Carroll. Ephraim Clark. Alva D. Decker. 
Henry S. Earl. Joseph Feeny. John L. Feeny. R. Henry Golder. 
Edwin A. Hervey. George C. Hubbard. Robert M. Ames. F. E. Mar- 
tindale. James J. O'Dea. S. A. Robinson. Robert Rogerson. Henry 
W. Savvtelle. Samuel Russell Smith. Walker Washington, Jr. J. Wal- 
ter Wood. Notes of Quarantine Superintendence, etc 469 

CHAPTER XI. 

OLD FAMILIES AND PROMINENT INDIVIDUALS. 

Alston. Androvette. Bedell. Barnes. Samuel Ward Benedict. Read 
Benedict. Bodine. W. H. J. Bodine. Blake. Bogart. Braisted. 
Britton. Burbanck. Burgher, Burger. Bush. Butler. Cannon. 
Christopher. Cole. Abraham Cole. William A. Cole. Colon. Con- 
ner. Corsen. Cortelyou. Crips. Crocheron. Cruser. Cubberly. 
George William Daley. George Henry Daley. Decker. De Groot. De 
Hart. Depuy. Disosway. DuBois. Dustau. Eddy. Andrew Eddy. 

Egbert. Ellis. Enyard. Fountain. Frost. Garrison. Guyon. 
Hatfield. Haugh wont. Charles A. Herpich. Hillyer. Holmes. 
Housman. Jacobson. Johnson. Jones. Journeay. La Forge. Lake. 

Larzalere. Latourette. Lawrence. Lisk. Lockman. Manee. 
James M. Manee. Mart ling. Martino. Merrill. Mersereau. Metcalfe. 

Nicholas C. Miller. Morgan .'. . 497 

CHAPTER XII. 

OLD FAMILIES AND PROMINENT INDIVIDUALS (concluded). 

Ferine. Poillon. Post. Pi-all. Aquila Rich. Alfred Z. Ross. Ryerss. 
Seguine. John G. Seguine. Henry S. Seguine. Sharrott. Francis G. 
Shaw. Simonson. Stilwell. Sprague. Taylor. Totten. Ephraim J. 
Totten. Tyson. Van Buskirk, Van Duzer. John H. Van Clief. The 



/ 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. vii 

PAGE. 

Vanderbilts. The Van Name Family. Van Pelt. Wandel Albert 
Ward. Stephen Whitman. Winant. Garrett Ellis Winants. Wog- 
lom. Wood. Abraham C. Wood. Jacob B. Wood. Abraham J. 
Wood. Other Families. Eminent Men and Women of Staten Island . . . 563 

CHAPTER XIII. 

CHARITIES AND PUBLIC WORKS. 

The S. R. Smith Infirmary. The Seamen's Fund and Retreat. Home for 
Destitute Children of Seamen. County Poor House. Staten Island Diet 
Kitchen. Cemeteries. Staten Island Water Supply Company. The 
Crystal Water Works. The Sailors' Snug Harbor. The Police and Fire 
Department 

CHAPTER XIV. 

MUTUAL ASSOCIATIONS. 

Staten Island Athletic Club. Clifton Boat Qlub. Staten Island Rowing 
Club. Kill Von Kull Rowing Association. Staten Island Cricket and 
Base Ball Club. German Association. Grand Army of the Republic. 
Masonic Societies. Odd Fellows' Lodgos. Miscellaneous Organizations. 660 

CHAPTER XV. 

TRANSPORTATION AND TRAFFIC. 

The Ferries. Bridge Across the Sound. The Staten Island Railroad. The 
Shore Railroad. North and South Shore Railroad. The Richmond 
County Railroad. The Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad. Lewis 
Henry Meyer. Eckstein Norton. Roderick W. Cameron. John Frank 
Ernmons. Harry L. Horton. Reon Barnes. Orlando A. Wood 678 

CHAPTER XVI. 

INDUSTRIES. 

Agriculture. Shipbuilding. The Oyster Interests. John Scott. Silas N. 
Havens. Edward Lowrey Woodruff. Barrett, Nephews & Co. The 
New York Dyeing and Printing Establishment. The Breweries. George 
Bechtel. Monroe Eckstein. B. Kreischer & Sons. Jewett White Lead 
Company. Silk Mill. John Irving. Linoleum Works. Paper Mill. 
Plaster Mill. Dental Supplies. Other Industries 702 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PORTRAITS. 

Appleton, John A 464 

Barnes, Reon 699 

Barry, John 430 

Bechtel, Gorge 728 

Benedict, l.fead 50<i 

Benedict, Saiauel W 499 

Bodine, W. H. J 503 

Bn >ks, Erastus 342 



viii TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE. 

Brownlee, James 360 

Cameron, Roderick 694 

CrLv Abraham 514 

Cole, William A 516 

Curtis, George William 456 

Daley, George H 524 

Eccleston, Joiu-C 

Eddy, Andrew 533 

Feeny, John L 

Hart, Cornelius A 

Havens, S. N 

Herpich, Charles A , 

Horton, H. L 

Irving, John 738 

Kreischer, B 

Lewis, John 

Manee, James M 

Meyer, Lewis H 

Miller, N. C 

Morton, Ex 693 

i *-O 

Prentice, Augustus *' c 

-Rich, Aquilla 

Eobinson, S. A 

Boss, A. Z 568 

Scott, John 718 

Seguine, Henry S 

Seguine, John G 

Shaw, Francis G 573 

Smith, R. Penn 

Tompkins, Daniel D 

Totten, E. J 

Van Clief, J. H 

Vanderbilt, Cornelius 

Vanderbilt, Jacob H 

Vanderbilt, William H 

Ward, Albert 

Whitman, Stephen 

Winants, G. E 

Wood, A. J 

Wood, Orlando A 

Woodruff, Edward Lowrey 

VIEWS. 

Old Billop House, looking toward South Amboy 

The Old Billop House, Tottenville 

Old British Fort 

House of Isaac M. Marsh, formerly used as the Court House. . 

Building formerly used as a Clerk's Office and Jail 

Present Court House and Jail 

The Jaques Guion House, New Dorp 

Port Richmond Dutch Reformed Church 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. IX 

PAGE. 

St. Andrew's Church, Richmond 398 

St. John's Church and Rectory 400 

Woodrow M. E. Church 415 

Old Moravian Church and Parsonage 424 

Moravian Church, New Dorp 426 

" Beechlawn," Residence of Col. R. Penn Smith 467 

" Tower Hill," House of L. W. Faber 468 

" Tower Hill," House of Mrs. Jenny Faber 469 

House of A. L. King, Clifton, N. Y 497 

' ' Ravenhurst," House of Read Benedict 501 

The Barne Tysen House 549 

The Daniel Lake House 549 

St. James Hotel, Port Richmond 630 

Mt. Loretto, S. 1 641 

" Arrochar," Residence of W. W. MacFarland 647 

Residence of George W. White 668 

Residence of James M. Davis 672 

" Fox Hill," House of L. H. Meyer 690 

Dining Room at Fox Hill 691 

House of Ex. Norton 693 

Residence of R. W. Cameron 695 

" Portledge," Residence of J. F. Emmons 697 

Staten Island Fancy Dyeing Works 722 

The Old Staten Island Dyeing Establishment 726 

House and Stables of George Bechtel 729 

Fire-Brick Works of B. Kreischer & Sons 732 

Residence of the late B. Kreischer 735 

Residences of Charles C. and Edward B. Kreischer 736 

The Irving Manufacturing Company 739 

MAPS AND PLANS. 

Map of Richmond County 1 

Geological Map of Richmond County 9 

Facsimile of Original Patent Granted to Barne Tysen in 1677 125 

Plan of Christian Low Dutch Church . . 365 



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HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



CHAPTER I. 



DESCRIPTION OF STATEN ISLAND. 

(RICHMOND COUNTY ) 



THE first thing we know of Staten Island is its name, and 
we trust it will not be considered out of place to intro- 
duce our subject by an explanation of its name. Its present 
form is an English rendering of the name given by rhe Dutch, 
" Staaten Eylandt." Hudson gave the name, which meant the 
"Island of the States," as a memorial to the states general, under 
whose flag he was sailing. / By the native occupants it was 
called "Aquehonga Manacknong," and sometimes " Eghqua- 
hous," which was probably only a slight variation of the first 
part of the former. Schoolcraft interprets "Aquehonga Ma- 
nacknong," as far as the place of bad woods. The meaning of 
" Eghquahous" is also interpreted the place of bad woods. It 
is not easy now to see the application of such a name, unless 
it was that the woods here were dense, and perhaps tilled with 
tangled undergrowth, that made it difficult to move through 
them in pursuit of game or to secure good aim upon it. 

The Island lies in or upon New York bay, but closely drawn 
to the New Jersey shore. It is separated from the latter by 
Newark bay and a narrow estuary called Kill von Kull on the 
north, and on the west by Staten Island sound, which is crooked 
and narrow but navigable by steamboats and river craft. The 
south side is washed by the waters of Raritan bay, Prince's 
bay and the Atlantic ocean, while the main seaward channel 
of the Hudson river flows along its eastern shore. It lies 
centrally in latitude 40 34', and longitude 2 52' east from 
Washington, or 74 8' west from Greenwich. The center of the 
i 






\ 



2 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

island is eleven miles southwest of New York city, one him 
dred and forty-three miles south of the state capital, and one 
hundred and ninety miles southwest by an air line to the 
national capital. 

With respect to its surrounding waters we can approve the 
remarks of J. Fennimore Cooper, who in his " Water Witch" 
locates a scene here. He says: 

"The fine estuary which penetrates the American coast be- 
tween the fortieth and forty-first degrees of latitude is formed 
by the confluence of the Hudson, the Hackensack, the Passaic, 
the Raritan and a multitude of smaller streams; all of which 
pour their tribute into the ocean within the space named. The 
Island of Nassau [Long Island] and Staten Island are happily 
placed to exclude the tempests of the open sea, while the deep 
and broad arms of the latter offer every desirable facility for 
foreign trade and internal intercourse." 

Arthur kill separates the island on the west side from the 
New Jersey shore, and extends from Elizabethport to Perth 
Amboy. It is the grand highway for all the local commerce of 
the several ports and streams on the west side of Staten Island, 
as well as the inter-state commerce passing south and west 
through the Delaware and Raritan canal, which connects the 
Raritan river at New Brunswick with the Delaware river at 
Trenton. This canal is one of the principal links in the chain 
of internal navigation of the Atlantic seaboard, and has a 
tonnage amounting to about two millions annually passing 
through it. 

What may be said in regard to the commerce of Arthur kill 
is equally true of Kill von Kull. and perhaps in a still greater 
degree. The latter extends from New York bay to Newark 
bay, separating the north shore of Staten Island from the New 
Jersey shore at Bergen Point. Through this channel must pass 
the great bulk of the commerce already mentioned and that of 
Newark bay and its tributaries in addition. 

Neither of the channels mentioned, however, can compare in 
the importance of its commerce with that of the channel which 
lies along the east side of the island. That is the gateway 
through which is constantly passing the commerce of our own 
great nation with all other nations of the earth. Thus we see 
Staten Island is peculiarly situated, as it were in a whirlpool of 
the commerce of a hemisphere. 






HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

In passing, let ns notice the names of the bodies of water that 
surround the island. The water now known as the kills was 
first called by the Dutch " Het Kill van het Cul," meaning the 
Kill of the Cul. The Dutch word "Kill" meant a stream or 
creek, while the word "Cul," perhaps borrowed from the 
French, meant a bay. Hence Kill von Kull was " the stream of 
the bay," the appropriateness of which name is seen in the fact 
that it connects the two bays of New York and Newark. 
" Achter Cul," as Newark bay was called by the Dutch, meant 
the ''Back bay." The narrow body of water known as Staten 
Island sound, to which the name Arthur kill is also attached, 
was perhaps regarded as only a part of the "back bay," and 
so the name of the larger body, slightly corrupted, was appro- 
priated to the smaller arm. A reef in the bay at the mouth of 
the Kill von Kull was once frequented by seals, to which the 
Dutch gave the name Robyn ; hence the name " Robyns Rift," 
which has by careless usage become " Bobbins Reef." 

The shores of the island are designated with respect to the 
points of the compass, as follows : The region from the Fort to 
Billop's point is called the South Shore ; from the latter point 
to the junction of the sound with the kills is known as the West 
Side ; from the latter point (to which the name Rowland's hook 
has been applied, with reference to the meadows, and De Hart's 
point to the knoll of upland which overlooks it) to where the 
kills meet the waters of New York bay is called the North 
Shore ; and thence to the point of departure the East Side. 

The shape of the island is that of an irregular triangle. The 
longest line that can be drawn through it, from the extreme 
northeastern to the extreme southwestern point, is a few feet 
more than thirteen and a half miles ; while the longest line that 
can be drawn across it, from the shore of the sound near Buck- 
wheat island to the shore at the light-house near the Narrows, 
is two hundred feet over seven and three fourths miles. It con- 
tains about seventy-seven square miles, or 49,280 acres. 

The topography of the island corresponds in general with 
that of Long Island, being in the northern part hilly and stony, 
and in the southern part flat and sandy. But in detail the sur- 
face is more diversified. The island may justly claim attention 
for the beauty of its landscapes, presenting, as they do, so many 
mutations in character, through high, boldly precipitous Mid- 
dletown, diversified Castleton, gently undulating Westfield, 



4 HISTORY OF IM( 1IMOND COUNTY. 

rolling Northtield, and low, more or less flat and marshy South- 
tield. Two prominent ranges of hills extend partially across 
the island, in different directions, one being near the eastern 
shore and touching it at both ends. This extends from New 
Brighton, on the northeastern extremity, where it reaches an 
elevation of 310 feet, and sweeping inland behind Tompkinsville 
and Stapleton, comes out again upon the shore of the Narrows, 
with such precipitous form as to suggest the name of Clifton. 
The second may be said to commence to the south and just in the 
rear of West New Brighton, and extends southward, rising as 
it advances, till it nearly reaches New Dorp, when it swerves 
away to the westward and settles down again on the shores of 
the Fresh kill. This reaches its greatest height in Toad or Todt 
hill, which has an elevation of 370 feet above tide. Still farther 
west it makes a prominent elevation in Richmond Hill. At 
La Tourette's hill, still farther, it overlooks the village of Rich- 
mond, and there you gaze far away over green, wooded, rolling 
Westfield, while Fresh kill runs at its base, nearly dividing the 
island in two. 

To the southeast of this hilly region, which by the way may 
be described as covering the northeast quarter of the island, is 
a level, and probably alluvial, tract of country, composed of 
upland and salt meadow extending to the ocean, where it is 
designated as the south shore. To the northwest of the "hill 
country" the surface is undulating, gradually declining to 
level upland and salt meadows. Almost every farm in the 
county is furnished with several acres of this meadow, from 
which large quantities of grass are annually taken without any 
expense for fertilizing or renewing. 

The island is well watered with springs, some of them very 
copious,*andall of them affording water of excellent quality.* 
These are the sources of numerous rivulets and brooks which 
irrigate the surface in all directions. At Springville, on the 
western part of the island these native waters burst from the 
soil in such spontaneous abundance as to suggest a name for 
the locality. The water of these springs is very cold and pure. * 
Their value in the arts has been discovered by the proprietors 
of several large breweries and dye works as well as by the 
projectors of public water works. On this subject the fol- 
lowing extract from the report of investigations made in 1876 
by Mr. Clarence Delafield, C. E., in regard to the available 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 5 

sources of water supply for the village of New Brighton, will 
be found very interesting: 

" West of Port Richmond and Graniteville lies a sandy sur- 
face soil; under this is an impervious clay of considerable 
depth, under which again is a stratum of gravel that extends 
westward under the sound into New Jersey for a long distance. 
This gravel is the storage reservoir for the drainage of an im- 
mense district. Springs break out at or near tide water in large 
numbers in Mariners' Harbor. At Singer's factory in Eliza- 
bethport, the well that furnishes the factory is sunk through 
this clay stratum to the gravel, and furnishes a large volume of 
water. I feel confident that an ample supply can be found in 
this region for pumping. 

"The geological formation is peculiar. From the Palisades 
on the Hudson river, the trap rock is seen running in a south- 
westerly direction, generally depressed as it passes under 
Bergen hill, thence passing under Bergen Point and the Kill 
von Kull, emerging at the water side of Jewett's residence, 
Port Richmond, passing thence to the quarries at Graniteville, 
and from there dipping under the Fresh kill, is lost sight of 
until discovered on the Raritan river between Perth Amboy 
and New Brunswick. West of this line lies the white and blue 
clays of various depths, forming impervious strata, covering 
the water bearing gravel. 

"East of the line of trap described is another step of the 
same rock, noticed at Bergen Point, at Gunther's residence, but 
only found on the island, in digging wells just east of the Pond 
road. 

" Between the Pond and Mill roads there is a depression of 
the rock, and wells forty feet in depth pass through a stratum 
of water-proof clay into a stratum of gravel, the reservoir of 
drainage of the surface above of limited area, the water rising 
and falling with the rains, and often chalybeate in taste from 
the deposits of hematite iron in the hills above. 

" East of this line and at many points the serpentine rock 
comes to the surface, and on Todt hill rises to an altitude of 
about 370 feet above tide-water. Below the serpentine rock 
should occur the carboniferous strata and old red sandstone, 
also the Silurian rock overlaying the gneiss and granite. I be- 
lieve that the serpentine rock rests upon the gneiss rock, the 
usual intermediate rock being absent, and the reason for this 



6 MISTORV OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

belief is that the gneiss rock of New York city is observed 
dipping under the bay, rising to form Robin's Reef, and ex- 
tending west to the beacon opposite Xew Brighton, probably 
passing under Staten Island at the same rate of dip. 

"As the result of observation of American and European 
engineers, the magnesiau limestones are prolific water bearing 
rocks, and the primitive gneiss liable to fissures and stratifica- 
tion leading from great distances and bearing water of great 
purity. The granite from its freedom from fissures or strata, 
and irregular contour may form good basins, but rarely carries 
water far. Geology is by no means an exact science, as far as 
determining without experimental examination the probable 
strata or their water bearing conditions, but the above men- 
tioned conditions are an assistance in an intelligent considera- 
tion of the subject now under investigation. 

" I find by observation, that there is a series of admirable 
springs commencing at the famous Hessian springs, near La- 
fayette and Brighton avenues, below Silver lake; also the Be- 
ment boiling springs, then various lesser springs, to the large 
springs at the Four Corners or Constanz brewery, and so on 
to the Willow brook and down to Springville. I have esti- 
mated, and find the amount of water discharged is vastly in 
excess of any surface drainage on the higher grounds of the 
island adjacent, and am thus led to the belief that these springs 
arise from the rock below, and have their source on hills far 
distant." 

. The climate of the island is subject to frequent and sudden 
changes of temperature, but is generally more mild than that 
of other localities in the same latitude farther away from the sea- 
shore. The mercury varies during the year between ninety de- 
grees and zero, very seldom passing either of these extremes. 
The prevailing winds of winter are from the north or northwest. 
In summer the south shore receives a breeze from the ocean al- 
most daily, and southwest winds prevail throughout the island. 
Being surrounded by salt water the island is naturally subject 
to fogs, especially about the shores, though they seldom pene- 
trate far into the interior. They are prevalent toward spring 
and continue to occur at times until June or July and occasion- 
ally at other seasons. Thunder showers in summer sometimes 
suddenly arise in the north and are wafted over the island on 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. / 

heavy gusts of wind, and are occasionally accompanied by a 
fall of hail stones. 

The island has long been celebrated for the salubrity of its 
climate, except perhaps for affections of the lungs and throat. 
There are few localities on the continent where the number of 
instances of extreme longevity in proportion to the population 
can be equalled, many of them being more than centenarians. 
To show that the healthfulness of the northern part was recog- 
nized we quote from an announcement in 1788 as follows: "The 
healthy and clear westerly breezes on the one side, and the 
thick southerly atmosphere, abstracted by a ridge of hills on 
the other side, make it so healthy that it must induce gentle 
men of fortune to purchase, who wish to lengthen out their 
days and enjoy all the temporal happiness this life can afford." 

Some very cold winters have been recorded in the climatic 
history of the island. That of 1740-41 was unusually severe. 
Whenever alluded to it was spoken of as the '* hard winter." 
Its extraordinary severity continued from the middle of No- 
vember to the end of March. Snow fell to the depth of six feet 
on the level; fences were buried out of sight: domestic animals 
were housed during the whole period, and many of them per- 
ished: intercourse between neighbors was suspended for several 
weeks; physicians were not able to reach their patients because 
of the utterly impassible condition of the roads; many families 
suffered for want of bread while their granaries were filled with 
grain, because the mills were inaccessible; the roofs of dwell- 
ings and out-buildings in many cases were crushed by the 
weight of snow upon them; churches remained closed and the 
dead unburied. At length a day or two of moderate weather 
came and with a light, misty rain, softened the surface of the 
snow, which froze hard again, and formed a solid crust suffi- 
ciently firm to bear the weight of a horse. This for a time af- 
forded great relief to the imprisoned people, and enabled them 
to procure fuel and other necessaries. Again, the winter of 
1761, beginning with January, was an exceedingly cold one, 
continuing until March, meanwhile the Narrows were frozen 
over. Another severe winter was that of 1768. Ten years later 
brought a recurrence of climatic severity, of which the follow- 
ing record, dated December 12, 1788, gives us a hint: 

" The intense cold weather has, within these two days occa- 
sioned the quick-silver in the weather glass to fall four degrees 



8 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

lower than has been observed for the last seven years; several 
ships, &c., and many lives have been lost by the monstrous 
bodies of ice floating in our Bay.'' 

But perhaps one of the most memorable winters for its sever- 
ity was that of 1779-80. The waters surrounding the island 
were then firmly frozen over, so that troops, cannon and mill 
rnry stores of all descriptions were conveyed hither from New 
York on the ice. Sleighs were driven across the Narrows and 
over New York bay on the ice. A New York paper (JRiriny- 
tori's Gazette} of January W has an item saying that several 
persons came from Staten Island to New York that (layover 
tlic ice, and on the first day of January it records the fact that 
a four-horse sleigh made the same passage. 



EXPLANATION 




YJy 



Point of the Beach 

LO Il'ER BAY. 



GEOLOGICAL MAP 

OF 

RICHMOND CO. N.Y. 

BY N. L. BRITTON. 
Scale, i : 120000 



CHAPTER II. 
NATURAL HISTORY OF THE ISLAND. 

<M'M|II-_> Fl fa of the Island. Animal Life. Indian Relics. 



IN the matter of geology Staten Island presents a great 
variety for so small a section of territory. For our repre- 
sentations of the subject we have drawn largely upon the facts 
gathered by the investigations of Dr. N. L. Britton, of Columbia 
College. He tells us that within the limits of this territory we 
find strata of the Archaean, Triassic. Cretaceous, Quaternary and 
Modern eras, each of which will be noticed in the order of 
its age. 

Arclnrn n ^lin/a. True granite occurs on the shore of the 
Upper bay. about four hundred feet southwest of the Tompkins- 
ville steamboat landing, and directly in front of the old build 
ing known as Nautilus Hall. The surface of rock exposed at 
low tide is about eighty feet wide by fifty feet long: the rock 
disappearing at high-water mark beneath a hill of drift some 
fifteen feet in thickness. More of the same rock is exposed 
about two hundred feet south of this. Elsewhere on the island 
the granite is covered by newer formations. There is reason to 
believe, however, that it extends in a belt of unknown width 
all around the eastern edge of the main range of hills, covered 
by the glacial drift and Cretaceous strata to an unknown depth, 
and that the same belt continues in a southwesterly direction to 
Artlmr kill, and thence across the state of New Jersey to 
Trenton, where it again conies to the surface. 

At the exposure at Tompkinsville before spoken of, this 
granite is very coarsely crystalline in structure, and for that 
reason could never be very satisfactorily employed for building 
purposes. The feldspar is mainly orthoclase, occurs in large 
masses, and is greatly in excess of the other two constituents; 
the quartz varies in color from dark brown to nearly white; 
\\-t ;tt mica there is appears to be muscovite. In places the last 
\najHed mineral is absent, the rock being then a kind of peg- 



10 HISTOKY OF RICHMOND rorXTY. 

matite or graphic granite. No stratification is observable, but 
the surface of the rock outcrop dips about fifteen degrees to the 
east. Mather calls this grarJte primary, and to the best of our 
present knowledge it belongs to the oldest geological formation 
in Xorth America. 

The magnesian rocks, serpentines, form the upper portion at 
least of the main series of hills. This rock originally is sup- 
posed to have been of very considerable thickness, for a large 
amount must have been removed by erosion; the serpentine 
area is estimated at about thirteen and a half square miles. It 
is impossible to estimate accurately the present thickness, but 
it is probably over one hundred feet. The most eastern exposed 
boundary of the serpentine rock is marked by a series of very 
sharp slopes, which are nearly continuous from Tompkinsville 
to Richmond, and in some places these are as straight and 
regular as they could be constructed. This regularity of the 
slope is a characteristic of these hills, and is not the least 
element of their beauty. It is not known how far east of the 
foot of these hills the serpentine extends, but it is probably no 
great distance, as the granite at Tompkinsville occurs within a 
few hundred feet of it. The southern end of the ridge descends 
rather gradually and is lost under the Freshkill marshes not far 
from Richmond. The western boundary of the formation, or 
more properly the eastern limit of the Triassic sandstone whicli 
rests upon it, cannot be accurately located, as there are no out- 
crops, and any attempt to designate it would be speculative 
and only approximate. 

The magnesian rock varies in color from light green to nearly 
black, and in texture from compact to quite earthy, much of it 
being fibrous. Its specific gravity is about 2.55, and ia chemi- 
cal composition it is all a hydrated magnesian silicate. The 
best exposures are at several places around the base of Pavilion 
hill at Tompkinsville; in cuttings for streets in the village of 
New Brighton; near the school house at Garretson's station; on 
Meissner avenue near Richmond, and near Egbertville. The 
highest point of the ridge is nearly opposite Garretson's sta- 
tion, and about half way across the hills, where the elevation 
measured by an aneroid barometer is four hundred and twenty 
feet. Among the interesting minerals associated with the ser- 
pentine rocks that have been collected at Pavilion hill and in. 
NVw Brighton are compact and fibrous serpentines, marmolite, 



HI>TORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. ] 1 

silvery talc, apple green talc, gurhofite, dolomite, calcite and 
chromite. 

Near the new railroad terminus at St. George's there was 
formerly an outcrop of very tough actinolite rock. This has 
been covered by the filling in of the water-front at that place. 

The metamorphic rocks of Staten Island are apparently a 
southern continuation of those of Hoboken, N. J., and New 
York island, their strike, position with regard to the other 
rocks, and their composition being generally alike or nearly so. 
The serpentines are supposed to have been originally highly 
magnesian limestones which by metamorphic agencies were 
brought in contact with highly heated carbonic acid and silica 
bearing solutions, which, by removing the greater part of the 
calcic carbonate and altering the magnesic carbonate to a sili- 
cate, left the rocks in the condition of hydrated maguesian sili- 
cates. During or at the close of this period of metamorphism, 
the eastern edges of the strata were tilted up, forming an ele- 
vated axis, while the extension of the formation to the west- 
ward was subsequently covered by the shale and sandstone 
deposited from the Triassic sea. 

The true geological age of this belt of metamorphic rocks, 
which runs through Staten and New York islands, extends far 
northward through the New England states, where it has a 
wide expansion, and has been traced southward as far as North 
Carolina, is not definitely known. Perhaps of all the theories 
in regard to it, that which claims it to belong to the Laurentian 
age, as portions of the Highlands of New Jersey and the Adi- 
rondack mountains, is the one most generally held by those 
who have studied the evidences most thoroughly. 

Triassic Formation. Strata of the Triassic age extend over 
the parts of the island bounded by the assumed western edge 
of the serpentine rocks, the submerged gneissic belt, Arthur 
kill and Newark bay. This area contains about fourteen and 
a half square miles. The rocks consist of red ferruginous shales 
and sandstones, which dip to the northwest, and are broken 
through by a dyke of diabase or trap rock. They are in part 
the eastern extension of the Triassic strata that cover so large a 
part of New Jersey. 

The shales and sandstones are exposed in but few places and 
only in small quantities. They appear on Shooter's island and 
on the adjacent shore. Here the strata consist of shaly red 



12 III>TORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

micaceous sandstone, which differs in no essential particular 
from that so abundantly exposed in eastern New Jersey. No 
fossils have hitherto been found in these rocks on Staten Island, 
and the exposed surfaces are not sufficient to warrant any great 
expenditure of time or labor in search for them. 

The diabase ridge that disappears beneath the Kill von Kull 
at Bergen Point cuts through the red sandstone of Staten Island 
from Port Richmond to the Freshkill marshes, and appears as 
a low, long, round-backed hill, having a general strike of south 
40 degrees west, thus being nearly parallel with the serpentine. 
Toward the south end its elevation is so little above that of the 
sandstone that its position cannot be well distinguished. The 
length of this outcrop is about five and three-quarters miles, 
and its width, measuring from its assumed eastern verge to 
where the sandstone covers it, has an average of less than half 
a mile. Both the eastern and western boundaries, however, are 
so much obscured by drift that their exact positions cannot be 
determined, and the outcrop may be wider or narrower than 
the most careful estimate would lead us to suppose. 

The only places at which the diabase is exposed so as to be 
easily studied are at and near the so-called granite quarries at 
Graniteville and near Port Richmond. The rock is not a gran- 
ite, but a coarsely crystalline diabase, mainly composed of 
angite and triclinic feldspar, which is probably labradorite. It 
has been found in well-digging within the belt that has been 
indicated, extending from Port Richmond to the Fresh kill near 
its junction with the sound, in the water at Linoleumville, and 
in outcrops near Chelsea, on the road to Spriugville. It is 
noticeable here, as in other localities, that the trap-dykes seem 
to shun the exposed Archfean rocks and cling closely to the 
Triassic, none being found outside of the red sandstone era. 

The Cretaceous formation. This, more or less covered by 
glacial and modified drift and salt meadows, extends through 
all points of the island lying east and southeast of the Archaean 
rocks. The area underlaid by it is therefore about twenty-eight 
and a half square miles. The strata consist of beds of variously 
colored clays and sands, dipping slightly to the southeast, and 
having a general strike of about south 45 degrees west. They 
are a direct continuation of the v ' Plastic Clay'' division of the 
Cretaceous, so named by the New Jersey geologists, and lie at 
the base of the formation in eastern North America. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 13 

South of the terminal glacial moraine, the strata are generally 
covered by a deposit of grayish yellow sand and gravel of vari- 
able thickness, known as the " Yellow Drift." This is seen on 
the island only in the vicinity of Tottenville, for the area lying 
southeast of the moraine near New Dorp and Garretson's is cov- 
ered with modified drift, imperfectly stratified. These Creta- 
ceous strata of clay and sand extend eastward to Long Island, 
where their extent is unknown. The clays are white, yellow, 
brown or black. They appear on the surface at a number of 
places, and the purer varieties have been extensively used in 
the manufacture of lire-brick, drain-pipe, gas-retorts and other 
refractory ware. White clays outcrop on the road just north of 
Rossville, at various places south of Rossville and near 
Kreischerville, along a stream near Prince's bay. They have 
been noticed near Gilford's, and are said to occur at the bottom 
of a well near New Dorp, and perhaps maybe found in other 
localities. 

The extension of this formation to the east is indicated by an 
outcrop of buff-colored clay on the shore of the Lower bay 
about one-half mile south of the Elm-Tree light-house. The 
fact that all the pits from which clay has been taken are in the 
region between Rossville and Kreischerville does not prove by 
any means that clay occurs only in that neighborhood. It is 
probable, on the contrary, that the beds extend with some inter- 
ruptions, across the island, but are deeply covered by the drift- 
hills of the moraine, and materials washed from these which 
cover all the territory assumed to be underlaid by the clays, 
except that portion where pits have been excavated. 

Thin beds of Limonite iron ore, of limited extent are found in 
terstratified with and overlaying the clays and sands. This sub- 
stance frequently cements the sand and gravel, and forms a con- 
glomerate of variable coarseness. Hitherto this iron ore has 
not often been discovered in sufficient quantities or sufficient 
purity to warrant its use in the manufacture of iron. Lignite 
and pyrites are frequently found in the clay excavations. The 
former substance may also be seen on the shore of Arthur kill, 
near Rossville, aud in a ravine a short distance northeast of the 
same village, after slides of the banks occur. It is generally 
impregnated with the pyrites, and with copperas which mani- 
fests itself upon exposure to the air for a little time. No fossil 
leaves or shells have been found in the clays of the island, 



14 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

though it is not improbable that they may be found in more 
extended excavations than have been made. 

As these beds are composed of fragments of quartz, mica and 
clay, or decomposed feldspar, it is evident that they are the 
products of the disintegration of gneissic or granitic rocks. 
That they have not been formed in place, but have been de- 
posited from suspension in water, is proved from their stratifi- 
cation and by the assorted state of the materials composing 
them. That the waters that deposited the clays were fresh, is 
indicated by the absence of fossil marine organisms, arid the 
presence of shells apparently allied to the modern fresh-water 
genera, in the clays of New Jersey. 

The Quaternary Epoch. Deposits of material brought from 
the north by the ice of the glacial epoch, are found distributed 
over the greater part of the island, but do not entirely over- 
spread it. The most southern terminal glacial moraine crosses 
the island from the Narrows to Tottenville, and is distinctly 
marked by a continuous line of hills. These hills mark the 
farthest southern extension of the ice-sheet, and the line along 
which the glacier deposited much of its burden of boulders, 
pebbles, sand and clay, which it had torn from the rocks in its 
southward journey. In many places these hills have the pecu- 
liar lenticular form which they assume on Long Island and in 
the Eastern states. The moraine has been partially removed 
by the wash of the waves from Prince's bay northward to near 
the Great kills, leaving a bluff of variable height. 

The glacier moved across the island in a south-southeasterly 
direction. This is proved by the markings on the trap-rock 
near Port Richmond, which have about that bearing. The sur- 
face of this rock is also smoothed like portions of the Palisades 
and Newark mountains. There are no such markings on the 
serpentine rocks, because they are too soft to retain them. The 
ice extended over their whole area, however, with the exception 
of a small area on Todt bill, which is east of the moraine. 
North and west of the morainal hills the drift is not so abund- 
ant, and rarely forms hills of any considerable size. But 
boulders are to be found over all this area, except when it is 
covered by newer formations and the soil is often very clayey. 

"Diabase of various degrees of coarseness is the most abundant 
rock in the drift. This has been carried from tiie Palisades 
and the Newark mountains, and probably in part from the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 15 

trap-dyke on the island itself, and is found over the whole drift 
area. Gneiss of various kinds, largely syenitic, is perhaps the 
next most abundant rock, and occurs often in very large masses. 
One of these large boulders rests directly on the top of Fort 
hill, New Brighton; another along a roadside near Pleasant 
Plains, and a third worthy of notice lies in a field near 
Huguenot. 

Moderately large boulders, both of trap and gneiss, abound 
on the moraine between the Narrows and Garretson's. The 
gneiss has come either from the New Jersey Highlands or from 
much farther northward, and perhaps in part from New York 
island. Triassic red sandstone, carried from New Jersey or 
from the northwestern parts of the island, is often met with. 
A specimen impregnated with copper salts was obtained from 
the bluff at Prince's bay. This locality has yielded many other 
interesting specimens illustrating the material brought by the 
glacier. Among these may be mentioned Potsdam sandstone, 
a number of rocks of Helderberg limestone, a specimen of 
granite containing graphite, a cherty rock which may belong to 
the Corniferous, and a conglomerate of uncertain age, but 
thought to be of the Oneida epoch. A boulder of Hamilton 
limestone occurs near Richmond, and a rock containing galena 
was found in some excavations near New Brighton. 

1 1 is evident that the ice-sheet passed entirely over the day- 
beds of the Cretaceous formation in the vicinity of Rossville, 
apparently without deteriorating them to any great extent. 
At first sight it would appear that these soft, unconsolidated 
strata would have been greatly eroded and almost entirely 
removed down to the bed-rock, by such an immense mass of ice 
moving over them, but although some was undoubtedly carried 
away, the ice seems to have swept across the clays without cut- 
ting into them very much. South and east of the drift line 
(which flows in general in a course parallel with the south shore 
of the island in some places running inland a mile or more for 
short distances) boulders are almost entirely absent, being 
chiefly found in the beds of brooks, where they have been 
^carried by water since glacial times, and are never very large. 

Modified drift, or material derived from the glacier, but more 
or less sorted and stratified by water, may be seen on the plains 
lying east of the moraine from near Gilford's to Clifton. The 
soil over this area is seen in well-diggings to be imperfectly 



ID HISTORY OF UICHMOXD COUNTY. 

stratified, and to consist of loam and sand, with few pebbles 
and fewer boulders. On Todt bill, near the moraine, there is 
quite an extensive deposit of gravel colored yellow by oxide of 
iron 1 , this is the pre-glacial drift, which has a greater develop- 
ment farther south in New Jersey. Occasionally some stratifi- 
cation may be seen in the morainal hills themselves, but these 
are generally very heterogeneous in composition. Modified 
drift also occurs in small quantities along the edge of the 
moraine near Tottenville. The true glacial drift in this vicinity 
is not thick, but generally forms a mere mantle over the Cre- 
taceous strata, and was probably deposited by a local pro- 
jection of ice in advance of the main glacier. 

The era of the formation of limonite iron ore deposits is only 
provisionally referred to the Quaternary. Their deposition is 
supposed to have begun long before the glacial epoch, but since 
the magnesian rocks, upon which they rest. These beds of iron 
ore are found resting directly upon the serpentine or talcose 
rocks at a number of places, in some of which mining has been 
carried on. All the deposits have the same general character- 
istics they are superficial, though sometimes covered by glacial 
drift to a variable depth. The ore consists of the hydrated 
sesquioxide of iron, limonite, and is either compact or quite 
earthy in texture, and is associated with colorless, green and 
red quartz. It has been extensively mined near Four Corners, 
at several places on Todt hill and Richmond terrace, and along 
the Clove road, and is known to occur at several places on the 
serpentine hills. The deposits vary from a few inches up to 
twenty feet or more in thickness, and their lateral extent is 
limited to a few hundred feet in any direction. The Todt hill 
mines are the only ones wholly uncovered by glacial drift, be- 
ing east of the moraine. 

These superficial deposits have probably had their origin in 
the deposition of the material composing them from the waters 
of thermal springs, which have come to the surface through 
crevices in the serpentine. The iron in the solutions was prob- 
ably in the form of the carbonate, which on reaching the sur- 
face became oxidized by contact with the atmosphere, and was 
thrown out of solution and deposited as the hydrated sesqui- 
oxide, as we now find it. Magnetic iron sand occurs with the 
limonite in one of the deposits on Todt hill. This was prob- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 17 

ably washed in mechanically while the hydrated oxide was be- 
ing deposited from solution. 

Extensive deposits of light-colored sand, similar in character 
to those found so abundantly on Bergen neck, occur along the 
edges of the salt meadows on the western side of the island, 
from Mariner's Harbor to near Chelsea landing, sometimes ex- 
tending to a distance of one-half to three-quarters of a mile on 
the upland, and thus occupying a position between the trap- 
dyke and the salt meadows. The material is a fine, yellowish, 
loamy sand, containing nu gravel or pebbles, but rests on the 
glacial drift, and is hence of post glacial age. This sand was once 
the western beach of the extensive body of salt water which 
formerly occupied the basin now filled with the salt-marsh de- 
posits, and which extended over all the Newark and Hacken- 
sack meadows, but has now been reduced to the area of New- 
ark bay. The sands of this old beach were blown inland, and 
formed into dunes by the generally prevailing westerly winds. 
On a windy day the manner of the formation of these dunes 
may slill be plainly seen. A number of pine barren plants 
have been found lodging in this sandy soil, both on the island 
and on Bergen neck, and it is probable that others may be 
found when more exhaustive explorations are made. 

Modern Epoch. Under this head are included deposits whose 
formation began at a comparatively recent period, and whose 
growth still continues. 

Deposits of marine alluvium or salt meadows extend over an 
area of about nine and one-half square miles of the island. The 
material composing them consists for the most part of partially 
decomposed vegetable matter mixed with a little clay and sand. 
These salt meadow areas have once been shallow bays, which have 
gradually been filled up, first by the deposit of silt from their 
waters and the growth of marine plants, and ultimately by the 
growth and decay of grasses and rushes. This latter process is 
yet in operation, and thus the salt meadows keep at about the 
level of the highest tides. Their most abundant grass is the 
Xpartina juncea (Willd.), while the rush is Juncus Gerardi 
(Lam.), commonly known as "black grass.'' A number of 
other plants contribute small amounts to the vegetable growth, 
making the salt-meadow Horn quite a varied one. The most 
extensive areas covered by these deposits are along New creek 
and the Great kills, on the eastern shore, and from Rossville 
2 



- 



18 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

northward along Arthur kill. The thickness of the marshes is 
exceedingly variable, probably as much as thirty feet in some 
places and but a few inches in others. The dried material con- 
sists of decaying fibres mixed with a little clay, sand and oxide 
of iron. The latter substance produces the irridescent film com- 
monly seen in the marshes, and popularly supposed to be oil. 

Sand beaches occur along all the shores that are directly ex- 
posed to the waves. The greatest accumulations of sand are 
on the shore of the Lower bay. from Clifton southward to the 
so-called Point of the Beach, near Gifford's, at Seguine's point, 
near Prince's bay, and at Ward's point. The point near Gif- 
ford's is slowly lengthening and curving in toward the shore, 
and a similar point is in process of formation at the mouth of 
New creek. The accumulation of sand at Ward's point, below 
Tjttenville, is also quite great. These points are produced by 
the combined action of the currents of the Lower bay and the 
streams flowing into it, which carry the sand along the coast 
until finally it is driven up on the beaches by the waves. 

Sands composed of magnetic iron ore occur with the quartz 
sand, a*nd are generally found in layers of a fraction of an inch 
in thickness, but an accumulation of this material to a depth 
of four inches has recently been found at low water on the 
beach near the Elm Tree light-house, but it contains titanium 
and is not likely to be of much economic importance. All the 
sands originally resulted from the disintegration of rocks, and 
have been carried by water down the rivers emptying into the 
bays, and have also resulted in part from the direct disintegra- 
tion of the coasts. 

True peat occurs in but few places on Staten Island. Some 
is found in the Clove Lake swamps, in several swamps near 
Richmond and Gifford's, and toward Tottenville. In one lo- 
cality near Richmond the peat deposit is at least ten feet thick. 

The entire southeastern shore of Staten Island is gradually 
being washed away. In some places the loss is very apparent. 
At the foot of New Dorp lane, near where the Elm Tree light- 
house now stands, a large American elm was standing not longer 
ago than 1840. The place where it grew is now beyond the end 
of a dock which extends some four hundred feet into the water. 
This indicates an average wasting of at least ten feet per year 
from the shore. At Cedar Grove, half a mile south of this 
point, there has been a loss of about three hundred and fifty 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 19 

feet since 1850, which shows about the same average. At 
Prince's bay the government has been obliged to build a heavy 
sea wall in front of the bluff on which the light house is placed, 
and a like precaution has been taken at the forts on the 
Narrows. 

The two causes operating to effect the wasting of the coast are 
the constant abrading action of the waves and currents, and 
the gradual depression of the coasts. By the course of the 
prevailing currents in the Lower bay the eroded material, to- 
gether with part of that brought down by the rivers, is carried 
southwardly along the coast, the sands being deposited as 
beaches, bars and points, while the finer, muddy part is carried 
farther, and finally deposited in the deeper waters of the bay, or 
out into the ocean. The land on the shore is sometimes pro- 
tected by building bulkheads of stone or other substantial ma 
terial, running out some hundreds of feet against the southern 
part of the shore to be protected. Such bulkheads break the 
force of the sand-bearing currents and cause them to drop their 
burdens of sand on the north side of the obstruction, and the 
waves drive it up on the shore, thus actually making land. The 
other cause of the decadence of the coast is found in its gradual 
depression. Prof. George H. Cook has estimated that the shores 
of New Jersey and Long Island are suffering a depression of 
about two feet every hundred years. Others vary this estimate 
slightly, but it is agreed by all that there is a sinking of the 
shores slowly but continually going on. It will be seen that if 
this coast settles down to ten feet below its present level, the 
greater part of the plains extending south of the moraine from 
Giffords to Clifton, now the most valuable land in the county, 
will be covered with salt meadows within a few hundred year>. 
provided they are not sooner washed away by the action of the 
currents. 

We must close this interesting subject with a few words on 
the economic uses to which the geological products of the island 
have been applied. The limonite ore of Todt hill. Four Cor- 
ners, and other places, has been used in blast furnaces in con- 
nection with other more refractory ores, or has been screened, 
ground and washed, to produce red ochre paint. The total 
amount hitherto mined may be as great as 300.000 tons. Fire 
clay is employed in the production of refractory ware, at 
Kreischerville, of which mention has alreadv been made. Clavs 



20 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

of glacial drift origin are used in the manufacture of common 
brick near Richmond and Linoleumville. Quarries of trap rock 
have been worked at Graniteville and near Port Richmond for 
many years. The rock is either cut into blocks and shipped to 
New York to be used for street pavements, or crushed into 
small pieces and employed in Mac Adam or Telford pavements 
on Staten Island. Some edifices have been constructed of this 
rock, but it is not well suited for building purposes. The fibrous 
serpentine rock, erroneously called asbestos, has been mined near 
Tompkinsville landing, to the extent of perhaps twenty-five or 
thirty tons, and used fur the purposes for which asbestos is em- 
ployed. Thousands of tons of beach sand are annually taken 
from the southeastern coast, and used in New York and Brook- 
lyn for building purposes. In some places so much sand has 
been removed that property along the shore has been seriously 
damaged, by exposing roads and meadows to the action of the 
waves. 

The variety in the geological formation, already described, 
exerts a powerful influence over the occurrence and distri- 
bution of the vegetation, which is surprisingly rich in its 
number of species. In 1879 Messrs. N. L. Britton and Arthur 
Hollick. to whom we are indebted for the facts which we give 
under this head, after three years of careful search aud study, 
compiled and published a catalogue of the flowering plants 
with the ferns and their allies, known to grow on Staten 
Island independent of cultivation. This catalogue enumerated 
1,050 species and varieties. The following year an appendix 
was issued enumerating forty-six more. In 1882 the second 
appendix was published containing sixty-seven additions. 
A third appendix, showing forty-six more, was issued in 
1885, and now the fourth appendix is found necessary, con- 
taining a farther list of thirty-six species. In other words 
there are at the present time 1,245 species and varieties of 
wild plants known on Staten Island, which has an area of 
only about fifty-nine square miles, while the entire flora 
of New York state, covering an area of about 45,000 
square miles, numbers only about 1,800. So that little 
Richmond county is the possessor of two-thirds of the state 
flora as known at the present time. About fifty of the species 
were not known in the state until discovered and reported from 
this county. The surprising richness, as previously stated, is 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 21 

due in part to the fact that the cretaceous sands and clays 
in the region around Tottenville and Kreischerville carry with 
them a large number of the plants characteristic of that for- 
mation in New Jersey known as the "Pine Barren" flora; 
while the drift, which covers the rest of the island with a 
mantle of sand, loam, gravel and " hard pan," affords a home 
for many of the plants which occur to the north and up the 
Hudson river valley. There are also several species which are 
confined entirely to the ridge of serpentine or soapstone rock r 
which forms the backbone of the island, extending from St. 
George to Richmond. 

The physiographic conditions are also of importance, as the 
island occupies a position surrounded by salt water, besides 
having several large ponds of fresh water, running streams and 
perpetual springs. There are also high and dry hills, low and 
wet swamps, and some artificially-made ground. The latter has 
mostly been filled in with refuse, and ballast from vessels, and 
through this agency about thirty of the species have been intro- 
duced. The inevitable march of progress, while it has intro- 
duced a few plants, mostly troublesome weeds, such as the 
"pig-weed," " worm-seed," stramonium, amaranthus, and other 
pests of our fields and gardens, has destroyed and crowded 
out many of our native species, or completely destroyed 
them in certain localities where they were formerly abundant. 
The forest trees were the first to suffer, as they are in all com- 
munities in which immediate gain is counted higher than ulti- 
mate utility. The entire island, except on the salt marshes, 
was, it is said, originally covered with a thick growth, in which 
oak and chestnut predominated. In the time of the revolution, 
most of this forest was cut down, and there are now but com- 
paratively few trees that have seen one hundred years of growth. 
The mass of the forest growth at the present time is probably 
about half that age, or a little more, although there are a few 
isolated examples which are noteworthy. One of the most con- 
spicuous objects near Garretson's station is a huge white oak. 
standing alone in the middle of a field, on the south side of the 
track. In a little secluded valley t,j the north of the station is 
a chestnut whose trunk measure* eighteen feet in circumference. 
Tt is, so far as known, the largest tree on the island, in regard 
to girth. The next largest is probably a white oak which 
stands in a field at Green Ridge. Its circumference is fifteen 



22 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

feet two inches, and it is a remarkable object, but its existence 
is known by but few people, on account of its distance from 
any road. 

The willow trees at the Billop house. Tottenville, follow 
next, the largest one showing a circumference of thirteen 
feet seven inches. Near Court House station are two of the 
finest examples of perfect symmetry in tree development to be 
found anywhere. They are both white oaks. One of them, 
with a circumference of eleven feet, is in a field close by the 
station, and the other is in a patch of woods about a quarter of 
a mile away. The latter one has a girth of eleven feet six inches, 
with branches that spread for a distance of thirty or forty feet, 
often almost touching the ground. A magnificent grove of 
white pine formerly flourished on the hill back of Clove lake, 
but within a few years it has 'been cut down. There are a few 
scattered groves of these trees in other parts of the island, 
notably in Westfield, and many fine specimens may still be seen 
there. In a swamp at the rear of the school house at Green 
Ridge are a number of elms, each averaging over eleven feet in 
circumference, and there are many beautiful specimens of this 
tree which have been planted, notably at New Springville. 
The sycamore is undoubtedly dying out for some reason, and 
probably the present generation will see its almost entire ex- 
termination. Almost the only really fine example of this tree 
now to be seen here is in front of a cottage on the north side of 
the road between Rossville and Kreischerville. Among the 
tallest trees the tulip tree will probably bear the palm. It is 
seldom very large in circumference, the greatest thus far meas- 
ured being under ten feet, but no tree can present a finer spec- 
tacle when it is in full bloom. 

The list of notable forest trees found here would not be com- 
plete without the sweet gum, which was the source of a gigantic 
hoax some ten years since. Its peculiar corky bark is familiar 
to most people, yet certain individuals found a ready sale for 
the branches in the streets of New York under the name of 
" alligator wood/' A market was even found for it among the 
citizens of the island, many of whom brought it back with 
them as a great curiosity. The beech is abundant, and often 
conspicuous for its size. Several fine examples are to be seen 
standing isolated in the partially cleared land back of Clove 
lake. In one limited locality the sugar maple grows, in com- 



HISTORY OF IUCJIMOXD COUNTY. 23 

pany with the slippery elm, but fortunately they have thus far 
escaped notice. Magnolias flourish in three widely separated 
localities Tottenville, Cliffords and Watchogue. The trees 
have been sadly mutilated by parties who gather the flowers 
for sale in Xew York, but as they grow in thick swamps they 
are not likely to be entirely exterminated until the swamps are 
drained and cleared. The red maple is one of the commonest 
trees in the lowlands, and is very conspicuous in the autumn, 
owing to the endless change in color which its foliage assumes. 
They often reach a considerable size, one in a swamp at Totten- 
ville being twelve feet three inches in circumference, and hol- 
low, so that a person can readily get entirely within the trunk. 
There are five species of dog-woods known here, but only one is 
familiar to any extent as a tree. This is the Cornus ftorida (L. ), 
with large conspicuous white blossoms. The others hardly ever 
rise above the dignity of large shrubs or bushes. The well 
known evergreen holly (Ilex opaca, Ait.) was formerly far more 
abundant than it now is, although it still grows in considerable 
quantity in the vicinity of Richmond and Eltingville, and small 
scattered individual specimens are to be met with in nearly 
every part of the island. Not far from Cliffords is a most beau- 
tiful example of this tree. The main trunk is four feet six inches 
in circumference, and each main branch measures two feet, ten 
inches. Its height is about twenty-five feet, and' the symmetry 
would be perfect except that some vandals have hacked oil' 
branches on one side, presumably for Christmas greens. 

The catalpu, paulownia, and locust (liobinia, Pseudaca<-< <. 
L.) have all more or less escaped from cultivation and are 
thoroughly established in a wild state in many places; in fart 
the latter, there is good reason to believe, is native here. The 
ailanthus is likewise seeding itself quite extensively and seems 
likely to become a permanent feature. The two species of ash 
(Fruxinus pubescens, and Fraj'iiiioi Americana) are found 
sparingly throughout the island, but are mostly represented by 
isolated trees. The wild cherry is every where abundant and the 
cultivated one has been extensively plavted in woods and copies 
through the agency of birds. Peac'a, pear and apple trees are 
also frequently met with in the woods and along old fence lines 
and hedge rows, where the seeds have been accidentally 
dropped. The sassafras is common and well known every- 
where. The hackberry, or sugarberry (Celt is o<:<:i<h nialia, 



24 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

L.) is plentiful in restricted localities, notably on Kiclmiond 
hill and at Tottenville. Its peculiar warty bark and insect 
bitten branches always attract attention wherever seen. The 
white and red mulberry may now be found in nearly all parts 
of the island, distributed by birds from trees, a large part of 
which were planted during the silk worm craze some years ago. 
The remains of some of these plantations may yet be seen, being 
all that is left of the visions of silk culture that prevailed at 
the time they were planted. Many black walnut trees may yet 
be seen, some of them very imposing specimens. Their near 
relatives, the hickories, number five different species, common 
everywhere. (Carya alba, Nutt., C. tomentosa, Nutt., C. por- 
cina, Nutt,, C. amara, Nutt., and C. microcarpa, Nutt.) The 
first mentioned, which is commonly known as the "shag" or 
" shell bark," yields the hickory nuts of the markets. This 
species is plentiful enough in certain places on the south side to 
be of some economical importance. The oaks number ten dif- 
ferent species. The chestnut, swamps, white and red oaks are 
known everywhere, forming the bulk of the woods, but the post 
oak (Quercus obtustloba, Michx. ) and black oak (Q. nigra, L. ) 
occur only in a few places, notably Tottenville and Watchogne. 
The dwarf oak (Q. prinoid.es, Willd. ) is also restricted to the 
same localities. It seldom grows more than six feet high and 
appears like a thick bush. The willow oak, (Q. Pkellos, L. ), so 
far as known, is represented bv a single tree, growing in ;i 
swamp at Tottenville. The chestnut was formerly very abund- 
ant, and is yet along Ocean terrace, but it has been laid under 
such heavy contribution for fence posts and rails, telegraph and 
telephone poles, railroad ties, etc., that its complete extermina- 
tion in the near future seems inevitable. Hornbeam or " iron 
wood" is plentiful, especially in wet places. There are three 
species of birch, two of which are common and well known, 
namely the black and white. The third, which is known as the red 
or " river birch " (Betulanigra, L.), is very rare, only a few trees 
being known, and they are on the borders of a pond near Bull's 
Head. These are likel" to be destroyed very shortly, on ac- 
count of certain changes now being made by the Crystal 
Water Company. There are Tine willows, all common, in addi- 
tion to the " weeping willow." which is so well known in culti- 
vation. With the exception of the white (>'"//> aJba, L., rar. 
vitelliua, Ofr. ) and the black (S. n <ra, L.), they are shrubs 



HISTORY OF UK IIMOXD COUNTY. W 2.") 

mostly confined to low or swampy situations. Botanically they 
are known as SalLr tristis, Ait., 8. humilis, Marshall, 8. dis- 
color, Muhl., S. sericea, Marshall., S.lucida, Muhl., S.fragiUs, 
L., and 8. cordata, Muhl. The poplars include, besides the 
well known cultivated species, the white, Lombardy, and "balm 
of Gilead," three wild ones, viz.: Poptilus tremuloides, Michx., 
commonly called "aspen," P. grandidentata, Michx., and P. 
JieteropJiylla, L. 

There are four species of pines, all comparatively plentiful. 
The pitch pine is found everywhere. The white and yellow 
pines are not so common, and the "scrub," or New Jersey pine, 
is found only in the neighborhood around Tottenville and 
Kreischerville, excepting for a few isolated trees near Four 
Corners. The cedar is very common, forming many beautiful 
groves at different parts of the island. Very large specimens 
are to be seen near the Billop house at Tottenville, and at 
Kreischerville. Two of these trees measure respectively 5 ft. 
10 in. and 5 ft. 4A in. in circumference. Only one specimen of 
the juniper is known to be in existence in the county. This is 
in the cedar grove at New Dorp, near the beach. Persimmons 
are very common at Tottenville and Kreischerville, although 
rarely met with elsewhere. 

Among the shrubs and bushes are many highly ornamental 
species, besides some of economic importance. The common 
barberry is spreading quite rapidly, especially in the vicinity of 
Tottenville, where it is a conspicuous object in the autumn, on 
account of the drooping racemes of bright scarlet berries. Near 
the same locality the "burning bush" (Euonymus atfajuu 
pureus, Jacq.) has escaped from cultivation. The black-cap 
raspberry, high bush and trailing blackberries, are in some lo- 
calities abundant enough to pick for market. The English 
ha \vthorne has become established in several localities, notably 
along a brook at New Dorp, where there are a number of very 
large bushes. Three varieties of the " shad bush " have been 
found here (AmelancJiicr Canadensis, T. & G., var. But ft/ 
apiitm, car. oblong if olium, and var. rotundifolium.) It some- 
times grows large enough to be called a tree, as is the case at 
Totfenville, where there is one measuring 3 ft. 4i- in. in cir- 
cumference. When in blossom this tree is a sight to behold, 
appearing in the distance like a bank of snow. Unfortunately 
some vandal has hacked off one of the main branches, thus 



26 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ruining its former symmetry. Small hushes are plentiful every- 
where, and have attracted such attention that the florists have 
introduced them successfully for shrubbery. The witch hazel 
is plentifully distributed along nearly all the watercourses and 
in wet locations generally. Probably the best known of all the 
bushes is the "nanny berry" ( Viburnum prunlfolium, L.) 
which is so abundant in a certain place near West New Brighton 
that it is called " nanny berry hill." It is used successfully for 
hedges, not only in rough places, but in cultivated gardens, and 
should be a favorite, as it is never winter-killed like so many of 
the introduced hedge plants. The "huckleberries" number six 
species, besides several varieties. The one which produces the 
huckleberry of the market is known as the " high " or "swamp 
huckleberry," although the others are all used more or less. In 
the vicinity of \Vatchogue they are abundant enough to be of 
some economical importance. Kalmia Intifolia, L., better 
known as the "laurel," is still quite common, especially at 
Tottenville, but is too conspicuous and handsome a bush to 
stand long near a thickly settled community. The Rhododen- 
dron nuLi'tiitum, L., has already suffered for its beauty and has 
become completely exterminated on the island, within the 
memory of people now living here. The azalea seems destined 
to share the same fate, although not so rapidly. It has already 
disappeared from hundreds of acres where it was abundant a 
few years ago. Benzoin (Lindera Benzoin. Meisner) is com- 
mon along nearly all water courses. The filbert nut forms a 
considerable part of the underbrush in certain places, and is 
scattered along hedge rows and the borders of woods in others. 
Mi/rica cerifera, L., the "wax myrtle" or "sweet bay," is 
common throughout, and was formerly the source from which 
the early settlers derived considerable of their tallow for candles 
and other purposes by boiling the berries. The alder (Alnus 
serrulata, Ait.) forms the bulk of the thick underbrush in 
swamps and along the borders of fresh water. Rosa Carolina, 
L., the swamp wild rose, is common in low places, and JR. 
I /i<-!<la, Erhardt, is abundant in drier locations. There are five 
species of sumach, including the too well known "poison ivy ' 
(RTius Toxicodcjnlron, L. ) They are plentifully distributed 
everywhere, with the exception of the "stag's horn sumach," 
which only occurs sparingly at Tottenville, Prince's bay and 
Ocean terrace. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 27 

Wild grapes are represented by four species, of which the large 
fox grape ( Vitis labrusca, L.) is said to be excellent for pre- 
serves. It is the original stock from which the Isabella and 
other cultivated varieties have sprung. V. aestipalis, Michx. 
and V. cord if of la, Michx., known as "frost grapes," are com- 
mon everywhere, the small black fruit being ripe laie in 
autumn. The second named frequently attains a large size, 
climbing to the tops of the highest trees and becoming very 
thick at the base, A magnificent vine formerly grew in the 
ravine near the Kellet place, measuring 1 ft. 11 in. in circum- 
ference at a distance of about two feet from the ground. It was 
cut in two a short time ago, apparently for mere wanton de- 
struction, and all traces of it will soon be obliterated. The 
"Virginia creeper" (Ampelopxix quinquefolia, Michx.) and 
"bitter sweet" (Celaslrus scandens, L.) are rapidly gaining 
favor as ornamental vines for houses and fences. The 
autumnal tints of the first are unsurpassed by any other plant, 
and the bright orange and scarlet berries of the latter remain 
unchanged almost throughout the entire winter. The Chinese 
honeysuckle has escaped from gardens in places and may be 
seen climbing over trees and bushes, apparently perfectly at 
home. Such plants no doubt started from pieces thrown out 
in rubbish heaps. The wild honeysuckle or "woodbine" is 
quite common and is sometimes seen in cultivation. The 
"trumpet vine" is thoroughly established in fields arid along- 
hedge rows from Tottenville to Prince's bay, near the beach. 
Ipnmnii /niinl nrata, Meyer, sometimes called " wild potato 
vine'' and " man-of-the-earth," is common at Tottenville, es- 
pecially in the pine groves. The flower resembles a convolvulus, 
and the root is sometimes as large as a man's arm. It is 
deeply buried in the ground, however, and requires considerable 
digging to extract it. 

"Catbrier" is common everywhere, forming dense and im 
penetrable thickets in places, affording fine cover for birds and 
small animals. The few game birds and rabbits that yet remain 
on the island owe their existence to this plant more than to 
almost any other cause. Clematis Virginiana, L., commonly 
called "clematis" and "virgin's bower," is extensively gath- 
ered for household decoration in the autumn, when the bunches 
of feathery tailed seeds are ripe. Another species of clematis 
(C. oclirolt'iti'it, Ait. ) is abundant on Todt hill and near Rich- 



28 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

mond. It is a low plant, about a foot or two in height, bearing 
heads of feathery seeds similar to the first mentioned. It is one 
of Staten Island's characteristic plants, as it is very rare in 
other parts of the United States, being known in bnt few 
localities, mostly in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Botanists 
from all over the country have made trips to Staten Island to 
collect specimens, and they are now contained in nearly all the 
large herbaria of the land. Another plant, rare elsewhere, is the 
"mouse-ear chickweed" (cerastium oblong (folium, Torr.) It 
grows in company with the latter, especially on and near Todt 
Hill, in the rear of the Moravian parsonage. About the latter 
part of May the flowers are in full bloom, forming conspicuous 
white tufts and masses. This locality will well repay a visit 
at this season of the year, as "bird's foot" violets and the 
delicate little "bluets" are at their best about the same time, 
and all grow in luxuriance together. 

" Trailing arbutus " or " Mayflower" was, and is yet, abund- 
ant from Eltingville to Tottenville, near the salt water. Un- 
fortunately its location is known to many people in both New 
York and Brooklyn, who organize " arbutus parties " every 
year and carry it away by basketfnls. There is no doubt that 
the near future will see its entire extermination if the present 
rate of destruction continues. It is one of the earliest flowers 
to bloom in the spring, generally showing itself before April, 
and sometimes during the first week in March. Other early 
flowers are the " liverwort," which is common everywhere, and 
the " whitlow grass " (Draba verna, L.), which is particularly 
abundant at Tottenville. In the warm sandy soil of the latter 
place it is sometimes in bloom during February, and may fairly 
be considered as our earliest spring flower. In company with 
it grows the "crane's bill (Erodium cicutarium, L. Her.). This 
plant has been found in blossom there during every month of 
the year, the late flowers frequently holding on throughout the 
winter until the new blossoms appear in the spring. "Blood- 
root" is abundant in several restricted localities, which are 
fortunately not well known, and as the plant is in blossom very 
early it is out of bloom and inconspicuous before people are 
likely to be rambling through the woods. It grows well in the 
garden and might become a favorite. The common " water 
cress" has been introduced in several of the water courses and 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 29 

thrives finely. Certain parties have for years been in the habit 
of gathering it for sale. 

The violets, so familiar to all, number twelve species and va- 
rieties, all common, with the exception of Viola tricolor, L., var 
arvensis. which is the immediate ancestor of our garden pansy. 
A species of cactus (Opuntia vulgar is, Mill.) is common at Tot- 
tenville and South beach, and also sparingly on Todt hill. It 
readily bears transplanting, and is a beautiful object when in 
full bloom. Dypsacus syloestris, Mill., the common " teasel," 
is thoroughly established along roadsides near Garretson's and 
Bull's Head, and in the brick yards at Green Ridge. The pres- 
ent plants are doubtless the offspring of those that were culti- 
vated years ago when the hand-weaving of cloth was a home 
industry. 

It will probably surprise some people to know that the island 
possesses nineteen species and varieties of ' golden rod ''and 
twenty-five asters. Many of these are well worthy of cultiva- 
tion, but are too common to attract more than passing attention. 
In England, however, they are highly appreciated, and many 
of these species may be seen there adorning the gardens. 
\Yintergreen grows in certain small patches, but is not abund- 
ant and does not seem to fruit very freely. 

One of the most gaudy plants is undoubtedly the so-called 
"painted cup" (Castilleia coccinea, Spreng ). It is very 
abundant in the Clove lake swamp, but has not been found else- 
where. Both the yellow and red grow side by side. Several 
other rare plants make this place their home, among which 
may be mentioned the "grass of Parnassus" (Parnassia Car- 
oltniana, Mich x.) and the orchids Calopogonpulchellus, R. Br., 
and Pogonia ophioc/lossoides, Nutt. For many other plants, 
likewise, it is a favorite spot, and has quite a reputation among 
botanists as a favorite hunting ground. 

The common "cranberry" is abundant in certain peat bogs 
near Richmond, and appears sparingly near Clove lake. It is 
likely soon to be exterminated in both localities, in the latter 
owing to a rise in the level of the water, and in the former on 
account of the drainage of the swamps. Its flourishing condi- 
tion at Richmond suggests the possibility of utilizing the peat 
bogs for its culture. 

It is a noteworthy fact that nearly all our worst weeds are plants 
that have been introduced and are now naturalized. Among 



30 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

these may be mentioned Galinsoya parniflora, Cav., which was 
unknown here a few years ago. but has already become a 
nuisance in many places. Its advent is so recent that, although 
very abundant, no common name has yet been given to it. The 
eleven species of Chenopixraini and Amaranthiis. known as 
" wormseed," "pigweed," " prince's feather," etc., are familial- 
objects in all waste places, rubbish heaps, and cultivated 
grounds. They are all introduced plants. 

"Mistletoe" has been reported, on good authority, from 
the neighborhood of Clifton, but no specimens have been pre- 
served and it has not recently been found. Twenty-four species 
of orchids, several very rare, are known to occur here. The 
"ladies' slipper" (Cypripeduim acaule, Ait.) is the most con- 
spicuous and is very abundant at Tottenville, Watchogue and 
one or two other points. 'The "crane fly orchis" (Tipvlaria 
discolor, Nutt.) is abundant in most of the deep woods, but is 
so inconspicuous as to escape general attention. The so-called 
' screw plants" belong here, of which there are four species, 
two of which are worthy of mention. They occur only at 
Tottenville and are not very common there. These are Spiran- 
thes simplex, Gray, and S. gramivea, Lindl. -car Walter!, Gray. 

The rushes and sedges number about ninety, and the grasses 
about one hundred and twenty species. The ferns show 
twenty-eight species, of which the rarest and least known 
is probably Cystopteris frag His, Bernb. It is confined to a 
little rocky valley near Egbertville. "Maiden's hair" is 
everywhere abundant, as is also the common " shield 
fern," which is evergreen. The " scouring rush" (Equisetum 
hyemale, L.) is abundant at Tottenville on the bluff overlook- 
ing Raritan bay. There are five species of "club moss" or 
"lycopodium," so well known as "ground pine" and used for 
Christmas decorations. They are, however, none of them suf- 
ficiently abundant to be of any economical value. 

The herbarium from which the original catalogue and appen- 
dices were compiled is now in the possession of the Natural 
Science Association, and is one of the most complete local 
herbariums in the country. Lists of the lower forms of plant 
life (Mosses, lichens, &c.) are in course of preparation by 
different members of the Natural Science Association, but it 
will take many years yet to make them complete. 

Years ago the island was frequented by deer, foxes and some 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 31 

other large animals, and within the last half century foxes have 
been known, but none of these animals are now known to live 
wild upon the island. At the time of the revolution it is said 
there were plenty of foxes and raccoons, and some opossums. 
Not many years after the war the last deer known to be upon 
the island were shot. Forty years ago the skunk abounded, 
and about that time a mink was caught in the act of making a 
raid upon a poultry yard. Wolves were also among the trouble- 
some animals during the early years of settlement here. The 
records tell us that about the close of the seventeenth century 
the county paid a premium on all wolves that were caught. An 
entry before us shows that in 1698 Thomas iStillwell received 
fifteen shillings for a wolf and Cornelius Tysen received one 
pound for a wolf s head. Different bounties were offered for 
animals of different sex and age, as was the custom in many 
counties of the state. By this means those animals were soon 
exterminated. The mammalia now known to the island are 
weasels (least and common), mink, skunk, moles (common and 
star-nosed and mole shrew), gray and flying squirrels, chipmunk, 
jumping mouse, Norway rat, common, house and deer mice, 
muskrat, rabbit, brown, red, hoary and silver black bats. 

The following list, prepared by Mr. Arthur Hollick and his 
indefatigable associates, represents that part of the bird fauna 
of Staten Island which is known to have nested here within the 
past fifteen years. Several species not in the list would no 
doubt have been included had it been compiled a quarter of a 
century ago, and there is a probability that continued careful 
search will reveal others. The value of this list will be appre- 
ciated by those who have noticed the gradual disappearance of 
some of the island species, and the scarcity of others that were 
formerly abundant. We omit the scientific names from this 
list 

Robin, wood thrush, In-own thrush, mocking bird, cat bird, 
blue bird, tufted titmouse, chickadee, house wren, long-billed 
marsh wren, short-billed marsh wren, summer yellow bird, oven 
bird, Maryland yellow-throat, yellow-breasted chat, scarlet 
tanager, barn swallow, white-bellied swallow, eave swallow, 
cedar bird or wax-wing, red-eyed hang bird, white-eyed hang- 
bird, yellow bird, sea-side finch, sharp-tailed finch, swamp 
sparrow, song sparrow, chippy, field sparrow, English sparrow, 
indigo bird, cardinal grosbeak, chewink. bob-o-link. cow bird. 



32 HISTORY OP RICHMOND COUNTY. 

red -winged blackbird, meadow lark, orchard oriole, Baltimore 
oriole, crow blackbird, common crow, fish crow, blue jay, king 
l>ird, great crested flycatcher, phcebe bird, peewee, least fly- 
catcher, night hawk, chimney swallow, ruby-throated humming- 
bird, belted kingfisher, black-billed cuckoo, yellow-billed 
cuckoo, downy woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker or high- 
older, golden-winged wood screech owl, sharp-shinned or pigeon 
hawk, red-shouldered hawk, fish hawk or osprey, wild pigeon, 
quail, woodcock, teeter-tail or peep, shytepoke, and clapper 
rail or mud hen. 

Coming down to the lower orders and lesser wing creatures 
we have the following list of butterflies which have been 
captured on the island. This has been kindly furnished us by 
Mr. William T. Davis, to whose labors in this department of nat- 
ural history we are indebted for its compilation. The list 
though not supposed to be entirely complete comprises: 

Papilionidae, Papilio Philenor, L. Papilio Asterias, F. 
Papilio Troilus, L. Papilio Turnus, L. Papilio Turnus, dim. 
var. Glaucus, L. Papilio Cresphontes, Cram. Pieris Protodice, 
Bd-Lec. Pieris Oleracea, Bd. Pieris Rapae, L. Colias Philo- 
dice, Godt. Colias Philodice, var Alba. Terias Nicippe, Cram, 
common in 1880, saw none before or since. Terias Lisa, Bd. 

Nymphalidae. Danais Archippus, F. Argynnis Idalin, 
Drury. Argynnis Cybele, F. Argynnis Myrina, Cram. Ar- 
gynnis Bellona, F. Euptoieta Claudia, Cram, one specimen, 
Clove Valley, C. W. Butler. Melitaea Phaeton, Drury. Phy- 
ciodes Tharos, Drury. Grapta Interrogationis, F. Grapta In- 
terrogationis, var Umbrosa, Lintn. Grapta Comma, Harr. 
Grapta Comma, var Dryas, Edw. Grapta Progne, Cram. 
Grapta J Album, Bd. ; one specimen, New Dorp, Miss M. Brit- 
ton. Vanessa Antiopa, L. Pyrameis Atalanta, L. Pyrameis 
Huntera, Drury. Pyrameis Cardui, L. Junonia Laviuia, Cram. 
Limenitis Ursula, F. Lirnenitis Disippus, Godt. Neonympha 
Eurytris, F. Neonympha Canthus, L. Satyrus Alope, F. 

Lycaenidae. Thecla Humuli, Harr. Thecla Calamis, Hiib. 
Thecla Smilacis, Bd.; C. W. Leng. Thecla Henrici, Gr. Rob. 
Thecla Niphon, Hiib, Watchogue. Feniseca Tarquiuius, G. 
Chrysophanus Americana, D' Urban. Lycaena Pseudargiolus, 
Bd-Lec. Lycaena Pseudargiolus, var Violacea, Edw. Lycaena 
Pseudargiolus, var Lucia, Kirby. Lycaena Pseudargiolus, var 
Neglecta, Edw. Lycaena Comyntas, Godt. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 33 

Hesperidae. Ancyloxypha Numitor, F. Pampliila Massa- 
soit, Scud. Pamphila Zabulon, Bd-Lec. Pamphila Zabnlon, 
dim. var. Pocohonfas. Pamphila Sassacus, Scud. Pamphila 
Pontiac, Edw. Pamphila Otho, var Egeremet. Pampliila 
Peckius, Kirby. Pamphila Mystic, Edw. Pamphila Cernes, 
Bd-Lec. Pamphila Metacomet, Harr. Pamphila Verna, Edw. 
Pyrgns Tessellata, Scud. Thanaos Brizo, Bd. Thanaos Juven- 
alis, F. Pholisora Catullus, Cram. Eudamus Pylades, Scud. 
Eudamus Lycidas, Sm-Abb; one specimen, Clove Valley. Eu- 
damus Tityrus. F. 

Mr. Davis has also furnished us with the following list of the 
reptiles and batrachians of the island. In geographical distri- 
bution some of the reptiles are almost confined to the Cretaceous 
and those portions of the island covered by marine alluvium. 
C. Pennsylvanicum seems to be restricted to the shallow pools 
near the salt water. It occurs near New Dorp, Richmond Val- 
ley station and Watchogue. Ophibolus triangulus is a rather 
scarce serpent on the island. Ranahalecina, though found in 
other portions of the island, is much more common on the marsh 
land near Watchogue. The species of Diemyctylus have only 
been observed in the hilly districts. In 1881 the "spade foot" 
frog made its appearance in some numbers, but it has not since 
been seen. No copperheads or rattlesnakes have been found. 

Reptilia. Testudinata; Cistudo clausa, Nanemys guttatus, 
Chrysemys picta, Malacoclemmyspalustris, Cinosternum Penu- 
sylvanicum, Chelydra serpentina, Chelonia mydas: Ophfdia: 
Heterodon platyrhinus, Tropidonotus sipedon, Storeria dekayi, 
Entaenia saurita, E. sirtalis, Bascanium constrictor, Liopeltis 
vernalis, Diadophis punctatus, Ophibolus doliatus triangulus. 

Batrachia. Anura; Rana halecina, R. palustris, R. clami- 
tans, R. temporaria, Scaphiopus holbrookii, Hyla versicolor, H. 
pickeringii, Acris gryllus, Bufolentiginosus: Urodela; Diemy- 
ctylus viridescens, D. miniatus, Desmognathus fasca, Heruida- 
ctylium scutatum, Plethodon erythronotus, P. glutinosus, 
Spelerpes bilineatus, S. ruber, Amblystoma opacum ,A. puncta 
turn. 

The waters about the island have from time immemorial 
abounded with living creatures of value to the inhabitants. To 
the aborigines the abundance of clams and oysters was a con- 
sideration that attracted thousands hither. Seals frequently 
have been seen about the bay, and whales have been known to 



34: HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

enter and pass through the Narrows, up the river. Van der 
Donck tells us that in 1647 two whales of common size swain up 
the river forty miles, and one of them on its return stranded 
about twelve miles from sea. The other he says ran farther up 
and grounded near the ''great Chapoos falls." As late as 1841 
a whale was seen sporting between the Narrows and Governor's 
island, and another is reported as entering the bay some five or 
six years later. The menhaden or moss-bunker abounded iu 
these waters, and was formerly used in large quantities for fer- 
tilizing the soil, the fishing commencing on the south shore in 
June. Thirty or forty years ago these fish were sold to farmers 
in large quantities at 75 cents a thousand. Soon afterward the 
business of extracting the oil from them sprang up, and this 
use being more profitable the price was increased until it became 
about four times the one mentioned. This practically placed 
the fish beyond the reach of the farmer. Clams are found in 
large numbers along the shores of the island. The Great kills 
was formerly noted for these bivalves. Some peculiarities in 
the soft clams found at different points along the shores have 
been noticed by those who have studied the subject. These va- 
riations are attributed to the different conditions of the beach 
upon which they are found. From New Brighton to the mouth 
of the Narrows, where the shore is rocky, the clams are only 
of moderate size, the ends being often broken and the outside 
of the shell corrugated. On the sandy beach of the south 
shore, which is open to the sea, the shells are very thin and of 
even growth. All the lateral and transverse markings are com- 
plete, the shells often very beautiful in form and color, and 
here the largest specimens are found. About a half-mile south- 
west of the "Elm Tree Light " the shore is composed of salt 
meadow or peat, which is supposed to be too hard for the free 
development of well formed shells, hence the clams found there 
exhibit more deformities and are often more rounded in shape 
than those found elsewhere. Beyond Seguine's point, however, 
the shore resembles in character that of New Brighton, and the 
clams also correspond to those of that shore. The oyster 
growth and habits will be more particularly noticed in connec- 
tion with that industry. 

| Many traces of the savage occupants have been found upon 
/the island. These are most common along the shores from 
Prince's bay around to Watchogue. Shell heaps are found 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 35 

that indicate that the work of wampum manufacture and the 
preparation of clams and oysters for food was carried on in 
those localities. The two most fruitful localities in affording 
Indian relics are perhaps Totteiiville and Watchogue. Hun- 
dreds of implements have been found, some mixed up with 
debris of the shell heaps and others scattered over the fields. 
These implements consist of net-sinkers, hammer stones, axes, 
arrow-heads, mortars, pestles, beads, anvils, and others the use 
of which is unknown. Arrow-heads were found by the bushel, 
being turned up by the plow in most of the fields. Indian 
burying grounds have been discovered near Tottenville, and 
isolated remains at other points. In these interments various 
implements accompanied the bodies, among which were arrow- 
heads such as were used in war, those being distinguishable 
from the arrow-heads used in hunting. Nearly all the arrows 
found about the fields are of the latter kind. Among the 
objects of special interest are discoidal and shuttle shaped per- 
forated stones, supposed by some to have been intended as 
ceremonial implements of some kind, and by others to have 
been for the practical purpose of shaping bow-strings by draw- 
ing the soft material back and forth through the small holes. 
The discoidal stones have the opposite flat faces either ground 
roughly or polished, and are of hard quartzite. The only 
shuttle-shaped stone found is composed of soft banded slate. 
As no material of this kind exists here it is supposed that this 
specimen had been brought from Ohio or Illinois, where similar 
objects had been found. Evidences of fire places have been 
noticed in several of the shell mounds, specimens of cracked 
and partly fused stone having been found. In some of the 
stones the surface was entirely fused into a glass-like slag. 
One of the most striking curiosities of this nature, however, is 
the stone head found near Clifton in 1884. This was unearthed 
by Mr. James Clark, in the latter part of February, while dig- 
ging up the root of a blue huckleberry bush which he intended 
to use in the manufacture of rustic basket work. It lay about 
eighteen inches under the soil at a point two to three hundred 
feet east of the railroad track, and near the Fingerboard road, 
at the edge of a low dense swamp. In digging with a pick, that 
instrument struck the stone and turned it up. The material is a 
brown sandstone, apparently more compact than the common New 
Jersey sandstone, and composed almost entirely of grains of 



36 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

quartz with an occasional small pebble. The head is seven inches 
high, four inches through the cheeks and six inches from the tip 
of the nose through to the back of the head, and its weight is 
about eight pounds. The nostrils are one and seven-eighths 
inches across their base and the eyes are one and a quarter 
inches long and five-eighths wide. They are raised in the cen- 
ters and have a groove running around close to the lids. A 
round hole one-fifth inch deep had been drilled in the lower 
part of the nose, in the space between the two nostrils, evidently 
for the purpose of fastening an ornament, and both nostrils 
were hollowed out to some depth. The cheeks, in their lower 
part, are sunken in a very curious manner, causing the cheek 
bones to stand up very high. The forehead is low and retreats 
at an angle of sixty degrees. A trace of what had been or was 
to be the ear was noticeable on the right side. The back and 
upper parts of the head are almost entirely rough and unworked, 
as though the image had never been finished, or else was only 
a part of some larger figure. The surface is rough and slightly 
weathered, the cheeks, forehead and chin having single grains 
of sand apparently raised above the surface as if by age and 
exposure. The features are too well cut for a common off-hand 
piece of work by a stone maker. The style is not Egyptian or 
Eastern, so it does not appear that it could have been thrown 
out here by any sailor or other person who had ever brought it 
from across the ocean. It is said to bear some resemblance to 
the Mexican, and still more to the Aztec style of work. The 
spot where it was found is and has been within the memory of 
man an unfrequented wild, remote from any habitation, and the 
soil in which it lay is a compact sandy clay of light brown 
color, in which a stone like this might lie buried for centuries 
without much disintegration. 

But we must draw this chapter of description to a close; but 
in doing so we cannot refrain from introducing the beautiful 
poem by James Biirke, entitled "The Isle of the Bay," which so 
aptly describes the island whose history we are about to notice : 

Up from the waters that come as the daughters 
Of Neptune, the lord of the wide spreading main. 

Bringing with pleasure, love, homage and treasure 
To lay on the altar of Liberty's Fane, 

Rises serenely, resplendent and queenly, 
As far-famed Atlantis, in Hercules' day, 

Sweet Staten Island, of valley and highland, 
So fair that we name her the Pride of the Bay ! 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 37 

Summer caressing, while breathing the blessing 

A mother invokes on her daughter, a bride, 
Her miniature mountains and silver-spring fountains 

Are dimpled and rippled with beauty and pride. 
Valleys are smiling with pleasures beguiling, 

And terrace-like hills from her shores roll away ; 
Green are the meadows and cool are the shadows 

Of grottoes and groves in our Isle of the Bay. 

Winter, though bringing his terrors and flinging 

Them down at her feet with a pitiless hand, 
Yet is her ardor sufficient to guard her, 

And laughter defies him on lake and on land. 
Springtime poetic and Autumn pathetic, 

Are seasons whose charms have a limitless sway, 
Yet do they chasten their garments and hasten 

To visit their homes on our Isle of the Bay ! 

Add to what's charming, her fishing and farming, 

Her soil and its products both racy and rare, 
Shore lines combining, by Nature's designing, 

A wharfage for commerce unrivalled elsewhere ; 
Gardens and goodlands, with wild ways and woodlands. 

And water abundant as music in May. 
Then Use and Beauty unite in the duty, 

An Eden to make of our Isle of the Bay ! 

History rolling its gates back, and tolling 

The echoes of ages receding from sight, 
Figures are walking and voices are talking, 

That show us our progress to Liberty's light : 
First the red foernan and next the Dutch yeoman. 

Succeeded by Dongan's Colonial sway ; 
Hanover's scepter then subjugate kept her 

Till Washington rescued our Isle of the Bay ! 

But though her story be studded with glory, 

And Nature hath decked her with grandeur and grace, 
Yet are these phases less worthy of praises 

Than this that here Love finds a fit dwelling place. 
Refuge from dangers, both natives and strangers, 

Black, white or red, or the sons of Cathay. 
All here abiding, in friendship confiding, 

Find welcome and weal in our Isle of the Bay. 



CHAPTER III. 
THE PERIOD OF SETTLEMENT 1609 TO 1683. 



Discovery. The First Settlement and the Settlers. Conquest by the English. 

STANDING upon the soil of this beautiful island and 
reflecting that it has a character, a history and a name 
peculiar to itself, we feel a natural desire to review the scenes 
which broke to the view of the first visitors from the realm of 
civilization, and indeed to see what is possible of the condition 
of things that existed previous to that time. Let us imagine 
the wheels of time turned back two hundred and fifty years or 
more. Let us wipe out all the improvement which the white 
man has brought here and look at the land in the full pos- 
session of its aboriginal occupants. To see it as it was then we 
must silence the noise of the railroad train and steamboat 
whistles and bells, tear up the railroad track and neutralize 
the grade, uproot the mills and manufactories, dissolve the 
villages, wipe out the farm fences and obliterate all the other 
marks of improvement that now exist, then restore the primi- 
tive forest, the unbroken sward, and repopulate the slopes 
and plains, the hills and valleys with deer, foxes, raccoons, 
wolves, rabbits and all the multitudes of animals that once 
infested them. We should still see life and action. But it 
would be of a different sort. Instead of all this change, which 
we call improvement, we should see the work of Nature glory- 
ing in her freedom, untrammeled by the arts of man. We 
should see the son of the forest restored to his native haunts, 
the tangled thicket, the pebbled shore and the groves of 
majestic trees whose heads had bowed to the winds of cen- 
turies. 

It were a useless undertaking to attempt to set forth a 
learned hypothesis in regard to the occupancy of this region 
during the ages of the world's existence which preceded its 
discovery and settlement by the European white man. That 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 39 

history must ever remain as it has thus far, a sealed book. At 
the time alluded to it was occupied by Indians, but their tra- 
ditions threw no light upon the darkness that enshrouded the 
ages which had been rolling away since the creation of the 
world. They were numerous, and had been more so, even to 
such an extent that in their traditions the blades of grass and 
sands of the sea-shore were used as figures to represent the 
magnitude of their numbers. But no memorial was left to tell 
us what scenes were passing here while the great events of the 
ancient world's history were agitating the people of the 
eastern hemisphere. How long had they held sway ? By 
what race of beings had they been preceded ( Was their 
course of development progressive or retrograde ? These ques- 
tions are answered only by their echoes, which the hollow 
darkness of uncomputed ages gives back to us. 

To approach a realization of the primitive condition of things, 
let us indulge in an imaginative scene of that period. Suppose 
ourselves to be surrounded by the whispering solitude of the 
virgin wilderness. Along the sea-girt shore we have wandered, 
listening to the hoarse song of the sea; our faces have felt the 
burning; of the glancing sunlight, and we have breathed the 
strong salt air as it came in upon us from beyond Sandy Hook. 
From the seashore coming through the interior we see no roads, 
no houses, no farms, but life is represented by the animals and 
birds that start at our approach and by the fruit and flower 
laden vines and shrubs that impede our movements. From a 
commanding hill we can see now and then a little band of In- 
dians following some obscure trail through the valley below, 
as they move from place to place upon some unknown embassy 
of friendship or perchance of hatred. 

Looking across the valley, behold! yonder an Indian hunts- 
man has secreted himself hard by a little sheet of clear, fresh 
water, to watch for the deer that may come there to drink. As 
we look, the sharp twang of the bow and the whirr of the 
death-dealing arrow, and the commotion of the bushes where 
the game has fallen in its dying struggle tell us that he has 
not watched in vain. 

Let us approach one of their rude settlements which is con- 
veniently located on the shore of the beautiful bay, and taking 
refuge behind one of these old oaks, watch the movements of 
the savages before us. They know nothing of the existence of 



40 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

any race of beings in the shape of men besides themselves. 
Their lives, their habits, their religion and language are 1111 
mixed and shall we say nncorrupted ? by contact with the 
white man. 

We are looking down upon a quiet Indian village in the fore- 
ground, located upon a low bluff. The bay, with its partially 
encircling belt of white sand, and the verdure clad hills rising 
from it in beautiful undulations, presents a landscape scene of 
surpassing loveliness. Beyond the glimmer and sheen of the 
nearer waters, the view lakes in a glimpse of the wider expanse 
which loses itself in the hazy veil that obscures the distant hor 
izon. On the placid water before us half a dozen canoes are 
paddling lazily about, some containing a single Indian each, 
others several, returning perhaps from some neighborly errand 
to another tribe or village, or perhaps from a hunting or fishing 
expedition in which they have been engaged. Yonder comes a 
canoe containing three half-grown boys and a quantity of long, 
coarse grass or rushes which they have gathered from the bog 
just across the cove. They are bringing them to be made into 
mats by that group of women who are seated on the slope just 
in front of us. That rude manufacture is to them one of the 
fine arts. But a much finer art is being practiced by that little 
company which you see away to the right of them, hovering 
about that heap of shells. They are working out from the 
shells, by a slow and tedious process, the details of which we 
are not near enough to see, those curious little beads, which 
when strung are called wampum and are used for ornaments as 
well as for money. Back on the rolling elevation to the right 
of us, and in rear of the little cluster of wigwams, lies their 
cornfield. The women have planted and cultivated it, and now 
the crop is almost ready to harvest. Some women are in the 
field looking to see if the ears are ripe enough to pull from the 
stalk. Here on our left two men are digging clay from the side 
of the very hill upon which we stand. This clay they are roughly 
forming into some sort of primitive pottery, which they will 
presently harden by baking in a hot fire, when all is ready. 
Seated at a little distance from them three old men sit chatting, 
rather socially for Indians it may be, and pecking away at stone 
arrow-heads, which they are forming for the use of the younger 
and more active men, two of whom maybe seen just now return- 
ing from the woods, bringing with them the carcass of a fat 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 41 

buck, which their skilled aim and the magic qualities of the 
old men's arrows have brought to the ground. Between the 
primitive pottery works and yonder clump of cedars, which 
crowns the projecting bluff, some men have rolled the trunk of 
a huge tree down from a higher hill where it grew, and are 
working perseveringly with fire and water and their stone axes, 
digging it out and shaping it for a canoe. This is primitive 
ship-building. 

As we gaze upon the scene before us, ruminating on the con- 
trast two hundred and seventy-five years will bring over the 
face of this rock-ribbed and verdure-clothed island, two half 
grown Indian girls emerge from the thicket and come running- 
down the slope to where these men are at work. With excited 
gestures they tell of something they have seen from the hill be- 
hind the cedars. We cannot hear their story, but from the 
manner of its recital and the absorbed attention the men are 
ready to give to it we are led to wonder what startling news the 
little girls have brought. 

Presently the men throw down their implements and start 
with quick and stealthy tread, following as the girls retrace 
their steps, until the whole party disappears among the cedars. 
Some women who were at work about the shell-heap and the 
wigwams, having seen these movements, come over to where 
the old men are shaping arrow-points, and ask what strange 
story the little girls brought. Perhaps these old men are sup- 
posed to possess some peculiar spirit charm by which they can 
divine things not made known to ordinary minds. To them the 
women come, but they can give no solution of this mystery. 
Then the returned hunters come over to the spot, and the small 
boys come running up from the shore with the same inquiry 
upon their lips. The collecting group attracts the attention of 
the women out in the cornfield, and they leave their work to 
come and learn the cause of its gathering. 

Presently the absent men and girls are seen emerging from 
the thicket and running down the hill and across the valley to 
where the wondering group is waiting. They are too much out 
of breath and overcome with excitement to say more than that 
they have seen a strange sight, which they fear is an omen of 
danger. As they recover sufficient calmness and possession of 
their faculties to do so they explain that away out on the great 
water something is moving toward them something like a great 



42 HISTORV OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

canoe, so large that a big tree was growing out of it, and a very 
great blanket was hung upon the tree so that the wind pushing 
against it drove the unnamed thing along. What it was they 
could not tell. Whether it was a great canoe with men in it, or 
some terrible monster of the sea, with wings, or a veritable 
delegation from the spirit world, good or bad, is a matter of 
speculation with them. 

As they stand describing the strange sight to their spell- 
bound listeners, the apparition itself suddenly shoots past the 
cedar-crowned point and glides into full view, less than a mile 
away. Its appearance is greeted by an exclamatory chorus 
which we may interpret, "There it is!" and then in dead 
silence the group of savages contemplate the wonderful spec- 
tacle. The children cling trembling to their mothers while the 
squaws crouch nearer to their husbands and the warriors, and 
all draw instinctively together as they press around the old ar- 
row makers, who meanwhile have thrown down their work and 
sit gazing in speechless wonder at the approaching nondescript. 
Fear seizes every heart, and the breast of even the bravest war- 
rior is troubled with misgivings as to what this visitation may 
bring forth. And well they may be disturbed. It is indeed a 
kind Providence that hides from them their fate. If they could 
peer behind the veil and read the future they would know that 
the vision before them is the harbinger of their own dissolution; 
the first breath of a poisonous wind that in a few generations 
shall wrest from them their hunting grounds and sweep their 
race into the great common sepulchre upon whose portal is in- 
scribed, "They were, but are not:" aye, the prophetic hand- 
writing which foretells their doom as surely as that which 
blazed upon the walls of Belshazzar's banquet hall. 

" The Great Spirit is angry," explains one of the savages, who 
is the first to break the spell of silence, "and he is coming in his 
big, flying canoe, to look for some warrior who has done some 
wicked thing, or for some other man who has displeased him ; 
but maybe he will not find the bad one here. If he wants any 
of us we must go. No use trying to run away from him, so 
we may just as well stay where we are." 

Another explains: " I don't think it is the Great Spirit. That 
is not the way he moves. It is a great big canoe, with many 
men in it. They may be our enemies or they may be our 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 43 

friends, or maybe they are strangers from some tribe away, far 
over the water." 

" No," answers a third, whose clearer vision allows him to see 
those on board, " these are not men like us. They are pale- 
faced, more than our dead fathers and brothers are. They 
must be spirit men. That is a more beautiful canoe than any 
man could make in this world. It comes-from the spirit land 
where our fathers and chiefs have gone. Its wings are white 
and beautiful. They are made of the skins of animals that are 
hunted in that world where everything is so white and good. 
Maybe the spirit men in the canoe are our friends who are look- 
ing for us, to take us in the beautiful canoe to the happy hunt- 
ing grounds which they have found." 

But all this savage wisdom does not prevent the young war- 
riors and hunters thinking that whatever may be the errand 
upon which the approaching party comes, it would be well to 
be ready for the worst, as least so far as the power to prepare 
for it is theirs. So their bows and their arrows are made ready 
and brought out with them, to be at hand in case of need. 
Some of the squaws, though they have never heard the proverb, 
" Distance lends enchantment," still have an instinctive convic- 
tion of its truth, and acting on that conviction are retreating 
beyond the corn-field as the approaching vessel nears the shore 
on her passage toward the Narrows, while some of the braver 
Indians move cautiously down the slope to get a closer view of 
the new revelation. 

As the representatives of two distinct races of men, having 
nothing in language, manners nor customs alike, approach each 
other the new comers are able to convey to the Indians by what 
sort of language who shall ever know? the impression that 
their mission is a friendly one; that they intend no harm to 
them, but that they have brought some very useful and curious 
things, which by way of friendly entertainment they proceed to 
show them. The Indians readily see the usefulness of the 
metal knives, the axes, the awls, the hatchets, the blankets, the 
coats and various other articles which the pale-faces had brought 
to excite their admiration and cupidity. 

The setting sun that evening closed a day never to be forgot- 
ten by those who participated in the events which we have por- 
trayed the day that saw the meeting of two races of men upon 
the soil that had been, no one knows how long, the home of one. 



44 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

and was to be, no one knows how long, the home of the other. 
The former should decrease while the latter should increase. 

From the contemplation of these important events as they 
may have appeared from the Indian standpoint, let us turn to 
consider in more explicit and definite terms the discovery of 
the territory by Europeans and the establishment and progress 
of civilization upon the soil which for unknown centuries had 
been the home of the untutored savage. 

The bay of New York was first discovered, according to a 
claim (which has, however, been disputed by some) in 1524 by 
Giovanni da Verrazzano, the celebrated Florentine navigator. 
It does not appear, however, that any attempt was made by the 
government under which the navigator sailed to hold the terri- 
tory discovered by him. Of course it naturally follows that 
the exploration of New York bay involved the discovery of 
Staten Island. But whatever may have been the facts with re- 
gard to the exploration of Verrazzano, the honors of discovery 
are accorded to Henry Hudson, and whatever advantages at- 
tended that discovery were husbanded by the Dutch govern- 
ment, under whose flag Hudson sailed. 

Henry Hudson was one of those ambitious navigators who 
were ready to sacrifice their ease, and even their lives, in the 
exciting enterprise of searching for the northwest passage to 
the Indies. A native Englishman, the early part of the seven- 
teenth century found him in the employ first, of the London 
Company, and after that company had abandoned the enter- 
prise, then engaged with the Dutch East India Company. 
Under the commission of the latter he left Amsterdam in the 
" Half Moon," a ship of about eighty tons capacity, and on the 
4th of April, 1609, sailed for the new world. He arrived on the 
" Banks" of Newfoundland early in July, and for two months 
cruised along the coast, looking for some opening that would 
promise to admit him to the Indian sea beyond. 

How easy it is in the light of the present day to smile at the 
unavailing enthusiasm of Hudson and the folly of his scheme ! 
But whatever the motives that led to it the momentous conse- 
quences of that exploration are sufficient to provoke our pro- 
foundest gratitude. After several unsuccessful attempts to find 
such an opening in the land as would indicate what he desired 
to see, he entered the Lower bay and anchored inside of Sandy 
Hook on the 3d day of September, 1609. Though not the first 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 45 

to behold, Hudson was the first to penetrate the mysteries of 
the land and water which extended to an unknown distance 
before him. In one boat he visited "Coney Island," and sent an- 
other, containing live men, on an exploring expedition north- 
ward. These men passed through the Narrows, coasted along 
Staten Island, and penetrated some distance into the kills. On 
their return they suddenly encountered two large canoes, con- 
taining twenty-six Indians, who, in their alarm, discharged a 
shower of arrows at the strangers and killed one man, an Eng- 
lishman, named John Coleman, by shooting him in the neck. 
Both parties became frightened, and pulled away from each 
other with all their strength. Coleman's body was taken to 
Sandy Hook and there interred, and the place was called " Cole- 
man's Point." 

Notwithstanding the mishap, as the death of Coleman was 
regarded, the natives proved to be friendly, and freely bartered 
with the strangers such articles as they had to dispose of, 
as tobacco, maize, wild fruits, etc. Hudson remained at anchor 
until the eleventh, when he sailed through the Narrows and 
anchored in the mouth of the great river which now bears his 
name. On the thirteenth he again weighed anchor, and pro- 
ceeded to explore the beautiful stream upon whose bosom he 
was floating; he was eleven days in ascending as far as the site 
of Albany, and as many more in descending. Before starling 
he had had considerable intercourse with the natives, but had al- 
ways prudently kept himself and his men prepared for auv 
emergency, and though the natives frequently came on board 
armed they made no hostile demonstrations; Hudson, however, 
detained two of the Staten Island Indians as hostages, and took 
them with him on the voyage up the river, as far as the site of 
West Point, where they escaped by jumping overboard and 
swimming to the shore. On his way he encountered many of 
the Indians, who, though they manifested a friendly disposi- 
tion, were nevertheless suspected of entertaining hostile inten- 
tions, and it was supposed that the dread with which they 
regarded the arms of their visitors alone restrained them. 

On his return down the river, while lying at anchor off Stony 
Point, numerous canoes from both sides surrounded the ship, 
from one of which an Indian entered the cabin by climbing 
through a stern window, from which he stole several articles of 
clothing. As he left the ship with his plunder, the mate 



46 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

detected him and shot him, killing him instantly. This was the 
first blood shed by the whites. When the ship's boat was sent 
to recover the stolen articles, one Indian, who appeared to pos- 
sess more courage than his fellows, while swimming, laid hold 
of the boat, apparently for the purpose of overturning it, but a 
sailor, with a single blow of his sword, cut off his hands, and 
he was drowned. It was supposed that the two Staten Island 
savages who had escaped at West Point, on their way down the 
river had alarmed the several tribes so that when the ship 
arrived at the upper end of Manhattan Island it was met by a 
large fleet of canoes filled with armed savages, who discharged 
their arrows, but fortunately without doing any serious injury. 
A cannon was twice discharged at them, killing some of them 
and tearing their canoes to pieces, the sailors meanwhile firing 
at them with small arms. The result of this engagement was 
that nine Indians were killed, and many more wounded, while 
the whites sustained no injury whatever. Hudson, having spent 
a month in exploring the river and bay, put to sea on the 4th of 
October, and arrived at Dartmouth, England, on the 7th of the 
following November. 

There is no evidence that Hudson ever circumnavigated the 
island, but that he satisfied himself of its insular character is 
evident from the name " Staaten Eylandt," which he gave to it. 

Following this mere outline discovery, no notice was paid to 
Staten Island for several years, at least so far as any accounts 
that we have of the movements of the Dutch traders show. 
Some descriptions of the condition of the island may have been 
written at an earlier period, but the following extract from a 
letter written by Isaack de Rasieres to Samuel Blommaert, 
about the close of the year 1627 (as is supposed) contains the 
earliest description of this part of the country that we have 
by one who was an eye witness of those primitive scenes. The 
letter was found in the Royal Library at the Hague, and trans- 
lated by Mr. J. R. Brodhead. It bears no date, but was proba- 
bly written after De Rasieres' return to Holland. A copy may 
be found in K". Y. Hist. Soc. Collections. II. Series, Vol. 2, 
page 343. 

"On the. 27th of July, Anno 1626, by the help of God, I 
arrived with the ship The Arms of Amsterdam, before the Bay 
of the great Mauritse River,* sailing into it about a musket shot 
* The North river so called after Prince Maurice of Orange. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 47 

from Godyn's Point* into Coeuraet's Bayf (where the greatest 
depth is, because from the East point there stretches out a sand 
bank on which there is only from 9 to 14 feet water), then sailed 
on Northeast and North Northeast, to about half way from 
the low sand bank called Godyn's Point, to the Hamel's- 
Hoofden,^ the mouth of the river, where, we found at half ebb, 
16, 17, 18 feet water, and which is a sandy reef a musket shot 
broad, stretching for the most part Northeast and Southwest, 
quite across, according to my opinion, and to have been formed 
there by the stream, inasmuch as the flood runs in to the bay 
from the sea East Southeast; the depth at Godyn's Point is 
caused by the ebb flowing out along there with such rapidity. 
Between the Hamel's-Hoofden the width is about a cannon's 
shot of 2,000 [yards]. The depth 10, 11, 12 fathoms. They 
are tolerably high points, and well wooded. The West point is 
an island, inhabited by from eighty to ninety savages, who sup- 
port themselves by planting maize. The East point is a very 
large island, full 24 milesS long, stretching East by South and 
East Southeast along the sea-coast from the river to the East 
end of the Fisher's Point. 1 

* * * * * 

' TheHamels-Hoofden being passed, there is about a mile width 
in the river, and also on the West side there is an inlet, where 
another river runs up about 20 miles to the North-North-East, 
emptying into the Mauritse River in the highlands, thus making 
the North-West land opposite to the Manhatas, an island 18 
miles long. It is inhabited by the old Manhatans ; they are 
about 200 to 300 strong, women and men, under different chiefs 
whom they call ' Sackimas.' This island is more mountainous 
than the other land on the South-east side of the river, which 
opposite to the Manhatas is about a mile and a half in breadth. 
At the side of the before-mentioned little river which we call 
Achter Col*[ there is a great deal of waste, reedy land ; the rest 

* Sandy Hook so named after Samuel Godyn, one of the directors of the West 
India Company at Amsterdam. 

t The Lower bay of New York also called Port May or Godyn's bay. 

Hamel's Hoofden the Narrows, between Staten and Long Islands. These 
"Hoofden," or headlands, were named after Hendrick Hamel, one of the 
directors of the West India Company. 

Dutch miles a Dutch mile is equal to about three English miles. 

I Visschers Hoeck Montauk Point. 

T[The Kills. 



48 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

is full of trees, and in some places there is good soil, where the 
savages plant their maize, upon which they live as well as by 
hunting. The other side of the small river, according to con- 
jecture, is about 20 to 30 miles broad to the South river, in the 
neighborhood of the Sancicans, as well as I have been able to 
make it out from the mouths of the savages ; but as they live 
in a state of constant enmity with those tribes the passage is 
seldom made ; wherefore I have not been able to learn the exact 
distance; so that when we wish to send letters overland they 
(the natives) take them way across the bay and have the letters 
carried forward by others unless one amongst them may hap- 
pen to be on friendly terms and who might venture to go 
there." 

The Indians dwelling on Staten Island at the time of its 
discovery were the Raritans, a branch of the great nation of 
Dela wares or Leni-Lenapes. From indications found in various 
localities, such as large collections of shells and bones, it is evi- 
dent that they dwelt on or near the shores of the island, where 
fish, scale and shell, were easily obtained ; this is also confirmed 
by the fact that their burial places have been found in the 
vicinity of those places, neither of these indications of human 
occupancy having been found in the interior. Stone hatchets and 
stone arrow-heads, and springs rudely built up with stone walls, 
have been found at no great distance from the shores ; one of 
the latter may still be seen a short distance northeast of the 
Fresh pond, or Silver lake, in Castleton, and is known by the 
name of the Logan spring. 

The interior of the island was their hunting ground, where 
deer, bears and other animals of the chase were found. The 
shores also afforded an abundant supply of water fowls, and 
thus, all their resources considered, the Indians were well sup- 
plied by nature with the necessaries of life. In addition to 
these, they had wild berries and fruits, maize, of which it is 
said they cultivated large quantities, beans, tobacco, and other 
articles of their own cultivation. The proximity of the island 
to the mainland enabled them to extend their hunting expedi- 
tions indefinitely. The wild animals which were found on the 
neighboring continent were also found here, but they, as well 
as their human contemporaries, have gradually retired or per- 
ished as civilization advanced. 

It is supposed that the Indians of Staten Island, in common 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 49 

with those of the neighborhood, were subject to the Mohawks, 
and stood in constant and mortal fear of them. Their clothing 
was the skins of the beaver, fox, and other animals, and con- 
sisted of but little more than a covering of the thighs and loins. 
Their food was maize or Indian corn, fish, birds and wild game. 
Their weapons were bows and arrows, the latter sharpened with 
Hint stones or the bones of fishes. Boats were made from a 
single piece of wood, hollowed out by fire. Some led a wander- 
ing life, while others had fixed abodes built with rafters, and 
oven-formed, covered with the bark of trees, and large enough 
to accommodate several families. A few mats, wooden dishes, 
stone hatchets and smoking tubes composed their scanty fur- 
niture The fire was kindled in the middle of these dwellings, 
from one end to the other, and the smoke let out at an opening 
in the crown of the roof. On hunting and fishing expeditions 
they erected temporary huts in the same fashion. 

All the agriculture was done by the women, who of course 
knew nothing of plowing or spading the soil, nor the culture of 
wheat, oats, barley or rye. Their universal grain was maize, or 
turkey corn, of which they made bread and "sapraen" or 
mush. They also cultivated beans, pumpkins, squashes and 
tobacco. The old men made wooden bowls, ladles and baskets. 

Their hatches were made of stone, in shape like rude wedges, 
about a half foot long, and broad in proportion. A notch was 
made around the thick end, which received the two parts of a 
stick split at one end which formed the handle. The jaws of 
the handle were then firmly bound with thongs to the hatchet 
and the implement was ready for use. Sometimes these hatchets 
were not handled at all, but were simply held in the hands 
when being used. Their chief use was to make good fields for 
maize plantations, by girdling the trees and thus clearing the 
ground by taking advantage of the natural course of decay and 
time in removing the wood growth. 

When the Indians wished to fell a thick, strong tree they em- 
ployed fire. This was done by heaping a great quantity of 
wood about the trunk of the tree, and burning it, continuing 
this process until the trunk was burned through and the tree fell. 
But to prevent the fire consuming the part which they wished 
to save they made a swab with which, fastened to the end of a 
pole, they kept applying water to the trunk a little above the 
h're. When it was desired to hollow out a log they applied fire 

4 



50 HISTORY OF EICHMOND COUNTY. 

in a similar way and kept wetting the part that was to be pre- 
served. After thus burning and charring the inside of the 
trunk they finished it by chipping and scraping the burnt parts 
with their stone hatchets, Hints and sharp shells. Canoes were 
often made thirty to forty feet long. 

Instead of knives they used little sharp pieces of flint or 
quartz or some other hard kind of stone, and these were some- 
times substituted by sharp shells or pieces of bone which they 
had sharpened. At the end of their arrows they fastened 
narrow angular or pointed pieces of stone. These points were 
commonly pieces of flint or quartz, but sometimes other hard 
kinds of stone were used, and again the bones of animals or 
the claws of birds were sometimes used. 

They had stone pestles, about a foot long and as thick as a 
man's arm. These were made of a black sort of stone, and 
were used for pounding their maize, which was an important 
article of their food. Sometimes they used wooden pestles. 
For mortars they hollowed out the stumps or butts of trees. 
The old boilers or kettles of the Indians were either made of 
clay or of different kinds of stone. The former were made of 
a dark clay mixed with grains of white sand or quartz, and 
burnt in the fire. Many of these kettles had holes in opposite 
sides of the upper edge, through which a stick was passed, and 
by this means the kettle was held over the fire to boil. These 
kettles seldom had feet, and were never glazed either inside or 
outside. 

Their tobacco pipes were made of clay, or pot-stone or ser- 
pentine stone. The clay pipes were shaped like our common 
pipes of that material, though they were much coarser and more 
rudely formed. The tube was thick and short, often not more 
than an inch but sometimes a finger in length. In color they 
were like our pipes that have been long in use. The celebrated 
" pipe of peace" was made of a fine red stone, not found in 
this part of the country, and it was probably almost unknown 
to the Indians of Staten Island. 

For fishing they used hooks made of bone or the claws of 
birds. Fire was kindled by rubbing one end of a hard piece 
of wood against another dry one till after a time the friction 
became so great that the wood began to smoke and finally to 
burn. 

The Indians in personal character and appearance were 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 51 

healthy, strong, robust and well proportioned. In social life 
they were polygamous, their chiefs having several wives. They 
were faithful, however, to the marriage relations, and the 
women often preferred death to dishonor, Wassenaer of 
Amsterdam, who wrote in 1621-33, says that the Indian women 
"are the most experienced star-gazers; there is scarcely one of 
them but can name all the stars their rising and setting, the 
position of the Arctos, that is, the wagon, is as well known to 
them as to us, and they name them by other names." All the 
natives paid particular attention to the sun, moon and stars in 
connection with their seasons. The first moon following the one 
at the end of February was greatly honored, and as she rose 
they had a festival, feasting on fish and wild game, and drink- 
ing with it clear, fresh water. The Indian year now com- 
menced, and this moon was hailed as the harbinger of spring, 
and the women began to prepare for planting. At the arrival 
of the new August moon another feast was celebrated for the 
coming harvest. 

The Indians seemed to have no knowledge of God or religion. 
Some of them paid homage to the Devil or evil spirits, but not 
with so much ceremony as the native Africans do. They be- 
lieved in good and evil spirits, and their spiritual affairs were 
entrusted to Kitzinacka, a sort of weather priest. He visited 
the sick and dying, and sat beside them bawling, crying and 
roaring like a demon. He was a kind of Capuchin, with no 
abode of his own, lodged where he pleased, and never ate food 
prepared by a married woman. It must be cooked by a maiden 
or an old woman. 

Wampum was the universal money among the Indians. It 
was made of the thick and blue part of sea clam-shells and 
oyster shells. The thin covering of this part being split off a 
hole was drilled through it and then the outward shape given 
to it by means of a stone upon which it was rubbed or 
ground. The form was sometimes eight sided, but generally 
round or nearly so, and in size resembling the cylindrical 
glass beads sometimes known as "bugles." The beads were 
usually about an eighth of an inch in diameter. When fin- 
ished they were strung upon cords of some kind, and these 
strings of wampum were measured by the foot, yard or 
fathom. In their manufacture from six to ten feet in length 
were considered a day's work. It was of two kinds, white 



52 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

and purple or black. The latter was wrought out of the 
mussel shells. With the Dutch governors six beads of the 
white or four of the purple were equal in value to one penny. 
This currency was used by the Europeans for many years after 
their settlement here. The Indians made belts of wampum 
by weaving the strings into widths of several inches and they 
were two feet or more in length. It was sometimes called seewan. 
Both the Dutch and English recognized it as currency fora long 
time. In 1683 the schoolmaster at Flatbush, L. I., was paid 
his salary in wheat at " wampum value." Among other fees he 
received for supplying water for baptisms twelve styvers, in 
wampum, for every baptism. In 1693 the ferriage for passen- 
gers from New York to Brooklyn was eight styvers in wampum 
each. It was also used for ornamenting the person and as an 
emblem of agreement in treaties. The belt of wampum removed 
the remembrance of injuries and bloodshed. On Staten Island, 
Long Island and the neighboring shores of the mainland are 
found numerous beds or heaps of clam shells broken into very 
small pieces. These were without doubt the scenes of this 
manufacture. When we remember that this article was the 
currency of all the tribes even away inland, and that the ma- 
terials of which it was made were only found on the sea coast, 
we can see what an important and advantageous position the 
Indians of this locality, occupied. 

In their burials the dead were placed in the earth without a 
coffin, but with all their costly garments of skins, in a sitting 
posture, upon a stone or block of wood. Near the body were 
also arranged a pot, kettle, platter and spoon, with some wam- 
pum and provisions, for their invisible journey to the Spirit 
Land. Over the grave was heaped a pile of wood, stone or 
earth. A few of these spots of sepulture have been found in 
different parts of the island. One of these was on or 
near the old Pelton place at West New Brighton. Here have 
been found, in years long gone by, various trinkets a copper 
box, copper earrings and a glass pipe. The last was found in 
the mouth of an Indian skeleton. 

Tradition says that the point of the island now occupied by 
Tottenville was once a favorite burial spot with the Indians. 
The remains of several have been exhumed there within a few 
years past. One was found while digging a cistern on the 
premises of Mr. Appleby, and several others were dug up on 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 53 

the premises of Joel Cole. The peculiar beauty of the site, it 
is said, made it attractive to the aborigines for sepulture, af- 
fording as it did an uninterrupted view of the rising and the 
setting sun. The site was also a favorite meeting place during 
the periods of their spirit worshipping. Friendly tribes from 
Long Island, Manhattan island and the Jersey shore were wont 
to join the natives here, on their festive occasions, when doubt- 
less the surrounding forests and the neighboring hills resounded 
with the untutored songs of thousands of the children of 
nature's wilds. 

The treatment of the Indians by the Dutch explorers and 
the Dutch government was not such as to inspire friendly re- 
turns from the savages. The disgraceful barbarities with which 
the Indians were often treated are too common matters of his- 
tory to need repetition here. In consequence of the savage 
passions which this treatment aroused Staten Island was re- 
peatedly scourged by the spirit of retaliation naturally evinced 
by the sons of the forest. Of some of the more notable de- 
monstrations of hostility between the two races we shall speak. 

In the spring of 1640 some parties, on their way from New 
Amsterdam to South River, Delaware, stopped at Staten Island 
to take in water, and while there stole some hogs from the settlers 
on de Vries' bouweries. The Indians residing on the Raritan, and 
who had manifested a hostile disposition, were at once charged 
with the theft, which was regarded as a serious offense, and Gov- 
ernor Kieft to punish them sent a company of about seventy 
men, under command of his secretary, Van Tienhoven, with in- 
structions to invade the Indian country, capture as many of the 
natives as they could, and destroy their crops. When the 
party reached their destination they became insubordinate, and 
the secretary lost control over them. They declared their in- 
tention to kill every Indian they could find, and though re- 
minded that such a course would be going beyond their instruc- 
tions, they persisted, and the secretary, seeeing that expostula- 
tion was in vain, left them to execute their wanton determina- 
tion. Several of the unfortunate savages were killed, and the 
chiefs brother was barbarously murdered after he had been 
made a prisoner by one of the party named Govert Loocker- 
mans. Their crops were destroyed, their wigwams burned, 
and other outrages perpetrated. Having satiated their fiendish 
spirit, the Dutchmen retired, leaving one of their number, 



54 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

whose name was Ross, supercargo of the ship "Neptune," dead 
on the field. 

The Indians, goaded to desperation, not only by the unjusti- 
fiable destruction of their crops, and slaughter of their brethren, 
but by a long continued course of frauds practised upon them 
by unscrupulous men, who first intoxicated and then cheated 
them in bargaining with them, resolved upon revenge. One of 
their first acts was to invade Staten Island, where in 1641 they 
attacked the settlement that de Vries had begun, and killed 
four men and burned two of his houses. 

Not long before, a young Indian, smarting under a sense of 
wrong, vowed to kill the first Dutchman who crossed his path, and 
he kept his vow. Governor Kief t, forgetting that he himself was 
the instigator of all these outrages, announced his intention of 
taking summary vengeance upon the savages. It was in vain 
that the prominent men of the colony counselled moderation 
in vain that they represented to him that his course would be 
adding fuel to the fire he replied to all their remonstrances 
that the law was "blood for blood," and he meant to have it ; 
he recognized the applicability of the law to the whites, but not 
to the savages. His anger was chiefly directed to the Raritans, 
and he entered into an agreement with some of the river Indians 
to assist him in annihilating that tribe, and to excite their blood- 
thirsty dispositions, he offered ten fathoms of wampum for the 
head of a Raritan, and twenty fathoms for the head of every 
Indian engaged in the murdei's upon Staten Island. At this 
time he built a small redoubt upon the island. 

In the meanwhile, the Indians upon Long Island began to 
manifest a hostile disposition, and Kieft found himself involved 
in new troubles. It was evident from some of his measures 
that he began to regret his precipitancy, and if nothing else 
had occurred to irritate him anew, he might have consented to 
forget the past, and to "bury the hatchet;" but just at this 
juncture some traders happened to meet an Indian of the Hack- 
ensack tribe, who was clothed in a dress of valuable beaver 
skins, whom they made drunk, and then robbed. On recover- 
ing his senses, the savage vowed to kill the first Swannakin 
(white man) whom he should meet. He did that, and more ; 
an Englishman who was a servant of de Vries on Staten Island, 
was met by him and killed, and shortly after a man named Van 
Vorst, while engaged in repairing a house in the vicinity of 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 55 

Newark bay, met the same fate. Apprehensive of further 
trouble, a deputation of chiefs of some of the neighboring 
tribes, waited upon the director, whom they found greatly ex- 
cited, and not disposed to reason with them. He informed them 
hat the only way to keep peace was to surrender the murderer. 
"We cannot do that." they replied, "because he has fled, and 
is out of our reach." They offered to make compensation for 
the crime, according to the customs of their people^; nothing, 
however, could propitiate Kieft but the possession of the mur- 
derer. The Indians represented to him, that it was not they who 
committed the murders, but the white men's rum ; "keep that 
away from the Indians," said they, "and there will be no more 
murders;" but Kieft was inexorable he was resolved upon 
war, unless they surrendered the murderer, who was as far out 
of their reach as out of his. 

New troubles now arose with the Long Island Indians. Thus 
far they had remained quiet, but the Dutch, with an infatu 
ation utterly unaccoiintable, suffered no opportunities to pass 
to excite them to deeds of violence. Matters were becoming 
worse daily, and an oxitbreak of Indian fury could not have 
been suppressed much longer, when, through the unremitting 
assiduity of the philanthropic Roger Williams, a meeting 
between Kieft and several Indian sachems took place at Rock- 
away on the 25th of March, and a reconciliation was effected. 

The peace thus concluded was of short duration. The Indi- 
ans continued to commit depredations upon the property of the 
settlers, and especially was this the case upon Staten Island. 
Many of them still held their residence there, and could not 
resist the temptation to appropriate the products of the agri- 
cultural skill and labor of their white neighbors, which were 
so much superior in quantity, quality and variety to their own. 
Remonstrances had proved ineffectual, and it became necessary 
to adopt severer measures. In addition to this, the Raritans, 
who were the offending tribe, had interrupted the communi- 
cation between the two shores of the river at New Amster- 
dam, and it had become perilous to attempt to land on the 
west shore. 

In the winter of 1G42-3 two armed parties from Fort Amster- 
dam attacked the Indians at Corlear's Hook and Pavonia (Ho- 
Koken) slaying thirty at the former place and eighty at the 
latter. This outrage led to almost fatal consequences. From 



56 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

the Raritan to the Connecticut the war-whoop was heard, and 
eleven tribes declared open war against the Dutch. All settlers 
they met with were murdered, men, women and children- 
dwellings were burnt, cattle killed and crops destroyed. In the 
spring of 1643 peace was secured, but it was unsatisfactory to 
the river Indians, and the war-fires were again kindled. Pa- 
vonia, and the greater part of Manhattan and Long islands, 
were in the hands of the savage foes, now embracing seven 
tribes and numbering 1,500 warriors. To oppose this uncivilized 
body the Dutch forces amounted to not more than 200 to 300 
settlers and between 50 and 60 badly munitioned soldiers. All 
the "Bouweries," or plantations at Pavonia, and with one excep- 
tion only on the Long island shore, were destroyed. An early 
chronicle says: " Staten Island, where Cornelius Melyn estab- 
lished himself (1643) is unattacked yet, but stands expecting an 
assault every hour." 

Early in 1644 an expedition against the Staten Island Indians 
was organized. It consisted of forty burghers under Joachim 
Pietersen Kuyter ; thirty-five Englishmen under Lieutenant 
Baxter, and several soldiers from the fort under Sergeant Peter 
Cock, and the whole being under command of Counsellor La 
Montange. They embarked after dark, and at a late hour 
landed upon the island. They marched all night, and when 
the morning dawned, had arrived at the place where they ex- 
pected to find the Indians, but there were none there. Secretly 
as the whole enterprise had been conducted, the savages had 
discovered it and escaped. The troops, after burning the vil- 
lage, returned, taking with them over five hundred schepels of 
corn.* 

To the honor of a few, however, be it said the Dutch were not 
unanimous in their inhuman hostility to the Indians. Promi- 
nent among the few who comprehended the situation, and 
understood what course of policy would have been best for the 
colony, was the minister, Dominie Bogardus, and de Vries, the 
patroon of part of Staten Island. They were strongly opposed 
to the course pursued by the directors in their dealings with 
the Indians, and the event showed the wisdom of the policy of 
forbearance and conciliation which they recommended. So 
persistent were they in pressing their views upon the authori- 
ties, that they excited their anger, and were charged with a 

* A schepel was almost three pecks. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 57 

design of ingratiating themselves into the favor of the Indians 
for selfish purposes, and to the prejudice of the interests of the 
colony at large. The Indians understood these men and rec- 
ognized them as friends, and when, in one of the raids they 
made upon the settlers on the island, they had killed some of 
de Vries' cattle without knowing to whom they belonged, they 
expressed their regret for the act, calling him the friend of the 
Indians. At another time, when a difficulty had occurred with 
some of the Long Island Indians, and Kieft found himself in a 
dilemma, he was very desirous of making peace with them, but 
he could find no ambassador who was willing to trust himself 
in their power, until de Vries offered to visit them for the pur- 
pose. He was hospitably received, and when his mission was 
explained to them, and they were requested to visit the director 
at the fort in New Amsterdam, they refused to go until he had 
pledged himself for their safety. 

On what part of the island the Indian village, which has been 
spoken of as having been burned by the Dutch expedition in 
1644, was located is entirely a matter of conjecture. There is 
a tradition that an Indian village once stood on the shore of the 
Lower bay not far from the present Annadale, but no remains 
have been found to establish its site. From numerous relics 
and Indian remains that have been found about Tottenville, 
Kreischerville and Watchogue, it is possible that, the village 
may have been at one or other of those places. 

During the year 1655, another and more serious calamity be- 
fell Staten Island than anj- which had preceded it. Hendrick 
\ r an Dyck, former attorney-general at New Amsterdam, on 
rising one morning, discovered a squaw in his garden stealing- 
peaches ; in a moment of anger he seized his gun and shot her, 
killing her instantly. Of this rash act, little, if any, notice was 
taken by the authorities, but the Indians did not overlook it ; 
immediate measures were taken by them to avenge the outrage. 
Several of the neighboring tribes united, and early on the morn- 
ing of the 15th of September sixty-four canoes, containing nine- 
teen hundred savages, some of whom were Mohicans, and 
others from Esopus, Hackingsack, Tappaan and Stamford, sud- 
denly appeared before New Amsterdam. They landed and dis- 
persed through the various streets, while many of the people 
were still asleep. They broke into several houses on pretense 
of looking for "Indians from the North," but in reality to 



58 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

avenge the death of the squaw that Van Dyke had shot. As 
soon as they were discovered, an alarm was sounded. The 
officers of the colony and city, and many of the principal inhab- 
itants, assembled, and the leaders of the savages were requested 
to meet with them, which they did ; they accounted for their 
sudden appearance under pretext of searching for some hostile 
northern Indians, who, they pretended they had been informed, 
were either in the city or its vicinity. After much persuasion 
they were induced to promise to leave Manhattan island at sun- 
set, but when evening came they were still there, and manifested 
no disposition to leave. They became unruly and the people 
became excited, and violent acts were committed by both 
parties ; Van Dyck, the thoughtless author of the trouble, paid 
the penalty of his rashness by being killed with an arrow, and 
Paulus Leinderstein Van Der Grist, one of the city officials, 
was killed by a blow with an axe. The soldiers in the fort and 
the city guard were called out, and attacked the invaders, driv- 
ing them back to their canoes. Crossing the river, the savages 
attacked the settlements there, and killed or captured most of 
the people. Thence they went to Staten Island, which at that 
time had a population of ninety souls and eleven flourishing 
bouweries ; twenty-two of the people were killed, and all of the 
remainder who did not escape were carried away captive, and 
the bouweries were desolated. The Indians continued their 
ravages three days, during which time they killed one hundred 
whites, took one hundred and fifty prisoners, and ruined three 
hundred more in their estates. Alarm spread throughout the 
entire region, and there was no safety anywhere, for the hostile 
Indians were prowling about by day and by night, even upon 
Manhattan island, where they killed all who came within their 
reach. Stuyvesant employed every means in his power for the 
protection of the settlement at New Amsterdam and the neigh- 
boring settlements, and after awhile the ransom of all or nearly 
all the prisoners taken by the Indians was accomplished, the 
Indians receiving ammunition in return for the captives. 

This bloody siege has been known as the "Peach war," 
from the circumstance of its origin as already narrated. The 
island was now almost entirely depopulated, and the settlement 
had to be recommenced from the beginning. Adrian Post, the 
overseer for Baron Van de Cappelan was one of the sixty -seven 
who escaped massacre and was taken captive He affirms, with 



HISTOKY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 59 

reference to Staten Island, " that all the dwelling-houses were 
burned in the known conflict with the savages in 1655, and that 
no other effects were then left than a few beasts, which he, after 
his imprisonment by them, collected together, and of which the 
greatest part died, while the few remaining were sold by him 
for the maintenance of his wife and children." In relation to 
the affair we also quote from the reminiscences of Altie Widelar, 
wife of Thomas Burbank, who "settled at V: Duses:" " She sd. 
there was 2 or 3 houses at Old Town and at Carlsneck & the 
Indians run off the Island and murderd. at Old Town all Except 
a little girl who run into the woods the indian put on her 
fathers Cloths and Decoyd. the Girl supposing it to be her 
father her they savd. The Indians Came principally from 
Bergain." 

The Indians of Staten Island after the coming of the whites 
rapidly diminished in numbers. As they gave up their lands 
to the white settlers they moved back into the country. But in 
reality comparatively few of them moved in that way. Most 
of them ended their days either by wars among themselves or 
were destroyed by small-pox, a disease with which they are 
said to have been unacquainted before their commerce with 
Europeans, but which afterward made sad havoc with them. 
And in addition to these causes a writer during the middle of the 
last century said, " But Brandy has killed most of the Indians. 
This liquor was likewise entirely unknown to them before the 
Europeans came hither; but after they had tasted it they could 
never get enough of it. A man can hardly have a greater de- 
sire of a thing than the Indians have of brandy. I have heard 
them say that to die by drinking brandy was a desirable and 
honorable death; and indeed 'tis no very uncommon thing to 
kill themselves by drinking this liquor to excess." 

The last of the old Staten Island Indians were " Sam" and 
"Hannah," and their daughter "Nance." The old couple 
lived at Fresh kill near the Seaman farm, and upon it they used 
to depredate for timber of which they made baskets, for this 
was their occupation. They were very old during the first 
quarter of this century. They sold their baskets for rum, and 
then they would quarrel. Hannah finally disappeared, and no 
one knew what had become of her. It was supposed that Sam 
had killed her, for he always new into a rage whenever any one 



60 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

asked him where she was. After the death of one or both of 
her parents it is supposed that Nance left the island. 

The first idea of value that was conceived by the Dutch in 
view of the newly discovered regions here was not associated 
with any design of forming settlements here. The climate of 
Holland and other countries of Europe, rendered furs indispen- 
sable to their inhabitants; hitherto these had been obtained 
chiefly from Russia, and at great expense. The Dutch had dis- 
covered that there were furs in the countries newly discovered, 
which were easily procurable in exchange for articles of ex- 
tremely trifling value; the temptation to engage in a traffic so 
exceedingly profitable, was too strong to be resisted by a people 
so prompt to promote their own interests. Accordingly, in 1611, 
a vessel was dispatched to the Manhattans as an experiment, and 
so successful was the venture, that a spirit of commercial enter- 
prise was at once awakened. Two more vessels, the "Little Fox" 
and the "Little Crane," were licensed, and under the pretense 
of looking for the northwest passage, sailed direct for the newly- 
discovered river. This was in the spring of 1613. Having ar- 
rived, the traders erected one or two small forts for the protec- 
tion of the trade on the river. The position of the island of 
Manhattan for commercial purposes was so favorable as to strike 
the Europeans at once, and the traders who had scattered in 
various directions made that island their head-quarters. Hen- 
drick Cortiansen was the superintendent of the business, and 
with his small craft penetrated every bay or stream where In- 
dians were to be found, in pursuit of furs. 

The results of these expeditions were successful, and many 
others were projected, and crowned with similar success. When 
the intelligence of these discoveries reached the projectors of 
the several voyages at home, steps were immediately taken by 
them to secure to themselves the benefits of their enterprise and 
perseverance. All the country lying between the 40th and 45th 
degree of north latitude was called " New Netherland." Ex- 
clusive privileges to trade to these countries for a limited 
period were given to them. A trading house was at once erected 
on an island in the Hudson, near the present site of Albany, 
and the country on both sides of the river thoroughly explored 
in quest of furs; and by the time of the expiration of the grant, 
which was at the close of 1617, some of the merchants engaged 
in the trade had realized immense fortunes therefrom. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 61 

The charter having expired, the trade of New Netherland 
was thrown open, and adventurers from all parts of the father- 
land eagerly enlisted therein ; the former traders, however, 
held on to the advantages they had gained by their prior occu- 
pancy. 

Different commercial associations were formed, whose several 
interests began to interfere with each other, and all contention 
and disputes were at last adjusted by the consolidation of all 
interests in the organization and charter of the " Dutch West 
India Company." 

The powers and privileges with which this company was 
invested were not confined to the narrow limits of the New 
Netherlands ; they embraced the whole range of the American 
coast, from the Horn to the Arctic sea, and on the west coast 
of Africa from the Hope to the Tropic of Cancer, not pre- 
viously occupied by other nations. On the American coast 
settlements had been made by the French at Canada, by the 
English at Virginia, and by the Spaniards at Florida. The prep- 
arations made by the directors of the newly chartered com- 
pany to improve the privileges granted to them, attracted, in 
England, the attention of the government, and a strong remon- 
strance was sent to Holland, insisting that all the territory 
claimed by the Dutch was embraced in the charter of Virginia, 
and therefore was under the jurisdiction of England. The 
matter was from time to time brought before the authorities of 
both countries, and the discussion protracted by the Dutch for 
the purpose of gaining time, that the preparations of the new 
company might be completed. 

Thus it will be seen that the first Europeans who visited this 
part of the continent came for the purpose of trading, not of 
settling permanently ; but having become favorably impressed 
with the soil and climate of the country, they began to enter- 
tain the idea of making it the place of their future abode, and 
to devote to agriculture that part of the season when furs were 
not obtainable. The country was organized into a province, a 
few settlers were sent out, and a form of government was estab- 
lished, with Peter Minuit at its head as director ; this was in 
the year 1624. In the same year, and probably in the same ship 
with Minuit, a number of Walloons arrived and settled on 
Staten Island ; this is the first settlement on the island of 
which we have any knowledge. These people came from the 



62 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

country bordering on the river Scheldt and Flanders ; they 
professed the reformed religion, and spoke the old French, or 
Gallic language ; they were good soldiers, and had done efficient 
service in the thirty years' war. Two years before their arrival 
here, they had applied to Sir Dudley Carleton for permission 
to emigrate to some part of Virginia, upon condition that they 
might build a town of their own, and be governed by officers 
chosen by and amongst themselves. This application was 
referred to the Virginia company, and met with a favorable 
response so far as the mere settlement was concerned, but the 
privilege to elect their own officers was too long a step toward 
popular freedom, and could not be conceded ; the permission 
to settle upon the company's land was fettered with so many 
conditions affecting their civil and religious liberty that they 
declined to entertain it, and turned their attention to the New 
Netherlands, where so many arbitrary conditions were not in- 
sisted on. On their arrival here they appear to have aban- 
doned the plan of settling in a colony or single community, 
and separated, going in different directions, a few families taking 
up their abode on Staten Island. It is supposed that among 
these was a family by the name of Rapelje, among whom was 
one George Jansen de Rapelje. Surrounded by the savages arid 
separated from their friends at Manhattan, they did not long- 
remain here. Yielding to the necessities of their condition, 
lacking both food and clothing, they returned to Rapsie, the 
southern extremity of Manhattan island, where they found not 
much relief but were subjected with the other colonists to ex- 
tremes of privation and suffering. But relief soon after came 
by the arrival of a ship from the mother country. The Rapelje 
family soon after removed to Wallabout, on Long Island, and 
are recorded as the first European settlers upon that island. 
Their child Sarah has down to the present time borne the honor 
of having been the first child of European parentage born in 
the colony. Her birth is dated June 9th, 1625, and though some 
have claimed that it took place while the family were upon 
Staten Island, the facts indicate more strongly that the honor 
belongs to Long Island. She lived to be the wife of two hus- 
bands and the mother of twelve children, from whom has 
descended a large and highly respectable lineage. 

For many years the traffic with the Indians for peltries had 
been exceedingly profitable, and large fortunes had been 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 63 

secured by many of the traders, but in the course of time, as 
the articles of the Indian's traffic became scarcer, and the val- 
ue of the Dutch commodities depreciated in consequence of 
their abundance, the trade gradually decreased, until at length 
the cost of sustaining the colony was greater than its revenues, 
and the West India company found itself rapidly descending 
to the verge of bankruptcy. 

The first great landed proprietors in New Netherland were 
called "patroons; " they were Samuel Godyn, Samuel Bloemart, 
Killian Van Rensselaer and Michael Pauw. The two first named 
settled in Delaware. Van Rensselaer obtained a patent for a 
large tract on the Hudson in the vicinity of Albany and Troy, 
and Pauw became the proprietor of all the country extending 
from Hoboken southward along the bay and Staten Island 
sound, including Staten Island ; this grant was made to him by 
the directors in 1630. At the same time the country was 
purchased from the natives for "certain cargoes or parcels of 
goods,'' and called Pavonia. The name of this proprietor still 
attaches to a part of his possessions in the locality known as Com- 
munipaw. It is to be mentioned to the credit of the company, 
that they made it a condition in the patents which they granted, 
that the recipients should extinguish the Indian title by direct 
purchase, and this was exacted in every instance. By some it 
is claimed that the director general and council had purchased 
the island of the Indians in 1626, but what the authority is for 
the statement we do not know. The consideration paid to the 
natives was not money, which would have been useless to them, 
but cloths of various kinds, culinary utensils, ornaments, etc., 
but not fire-arms. 

The value of the articles paid for the fee of the island varied 
at different times, for the Indians sold it repeatedly. Pauw's 
acquisition was not of much benefit to him ; it is not known 
that he made any effort to colonize it, or that he ever cleared a 
rood of it, for very soon after acquiring it, difficulties arose be- 
tween him and the directors, and he disposed of his territorial 
rights on the island and on the continent to his associate direct- 
ors for the sum of 26,000 guilders. He was a man of conse- 
quence in his own country ; he was one of the lord directors 
of the company, and among their names we find his set down 
as the Lord of Achtienhoven. 

In 1636, David Pietersen de Vries obtained a grant for a 



64 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

part of the island, and began to make settlements on it, 
but the precise locality is not known ; it is supposed, how- 
ever, to have been at or near Old Town (Oude Dorp). The 
dwellings of the settlers, on their arrival, were generally con- 
structed as speedily as possible, that their families might be 
sheltered. Excavations 1'or this purpose were generally 
made in the side of a hill, or other convenient spot, 
and lined and roofed with rude planks, split out of the trees ; 
sometimes the roofs were covered with several layers of bark ; 
these were only meant for temporary dwelling places, until 
better ones could be provided. 

The date of the grant which had been obtained by de Vries 
from Wouter Van Twiller was August 13, 1636, and de Vries 
set sail for Holland two days afterward for the purpose of gath- 
ering a colony to come and occupy the land. He returned with 
his settlers about the end of the year 1638. This was the third 
time de Vries had sailed across the ocean to the New Nether- 
lands, and when the ship neared the entrance at Sandy Hook 
he was called upon to pilot her in, as the following extracts 
from his journal will show : 

" Sept. 25, 1638. On board the ship of the West India Com- 
pany, sailed from Holland. 

"Dec. 26. Got sight of Sandy Hook. The captain * * 
at the request of the passengers, who all had their homes in the 
New-Netherlands, solicited me to pilot the ship in, which I did, 
and anchored the same evening before Staten Island, which was 
my property, and put my people on shore." 

Other memoranda made by de Vries at different dates tell 
in his own language something of his connection with the 
island. Under date of August 13, 1636, he says: "I requested 
Wouter Van Twiller to put Staten Island down in my name, 
intending to form a colony there, which was granted." Under 
date of January o, 1639, he writes: "Sent my people to Staten 
Island, to commence the colony and buildings." But his pos- 
session of the island was disturbed as we see by this entry of 
August 20, 1641: " Arrived, the ship Eyckenboom, and had on 
board a person named Malyn, who said he was the owner of 
Staten Island, that it was given to him and to Mr. Van Der 
Horst by the directors of the company. I could not believe 
this, having left the country in 1638 to take possession of this 
island, and in that time have settled there. I could not think 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 65 

that the directors of the company would act in this way, it be- 
ing granted by the sixth article, and we being the first occu- 
pants and of course it could not be taken from us." 

The two following entries give us de Vries' view of the Indian 
massacre of 1641. September 1st of that year he writes : "My 
people were murdered on Staten Island by the Indians of 
Raritan. They told an Indian who was assisting my people 
that we should now come to fight for the killing of the men as 
we formerly had done for the hogs, with the stealing of which 
they were wrongfully accused. It was done by the servants of 
the company, then going to the South river, who landed first at 
Staten Island to take in wood and water, when they stole the 
hogs and the blame was laid on the innocent Indians, who 
tho' cunning enough, will do no harm if no harm is done to 
them. And so my colony of Staten Island was smothered in 
its birth by the management of Governor Kieft, who wanted to 
avenge the wrongs of his people on the Indians." On the day 
following, that is, September '2, 1641, we have this entry : "An 
Indian chief belonging to the Tankitekes, called Pacham, came 
to the fort in much triumph, with the hand of a dead man 
hanging on a stick, saying it was the hand of the chief who had 
killed our people at Staten Island, who had avenged tbe wrongs 
of the Swannekins, whose friend he was." 

De Vries is said to have been a literary man, and was the 
author of a historical work. There is no evidence that he re- 
sided upon the island himself. The settlers introduced by him, 
however, prospered for a time, until, as we have already seen, 
their bouweries or farms were desolated by the savages. DeVries 
remained in the colony for several years, and for some time 
thereafter maintained his hold on the "bouwerie" on Staten 
Island, but the relations existing between the Dutch and the 
Indians were not favorable to the growth of a settlement here, 
and though we have evidence to support the above statement in 
the fact that de Vries' bouwerie was excepted from the grant to 
Melyn, and also the fact that an Englishman residing here in 
the service of de Vries, was killed in 1642, yet it is probable 
that he soon afterward abandoned the attempt to maintain a 
settlement here. 

The third attempt to found a settlement on Staten Island was 
made by a Dutch merchant by the name of Cornelis Melyn.* 
He came from Antwerp, and his first visit was made here in 

5 



66 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

1639. July 3, 1640, he obtained an order from the directors in 
Holland, authorizing him to take possession of Staten Island 
and erect it into a "Colonie." But on his passage hither, in 
February, 1641, the vessel in which he sailed was captured 
by the "Dunkirkers." and he thus lost all he had on board, 
and was glad to reach his native shores in safety. He was 
obliged then to apply to the directors for a passage to the New 
Netherlands, which he obtained, and again embarked, with his 
family and some goods for trade with the Indians, to the 
value of about 1,000 guilders. This voyage was made on 
board the ship "Eyckenboom "(meaning "oak tree"), and he ar- 
rived at New Amsterdam August 20, 1641. He received letters 
patent from the directors, bearing date June 19th, 1642, for 
the whole of Staten Island (excepting the bouwerie of Capt. de 
Vries), and constituting him patroon of the island, investing 
him at the same time with all the powers, jurisdiction and ' 
pre-eminences of that privileged order. 

During the administration of Kieft, Melyn, the patroon of 
Staten Island, lived in a state of unremitting hostility with 
him. Having adopted, in a great measure, the policy of de 
Vries in the treatment of the Indians, though not as success- 
fully, he found himself in almost constant collision with Kieft, 
who was prompt to notice and avenge every act of the savages 
which he could torture into a hostile demonstration. 

Kieft continued to reside at New Amsterdam for a short time 
after he had been superseded, and Melyn improved the oppor- 
tunity to prefer charges against him. Stuyvesant, though on 
the whole disposed to deal justly with all men, would brook no 
direct attack upon the dignity of the directorship, either in his 
own person or in that of his predecessor, and this was the light 
in which he chose to regard Melyn' s complaint, so when these 
charges were preferred they were met by counter-charges from 
the ex director, among which was one that Melyn had said he 
could get no justice from Kieft. However true the assertion 
may have been in its application to Kieft, it proved quite true 
in application to Stuyvesant, for after a long investigation, the 
attorney-general expressed an opinion that both Melyn and 
Kuyter, who had also been implicated in the charges, ought to 
suffer death. The director, however, knowing that his public 
'acts were likely to be reviewed, was disposed to deal more 
leniently with them ; he therefore, with the consent of the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 67 

majority of the council, condemned Melyn to a banishment of 
seven years and a fine of three hundred guilders and Kuyter to 
three years' banishment and a fine of one hundred and fifty 
guilders. 

In accordance with this sentence, the defendants were sent to 
Holland.* The attention of the government was immediately 
called to the manner in which justice was administered in the 
colony, by an appeal which the banished patroon and his asso- 
ciates took on their arrival. An elaborate investigation followed, 
and the sentence was reversed; the director was also censured, 
and required to return home and answer for his arbitrary con- 
duct. Melyn, armed with the necessary documents, returned 
triumphantly to New Amsterdam, and had the satisfaction of 
serving them upon the director in person. These proceedings 
on the part of the patroon were far from mollifying the direc- 
tor; and, as he had proved to be a dangerous man to meddle with 
arbitrarily, he gratified his animosity by acts of hostility to 
Melyn' s family. Jacob Loper, the son-in-law of the patroon, 
who had served under Stuyvesant in the West Indies, applied 
for permission to make a trading voyage to South River, Dela- 
ware, but it was peremptorily refused. 

Stuyvesant 1 s representatives appeared before the tribunal 
which had cited him, to answer for and defend the acts of their 
principal. The opinion of the court was that Melyn had been 
seriously injured in his property and person for no other crime 
or cause than presuming to differ in opinion with the director. 
In the meantime the trade of the colony had become less re- 
munerative, and the government, both at home and in the col- 
ony, had become involved in complications with other powers 
to such an extent as to divert attention from Melyn' s cause, 
and it was left for the time in abeyance. 

*The ex-director, Kieft, was also a passenger ou the same vessel. In regard to 
their treatment and the events of the voyage we may quote another chronicle: 
" They were brought on board like criminals, and torn away from their goods, 
their wives, and their children. The Princess (the name of the ship) was to carry 
the director and these two faithful patriots away from New Netherland; but, 
coming into the wrong channel, it struck upon a rock and was wrecked. And 
now, this wicked Kieft, seeing death before his eyes, sighed deeply, and, turning 
to these two (Melyn and Kuyter), said: ' Friends, I have been unjust towards you; 
can you forgive me?' Towards morning the ship was broken to pieces. Among 
those drowned were Melyn's son. the minister, Bogardus, Kieft, Captain John De 
Vries, and a great number of other persons. Much treasure was lost, as Kieft 
was on his return with a fortune of four hundred thousand guilders 160,000 
dollars." 



68 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Melyn's appeal seems to have at last gained the reversal of 
the sentence which had been imposed upon him by Stuyvesant. 
But notwithstanding this, the persecutions of the governor seem 
to have continued with unabated zeal. In the spring of 1650 
Melyn associated with himself Baron Van Cappelan, a man of 
wealth, who immediately fitted out a ship called the Ci New 
Netherland's Fortune," with a cargo and some twenty colonists 
for Staten Island. The ship was commanded by Capt. Adrian 
Post, 

The passage was one of extraordinary length and the sea was 
unusually boisterous, and they were obliged to put into Rhode 
Island for supplies. They did not reach New Amsterdam until 
the following winter. Making this stop at Rhode Island the 
occasion for another persecution, Stuyvesant seized the ship 
under the pretext that it belonged to Melyn, and caused it and 
the cargo to be sold. It was purchased by Thomas Willet, who 
sent it on a voyage to Virginia, and thence to Holland, where 
Van Cappelan replevined it, and after a protracted law suit, the 
West India company was obliged to pay a large sum in conse- 
quence of the illegal act of its representative and servant in 
New Netherland. 

The harassed patroon immediately withdrew to his " colonie" 
on Staten Island, from whence he was summoned by Stuyvesant 
to appear, and answer to new charges which had been preferred 
against him. This summons he positively refused to obey, and 
:i lot of land, with a house on it, in New Amsterdam, belong- 
ing to him, was declared confiscated, and accordingly was sold. 
Melyn now fortified himself on the island and established a 
manorial court. 

Among the charges preferred against Melyn were the follow- 
ing : that he had distributed arms amongst the Indians, and had 
endeavored to excite hostile feelings toward the director among 
some of the river tribes. When he left Holland the patroon 
had taken the precaution of furnishing himself with a "safe 
conduct," as it was called, which was a sort of protection 
against further aggressions on the part of Stuyvesant ; to this, 
however, he paid little regard when he had the patroon in his 
power ; but now that he had proved contumacious by refusing 
to appear, and putting himself into his enemy's power, the di- 
rector scarcely dared venture to arrest by force one who was 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 69 

protected by a document of such authority ; he therefore 
affected to be alarmed for his own personal safety, and applied 
to the council for protection, who granted him a body guard of 
four halbidiers, to attend him whenever he went abroad. Van 
Dincklagen, the vice-director, had been instrumental in assist- 
ing both Van Cappelan and Melyn in promoting the successful 
settlement of Staten Island ; he therefore fell under the dis- 
pleasure of the director, who ordered him to resign, or the 
council to expel him from their body, but he refused to resign, 
and defied the council to expel him, as they had no more power 
to deprive him of his office than the director himself, as both 
held their commissions from the same authority at home. 
Nevertheless, he was arrested and imprisoned in the guard- 
house, and the counsel who had defended him was forbidden to 
practice his profession in the colony. After the lapse of several 
days the vice-director was liberated, and immediately took up 
his residence with Melyn on Staten Island. 

These settlements were probably located on the east side of 
the island, between the Narrows and the locality known as Old 
Town, or "Oude Dorp," as it was called. But all traces of 
these settlements have long since vanished, and no records are 
left to tell us of their locality. Though the site was well se- 
lected in some respects sheltered by hills on the north, acces- 
sible by water, convenient for fishing, and comprising both up- 
land and meadow it was early abandoned for other situations. 
An atmosphere of misfortune, too, seemed to hover over it. 
The first plantation, by de Vries, had been destroyed ; Melyn, 
the patroon, and all connected with him seemed to be the 
especial objects of the governor's animosity, and we now come 
to the period when the settlement is again wiped out by the 
bloody Indian raid of 1655, an account of which has already 
been given. At that time Baron Van Cappelan' s colonists 
numbered "ninety souls in eleven bouweries," all of whom 
were killed or dispersed. The island was now depopulated, and 
the settlement had to be re-commenced. Van Cappelan did 
what he could to induce the affrighted people to return to their 
desolated homes, and sent out new colonists. These efforts were 
made by Van Dincklagen, his agent. To avert the probability 
of another attack, he negotiated another purchase of the island 
from the Indians, and made a treaty with them. This was done 



70 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

on the 10th of July, 1657.* These proceedings on his part were 
disapproved by the directors of the company at home, who 
insisted that all settlers' titles should come through them. 
Stuyvesant was, therefore, directed to declare the late purchase 
void, to secure the Indian title for the company, and then to 
convey to Van Cappelan what land he might require. 

In 1661 Melyn returned to Holland, having, in consideration 
of fifteen hundred guilders (six hundred dollars), conveyed all 
his interest in Staten Island to the West India Company. The 
deed was dated June 14, 1659. He was also granted an amnesty 
for all offenses which had been charged upon him by either 
Stuyvesant or his predecessor. Van Cappelan being dead, the 
company also purchased all the title he had to any part of the 
island during his life time, and thus became the possessors of 
the whole of it. 

About this time Johannes de Decker, who first came to New 
Amsterdam in 1655, acquired title to one hundred and twenty 
acres of land on Staten Island. He was a young man of good 
reputation, and for a time occupied important official trusts. 
By what steps he obtained possession of the land mentioned, or 
where it was located, we have not learned. By some disagree- 
ment with Stuyvesant he fell into discord with that turbulent 
official and was dispossessed and banished. The sentence was, 
however, in all probability reversed, since he was back in the 
colony again at the time of the conquest of 1664. Among the 
last of the Dutch patents was one granted to him for this land, 
dated January 15, 1664. During the administration of JSTicolls, 
however, his Dutch patriotism made him offensive to the 
English government, and he was again banished from the 
province. 

Some time after the peace of Breda, he applied to the Duke 
of York for a redress of his grievances and a restitution of his 
property. This application the duke referred to Lovelace, with 

*Dunlap has set forth that the island was purchased of the Indians in 1651, by 
Augustine Herman, but we fail to find authority sufficient to sustain the as- 
sertion. A purchase was made of the Indians December 6th of that year, by "Au- 
gustine Heermans," acting for Cornells van Werckhoven, a Schepen of Utrecht, 
which covered a large tract lying between the Arthur kill and the Raritan river ; 
and from the incidental mention of Staten Island in giving the boundaries the 
idea may have been gained that the conveyance included this island. But as 
Melyn was in undisputed possession here at the time, had been for several years 
previous, and continued to be for several years after, it is fair to presume that no 
such purchase of the Indians was made or intended to be made. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 71 

instructions to do in the premises what might be just and 
proper ; the result was that de Becker was restored to all his 
rights and privileges, and he retired to private life on his farm 
on Staten Island. 

He was the progenitor of a numerous family now residing 
on the island, by the name of Decker, and further notice of 
him will be found in connection with the history of that family. 

Soon after the sale of the island by Melyn and Van Cappel- 
an's heirs to the West India company, the latter made grants 
of land to several French Waldenses, and a still greater number 
of Huguenots from Rochelle, the descendants of whom are still 
residents here, and in a few instances still occupying the iden- 
tical grants made to their ancestors. About a dozen families 
commenced a settlement south of the Narrows. In 1663 they 
built a block-house as a defense against the Indians, and placed 
within it a garrison of ten men, and armed it with two small 
cannons. At the request of these settlers, Dominie Drisius, of 
New Amsterdam, visited them every two months and preached 
to them in French, performing also the other functions of his 
calling. Rev. Samuel Drisius was sent to America by the 
Classis of Amsterdam, in 1654, at the request of the people, 
who desired a minister who could preach to them either in 
Dutch or French, which he was able to do. On his arrival at 
New Amsterdam he was at once installed as the colleague of 
the Rev. Johannes Megapolensis, who had resided in the coun- 
try since 1642. Drisius continued to officiate at New Amster- 
dam and on Staten Island until 1671. From about 1660 his 
visits to the island were more frequent, being made once each 
month. 

It would be pleasant could we bring out a fuller picture of 
the times in which these interesting people made their homes 
here, but the data is very meagre. Their memory is by many 
fondly cherished, and by others, some of whom live nearest 
the scenes of their conflicts with the wilderness, sadly neglected. 
In the shadow of the court house at Richmond, within a neg- 
lected enclosure stands a tombstone bearing the following in- 
scription : 

SUSANNAH VAN PELT 

was 

The Grand Daughter of 
Jacob Rezean, Sen'r 



72 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

and the last of five generations 

interred in this burying ground. 

They were Huguenots 

who left France when 

persecuted for their religion ; 

settled in this neighborhood ; 

they selected this spot 
for their last resting place 

on earth. 

Sacred be their dust. 

Susannah van Pelt 

reached the advanced age 

of 99 years, 5 months, 25 days. 

This monument is erected by her only surviving relative. 
We come now to one of the important landmarks in the his- 
tory of New York and as a consequence in the history of Staten 
Island. The year 1664 was the commencement of a new era, 
and one which was to give to the settlement here a better chance 
for life and a more favorable atmosphere for growth. 

The English claimed to have discovered, through their repre- 
sentative, Sebastian Cabot, as early as 1497, the coast of North 
America. Their claim extended from thirty to fifty-eight de- 
grees north latitude. Voyages were made to different parts of 
the coast by English navigators before the year 1606. On the 
12th of March. 1664, Charles II. of England, by virtue of the 
claim just stated, made a grant of land to his brother James, 
Duke of York, which included within its liberal boundaries the 
territory then occupied by the Dutch at New Amsterdam and 
vicinity, of which Staten Island formed a part. 

The duke immediately fitted out an expedition to take pos- 
session of the field covered by this patent. Richard Nicolls 
was commissioned deputy governor of this colony, and his 
associates in the government were Robert Carr, George Cart- 
wright and Samuel Maverick. Four ships composed the fleet. 
and they together carried nearly one hundred guns and some 
six hundred men. The fleet arrived in New York bay in August 
of the same year, and Colonel Nicolls sent a demand to Governor 
Stuyvesant for the surrender of the fort and the government. 
The latter at first stoutly refused to comply with the demand, 
but after a few days spent in consultation with the burgo- 
masters and people of the city, and finding the latter strongly 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 73 

in favor of such a course, he was forced to yield to the popular 
sentiment, and with much reluctance agreed to a surrender. 
This was accomplished on the 26th of August, and the sceptre 
of New Netherlands passed from the wooden-legged warrior to 
the representatives of the Duke of York. 

It is worthy of remark that when the English fleet arrived in 
the bay the first Dutch property seized by them was on Staten 
Island, where the block house was taken and occupied. 

Stuyvesant appointed six commissioners, among whom was 
Dom. Megapolensis and Johannes de Decker, to meet a like 
number on the part of the English, to arrange the terms of the 
capitulation. These were just and reasonable, under the circum- 
stances; no change was to be made in the condition of the people 
but all were to be permitted to enjoy their property and their 
religion to the fullest extent. As the individual rights and 
privileges of no one were to be molested, the people submitted 
to a change of rulers, not only with a good grace, but many 
with satisfaction, as it released them from the overbearing and 
arbitrary tyranny of the director. 

Though de Decker had been one of the commissioners who 
agreed to and signed the articles of surrender, yet, when the 
English began to change the names of places, and appoint new 
officers in place of those who had become obnoxious to them; 
in short, when everything began to assume an English aspect, 
his patriotism began to revolt, and he endeavored in some in- 
stances to oppose the work of reform which the conquerors had 
initiated. This brought him to the notice of Nicolls, who, to 
rid himself of a troublesome subject, ordered him to leave the 
colony within ten days. In the course of a few months every- 
thing became quiet, and the people seemed to be content with 
the new order of things. Unappropriated lands now began to 
be parcelled out to English proprietors, by English authority. 
Staten island, already settled by the Dutch and French, was 
now to receive acquisition of another nationality. Capt. James 
Bollen received a grant of land on the island; the country be- 
tween the Raritan river and Newark bay was bought anew from 
the savages, and settled by people from Long Island, chiefly 
along Achter Cull, and four families from Jamaica began the 
settlement of Elizabethtown. Besides Captain Bollen, Captain 
William Hill, Lieutenant Humphrey Fox and one Coleman, all 
officers of the fleet, received grants of land on Staten Island, 



74 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

but as the vessels to which they were attached were no longer 
needed, and were sent back to England, they had little or no 
opportunity of enjoying their acquisitions. 

The government of New Netherland, under the original 
Dutch settlers, was committed to the director and his council, 
which at first consisted of five members. This council had su- 
preme executive and legislative authority in the whole colony. 
It had also the power to try all civil and criminal cases, and all 
prosecutions before it were conducted by a "Schout Fiscaal," 
whose duties were similar to those of a sheriff and district at- 
torney of the present day. He had the power to arrest all per- 
sons, but not without a complaint previously made to him, un- 
less he caught an offender in flagrante delictu. It was his 
duty to examine into the merits of every case, and lay them be- 
fore the court, without favor to either party; he was also to re- 
port to the directors in Holland the nature of every case prose- 
cuted by him, and the judgment therein. In addition to the 
duties above enumerated, it devolved upon him to examine the 
papers of all vessels arriving or departing; to superintend the 
lading and discharging of cargoes, and to prevent smuggling. 
He had a right to attend the meetings of the council, and give 
his opinion when asked, but not to vote on any question. 

Several of the patroons claimed in a great measure to be in- 
dependent of the director and his council, and organized 
courts and appointed magistrates for their own territories, as 
did the patroons of Rensselaerwyck and Staten Island, but 
they were at constant variance with the authorities at New Am- 
sterdam. 

It is true that all who felt themselves aggrieved by the judg- 
ment of the director and his council, had a chartered right to 
appeal to the XIX at home that is, the West India Company 
but the directors of New Netherland generally played the 
despot during the brief terms of their authority, and if any 
suitor manifested an intention to appeal, he was at once charged 
with a contempt of the supreme power in the colony and most 
severely punished, unless he contrived to keep out of the direc- 
tor's reach until his case had been heard and decided in Hol- 
land, as in the instance of Melyn, the patroon of Staten Island, 
who appears to have been a thorn in the sides of both Kieft and 
Stuyvesant. 

The religion recognized by the government of the province 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 75 

was that of the Reformed Dutch church, or the Church of Hol- 
land, and though other sects were regarded with a certain degree 
of suspicion, they were tolerated so long as they did not inter- 
fere with the privileges of others. 

When Stuyvesant \vas compelled by the popular clamor to 
surrender the country to the English, he stipulated for the 
preservation and continuance of all the political and religious 
rights and privileges of the people as then enjoyed, allegiance 
alone excepted, which was conceded by Nicolls. 

After the conquest, (his stipulation was generally held invio- 
late, but the civil institutions of the country were modified to 
make them accord with English ideas of government. 

There are instances on record of persecution for opinion's 
sake on religious subjects under the Dutch, but all such matters 
were at once rectified when brought to the notice of the home 
government. This continued to be the practice of the English 
government also. 

Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester were now united 
in a political division, called Yorkshire, and this was sub-divided 
into three parts called "Ridings." These were respectively 
known as the East, West, and Nort-h ridings. The West riding 
was composed of Staten Island, together with the towns now of 
Kings county and Newtown, on Long Island. The term " Rid- 
ing" is a corruption of the word "Trithing," the name of a 
division of Yorkshire in England, after which this American 
"Yorkshire" seems to have been fashioned. The ridings were 
established principally for the accommodation of courts and 
convenience in apportioning taxes. 

Under the duke's government each town had a justice of the 
peace, who was appointed by the governor ; and at first eight, 
but afterward four overseers and a constable, who were elected 
by the people. Three officers were charged with the duty of 
assessing taxes, holding town courts, and regulating such mat- 
ters of minor importance as should not otherwise be provided 
for by the laws or orders of the governor. The jurisdiction of 
the town court was limited to cases not exceeding five pounds 
in value. 

A court of sessions, composed of the justices of the peace, 
was established in each riding. This court was held twice each 
year, and was competent to decide all criminal cases, and all 
civil ones where the amount of difference exceeded five pounds. 



76 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Judgments rendered in this court for sums under twenty 
pounds were final, but in cases exceeding that amount an appeal 
to the court of assize was allowed. Criminal cases involving 
capital punishment required the unanimous concurrence of 
twelve jurors, but all other cases were decided by the majority 
of seven jurors. The high sheriff, members of the council, and 
the secretary of the colony were authorized to sit with the 
justices in this court. 

The court of assize was held once a year, in the city of New 
York. It was composed of the governor, his council, and an 
indefinite number of the justices. It entertained appeals from 
the inferior courts, and had original jurisdiction in cases where 
the demand exceeded twenty pounds. The governor appointed 
a high sheriff for the "shire," and a deputy sheriff for each 
riding. This court was the nominal head of the government- 
legislative as well as judicial. It was, however, in reality the 
governor's cloak, under cover of which he issued whatever reg- 
ulations his judgment or fancy dictated. All its members held 
their positions during his pleasure, and were virtually obliged 
to sanction his views and second his opinions. Many of the 
laws, amendments and orders enacted through the name of this 
court were arbitrary, obnoxious and oppressive to the people. 
Petitions from the people for redress of their grievances had 
but little if any effect in the desired direction. 

The early governors imposed duties on imported and ex- 
ported goods, disposed of the public lands, and levied taxes 
on the people, for the support of the government. The fi- 
nances of the colony were under their control, in common with 
every other department, and this power over the treasury was 
doubtless often used for their own individual benefit. 

In the orders made at the general court of assize, from the 
6th to the 13th of October, 1675, the following appears : 

"That by reason of the Separacon by water, Staten Island 
shall have Jurisdiction of it Self and to have noe further de- 
pendance on the Courts of Long Island nor on their Militia." 
From this time forward the island has been an independent 
judicial district, and the first record, which soon after began to 
be kept, is still in existence in the office of the county clerk ; 
it is a small square volume, bound in vellum, and besides many 
quaint records of "sewts," contains the descriptions of the 
ear-marks on domestic animals, to distinguish the ownership, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 77 

as the animals were allowed to run at large through the woods 
and unappropriated lands. 

Among some of these early court records we find the follow- 
ing: 

Jacob Jeyoung (Guyon) Ptf ) In A Action of the Caus 
Isaac See (?) Deft \ At A Court held on Staten Island 

By the Constable and oversears of the seam on this present 
Munday Being the 7 day of febraery 1680 wharas the cans de- 
pending Between the Ptf and deft hath Bin heard the Court 
ordereth deft to Cleer his flax forthwith and his Corn out of 
the Barn within ten days from the deat hearof and to clear up 
his other A Counts at the next Court. 

A A Court held on Staton Island By the Constabl and over- 
sears of the Seam on this present Munday Being the 5 day of 
September 1680 Sarah whittman Ptf William Britton Deft, in 
A Action of the Case to the valew of 4. 10s. 6 d. The Caus 
depending Betwixt the Ptf and Deft hath Bin heard and for 
want of farther proof the Caus is Referred till the next Court. 
Sarah Whittman Ptf 
William Briten Deft 

At A Court held on Staton Island by the Constabll and over- 
sears of the seam on this present Munday Being the 3 day of 
October 1680 the Court ordereth that the Deft shall seat (set) up 
and geett (get?) forty panell of soefisiont (sufficient) fence for the 
yous (use) of Sarah whitman at or Be foor the first of november 
next in sewing (ensuing) with Cost of sewt. 

The regulation of the sale of intoxicating liquors received the 
early attention of the government, and the following rates were 
established throughout the province, which "tapsters" were 
allowed to charge : French wines, Is. 3d. per quart; Fayal wines 
and St. George's. Is. 6d. ; Madeira wines and Portaport, Is. 
10d.; Canaryes and Malaga, 2s. per quart ; brandy, 6d. per gill; 
rum, 3d per gill ; syder, 4d. per quart ; double beere, 3d. per 
quart ; meals at wine-houses, Is.; at beere-houses, 8d.; lodgings 
at wine-houses, 4d. per night; at beere-houses, 3d. 

In 1668, Nicolls, by his own request, was relieved of the 
government of the province, and was succeeded by Colonel 
Francis Lovelace. Thomas Lovelace, whose official signature is 
appended to so many of the old documents connected with the 
conveyance of property on Staten Island, and otherwise, and 
who at one time was sheriff of the county, was a brother to the 



78 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

governor, and a member of his council ; there was also another 
brother, named Dudley, likewise a member of the council. The 
record of the administration of this governor contains many 
acts of arbitrary ruling and disregard of the rights of the com- 
mon people. His theory of the proper way to hold a people in 
submission appears in a letter written by himself to a friend, to 
have been by imposing "such taxes on them as may not give 
them liberty to entertain any other thoughts but how to dis- 
charge them." 

Governor Lovelace, it is said, owned a plantation on Sraten 
Island, on which he built a mill for grinding cereals. One of 
the prominent acts of his administration was the re-purchase 
and final extinction of the Indian claim to the island. This was 
consummated on the 13th of April, 1670. This act has been 
termed "the most memorable" of his administration, and the 
island was described as "the most commodiousest seate and 
richestland " in America. The year previous, the principal sa- 
chem had confirmed the former bargains made with the English, 
but several other inferior sachems now presented their claims, 
insisting that they were the owners. To quiet them, a new 
bargain was made ; they executed another deed and possession 
was given by " turf and twigg." This was the last sale made 
by the Indians. They reserved two sorts of wood, however, 
and within the memory of the people now living, small parties 
of Indians, at long intervals have visited the island, and ex- 
ercised their reserved right of cutting such wood as they re- 
quired for the purpose of making baskets. 

The original Indian deed is still in existence. Its preamble 
cites that it was made "between Francis Lovelace, Governor- 
General under James, Duke of York and Albany, etc., and the 
Indians Aquepo, Warrines, Minqua, Sachemack, Permantowes, 
Qurvequeen, Wewaneca, Oneck and Mataris, on behalf of 
theirselves, as the true owners and lawful Indians, proprietors 
of Staten Island." The conveyance was executed by the affix- 
ing of the hands and seals of all the parties and the attesting 
witnesses as follows: Couns. Steenwick, Maijor Tho. Lovelace, 
C. V. Reinjven, Oloff Steven Y. Cortland, Allard Anthony, 
Johannes Vamburgh, Gerrit Van Tright, J. Bedlow, Warn 
Wessols, Constapel, William Nicolls, Humph' y Davenport, 
Cornells Bedloo, Nicholas Antony. 

The Indians were to have the privilege of remaining until the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 79 

following May, when they were to surrender the island to such 
persons as the governor should appoint to receive it. This was 
accordingly done on the first day of May, Thomas Lovelace and 
Matthias Xicolls having been deputed by the governor to 
receive the transfer of possession from the Indians. 

The conveyance also contained the following two paragraphs 
which are of sufficient interest to warrant copying : 

"The payment agreed upon for ye purchase of Staten Island, 
conveyed this day by ye Indian Sachems, propriet's is (vizt.): 

I, Foure hundred Fathoms of Wampum ; 2, Thirty Match 
Boots; 3, Eight Coates of Durens, made up; 4, Thirty Shirts; 
5, Thirty Kettles ; 6. Twenty Gunnes ; 7, A Firkin of Powder ; 
8, Sixty Barres of Lead ; 9, Thirty Axes ; 10, Thirty Howes ; 

II, Fifty Knives." 

"It was further covenanted that two or three of the said 
Sachems, their heirs or successors, or persons employed by 
them, should once in every year, the first day of May, after 
their surrender, repair to the fort, and acknowledge their sale 
to the Governor, and continue in mutual friendship." 

The latter paragraph appears as an endorsed memorandum, 
with the signature of Francis Lovelace attached to it. 

Several young Indians were not present at the time the above 
conveyance was made, accordingly, in order to secure their firm 
understanding and approval it was again delivered on the 25th 
of April, and in their presence. They made their marks upon 
it as witnesses. The names of those who thus subscribed were 
" Pewovvahone, about 5 yeares old, a boy; Pokoques, about 
8 yeares old, a girle ; Shirjuirneho, about 12 yeares old, 
a girle ; Kanarekante, about 12 yeares old, a girle ; Mahquadus, 
about 15 yeares old, a young man ; Ashehanewes, about 20 
yeares old, a young man." 

This was the final sale of the island by the Indians, and we 
have no knowledge of any claim ever being made by them to its 
soil from that time forward to the present. It has already been 
said that the Indians were always ready to sell the island. In 
1636 they sold it to Michael Pauw ; shortly after they sold a 
part to David Pietersen de Vries ; in 1641 to Cornelis Melyn ; 
in 1657 to Baron Van Cappelan, and in 1670 to Governor Love. 
lace. To this last sale they were obliged to adhere ; there was 
probably more ceremony about it. which rendered the transac- 
tion more impressive. In delivering possession, they presented 



80 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUXTi*. 

a sod and a shrub or branch of every kind of tree which grew 
upon the island, except the ash and elder (some say ash and 
hickory). 

The administration of Governor Lovelace was brought to an 
unexpected end by the surrender of the colony to its former 
masters, the Dutch. Rumors of anticipated troubles in Europe 
reached America, and Lovelace immediately began to make 
preparations for the worst, so far as his means permitted ; he 
strengthened the defenses of the fort, organized several military 
companies in the metropolis, and other places in the province, 
repaired arms and laid in a large quantity of ammunition and 
other warlike stores. In April, 1672. England and France de- 
clared war against Holland ; in Europe, the war was chiefly 
naval, and the English and French fleets suffered severely at the 
hands of De Ruyter and Tromp. On the 7th day of August, 
1673, a Dutch fleet of twenty-three vessels arrived in JS"ew York 
bay, and anchored under Staten Island. Soon after their arrival 
they made a raid upon the plantation of Lovelace, and carried 
off sufficient cattle and sheep to make a breakfast for the 1,600 
men on board the ships of the fleet. This arrival produced the 
greatest consternation in the city and neighboring villages. 
Lovelace himself was absent from the city at the time, and 
when the demand was made for the surrender of the fort, it was 
yielded without the firing of a gun. Captain Manning, the 
commandant of the fort, was afterward tried for treachery and 
cowardice, and sentenced to have his sword broken over his head. 

The conquest having been consummated Anthony Colve was 
immediately appointed governor of the colony, and at once 
commenced the work of obtaining the submission of the people 
to his authority, and reorganizing the government according to 
his own notions. But the Dutch rule was of short duration. 
On the 9th of February. 1874, peace was concluded between 
England and the states general, by the treaty of Westminister, 
and according to its terms the colony reverted to the English. 
Major Edmond Andros, of Prince Rupert's dragoon regiment, 
which had been disbanded, was selected as the proper person to 
proceed to America and receive the province from the Dutch. 
Armed with the proper authority from the Dutch government, 
which had been furnished at the request of the English king, 
he arrived in the Diamond frigate in October, 1674, and an- 
chored under Staten Island. A correspondence was at once 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 81 

opened between him and Colve, which resulted in a surrender 
of the province on the 10th day of that month. 

Andros having received his commission as governor, caused 
the oath of allegiance to be administered to the people ; the 
English government was once more established, and so con- 
tinued for a century thereafter. The Duke of York, apprehen- 
sive that the validity of his title might be called in question, in 
consequence of the province having been in the possession of 
a foreign power, received a new patent from the king. 

Andros having been recalled, Brockholst administered the 
government until the arrival of Colonel Thomas Dongan, who,, 
though commissioned September 30th, 1682, did not arrive 
until the 25th of the following August. He was a professed 
papist, but is said to have been a "wiser man than a master." 
The people of Staten Island are more directly interested in him 
than in any other governor of the province under either nation- 
ality ; having the whole country before him, from which to 
select his residence, he made choice of Staten Island, and the 
evidences of his residence here are still, in some measure, per- 
ceptible. 

Let us pause in our narrative for a brief space, to take 
a view of the condition of the island at this early period. 
The first dwelling houses erected on the island after the 
removal of the Walloons to Long Island, were in the 
vicinity of the Narrows, or between that and Old Town, 
which is so called, probably, from that circumstance, and 
were not more than five or six in number. There was 
one, probably, at the extreme south end, and one or two at 
Fresh kill. Subsequently, in 1651, when the Waldenses arrived, 
and, after them, the Huguenots, the settlements at Old Town 
and Fresh kill received accessions. Before their arrival there 
were no roads, except, perhaps, foot-paths through the forest, 
between the two last-mentioned localities ; there was no need 
of any, for the intercourse of the islanders was with New Am- 
sterdam. After the settlements at Old Town and Fresh kill 
had received accessions, intercourse between them became more 
frequent, and, in due course of time, the road from the one to 
the other was constructed ; particularly after the Waldenses 
had built their church at Stony Brook, and the Huguenots 
their at Fresh kill. 

The houses were built in clusters, or hamlets, for convenience 

6 



82 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

in mutual defense and protection. Tradition says that one of 
the first dwellings on the island was situated on the heights at 
New Brighton, and was constructed of bricks imported from 
Holland, and occupied, for a time at least, by a prominent of- 
ficial of the government. If there is any truth in the tradition, 
the house was, probably, the residence of de Yries, who, feel- 
ing secure in the friendship of the Indians, ventured to erect 
his dwelling in that beautiful, but remote, locality. That the 
builder's confidence in the Indians was not misplaced, the same 
tradition further says that, in 1655, when the great Indian war 
broke out, and the island was nearly depopulated, this house 
and its occupants were spared. In the latter part of the last 
century, and in the beginning of the present, all the territory 
embraced in the first, and most of the second wards of the 
present village of New Brighton constituted farms owned by the 
families of the VanBuskirks, Crocherons and Vreelands ; these 
farms extended from the kills one mile into the country. Abra- 
ham Crocherou, the owner of one of them, erected a grist mill 
in the valley east of Jersey street, relying for a supply of water 
on the spring now known as the Hessian spring ; but this 
not proving sufficient, he converted his grist mill into a snuff 
mill, for which the supply was abundant. About the same time 
Captain Thomas Lawrence built a distillery on a small wharf 
which now forms a part of the present large New Brighton 
wharf. Long before this part of the island was patented to any 
individual, and laid out into farms, and while it was yet covered 
with the original forests, there was a deep ravine, extending 
from the spring mentioned above to the kills, into which the 
tide ebbed and flowed, and which, in the days of the Dutch and 
early English governors, afforded a place of concealment for 
the smugglers who infested the coast. The face of the country 
has now become materially changed, by cutting down the hills 
and filling up the valleys. 

In process of time, as settlers arrived, they located along the 
shores, and roads became a necessity ; these at first were con- 
structed along the shores, until at length cross roads for con- 
venience of communication between the several settlements were 
constructed. Some of these old roads have been closed, and the 
Clove road is 'the only original one now left. 

In regard to the character of the early settlers, a writer of 
that century said : ; 'As to their wealth and disposition thereto, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 85 

so high, no one will live there, the creeks and rivers being so 
serviceable to them in enabling them to go to the city, and 
for fishing and catching oysters, and for being near the salt 
meadow. The woods are nsed for pasturing horses and cattle, 
for, being an island, none of them can get off. Each person 
has marks upon his own by which he can find them when he 
wants them. When the population shall increase, these 
places will be taken up. Game of all kinds is plenty, and 
twenty-five or thirty deer are sometimes seen in a herd. A 
boy who came in a house where we were, told us he had shot 
ten the last winter himself, and more than forty in his life, 
and in the same manner other game. We tasted here the 
best grapes. There are now about 100 families on the Island, 
of which the English constitute the least portion, and the 
Dutch and French divide between them about equally the 
greater portion. They have neither church nor minister, and 
live rather far from each other, and inconveniently to meet 
together. The English are less disposed to religion, and inquire 
little after it; but in case there was a minister, would contribute 
to his support. The French and Dutch are very desirous and 
eager for one, for they spoke of it wherever we went. The 
French are good Reformed church-men, and some of them are 
Walloons. The Dutch are also from different quarters. We 
reached the Island, as I have said, about 9 o'clock, directly 
opposite Gouanes, not far from the watering-place. We pro- 
ceeded southwardly along the shore of the highland on 
the east end, where it was sometimes stony and rocky, and 
sometimes sandy, supplied with fine constantly flowing springs, 
with which at times we quenched our thirst. 

" We had now come nearly to the furthest point on the south- 
east, behind which I had observed several houses when we came 
in with the ship. We had also made inquiry as to the villages 
through which we would have to pass, and they told us the 
' Oude Dorp ' would be the first one we would come to; but my 
comrade finding the point very rocky and difficult, and believ- 
ing the village was inland, and as we discovered no path to 
follow, we determined to clamber to the top of this steep bluff, 
through the bushes and thickets, which we accomplished with 
great difficulty and in a perspiration. We found as little of a 
road above as below, and nothing but woods, through which no 
one could see. There appeared to be a little foot-path along 



86 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

the edge, which I followed a short distance to the side of the 
point, but my companion calling me, and saying that he thought 
we had certainly passed by the road to the Oude Dorp, and 
observing myself that the little path led down to the point, I 
returned again, and we followed it the other way, which led us 
back to the place where we started. We supposed we ought 
to go from the shore to find the road to Oude Dorp, and seeing 
here these slight tracks into the woods, \ve followed them as far 
as we could, till at last they ran to nothing else than dry 
leaves. 

" Having wandered an hour or more in the woods, now in a 
hollow and then over a hill, at one time through a swamp, at 
another across a brook, without finding any road or path, we 
entirely lost the way. We could see nothing but the sky 
through the thick branches of the trees over our heads, and we 
thought it best to break out of the woods entirely and regain 
the shore. I had taken an observation of the shore and point, 
having been able to look at the sun, which shone extraordi- 
narily hot in the thick woods, without the least breath of air 
stirring. We made our way at last, as well as we could, out 
of the woods, and struck the shore a quarter of an hour's 
distance from where we began to climb up. We were rejoiced, 
as there was a house not far from the place where we came 
out. We went to it to see if we could find any one who 
would show us the way a little. There was no master in it, 
but an English woman with negroes and servants. We first 
asked her as to the road, and then for something to drink, 
and also for some one to show us the road, but she refused 
the last, although we were willing to pay for it; she was 
a cross woman. She said she had never been at the village, and 
her folks must work, and we would certainly have to go away 
as wise as we came. She said, however, we must follow the 
shore, as we did. We went now over the rocky point, which 
we were no sooner over than we saw a pretty little sand bay, 
and a small creek, and not far from there, cattle and houses. 
We also saw the point from which the little path led from the 
hill above, where I was when my comrade called me. We 
would not have had more than three hundred steps to go to 
have been where we now were. It was very hot, and we per- 
spired a great deal. We went on to the little creek to sit 
down and rest ourselves there, and to cool our feet, and 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

then proceeded to the houses which constituted the Onde 
Dorp. It was now about two o'clock. There were seven 
houses, but only three in which anybody lived. The others 
were abandoned, and their owners gone to live on better places 
on the Island, because the ground around this village was 
worn out and barren, and also too limited for their use. We 
went into the first house, which was inhabited by English, 
and there rested ourselves and eat, and inquired further after 
the road; the woman was cross, and her husband not much 
better. We had to pay here for what we eat, which we have 
not done before. We paid three guilders in seewan, although 
we only drank water. We proceeded by a tolerable good road 
to Nienwe Dorp, but as the road ran continually in the woods 
we got astray again in them. It was dark, and we were com- 
pelled to break our way out through the woods and thickets, 
and we went a great distance before we succeeded, when it was 
almost entirely dark. We saw a house at a distance to which 
we directed ourselves across the bushes; it was the first house 
of the Nieuwe Dorp. We found there an Englishman who 
could speak Dutch, and who received us very cordially into his 
house, where we had as good as he and his wife had. She was a 
Dutch woman from the Manhatans, who was glad to have us in 
her house, 

"12^, Thursday. Although we had not slept well, we had 
to resume our journey with the day. The man where we slept 
set us on the road. We had no more villages to go to, but went 
from one plantation to another, for the most part belonging to 
French, who showed us every kindness because we conversed 
with them in French. 

" About one-third of the distance from the south side to the 
west end is still all woods, and is very little visited. We had 
to go along the shore, finding sometimes fine creeks well pro- 
vided with wild turkeys, geese, ^snipes and wood-hens. Lying- 
rotting on the shore were thousands of fish called marsbaucken, 
which are about the size of a common carp. These fish swim 
close together in large schools, and are pursued by other fish 
so that they are forced upon the shore in order to avoid the 
mouths of their enemies, and when the water falls they are left 
to die, food for the eagles and other birds of prey. Proceeding 
thus along, we came to the west point, where an Englishman 
lived alone, some distance from the road. We ate something 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



here, and he gave us the consolation that we would have a very 
bad road for two or three hours ahead, which indeed we experi- 
enced, for there was neither path nor road. He showed us as 
well as he could. There was a large creek to cross which ran 
very far into the land, and when we got on the other side of it 
we must, he said, go outward along the shore. After we had 
gone a piece of the way through the woods, we came to a valley 
with a brook running through it, which we took to be the creek 
or the end of it. We turned around it as short as we could, in 
order to go back again to the shore, which we reached after 
wandering a long time over hill and dale, when we saw the 
creek, which we supposed we had crossed, now just before us. 
We followed the side of it deep into the woods, and when we 
arrived at the end of it saw no path along the other side to get 
outwards again, but the road ran into, the woods in order to cut 
off a point of the hills and land. We pursued this road for 
some time, but saw no mode of getting out, and that it led fur- 
ther and further from the creek. We therefore left the road, 
and went across through the bushes, so as to reach the shore by 
the nearest route according to our calculation. After continu- 
ing this course about an hour, we saw at a distance a miserably 
constructed tabernacle of pieces of wood covered with brush, 
all open in front, and where we thought there were Indians, 
but on coming up to it we found in it an Englishman sick, and 
his wife and child lying upon some bushes by a little tire. We 
asked him if he was sick ? ' I have been sick over two months,' 
he replied. It made my heart sore, indeed, for I never, in all 
my life, saw such poverty, and that, too, in the middle of the 
woods and wilderness. After we had obtained some informa- 
tion as to the way, we went on, and had not gone far before we 
came to another house, and thus from one farm to another, 
French, Dutch, and a few English, so that we had not wandered 
very far out of the way. We inquired, at each house, the way 
to the next one. Shortly before evening we arrived at the 
plantation of a Frenchman, whom they called La Chaudrounier, 
who was formerly a soldier under the Prince of Orange, and had 
served in Brazil. He was so delighted, and held on to us so 
hard, that we remained and spent the night with him. 

" 13th, Friday. We pursued our journey this morning from 
plantation to plantation, the same as yesterday, until we came 
to that of Pierre Gardinier, who had been in the service of the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 89 

Prince of Orange, and had known him well. He had a large 
family of children and grand-children. He was about seventy 
years of age, and was still as fresh and active as a young per- 
son. He was so glad to see strangers who conversed with him 
in the French language that he leaped with joy. After we had 
breakfasted here, they told us that we had another large creek 
to pass called the Fresh Kill, and then we could perhaps be set 
across the Kill Van Koll to the point of Mill Creek, where we 
might wait for a boat to convey us to the Manhatans. The road 
was long and difficult, and we asked for a guide, but he had no 
one, in consequence of several of his children being sick. At 
last he determined to go himself, and accordingly carried us 
in his canoe over to the point of Mill Creek in New Jersey, be- 
hind Kol [Achter Kol.] We learned immediately that there 
was a boat upon this creek loading with brick, and would leave 
that night for the city. After we had thanked and parted with 
Pierre le Gardinier, we determined to walk to Elizabethtown, a 
good half hour's distance inland, where the boat was. We slept 
there this night, and at 3 o'clock in the morning set sail." 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE COLONIAL PERIOD 1683 TO 1775. 



Erection of Richmond County. Arrival of Huguenots. Division of Richmond 
into Towns. The Claims of New Jersey. Patents and Land Grants. 
Establishment of the Colonial Government. Administration of Justice. 
The Time of the French War. Colonial Description. Colonial Customs. 

Statistics. 

IT seems convenient and appropriate in treating this subject 
to regard the colonial period proper as beginning with the 
administration of Governor Dongan, although it had in many 
respects begun several years before. In 1683 Colonel Thomas 
Dongan, having received the appointment of governor, took the 
position on the 27th of August. He came with instructions 
from the duke to call a general assembly of the people's repre- 
sentatives. This he did, and the first assembly of the colony of 
New York convened in the city on the 17th of October, 1683. 
This assembly adopted a ' ; bill of rights," repealed some of the 
most obnoxious of the duke's laws, altered and amended others, 
and passed such new laws as they judged the circumstances of 
the colony required. During the session an act was passed 
abolishing the ridings, and organizing in their stead the counties, 
with some alterations in the constitution of the courts. 

The " Act to divide this province and dependences into Shires 
and Counties," dated November 1, 1683, contains the following 
in reference to Staten Island: 

"The county of Richmond to conteyne all Staten Island, 
Shutter's Island, and the islands of meadow on the west side 
thereof." 

The county at this time contained some two hundred families. 
It was allowed two representatives in the colonial assembly, and 
the next year, for the first time, a county tax was imposed, 
amounting to fifteen pounds. 

The colonial assembly met again in October, 1684. Among 
the acts passed at this session was one by which the court of 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 91 

assize was abolished. The election of a new assembly took 
place in September, 1685, and in the following month it was 
organized. Only two or three unimportant acts of this as- 
sembly remain on record, and it is probable that whatever other 
acts it may have passed, if there were any, were never enforced. 
On the death of Charles II, the Duke of York ascended the 
throne of Great Britain with the title of James II. He now 
abolished the colonial assembly of New York, and re-estab- 
lished the governor as the supreme head of the colony, subject 
only to such instructions as the king himself might from time 
to time dictate. 

We now come to a period in the civil and religious history of 
Staten Island of great and even romantic interest ; the arrival 
of the French Protestants or Huguenots. Years before, it is 
true, some had emigrated with the Dutch from Holland, but 
now they landed on these shores in considerable numbers, 
bringing with them useful arts, a knowledge of gardening and 
husbandry, and above all, their own well known virtues, with 
a pure, simple, Bible faith. Many of the descendants from this 
noble stock now remain to honor the island of their birth with 
the sterling character which they have inherited from their an- 
cestors. 

Though the Protestants of France had, under the famous 
"Edict of Nantes," enjoyed the free exercise of their religion 
for a time, yet after the death of Henry the Great the merciless 
fires of persecution were once more kindled the rack, the gib- 
bet and the galley again began their sanguinary work all over 
the country, and with increased fury. The "Edict of Nantes " 
was formally revoked, when the Hiignenots had now presented 
to their choice three things : to go to mass, sacrifice their lives 
and their property, or fly from their homes. Too true and in- 
dependent to do otherwise they chose the latter expedient, and 
half a million of them left beautiful but bigotted France for 
foreign lands. Every Protestant kingdom in Europe received 
them with open arms, where they soon became the most valu- 
able citizens, and many imitating the example of the Puritans, 
embarked for an asylum of safety to the new world, and to 
this island. 

These settlers were celebrated for their industry and frugal- 
ity, and commenced the cultivation of the earth. Brave and 
independent, they imparted the same excellent traits all around 



92 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

them, and above all things else they cherished their religious 
duties and pious customs. It is a pleasant fact in the history 
of Staten Island, that the ancestors of the present population, 
whether from Holland, France or England, each were careful to 
maintain pure and evangelical principles in their families. Their 
churches were established here at an early period. The follow- 
ing record pertaining to the Huguenot church is so much of a 
curiosity that we take the liberty to insert it in full, as it ap- 
pears on one of the earliest books of record of the county. 

" This following deed of Gifte was recorded for the french 
Congreygashone Residing with In the Countey of Richmond 
on statone Island the 22 day of may Annoque dom : 1698. 

" To all Christiane peopell To whome Theas present wright- 
ing shall Come John bevealle Seanior of the Countey of Rich- 
mond and provence of new yorke weaver and hester his wife 
sendeth Greeting In our Lord God Eaver Lasting now know yee 
that wheare as Townas Ibbosone of the Countey of Richmond 
yeoman did by his certen wrighting or deed pole under his 
hand & sealle bearing date The seaventh day of feberary and in 
the third yeare of the Reign of our souvring Lord william the 
i hird by the Grace of God of England Scotland france & Irland 
King annoque dom 169f Grant bargone sell and convay unto 
John belvealle of the Countey of Richmond & provence of new 
yorke weaver his heirs Exekitors Admsi 09 And asignes A serten 
trakt or parcell of Land sittiate Lying and being on the west 
side of statones Island neare the fresh killes begining by the 
medow and strechig in to the wood by the Lyne of fransis 
oseltone dyrekt south three hundred Rood from thence west six 
degrees & northerly thirtey six Rood thence dyrekt north by 
the Lyiie of Abraham Lacmone three hundred Rood thence 
East thirtey six Rood Containing In all sixtey arcres as by the 
Recited deed pole Relashone theareunto being had doth and 
may more fully and att Large Appeare Now Know yee that the 
said John belvealle of Statone Island And provence of New 
Yorke and hester his wife Testified by her being A partey to 
the Ensaling and delivery of thease presents for the Reaell 
Loufe and Afeccone that they beare to the ministrey of Gods 
word and the savashone of yeare soules do firmley by theas 
presents firmley freeley & absolewtly Give Grante Rattih'e & 
Confirme un to the french Congereygashone or Church upon 
Statones Island within the Countey of Richmond wone Arcer of 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 93 

up land Itt being parte and parcel! of the afore Recited Trackt 
or parcell of Land Containing sixtey arcers sowld by the 
said Townes Ibbosone itn to the said John belvealle which 
arcer of Land being Laid out on the south & by East 
side of the brige halfe an acer of the fore Recited Arcer 
Lying on the south side the highway and the other halfe of the 
fore Recited arcer of Land now Given by the said John belvealle 
and hester his wife Lying and being on the north side the high- 
way opesett against the other halfe arcer To have and to hold 
the fore Recited trackt and parcell of upland containing won 
arcer to the french Congreygashone now Residing with in the 
Countey of Richmond To Ereckt and bnild A Chnrch upon the 
same for the ministrey of the Gospell and the maintainence of 
Gods holey word and ordinantsies and for noe other yowse nor 
purpose unto The frensh Congreygashone their heirs Exiekitors 
Admin rs: for Eaver and the said John belvealle and hester his 
wife doth covinante promise and Grante to & with the overseers 
of the frensh Congreygashone that they the said John belvealle 
and hester his wife their heirs Exekitors Admin rs and asigues 
shall and will for Eaver warend and defend the fore said frensh 
Congreygashone Their heirs and sucksesors for Eaver in the 
quiett and peacebell poseshone of the afore Recited wone arcer 
of Land aforesaid against the said John belvealle and hester his 
wife or from any other persone or persones what soe eaver Law 
fnlley Clayming aney Estate Right titell or interest of in or to 
the same. In testimoney of the same wee the said John Bel- 
vealle and hester his wife have heare unto sett their hands and 
h'xed their seales this twelfth day of Aprell and in the tenth 
yeare of the Reighen of our Souvring Lord williame The third 
by the Grace of God of England Scotland france and Irian d 
King defender of the faith Annoque dom: 1698. 
signed saled and delivered The marke of 

In the presents of John 1 B belvealle O 

JACOB CORBETT The marke of 

D.LUCAS hester $ H belvealle O." 

JEYN LA TOURRITTE 
JOSEPH BASTIDOE 
SAMUEL GRASSET" 

As a meeting house was spoken of in 1695 as already ex- 
isting, it must not be supposed that the acre above granted was 
the site of the first house of worship on the island. The site 



94 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

of the acre referred to is upon the estate of Henry J. Seaman, 
Esq., about one mile from the village of Richmond, and near 
the road to Rossville which runs along the north side of the 
field in which the interesting spot is situated. It was described 
a few years since as being in the third field of the Seaman resi 
dence. The direction of the road was changed in 1831 so that 
it no longer serves to mark the position of the acre of upland 
referred to in Belville's deed. The bridge there mentioned was 
removed by Mr. Seaman in 1849, but another was placed by 
him on the same site, which was in- the northwest corner of the 
same field, and from which the old road, after crossing the bridge, 
ran southeast diagonally partly across the field, and then re- 
turned joining the present road again near the northeast corner 
of the field. The church stood on the half-acre which lay on 
the south side of the highway. Some vestiges of its founda- 
tion remained till the beginning of the present century. It oc- 
cupied the northern slope of the rising ground to the south of 
the old road, and about two hundred feet in the same direction 
from the present road. The dimensions of the church were 
about 32 by 45 feet, and the building stood due north and south. 
A small stone dwelling house, probably built for a parsonage, 
stood to the east of it. South of the church was the repository 
of the dead. These graves were once marked by rough stones, 
bearing no inscriptions, but of which as many as two hundred 
could at one time be counted. The only inscriptions that have 
been read upon stones found in this ground are those of 
Tennis Van Pelt, died 1765, aged 65 years; Mary, his wife, died 
1762, aged 59 years; another from which the part bearing the 
name was broken off, but the date of which was 1784; and an- 
other bearing the initials J. L. and date 1784. 

This interesting spot commands a prospect of a soft and peace- 
ful character. From its gently swelling knoll the spires of 
Richmond are seen upon the right, and glimpses of the white 
edifices of the quiet village may be caught through the trees. 
Directly in front the meadow of Fresh kill spreads its level 
surface, backed by the woods and rising grounds of Carl's neck, 
while its meanderings may be traced, glistening in the sunbeams 
or indicated by the mast of some tiny craft, till the mountains 
of New Jersey bounded the scene. Such is the spot where 
those noble exiles, the Huguenots of Staten Island, erected the 
first edifice for the free and untrammeled exercise of their wor- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 95 

ship. Should pilgrims be attracted to the sacred place by this 
notice of it Staten Islanders perchance, who can trace their 
families to this illustrious source let them, as their footsteps 
press the hallowed soil, recall a Huguenot Sabbath of a century 
and three-quarters ago. Let imagination picture that humble 
house of God, rustic in its appearance but sublime in all its as- 
sociations. Mark those groups of devout and honest men, of 
high souled women, the dark-eyed sons and daughters of 
France! List to the foreign accents of the preacher's voice, 
and as it dies away and their solemn anthem swells upon the 
air, then give them their meed of praise! We grudge not the 
Puritans their share of honor. Break relics, if you will from 
the rock of Plymouth, but let not the Huguenots of France, 
the Huguenots of Staten Island, be forgotten! By their own 
children, if by no others, should the great and good be remem- 
bered and revered. 

But we must leave these musings and return to the thread of 
our narrative. In March, 1688, Richmond was divided into 
four towns Castletown, Northfield, Southh'eld and Westfield. 
The town of Middletown was not organized until 1860. Before 
the legal division of the county into towns, it was divided into 
three precincts, the North, South and West: Castleton was not 
included in any of the precincts, but was designated "The 
Manor." The limits of the precincts were about the same as 
those of the towns as established by law on the 7th of March, 
1688. Castleton derived its name from the Palmer or Dongan 
patent, in which the manor conveyed was called Cassiltown, 
corrupted into the present name, and the corruption legalized 
by repeated acts of the legislature; the other towns were named 
from their position in the county. 

Great political changes were now taking place in the province 
of New York. The attempt of James II to restore the Catholic 
church had made him odious to the British nation. In New 
York the citizens were mostly Protestants and bitterly opposed 
the Roman Catholic faith. Dongan had exhibited the greatest 
religious toleration, which judicious policy displeased his 
royal prince, and the wise and politic governor was recalled. 
Sir Edmund Andros having been appointed governor of all the 
provinces of New England received the seal of the province of 
New York from the retiring governor in July, 1688. Andros 



96 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

appointed a deputy governor over New York in the person of 
Francis Nicholson. 

James II did not long wear the crown. He was deposed dur- 
ing the same year, and deserting his own children, became a 
refugee in France. William, in compliance with the popular 
wish, was proclaimed king, and the great Protestant revolution 
was effected. A rumor spread in the province of New York 
that the friends of the deposed monarch intended to massacre 
the disaffected. A tierce popular excitement followed. The 
New Yorkers, while recognizing generally the sovereignty of 
William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange, a small party 
remained who insisted that the colonial government was not 
overthrown by the revolution. They contended that it still 
remained vested in the lieutenant-governor and his council. 
Nicholson was the deputy governor, and known to be an ad- 
herent of the Catholic church, with many of his friends; and 
this fact increased the distrust of the people. A mob paraded 
the streets of New York. Five militia companies, the entire 
force, surrounded the house of Jacob Leisler, a merchant of the 
city and captain of the militia, and demanded that he should 
seize the fort at the Battery, which was done. Nicholson, de- 
prived of his authority, sailed for England. The distrust of 
the people, however, was not allayed. A rumor spread that 
an attack was plotted on the church in the fort, and that pos- 
session of the government was to be taken and the standard of 
King James set up. These rumors, however extravagant, ex- 
cited a general consternation. The people of Long Island sent 
a large body of militia to New York " to seize the fort and to 
keep away French invasion and slavery." 

The apprehensions of the people on Staten Island culminated 
in a panic. Fear reigned supreme for a while; they dared not 
remain at night in their own dwellings, but in the deepest re- 
cesses of the forest they constructed temporary shelters, to which 
they resorted after dark, that they might not be observed and 
their retreats discovered; they preferred to encounter the perils 
of the darkness and the forests rather than trust themselves to 
the tender mercies of their fellow men. Some took their families 
upon the water in boats, which they anchored a short distance 
from the shore, and thus passed the nights; and various other 
expedients were resorted to for concealment and security. Re- 
ports of various kinds were spread, which added fuel to the 






HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 97 

flame and kept it burning for some length of time; among these 
were, that a number of papists who had been driven out of 
Boston had been received into the fort at New York and had 
enlisted as soldiers; that the papists on the island had secretly 
collected arms, which they kept concealed and ready for use at 
a moment's notice; that Governor Dongan's brigantine had been 
armed and otherwise equipped for some desperate enterprise, 
and the refusal of the commander of the vessel to permit it to 
be searched was not calculated to allay the alarm. He admitted 
that the vessel had been armed, but not for the purpose alleged, 
but, as she was bound on a voyage to Madeira, she was in 
danger of being attacked by the Turks, and she had been 
armed for the defense of her crew and cargo. However plausible 
this reason might have been it was not generally credited. The 
excitement at length subsided, and not a Protestant throat had 
been cut. 

Tradition says that several pieces of cannon were afterward 
found in the cellar of the governor's mill, which it was sup- 
posed had been concealed there, to be in readiness when they 
might be required. This mill stood on the south side of the 
recently constructed public road in West Brighton, called Post 
avenue, which is in fact part of an old road reopened, for, prior 
to the construction of the causeway which now connects West 
New Brighton and Port Richmond, the only communication 
between Castleton and Northfield, near the shore, was round 
the head of the cove or pond now known as the mill pond. 

It is not to be wondered at that the French Protestants here 
were most sensitive about their religious rights and safety. At 
this very time their brethren in France were suffering. The 
Indian wars had been renewed in Canada, and the French wanted 
to cut a path to the Atlantic ocean. This had been resolved 
upon including the reduction of Albany and New York on the 
way. This, in the language of the French general would be " the 
only means of firmly establishing the religion throughout all 
North America." Louis issued his regal authority for the under- 
taking. All faithful Catholics were to remain unmolested, 
whilst the French refugees particularly those of the pretended 
reformed religion must be sent back to France. These cruel 
instructions were given, too, about four years after the memora- 
ble revocation of the "Edict of Nantes." What wonder then 

7 



98 H1STOKY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

that the Huguenots should be alarmed when such a direful fate 
seemed to menace them. 

Jacob Leisler, a prominent character of that day, exercising 
both civil and military authority, was intrusted by the magis 
trates with the administration of affairs, after the departure 
of Nicholson, and one of his first acts was to cause William 
and Mary to be proclaimed in the counties of Richmond, 
Westchester, Queens, Kings and Ulster, and the city and 
county of Albany, and East Jersey ; the order to Richmond 
was dated December 17th, 1689. On the 3<)th of the same 
month, he issued an order requiring all persons who held 
commissions, warrants, "or other instruments of power or com- 
mand, either civil or military," derived from either Dongan or 
Andros, forthwith to surrender the same to a justice of the 
peace of the county wherein they resided, except the counties 
of New York and Richmond, who were to surrender at the fort 
in New York. 

After the burning of Schenectady, and the massacre of its 
inhabitants by the French and Indians, in February, 1690, he 
issued another order to the military and civil officers of several 
counties, Richmond county being one of the number, that 
"fearing too great a correspondency hath been maintained 
between y e s a ffrensch & disaffected P r sons among us," to secure 
all persons reputed papists, or who are inimical to the govern- 
ment, or who continue to hold any commissions from Dongan 
or Andros, and bring them before him. 

In 1689, Leisler commissioned the following civil and military 
officers in Richmond county : 

Ely Crossen, high sheriff. Jaques Puillion, Captain. 

Jacob Corbett, clerk. Cornells Corsen, do 

Obadiah Holmes, justice. Thomas Morgan, Lieutenant. 

Jaques Poullion, do John Theunis Van Pelt, do 

Thomas Morgan, do Seger Geritsen, Ensign. 

Jacob Gerritse, do Cornells Nevius, do 

Cornells Corsen, do 

The following persons from Staten Island were members of a 
company commanded by Captain Jacob Milborne, which was 
sent to Albany to establish Leisler' s authority, the government 
of that city having refused to recognize it, viz.: "Jean Marlett, 
Francis Mauriss, Hendrick Hendricksen, Jean faefre, John Rob, 
John doulier and Peter Henkesson." 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 99 

There is no evidence that the people of Staten Island took 
any decided stand with regard to Leisler's administration. 
Generally, they submitted quietly to the authorities placed over 
them. Further than commissioning some officers and issuing 
some general orders, he does not appear in connection with the 
history of the island. It must be admitted that Leisler had 
many friends on the island, though they were not very 
demonstrative. His appointments to office were usually from 
among its best citizens, which operated in his favor; no decided 
steps were taken in his behalf during his imprisonment and trial, 
but after his condemnation petitions for his pardon were exten- 
sively signed, which had no other effect than to bring upon the 
signers the displeasure of the government, who regarded 
the act as disloyal. Farther than the imposition of fines, 
which appear to have been remitted, and the brief imprison- 
ment of a few individuals, no punishment was inflicted on 
the culprits. 

On the 19th of March, 1691, Henry Slaughter, having been 
appointed governor of the colony, arrived and demanded pos- 
session of the fort and the reins of government. Leisler at first 
refused to give up the post, but was compelled to do so, and was 
afterward tried, condemned and hastily executed for high 
treason. His execution took place May 16, 1691. 

On the 28th of April preceding, a letter was presented to 
the council in New York from the sheriff of Richmond county, 
"Giving an Account of severall Riotts and Tumults on Staten 
Island, and that they are subscribing of papers;" the sheriff 
was ordered to secure the ring-leaders that they might be prose- 
cuted. Thomas Stillwell, the sheriff, was not dilatory in obey- 
ing the order, and arrested several of the citizens of the county, 
among whom were John Theunison, John Peterson and Gerard 
Vechten, each of whom he compelled to pay three pounds ; 
others were obliged to execute bonds for the payment of that 
amount, and one refused to do either, and him he imprisoned. 
When information of the sheriff's proceedings reached New 
York, orders were sent down to have the bonds cancelled, 
whereupon the three individuals who had paid their money, de- 
manded that it should be refunded ; the sheriff, probably con- 
scious that he had exceeded his powers, promised that it should 
be done, but delayed so long, that the aggrieved parties ap- 
pealed to the council. At the same time, the same three indi- 



100 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

vi'lnals presented a complaint against the assessors, who ex- 
empted themselves and some others from the payment of the 
tax for "negers," and that poor people who have no "negers" 
must pay "as much accordingly like Them that Has many 
negers. Therefore your petitioners humbly crave That your 
Ex u y will be pleased To signify Them iff s<J negers should be Ex- 
cluded ffor paying Tax." What the result of these petitions 
was, we are not informed further than that they met with a 
favorable reception. 

The papers which were " subscribed " were petitions in favor 
of the two condemned men ; the people of Westchester also 
sent a petition for the same purpose, but the council did not 
recognize the right of petition in such cases ; therefore some 
were cited to appear before that body, while others were im- 
prisoned as promoters of "riots and disturbances." 

During Dongan's administration, Leisler, having imported a 
cargo of wine, had refused to pay the duties thereon to Matthew 
Plowman, the collector of the port, because he was a papist. 
He was, however, compelled to do so, and ever thereafter was 
a bitter enemy of Plowman. During his brief arbitrary admin- 
istration, to gratify his spite, he charged Plowman with being a 
defaulter to the government ; and learning that he was the 
owner of a quantity of beef and pork stored at Elizabethtown, 
he ordered Johannes Burger, a sergeant at the fort, to proceed 
to Staten Island, and compel such individuals as he might re- 
quire to go with him and assist in the removal of the provisions. 
Burger obeyed the order, and the property was brought to 
Leisler in New York, who sent it to Albany for the use of 
the soldiers he had sent to that place. After Leisler's exe- 
cution, Plowman prosecuted all who were concerned in the 
removal of his property, to recover its value. Among the 
number were thf following residents of Staten Island, viz., 
" John Jeronison, Thomas Morgan, Lawrence Johnson, John 
Peterson, Dereck Crews (Cruser), Chauck (Jaques) Pollion and 
John Bedine." These individuals, soon after the arrival of 
Major Richard Ingoldsby, as president of the province ad- 
dressed an " humble Peticon," to him and the council, in 
which they admit having assisted in the removal of Plowman's 
property, but that they did so under compulsion, believing that 
they were doing a service to their Majesties; that they consid- 
ered it unjust to compel them to pay for the provisions when the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 101 

whole country had the benefit of them; they therefore pray 
that they may be relieved from the whole responsibility, or if 
that may not be done, that every person engaged in the removal 
be compelled " to pay their equall proporceons of the same." 
This petition was presented by Plowman himself, who thereby 
recognized the justice of their cause, but what the result of the 
a ppli cation was does not appear. 

We must here suspend, for a little, the order of onr narra- 
tive, to notice a matter which had its origin a few years before, 
and its final settlement nearly a century and a half after the 
time of which we are writing. We refer to the claims of New 
Jersey upon Staten Island. 

When it was known in England that New Netherland had 
been reduced, and was now actually in the possession of the 
English, Lord William Berkley and Sir George Carteret, two 
of the royal favorites, induced the Duke of York, probably in- 
fluenced by the king, to give them a patent for the territory 
west of the Hudson and the bay, and as far south as Cape May; 
this they named Nova Csesarea, or New Jersey. With thirty 
emigrants, English and French, Capt. Philip Cartaret, a cousin 
of Sir George, and governor of the new territory, sailed for 
New York, but by stress of weather was driven into the Chesa- 
peake. While lying there he forwarded despatches to Bollen, 
who was commissary at the fort in New York, and also to 
Nicolls. This was the first intimation the governor had received 
of the dismemberment of the extensive territory over which he 
ruled; he was both astounded and chagrined; he had already 
conveyed several parcels of land within the limits of the new 
grant, and regarded the whole as the best part of the duke's 
domain. He remonstrated, but his remonstrances came too late, 
the duke evidently thought he had been too precipitate, but as 
he could not well retrace his steps, he suffered matters to re- 
main as they were. Cartaret arrived in New York about mid- 
summer, 1665, and immediately took possession of his govern- 
ment. He chose Elizabethtown as his capital. It is said that 
when he first landed on the soil of New Jersey, he carried a hoe 
upon his shoulder, in token of his intention to devote his at- 
tention to the promotion of agriculture. 

After the Duke of York had conveyed the territory of New 
Jersey to Berkley and Cartaret, a doubt arose whether Staten 
Island was not included in the grant, by the terms of the char- 



102 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ter. Cartaret, the governor, not the proprietor, laid no claim 
to the island; on the contrary, he tacitly admitted that it did 
not belong to his jurisdiction, by accepting a conveyance for a 
tract of land on the island from Nicolls, the Duke of York's 
agent; this he would scarcely have done, had he considered his 
brother the proprietor. In 1668 the island "was adjudged to 
belong to New York," becauseoneof theoutletsof the Hudson 
river ran around the island; while Berkley and Cartaret, by the 
terms of their patent, were bounded by the river and bay. The 
Dutch always appear to have regarded the inner bay or harbor 
as a mere expansion of the river, and the Narrows as its mouth. 
In their documents, Staten Island is frequently described as 
lying in the river. If this view was correct, the island evi- 
dently belonged to New Jersey, because it was embraced with- 
in its limits. The Duke of York himself appears to have had 
his doubts about the matter, for it is said, that when the ques- 
tion of jurisdiction was first agitated, he decided that all islands 
lying in the river or harbor, which could be circumnavigated in 
twenty-four hours, should remain in his jurisdiction, otherwise 
to New Jersey. 

Christopher Billop, being then in the harbor in command 
of a small ship called the "Bentley," which it is also said he 
owned, undertook the task of sailing around the island, and 
accomplished it within twenty-four hours, thus securing it to 
the duke, who, in gratitude for the service rendered hi7n, be- 
stowed upon Billop a tract of 1163 acres of land in the ex- 
treme southern part of the island, which was called the 
" Manor of Bentley," after the ship which had accomplished 
the task. 

In 1684 the question of the proprietorship of Staten Island 
was again agitated, and many of the landowners became appre- 
hensive of the validity of their title, and some of them, among 
whom was Billop, were desirous of selling, but as no pur- 
chasers could be found for a dubious title, the property re- 
mained in the family. Dongan was directed, if the Billop 
estate was sold, to find some purchaser for it in New York, and 
not to suffer it to pass into the possession of a resident of New 
Jersey. 

There is still preserved in the secretary of state's office at 
Albany the copy of a letter written by Governor Dongan, whose 
country residence was on Staten Island, to Sir John Werden, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 103 

Earl of Perth, and dated February 18, 1684-5. From this letter 
the following extracts will be of interest: 

" The Island had been in the possession of his R'll Highss 
above 20 years (except ye little time ye Dutch had it) purchased 
by Gfov. Lovelace from ye Indyans in ye time of Sir George 
Carteret without any pretences 'till ye agents made claime to it ; 
it is peopled with above two hundred ffamilyes. * 

" The Quakers are making continued pretences to Staten Is- 
land, which disturbs the people, and one reason given for hold- 
ing it is that if his Royal Highness cannot retrieve East Jersey 
it will do well to secure Hudson's River and take away all claim 
to Staten Island." 

The proprietors of New Jersey had complained to Dongan 
against his encroachments. Dongan himself does not seem to 
have been perfectly satisfied with his title, for when he obtained 
his own patent from the Duke of York for a large tract upon 
the island he strengthened it by securing another patent from 
the East India proprietors, who had been the previous owners. 
This took place about the time when the province of New York 
was divided into counties. 

NewYork claimed jurisdiction, and exercised it over the waters 
as far as low water mark on the Jersey shores, when the latter 
province opposed this exercise of public authority. New Jersey 
argued that the original grant gave that province jurisdiction to 
the middle of the Narrows, and therefore she owned Staten Is- 
land. New York, on the contrary, pleaded long possession, and 
the controversy produced great excitement between the two par- 
ties. The agitation of the question continued at intervals all 
through the colonial period, sometimes being revived with great 
bitterness, and extended for half a century into the state period. 

In 1807 commissioners were appointed from both states to 
settle the dispute, New Jersey insisting that Staten Island was 
within her border. Nothing, however, was accomplished by 
this interview, and it terminated in angry discussion and bad 
feelings. For several years a border excitement was kept up, 
until the deputy sheriff of Richmond county, while serving a 
process on board of a vessel near the Jersey shore, was arrested 
and imprisoned for violating her territory, the state authorities, 
however, avowing that this was done only to test the question 
of jurisdiction. 

In 1827 new commissioners were selected to settle the dispute, 



104 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

but they separated as before, without accomplishing anything. 
At length, in 1833, the dispute between the two states was 
amicably arranged by concession. New York obtained the ac- 
knowledged right to Staten Island, with the exclusive jurisdic- 
tion over a portion of the adjacent waters, by conceding to New 
Jersey a like privilege to other portions. New York thus se- 
cured this legal claim to most of the Lower bay, quite down to 
Sandy Hook ; and in return New Jersey obtained the same 
rights over the waters on the west side of the island, as far as 
Woodbridge creek, in the neighborhood of Rossville. Thus 
was settled in an amicable manner a subject which once threat- 
ened a serious disturbance of the harmony between the two 
sister states. 

Under the Dutch and early English governors a number of 
land grants were issued. But very few of those issued 
under the former dynasty held under the latter. The import 
ant ones of that class have already been noticed. Occupants 
of lands under Dutch patents were doubtless required to take 
out new patents or confirmatory grants under the English rule. 
All these patents were granted to individuals, and the most of 
them were for comparatively small parcels of land. These we 
cannot notice in detail. There are two, however, which, partly 
because of their magnitude and partly because of the historic 
persons and associations connected with them stand sufficiently 
prominent to warrant a somewhat extended notice. These are 
the Dongan patent and the Billop patent. The time of their issue 
was about the period of which we are writing, but in giving an 
account of them we shall be compelled to anticipate other 
periods and disregard the orderly progression of our general 
history. 

To the first of these two patents then let us turn our atten- 
tion. Though not the first to receive a royal patent yet the first 
to be occupied by the proprietor for whom it was named was 
the Billop patent. Definite statements are wanting to fix the 
time when Christopher Billop first received actual possession of 
the tract which fora long time bore his family name. At the time 
when the Duke of York seemed to be wavering in opinion as to 
whether Staten Island belonged to the jurisdiction of New York 
or New Jersey, and finally decided the matter for himself by 
declaring that all islands lying in the river or harbor which 
could be circumnavigated in twenty-four hours should remain 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 105 

in the former, and others should be counted in the latter juris- 
diction. Christopher Billop, as has before been stated, accom- 
plished the task of sailing around the island within twenty-four 
hours, thus securing it to the duke, who bestowed upon Billop 
a tract of 1163 acres of land in the extreme southern part of 
the island. Here Billop built his manor house, which has with- 
stood the storms of more than two centuries, and is said to be in 
good condition at the present day. Another account says that 
Billop received the plantation as a douceur from the Duke of 
York for his gallantry in some naval office. 

In 1674 the Duke of York, by permission of the king, organ- 
ized a company of infantry of one hundred men; of this com- 
pany Christopher Billop was commissioned second lieutenant. 
He had served his king before his arrival in America, but in 
what capacity is not known; his father, however, was not well 
spoken of. In 1677 Billop, while residing on his plantation 
on Staten Island, was appointed by Governor Andros, who had 
succeeded Lovelace, commander and sub-collector of New York, 
on Delaware bay and river. While occupied with the duties of 
these offices, he "misconducted" himself by making "extrava- 
gant speeches in public;" but of the subject of these speeches 
we are not informed; they were probably of a political character, 
and must have been peculiarly offensive, for Andros recalled 
him the next year, and deprived him of his military commission. 
This action of the governor was approved by the duke, who 
directed that another should be appointed to fill the vacant 
lieutenancy. 

Billop now retired to his plantation on Staten Island, there to 
brood over the ingratitude of princes, or perhaps over his own 
follies and indiscretions. We hear nothing more of him for 
two years, when he again appears as one of a number who pre- 
ferred complaints or charges against Andros, to the duke, some 
of which must have been of a serious nature, as the duke 
thought it necessary to send an agent over to investigate the 
matter, and on receiving his report, Andros was summoned to 
to appear in person in England to render his accounts. This 
was probably in 1680 or 1681, when Brockholst succeeded An- 
dros; in 1682 Dongan succeeded Brockholst. Here we lose all 
farther historical trace of Christopher Billop; tradition says 
that in the latter part of the seventeenth, or the beginning of 
the eighteenth century, he sailed for England in his ship, the 



106 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNT'S. 

"Bentley," and was never heard of after: he left no male issue, 
but he had at least one daughter. While he remained on 
the island, however, he obtained a patent for his plantation 
from Governor Dongan, which bore date on or about June 6, 
1687. 

There was also a Joseph Billop residing on the island about 
this time. He was a justice of the peace in 1702-3 and a judge 
of the county in 1711. In 1704, April 25th, he received a con- 
veyance of a parcel of land from the " Right Honble. Thomas, 
Earle of Lymrick," the laud in question being described by 
boundaries "beginning at a Blacke Oake by the burying place 
Agst. Abrah: Lackman's House." There was also a Middleton 
Billop living in the city of New York, who died in October, 
1724. Whether these men were near relatives of Christopher 
or not we have not discovered. 

The principal part of the original tract passed through the 
hands of successive generations of his descendants till the close 
of the revolution. In 1704 he sold a small parcel to John, Peter 
and James Le Counte, sons of Peter Le Counte "late of said 
island.'' 

Captain Christopher Billop married a Miss Farmer, by whom 
he had one daughter, Eugenia, born in or about the year 1712. 
Mrs. Billop was probably a sister of Thomas Farmer, who was 
prominent on Staten Island, where he was a judge of the court 
of sessions in 1711. He removed hence, however, during or 
soon after that year, and afterward became a judge of the su- 
preme court of New Jersey and representative of Middlesex 
county in the assembly of that state. The oldest son of this 
Thomas Farmer, his name likewise being Thomas, married his 
cousin, the daughter of Christopher Billop, and succeeded to 
the inheritance of the manor of Bentley. In order to satisfy 
the ambition of the family to perpetuate its name young 
Farmer adopted the name of Billop. 

Thomas Farmer Billop and his wife occupied the mansion and 
estate during the latter years of the first half of the 18th cen- 
tury. From them it fell to the possesion of their son Christo- 
pher, while they were "gathered to their fathers." The old 
family cemetery in which their remains were deposited was 
situated some three hundred yards to the east of the old manor 
house, in a cultivated field and beneath the shade of a few large 
trees which once stood there. It contained but a few graves, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 107 

and only the graves of the two persons last mentioned were 
honored by headstones containing inscriptions. These inscrip- 
tions were as follows: 

"Here Lyes y e Body of Evjenea y e Wife of Thomas Billopp. 
Aged 23 years Dec' 1 March ye 22d 1735." 

"Here Lyes ye Body of Thomas Billopp Esq r Son of Thomas 
Farmar Esq r Deed August y e 2d 1750 In ye 39th year of his 
Age." 

These stones are now lying in the barn yard near the Billop 
house and are more or less broken to pieces. For more than a 
century they marked the graves to which they belonged. The 
spot is now marked by a single cedar tree. Several years since 
the crumbling bones were removed thence, by order of the pro- 
prietor of the ground, and the stones of the graves thus dese- 
crated, which themselves, it would seem, possessed value as 
historic relics sufficient to warrant their careful preservation, 
were broken and ruthlessly consigned to the rubbish pile as we 
have seen. 

Christopher Billop, the only son of the above of whom we 
have any knowledge, though he had a sister Sally (who married 
Alexander Ross of New Jersey, in 1775), was born about the 
year 1735, and rose to a position of great prominence in the 
county. We are informed that he was twice married, but who 
his first wife was we have been unable to learn. His second 
wife was Jane Seaman, daughter of Judge Benjamin Seaman, 
of this county. Besides being a gentleman of character and 
property, he was a member of assembly, and on the eve of the 
revolution commanded a corps of loyal militia which was 
raised in the vicinity of New York city, and was during the 
revolutionary period actively engaged in military duty. At 
the outbreak of the war he was a steadfast opponent of the 
measures that led to a rupture with Great Britain. By the in- 
tensity of his loyalty to the British crown he made himself 
conspicuously obnoxious to the whigs of Staten Island and New 
Jersey. He held the commission of a colonel in the British 
army, and at one time, in 1782, had the title of superintendent of 
police of the island. Communication between the island and 
New Jersey had been prohibited by the British authorities, and 
he was very active in enforcing the prohibition. The patriots 
of New Jersey were exceedingly bitter in their hostility to him, 
and on two different occasions made him prisoner. Amboy is 



108 HISTORV OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

in sight, and upon one of these occasions he was observed by 
some Americans, who had stationed themselves with a spy 
glass in the church steeple of that town. As soon as they saw 
him enter his abode, they ran to their boats, rapidly crossed the 
river, and he was soon their captive. The British, then in pos- 
session of New York, had confined in irons several Americans 
who had been made prisoners ; and to retaliate for this measure 
Colonel Billop was taken to Burlington jail. We have copied 
the mittimus, as a matter of curiosity, and as showing the 
method of doing such things at that eventful period. 

"To the keeper of the common jail for the county of Burling- 
ton greeting : You are hereby commanded to receive into your 
custody the body of Col. Christopher Billopp, prisoner-of-war, 
herewith delivered to you, and having put irons on his hands 
and feet, you are to chain him down to the floor in a close room, 
in said jail, and there to retain him, giving him bread and water 
only for his food, until you receive further orders from me, or 
the commissary of prisoners for the state of New Jersey, for 
the time being. Given under my hand, at Elizabethtown, this 
6th day of Nov. 1779. 

ELISHA BOUDINOT, 
Com. Pris. New Jersey." 

The commissary at the same time regretted to Billop that 
necessity made such treatment necessary, "but retaliation is 
directed, and it will I most sincerely hope, be in your power to 
relieve yourself from the situation by writing to New York to 
procure the relaxation of the sufferings of John Leshier, and 
Capt'n Nathaniel Randal." 

He was finally released by order of Washington. During 
the period of the war Billop disposed of some parts of his 
estate. On the 10th of May, 1780, he sold to Joseph Totten a 
tract of twenty acres, and another of three and a half acres in 
the manor of Bentley, for 235 currency, and on the 29th of the 
same month he sold to Benjamin Drake a tract of sixty acres 
from his estate, for 600 currency. On the first of May, 1781, 
he and his wife Jane, conveyed to Samuel Ward, of Eichmond 
county, for 3,730 current money of the city of New York, the 
tract opposite Amboy, known as the manor of Bentley, ''Con- 
taining three hundred and Seventy-three Acres of Land and 
salt meadow, be the same in Quantity more or Less, being- 
Bounded Easterly by Land of said Albert Rickman Northerly 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 109 

by the river or sound at Low water mark and westerly and 
southerly by the Bay at Low Water mark." In this convey- 
ance houses, barns, ferry-house and dock, out-houses and 
stables are specified by name. From the tract is reserved for 
the heirs of Billop sixty feet square for a burial place, the head- 
stone of his father being the center of such reservation. 

During the revolution the home of Colonel Billop was fre- 
quented by men of distinction and rank in the British army. 
After the war Billop with fifty-four other royalists in 1783 peti- 
tioned Sir Guy Carleton for extensive grants of land in Nova 
Scotia. Colonel Billop soon after went to New Brunswick, 
where for many years he bore a prominent part in the adminis- 
tration of the affairs of that province. He was a member of 
the house of assembly, and of the council, and on the death of 
Governor Smythe in 1823 he claimed the presidency of the 
government, and issued his proclamation accordingly, but the 
Honorable Ward Chipman was a competitor for the same sta- 
tion, and was sworn into office. 

Colonel Billop died at St. John, N. B , in 1827, being then 
over 90 years of age. His wife, Jane, who was about twenty 
years younger than himself, died in that city in 1802, aged 48. 
He had a son, born on Staten Island in 1769, named John 
Willett, and another son by the name of Thomas. They settled 
in the city of New York, and had a dry goods store on Broad- 
way in the vicinity of Trinity church. John never married, 
but fell a victim of yellow fever at the time the city was 
scourged by that terrible disease. Thomas, who had a family, 
of whom, however, nothing is known, except that his wife was 
a Miss Moore of Newtown, L. I., survived the fever, failed in 
business, joined the expedition of the celebrated Miranda, in 
which he received the appointment as captain, and was taken 
prisoner by the Spaniards and afterward executed. Besides 
these two sons Colonel Billop had four daughters. Louisa 
married John Wallace, Esq., surveyor of the customs. Mary 
married the Rev. Archdeacon Willis, of Nova Scotia, and died 
at Halifax in 1834, at the age of forty-three. Jane became the 
wife of the Hon. William Black of St. John, and died in 1836. 
Ann, the youngest daughter, was a maiden lady, and was the 
last of the family of whom any record appears of their visiting 
the ancestral homestead. She visited the spot in 1824, and took 
some flowers of an old trumpet creeper vine that was growing 



110 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

on the house, and some nuts and wild cherries from trees that 
were growing in the burial plot, and on her return carried them 
to her father in New Brunswick. It is said that on beholding 
them the heart of the old colonel melted with emotion and he 
wept like a child. 

We have neglected to say in a more appropriate place that 
Colonel Billop had two daughters by his first wife, of whom 
we only know that they married sons of Benjamin Seaman, one 
of whom w r as Benjamin and the other Henry. 

The large estate once belonging to Colonel Billop was confis- 
cated and sold by Isaac Stoutenburgh and Philip Van Cort- 
land, commissioners of forfeitures for the southern district of 
New York. The sale made July 16th, 1784, was recorded in the 
following memorandum : 

"Sold to Thomas Me Farren of the City of New York, Mer- 
chant, for the sum of four thousand six hundred and ninety- 
five' pounds Lawf nil Money of the said state All that certain 
Tract or parcel of Land situate Lying and being in the County 
of Richmond and Manor of Bently, Bounded Southerly by the 
Bay or water called Princes Bay, westerly by the river that runs 
between the said Land and Amboy Northerly partly by the Land 
of Jacob Reckhow and partly by the road and Easterly partly by 
the road and partly by the Bay, Containing Eight hundred and 
fifty acres and half an acre and which said Tract is divided into 
the several following Farms and Lots of Land three hundred 
and seventy three acres thereof in the possession of Samuel 
Ward Two hundred Acres in the possession of Albert Ryck- 
man, Fifty acres in the possession of John Manner Fifty acres 
in the possession of Edmund Wood Fifty acres in the posses- 
sion of Andrew Prior Twenty five Acres in the possession of 
James Churchward, sixtyseven acres and an half acre in the 
possession of Benjamin Drake Twenty three acres and an half 
acre in the possession of Joseph Totten Eleven acres and an 
half acre in the possession of Jacob Reckhow Together with 
all the Buildings and Improvements thereon Erected and made 
Forfeited to and Vested in the People of this state by the At- 
tainder of Christopher Billop Late of the County of Richmond 
Esquire." 

The historic house is still standing. It occupies a beautiful 
site overlooking the river or Staten Island sound, with Amboy 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



Ill 



in view on the opposite shore and the Jersey landscapes fading 
in the distance. 

The old mansion was built of stone its walls three feet thick 
and bears the marks of former affluence and elegance. Like 
most buildings of the " olden time," it has its ghost and other 
roman,tic stories. " There," said the person who now occupies 
the house, as we entered one of 
the upper story front rooms, ''that 
spot on the floor we have never 
been able to wash out. It is sup- 
posed to be blood, and a murder 
is said to have been perpetrated 
here. This, too, is the ghost room, 




mm^m 



THE OLD BILLOP HOUSE, TOTTESVILLE. 



but I have never been disturbed by 
such visitors, and believe neither of 
these stories." A person had visited 
an adjoining apartment last winter, 
searching for hidden treasure. He had 
been told by some mesmerist or for- 
tune-teller of New York that money was to be found concealed 
in one of the walls of this room, and absolutely picked with 
hammer and chisel a large opening,but finally gave over the 
search as hopeless. This strange credulity was here exhibited 
in the winter of 1844. 

In the cellar of the building there is a brick vault thirty feet 






112 HIST RICH3I-: :-TT. 

. and about thirteen wide, finely arched, and may have 
been used as a place of retreat, or the receptacle for valuable 
articles in cases of emergency. 

The interior of the house presents nothing remarkable in ap- 
pearance. The hall and staircase are extremely plain. In fact 
there is no decoration to I --- here. The rooms have 

been undersized in a manner approaching meanness. 

As Billop was a well known and a military char- 

. - . his house m \s rd many an interview of 

such men as Lord E -^neral Kniphausen. Colonel Simcoe 

and other officers of rank in the Br:\-.. --rvice who had 
mand a: - s p - on the island. ImmediarT the 

:e battle on L . - r.d. Lord Howe sent a communica- 
tion _ ssem '-led in Philadelphia, soliciting that 
a committee from tr_ - - : him. to confer on the 
difficult:-- sea the nation- 7 this purpose. Ben- 
- Franklin. John Adams and Edward Eutlei_- rere ap- 
:ed. The interview took place in this house, and tl - 
noble, patriotic. American s\ - ledined every propos! 
for peace that would not acknowledge the independen - : 
their beloved country. 

This conference took place in the room at the nortL west : ner 
of the house on the main floor. This momentous interview 
regarde-i with extre - ::ude by the people of both the old 
I and the ne* ^ 

jrandeur of a ^r^ barrle point and monument of - 
The interview was t r - - ao reconcili- 

Independejice was maintained. The result was limned 
_e hand of God. and is seen ia the progess of a condnent 
and the achievements of a all over the world, 

-re is a beautiful lawn before the hou- 

-. - : 3m the mansion ar^ -s 

tens rich in'natural beauties. Direcrly io fron: 

- _boy bay the :. :>- ".: a ad the Ra- 

^hich LT'T -xpanding into the general ly : 
- ^e wh^^ sf*m flows onward to the mighty Atk 
vrd rh^f - a more remote di~ r - . the 

mountains of Monmouth and the bold summi'- S - Sink. 
upon whose lofty highlands, the beacon-fires of 1776 blazed to 
alarm the country upon the rx Approach of the err _ 

.at a blessing is peace ! How changed the scene : Upon 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 113 

these very heights now glisten nightly the cheering rays of the 
light-house, welcoming the traveller of every nation to our land 
of freedom and happiness ! Where once was heard the deafen- 
ing drum and clarion of war, here now the anvil rings, the 
merry wheel dances, and the carol of the peaceful plow-boy re- 
sounds, while he traces the enriching and silent furrow ! 

We shall now turn our attention to the Dongan patent and 
the persons connected with it. This brought into direct and 
intimate association with the island one of the most prominent 
of the colonial governors, and one whose acts have been mor 
conspicuously brought before a wide range of interests, people 
and times than perhaps any other. 

At the time of Dongan's arrival, there dwelt in the city of 
New York a gentleman named John Palmer, by profession a 
lawyer, who, at the time of the separation of Staten Island from 
the Long Island towns, was appointed "ranger" for Staten 
Island. He had formerly lived on the island of Barbadoes, 
and had emigrated thence to New York. In 1683 he lived on 
Staten Island, and was appointed by Dongan one of the two 
first judges of the New York court of oyer and terminer. He 
was also a member of the council, and generally an active and 
prominent man in the affairs of the province. To this man Don- 
gan executed a patent, known in the island history as the 
Palmer or Dongan .patent. The small brook which forms a 
part of the boundary between the towns of Castleton and 
Northtield, and which runs to the mill pond, is still known by 
the name of " Palmer's Run," because it also formed a part 'of 
the boundary of the land conveyed by the patent. 

An attempt seems to have been previously made by Dongan 
to gain possession of this large property, but for reasons which 
will appear the transaction was repeated in the manner above 
stated. The first transaction of which we find any record is 
dated January 14. 1684-5, when Governor Dongan purchased of 
John Palmer of Staten Island and Sarah his wife, for the sum 
of twelve hundred pounds, "All that their Capitall Messuage 
or dwelling house with the Appurtenances situate lyeiug and 
being on the north side of Staten Island Aforesaid within Con- 
stables hooke neere the Mill Creeke late in the Occupacion and 
possession of the said John Palmer, And All that Certaine Par- 
cell or tract of Land thereunto belonging being upon the north 
side of Staten Island aforesaid within Constables Hooke lyeing 

8 



114 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

between the two runues att the mill creeke beginning with A 
narrow point And Running up wider into the Island Containing 
the quantity of three hundred forty and two Acres with meadow 
Ground to belaid out proportionably." The conveyance also 
includes other parcels, the title to which had been obtained as 
recited in their specifications in substance as follows : Ninety- 
six acres to the east of Mill creek, with the mill, which was 
granted to Palmer by Governor Andros in 1677, upon which had 
also been built by Palmer two windmills and a sawmill ; eighty 
acres which had been conveyed to Palmer by Francis Barber 
who had a grant from Sir Edmund Andros ; ninety acres, with 
eight acres of meadow, which had been granted by Andros in 
1680 to Jacob Cornells, and by him conveyed to Palmer; another 
like tract of ninety acres with eight acres of meadow, 
granted to James Gyles, by Andros, and by Gyles conveyed to 
Palmer; and a tract of four thousand five hundred acres of land 
lying in a body in the middle part of the island, with an island 
of meadow near Fresh kill, "All which Said Last mentioned 
tract or parcell of Land And Island of meadow were Granted 
unto the Said John Palmer," by Governor Dongan by patent 
dated May 2, 1684. Thus it will be seen the premises purchased 
by Dongan had been obtained in small parcels, through differ- 
ent channels and under grants of different dates. It was desir- 
able that they should be consolidated, and treated as a unit, 
and that some manorial privileges should be associated with 
their proprietorship. 

The early provincial governors having shown some disposi- 
tion to appropriate too much land to themselves, they had been 
restricted by an order in council, to evade which the plan was 
devised of granting a patent to Palmer for this laud, and then 
having a transfer made from Palmer to Dongan. The patent to 
Palmer was approved at a council held March 31, 1687, at which 
were present Governor Dongan, Anthony Brockholst, Frederick 
Phillips, Stephanus Van Cortlandt and Nicholas Bayard. The 
instrument bears date as above, and begins as follows: 

" Whereas John Palmer of the City of New York Esqr. as 
well by virtue of Several deeds and Patients to him or them 
under whome he claymes made by the former Governors of this 
Province as by virtue of a certain Pattent or Confirmation under 
my hand, and seale of the province, bearing date the second 
day of May, 1684: stands Lawfully and Rightfully Seized of & 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 115 

in all that Tract or parcell of Land Beginning at a cove on Kill 
Van Cull, on the east bounds of the lands of Garret Cruise 
[Cruser] and so running in the woods by the said Kill to a 
marked tree, and thence by a line of marked trees according to 
the natiiral position of the poles, south and by east two degrees 
and thirty minutes southerly according to the compass south, 
there being eight degrees and forty five minutes variation ffrom 
the north westward, and from thence by the reare of the land of 
Garret Cruise & Peter Johnson, east & by north two degrees 
and thirty minutes to the line of Peter Johnson's wood lott, & 
by his line south and by east two degrees and thirty minutes 
south sixty-one chains, and thence by the reare of the aforesaid 
lott & the lott of John Vincent northeast & by east one degree 
northerly to the southeast corner of the land of John Vincent 
thirty three chains & a halfe, from thence by his east line south 
& by west two degrees thirty minutes northerly to a white oak 
tree marked with three notches, bearing northwest from the 
ffresh pond, from thence to a young chestnutt tree the south- 
west corner of the land of Phillip Wells & so by a line of 
marked trees east nine degrees & fifteen minutes southerly by 
south side of a small ffresh meadow to the north & to the north 
of the ffresh pond including the pond to the land of Mr. An- 
drew Norwood & so by his land as it runs to the reare of the 
land of Mary Brittaine & so by the reare of the Old Town lotts 
to the land of Isaac Bellew & Thomas Stilwell & from thence 
upon the Iron Hills, to the land of William Stilwell & by his 
land to the land of George Cummins & ffrom his northeast cor- 
ner, to the southeast corner of the land of Mr. James Hubbard 
at the head of the ffresh kills & so round by his land to the 
reare lotts at Karles neck & so by the lotts to the highway left 
by Jacob pullion & the great swamp to the land of John ffitz 
Garrett including the great swamp, thence by the soldier's lotts 
and the reare lotts of Cornelis Cnrsen & company to the south- 
west corner of theire ffront lotts & so by the runne which is 
theire bounds to the mill pond including the mill pond to the 
sound or Kill Van Cull & so by the sound to the cove where 
ffirst begun. Containing with all the hills, valleys, ffresh 
meadows & swamps within the above specified bounds five thou- 
sand one hundred acres be the same more or less. Also a 

great island of salt meadow lying near the ffresh kills & over 
against long neck not yet appropriated and all the messuages, 



116 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

tenements, fencings, orchards, gardens, pastures, meadows, 
marshes, woods, underwoods, trees, timber, quarries, rivers, 
brooks, ponds, lakes, streams, creeks, harbors, beaches, flashing, 
hawking and ffowling, mines, minerals (silver and gold mines 
only excepted) mills, mill dams," etc. 

By the patent it was also constituted one lordship or manor 
" to be called the Lordship and manor of Cassiltowne." It was 
subject to an annual quit-rent of one lamb and eight bushels of 
winter wheat, to be paid if demanded on the 25th of March in 
each year. 

On the 29th of September, 1677, Governor Andros executed a 
patent to Garret Croosen (Cruser) for one hundred and sixty 
acres of land on the north side of Staten Island, which is 
bounded on the west by "a small runn of water." It is diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, at this day to trace the boundaries of 
some of the old patents, but we assume that the "runn of 
water" mentioned in the patent is the stream issuing out of the 
"boiling spring" on the Bement estate, as that spring was 
formerly called the "Cruser spring," and in conveyances of 
even recent date the "runn" is called the "Cruser Spring 
brook." The land conveyed was one hundred and seventeen 
rods in breadth, which would reach nearly or quite to the Pel- 
ton estate. This estate once belonged to one of the Cruser fam- 
ily, but probably it was by a subsequent purchase The Palmer 
patent begins at a cove on " Kill Van Cull," on the east bounds 
of the lands of Garret Cruser ; probably the word east is a cler- 
ical error, and should have been west, but even on that sup- 
position the boundaries described in the latter patent would 
embrace Lovelace's property. If we assume "the cove" to be 
that next west of and adjoining the Pelton estate, the bound- 
aries would embrace the properties both of Lovelace and Cruser. 
The natural outlet of the Cruser spring brook was at or near 
the place where the surplus water from the works of the New 
York Dyeing and Printing Establishment now enters the kills. 
The pond of this establishment is an artificial structure, made 
nearly a century ago for the use of a mill which stood on the 
"Factory Dock." The main stream which supplies this pond 
is also an artificial canal ; the natural outlet of the water which 
now supplies the pond was through Bodine's pond into the 
kills. In Governor Dongan's days, these waters supplied a 
pond in the rear of the reservoir of the gas company on the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 117 

south side of Post avenue, for the use of his mill, which we 
have elsewhere alluded to as the mill in which guns were said 
to have been concealed at the time of the papist panic. 

On the 16th day of April, 1687, John Palmer and Sarah, his 
wife, conveyed the territory described above to Thomas Dongan, 
" for a competent sumnie of lawfull money," after an owner- 
ship of about a fortnight. 

It is now quite impossible to trace the lines described in the 
patent, as the most of the land-marks mentioned therein have 
disappeared. If by the terms "great swamp" is meant that 
extending from Graniteville to New Springville, and which is. 
so designated in a variety of other ancient documents ; and if 
by " ffresh kills" is meant the waters now known by that 
name, and which are also frequently alluded to by that name 
in similar documents, it is evident that the territory conveyed 
embraced not only the greater part of the present towns of 
Castleton and Middletown, but a large proportion of North- 
h'eld also. 

Dunlap says that Governor Dongan, having doubts about 
Staten Island belonging to New York, and in order to be 
doubly sure, procured a patent in 1687 for the same land from 
the proprietors of East Jersey. 

In the following year, 1688, Governor Dongan erected his 
manor house, which remained until the present decade, and 
though externally modernized in some degree the oak frame, 
hewn out of the adjacent forest, was the identical one erected 
by him, the date of its erection having been marked upon one 
of the timbers with white paint. The house alluded to stood 
in the middle of the square bounded by the shore road on the 
north, Cedar street on the south, Dongan street on the east, and 
Bodine street on the west, at West New Brighton. There is 
now a gradual descent of the surface of the land from the site 
to the shore road ; but, originally, the earth was as high on the 
southerly side of the road as it now is at the place where the 
house stood, forming a sand hill between the house and the 
road, and which entirely concealed the house from view when 
standing in the road in front of it. When this sand bank was 
removed, several skeletons, evidently of Indians, besides nu- 
merous other Indian relics, were unearthed, indicating this 
spot as having been one of their burial places. This time- 
honored relic was at last destroyed by lire. A large barn, 



118 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

standing on the mill road which was also built during the early 
years of the proprietorship of Governor Dongan, was burned 
on the 18th of July, 1862. Through this extensive domain a 
road was opened at an early period toward the village of Rich- 
mond, and this early road still bears the name of Manor road. 
A tide mill stood until a recent date on the causeway across 
Palmer's run. The old Dongan mill stood farther south, on 
an old road which ran around the head of the pond, the course 
of which in part has been followed by the construction of Post 
avenue in West New Brighton. After the construction of the 
causeway the old road, which before had been the only way of 
passing between the localities of West New Brighton and 
Port Richmond, ceased to be used until the opening of 
Post avenue. The pond which is alluded to in the Palmer 
patent received the tide, and boats at high water could reach 
the door of the old mill. This mill was largely patronized by 
the people of Bergen Point and its vicinity, as well as by the 
people of the island. 

When the present avenue was constructed, the foundation 
stones, and some of the decayed oak timbers of the old mill, 
were unearthed, but no cannon. In the latter part of the last 
century, a flouring mill was built on the present steamboat wharf 
at West New Brighton, and the most of the water which had 
propelled the old mill, was diverted from its natural course by 
a canal which led it into the large pond at the foot of the pres- 
ent Water street, which pond was then constructed to hold the 
water in reserve for the use of the new mill ; this was built by 
a McVickar, though it subsequently passed into the hands of 
the Van Buskirk family, and was better known as Van Bus- 
kirk's mill. This mill was burned a few years ago, and the 
wharf, the pond and the canal for more than half a century 
have belonged to the New York Dyeing & Printing Establish- 
ment. After the construction of the causeway, and the divert- 
ing of the water, the pond has gradually filled up, until now it 
can scarcely be utilized for the purpose to which it was once 
devoted. 

In a review of the life and acts of one so intimately asso- 
ciated with the island as Col. Thomas Dongan was it is proper 
to give some notice to his antecedents and the stock whence he 
came. We find Governor Dongan associated with the nobility 
of England and Ireland. In a list of the baronets of Ireland, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 119 

with a list of their creations, we find the name of Walter Don- 
gan, of Castletown, in the county of Kildare, to which is at- 
tached the date 1623. Castletown park is in the northeast corner 
of the county of Kildare, about ten miles southwest of the city 
of Dublin. Sir Walter Dongan, who was made baronet October 
23, 1623, belonged to a family who were pronounced " valiant, 
active and faithful." They were in 1646 and later on connected 
with the army, and in recognition of their faithfulness and de- 
votion to their king, William, a brother was promoted to the 
dignity of viscount of Claine, county of Kildare, in 1661. In 
1685 he was made earl of Limerick. At the battle of theBoyne 
he lost an only son, who was killed by a cannon ball. The son 
was buried at Castletown, the seat of his father, Lord Dongan, 
earl of Limerick. The estate of Lord Dongan was forfeited, he 
being attainted April 16, 1691, but was restored again by act of 
parliament, December 15, 1699. In " Burke' s Encyclopedia of 
Heraldry" appears the following description of the Dongan 
coat of arms : 

" Quarterly first and fourth, gu. three lions pass, or, holding 
in the dexter paw a close helmet argent garnished or the 
second ; second and third azure six plates on a chief or a demi 
lion rampant gules. Crest A lion passant or, supporting with 
the dexter foot a close helmet argent garnished of the first." 

To this noble family Col. Thomas Dongan belonged, though 
what his relationship was to the Earl of Limerick we have not 
the means of determining. Some claim that he was a brother 
Colonel Dongan having a commission as governor, arrived in 
Xew York August 27, 1683. His commission was dated Sep- 
tember 30, 1682. To him the present state is indebted for many 
of its existing records and laws. He was a firm believer in the 
religious and political faith of James II, except, perhaps, that 
Dongan was far more tolerant, and hated the French, under 
whom he had once served as a military officer. Though a pro- 
fessed papist, he was a decided enemy to the French, whose 
schemes of aggrandizement on the northern frontier he per- 
sistently opposed, even against the expressed wishes of his 
master, the Duke of York, afterward James II. The people 
of the province, and especially of the island, where he resided, 
lived in constant dread of his religion. Later on he was or- 
dered to proclaim James II king, to assist at the conference 
between Lord Effingham and the Five Nations, and in causing 



120 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ihe king's arms to be set up through all their villages and to 
place arms in their hands. 

Colonel Dongan had the Indian affairs very much at heart, 
and had gained the respect and esteem of the Five Na- 
tions. He was deeply interested in the intercourse of the French 
and English with them, and jealous of the action of the former. 
In carrying forward this work in which he was so much in- 
terested, he was obliged to mortgage his property to Robert 
Livingston to secure the payment of the expenses of the ex- 
pedition to Albany in 1689. This mortgage is dated May 1, 
1689, the sum which was secured by it was 2,172, 6s, 2|d, 
which Livingston had, by Dongan' s order, laid out for eight 
month's provisions for the troops and presents for the In- 
dians. The term of the mortgage was live years. It covered 
not only the manor of Castletown, but other parcels which 
Dongan had bought on the island. These were one hundred 
and eighty acres at Old Town, bought of Mary Britton, another 
parcel at Old Town, bought of Peter None, and another, on 
the south side, bought of James Largie. 

Besides these possessions on Staten Island, Governor Dongan 
had a large tract on the Hudson river, extending from Haver- 
straw to Murderer's creek, a tract of four hundred acres in 
Queens county given him by the people of Hempstead town for 
renewing their patent, and another tract on Martha's Vineyard, 
besides property in the city of New York. On Staten Island he 
had a "hunting lodge." The city records contain an account 
of a meeting of the council at which Governor Dongan was ab- 
sent "being engaged at his hunting lodge on Staten Island, 
killing bears." At the time of the papist panic in 1689 it was 
suspected that Colonel Dongan was in sympathy with the plot, 
and his mill was searched, and four guns were found in it. 
These it is said were secreted under some bags and blankets. 
Leisler issued orders for his arrest, but we do not know that it% 
was accomplished. 

After his release from office Colonel Dongan retired to his pos- 
sessions on Staten Island, where he remained till the spring of 
1691, if not longer. Later, but at what time is not known, he 
retired to his native country, Ireland, where it is said he finally 
succeeded to the earldom of Limerick. In a conveyance now 
on record in the clerk's office of this county bearing date 1715, 
he is styled as such. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 121 

On the 9th of May, 1715, Colonel Thomas Dongan, by the 
conveyance just mentioned (which is in itself a curious and rare 
specimen of legal skill, on account of its complex limitations 
and conditions) "being willing to preserve and uphold and ad- 
vance the name and family of Dongan, and having no issue of 
his own to continue the same," conveyed to his nephews, Thomas, 
John and Walter, and to the male issue of the survivor or sur- 
vivors of them, "in tail male for ever," all his manor of Castle- 
town, together with property situated elsewhere. This act and 
its final results is a demonstration of the scripture passage which 
we quote from the XLIX Psalm: "Their inward thought is, 
that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling- 
places to all generations ; they call their lands after their own 
names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not : he is 
like the beasts that perish." 

Having thus disposed of his estate in this country, he died, 
as some think, in London, in 1715, at the ripe old age of 81 
years. He was buried in St. Fancras' church-yard, Middlesex, 
just north of London. This old church-yard has long been 
noted as the burial place of snch Roman Catholics as die in 
London and its vicinity. It is accounted a desirable resting- 
place for different reasons, one of which is that St. Pancras' was 
the last church in England where mass was held after the Refor- 
mation. The sepulchre of the late Governor Dongan bears the 
following inscription : 

"The Right Honble. THOMAS DONGAN Earl of LYMERICK, 
died December the fourteenth. Aged Eighty one years. 

1715. 
Requiescat in pace. Amen." 

Leaving the founder of the name and estate of Dongan on 
Staten Island we will now follow as well as we are able the 
descent of the family and title line of the estate. Of the 
nephews we know but little. 

John probably had but little or nothing to do with Staten 
Island. Beyond the appearance of his name in a list of sub- 
scribers toward finishing Trinity church steeple, dated May 1, 
1711, we have found no trace of him. He may have been unmar- 
ried, or died without male issue and therefore had no share in 
the estate on Staten Island. 

Thomas is but little known in records pertaining to Staten 
Island. It is said that he sold his share of the possessions of 



122 HISTOKT OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

his uncle. He may have been a man of high passions and 
sumptuous living, with reckless habits. He was involved in a 
duel with Dr. John Livingston, September 7, 1713, in which 
Livingston was killed. The trial of Dongan by the supreme 
court took place two days later, and he was found guilty of 
manslaughter. Without knowing what his subsequent fate was, 
we are obliged to leave him here. There is slight ground for 
the conjecture that he left this country for Ireland and died 
there in 1721. 

Walter has left some evidences of being a man of honor and 
business ability. He occupied the manor house and a large 
portion of the landed estate. His custom was to lease his lands 
to tenants. He was surrogate of the county in 1733. He mar- 
ried for his first wife, Ruth, daughter of Richard Floyd (2d), of 
Setauket, L. I., whose wife was Margaret, daughter of Colonel 
Matthias Nicoll, the secretary of the colony. Walter and Ruth 
Dongan had three children, Thomas, Richard and Elizabeth. 
Ruth, who was born August 6, 1699, died July 28, 1733. Walter 
afterward married a Miss Sarah Herriman of Elizabeth, N. J., 
by whom he had a son, Edward Vaughn Dongan. Walter died 
July 25, 1749, being fifty-seven years of age. His estate on the 
island .descended mainly to his oldest son Thomas, and his 
widow afterward married John Herriman, of Elizabeth. The 
daughter Elizabeth was born in 1729, and died July 1, 1749, 
aged 19 years and 7 months. Her grandfather, Richard Floyd, 
remembers her in his will, dated February 27, 1738, in the fol- 
lowing item: " I give also unto my Grand Daughter Dongan, 
that is to say the Daughter of my beloved Daughter Ruth 
Dongan Deceased, one hundred Founds Current lawful Money 
of New York to be paid on her Marriage Day.'' As she died 
unmarried, this item was never executed. 

Edward Vaughn Dongan was born January 3, 1749. After 
his father's death he went with his mother to live in Elizabeth. 
He was brought up a lawyer and lived at New Brunswick, N. J., 
where he married a daughter of Squire La Grange, a lawyer of 
that 'place. On the outbreak of the revolution he made himself 
obnoxious on account of his adherence to royalty and was 
driven from his home before the British landed in New York. 
His father-in-law and family were in sympathy with him, and 
their estate was afterward forfeited. Edward Vaughn Dongan 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 123 

was in command of a body of loyal troops, with the rank of 
colonel, and was posted at the Morning Star at the time of Sul- 
livan's raid on Staten Island, August 22. 1777. In this engage- 
ment he received a wound from the effects of which he died in 
the hospital in New York city on the first of September. His 
only child, which with its mother had suffered great exposure 
on the day referred to, died on the same day, and was buried 
in the same grave with him. His widow afterward went with 
her family to reside at Farmington, Hackney, England. 

Richard Dongan, the second son of Walter, went to sea when 
a young man. During the French war he was impressed on 
board a British man-of-war, and in the service lost an arm. 
He married Miss Cornelia Shanks of Long Island, by whom he 
had a son, Walter, who was born January 2, 1763, and another 
son who died young. Richard died January 1, 1780, in his 61st 
year ; and his wife died April 28, 1814, in the 83d year of her 
age. This Walter had a distillery, located near a copious 
spring on the Richmond turnpike, near Four Corners. He also 
possessed a large farm at that place, whether by inheritance or 
purchase we have not learned. He had two sons, Thomas and 
Richard, and four daughters, one of whom married a Mr. 
Toombs, another married Peter La Forge, and the names of the 
other two were Abigail and Ruth. Walter died in February, 
1855. 

We now take up the direct line in which the manor house with 
its accompanying estate was held until it passed out of the pos- 
session of the family altogether. 

Thomas Dongan was the eldest son of Walter, the nephew of 
the ex-governor. His first wife was Rachel, and she died April 
25, 1748, at the age of 24 years. She had one daughter, who 
died December 22, 1749, 3 years of age. Both wife and daughter 
are buried in the old Moravian cemetery. Thomas afterward 
married Magdalen, the eldest daughter of Rev. Richard Charl- 
ton, rector of St. Andrew's church. By her he had a son, John 
Charlton Dongan. Thomas Dongan appears as a vestryman of 
Trinity church, New York, from 1748 to 1759. In order to ad- 
just the claims upon him to which his young half brother Ed- 
ward V. was entitled, he on the 15th of April, 1757, gave a 
mortgage to John Herrimanand Sarah his wife (the step-mother 
of Thomas, she being the late widow of his father) on several 
tracts of land lying in the manor of Castletown, adjoining each 



124 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

other, and then being in possession of tenants, to secure the 
payment of 40 a year till Edward Vaughn should reach his 
majority, and the payment of 1,000 when that time arrived. 
In consideration of these payments Edward Vaughn should 
relinquish all claim against the said Thomas or the estate of 
the late Walter Dongan. The aggregate extent of land covered 
by this instrument was about seven hundred acres. The will 
of Thomas Dongan bears date March 8, 1765, and it appointed 
his wife, Magdalen, sole executrix, and by it he bequeathed 
to his son John Charlton Dongan, all his estate, and in case of 
his death, while in his minority, the estate was to go to his 
mother and to her heirs forever. Of the time of his death we 
are not informed. 

John Charlton Dongan, son of Thomas, and grandson of 
Walter the nephew of the governor, was educated for a lawyer, 
and was admitted to the bar May 6, 1791. He was a man of 
some prominence in his time. He was a supervisor here in 
1785, and was in the state legislature several times, where in 
1788-9 he was a prominent leader of the Schuyler or federal 
party and served on some important committees. As an 
attorney-at-luw he had an office at 25 Courtlandt street, New 
York, in 1795. He possessed a considerable land on State 
street, New York, in addition to the estate on Staten Island, 
which then comprised about six hundred acres, all of which he 
inherited from his father. He is said to have been an honor- 
able man, but being a free liver and given to drink, he fell into 
careless habits and descended the scale of respectable standing 
and financial advantage until he reached the lowest extreme. 
His wife was Patience Moore, of Newtown, L. I., a sister of 
Benjamin Moore of that place. She, it is said, was of little ad- 
vantage to him, being herself also a partner in his failings. 
They had only two children, Thomas Charles Bradish, who died 
November 25, 1789, and John Charlton, Jr., who died October 
23, 1791, a little over 5 years of age. His State street property 
was sold and its proceeds lost in speculation. He became in- 
volved and, about 1795, sold the manor house and the accom- 
panying estate to his brother-in-law McVickar, whose wife was 
sister to his wife. He then had a general vendue and sold off 
all the stock and movables belonging to the estate, and the sale 
returned about $10,000. He and his wife agreed to put this in 
bank and live on the proceeds. She returned to her own fam- 



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HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. ]'J."> 

ily, the Moores, at Newtovvn, and he, sinking still deeper in 
intemperance, accepted the position of a sergeant of foot or 
marines and went on a voyage at sea on a man-of-war. This 
was in 1798 or 1799. He was familiarly known as "Jack" 
Dongan. The last of his financial resources were finally ex- 
hausted and, broken down in health, he became a public charge 
for his living. Fortunately he had a god-mother, who lived in 
Jamaica, West Indies, and she learning his condition, sent 
money to pay his passage, and he went thither to complete the 
measure of his broken down life under her generous care and 
patronage. 

The remnant of the lordship containing the manor house was 
sold by John C. Dongan to John McVickar. He occupied it as a 
country seat from 1795 to 1802, when he sold it to Alexander 
McComb. McVickar constructed a canal two miles long from 
Fresh pond to the mill, took a hand in many public enterprises, 
and helped Mr. Vanderbilt the elder to funds with which to 
procure a piragua and dock at Factoryville. McComb sold 
the place to John Bodine, the younger, and he to his father. 
By the latter it was sold to Judge Edwards for Abraham Varick. 
But why continue to follow the changes. The glory of the 
manor has departed ; the last lord of its dominion has a long 
time slept in his grave, and the venerable manor house has been 
swept away by the devouring flame. Surely "man in honor 
abideth not.' 



"This Following Pat tent fora Peeceof Land LyeingattKarles 
Neck att the Fresh kill on Staten Island Granted to Barne Ty- 
sen being Omitted to be Recorded when Granted is Now Entred 
att the Request of the said BARNE TYSEN this 29th day of N~o- 
vembr. 1681. 

" Edmund Andros Esqr. Seigneor of Sausmarex Lievt. and 
Governor General! under his Royil. Highs. James Duke of 
Yorke and Albany &c. of all his Terretorys in America Where- 
as by Virtue of my Warrant y r . hath Benn Laid out for BARNE 
TYSEN a Certaine Peece of Land Lyeing at Karles Neck at the 
Fresh Kill upon Staten Island being in Breadth by the Meadow 
side fforty and five Rods Ranging South East two hundred 
Eighty and fouer Rods Being Bounded to the Southwest by the 
Land of Thomas Morgan to the South East by the Commons 
and to the North East by the Land of Wolford Proll with tenn 



126 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Acres of Salt Meadow fronting to the said Land and fouer Acres 
of Fresh Meadow upon the Hills in the Eeare of the Neck Con- 
teining in all Ninety fouer Acres as by the Returne of the Sur- 
vev und r the Hand of the Surveyor; Doth and may appeare 
Know Yee that by vertue of his Maties Letters Pattents and 
the Commission and Authority unto me Given by his Royil 
High 8 I have Given and Granted and by these Presents Doe 
hereby Give and Grant unto the said Barne Tysen his Heires 
and Assigns the afore recited Peece of Land and Premisses with 
their and every of their Appurtenuces. To have and to hold 
the said Peece of Land and Premisses unto him the said Barne 
Tysen his Heires and Assignes unto the proper use and Behoof e 
of the said Barne Tysen his Heires and Assignes For ever Hee 
making Improvem* thereon according to Law and Yeelding 
and Paying therefore Yearly and every Yeare unto his Royii 
High 3 use as a Quitt Rent one Bushell of Good Winter 
Wheate unto such Officer or Officers as shall be Empowred to 
Receive the same. Given under my Hand and Sealed with the 
Seale of the Province in New Yorke this twenty Ninth Day of 
September in the 29th Yeare of his Ma ties Reigne Annoq 
Domini 1C77. 

The Meadow to be proporconable with the Rest of the In- 
habitants. 

E. ANDROSS. 

" Examined by me 

" MATTHIAS NICOLLS Seer. 

I do hereby Certify the aforegoing to be a true 
Copy of the Original Record Compared there 
with By me. 

" LEWIS A. SCOTT, Secretary." 



" Recorded at ye Request of Daniell Lake & Compa 
"William the third by the Grace of God of England Scotland 
ffrance and Ireland King Defender of the ffaith &c To all to 
whome these p r sents shall Come Sendeth Greeting. Whereas 
our Loveing Subjects Daniell Lake and Joseph Holmes have by 
their Petitions Presented unto our trusty and well beloved John 
Nanfan Estp' our Lt Govern 1 ' & Commander in Cheif of our 
Province of New Yorke and the Territories Depending thereon 
in America &c Pray our Grant and Confirmation of a Certain 
Tract of Land on Staten Island in the County of Richmond 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 127 

ginning at ye Northwest Corner of the Lott of Land Laid out 

Peter Billjean in the Reer of his three Lotts Granted by 

'dmond Andros & Runs thence North Westerly by the Line 

bra ham Lakerman & William Barker to ye Land of Tennis 

oerts and Vincent fountain & so runs alongst his Line 

h Easterly to the South East Corner thereof thence to the 

hwest Corner of Jacques Guyen & so by the Reer of 

B tteans Lotts Westerly to ye Place where begunn being 

led on the Northwest by Abraham Lakerman & William 

r on the North East by Tennis Eghberts and Vincent 

in on the South East by the Lotts of Isaac Billjean & on 

ith West by the Lotts of Peter Billjean Containing two 

d acres w^h reasonable request wee being willing to 

uiow Yee that of our Speciall Grace Certain Knowledge 

>r motion wee have Given Granted Ratifyed and Con- 

r , by these p r sents Doe for us our Heires and Successors 

mt Ratifye and Confirme unto our s d Loveing Subjects 

,ake and Joseph Holmes all the aforecited Tract of 

hin our County of Richmond & within the Limitts & 

'oresd together with all and Singular the Woods Under- 

ees Timber feedings Pastures Meadows Marshes 

mds Pools Water watercourses Rivers Rivoletts Runs 

'ling fowling hunting and hawkeing Mines Mineralls 

-old Mines Excepted and all other Profitts benefitts 

1 Liberties Advantages Hereditam ts an( j appurte- 

m. lever to the afoerecitd Tract of Land within the 

Lii unds aforementioned belonging or in any wise 

app> ^ have and to hold all the afoerecited Tract of Land 

together wth all and Singular the woods underwoods Trees 
Timber feedings Pastures Meadows Marshes Swamps Ponds 
Pools watercourses Rivers Rivers Rivoleits Runs Brooks 
Streams fishing fowling hunting and hawkeing Mines Mineralls 
Silver and Gold Mines Excepted & all other Proffitts Benefitts 
Privilledges Liberties Advantages Hereditaments and appurte- 
nances whatsoever to the afores d Tract of Land within the 
Limitts and Bounds aforementioned belonging or in any wise 
appertaining unto to them the said Daniell Lake and Joseph 
Holmes their Heires and assignes to the only Proper use benetitt 
and behoof of them the said Daniell Lake and Joseph Holmes 
their Heires and assignes forever to be holden of us our Heires & 
Successors in free and Comon Soccage as of our Manm- of East 



128 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Greenvvch in our County of Kent within our Realm of Enghn 
Yielding Rendring & Paying therefore Yearly and every Ye 
unto us our Heires and Successors at our City of New Yor 
on the feast Day of the Nativity of our blessed Saviour i 
annuall and Yearly Rent of twelve Shillings Cnrrt Monej 
New Yorke in Lieu and Stead of all other Rents Dues Dn 
Services and Demands whatsoever In Testimony whereof 
have Caused the Great Seale of our said Province to be 1 
unto affixed Witness John Nanfan Esq r our Lieu* Go' 
& Comander in Cheif of our Province of New Yorke 
our ffort in New Yorke the 20th day of Apiill in the fourf 
year of our Reign. 

" JOHN NAN 
" By his honrs Comand 

M: CLARKSON, Secry. 

" I do hereby Certify the aforegoing to ' 

Copy of the Original Record. 
"Compared therewith By Me 

"LEWIS A. SCOTT. Sf 



Many other patents were granted for lands on 
These we have already said were generally fr ;. 

From the quit-rents affixed to such grants the c jrs 

obtained a considerable revenue. A patent by 

Governor Fletcher, December 20, 1697, to Sr : for a 

tract of land on the south side of the island i. The 

annual quit-rent on this was four shillings >vas soon 

after in the possession of Jacob Berger, and by the middle of 
the century belonged to John Keteltas in whose family it 
remained for several generations. A patent was granted by 
Queen Anne, September 1, 1708, to Francis Vincent for several 
parcels of land on the island, in which mention is made of the 
following adjoining owners : Peter Leconnt, Albert Janson, one 
Pinhorne, John Melyore, John Breveele, Francis Welton, John 
Bodine, Benjamin Cooper, Mark Dussassway, Abraham Cannon, 
Jacob Galliott, John Cashee and Joshua Carsoon. In locating 
these parcels the following neighboring points are mentioned : 
Courtlandt, Fresh kill (16 acres of salt meadows at the mouth 
of it, "being almost round a certain Hammock of Upland," 
which is included, the whole "bearing N. W. from the house of 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 129 

John Morgan"), Daniel's neck, Thomas's creek, Charles's neck, 
and Abraham Cannon's creek. 

The last royal patent for lands on Staten Island was granted 
by Queen Anne, to Lancaster Symes, on the 22d of October, 
1708. It conveyed all unappropriated lands, meadows, etc., 
etc., on the island, at an annual rent of six shillings current 
money of New York, payable on Lady-day of each year. It is 
recorded at Albany in book No. 7 of Patents, page 371, and 
quite recently recorded in this county. 

The following receipts copied from the originals will be of in- 
terest to show the manner in which the business was done. 
Numerous receipts of the kind may be found in all parts of the 
county. 

"Received of A rent Van Amer Two Bushells and a half of 
Wheat in full for One years Quitt Rent of two Lotts of Land 
on Staten Island, one Granted to Philip Bendell & the other to 
John Taylor the 15th December 1680, being to the 25th March 
last, as Witness my hand this 12th August 1761. 

RICH D NICHOLLS Dep l - v Rec r Geni." 

"Received of Arent Van Amer Five bushells of Wheat in 
full for two Years Quitt Rent of the two Lotts of Land above 
mentioned to the 25th March last. As Witness my hand the 
10th June 1763. 

RICHD. NICHOLLS Dep^' Rec,- Gen 1 ." 



"Received of Aarnt Van Amer Five Bushells of Wheat in 
full for two years Quitt Rent of the two Lotts of Land above 
mentioned to the 25th of March last. As Witness my hand 
this 2'd May 1765. 

RICHD. NICHOLLS Depty Rec r Gen 1 ." 

The above receipts are all written in a distinct, but very 
cramped hand on a scrap of paper 4 by 6 inches. The three 
following are written on the reverse side of the same paper. 

" Received of Arent Van Amer two bushells and a half of 
Wheat in full for one years Quit Rent of the before mentioned 
Lotts of Land due 25 March last. 

New York 14 May 1766 JOHN MOORE Dep. Rec r . Gem." 

9 



130 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

" Received of Arent Van Amer Two Bushells & a half of 
Wheat in full for One Years Quit Rent of the before mentioned 
Lotts of land due 25 March last. 

Witness my hand 13 May 1767 

JOHN MOORE Dep. Rec r . Gen 1 ." 



"Reed of Arent Van Amen Two Bushells & half of Wheat in 
full for one Years Quit Rent of the above mentioned Lotts due 
25th March last. Witness my hand the 6th July 1768." 



There are three other receipts for wheat, bringing the pay- 
ment down to March 25th, 1775. The individual mentioned by 
the names of Arent Van Amer Van Amen Van Naum, was 
Aaron Van Name, the grandfather of Mr. Michael Van Name, 
and his brother Charles Van Name, both of Mariner's Harbor. 



"Patent granted to John Taylor for a Tract of Land on Staten 
Island dated 15th Decem r 1680 at One & a half Bushel Wheat 
per Annum. 



( From 25 March 1775 



Aaron Van Naum - to 25 May 1787 is 12 
( Deduct 8.- 



4. 2 @ 9/ 1. 17. 6 
14 years commutation 9/ 6. 6. - 



8. 3. 6 

Reced New York June 21st 1787 from Aaron Van Naum per 
the hands of Joshua Mercereau Esq. Public Securities which 
with the Interest calculated thereon to the 25th May last 
amounts to Eight Pounds three shillings & Six Pence in full for 
Arrears of Commutation on the above Patent. 



8. 3. 6 PETER S. CARTENIUS State And r " 



It will be observed that during the royal government the quit 
rent was payable in wheat, according to the terms of the patent. 
Under the federal government it appears to have been com- 
muted for money. 

Resuming the order of our narrative we find the commotions 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 131 

which had disturbed the people here for many years and finally 
reached the culmination of disorder and unrest in the usurpa- 
tion of Leisler, were followed by an extended period of com- 
parative tranquility, during which the colonial government was 
established upon a more equitable basis and was more uniform 
in its administration. From this time forward till the disrup- 
tion of the colonial government in May, 1775, the throne of 
Great Britain held undisputed control over the colony of New 
York. The government, as then constituted and afterward 
maintained, was composed of the governor and council, ap- 
pointed by the throne, and the assembly, whose members were 
elected by the freeholders of each county. The council at first 
numbered seven members, but was afterward increased to 
twelve. The governor was the chief executive. The legislative 
power lay in the governor, council and assembly. All laws 
were further subject to the revision of the king, to whom they 
were always to be sent within three months from the date of 
their passage. 

Governor Slaughter appears to have shown more regard for 
the rights and wishes of the people than his predecessors had 
done, or some of his successors did. He succeeded, as far as 
the nature of the government would allow, in quieting the 
commotions that had disturbed the peace of the people, and in 
restoring harmony and friendly relations in the colony. Among 
his first acts was the confirmation, under the seal of the prov- 
ince, of all grants, charters or patents that had previously 
been issued. We may say that with his administration a new 
era commenced. The gubernatorial reins passed in frequent 
succession from one to another down through the prosperous 
years of the colony. 

The governors and time of their administrations were as 
follows, those who died in office being marked by an asterisk (*): 

Henry Slaughter,* 1691 ; Richard Ingoldsby, 1691-92 ; Ben- 
jamin Fletcher, 1692-98 ; Richard, Earl of Bellmont,* 1698- 
1701 ; John Nanfan, 1701-02 ; Lord Cornbury, 1702-08 ; John, 
Lord Lovelace,* 1708-09; Richard Ingoldsby, 1709-10; Ger- 
ardus Beekman, 1710; Robert Hunter, 1710-19 ; Peter Schuyler, 
1719-20; William Burnet,* 1720-28 ; John Montgomery,* 1728- 
31 ; Rip Van Dam, 1731-32 ; William Casby*, 1732-36*; George 
Clarke, 1736-43 ; George Clinton, 1743-53 ; Sir Danvers Os- 
borne,* 1753 ; James De Lancey, 1753-55 ; Sir Charles Hardy, 



132 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

1755-57; James De Lancey,* 1757-60 ; Cadwallader Colden, 
1760-61; Robert Monkton, 1761; Cadwallader Colden, 1761-65; 
Sir Henry Moore,* 1765-69 ; Cadwallader Colden, 1769-70 ; 
John, Lord Dunmore, 1770-71 ; Willam Tryon, 1771-77. 

We now turn to notice the courts, the officers connected with 
them, and some of their works, during this period. The courts 
were at first held in different places in the county, wherever 
convenience indicated. It is not known at what time they were 
first held at Stony Brook as a regular place for them, but we 
find the custom prevailing during the early years of the eigh- 
teenth century. At the same time the jail seems to have been 
at " Cuckoldstown," the early name for Richmond, where it 
was built in 1710, as the following order would indicate : 

" Ordered that Mr. Lambart Garisone and Mr. Wm. Tillyer. 
See the prison House built at Cuckols Towne y e Dimensions 
Twelve foot in breadth, fourteen foot Long, Two Story high, 
six foot y e Loer Room from beam to plank, and the uper Story 
Six foot, all to be built with stone, and for building of the sd. 
prison the Said Undertakers have hereby power To take the 
Monys out of the Collectors hands for carying on the sd. work 
it the order of y e sd. Undertakers & Receipts shall be a Suffi- 
cient discharge to y e sd. Collectors." 

This building proved inadequate to the purpose as is seen by 
the fact that at a court of sessions held in the court house at 
Stony Brook, on the 5th day of March, in the ninth of his Ma- 
jestys' reign (1723), "Benjamin Bill Eq r high Sheriffe of the 
County of Richmond Complains to the Court of the Insuffi- 
ciency of his majesty Goal for the said County that it is all to- 
gether soe Insufficiency that it is impossible to keep any pris- 
oner safe as the Said Goal Divers prisoners having lately Es- 
caped thereout and therefore the said sheriffe protest against 
the Inhabitants of the County of Richmond for Repairing the 
said Goal and against all waits Escapes that may Ensue for the 
Insufficiency of the said Goal and pray that his protest may be 
t ntered accordingly." 

In 1725, Nicholas Larzelier, then high sheriff, repeated the 
same complaint in the same terms. Two years after he repeated 
it again, but what result attended the complaints we are not in- 
formed. A new court house and jail were probably erected at 
Richmond, whence the county seat was removed and estab- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 133 

lislied. The earliest mention of the court of sessions being held 
at Richmond is dated September 2, 1729. 

Previous to the erection of a court house the courts were held 
in private houses or taverns. The following entry gives some 
hints : 

"March 2, 1713 - Court a journed till to morow at Ten 
of the Clock in the forenoon to the North Side To Coll Grahams 
Court opened, and ajourned Till y e fist Tuesday on 7ber [Sep- 
tember] next. God Save the Queen." 

Col. Aug. Graham was one of the judges of the common pleas 
and sessions. 

Debtors were arrested and obliged to give bail or go to prison. 
The return of the precept of arrest by the sheriff or constable 
was " Cepi Corpus." In almost every instance where a prisoner 
was acquitted by the jury, he was discharged by the court upon 
payment of costs. The courts of general sessions were fre- 
quently conducted by an overflowing bench, as for example, on 
the 22d of September, 1761, there were present the first, second 
and third judges, and nine justices, making in all a bench 
of twelve. It was a common thing for a court to be constituted 
with eight, nine or ten judges. 

The following abstracts from court records will be read with 
nterest : 

'At a Court of Sessions held for the county of Richmond 
March 3, 1712. 

"Jos\ Arrowsniith, Lambert Garrison, jSTathi Britton, 
Abm. Coole [Cole], Peter Rezeau, Esq 8 . 

" March y e 4th. Court opened and Grand Jury calld. The 
presentmts of the Grand Jury brought in ; the Court orders 
prosess to be issued out against those presented viz. Peter 
Bibout for beating Mr Mony [Manee] and his wiffe. Barnt Mar 
ling, Andrew Bowman, William Foord & The Taylor peter 
peryne & Vn. Buttler, Peter Catherick and Nath 1 Brittin Junr. 
all for fighting. John Dove and John Bilew for carrying of 
Syder upon the Sabbath Day. Abraham Van Tyle for allowing 
his negroe to Gary Irone to the Smiths on the Sabbath day, and 
Mark Disosway for being drunk on the Sabbath day." 



At a court of sessions held March 5th, 1716, " it was ordered 
by the court that Nicholas Brittin pay Twelve shillings ffine 
for his misbehavior to Nath 1 Brittin Esq. and also ordered that 



134 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

he beg Justice Brittins pardon and promise to doe so no more, 
and also to pay all the charges of this action." 

September 3d, 1717, all the retailers of strong liquors were 
summoned to appear before the court of general sessions to 
show by what authority they retailed ; thereupon appeared 
" Mauris Williams, Jean Brown, Anthony Wright, Barnt 
Symerson, Daniel Lane, John Garrea, David Bisset, Cornelius 
Eyman, Lamb* Garrittson Jim. Benjn Bill, Jacob Johnson, Isaac 
Symerson, Joseph Bastido" thirteen in the whole county. 

Simon Van Name was a justice of the peace, and a prominent 
man in his day. We give below copies of a couple of legal 
documents issued by him: 

" Richmond County 

To the Constable of the north diuision where as Complaind 
is made by Euert van name unto me Simon van name one of his 
Magistices Justice of the peace that Hennery day owith him 
the Sum of Seuen Shillings and neglect to Pay the same this is 
theair for to require you to somins the same hennery day to 
apear before me at my dweling house on thursday next at one 
of the aclock in the after noon which will be the 13 day of this 
instient month els Jugment shall go against him by The fault 
giuen from under my hand this the tenth day of March Ano 
domini 1728-9 

SlME VAN NAME." 

The following venire has a paper attached to it containing the 
names of twenty persons, the first twelve of whom are num- 
bered, and probably constituted the jury in the cause: 
" Richmond to the Constable of 

County the North devision 

Where as there is an action depending between Tommas mor- 
gan plantif & Isaac Garrison Defended Both of the County 
Abousd [above said] and the Defendant Desires a Jury upon 
the sd Action These are therefore in his Maiestyes Name to 
Require & Command you to Svmmons Twelve Sufficient Men 
to Appear Before me on Wensday next at Twelve of the Clock 
in the forenoon of the Sameday at my Dwelling Hous to Serve 
as Jvrers upon the sd Action Depending Whereof fail not 
Given under my hand Thee twenty seventh day of July Annoq. 
Dom. 1730 

SlME VAN NAME." 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 135 

Names attached; " 1 Abraham corshon, 2 richard crips, 3 
John mengalroll, 4 garet cruse, 5 philip merel, 6 honas deker, 
7 barnt sweme, 8 ranses bodine, 9 nicholes stilwell, 10 nichles 
depue, 11 John boker, 12 tunas te bout, nickles bush, mr 
couanouer, art simanson, Jacob benet, lambart garison. thomas 
lisk, alexander lisk, ben goman ayrs." 

On the reverse of the venire are the following endorsements: 
" Richmond County July the 29 
the Jury finds for the sd defendant. 

venire 0. 1. 6 

to the constabel 0. 

swaring the Jury 2. 

swaring y evdens 1. 6 

swaring the Constel 6 

Entring verdeck 1. 



66 

The last court of common pleas and general sessions in this 
county under the colonial government was held September 26, 
1775. Following that a period of nearly nine years elapsed be- 
fore another court of the kind was held. 

The following names appear as justices of the peace in this 
county at an early period: Ellis Duxbury, 1692; John Shotwell, 
1692; Abraham Lackman, 1693; Cornelis Corsen, 1689-90; 
Joseph Billop, 1702-3. 

The only case of capital punishment executed under a decree 
of the colonial courts, of which we have learned, took place 
about two or three years before the revolutionary war. We 
depend entirely upon tradition for the account of it, which is as 
follows : A negro, named Anthony Neal, was accused of break- 
ing into and robbing the store kept by Col. Aaron Cortelyou. 
The goods that were taken from the store did not exceed in 
value twenty dollars, and they were all found secreted in a 
wheat feald near by. The accused negro, after being imprisoned 
about two months, was tried and convicted and hung. The ex- 
ecution took place just by the school house at Richmond, the 
negro protesting his innocence with his latest breath. It is said 
that on the day following the execution his wife confessed that 
she had committed the theft herself. 

A slight outline of certain important events in European his- 
tory now appears necessary as an introduction to the memorial 



136 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

of an interesting incident, of which Staten Island was the 
scene in the autumn of 1761. Between the years 1756 and 1763 
the seven years' war raged in Germany. In this remarkable 
contest the great Frederick had to defend his recently acquired 
Silesia and the new kingly dignity of his house against the 
combined powers of France, Austria and Russia. This war 
with " the three petticoats " (Elizabeth, Maria Theresa and the 
Pompadour), as he facetiously termed them, was in fact, on his 
part, a desperate struggle for existence, in which he would per- 
haps have succumbed but for the aid of England. In that 
country Frederick, whose religious ideas were of the most un- 
orthodox liberality, came somehow to be regarded as " the 
Protestant hero," and after ignominiously defeating the French 
he naturally became the popular idol. 

This same seven years' war covers in American history a 
space of nine years, and is known by the name of the French 
and Indian war, beginning in 1754, with the disputes about the 
French and English colonial boundaries in the Mississippi and 
Ohio valleys, and blending ultimately with the great European 
contest. In the spring of 1755 the colonies made extensive 
preparations for an attack on the French, but owing to the ig- 
norance of their commanders in regard to the tactics of Indian 
warfare the campaign was utterly unsuccessful. Crown Point 
and Niagara were both assailed, but neither captured. In the 
campaign of 1756 the English losses were even greater, their 
fort at Oswego, with 1,600 men, being captured by the French. 
This was followed by the still more unsuccessful campaign of 
1757, in which Fort William Henry, on Lake George, with its 
garrison of 3,000 men was compelled to surrender to the 
French. 

In 1758, William Pitt (afterward Lord Chatham) was placed 
at the head of the government as prime minister of England. 
A new impulse was now given to the energies of the nation, 
and success followed. In July, Louisburg, which at the former 
peace had been restored to the French, was recaptured. Fort 
Frontenac was captured soon after, and the French were 
compelled to abandon Fort du Quesne. General Abercrombie 
attacked Fort Ticonderoga, but was obliged to retire. 

Encouraged by these successes, the colony of New York re- 
newed her exertions with the utmost energy. In 1759, during 
the short period of live months she raised a sum of $625,000 to aid 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 137 

in carrying on the war, and levied a force of 2,680 men. In that 
levy the quota for Richmond county was 55 men. Ticonderoga 
was captured by General Amherst, early in the season, and 
Crown Point surrendered a few days later. In July, General 
Prideanx invested Fort Niagara, and though he was killed in 
the attack, Sir William Johnson, his successor in the command, 
effected its reduction. On the 13th of September, General 
Wolfe laid down his own life in the moment of victory, when 
the English banners floated over the towers of Quebec. In 1700, 
the French made an unsuccessful attempt to recapture Quebec, 
and on the 8th of September, all the French possessions in 
Canada, except the two small islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, 
at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, were surrendered to the Eng- 
lish. The provincial forces who had been engaged in its reduc- 
tion, now turned their faces homeward, while a large body of 
British troops were established in a camp on Staten Island, 
where they remained for several months. General Robert 
Moncton had command of this army. During their encamp 
ment here an important ceremony, the investment of Sir Jeffery 
Amherst with the "Order of the Bath " took place, and to this 
interesting event our introductory remarks under this sub- 
ject pointed. Probably Staten Island was never honored with 
being the scene of a more dignified or important royal ceremony. 

On the 28th of August, 1761, General Amherst, having rode 
on horseback down the west side of the Hudson river from 
Albany, arrived in camp at Staten Island. The 35th regiment 
of British regulars, called Otway's regiment, from its com- 
mander, had arrived in the Staten Island camp from Albany about 
two weeks previous. The ceremony of investing General Am- 
herst with the knighthood took place October 25, 1761, in the 
presence of all the dignitaries of the province and a large con- 
course of spectators, assembled at the camp on Staten Island. 

The explanation will not be out of place here that the mili- 
tary order of Knights of the Bath originated, as is supposed, 
about the time of Henry IV, of England. At the coronation of 
that king, in 1339, a number of esquires were made knights of 
the bath because they had watched and bathed meanwhile during 
the preceding night. From that time it was usual for the kings 
of Great Britain to create knights of this order on great and 
joyous occasions, such as their own coronation or the birth or 
marriage of princes or on the eve or following the successful 



138 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

issue of some great foreign expedition. The investment of 
General Amherst was probably in honor of the advantageous 
conclusion of the struggle with the French on the Canadian 
frontier. The badge of the order was of pure gold, a sceptre of 
three united imperial crowns, from which grew the rose, the 
thistle and the shamrock, and around which was inscribed 
the ancient motto, " Trio, juncta in uno." It was hung by a 
red ribbon from the collar obliquely over the right shoulder. 
Other accessories of the insignia a massive gold collar, rich in 
engraved designs, and a silver star resembling the badge and 
with a glory of rays proceeding from its center, to adorn the 
left shoulder. The order was divided into three ranks, desig- 
nated in importance as first, knights grand crosses ; second, 
knights commanders, and third, knights companions. The 
proper place for their installation to be celebrated was in the 
nave of Henry the Seventh's chapel, Westminster Abbey, 
which in this instance was impracticable. The warrant for 
the ceremony here was found in the following letter from the 
prime minister of England: 

" Whitehall, July 17th, 1761. 
"Sir, 

"His Majesty having been graciously pleased, as a Mark 
of His Royal Approbation, of the many and eminent Services 
of Major General Amherst, to nominate him to be one of the 
Knights Companions of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath; 
and it being necessary that he should be invested with the En- 
signs of the said Order, which are transmitted to him, by this 
Opportunity; I am to signify to you the King's Pleasure, that 
you should perform that Ceremony; and it being his Majesty's 
Intention, that the same be done in the Most Honourable and 
Distinguished Manner that Circumstances will allow of, you 
will concert, and adjust with General Amherst such Time and 
Manner for Investing him with the Ensigns of the Order of 
the Bath as shall appear to you most proper for shewing all 
due Respect to the King's Order, and as may, at the same 
Time mark in the most publick Manner, His Majesty's just 
sense of the Constant Zeal, and Signal Abilities, which Gen- 
eral Amherst has exerted in the Service of His King and 
Country. 

" I am &c. 

" W. PITT. 

"Honourable Robert Monckton." 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 139 

In presence of the concourse of people assembled at the time 
and place appointed for the ceremonies General Moncton read 
the foregoing letter, and then proceeded to place the ribbon over 
General Amherst's shoulder, meanwhile making an apology 
that circumstances would not admit of more formal investi- 
ture. To this General Amherst replied in the following short 
speech : 

" Sir: I am truly sensible of this distinguishing mark of His 
Majesty's royal approbation of my conduct, and shall ever 
esteem it as such. And I must beg leave to express to you the 
peculiar satisfaction I have, and the pleasure it gives me to re- 
ceive this mark of favor from your hands." 

Demonstrations of applause followed the ceremony, and a 
few days later, when General Amherst went from Staten Island 
to the city his arrival there was greeted by the firing of seven- 
teen guns from Fort George. He was now spoken of as "his 
Excellency Sir Jeffery Amherst, K. B., from the army on 
Staten Island." Following this ceremony General Moncton 
was installed governor of New York, and the city was illumi- 
nated. 

Governor Moncton did not remain in the seat of state, but 
appointing a deputy, he went with the army on its expedition 
to the West Indies. The army encamped on Staten Island com- 
prised eleven regiments who had returned from the Canadian 
frontier, under Generals Moncton, Amherst and Otway. The 
encampment was on the central part of the island, and they 
remained here from August till November. Here they formed 
a market and invited the farmers to bring in stock and produce 
to sell to the army. When all was ready the army embarked 
on board of a fleet of one hundred sail of vessels, which on 
the 15th of November put to sea with a fair wind. 

Reviewing the French war, we find but little in which the 
people of Staten Island were directly connected with it. They 
raised their proportion of money and their quota of men as 
contributions to sustain the cause. Of the men we have no 
knowledge farther than that Thomas Arrowsmith was captain 
of a company in 1758 and '59, and Anthony Waters was a 
captain in 1760. 

One of the most important services was the capture of the 
French Fort Frontenac, on the 27th of August, 1758. With 
3,000 men, mostly provincials, Colonel Bradstreet traversed 



140 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

the wilderness between Albany and Lake Ontario, carrying 
with him eight pieces of cannon, and three mortars. Among 
these troops was a regiment commanded by Colonel Corse, of 
Queens county, and in that regiment was Captain Thomas Ar- 
rowsmith's company of Staten Islanders. This regiment con- 
tributed materially to the success of the expedition. Corse 
volunteered to erect a battery during the night of the 26th, and 
effected his purpose under a continuous fire from the fort. On 
the morning of the 27th, this battery opened on the enemy, 
who at once deserted the fort and fled. The material captured 
with the fort consisted of forty-six pieces of cannon, sixteen 
mortars, and a very large quantity of military stores, provisions 
and merchandise. 

In connection herewith the following advertisement which 
appeared in April, 1756, affords interesting suggestions and ex- 
plains itself, though we do not know the result: 

SCHEME 
Of a Lottery for raising One Hundred and Fifty Pounds. 

"Whereas the Free holders and Inhabitants of the County 
of Richmond, are enabled by an Act of the Governor, Council 
and General Assembly, of the Colony of New York, to raise 
by Way of Lottery a Sum not exceeding the sum of One Hun- 
dred and Fifty Pounds, to purchase Arms and Accoutrements, 
fin- the Use of such Persons, in the said County, as are unable 
to prbvide themselves therewith, in Cases of Necessity. And 
whereas the said County of Richmond is a Frontier County, 
and liable, in Case of an Attack, to be the first invaded, it is 
hoped all Lovers of their Country will generously encourage 
the said Lottery. 
No. of Prizes. Pieces of Eight. Whole Value. 

1 of 375 is 375 

2 187 and a half are 375 
4 125 500 

10 25 250 

25 12 300 

4(3 10 400 

60 5 300 



142 Prizes. 
858 Blanks. 



1,000 Tickets at 2 and a Half Pieces of 8 is 2,500 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 141 

' As soon as the Lottery is finished Drawing, the Prizes will 
be published in the New York Gazette, and the Money paid to 
the Possessors of the fortunate Tickets, fourteen Days after the 
Drawing of the said Lottery, Fifteen per Cent, being first de- 
ducted out of the Whole ; which several Deductions of Fifteen 
per Cent, are to be applied for the Purposes aforesaid. 

"Proper Notice will be given by the Persons appointed to 
manage the said Lottery, of the precise Time of Drawing the 
same ; which Persons are Mr. Samuel Brooms and Colonel Ben- 
jamin Seamans, who are to give Bond, and be under Oath, for 
the faithful Performance of the Trust reposed in them. 

"Tickets are to be sold by the said Managers at their respect- 
ive Dwellings, in the said County, and by the Promoters 
hereof." 

Some description of scenes and physical improvements under 
the colonial period will be of interest, and may perhaps be pre- 
sented here as fitly as elsewhere. The laying out of roads was 
one of the first forms of public improvement, some of which 
remain in their original position to the present day. As matter 
of interest in connection herewith we copy the following record. 

" This following Instrument was Recorded for the Inhabit- 
ants of the west divishone by the order of the worshipefull 
bench sitting in Coarte of seshones the week In September 1694 
for the Regelating & Laying out all the highwayes with in said 
quarter & Entred upon Record the : 9th day of septr 1694. 
Richmond County this first day of September annoque dom: 
1694: By vertue of Awarend dyreckted to the Coustabell of the 
west dyvishone with In the fore said County to sommonse the 
free holders of said quarter to Asemble & meete to Gather to 
Ereckte Apoainte & Lay out such hyghwaies with in said quar- 
ter As the Inhabitants shall thinke futt and most Conveainent 
for the youse & behoofe of his magistie and his subgeckts & for 
the Inhabitants That lives back in the woods to transport them- 
selvfes & Goods to the water sid. The freeholders having mett 
to Gather on the day & yeare Above written And ordred and 
apoainted & Laid out the highwayes as heare after are spresi- 
fied 

: 1 : ordered one highway of six Rod to be betwene Anthoney 
deshon and lofa fonoay Cut by Consent Alltred and Laid out 
betwene Anthoney deshon and Jerome deshon begining att the 
Could spring 



142 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

: 2 : To one highway betwene Clays Lazeleare & John Cor- 
nealisone of six Rood 

: 3 : To one highway betwene Williame Elstones Land de- 
ceased & abraham Coole of six Rod. 

: 4 : To one highway betwene mr Leflore & peter Jonsea wide 
of six Rod 

: 5 : To one high way betwene Adame hud & mr Emet next to 
adem hud of six Rod 

: 6 : To one high way betwene fransis barber & the Copper 
Planes of six Rod 

: 7 : To one high way betwene John Ray & markes disosway 
of six Rods 

: 8 : To one highway betwene mr John Lecount & Capten 
bilope of six Rod 

: 9 : To one highway from the west side begining alt mr Le- 
counts frount & Runes Cleare over throw the wods by the Line 
of Capten bilope to the widow bealies house 

: 10 : To one highway betwene Cornell dongones Land and 
anthoney Tyse throw the wods To the west side betwene the 
Guset and Richard wods Land but Left out of the Guset & soe 
downe betwene Abraham Cooles & the Land that was william 
Elstones 

: 11 : To one high way betwene mr Cathentone & the widow 
haule of six Rood 

: 12 : To one high way betwene domeney tarsmaker & John 
bodine of six rood 

: 13 : To one high way by the water side from John bodines 
to Capten bilopes Land of eight Rod 

: 14 : To one high way by the water side begining att mr John 
Leconnts & soe to the pipe makers and from thence throw the 
woods to the water side by peter Jonseames his house and from 
thence by the water side to the Land of John hendriksone 

: 15 : To one high way from peter Jonseameses alongst the 
water side in the frount of mr Stimorles Land & adaham huds 
& Elishea parbers and soe alongst the water side to the Coper 
planers 

:16 : To one high way from the koirb of John hendrikesone 
alongst the water side To Clais Laseleare 

This is atrew Record by the order of the Coarte of seshones 
"Entred & Recorded by mee 

" JACOB CORBETT : Cla : " 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 143 

In compliance with a similar order of the court of sessions 
March 4, 1700, relating to the inhabitants of the north division, 
the following roads were laid out in that quarter and recorded 
the 17th day of March, 1700 : 

" 1 : To one highway along the front of Karels neck Six Rods 
in breadth & so along royl land where oswald ford liveth 

: 2 : To one high way between the Land of Christian Corsson 
& Segir gerritse running to Coecles Town Six rodd in breadth." 

There is a tradition that the Richmond road is the oldest road 
on the island, but at what date it was opened we are not in- 
formed. Very probably it follows the course of a pre-historic 
Indian trail. It is said that it was originally laid out eight 
rods in width. The object of this was to prevent as much as 
possible the danger of Indians lying in ambush and attacking 
travellers unawares, by giving a chance for clear vision some 
distance ahead. 

A road from Betty Morgan's house to Dongan's lower mill 
was closed and another opened in its stead April 8, 17oS. The 
latter ran from the road that connected Karle's neck and Rich- 
mond, beginning on that road at a point on John Betty's land, 
thence past Betty Morgan's house, taking on its way the course 
of the "gully running to Mr. Totten's Bridge," and other lines 
and paths till it reached Colonel Dongan's lower mill. 

A road from Darby Doyle's ferry to Billop's ferry, and 
another from the Narrows or Simonson's ferry to meet the other 
at the school house of Garrison's were laid out March 14, 1774. 
A road from the soldiers' lots to John Bodine's was laid out at 
the same time. 

From a publication in London, dated 1760, we abstract the 
following description of Staten Island at that time : 

" Staten Island at its east end has a ferry of three miles to 
the west end of Long Island ; at its west end is a ferry of one 
mile to Perth- Amboy of East Jersies ; it is divided from East 
Jersies by a creek ; is in length about twelve miles, and about 
six miles broad, and makes one county, called Richmond, which 
pays scarce one in one and twenty of the provincial tax ; it is 
all in one parish, but several congregations, viz., an English, 
Dutch, and French congregation ; the inhabitants are mostly 
English ; only one considerable village called Cuckold's-town." 

Professor Kalm, a French traveller, made the journey from 
Philadelphia to New York, by way of Staten Island, on horse- 



144 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

back in 1748. The party of which he was a member left Phihi 
delphia October 27th, and came by way of Bristol, Trenton, 
Princeton, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Elizabethtown and 
Staten Island. From his accounts of the places on his route 
we make the following extract. 

" At night we took up our lodgings -At Elizabethtown, Point, an 
inn about two English miles distant from the town, and the 
last house on this road belonging to New Jersey. The man who 
had taken the lease of it, together with that of the ferry near 
it, told us that he paid a hundred and ten pounds of Pennsyl- 
vania currency to the owner. 

" October the 30th. We were ready to proceed on our jour- 
ney at sun rising. Near the inn where we had passed the night, 
we were to cross a river, and we were brought over, together 
with our horses, in a wretched, half rotten ferry. This river 
came a considerable way out of the country, and small vessels 
could easily sail up it. This was a great advantage to the in- 
habitants of the neighboring country, giving them an oppor- 
tunity of sending their goods to New York with great ease ; and 
they even made use of it for trading to the West Indies. The 
country was low on both sides of the river, and consisted of 
meadows. But there was no other hay to be got, than such as 
commonly grows in swampy grounds ; for as the tide comes up 
in this river, these low plains were sometimes overflowed when 
the water was high. The people hereabouts are said to be 
troubled in summer with immense swarms of gnats or musque. 
toes, which sting them and their cattle. This was ascribed to 
the low swampy meadows, on which these insects deposite their 
eggs, which are afterwards hatched by the heat. 

" As soon as we had got over the river, we were upon Staten 
Island, which is quite surrounded with salt water. This is the 
beginning of the province of New York. Most of the people 
settled here were Dutchmen, or such as came hither whilst the 
Dutch were yet in possession of this place. But at present 
they were scattered among the English and other European 
inhabitants, and spoke English for the greatest part. The 
prospect of the country here is extremely pleasing, as it is not 
so much intercepted by woods, but offers more cultivated fields 
to view. Hills and vallies still continued, as usual to change 
alternately. 

v ' The farms were near each other. Most of the houses were 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 145 

wooden ; however, some were built of stone. Near every farm- 
house was an orchard with apple trees ; the fruit was already 
for the greatest part gathered. Here, and on the whole jour- 
ney before, I observed a press for cyder at every farm-house, 
made in different manners, by which the people had already 
pressed the juice out of the apples, or were just busied with 
that work. Some people made use of a wheel made of thick 
oak planks, which turned upon a wooden axis by means of a 
horse drawing it, much in the same manner as the people do 
with woad ; except that here the wheel runs upon planks. 
Cherry trees stood along the enclosures round corn-fields. 

" The corn fields were excellently situated, and either sown 
with wheat or rye. They had no ditches on their sides, but (as 
is usual in England) only furrows; drawn at greater or less dis- 
tances from each other. 

"In one place we observed a water mill, so situated that 
when the tide flowed the water ran into a pond : but when it 
ebbed the floodgate was drawn up, and the mill driven by the 
water flowing out of the pond. 

" About eight of the clock in the morning we arrived at the 
place where we were to cross the water, in order to come to the 
town of New York. We left our horses here and went on 
board the yacht : we were to go eight English miles by sea ; 
however we landed about eleven o'clock in the morning at New 
York. We saw a kind of wild ducks in immense quantities 
upon the water : the people called them Slue bills, and they 
seemed to be the same with our Pintail ducks, or Linnaeus' s 
Anasacuta : but they were very shy." 

Without any especial attempt at order in arrangement or 
date we shall now review such of the customs and habits of the 
people of this period as the sources of our information afford 
us a glimpse of. 

In colonial times the people used wooden trenches and pew- 
ter platters and other dishes at their meals, the poorer classes 
using the former and the more wealthy using the latter. They 
were very fond of pewter mugs and porringers, which were a 
kind of round bowl with a handle prettily carved, and was 
used more particularly for drinking chocolate, that beverage 
being then more common than tea or coffee. Chocolate was the 
common drink for supper. Coffee and tea were little used, 
though it is said coffee was introduced here about 1650. When 
10 



146 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

tea was first introduced here there seems to have been some un- 
certainty as to what was its most appropriate use, An amus- 
ing story is told of one Mr. Crocheron, who, having heard of 
the new herb called tea, bought a pound of it and took it 
home. When he wished to boil a ham he thought the aromatic 
qualities of the tea would improve it, so he strewed his pound 
of tea over the ham and boiled them all up together. To have 
her pewter ware scoured clean and bright, and well arranged for 
display on the shelves of her kitchen was the pride of the in- 
dustrious housewife. Feather beds were in common use, sum- 
mer and winter. 

The general breakfast of rich and poor was suppaun and 
milk. Toast and cider was a very common article of diet, the 
bread being toasted and put, into the cider, and sometimes the 
cider was substituted by chocolate. They often had four meals 
a day. After the breakfast described above came dinner in the 
middle of the day, at which a favorite dish was "samp-por- 
ridge," a kind of soup made with meat, potatoes, turnips and 
the like. Between daylight and dark they took a light lunch, 
with, perhaps, a cup of tea, then had supper about nine o'clock. 
This consisted of suppaun and milk, or bread and milk, or 
toast and cider again. Thus it will be noticed that though 
they had frequent meals their bill of fare was a very plain one 
and was not remarkable for its variety. 

To ride on horseback was a much more common method of 
travelling than it is now. It was indeed then the most com- 
mon one in use. A man took his wife and a young man took 
his girl, on the same horse with himself, the lady riding behind 
her cavalier. Sometimes a pillion was used, but they generally 
rode bare-back. Vehicles were very rare, and consisted almost 
entirely of farm wagons and carts, which were used for pur- 
poses of pleasure as well as business. Carpets on the floors 
were then almost unknown, but the tidy housewife of those 
times kept the floors of her living rooms well scrubbed, bright 
and clean, and then sprinkled white sand over them, distributing 
it in frescoes over the floor by artistic flourishes of the broom. 

Shortly before the revolution, tradition asserts that the people 
were unusually superstitious. A number of stories of witches 
and strange apparitions are handed down. One tells of a child 
that was seen at night all clothed in red on a certain rock at 
Springville which lay across the road from the school house, 



II [STORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 147 

but has since been blasted. Another tells us of a mysterious 
black dog as large as a horse that used to frequent a spot called 
" the signs," and at night would appear beside horseback riders 
and trot along with them. One negro who was riding with a 
broad-axe in his hand, had the boldness to strike a terrific blow, 
but the dog vanished from beneath it and the axe fell to the 
ground. Another tells of a negro slave who ran away and a 
well disposed witch brought him back and placed him in his 
bed at night. But he was so much exhausted from the 
rough handling of the witch that he could not get out of bed 
for three or four days. There were also the " Haunted Woods," 
on the road to Old Town, and the " Haunted Bridge," on the 
road to Amboy, each of which had its tale of supernatural 
mystery. Had the sage of "Sunnyside" pitched his tent for 
awhile on Staten Island he might have embalmed some of them 
in the charms of classic literature, where perchance they would 
have been rivals for " Sleepy Hollow " or " Rip Van Winkle." 

In the time of which we are speaking flax was raised here, 
and linen manufactured from it in the families of the farmers. 
"Flax bees" were social merry-making occasions on which 
labor was combined with entertainment. The flax having been 
properly rotted was " crackled," "hatcheled" and otherwise 
prepared for the more tedious work of spinning and weaving. 
After the work of the evening was done girls and boys would join 
in a dance for a considerable part of the balance of the night. 
And who shall say that the sturdy youths and ruddy faced 
girls of that day, in their plain home-spun clothing, after an 
evening's vigorous toil and surrounded by the rustic appurten- 
ances of the homes in which they were assembled, did not en- 
joy the sweets of social intercourse just as fully as the beaux 
and belles of to-day with all the dainty luxuries of modern 
dress and surroundings. 

Nearly all the farmers had slaves in those days. These were 
uniformly well treated. It was customary for them to live, eat 
and sleep in the kitchens. After their household duties for the 
day were accomplished the black women were commonly en- 
gaged in spinning linen or twine. The men also would spin with 
an instrument called a " haspel" the yarn for ropes, to be taken 
to the rope-walks to be made up. 

A list of the names of slaves, male and female, above four- 
teen years of age owned in the north division of Staten Island 



148 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



in .1755, is still preserved. We give the list, with the names of 
their owners, as it appears. 

"A List of The Names Male and Female belonging to 



Thomas Dongan 



Males. Females. 

1st Thomas Tice 

2d Ceaser 

3d Jack 

4th Jack Mollato 

5th Joe 

6th Eobbin 

7th Parris 

Jacob Corssen Ceneor 

1: Japhory 
2: Sam 
3: Jupeter 

Jacob Corssen Juner 

John Vegte 
1: Tom 
2: Primes 

Gerardus Beekman 

1 Bristo 

In the Care of G. Beekman and 
Belonging to John Beekman in New York. 

1: One Negro Na. Sam 

2: One Negro Na. Jo 

3: One Negro Na. Warwick 

Antony Watters 

1: One Negro Na, Sam 

2: One Negro Na, Will 

Henry Cruse 

1 One negroNa Charles 



1st Philis 

2 Peg 

3 Hanna 



1: Mary 
2: Nanne 

1 Rose 
2: Nans 

1: Bette 
2: Jean 

1 June 



1: One W Leana 
2: One W Phillis 



Cornelius Cruse 
Simon Simonson 

1: One Negro Na Napten 

Johanis de Groet 

1 : One negro Na Jack 



1: One W Na lade 
2: One W na Dina 
3: One W na Sary 
1: One W na Dina 



1: One W. Na Susanna 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Joseph Rolf 



149 



1: One negro Na, sam 



1: One W, Na Jude 
1: One W, Na Sary 
Cristeiaen Corssen 
1. One Negro Na, Jack 
2: One Negro Na Nenes 

Josuah Merseral 
1: One Negro Na Flip 1: One W, Na Darkis 

John Deceer 
1: One Negro named Jem 

Garret Crussen 



1: One W, Na Jane 
1: One W, Na mat 
1: One W, Na bet 



1: one Negro Na Bos. 
1 one, Na Jack 
1. one Na. forlen 

1. one Na Sam 
one na Bink 

1 Negor N harry 

2 Dto N John 

1 Negro Tom 

1 Negro Na Quam 

1 Negro Na Jack 

2 Dto Na Tom 

1 Negro Na Ben 
1 Negro Na kos 
1 Negro Na Kinck 

1 Negro Na Tom 

2 Dto Na Cornelias 

3 Dto Na harry 



Garrit Post 

John Roll Junr 

Barent marteling 

Richard merrill 

Otto Van tuyl 

Bastian Ellis 
John Veltmon 
Abraham Prall 

Charles Mecleen 

Margret Simonson 

Joseph Lake 

John Roll 



1. One W, Na flore 
1: One W Na Sary 



One W Na Title 
One W Na Sary 

1 W Na Jane 

2 W, Na Jude 



1 Wench Na Hage 

2 Dto Na Jane 

3 Dto Na Bet 



1 Wench Na floar 
1 Wench Na Peg 
1 Wench Na Sary 



150 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



Negro Na Lue 



1 Negro Na Tom 
1 Negro Na Sambo 

1 Negro Na harry 
1 Negro Na frank 
1 Negro Na Harry 



Elenor haughwout 

Abraham Crocheron 

Barnit De Pue 

John Crocheron 

David Cannon 
Aron Prall 

Charyty Merrill 
Joseph Begel 



1 Wench Na Bet 
1 Wench Na Mary 
1 Wench febe 



1 Wench Na Bet 



Cornelias Korsan 



1 Wench Na Philis 
Wench Na Susanna 

" A list of the Negroes of my division in the 
North Compeny of Staten Island. 

" JACOB CORSSEN Jur " 

While we are speaking of slavery the following copy of an 
advertisement dated July 5, 1756, will throw some light on the 
customs of the time in regard to the subject: 

" Run away the 2d Instant July, from John Decker, of 
Staten Island, a negro Man, being a short chubby Fellow, with 
extraordinary bushy Hair, is bare foot, and has a Soldier's 
red Great Coat on. Also run away from the Widow Haugh- 
wout, of the said Island, a negro Wench, of middle Size, is with 
Child, and speaks broken English, and has a Bundle of Clothes 
with her. It is supposed they went together. Whoever takes 
up the said negro Man and Wench, and secures them so that 
they be had again, shall have Forty Shillings Reward, and 
Charges paid by the Owners, John Decker and Widow Haugh- 
wout." 

As the life of a slave was doomed to be one of labor, intellect- 
ual cultivation was deemed unnecessary ; some few, however, 
were taught sufficiently to enable them to read the Bible, and 
as they were admitted to be responsible hereafter for the deeds 
done in this life, religious Instructions in pious families were 
not neglected. It was not unusual to see master and slave 
working together in the fields apparently on terms of perfect 
equality, but there were lines drawn, beyond which neither 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 151 

males nor females dared to trespass. In the kitchen, especially 
in the long winter evenings, the whites and blacks indiscrimin- 
ately surrounded the same huge fire, ate apples from the same 
dish, poured cider from the same pitcher, and cracked nuts and 
jokes with perfect freedom. 

The dwellings of the early settlers were unavoidably rude 
and more or less uncomfortable and inconvenient. As the so- 
ciety ripened into the Colonial period, however, some improve- 
ment was made. At first necessity compelled them to erect 
their houses without regard to anything but that. Log cabins 
were built by almost every family, and when properly con- 
structed, were comfortable and durable. They were one story 
high, with wooden chinmies and thatched roofs. In process of 
time, as their means increased, many of them erected spacious, 
and in some instances costly houses of stone, some of which 
may still be seen in various parts of the island, but they were 
almost without exception in the Dutch style of architecture 
long, low and massive. The kitchen, which was usually a sep- 
arate structure, but connected with the main house, was fur- 
nished with a spacious fire-place in some instances occupying 
one entire end of the apartment. It is said that some of these 
kitchens were furnished with doors, in front and in rear, large 
enough to allow a horse and sleigh loaded with wood, to be 
driven in at one door (the wood to be unloaded into the fire- 
place) and driven out at the opposite, but we will not pledge 
our historical veracity for the truth of the assertion. Usually 
a " back-log," of green wood, too large to be managed without 
the aid of bars and levers, was rolled into the house and placed 
against the back wall of the fire-place, then smaller materials 
were built up in front of it and ignited, and soon a bright and 
glowing fire was kindled, giving heat, and at night, light enough 
for ordinary purposes. 

The materials for these houses were abundant on almost every 
man's farm ; stones were either quarried or found on the sur- 
face ; timber grew in his own woods, where it was felled and 
dressed ; shingles were cut and split in the same place, and the 
boards and planks were sawed at some neighboring mill. Of 
these saw-mills there were several on the island ; the ruins of 
one or two of them are still to be seen. The nails were made 
by the hands of the neighboring blacksmith. Lime of the best 
quality was made by burning the shells, which were found in 



152 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

many places near the shores in large quantities, deposited there 
by the aborigines. It required much labor, and occupied much 
time to build a house of this description, but it was built to be 
occupied by generations. In the construction of houses of the 
better class, the chimneys were made of bricks imported from 
Holland, frequently as ballast, but when it was discovered that 
an article quite as good could be manufactured from American 
earth, importation ceased. Ovens were usually built outside of 
the house, and roofed over to protect them from the weather. 
The barns were low in the eaves, but very capacious, and some 
farmers had several of them, according to the size of their 
farms. 

One of the most important of a farmer's out-of-door arrange- 
ments was his hog-pen ; the number of swine which he fattened 
annually was proportioned to the number of the members of 
his family. Beside swine, every farmer fattened a "beef," and 
when the season for slaughtering came round, which was in the 
fall, after the weather had become cold, there was a busy time 
both without and within doors : what with the cutting up and 
"corning" of the meat, the labor of making sausages, head- 
cheese, rollitjes, and many other articles, even the names of 
which are now forgotten, both the males and females of the 
family were occupied for a fortnight or more. After the work 
of "killing time" was over, the long fall and winter evenings 
were devoted to the manufacture of candles, "moulds" and 
"dips." Every farm had its smoke-house, in which hams, 
shoulders, pieces of beef, and various other articles of diet, were 
hung to be cured with smoke. With his corned and smoked 
meats, his poultry, mutton and veal, the farmer's family was 
not without animal food the year round. Game of various 
kinds abounded in the forests for a long time, and was usually 
hunted by the younger members of the family. 

With few exceptions, the people were agriculturists, and 
their method of cultivation did not differ materially from that 
of the present day. Their implements of husbandry were 
usually brought from the old country, and, compared with 
those of the present day, were clumsy and ponderous. Prior 
to the introduction of harrows, which is of comparatively recent 
date, branches of trees were used in their stead. 

Every house was furnished with two spinning wheels: a large 
one, for the manufacture of woolen thread, and a small one for 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 153 

linen. A thorough, practical knowledge of the use of these 
instruments was deemed an indispensable part of a young 
lady's education; let her other accomplishments be what they 
might, without these she was not qualified to assume the care 
of a family. After the thread had been spun it was dyed; 
sumach, the bark of the black oak, chestnut, and other trees 
furnishing the materials for that purpose. Large families had 
looms of their own, with which the cloth for family use was 
woven, though there were professional weavers, whose skill was 
in demand when bed-spreads and other articles with fancy pat- 
terns were required to be made. Girls, at a very early age, 
were inducted into the mysteries of knitting, and were the re- 
cipients of many a boxed ear for " dropping stitches." Provi- 
dent familips were well supplied with woolen and linen gar- 
ments, and quantities of cloth of both materials laid aside to be 
manufactured into household articles when they might be re- 
quired. The prudent housewife made it her care to provide, an 
ample supply of clothing, not only for the living, but she had 
also laid aside grave clothes for the members of the household 
to be ready at hand when they might be required. 

There were itinerant tailors, who went from house to house, 
spending several days at each, making overcoats and such 
other garments as the women of the family could not make; and 
itinerant shoemakers, who, once each year, went on their circuit, 
making and repairing boots and shoes. 

People sometimes lived at great distances from each other, 
yet social intercourse was not neglected. On Sundays they met 
at church, and, both before and after service, family and neigh- 
borhood news was communicated and discussed. On court 
days the men from all parts of the county met at the county 
seat, where they talked over their agricultural experiences, and 
other matters of interest. But the most cheerful of all social 
assemblages, especially for young people, took place in the 
winter when the sleighing was good; then it was that those who 
were yet unmarried sought each other's society, and met at 
Richmond to indulge in the merry dance until the waning 
hours admonished them to return to their homes. The attrac- 
tions of these meetings have proved too powerful to be entirely 
abandoned, and they are still continued by the same class in 
society. 

The early Dutch settlers on Staten Island, though not a 



154 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

literary, were a pious people ; the greater part of them were 
able to read and write, as the Dutch family Bibles, and the 
beautiful chirography in many of them testify. The Walden- 
sian and Huguenot elements which amalgamated with them, 
served to intensify their religious sentiments; indeed, it could 
not well be otherwise, for it was to enjoy the peaceful exercise 
of their religion that these latter had forsaken the homes of 
their childhood and the graves of their fathers, and cheerfully 
submitted to the inconveniences and sufferings of a life in the 
wilderness; religious duties had a claim paramount to all others, 
and long before they were able to erect churches for themselves, 
their dwellings were thrown open for the accommodation of 
their neighbors, when the ministers from the city periodi- 
cally visited them. The language of Holland was, of course, 
the first in use. The Huguenots brought their French with them, 
but as the several nationalities mingled and intermarried, it 
gradually died out, and the Dutch became the prevailing tongue 
until after the conquest, when in its turn it succumbed to the 
language of the conquerors. The Dutch, however, continued 
to be used in social intercourse and the services of the sanctuary 
for a long time after the conquest, and less than half a century 
ago its uncouth accents were still heard in some dwellings. 

The Dutch were never addicted to the observance of holidays; 
Custydt, or Christinas, and Nieuw Jaar, or New Year, were 
about the only ones of a religious character in which they in- 
dulged ; Paas, or Easter was surrendered to the children, and 
Pingster or Whitsunday to the negroes. Children have not 
yet resigned their claim to their especial holiday in Dutch com- 
munities. Religious services were regularly held on Christmas, 
and on the first day of the New Year, on which occasion the 
newly elected church officers were formally inducted into their 
respective offices, and this ceremony was called " being married 
to the church." 

The following extract from the records shows the process 
of accomplishing marriage to satisfy the requirements of the 
law in early times : 

" Thes Are to giue notes to whome It may concarn that 
Richard Fathfall (?) and Elisabeth Larans [Lawrence] hath bin 
Publeshed A Cording to Law 

by DANILL STILLWELL 

on this 15th day of Oversear 

Jenewery 1682 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 155 

" The A Bone [above] Mentioned Parsons Ar Mared [married] 
By Me on the 25th day of Jenewery 1682 

RICHARD STILLWELL Justes 
"By order OBADIAH HULJIES Clarck." 

It was a common practice for farmers to allow their stock to 
run at large in the woods and wild pastures. To provide against 
loss of stock and to avoid disputes in regard to the ownership 
of animals thus running at large two institutions of the 
period were brought into requisition. These were "pounds" 
and " ear-marks." The first record that we find of the former 
is the following decree of the Court of Sessions : 

September 6, 1720, "Ordered that a good suffic* publick pound 
be erected and made at or near the burying place by the Dutch 
Church in the North precinct ; and Ordered Likewise that there 
be another pound erected in some convenient place at Smoaking 
point in the West precinct. Whoever will be at the charge of 
making sd. pounds shall have all profitt, accruing by pound- 
age." ' 

We do not know who built the pounds, or when they were 
built, or how long they were maintained. 

Ear-marks were various slits and cuts in the ears of 
cattle and sheep, and, perhaps, some other animals that were to 
be turned loose, by which they could be identified. A descrip- 
tion of the peculiar mark of each stock-owner was registered 
upon the books of the town, and the entry was generally ac- 
companied by a rude illustration of the mark. The following 
entry is an illustration of the registration : 
" March 30th Annoq Domini 1774 

" Gilbert Tottons ear mark for his cattle & sheep &c is a slit 
in the end of both ears viz. from the tip end down towards the 
head & a half moon on the upper part of the right ear. 

Entered the day and year above written by 

" PAUL MICHEAU Clk." 

The following figures, showing the population of the island at 
different times during the Colonial pei-iod, are arranged from 
tables in the documentary history of the province. 

Men. Women. Children. Blacks. Total. 

328 208 118 73 727 

. . ; 505 

1279 



156 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



White Males. White Females. 



1723 
1731 
1737 

1746 
1749 
1756 
1771 



640 



. 777 
. 856 
. 887 
. 862 
.1150 



611 
827 
763 
835 
858 
805 
1103 



255 
304 
349 
382 
409 
465 
594 



1506 
1817 
1889 
2073 
2154 
2132 
2847 



In 1693 the following persons were civil officers of Richmond 
County : 

Ellis Duxbury, Esq., judge of the common Pleas. Abraham 
Cannor (Cannon). Abraham Lakeman (Lockman), Dennis The- 
unisse and John Shadwell, justices ; John Stilwell, Esq., sheriff. 
The militia of the county consisted of two companies of foot, 
104 men in all, under the command of Capt. Andrew Cannon. 

The following are the names of civil and military officers of 
the county of Richmond for the year 1739 : 
Judges of the Court of Common Picas. Jacob Corsen, Colonel. 
John Le Conte, Judge. Christiene Corsen, Lt. Col. 

Christian Corsen, 2d Judge. Thomas Billopp, Major. 



Gozen Adrianz, 3d Judge. 
Nicolas Britton, Justice. 
Richard Stilwell, do. 
Joseph Bedell, do. 

John Veghte, do. 

Rem Vander Beek, do. 
John Latourette, do. 
Thomas Billop, do. 
Cornelius Corsen, do. 
Joshua Mersereau, do. 
Abraham Cole, do. 
Barent Martling, do. 
Nicholas Larzelere, Sheriff. 
John Hillyer, Coroner. 
Daniel Corsen, Clerk. 



North Division. 
John Veghte, Captain. 
Frederick Berge, Lieutenant. 
Jacob Corsen, Jun., Ensign 

South Division. 

Cornelius Stoothoff, Captain. 
Jacob Berge, Lieutenant. 
Aris Rvertse (Ryerss), Ensign. 

M\'st Division. 

Nathaniel Britton, Captain. 
Marthias Johnson, Lieutenant. 
Abraham Maney (Manee), Ensign. 

The Troop. 

Peter Pen-in (Perine), Captain. 
J-arret Crosse, Lieutenant. 
Wynant Wynants, Cornet. 
Danul Wynants, Qr. Master. 



AFTER V. 



THF 



ONARY PERIOD 1775 to 1783. 



Events Prior to 
cursions ar 
York and 



n of Independence. The Coming of Howe. In- 
The Close of the War and the Evacuation of New 
Incidents of the Revolutioiiarv Period. 



DUF ariod of the revolution Staten Island was 

of many important events. Located as it 
is so c the metropolis, it became a favorite spot for 

the e' of the British army, and was made the seat 

of rr Owing to this wealth of historic associations 

we s ' oned for devoting liberal space to the notice of 

thif le island was not in a condition to defend itself 

ag' rsions of any foe who might approach it with re- 

ST . As an example of the poverty of its martial 

? iy before the war we submit the following extract 

rds : 

o. 1770 then the Supervisars Examined into the ac- 

arms that was bought for the county and Benjamin 

Brought in the account of What quantity Was in 

hair Was in his hands 36 Delivered to Captain 

guns and 12 hangers and guns With Bagnits to Mr. 

. one Gun With a bagnit to Cornoral Dongan." 

le war clouds were gathering and the preliminary 

; being taken in other parts there seems to have been 

stir here in the direction of sustaining the cause of 

mce. The people were not unanimous in their senti- 

it were probably held in check by nearly an equal di- 

tween the cause of the colonists and the cause of the 

jographical situation of the island gave a direction to 
tical sentiments of the people. Commanding the ap- 
to the metropolis and the province, whatever nation 
:d it, took advantage of its natural facilities in a mili- 



KISTOUY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

tary point of view. The Dutch had a battery on die heights 
of the Narrows at one time ; the English enlarged the military 
works at the same important point, and the United States have 
not failed to improve itsadvai. Vhoever, then, possessed 

this important point, before the <n, to a certain extent 

might be said to possess, or at leas x>l the island and the 

metropolis. Whilst the English i T;overnment of the 

province, the people naturally imb. -lish sentiments ; 

freedom of opinion on political subje, - as the nature 

and character of the government was coi 'as not toler- 

ated. It is not to be wondered at, then, t ^le who for 

more than a century had been taught to bei was little 

short of treason to doubt the divine origin -hy, and 

especially of the English monarchy, should 1 tiously 

opposed to a change which was calculated to o all their 

most cherished institutions. More than half ol ation 

on the island, at the dawn of the revolution, -r of 

English birth or descent, and few, perhaps non >ed 

the idea that the rebellion could by any possit 1, 

and even among the whigs themselves there w> 
thousands who hoped against hope. 

Nearly all the descendants of the early Dutch s 
whigs or patriots, and those of French descent w 
between them and the English. Many of the Fre 
settled here before the conquest of the province by t 
had intermarried with the Dutch, who were then th. 
class, and had imbibed Dutch opinions, manners am 
and had even fallen into the use of the Dutch Ian' 
some of the families bearing French names and of F 
scent, at the present day, are to be found family reco 
as they are, written in the Dutch language. There w 
ever, another and more marked difference between tht 
of the several nationalities than mere political sentime 
opinions ; the Dutch were imbued with a deep religioi 
ing ; they were not generally as well educated as the E 
but they could read and write, and keep their own ace 
the English had their religion, too, but they were more 
and less earnest and devoted than their neighbors ; the 
in this, as in other respects, accommodated their relii 
that of the class witli which they had amalgamated. TJ 
cause throughout the country was calculated to fos f er rt 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 159 

enthusiasm, for, being conscious of their own weakness as com- 
pared with the mighty power and resources of Great Britain, 
they naturally looked to a higher power than that of man to 
sustain them in what they conscientiously believed to be the 
cause of right. 

In February, 1775, this county was represented in the colonial 
assembly by Christopher Billop and Benjamin Seaman. When, 
on the 23d. of the month, a motion was before the house " that 
the sense of this House be taken, on the Necessity of appoint- 
ing Delegates for this Colony, to meet the Delegates for the 
other Colonies on this Continent, in General Congress, on the 
10th Day of May next," these representatives of Richmond 
voted in the negative. 

That bad blood was being stirred up here and in the immedi- 
ate vicinity thus early, is shown by the following affray which 
took place in Elizabethtown about the time of which we have 
just spoken. 

On the 8th of February, about noon, a Staten Island man was 
approaching the shore at Elizabethtown, when a party of men 
seized his boat, which was loaded with oysters, and forcibly 
dragged it up into the street and then distributed the oysters 
among themselves with an unceremonious and peremptory hand. 
The cause appears to have been that the owner of the boat was 
supposed to be one of a party of men from " that ever loyal 
Island," as a tory paper describes Staten Island, who had as- 
sisted in violating the order of congress prohibiting the impor- 
tation of goods after the first of February of that year. The 
man was James Johnson, of Richmond county, and he applied 
to a justice of the peace, who advised him to remain quiet for 
a few hours until the riotous collection of people who were then 
in the street had become more cool, which he did, and the re- 
sult of this caution was the aversion of any further violence. 
Though this affair was of but small magnitude yet it served as 
an occasion for "Rivingtoii 1 s Gazette,'' 1 the leading loyal paper of 
the time in New York, to set forth an exaggerated account- of 
the disorderly and lawless character of the whigs. 

The people of the island assembled on the llth of April fol- 
lowing, to take action in regard to sending delegates to the 
provincial congress which was to convene in New York soon 
after. The report says that the result was almost unanimously 
against sending delegates. The whigs must have improved 



160 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

some later opportunity for gaining a representation, for when 
the congress convened, on the 22d of May following, we h'nd 
Richmond county was represented by Paul Micheau, John 
Journey, Col. Aaron Cortelyou, Richard Conner and Major 
Richard Lawrence. 

The strong tory sentiment on the island made association with 
the people here undesirable to the people of New Jersey at 
Elizabethtown. The committee at the latter place had refused 
to allow commerce between the two places to be carried on. 
We have seen the result of a disregard of that restriction, in 
the riot of the preceding February. The committee seem to 
have relented, however, for on July 17th they passed the fol- 
lowing order, Jonathan Hampton, a prominent "rebel" being 
then chairman. 

" The Chairman of this Committee having received a letter 
from Mr. Richard Lawrence, a Delegate of Richmond county 
for the Provincial Congress of the colony of New York, in- 
forming that the inhabitants of said county had, in general, 
signed the Association recommended by the Committee of New 
York. This Committee are therefore of opinion that the in- 
habitants of said county be restoi'ed to their commercial privi- 
leges with the inhabitants of this town." 

September 1, 1775, David Burger, of New York, sent a letter 
to the congress complaining that sundry persons in Richmond 
county had supplied a transport with live stock, and the matter 
was referred to the members of that county to make inquiry on 
the subject. 

On the 1st of December, 1775, Paul Micheau, one of the depu- 
ties from Richmond county in the first provincial congress, ad- 
dressed a letter to the secretary of the congress, in which he 
says that he had requested the county committee to convene 
the people to elect new deputies ; that a meeting of the com- 
mittee had been called, and that only a minority appeared, 
who for that reason declined to act, and requests congress to 
write to them and learn their reasons for not convening the 
people, and concludes by hoping the congress may be able to 
keep tranquility and good order in the province, and make 
peace with the mother country. He then gave the names of 
the committee as follows: Capt. John Kittletas, Capt. Christian 
Jacobson, Capt. Cornelius Dussosway, Henry Ferine, David 
Latourette, Esq., Peter Mersereau, John Poillon, Moses Depuy, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 161 

Lambert Merrill, John Tysen, Joseph Christopher, George Bar- 
rus and David Corsen. 

To this communication congress replied the next day in a let- 
ter addressed to "John Poillon, John Tysen and Lambert Mer- 
ril, of the committee for Richmond County," urging them to 
elect deputies to represent them without delay, and they added 
emphatically, "rest assured, gentlemen, that the neighboring 
colonies will not, remain inactive spectators if you show a dis- 
position to depart from the Continental Union." They con- 
cluded their letter in these words: "We beg, gentlemen, you 
will consider this matter with that seriousness which the peace, 
good order and liberties of your county require." 

To this the committee made the following reply: 

." RICHMOND COUNTY, Dec'r 15th, 1775. 
Mr. President: 

SIR: Your favour of 2A Decem'r. we hereby acknowledge 
came safe to our hand, and with the majority of our committee 
considered the contents. We, agreeable to your request, have 
caused by advertisement the freeholders and inhabitants in our 
county to be convened on this day, in order that their sense 
might be taken" whether they will choose deputies to represent 
them in a provincial congress or not. Accordingly, a number 
of the said freeholders and inhabitants did appear ; a regular 
poll was opened, and continued till 6 o'clock; at the conclusion 
of which it appeared that a majority was, for the present, for 
sending no deputies. Our former conduct in sending of depu- 
ties to represent us in Provincial Congress, was elevated with 
encouraging hopes of having, ere this, obtained the so much 
desired point in our view, namely, a reconciliation with Great 
Britain. But, with anxiety we express it, that the hopes of 
obtaining so desirable an event, is now almost vanished out of 
our sight ; and, instead of which, we behold with horror, every 
appearance of destruction, that a war witli Great Britain will 
bring upon us. Under these apprehensions, and in our particu- 
lar situation, we hope you will view us, and when candidly con- 
sidered, we trust will furnish you with sufficient reason, for the 
present, to forbear with us. 

"We wish and pray that if yet any hope of reconciliation is 

11 



162 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

left, that measures might be adopted, if possible, to obtain that 
desirable end, in wishing of which we conclude ourselves, 
Your most obt. 

And most humble serv'ts, 
JOHN TYSON, 
CHRISTIAN JACOBSON, 
DANIEL CORSEN, 
PETER MERSEREAU, 
JOSEPH CHRISTOPHER, 
LAMBERT MERRILL, 
JOHN POILLON. 
To NATH'L WOODHULL, 

Prest. of Provl. Congress, New York. 

"P. S.- Should the congress think it necessary for further in- 
formation of the state of our county, they will please to order 
two of our committee to appear before them for that purpose." 

On the 21st, congress passed several resolutions, censuring 
Richmond county for its delinquency, and resolved that if 
within fifteen days a list of the names of those who oppose a 
representation in congress be not sent to that body, the whole 
county shall be considered delinquent, and entirely put out of 
the protection of congress, and that intercourse with them shall 
be interdicted, and that the names of delinquents shall be pub- 
lished in all the newspapers of the colony. 

During the recess of the congress, the committee of safety 
was in session. On the 12th of January, 1776, Richard Law- 
rence and Christian Jacobson appeared before the committee 
and represented that the majority of the people of Richmond 
county were not averse, but friendly to the measures of con- 
gress ; Lawrence was a member of the committee for Richmond 
county. 

On the 23d of the same month the following letter was re- 
ceived by the committee of safety from the Richmond county 
committee. 

"RICHMOND COUNTY, Jan'y 19, 1776. 

"Gentlemen Whereas the committee for this county have 
caused by advertisement the freeholders to be convened on this 
day, in order to elect two members to represent this county in 
Provincial Congress ; accordingly a poll was opened for that 
purpose, without any opposition, at the close of which it ap- 
peared by a majority, that Messrs Adrian Banker and Richard 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 163 

Lawrence was duly elected to represent this county in Provin- 
cial Congress until the second Tuesday in May next, which we 
hope will be agreeable to the rest of that body. 
We are, gentlemen, 

Your mo. obt. and most humble servts. 

CHRISTIAN JACOBSON, 
LAMBERT MERRILL, 
JOHN TYSON, 
PETER MERSEREAU, 
GEORGE BARNES, 
MOSES DUPUY, 
DAVID LATODRETTE, 
DANIEL CORSEN, 
HENRY FERINE, 
JOSEPH CHRISTOPHER. 

" To the Committee of Safety on recess 
of the Provincial Congress in New York." 

The reputation of Richmond county for its want of sympathy 
in the cause of the colonies seems to have gained more than a 
local hearing. It reached the ears of the continental congress, 
and that body made it the subject of .action, as shown by the 
following extract from the minutes : 

"!N CONGRESS, Feb'ySth, 1776. 

" The inhabitants of Richmond county, in the Colony of New 
York, having refused to send Deputies to represent them in 
Provincial Convention, and otherwise manifested their enmity 
and opposition to the system and measures adopted for pre- 
serving the liberties of America ; and as a just punishment for 
their inimical conduct, the inhabitants of that Colony having 
been prohibited by the Convention from all intercourse and 
dealings with the inhabitants of the said county; and this 
Congress being informed by the Committee of Safety of that 
Colony, that the freeholders of the said county did afterwards, 
without any opposition, elect Deputies to represent them in 
Provincial Convention ; but as the proceedings against them 
had been submitted to the consideration of Congress, it was ap- 
prehended Deputies would not be received until the sense of 
Congress should be communicated. 

"Resolved, That it be referred to the said Provincial Conven- 
tion to take such measures respecting the admission of the 
Deputies, and revoking the interdict on the inhabitants of the 



164 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

said county, us they shall judge most expedient, provided that 
the said Deputies and major part of the inhabitants of said 
county shall subscribe the association entered into by that 
Colony. 

" Extract from the minutes. 

CHAS. THOMPSON, Sec'y." 

It was then ordered by the provincial congress that the reso- 
lution of the continental congress be transmitted to the deputies 
lately elected by the people of Richmond county. 

The congress being apprehensive that General Clinton would 
attempt to land upon Staten Island for the purpose of making 
depredations and carrying off live stock, had requested the pro- 
vincial congress of New Jersey to send Colonel Herd, with his 
regiment, to the island to prevent it, and lest he might not get 
there in time, a like request was made to the committee of 
Elizabethtown. This measure excited the apprehensions of 
the people of Staten Island, who were suspicious of the errand 
of Colonel Herd and his regiment. Accordingly, on the 19th of 
February, the two deputies, Adrian Banckerand Richard Law- 
rence, hastened to inform the congress that they had subscribed 
to the association entered into by the colony, and that seven 
eighths of the people had done so likewise "long since," and 
that the coming of Colonel Herd, "with a large body of men, to 
call the people to account for their inimical conduct," just then 
when many of the people were coming into the measures, and 
the cause gaining ground daily, would have an injurious effect, 
and they suggest that the stopping of the New Jersey forces 
would quiet the minds of the people. On the same day con- 
gress replied and assured the deputies that Colonel Herd's er- 
rand to the island did not in any manner relate to the people of 
the county, except to protect their property, and that a counter 
request had been forwarded to New Jersey. The two deputies 
were requested to attend the congress and to bring with them 
the proof that the majority of the people had subscribed to the 
association, to enable them to take their seats. 

The committee of Elizabethtown had caused the apprehension 
and imprisonment at that place, of Isaac Decker, Abraham Har- 
ris and Minne Burger, and had held Richard Conner, Esq., 
under bonds to appear before them, upon charges not specified. 
The congress of New York entered into a correspondence with 
the committee of that place, and requested them to send the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 105 

delinquents to the county where they belonged, to be tried by 
the county committee. The committee of Richmond were also 
informed of the action of the congress, and were instructed to 
try the delinquents and mete out to them impartial justice, and 
report to congress. On the 23d of February, Mr. Adrian 
Bancker's name appears among those of the members of the 
congress. On the 28th of February, Decker and Burger were 
returned to their own county, and the charges against them 
and Richard Conner were also transmitted to the committee of 
Richmond. Nothing is said of Harris. 

The committee of Elizabethtown, at the time of surrendering 
them, disclaimed all knowledge of their offenses, but intimated 
that they had been arrested by Colonel Herd, at the instance 
of either the New York or the continental congress. 

The proposed expedition of Colonel Herd to Staten Island to 
protect the live stock there, originated with General Lee. Hav- 
ing communicated his apprehensions to the committee of safety, 
that body, on the 10th of February, 1776, addressed a letter to 
the provincial congress of New Jersey, in which they say : "The 
entrance of Genl. Clinton into our port on pretence of merely 
paying a visit to Govr. Tryon, though he has been followed by 
a transport with troops, which we have good reason to believe 
are only a part of 600 that embarked with him at Boston, rend- 
ers it highly probable that some lodgement of troops was in- 
tended to be made in or near this city ; " and as no troops from 
New York could be spared from its defense, and as Colonel 
Herd's regiment was so near Staten Island, General Lee deemed 
it proper that he should be sent over for its protection. The 
next day the committee addressed another letter to the same 
convention, informing them that the "Mercury," ship of war, 
with two transports under her convoy, had left the port, and 
anchored near Staten Island, and expressed their fears that the 
Colonel would arrive too late. In reply, the New Jersey con- 
gress informed the committee on the 12th that Colonel Herd, 
with seven hundred men, had been ordered to march immedi- 
ately to Staten Island. On the 17th, congress expressed their 
thanks to Colonel Herd for his alacrity in their service, but as 
the danger had now passed (probably by the departure of the 
ships) his services would not be required. 

On the 8th of March. Hendric Garrison, of Richmond county, 
forwarded a complaint to the congress, that while he was attend- 



166 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ing as a witness before the committee of said county, and while 
under examination, the said committee permitted the defend- 
ants, Cornelius Martino, Richard Conner and John Burbank, to 
insult and abuse him, and he asked the protection of congress, 
as he considered his person and property unsafe. Lord Stirling, 
as commander of the continental troops in New York, issued a 
warrant to apprehend John James Boyd, of Richmond county, 
and to have him brought before the congress. Captain John 
Warner, to whom the warrant was delivered for execution, laid 
it before that body on the 14th of March, when it was consid- 
ered and decided that the said Boyd was so unimportant and in- 
significant a person as not to deserve the trouble and expense of 
apprehending him. Boyd resented this depreciation of his im- 
portance, and on the 21st sent a note to the committee of safety 
claiming to be "a steady and warm friend to his country," and 
pronounced any accusation against him unfounded. 

On the 1st of April, 1776, Christian Jacobson, as the chairman 
of the county committee, reported the organization of four 
companies of militia in the county, the officers of which were 
ordered to be duly commissioned. On the 3d of April Mr. Law- 
rence, a member from Richmond, reported that the county was 
already furnished with fourteen good flats or scows, which were 
sufficient for the removal of the stock from the island, and that 
the building of two more, as previously ordered, would be a use- 
less expense. These scows, or flats, were held in readiness to re- 
move the cattle to New Jersey, if the English ships of war on 
the coast should attempt to seize them, as they had done in 
several other places. 

On the 12th of April, Lord Stirling informed the committee 
of safety that he had General Putnam's orders to march with a 
brigade of troops for Staten Island, and that he would be under 
the necessity of quartering the soldiers in the farm-houses for 
the present ; he requests the people to be notified of the fact, 
so that they might prepare quarters most convenient to them- 
selves, and to be assured that he would make the residence of 
the troops as little burdensome as possible. The committee of 
Richmond were requested to prepare empty farm-houses, barns, 
etc., for the reception of the soldiers, and to use their " influence 
with the inhabitants to consider the soldiers as their country- 
men and fellow citizens employed in the defence of the liberties 
of their country in general, and of the inhabitants of Richmond 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 167 

county in particular, and, endeavour to accommodate them ac- 
cordingly." 

The question has been raised as to whether or not, General 
Washington was ever on Staten Island in person. To this 
question Mr. Clute, the historian of Staten Island, has sug- 
gested the following considerations : 

"The only evidence of the fact which is attainable at this day 
is contained in the extract from his carefully kept accounts with 
the government of the United States, which we here present. 
" 1776. 

Ap L 25th, To the Exps of myself and party reccte 

the sev 1 landing places on Staten Island 16 10 0." 

" It may be said that the reconnoitering, which is almost un- 
intelligibly abbreviated in the original account, might have been 
done on the water, and quite as efficiently as on the land. The 
following objections, however, exist to this view of the subject : 

" First. The object of Washington was to erect fortifications 
and other defences on the most eligible sites, as the British did 
when they took possession on the following July ; and some 
parts of the shores perhaps the most important could not be 
examined with such an object in view, from any position at- 
tainable on the water. 

" Second. The Comma,nder-in-Chief expresses himself in the 
above extracts, in terms similar to those used in other parts of 
his accounts for similar services in places not accessible by 
water, and 

" Third. There were two or three British vessels of-war lying 
near the Island, on one of which Governor Tryon had taken up 
his quarters, and from which he kept up an intercourse with 
royalists on the Island, and a reconnoitering of the shores by 
water would not have been permitted, to say nothing of the 
danger of capture." 

Whether he came here and travelled over the land himself or 
not, certain it was that General Washington had his attention 
drawn to this spot, and regarded Staten Island with more than 
ordinary concern. There were two points of importance which 
called for his attention ; the sentiments of the people, and the 
peculiar geographical position of the island. The action of 
congress having somewhat modified the former, it was to the 
latter that he gave most of his care. 

Lying between the ocean and the metropolis, and on the high- 



168 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

way from the one to the other, Staten Island, early in the war, 
was regarded as an important location in a military point of 
view. Its importance was enhanced by the fact that it was 
situated in a bay more than half surrounded by the main land 
of New Jersey, and commanded not only a great part of Long 
Island but New York city, and a large extent of country em- 
bracing nearly all the northern part of New Jersey; the posses- 
sion of it therefore became a matter of importance to both 
belligerents. Washington was as prompt to perceive the 
natural advantages of Staten Island in a military point of view 
as were the British. Within a week after his personal visit to 
the city, he established a look-out at the Narrows, which, when 
the British made their appearance, sent a message by express 
that forty of the enemy's vessels were in sight. This informa- 
tion was at once forwarded to the several posts on the Hudson, 
with instructions to prepare to give them a warm reception if 
they should attempt to ascend the river. But the ships, upon 
their arrival, anchored off Staten Island, and landed their 
troops, and t.he hillsides were soon covered with their white 
tents. Military works were at once erected upon every avail- 
able point, thus intimating their intention of taking a perma- 
nent possession. 

The opinion which Washington had formed of the people of 
Staten Island, as well as of their immediate neighbors at Am- 
boy, may be learned from the following extract from one of his 
letters: "The known disaffection of the people of Amboy, and 
the treachery of those of Staten Island, who, after the fairest 
professions, have shown themselves our inveterate enemies, 
have induced me to give directions that all persons of known 
enmity and doubtful character should be removed from these 
places." 

On the 2d of May, Mr. Garrison (Hendric), chairman of the 
county committee, was present at the meeting of the committee 
of safety, and inquired whether the people would be paid for 
fire-wood furnished to the troops in Richmond county, and for 
their labor in preparing the guard house, at the requestof Lord 
Stirling, and was referred to Colonel Mifflin. Hence, we infer 
that some of Lord Stirling's troops had taken up their quarters 
on the island. 

On the 6th of May, General Washington wrote to the com- 
mittee of safety, informing them that Peter Poillon, of Rich- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

mond county, had been arrested for supplying the king's ships 
with provisions. On the 8th, Poillon was brought before the 
committee and examined. He did not deny the charge, but 
pleaded in extenuation that the regulations for preventing in- 
tercourse with the king's ships had not been published in Rich- 
mond county until the 2d or 3d of that month, and that there- 
fore he was ignorant of them; he stated farther, that he left 
home with a considerable sum of money to discharge a debt 
in Kings county, together with some articles of provision for 
New York market of the value of about three pounds; that 
while passing the ship of war "Asia," at as great a distance as 
he safely could, he was tired at and could not escape; he proved 
further, by reputable witnesses, that he was a respectable man, 
and had always been esteemed a friend to the liberties of his 
country. He was discharged with a caution hereafter to keep 
at a safe distance from the king's ship, and to warn his fellow 
citizens of Richmond county to do the same. 

May 18th 1776, a certificate signed by Christian Jacobson, 
chairman of the Richmond county committee, dated April 22d, 
1776, was presented to the provincial congress, and attested by 
Israel D. Bedell, clerk, and directed to Paul Micheau, Richard 
Conner, Aaron Cortelyou and John Journey, was read and filed, 
whereby it appeared that these gentlemen had been elected to 
represent Richmond county in that body, with power to any 
two of them to meet to constitute a quorum, the second 
Tuesday of May, 1777. 

On the 5th of June, 1776, congress issued an order for the 
arrest of a number of persons in several counties who were in- 
imical to the cause of America; those from Richmond county 
were Isaac Decker, Abm. Harris, Ephm. Taylor and Minne 
Burger. They also ordered that several persons who held office 
under the king should be summoned to appear before the con- 
gress, and among them are found the names of Benjamin Sea- 
man and Christopher Billop, of Richmond. 

There is nothing in the "Journal of the Congress" to show 
that these orders and resolutions were ever carried into effect. 

During the early part of the year 1776 the popular feeling in 
the colonies had become so much aroused that the officers of the 
king were obliged in many cases to use considerable caution in 
order to save their own persons from violence. William Tryon, 
the last of the royal governors, had indeed retired from the city 



170 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

of New York, and taken his position on board the ship 
" Halifax," during the previous autumn, and there he wrote to 
Mayor AVhitehead Hicks, of New York, October 19, as follows: 

" SIR, 

" Finding your letter of yesterday insufficient for the secur- 
ity I requested from the Corporation and Citizens, and objec- 
tionable for the mode in which you obtained the sense of the 
inhabitants, my duty directed me for the present instant to re- 
move on board this ship; where I shall be ready to do such 
business of the country, as the situation of the times will per- 
mit. The citizens, as well as the inhabitants of the province, 
may be assured of my inclination to embrace every means in 
my power to restore the peace, good order, and authority of gov- 
ernment. 

" I am, Sir, 

' ; Your most obedient servant, 

WILLIAM TRYON." 

In January, 1776, General Clinton having been sent by Howe 
on an expedition along the Atlantic coast, while on his way 
from Boston to Virginia, came to anchor at Sandy Hook and 
had an interview with Tryon and other friends of the king who 
had been obliged to take shelter in vessels, after whicli they 
went on their way southward. Howe, with his army, about 
12,000 strong, evacuated Boston March 17th, and falling back to 
Halifax awaited with the fleet the arrival of his brother with 
reinforcements from England. Becoming impatient of delay 
he made ready and sailed from that place for the expected seat 
of war at New York on the 12th of June, and arrived off Sandy 
Hook on the 25th. Here he waited for the arrival of the fleet, 
which came up on the 29th. Admiral Lord Howe, with part of 
the reinforcements from England, arrived at Halifax soon after 
his brother's departure, but without dropping anchor he fol- 
lowed and joined him here. The British general, on his ap- 
proach, found every part of New York island, and the most 
exposed parts of Long Island fortified and well defended by ar- 
tillery. Finding Staten Island had not been so well fortified for 
protection the fleet anchored near here and it was determined 
to make use of this spot for a rendezvous while awaiting the 
arrival of other forces and the completion of arrangements for 
penetrating into the country and maturing any other plane for 
action. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 171 

On the 3d of July the fleet moved up to the Narrows, and 
the grenadiers and light infantry were landed undercover of 
the frigates and sloops of war. General Howe declared this was 
done " to the great joy of a most loyal people, long suffering 
on that account under the oppression of the rebels stationed 
among them, who precipitately fled on the approach of the 
shipping." The remainder of the army were landed in the 
course of the day, and the whole were distributed in canton- 
ments, where they found the best refreshments. The headquar- 
ters were at Richmond. The landing of the troops was made 
in a very orderly manner, under the direction of Captains Ray- 
nor, of the ship "Chatham," and Curtis, of the ship "Sene- 
gal," and to the entire satisfaction of General Howe. As the 
Americans were strongly posted and in great force, both on Long 
Island and at New York, having upwards of a hundred cannon 
for defending the city, Howe resolved to defer his scheme of 
ascending the North river, and to remain in his present position 
until he should be joined by Clinton and the expected reinforce- 
ments from England. The latter arrived at Staten Island on the 
12th of July, and Lord Howe assumed the command of the 
fleet on the American station The fleet numbered one hundred 
and thirteen sail and they lay in a line extending from the 
mouth of the Kill von Kull to Simonson's ferry at the Narrows. 
As they were coming in, the "Asia," which brought up the rear 
of the fleet, was fired at from a small battery on Long Island 
commanding the Narrows. The fire was returned by about forty 
24-pounders, one of which lodged in the wall of a private house 
there. Another shot struck the house of Mr. Denyse Denyse 
afterward of Staten Island, wounding a negro servant in the 
foot and narrowly missing the kitchen, where a number of 
the family were at work. A second shot struck the barn on the 
same place, and a third destroyed much of the garden fence 
opposite the front door of the mansion house. This is said to 
have been the first blood shed in this quarter in the war. 

The following items from the " Pennsylvania Journal'" of 
July 10, 1776, are of interest in this connection. 

" As soon as the troops landed they paraded the North Shore, 
and on Wednesday morning made their appearance near Eliza- 
beth-Town Point ; but the country being soon alarmed, they 
retreated, took up the floor of the draw-bridge in the salt 
meadows, and immediately threw tip some works. 



172 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

"Their near approach to Elizabeth-Town Point greatly 
alarmed the inhabitants of Essex county, and particularly the 
people of Elizabeth-Town and Newark, but they are now in a 
condition to receive them whenever they may think proper to 
approach. 

"Two young men from Elizabeth -Town crossed the river in a 
canoe last Thursday, and tired upon the Regulars ; but a num- 
ber of them rushing out of the woods, they were obliged to 
retreat and cross the river again. 

"A sloop of twelve six pounders, belonging to the fleet from 
Halifax, layingin the Kills, near Mr. Decker's ferry, was almost 
torn to pieces last Wednesdaj 7 morning, by a party under the 
command of General Herd, from the opposite shore, with two 
18-pounders. The crew soon abandoned the sloop, and we sup- 
pose she is rendered entirely unfit for any further service. 

" We hear two men of war now lay near Amboy, in order 'tis 
supposed, to stop all navigation that way." 

Lord Howe and General Howe, having thus established their 
troops and naval forces upon and around Staten Island, issued 
a proclamation on the 14th of July, inviting all persons to return 
to their allegiance to the king. Their combined forces were 
estimated at about 24,000 men, though only a part of them were 
encamped on the island. The number of the latter has been 
variously estimated at from nine to fifteen thousand men. 

Let us now turn aside from the Held of active movements to 
notice the deliberations of the parliamentary head of govern- 
ment. On the 9th of July the provincial congress convened at 
the court house in White Plains, Westchester county ; the 
British then having taken possession of Staten Island, there 
were no depvities from Richmond county in attendance. At 
this meeting the declaration of independence was received and 
read; it was also reported that the British had taken posses- 
sion of Staten Island without opposition, and detachments had 
advanced toward Bergen Point and Elizabethtown. The declar- 
ation having been read, it was unanimously adopted, and the 
congress passed a resolution to support the same, "at the risk 
of our lives and fortunes.'' It was thus ordered to be published. 
1 1 was then " Resolved and Ordered, that the style or title of 
this house be changed from that of the ' Provincial Congress 
of the Colony of New York,' to that of 'The Convention of the 
Representatives of the State of New York.' ' 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 173 

The convention recognized the impracticablity of electing 
senators and members of assembly in the southern district of 
the state, Westchester excepted, and as it was reasonable and 
right that the people of that district should be entitled to rep- 
resentation in legislation, they proceeded to appoint these of- 
ficers ; and for the county of Richmond, Joshua Mersereau and 
Abm. Jones were appointed ; the latter was subsequently de- 
nied his seat, on account of his sympathy for the enemy. 

After this the county does not appear to have been repre- 
sented in the legislature of the colony or state for a long time. 
There were representatives who were entitled to their seats, but 
they were not permitted to leave the island. Communication 
with the main land, or with New York, or Long Island, was 
prohibited, except by permission, and consequently in th suc- 
ceeding sessions of the legislature the name of a representative 
from Richmond does not appear. 

The first object to engage the attention of General Howe was 
the conciliation of the American loyalists, and, to this end, he 
had numerous interviews with Governor Tryon and other 
prominent individuals in New York and New Jersey, all of 
whom led him to believe that large numbers of the people 
were anxious to flock to his standard the moment it was un- 
furled. Delancey. of New York, and Skinner, of Perth Am- 
boy, were made brigadier-generals, and Billop, of Staten 
Island, colonel, of the native loyalists or tories. Proclama- 
tions were issued promising protection to the people so long 
as they remained peaceably at home and manifested no sym- 
pathy for the rebels or their cause Misled by the specious 
promises which Howe had promulgated, hundreds of the whig 
inhabitants of Staten Island remained peaceably at home to 
reap the fruits of their credulity in having soldiers quartered 
upon them in enduring, submissively, the insults and out- 
rages committed upon themselves and families, their houses 
and barns openly and defiantly plundered, their cattle driven 
away or wantonly killed, their churches burned, and, not in- 
frequently, some of their own number barbarously, and with- 
out provocation, murdered. 

There were some, however, who had no faith in the protesta- 
tions of the British commander, and also had too much man- 
hood to conceal their sentiments; to these the political atmos- 
phere of the island was decidedly unhealthy, and they had to 



174 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

escape for their lives. Among them was Colonel Jacob Merse- 
reau. He was the son of Joshua Mersereau and Maria Corsen. 
He was baptized May 24th, 1730, and died in September, 1804, 
in the 75th year of his age. He resided in the old stone house 
in Northfield, not far from Graniteville, since occupied by his 
son, Hon. Peter Mersereau. Soon after the beginning of the 
war he became apprehensive for his personal safety and fled to 
New Jersey. During his protracted residence there, he made 
occasional stealthy visits to his family by night, and on one of 
these occasions had a very narrow escape from capture. Hav- 
ing crossed the sound, and concealed his boat, he took his 
course for home across fields, avoiding the public roads as 
much as possible. While crossing a road he was met by a 
young man by whom he was recognized at once. There was no 
British post just then nearer than Richmond, and thither the 
young tory hastened to inform the commanding officer of his 
discovery. Preparations were made immediately to effect the 
arrest of the colonel, but it was near daylight in the morning 
before the party set out. The family had arisen early, but they 
did not discover the soldiers until they were within a few rods 
of the house. The alarm was immediately given, which, being 
perceived by the approaching party, a rush was made, and as 
they reached the door the colonel sprang out of the upper 
northwest window of the house upon a shed beneath it, and 
thence to the ground. He was discovered before he had gone 
far, and at once pursued. Crouching on " all-fours " behind a 
hedge to keep himself out of sight, he reached a swamp in the 
middle of which he found a place of concealment. The swamp 
was discovered, and it was at once concluded that he was there 
concealed, but as the pursuers were ignorant of its intricacies, 
they could proceed no further. Dogs were then put on the 
track, which they followed to the edge of the swamp, where 
they chanced to scent a rabbit, and away they went in pursuit 
of the new game. Here the pursuit terminated, and the colonel, 
after remaining concealed the whole day, escaped during the 
following night to New Jersey. For a week thereafter a close 
watch was kept on the house by day and by night. 

When the British took possession of Staten Island, they im- 
mediately threw up strong intrenchments. Simcoe says : 

"In the distribution of quarters for the remaining winter, 
Richmond was allotted to the Queen's Rangers. This post was 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 175 

in the center of the island, and consisted of three bad redoubts, 
so contracted, at various times and in such a manner, as to be 
of little mutual assistance ; the spaces between these redoubts 
had been occupied by the huts of the troops, wretchedly made 
of mud ;" these Lieut. Col. Simcoe had thrown down, and his 
purpose was to build ranges of log houses, which might join 
the redoubts, and being loop-holed, might become a very de- 
fensible curtain. Other fortifications were erected in other parts 
of the island one at New Brighton, on the height now known 
as Fort Hill, which commanded the entrance to the Kills ; 
another was built at the Narrows, near the site of the present 
national fortifications, and in several other places. Many rem- 
nants of British occupancy have been found in and around 
these old fortifications, such as cannon balls, bullets, gun 
locks, etc. 

Skirmishing between the forces on Staten Island and the 
Americans on the Jersey shore was of frequent occurrence. A 
considerable cannonading took place between the forces at 
Perth Amboy and batteries of the British on the Staten Island 
shore on the 25th of July. This was occasioned by the firing 
of the former upon four or five shallops as they were coming 
down the sound. The account continues : 

" Captain Moulder, with his two field pieces, was ordered to 
the shore (Perth Amboy), but being encamped at some distrnce, 
before he could come up the shallops had all nearly past, how- 
ever, he began a well directed fire, and though the y had got to 
a considerable distance, hulled one of them. 

" When the vessels were past, the firing ceased on both sides. 
We had the misfortune of loosing one of the Second battalion, 
and having another wounded. * There was a horse 

killed which was standing in a waggon near the General's door. 
The enemy appear to have some very heavy field pieces. They 
sent some 12-pounders among us. It is surprising they did not 
do more execution, as there were so many of our people on the 
bank opposite to them without the least covering. 

" The enemy appear to be very strong, and are constantly re- 
inforcing, as our troops come in. They are throwing up breast- 
works along the shore to prevent our landing." 

Major Turner Statibenzee was commander of the Second bat- 
talion of light infantry on the island. He employed a stout 
negro, who happened to fall into his hands, to carry a note to 



176 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

another officer. The negro on his way decided to change his 
course and, turning aside, escaped beyond the lines, and fled to 
the city, where he delivered the note to the Americans. It ran 
as follows . 

''Dear Stanton: 

"The bearer I have sent you, thinking him a strong able fel- 
low, and fit to cut throats ; so if you approve him, keep him in 
your corps. 

" Yours, &c. 

" T. STAUBENZEE." 

By the end of July the American posts opposite the island 
were well secured. Above five thousand troops were distributed 
at the different stations from Newark bay down the sound to 
South Amboy, while the headquarters were at Amboy city, the 
strongest point of the line. The strength of the British was 
unknown to them, but believed to be about ten thousand. The 
latter had sentinels all along the shore of the island on the 
north and west sides, and the houses and barns of the inhabi- 
tants were occupied by the troops. It was also supposed that 
a considerable encampment was established behind the low 
bluff at Tottenville, and one accoxint of the engagement on the 
25th says that "in less than half an hour after our fire on the 
shallops began, a large body were seen coming over that hill." 
The British evidently were ignorant of the numbers of the 
Americans on the opposite shore, and regarded it as necessary 
to fortify against an expected attack from the forces which in 
reality were not more than one third the strength of their own. 
They had concealed guns six, eight and twelve pounders 
planted along the shore in different places. 

The waters of the lower bay presented a scene of considerable 
activity at that time, from the frequent going out and returning 
of men-of-war and transports belonging to the fleet which occu- 
pied the inner bay. Additional numbers of vessels joined the 
fleet at different times, and transports were bringing provisions 
and supplies. 

The capture of the city of New York was the immediately de- 
sirable thing to General Howe, and an attack upon some other 
point, by which a flank movement could be effected, and the 
city approached by more accessible means than a direct attack, 
was expected. Long Island and the Jersey shore both stood in 
suspense, ready to take alarm at the first movements of the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 177 

British in either direction. About the 8th of August deserters 
from the fleet carried the news to the Americans that Howe was 
taking his field pieces on board and preparing for an attack by 
land and water simultaneously upon Long Island and the city. 
On the other side the people of Elizabethtown were about the 
same time aroused by an alarm that the regulars were about to 
make an immediate attack upon that point. Every man capa- 
ble of bearing arms was summoned to defend it. As three or 
four young men were going out from one family, an elderly 
lady, their mother or grandmother, after assisting them to 
arm^ said to them : "My children, you are going out in a just 
cause to fight for the rights and liberties of your country; 
you have my blessing and prayers, that God will protect and 
assist you, but if you fall, His will be done. Let me beg of 
you, my children, that if you fall, it may be like men, and that 
your wounds may not be in your back parts." These alarms, 
however, appear to have been without, important results until 
the latter part of the month. 

In the meantime the forces of Howe were strengthened by 
the arrival at Staten Island of the fleet which returned from 
South Carolina under Clinton and Cornwallis in the early part 
of the month, and the first and second divisions of foreign 
troops which arrived in the Lower bay on the 12th. The fleet 
which brought, the latter numbered about one hundred and ten 
sail of vessels, on board of which were eight thousand Hessians 
and Waldeckers and a few English guards. These were sent 
into camp on Staten Island. Estimates of the numbers on 
Staten Island at this time make them to be about twenty-two 
thousand men. The naval forces were accommodated on board 
the ships " Asia " and " Eagle," each carrying sixty-four guns, 
and the " Roebuck" and ' Phoanix," of forty-four guns each, 
about twenty frigates and sloops of war and above three hund- 
red sail of transports, store ships and prizes. 

The state of affairs on the eve of the decisive battle of Long- 
Island is told more effectively in the following extract than we 
could otherwise tell it. The extract is from a letter written at 
New York, August 22, 1776 : 

'This night we have reason to expect the grand attack from 
our barbarous enemies, the reasons why, follow. The night be- 
fore last, a lad went over to Staten Island, supped there with a 
friend and got safe back again undiscovered, soon after he went 

12 



178 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

to General Washington and upon good authority reported, 
That the English army amounting to fifteen or twenty thousand, 
had embarked, and were in readiness for an engagement That 
seven ships of the line, and a number of other vessels of war 
were to surround this city and cover their landing, That the 
Hessians being 15,000 were to remain on the island and attack 
Perth-Amboy, Elizabeth-town point, and Bergen, while the 
main body were doing their best here ; that the Highlanders 
expected America was already conquered, and that they were 
only to come over and settle on our lands, for which reason 
they had brought their churns, ploughs, &c. being deceived, 
they had refused fighting, upon which account General Howe 
had shot one, hung five or six, and flogged many. 

" Last evening in a violent thunder-storm, Mr. - - (a very 
intelligent person) ventured over, he brings much the same ac- 
count as the above lad, with this addition, That all the horses 
on the island, were by Howe's orders killed, barrelled up and 
put on board ; the wretches thinking that they could get no 
landing here and of consequence be soon out of provision. 
That the tories were used cruelly, and with the Highlanders 
were compelled to go on board the ships to fight in the charac- 
ter of common soldiers against us. The British army are pro- 
digiously incensed against the tories, and curse them as the in- 
struments of the war now raging. Mr. - -farther informs, 
that last night the fleet was to come up, but the thunder storm 
prevented. The truth of this appears, from the circumstance 
of about three thousand red coats landing at ten o'clock this 
morning on Long Island, where by this time it is supposed our 
people are hard at it. There is an abundance of smoak to-day 
on Long Island, our folks having set fire to stacks of hay, &c., 
to prevent the enemy's being benefited in case they get any ad- 
vantage against us. All the troops in the city are in high 
spirits and have been under arms most of the day, as the fleet 
have been in motion, and are now, as is generally thought, only 
waiting for a change of tide. Forty-eight hours or less, I be- 
lieve, will determine it as to New York, one way or the other." 

The state of the British army on Staten Island at this time is 
shown by the following list, from an English authority : 

Commander in Chief, General the Honourable Sir William 
Howe, K. B.; Second in Command, Lieutenant-General Henry 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 179 

Clinton; Third in Command, Right Honorable Lieutenant-Gen- 
eral Earl Percy. 

1st Brigade. Major-General Pigot ; 4th Regiment, Major 
James Ogilvie ; 15th Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Bird ; 27th 
Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel J. Maxwell ; 45th Regiment, Ma- 
jor Saxton. 

2d Brigade. Brigadier- General Agnew ; 5th Regiment, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Woleot ; 28th Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Rob. Prescot ; 35th Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Carr; 
49th Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Calder, Bart. 

3d Brigade. Major-General Jones ; 10th Regiment, Major 
Vatass ; 37th Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Abercrom- 
by ; 38th Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Wm. Butler ; 52d 
Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Mungo Campbell. 

4t7i Brigade. Major -General James Grant ; 17th Regiment, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Manhood ; 40th Regiment, Lieutenant- 
Colonel James Grant; 46th Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Enoch 
Markham ; 55th Regiment, Captain Luke. 

5th Brigade. Brigadier-General Smith ;. 23d Regiment, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel J. Campbell ; 43d Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel 
George Clerke ; 14th Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Alured 
Clarke ; 63d Regiment, Major Francis Sill. 

Qth Brigade. Brigadier-General Gou. Robertson ; 23d Regi- 
ment, Lieutenant-Colonel Benj. Bernard ; 44th Regiment, Ma- 
jor Feury Hope ; 57th Regiment, Lieutenant John Campbell ; 
64th Regiment, Major Hugh McLeroch. 

1th Brigade. Brigadier-General Wm. Erskine, quarter-mas- 
ter general ; 17th Light Dragoons, Lieutenant-Colonel Birch ; 
71st Highlanders, 1st Battalion, Major John Macdowell ; 2d 
Battalion, Major Norman Lament. 

Brigade of Guards. Major-General Matthew ; Light In- 
fantry Brigade, Brigadier-General Honorable Alexander Leslie; 
1st Battalion Light Infantry, Major Thomas Musgrave ; 2d Bat- 
talion Light Infantry, Major Straubenzie ; 3d Battalion Light 
Infantry, Major Honorable John Maitland ; 4th Battalion Light 
Infantry, Major John Johnson. 

Reserve. Right Honorable Lieutenant-General Earl of Corn- 
wallis ; Brigadier-General the Honorable John Vaughan ; 33d 
Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Webster; 42d Regiment (Royal 
Highland), Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Stirling; 1st Battalion 
Grenadiers, Lieutenant-Colonel Honorable Henry Monckton ; 



180 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

2d Batralion Grenadiers, Lieutenant-Colonel William Meadows; 
3d Battalion Grenadiers, Major Thomas Marsh ; 4th Highland 
Grenadiers, Major Charles Stuart ; Royal Artillery and En- 
gineers, Brigadier-General Cleveland. 

General Howe having signified to the admiral that it was his 
intention to make a descent in Gravesend bay on Long Island, 
on the morning of the 22d the necessary dispositions of the 
fleet were made, and seventy-five Hat boats, with eleven bat- 
teanx and two galleys (built for this service) were prepared 
for landing the troops. Howe delegated the direction and 
superintendence of the embarkation of the army from Staten 
Island entirely to Commodore Hotham, by whom it was con- 
ducted with the greatest dispatch and good conduct. In the 
afternoon of the 21st the troops who were to compose the second 
and third debarkations were put on board transports which had 
been sent up from the Hook to Staten Island for that purpose. 
Early in the morning of the 22d the " Phoenix," " Rose," and 
" Greyhound," frigates, commanded by Captains Parker, Wal- 
lace and Dickson, together with the " Thunder " and " Carcass," 
bombs, under the direction of Colonel James, were placed in 
Gravesend bay, to cover the landing of the army. 

As soon as the covering ships had taken their respective sta- 
tions, the first embarkation of the troops from Staten Island 
commenced. These, consisting of the light infantry and there- 
serve, both forming a body of four thousand men, and under 
the commando!' General Clinton, made good their landing with- 
out opposition. The transports with the brigades which com- 
posed the second debarkation, consisting of about five thousand 
men, moved at a little distance after the flat-boats, galleys and 
batteaux, and by eight o'clock were ranged on the outside of 
the covering ships. The transports, with the remainder of the 
troops, followed in close succession, and before noon fifteen 
thousand men and forty pieces of cannon were landed on Long 
Island. 

On the 25th Howe ordered General de Heister with two brig- 
ades of Hessians from Staten Island to join the army ; leaving 
one brigade of his troops, a detachment of the Fourteenth regi- 
ment of foot from Virginia, and some convalescents and recruits, 
under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple to take 
care of Staten Island. The landing of the troops on Long Is- 
land was effected without opposition. There is no need of re- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 181 

capitulating the story of the battle and its unfortunate result 
they are well known ; the British succeeded in gaining posses- 
sion of New York, which was their main object To keep pus- 
session after having obtained it, required a strong force, and, 
in consequence, the greater part of the British forces on the is- 
land were withdrawn ; enough, however, were left to defend it 
against any force the Americans might be able to bring against 
it. The result of the battle, on the whole, was beneficial to the 
people of Staten Island, as it left fewer soldiers there to depre- 
date upon them, and rob them of their substance. 

Howe, who was undoubtedly sincere in his oft-expressed 
desire for peace, sent General Sullivan, who had been taken 
prisoner at the battle, with a verbal message to congress, 
requesting that body to appoint some of its members in a 
private capacity, to meet him for the purpose of adopting such 
measures as might be agreed upon for the restoration of 
peace in the country, intimating that he was clothed with 
sufficient power for that purpose. By the same messenger con- 
gress returned answer that they could not send any of their 
number, except in their official capacities as members of 
their body, and a committee of that character they would send 
for the purpose expressed in the message. Accordingly, on the 
6th of September, Benjamin Franklin, of Pennsylvania, John 
Adams, of Massachusetts, and Edward Rutledge, of South 
Carolina, were appointed as such committee. On the 14th they 
met Howe on Staten Island ; the interview took place in the 
" Old Billop House," still standing. It had been occupied as a 
barrack for soldiers, and was in an exceedingly filthy condition; 
but one room had been cleaned and purified, and furniture 
placed therein, for the purpose of the meeting. Howe met the 
committee in a courteous manner, and at once proceeded to ex- 
plain the nature of the power with which he had been invested, 
which was simply to extend the royal clemency and full par- 
don to all repentant rebels who would lay down their arms and 
return to their allegiance. The committee informed him that 
they were not authorized to entertain any propositions which 
did not recognize the political independence of the colonies. 
Howe replied that he had a great regard for the Americans as a 
people, but that recognition of their independence was a matter 
beyond his authority, and could not for a moment be enter- 
tained, and that their precipitancy was painful to him and 



182 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

perilous to themselves. Franklin answered that the people of 
America would endeavor to take good care of themselves, and 
thus alleviate as much as possible the pain his lordship might 
feel in consequence of any severities he might deem it his duty 
to adopt. This terminated the brief interview, and the com- 
mittee rose to depart. Howe politely accompanied them to the 
shore, the party walking, both in coming and returning, 
between long lines of grenadiers, who, to use the language of 
Mr. Adams, "looked as fierce as ten furies, and making all the 
grimaces and gestures, and motions of their muskets, with bay- 
onets fixed, which, I suppose, military etiquette requires, but 
which we neither understood nor regarded." On the way down, 
his lordship again expressed his regret that he was unable to 
regard them as public characters, to which Mr. Adams replied, 
"your lordship may consider me in what light you please, and 
indeed, I should be willing to consider myself for a few moments 
in any character which would be agreeable to your lordship, ex- 
cept that of a British subject." To this Howe replied, "Mr. 
Adams appears to be a decided character." 

The consequence of this exhibition of Mr. Adam's independ- 
ent and fearless spirit was subsequently apparent, when the list 
of unpardonable rebels was published, prominent among which 
was the name of John Adams. It must have been humiliating 
in the extreme to the pride and arrogance of the British gov- 
ernment to be obliged to receive this proscribed rebel as the first 
minister plenipotentiary of the new government of the United 
States of America. The remark of Mr. Adams did not prevent 
Lord Howe continuing his courtesy, for he sent them over to 
Perth Amboy in his own barge. 

After the failure of the interview above described, Howe de- 
termined to effect a landing at Kipp's bay, and accordingly sent 
five frigates from the Staten Island fleet to that point. On the 
evening of September 13th they passed up the East river, where 
by keeping close to the Long Island shore they were able to en- 
dure without serious damage the constant fire of the Americans 
from the fortifications on the New York side. Three battalions 
of Hessians were also sent from the encampment here to take 
part in that expedition, the particulars of which belong to other 
pages of history than these. 

The British affected to believe that it was the desire of 
Washington to obtain possession of the post at Richmond, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 183 

though what peculiar value either he or they attached to it in 
a military point of view, except that it commanded one of the 
entrances to the island through the Fresh kills, is not apparent. 
To give the rebels, as well as his own semi-barbarous Hessians, 
employment, Knyphausen sent out frequent expeditions from 
the island into the Jerseys, where the most horrid atrocities 
were sometimes committed. 

These were not usually sent forth on their errands of robbery 
and murder, unless they were known to be much superior in 
number to the patriots, who were likely to meet and oppose 
them, or had some other important advantage. These preda- 
tory excursions, however, were not confined to the British; the 
Americans, on their part, sadly annoyed their enemies by strik- 
ing at them whenever the opportunity offered. The first of the 
hostile demonstrations on the part of the patriots occurred in Oc- 
tober, 1776. General Hugh Mercer, who was in command of the 
American forces in that part of New Jersey contiguous to Staten 
Island, planned anattack upon theBritish intrenchments at Rich- 
mond. Passing over to the island with part of the troops posted at 
Perth Amboy, on the night of the 15th instant, he advanced to 
within a few miles of Richmond, at which point he had been in- 
formed three companies oue of British troops, one of Hessians 
and another of Skinner's militia were stationed. Colonel 
Griffin was detached with Colonel Patterson's battalion and 
Major Clarke at the head of some riflemen, to fall in upon the 
east end of the town, while the remainder of the troops en- 
closed it on the other quarters. Both divisions reached the 
town by break of day, but the enemy had learned of their ap- 
proach and were prepared to flee, exchanging only a few shots 
with Colonel Griffin's detachment. Two of the enemy weie 
mortally wounded, and seventeen taken prisoners, two of the 
Americans being killed. Colonel Griffin received a wound in 
the foot from a musket ball, and Lieutenant Colonel Smith was 
slightly wounded in the arm. Among the prisoners taken in 
the action were eight Hessians. The attacking party also 
brought away forty-five muskets and other implements of war 
and one standard of the British Light Horse. 

Later in the month the British fleet was anchored partly at 
the " Watering Place " and partly in Prince's bay, from the 
latter of which troops were frequently disembarked to the 
Jersey shore and up the Raritan to make predatory excursions 



184 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

among the people in adjacent localities. Bergen had already 
been abandoned by the Americans as a place too much exposed 
and of too little importance to continue to occupy in the face of 
the possibilities of the British falling upon the stores of hay and 
provision that had been gathered there. 

During the latter part of the year the king's forces under 
Cornwallis proceeded to New Brunswick, professedly to protect 
the magazine there, but probably desiring to provoke an en- 
gagement with Washington. The latter, however, refused to 
be drawn into an engagement to which he feared his forces 
were unequal, but spread his army over the Jerseys, taking- 
positions at Newark, Elizabethtown and Woodbridge, thus com- 
manding the coast opposite to Staten Island. In these towns 
he established his army during the remainder of the winter. So 
alert were his troops that they could not be surprised ; and so 
strongly were they posted that any attempt to dislodge them 
by force must have been attended with great hazard and loss. 
The following from an English authority relates the position 
from that standpoint : 

" Of all the great conquests which his Majesty's troops had 
made in the Jersies, Brunswick and Amboy were the only two 
places of any note which they retained after the action at 
Princetown ; and however brilliant their success had been in 
the beginning of the campaign, they reaped little advantage 
from them when the winter advanced, and the contiguity of 
so vigilant an enemy forced them to perform the severest 
duty." 

During the winter Howe was employed in forming several 
p7-ovincial corps from the Americans, British and Irish who had 
separated from their countrymen of their own choice, or had 
been obliged to leave their homes because of the tory sentiments 
they expressed. These new levies strengthened the British 
army by several thousand men. Several hundred of the citizens 
of Staten Island were among the number. They were placed 
on the same footing, as to pay, subsistence and clothing, as the 
regular troops. As a farther encouragement to the privates 
and non-commissioned officers, they were at the end of the war 
to receive certain proportions of land, according to the rank 
which they might, then hold. These provincials were placed 
under command of the late Governor Tryon, who was now made 



IIISTOUY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 185 

a major-general, and part of them were stationed on Staten 
Island. 

In February, 1777, a detachment under Major Gordon 
.marched from Richmond to Cole's ferry, where they embarked 
for Sandy Hook, where it was learned a considerable body of 
Americans were lying. After being detained on board by bad 
weather and violent winds for three days they, numbering about 
two hundred, effected a landing on the beach about two miles 
below the American posts, which they surprised before daylight 
in the morning. The Americans were driven from the Never- 
sink hills, sustaining a loss of several killed and seventy-four 
taken prisoners. 

Predatory warfare and petty skirmishes were of frequent oc- 
currence. On the 27th of February, Major Tympany crossed 
from Staten Island to Elizabethtown with about sixty men oil a 
foraging expedition. He came into collision with a body of 
Americans, two or three of whom were killed, but the former 
escaped, bringing with him back to the island four or five pris- 
oners and ten head of cattle. 

Early in March a party of Americans made an attempt to gain 
the light-house at Sandy Hook, but were unsuccessful, the men 
posted there being protected by the guns of the " Syren " which 
lay at anchor near the spot. 

About the same time a party of Americans came down the 
Jersey shore and fired on some boats that were taking in 
forage at New Blazing Star, on the island. Major Tympany 
thereupon crossed the river with about forty men and pur- 
sued the "rebels" about three miles, on his return bringing 
back ten head of cattle and thirty sheep. 

The following extract from a letter addressed by Tryon to 
" Christopher Billop Esq ; Colonel of the Militia of Richmond 
County, Staten Island," dated May 19, 1777, appeared in a 
New York paper of June 9, with the annexed remarks by the 
editor of the newspaper: 

"It is my earnest recommendation, that the inhabitants of Rich- 
mond County, who had the first opportunity of testifiying their 
loyalty to their Prince, and fidelty to the British constitution, on 
the arrival of the Kings troops, and which was most graciously 
accepted by his Majesty, should, on this occasion, eagerly fol- 
low the approved example of the militia of King's county, by 
liberally raising a sum of money for the comfort and encourage- 



186 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ment of the Provincial troops raised in this province. T enclose 
the form of the instrument which is adopted for the in- 
habitants of the city and county to subscribe; copies of which 
will by sent to Queen's and Suffolk counties, for a similar pur- 
pose. Any suggestion of fears and apprehensions from circum- 
stances of situation, must, and assuredly will be construed into a 
lukewarmness at this crisis, to the King and the old constitution. 
Therefore, let the loyal subjects now distinguish themselves 
by free donations, and dare the worst from men who have struck 
at the root of their liberty and property." 

The following editorial remarks are appended: 

" We have the pleasure to inform the Public, that the loyal 
inhabitants of STATEN ISLAND have already subscribed Fice 
Hundred Pounds for the Encouragement of the Provincial 
Corps of this Colony, and transmitted the same to our worthy 
Governor, to be applied to that laudable Purpose. The Sub- 
scription in other Parts meets with great Success among his 
Majesty's loyal Subjects, both in this City and County, and in 
the Counties upon Long Island, almost every one being desirous 
to give this Test of Loyalty and Love of constitutional Free- 
dom. Trimmers and some doubtful Characters, it is expected, 
will be made manifest upon this Occasion, and of course be 
properly noticed." 

On the 6th of June a party of about twelve British made a 
raid into Elizabethtown, where they were fired upon by the 
Americans, and a skirmish ensued, in which two or three were 
killed and several wounded. The British succeeded in stealing 
a flat- bottomed boat large enough to carry one hundred men. 

About this time the British commander caused to be issued 
the following proclamation, which sufficiently explains itself. 

" Office of Commissary-General, New York, June 12, 1777. 

" WHEREAS his Excellency Sir WILLIAM HOWE, General and 
Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Forces, hath thought fit 
to order and direct Magazines of Forage to be established, for 
the better supplying of the troops under his Excellency's com- 
mand: Notice is hereby given to the several Land-holders, 
farmers and others, upon York-Island, Long-Island, and 
Staten-Island, who may be able to supply the said Magazines 
with Hay, Straw, Oats, and Indian Corn, that the following 
rates will be paid for the same, viz.: 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 187 

" Good Fresh Hay, at the rate of Five Shillings per Hundred 
Weight. 

" Straw, at Two Shillings per Hundred Weight. 

" Oats and Indian Corn, according to its quality. 

" And for the better encouragement of such persons to sup- 
ply the said magazines, an allowance of One Shilling per Mile, 
for every Ten Hundred Weight, will be paid, over and above 
the price stipulated aforesaid, for the carriage of the said 
Forrage to the respective Magazines hereafter mentioned, viz.: 

YORK ISLAND. 

" King's-Bridge, Marston's Wharf, City of New- York. 

LONG-ISLAND. 

" Brooklyn Ferry, Hempstead-Harbor, Oyster-Bay, Great- 
Neck. 

STATEN-ISLAND. 

" Cole's-Ferry, Decker' s-Ferry. 

"At which said several places proper persons will be appointed 
to receive the same, to ascertain the weight thereof, and to cer- 
tify the delivery : and upon certificates, ascertaining such 
weight and delivery, being produced at this office, the said For- 
rage will be paid for immediately. 

" His Majesty's service requiring these Magazines to be es- 
tablished as soon as the season will permit, it is expected and 
required that all persons who raise forrage, do furnish a certain 
quantity, proportionable to the produce of each person respec- 
tively. 

" DANIEL WIER, 

" Commissary General." 

Howe and a large portion of his army were at this time in 
New Jersey. The objective point was Philadelphia. During 
the early part of the preceding winter the army had reached 
Trenton, but at the time when it seemed as though nothing lay 
in the way of their marching to Philadelphia and gaining an 
easy victory a sudden and unaccountable apathy seemed to 
seize the British commander, and he rested until the army of 
Washington was in a better position to resist his onward prog- 
ress. By this time Howe's army had returned to Amboy, and 
the project of reaching Philadelphia by land seemed to be 
abandoned. Another attempt, however, was made to draw 
Washington away from his fortifications, so that the British 
army could surround him. Having retreated slowly across the 



188 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. . 

state, while Greene was harassing his rear, he prepared to cross 
from Amboy to Staten Island, having determined to attempt to 
reach Philadelphia by water. Throwing a bridge, which had 
been constructed for crossing the Delaware, across the sound, 
he sent the heavy baggage and all the incumbrances of his army 
over to the island under the escort of some troops, while prep- 
arations were making for the passage of the rest of the army. 
Intelligence of this was received by Washington, who supposed 
that the British army was retreating in earnest, under a mis- 
apprehension of the strength of his own army. He accordingly 
descended from the hilly country where he was entrenched, 
and moved forward as though pursuing a flying enemy. 

The British general, now thinking he had nearly gained his 
point, determined if possible to get between Washington and 
the mountains and force him to a general action on his own 
terms or cut off some of his detachments if he should retreat. 
He accordingly returned to Amboy, and on the 26th of June 
put his army in motion, advancing toward the pursuing forces 
of Washington. The forces came into collision and the British 
pursued as far as Westh'eld, but finding, as a British 
chronicler states, " that the caution and prudence of General 
Washington had rendered his schemes abortive," General 
Howe returned with his army to Amboy on the second day after 
its expedition against Washington, and on the 29th passed 
again over to Staten Island. In the meantime Washington 
wrote to congress from his camp at Middlebrook, June 28th, as 
follows : 

" SIR, On Thursday morning General Howe advanced with 
his whole army in several columns from Amboy, as far as West- 
h'eld. We are certainly informed, that the troops sent to Staten 
Island returned the preceding evening, and it is said with an 
augmentation of marines : so that carrying them there was a 
feint, to deceive us." 

The campaign of Howe in New Jersey and its results were 
summed up by a paper of the time in the following paragraph : 

li Since our last we have certain intelligence, that soon after 
the skirmish with Lord Stirling's division, as mentioned in our 
last, the enemy filed off from Westfield to Amboy, and from 
thence to Staten Island, and left us in entire possession of New 
Jersey, in a small part of which they had been pen'd up for six 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

months, unable to do any great matters, except stealing a few 
cattle, and making Whigs of the wavering and diffident." 

Among the troops stationed on the island at this time was a 
rising young man whom subsequent events made a conspicuous 
figure in the history of the revolution. This young man was 
Major John Andre, the spy. Though he was not prominent 
on the island, yet while here he made his will, and the in- 
terest which naturally attaches to his name must be our apology 
for the insertion of a copy of that document in this connection. 

" The following is my last Will and Testament and I appoint 
as Executors thereto Mary Louisa Andre my Mother, David 
Andre my Uncle, Andrew Girardot my Uncle, John Lewis An- 
dre my Uncle. 

"To each of the above Executors I give Fifty Pounds. I 
give to Mary Hannah Andre my Sister Seven Hundred Pounds. 
I give to Ann Marguerite Andre my Sister Seven Hundred 
Pounds. I give to Louisa Katherine Andre my Sister Seven 
Hundred Pounds. I give to William Lewis Andre my Brother 
Seven Hundred Pounds. But the condition on which I give 
the above mentioned Sums to my aforesaid Sisters and Brothers 
are that each of them shall pay to Mary Louisa Andre my 
Mother the sum of Ten pounds yearly during her life. I give 
to Walter Ewer Jun'r of Dyers Court Aldermanbury One Hun- 
dred Pounds. I give to John Ewer Jun'r of Lincoln's Inn One 
Hundred Pounds. I desire a Ring value Fifty Pounds be given 
to my Friend Peter Boissier of the Eleventh Dragoons. I de- 
sire that Walter Ewer Jun'r of Dyers Court Aldermanbury 
have the Inspection of my papers, Letters, Manuscripts, I mean 
that he have the first Inspection of them with Liberty to de- 
stroy or detain whatever he thinks proper, and I desire my 
Watch be given to him. And I lastly give and bequeath to 
my Brother John Lewis Andie the residue of all my Effects 
whatsoever. Witness my Hand and Seal Staten Island in the 
province of N. York, N. America the 7th June 1777. 

" JOHN ANDRE Capt'n in the 26th Reg't of Foot [L. S.] 
" N. B. The Currency alluded to in this Will is Sterling- 
Money of Great Britain. I desire nothing more than my wear- 
ing Apparel be sold by public Auction, J. A. 

" City and Province / 
of New York. )' s 
Be it remembered that on the Ninth day of October in the 



190 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Year of Our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and Eighty per- 
sonally came and appeared before me Gary Ludlow, Surrogate 
for the City and Province aforesaid, Henry White and William 
Sea ton both of the City and Province aforesaid Esquires who 
being severally duly sworn did declare that they were well ac- 
quainted with the hand writing of John Andre formerly Cap- 
tain in the twenty-sixth Regiment of Foot and since Adjutant 
General Deceased that they have frequently seen him write, 
And that they verily believe that the before written Instrument 
purporting to be the last Will and Testament of the said John 
Andre bearing date the seventh Day of June One thousand 
seven hundred and Seventy Seven with the Subscriptions there- 
to are all of his the said John Andre's own proper hand Writ- 
ing and further saith not. 

"GARY LUDLOW SUIT." 

It will be seen by the above that the will was admitted to 
probate just a week after the execution of its maker at Tappan 
on the 2d of October, 1780. 

Howe having determined to approach Philadelphia by water 
began early in July the embarkation of his army from Staten 
Island. On the 5th he began placing on board of transports 
such corps as he wished to take with him, amounting to thirty- 
six battalions of British and Hessians, including the light in- 
fantry and grenadiers, the queen's rangers, a powerful artillery, 
and a regiment of light dragoons. The troops that remained in 
the vicinity of New York were placed under command of Gen- 
eral Clinton, while under him General Knyphausen had com- 
mand of Staten Island. Though preparations began thus early 
it was not until the 23d of the month that the fleet, consisting 
of two hundred and sixty-seven sail, passed outside of Sandy 
Hook. 

At this time there seems to have been a desire on the part of 
the British to starve out the "rebels," or at least to weaken 
and perplex them by preventing their obtaining any supplies 
from New York either directly or through Staten Island. To 
carry this out all commerce between here and the Jerseys was 
prohibited. It was difficult, however, to enforce such prohibi- 
tion. On the 17th of July Sir William Howe issued a procla- 
mation relating to the cargoes of vessels arriving at the port of 
New York. He appointed Andrew Elliot, Esq., superintendent 
of all imports and exports passing between New York and 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 191 

Long Island and Staten Island, and in order that the inhabitants 
of the latter islands might be furnished with necessary supplies 
and at the same time to prevent supplies being conveyed to the 
"rebels" through these channels, he ordered that no craft of 
any kind should carry from the city to either of these islands, 
without special permit from the superintendent's office, any 
larger quantities of rum, spirits, sugar or molasses than one 
barrel of each, or of salt exceeding four bushels. No quantity 
of any other kind of merchandise larger than might be con- 
sidered sufficient for the use of one family should be taken at 
one time. The penalty for the violation of the restrictions of 
this proclamation was forfeiture of the vessel, large or small, 
and the goods found on board, and imprisonment of the master 
in charge. Similar proclamations were subsequently issued. 

After the removal of the troops from the island for the ex- 
pedition to Philadelphia there were only about three thousand 
men left here. The principal part of this number were com- 
prised in two regiments of Hessians, other troops being of the 
British and some of the provincial corps. 

In the early part of August a party of Americans crossed the 
kills and landed somewhere on the shore at West New Brighton, 
and directed their course for Richmond. As they approached 
that village they were met by a party of British, who, after a 
slight resistance, retreated slowly until they reached St. An- 
drew's church, which they entered; the Americans fired at the 
windows until every pane of glass had been broken; they then 
approached, and fired through the broken windows until the 
British were driven out; a reinforcement from the vicinity of 
the quarantine had been hurried forward, who reached Rich- 
mond just as the church had been vacated. It was now the 
turn of the Americans to retreat, which they did by the Fresh 
kill road, keeping the prisoners which they had taken iu their 
rear. These consisted not of soldiers only but of citizens also, 
whom they had captured on their way; this prevented the 
British from tiring, lest they should kill their own friends, or 
at least non combatants. After the Americans had descended 
the hill and crossed the bridge at the locality now known as 
Laforge's store, Westfield, they concealed themselves in a corn- 
field, where they waited until their pursuers were within reach, 
when they tired a volley at them and the British colonel in 
command was killed. Continuing their retreat until they 



192 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

reached the shore of the sound, they drove their prisoners, 
some thirty in number, into a large hog sty, while they them- 
selves seized what boats they required, and effected their es- 
cape. While they were crossing, the British reached the shore 
and opened on them with their artillery, which they had 
not yet had opportunity for using, and killed several of 
them. 

On the 19th of the same month Colonel Dongan and Major 
Drummond, of the Third battalion of provincials, mostly from 
New Jersey, with about sixty men, set out from Staten Island 
on a predatory raid into New Jersey. They marched about 
twenty-seven miles into the interior, on the way capturing 
fourteen prisoners, about seventy cattle and horses, and twenty 
stand of arms, besides destroying a quantity of powder, shot, 
salt and rum. The transporting of the stock and prisoners across 
the sound at Amboy was covered by a guard on the Jersey side. 

One of the most important engagements of the. war on the 
island took place on the 22d of August, the particulars of 
which are as nearly in accordance with the following statements 
as we can gather the facts. General Sullivan, of the American 
forces, being then stationed at Hanover, N. J., some twenty 
miles or more from Elizabethtown, determined to make reprizals 
for the predatory raids that the Staten Island troop's had been 
making into New Jersey. He learned that the British forces 
were distributed on the island about as follows: Colonel 
Buskirk, with a regiment of two hundred and fifty, was en- 
camped near Decker's ferry ; Colonel Barton, with his regiment 
of about the same number, near the New Blazing Star ferry ; 
Colonel Lawrence, with one hundred and fifty provincials, near 
the Old Blazing Star ferry ; Colonel Dongan (Edward Vaughn 
Dongan) and Colonel Allan, with one hundred men or more each, 
about two miles apart, between the latter point and Amboy ; 
and two regiments of British regulars, two of Anspachers and 
one of Waldeckers were encamped by their fortifications near 
the "Watering Place," their numbers being unknown. 

Sullivan well knew that any movement of troops by daylight 
in the country near the shore would be reported by tories in 
time to allow the enemy an opportunity to prepare to oppose 
him. To avoid this a long march by night was the only resource. 
Accordingly his troops at Hanover were put in motion at about 
three o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st. These were selected 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

from the brigades of Generals Smallwood and De Borre, and 
numbered about one thousand men, who were supposed to be 
most ably prepared to endure a long march. The bod}' reached 
Elizabethtown at about ten o'clock in the evening. 

The forces were now divided, so as to make a simultaneous 
attack on two different points on the island. Colonel Ogden, 
with his own and Colonel Dayton's regiment, joined by one 
hundred militia under Colonel Frelinghuysen, inarched from 
Elizabethtown in the evening to a point opposite the Fresh kill, 
where they were conveyed by boats across the sound and up the 
creek, their object being to attack Lawrence's i*egiment in 
the rear. The remainder of the troops crossed from Halstead's 
point or Elizabethtown point, approaching the island on the 
north shore. General Smallwood' s brigade was to attack Bus- 
kirk's, and General De Borre's brigade was to attack Barton's 
regiment, each leaving one regiment on the main road to cover 
their rear, and to pick up such as might escape Colonel Ogden 
or the attacking parties. Ogden was instructed to move for- 
ward, should he complete the reduction of Lawrence's regiment, 
and attack Dongan and Allan, otherwise to hold his ground till 
Sullivan came up from the north side to join him. 

In crossing the water some difficulty was experienced on 
account of a scarcity of boats, but the whole force were safely 
landed on the island before daylight, without being discovered 
by the British. 

About day-break Ogden fell upon Lawrence and after an en- 
gagement of two or three minutes routed him, taking the 
colonel himself and about eighty privates and small officers 
prisoners. He then moved forward toward the positions of Don- 
gan and Allan and drove them back. They fell back to the 
neighborhood of Prince's bay, where they found intrenchments 
which made their position too strong for the fatigued assailants 
to press against. Ogden now fell back toward Old Blazing Star 
and took position to wait for Sullivan. In the meantime the 
alarm had reached the commander at the fortifications on the 
northeast part of the island, and he, General John Campbell, at 
once marched with the Fifty-second British and Third battalion 
of Waldeckers toward Richmond, under the supposition that 
that point would be approached by the invaders. 

Soon after the moment of the attack made by Ogden, General 
Sullivan moved witli De Borre's brigade to attack Colonel Bar- 
13 



194 HI9TOR1' OF RICHMOND COUNTS'. 

ton's regiment that lay at the New Blazing Star (or Decker's 
ferry). Here he found the latter drawn up to receive him, but 
upon the main body moving up to charge they broke ranks and 
fled. Sullivan had stationed Colonel Price off to the right to 
prevent the escape of the enemy, but many of them seized the 
boats that lay at the ferry and crossed to the Jersey shore, while 
others being acquainted with the intricacies of the swamps and 
woods were able to evade their pursuers. A considerable num- 
ber of arms, blankets, hats, etc., were taken, and about forty 
privates, with Colonel Barton himself, were made prisoners. A 
barn and about thirty-five tons of hay were also burned. 

At the same time General Small wood, with his brigade, moved 
in another column to the neighborhood of the Dutch church, 
where they attacked what they supposed was Colonel Buskirk's 
regiment. General Small wood's guide, instead of bringing him 
in the rear of the regiment, led him to a position in their full 
front. The latter had formed on the east side of the bridge 
and Smallwood's men, in a solid column, were moving over to 
attack them. The British, however, upon the first fire, broke 
and fled back to the fortifications on the northeast part of the 
island, where they were later in the day rallied by General 
Skinner, to whose corps they belonged, and were led by him to 
pursue the retiring Americans with the other regiments under 
Campbell. In their precipitate retreat before Smallwood's 
brigade, however, they left their stand of colors, which was 
taken by the Americans, and their tents which the latter de- 
stroyed, as they also did a quantity of hay and stores. Small- 
wood's men also burned several of their vessels which lay in 
the kill or creek near by. 

The forces of Sullivan and Smallwoodnow effected a junction 
and moved inland toward Richmond to join the detachment of 
Ogden. About noon they reached Old Blazing Star and found 
that Ogden, after waiting till longer delay seemed unnecessarily 
hazardous, had sent his division across the river. Sullivan had 
sent a messenger to bring the boats from Elizabethtown point 
(Halstead's point)down the sound to help transfer his men across, 
but the messenger was detained on the way and the boats failed 
to come. In this emergency Sullivan began at once to trans- 
port his men by means of the three boats which Ogden had 
used, but before this could be accomplished the accumulated 
forces of Campbell, Skinner, Dongan and Allan were upon his 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 195 

rear and his chances of escape were growing uncomfortably 
small. The rear was now covered by about eighty of Small- 
wood's Marylander's, commanded by Majors Stewart and Til- 
lard, who ably maintained the honorable reputation of that 
brigade by their unflinching tenacity against overpowering 
odds. The bravery of this little party was highly commended 
by Sullivan and others at the time. By their determination the 
enemy was held back until all the troops except this company 
were safely conveyed across the river. So hotly did they con- 
test the approach of the enemy that the latter were several 
times driven back with great confusion. They were, however, 
forced to retire and take new positions nearer the water, until 
they stood within twenty rods of the shore. The British at 
last brought up their heavy artillery which, with "grape and 
canister," so commanded the sound that the boatmen refused 
to face the fire and come after the rear-guard. Seeing this, and 
their ammunition also failing them this little band of heroes at 
last surrendered, though several of them escaped, seven of 
them even swimming across the channel, and others, perhaps, 
being drowned in the attempt. About forty of them were 
taken prisoners. 

Various estimates were given as to the losses in this day's 
engagement on the island. The total loss to the British was 
one hundred and thirty privates and eleven officers taken 
prisoners, and probably twenty-five to one hundred killed and 
wounded; while that of the Americans was ten killed, fifteen 
wounded and one hundred and twenty-seven privates and nine 
officers taken prisoners. Besides this the British lost arms, 
baggage and a number of cattle carried away and stores and 
vessels destroyed, while the Americans lost a few whale boats 
which Campbell's command succeeded in capturing. 

General Sullivan, in a letter to congress, in which he urged 
an investigation into his conduct relating to the affair, in order- 
to clear himself from some charges which he regards as unjust, 
gives a summary of it in the following language: 

'"In this expedition we landed on an island possessed by the 
enemy; put to rout six regiments; killed, wounded and made 
prisoners at least four or five hundred of the enemy; vanquished 
every party that collected against us ; destroyed them great 
quantities of stores ; took one vessel, and destroyed six ; took 
a considerable number of arms, blankets, many cattle, horses, 



190 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

etc.; marched victorious through the island, and in the whole 
course of the day, lost not more than one hundred and fifty 
men, most of which were lost by the imprudence of themselves, 
and officers. Some few, indeed, were lost by cross accidents, 
which no human foresight could have prevented." 

After this raid the British rested less easily. They were 
more watchful, and suspicious of another attack. Rivington's 
Gazette, of October 25, contained the following paragraph, 
which furnishes some suggestions in reference to the subject 
before us : 

"By a Gentleman who has lately escaped from confine- 
ment in New Jersey, we have been favoured with the following 
particulars : * It is imagined that another expedition 

is determined upon against Staten-Island under the command 
of Mr. Philemon Dickenson, who has assembled near 400 men 
about Elizabeth Town ; boats and scows are also prepared, with 
a floating raft, to cross Bridge creek, and thereby secure a re- 
treat to the point. Gen. Sullivan was, on his late unsuccessful 
attempt on this island, highly reprehended for not using this 
expedient, and, as he has been again blamed for his conduct at 
Brandywine, in Pennsylvania, he some time ago resigned his 
commission in disgust, and withdrew himself from the rebel 
army." 

Tories who were so strong in their sentiments as to make a 
residence among the friends of independence undesirable, were 
frequently coming over to the island to join the British army 
or to take advantage of its protection. Some Quakers, whose 
peculiar principles forbade their taking any active part in war- 
like transactions, fled to the island as an asylum from the ap- 
peals of their active whig neighbors. Sullivan, in his raid on 
the island, claimed to have taken twenty-eight tories in addi- 
tion to his other trophies, but the accounts from the other side 
represent that they were not tories but peaceable Quakers. 

The fears of the British, above referred to, were not ground- 
less. During November a number of raids were made by the 
Americans from Elizabethtown. On the night of Tuesday, the 
18th, just before the rising of the moon, a party landed in the 
meadow, where they concealed themselves until they had the 
advantage of moonlight, when they surprised the picket, but 
after a brisk skirmish were obliged to abandon the scheme and 
return to Elizabethtown. Another attack was made the follow- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 197 

ing day, but so far as we can learn with no better success. 
Again, early on Thursday morning, the 20th, a body of 
" rebels," commanded by Philemon Dickenson, before spoken 
of, landed on the island and advanced upon the encampments 
of Campbell. No sooner had they opened fire on them, how- 
ever, than they discovered reinforcements approaching and sev- 
eral ships of war steering for the island. Seeing that they 
would be overwhelmed by numbers they retired, and with the 
loss of a few prisoners made good their escape to the Jersey 
shore. On Friday another attempt was made to approach the 
island, but with no better results. In these raids more or less 
stores and provisions were carried off. At the final evacuation 
on Friday, the removal of what stores they had collected was ex- 
ecuted under cover of an armed vessel, which approached the 
shore near the present site of Mariner's Harbor and fired occa- 
sional guns at the houses on the island. 

Some difficulty seems at this time to have been experienced 
in enforcing the restrictions against the exportation of salt from 
New York to Staten Island, by which channel that article of 
necessity was smuggled into New Jersey. By a proclamation 
on the 15th of November, Clinton directed that the inhabitants 
of Staten Island should be allowed to carry salt for their family 
use, not exceeding three bushels for a family, on obtaining a 
certificate from a justice of the peace attesting that they were 
proper persons to be trusted with it. This regulation soon fell 
into abuse, arid on the 18th it was amended by a further proc- 
lamation that all persons from the island applying for a permit 
to carry salt thither must have a certificate from either General 
Campbell or General Skinner, and general authority was given 
to any one who should intercept any person carrying salt with- 
out the requisite permit, to seize and appropriate the salt to his 
own use and purposes. 

On the 20th of December General Clinton issued a remarka- 
ble proclamation regulating the prices of farm products, the 
arguments, objects and substance of which are shown in the 
following extracts : 

" WHEREAS it is consonant not only to the common princi- 
ples of humanity, but to the wisdom and policy of all well 
regulated states, in certain exigencies to guard against the ex- 
tortion of individuals, who raise the necessaries of life, without 
which other parts of the community cannot subsist ; and where- 



198 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

as the fanners on Long-Island and Staten Island are possessed 
of great quantities of Wheat, Rye, and Indian Corn, for sale, 
beyond what they want for their own consumption, and it is 
highly unreasonable that those who may stand in need of those 
articles, should be left at the mercy of the farmer, and whereas 
it is equally just and reasonable that every encouragement 
should be given to the industry of the husbandman ; * * * 
* * * and whereas the present rates at which Wheat, Flour 
Rye-Meal, and Indian Meal are sold, do vastly exceed in pro- 
portion the advanced price of those articles which the farmer 
stands in need of purchasing, * * * * * d hereby or- 
der and direct that the prices to be hereafter demanded for the 
said articles shall not exceed the following rates, 

"A Bushel of Wheat weighing Fifty Eight Pounds, Twelve 
Shillings, with an Allowance, or deduction in proportion for a 
greater or lesser weight. 

"A Bushel of Rye, or Indian Corn, Seven Shillings. 

" Merchantable Wheat Flour, Thirty-five Shillings per Cwt. 

"Rye Flour, Twenty Shillings per Cwt." 

"Indian Meal, Seventeen Shillings per Cwt." 

The proclamation further stipulated that the farmers of these 
two islands should at once make returns to the commanding of- 
ficers of militia in their respective localities, showing the quan- 
tity of each kind of grain they had, and what quantity they 
would need for the use of their families during the year. He 
also ordered the farmers to thresh one third of their grain at 
once ; another third by the first of February and the remaining 
third by the first of May next. A refusal to comply with any 
of the requirements set forth in the proclamation should be 
punishable by confiscation of the entire crop of grain belong- 
ing to such offender, and imprisonment of his person. 

In January, 1778, the prisoners taken in the raid of Dicken- 
son during November preceding had not been exchanged, but 
on the contrary, some had been summarily dealt with, when the 
following correspondence passed between General Robertson 
and Governor Livingston of New Jersey, which, as it throws 
light on the condition of affairs and the results of the Novem- 
ber raids on the island, we insert in full. 

"New York, January 4, 1778. 

"SIR, 

" I am interrupted in my daily attempts to soften the calami- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 199 

ties of prisoners, and reconcile their case with our security, by 
a general cry of resentment, arising from an information 

"That officers in the King's service taken on the 27th of No- 
vember, and Mr. John Brown, a deputy-commissary, are to be 
tried in Jersey for high treason ; and that Mr. Iliff and another 
prisoner have been hanged. 

" Though I am neither authorized to threaten or to sooth, my 
wish to prevent an increase of horrors, will justify my using 
the liberty of an old acquaintance, to desire your interposition 
to put an end to, or prevent measures which, if pursued on one 
side would tend to prevent every act of humanity on the other, 
and render every person who exercises this to the King's ene- 
mies, odious to his friends. 

"I need not point out to you all the cruel consequences of 
such a proceedure. I am hopeful you'll prevent them, and ex- 
cuse this trouble from. Sir, 

"Your most obedient humble servant, 

"JAMES ROBERTSON. 

"N. B. At the moment that the cry of murder reached my 
ears, I was signing orders, that Fell's request to have the liberty 
of the city, and Colonel Reynold to be set free on his parole, 
should be complied with. I have not recalled the order, be- 
cause tho' the evidence be strong, I can't believe it possible, a 
measure so cruel and impolitic, could be adopted where you 
bear sway. 

"To William Livingston, Esq., &c., &c." 

To this Governor Livingston replied : 

" January 7, 1778. 
" SIR, 

"Having received a letter under your signature, dated the 
4th instant, which I have some reason to think you intended 
for me, I sit down to answer your inquiries concerning certain 
officers in the service of your king taken on Staten Island, and 
one Browne who calls himself a deputy commissary ; and also 
respecting ons Iliff and another prisoner (I suppose you must 
mean John Mee, he having shared the fate you mention) who 
have been hanged. 

" Buskirk, Earl and Hammel, who are, I presume, the officers 
intended, with the said Browne, were sent to me by General 
Dickenson as prisoners taken on Staten Island. Finding them 
all to be subjects of this state, and to have committed treason 



200 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

against it, the council of safety committed them to Trenton 
goal. At the same time I acquainted General Washington, 
that if he chose to treat the three first who were British officers, 
as prisoners of war, I doubted not the council of safety would 
be satisfied. General Washington has since informed me that 
he intends to consider them as such; and they are therefore at 
his service, whenever the commissary of prisoners shall direct 
concerning them. Browne I am told committed several rob- 
beries in this state before he took sanctuary on Staten-Island, 
and I should scarcely imagine that he has expiated the guilt of 
his former crimes by committing the greater one of joining the 
enemies of his country. However, if Gen. Washington chooses 
to consider him also as a prisoner of war, I shall not interpose 
in the matter. 

"Iliff was executed after a trial by jury for enlisting our 
subjects, himself being one, as recruits in the British army, 
and he was apprehended on his way with them to Staten-Island. 
Had he never been subject to this state, he would have forfeited 
his life as a spy. Mee was one of his company, and had also 
procured our subjects to enlist in the service of the enemy. 

"If these transactions, Sir, should induce you to counte- 
nance greater severities toward our people, whom the fortune 
of war has thrown into your power, than they have already 
suffered, you will pardon me for thinking that you go farther 
out of your way to find palliatives for inhumanity, than ne- 
cessity seems to require; and if this be the cry of murder to 
which you allude as having reached your ears, I sincerely pity 
your ears for being so frequently assaulted with cries of mur- 
der much more audible, because much less distant, I mean the 
cries of your prisoners who are constantly perishing in the 
goals of New York (the coolest and most deliberate kind of 
murder) from the rigorous manner of their treatment. 
" I am with due respect, 

" Your most humble servant, 

" WILLIAM LIVINGSTON. 
"James Robertson, Esq., &c. &c. 

"P. S. You have distinguished me by a title which I have 
neither authority nor ambition to assume, I know of no man, 
sir, who bears sway in this state. It is our peculiar felicity, 
and our superiority over the tyrannical system we have dis- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 201 

carded, that we are not swayed by men In New Jersey, Sir, 
the laws alone bear sway." 

The winter of 1777-78 developed a considerable amount of 
smuggling, which taxed the genius of General Clinton to the 
utmost to prevent. He appointed Alexander Gardiner wharf 
officer at Staten Island, and required all vessels carrying goods 
to the island to land them at Cole's ferry and nowhere else, 
and there all cargoes should be inspected by the said officer, 
who would allow goods to be taken thence to their places of 
destination on the island. This officer was also authorized 
to seize and confiscate all goods not corresponding to the 
superintendent's permit accompanying them, and also to seize 
and confiscate any vessel found employed in such illicit 
traffic. 

The effort to prevent commerce between the island and 
New Jersey was not confined to the British authorities. It 
was prohibited also by the colonists. An illustration of the 
the efforts made to prevent commercial intercourse with the 
enemy is furnished by the following anecdote. In January, 
1778, one William Pace, of Schooley's mountain, and Thomas 
V. Camp, of Somerset county, were both on their way to 
Staten Island, the latter with a quantity of Hour and the 
former with four quarters of beef, intended for the British 
general. They were both arrested and taken before the council 
of safety on the 28th. It would have been regarded as high 
treason had evidence been sufficient to prove clearly that 
their cargoes were designed to supply the wants of the enemy, 
but this proof was wanting. Still there was evidence sufficient 
to warrant the council in confiscating the flour and beef and 
further imposing a fine upon each for asking a price for their 
goods higher than the law established. On the following day, 
however, evidence was produced that one Jacob Fitz Randolph, 
who lived at the Jersey side of the Blazing Star, had met 
them at " Sparck-Town," a locality infested by tories on 
Railway river, several miles southwest of Elizabethtown, and 
engaged to take their cargoes across the sound when the ice 
broke up if they would bring them to his house. They were 
accordingly apprehended and confined in jail for procuring 
provisions for the enemy. 

Early in the morning of the 10th of June three boats were 
loaded with men at Elizabethtown and proceeded down the 



202 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

sound to the mouth of the Fresh kill, and landing between the 
Blazing Star and Burnt island in the mouth of the kill, they 
surprised the picket, but being unable to drive them back they 
retired and waited on the Jersey shore until near daybreak, 
when they returned with an increase of numbers and attempted 
to land at the same place, under cover of their batteries. They 
met with such vigorous resistance from Skinner's brigade, who 
were guarding that point, that they were obliged to abandon 
the undertaking, and retired, with small loss on either side. In 
the meantime the British were thoroughly alarmed, and the 
corps of royal artillery which had been posted at the redoubts 
between Ryers' and Cole's ferries were put in motion with two 
six-pounders, and the troops at the different posts on the island 
were also under arms and marching toward the expected scene 
of action. The timely retirement of the Americans, however, 
made their presence unnecessary and probably saved them- 
selves from the serious consequences of an encounter with 
superior numbers and the raking tire of artillery. 

But little transpired on the island during the summer to be 
worthy of special notice. The operations between hostile forces 
were mainly confined to the petty depredations, smuggling 
and raiding of foraging parties on a small scale, which were of 
too frequent and continual occurrence to be worthy of special 
remark. In September (10th) the commissary of forage required 
the farmers to thresh out their grain at once " as the Straw is 
wanted for use of his Majesty's troops," for which they were to 
be paid legal rates on delivery at the magazine at Cole's ferry. 

On the evening of the 30th of September an expedition hav- 
ing been fitted out with troops, embarked from Staten Island, 
set sail for Little Egg harbor, off which point they arrived on 
the 5th of October, having been delayed by adverse winds. 

As the hard winter of 1778-9 came on proclamations were 
issued fixing the prices of various common necessities as fol- 
lows : Walnut cordwood, or any other kind of wood, four 
pounds per cord ; upland hay, eight shillings per cwt. ; salt 
hay, four shillings per cwt. ; straw, three shillings per cwt. ; 
Indian corn, ten shillings per bushel ; oats, seven shillings per 
bushel. Other proclamations of similar character were after- 
ward issued. The following item, though not regulated by the 
military authorities of the island is of interest. It is from a 
paper of December 26. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 203 

" The intense cold weather has, within these two days, oc- 
casioned the quick-silver in the weather-glass to fall four de- 
grees lower than has been observed for the last seven years ; 
several ships, &c., and many lives have been lost by the mon- 
strous bodies of ice floating' in our Bay." 

In March, 1779, Sir Henry Clinton, by proclamation gave per- 
mission to any loyal subjects of the king to enclose and culti- 
vate for their own benefit portions of the cleared woodlands 
and other uncultivated lands of persons who had left their homes 
on Staten Island and Long Island, and were not under the pro- 
tection of the government, and such loyal subjects were also 
permitted to erect temporary habitations upon such lands. 

The"^^ York Gazette" of March 22, 1779, says: "Last 
Thursday morning a party of Rebels from Jersey, commanded 
by one Richmond, came to Prince's Bay in order to carry off a 
Boat that lay there loaded with wood ; but before they could 
accomplish their Design a few of the Inhabitants assembled on 
the Beach and kept up such a brisk Fire upon them that they 
were obliged to relinquish their Prize, which happened to be 
aground, and make the best of their way home. Mr. Sleight, 
an Inhabitant of Staten Island, received a Wound in his Breast 
on this Occasion, but it is hoped he will do well. 

" Two or three different Parties of them hare been lately at 
the Seat of Col. Christopher Billop of the same Island in order 
to captivate him once more, with a view to get him for an Ex- 
change." 

At the same time parties from the island were making fre- 
quent incursions into New Jersey. As examples the two fol- 
lowing paragraphs from Game's " New York Gazette," will 
suffice. 

[April 26] "Last Wednesday Lieutenant-Colonel Buskirk 
sent off Capt. Ryerson, Lieut. Buskirk, and Ensign Earle with 
a Detachment of 42 Men of the 4th Battalion of New Jersey 
Volunteers, who fell in with the Rebels about Day-Break, im- 
mediately charged and put them to the Rout, killed and wounded 
a considerable Number, whom they passed on the Field beg- 
ging for Mercy, while they followed the rest until reinforced by 
their Main Body, consisting of about 100 Carolina Troops and 
sixty militia; Captain Ryerson perceiving his Men much fa- 
tigued drew off his little Party to a rising Ground, where in- 
stead of being attacked by them so much superior in Number, 



204 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

he saw them Retreat. His Loss on the Occasion was one Man 
missing and two wounded." 

[July 3] " Last Tuesday Night a Detachment from his Ma- 
jesty's 37th Regiment, with a Party of Col. Barton's and some 
Refugees, went over from Staten-Island to a Place called Wood- 
bridge Raway, where they surprized a Party of Rebels in a 
Tavern, killed their commanding Officer Captain Skinner of a 
Troop of Light Horse, and another Man, and took the following- 
Prisoners, viz.: Capt. Samuel Meeker, Christopher March, 
Joseph Stephens, Benjamin Willis, David Craig, Stephen Ball, 
Lewis Marsh, Jotham Moore, Jesse Whitehead, John Thorp, 
Thomas Bioomfield, Jeremiah Corey and David Hall." 

As has before been intimated, Col. Christopher Billop was a 
conspicuous object, and the whigs of Jersey were anxious to 
secure him as a prisoner. Several attempts were made. At 
last, on the 23d of June, a party of about twenty landed near the 
house under cover of some trees, and undiscovered by the in- 
mates of the house approached it and seized their victim, and 
bore him away to Jersey. On the same night a party landed and 
carried off another prominent tory, Colonel Cortelyou, and with 
him one William Smith of Woodbridge, who was his guest at 
the time. 

We are prompted in passing, to give the following extract 
from a tory paper of September 18, 1779, which, though not 
openly germain to the subject, contains a hidden sarcasm, 
which may be seen in the light of the fact that the atmosphere 
of New York was strong with "loyal" sentiment, while the op- 
posite was true in New Jersey. 

" The old inhabitants of Staten-Island assert, that the cause 
of the Fever and Ague's having been so. prevalent of late there, 
was the want of the usual quantity of Thunder and Lightning. 
But what shall we think of the cause, to which a Lady from 
Jersey attributes the sickly state of the inhabitants of that Prov- 
ince? She affirms it is entirely owing to the scarcity of Mus- 
ketoes. If what she affirms be true how easily can we account 
for the great health abounding in this city. We have Phlebot- 
omists in plenty. Genuine.''' 1 

The following records are suggestive and appropriate to this 
time: 

"Sept. 28th 1779 Richmond County. Received of John Bedel 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 205 

Esq. the sum of Fifty one Pound six shill for the use of the Gun 
boat as appeals by the following receipt 
"Richmond County Sept the 28. 1779 

"Received of Mess r Richard Conner, Christian Jacobson 
Henry Ferine, Cornells Corson supervissors for said County the 
sum of Eighty four Pound being in full for my selfe & Eight 
men belonging to the gun boat commenceing the fourteent of 
august last and continued for one month 

by me JAS. STEWART Capt" 

There are allusions to the gun-boat in several places in the 
records ; it was probably one of the means used by Colonel Bil- 
lop to enforce the order to prevent communication between New 
Jersey and Staten Island. This boat, for a time at least, ap- 
pears to have been under the direction of Colonel Billop, and 
was an unpopular affair to the people on both sides of the water. 
It was an almost daily occurrence that those on board fired at 
any person within their reach on the Jersey shores ; with what 
effect, however, is not known. A company of a half dozen Jer- 
seymen once attempted to get possession of the boat, but failed. 
It was lying at anchor one bright moonlight night under the 
shore of the island, and as no person was seen moving on board, 
they supposed their opportunity bad come. Accordingly, one 
of their number was sent in a small boat to row up some 
distance above the gun-boat, and then to drift silently down 
with the ebb tide, and, as he passed, to observe whether there 
was any person on her deck. He succeeded in accomplishing 
his purpose, but discovered a man sitting flat upon the deck, 
apparently engaged in strapping a knife upon his boot. When 
he reached the shore he made his report, and the enterprise 
was abandoned for the time, nor do we know that it was ever 
after renewed. 

The sloop "Neptune" was kept as a guard-boat, stationed 
above Decker's ferry. She was in command of Captain Palfrey. 
By some untoward circumstances she drifted or by some means 
fell within range of the guns of the fort at Elizabeth town point on 
the morning of October 15th, and there she grounded. Captain 
Coogle, who was in command at Decker's ferry, discovered her 
situation and sent Cornelius Hetfield, who had command of a 
gun-boat at that post, with twenty men to recover the sloop. 
The latter was at once joined by Job Hetfield in another boat, 
well manned, and they both set off for the " Neptune," which by 



206 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

this time had been boarded by about thirty men from the oppo- 
site shore. The latter, seeing the superior numbers and strength 
of their assailants, abandoned the sloop and the Hetfield party 
went on board. The cannon from the fort now opened on the 
sloop and the fire was returned by the Heth'elds. For several 
hours the vessel remained aground, before the tide arose suffi- 
ciently to float her, and during that time firing continued with 
more or less activity. Though several men were wounded, and 
perhaps some killed, and considerable damage done, the boat 
was able to escape to her station. 

November 24, 1779, Sir Henry Clinton issued his proclama- 
tion to procure fuel for the approaching winter. It was well 
that he thus early made preparation for the needs of his army 
during what proved to be a long and extremely cold winter. 
He required all persons who had obtained permission to cut 
wood "off certain lands on Long Island and Staten Island im- 
mediately to bring what wood they have cut to this market," 
and required all owners of woodlands on those islands to cut and 
cart their wood to the most contiguous landings in such propor- 
tion "as will fully answer the intent and meaning of this proc- 
lamation and prevent the disagreeable necessity of granting 
permission to their wood to be cut by others. 1 ' Later in the 
winter, Governor James Robertson, of the province of New 
York, issued a proclamation forbidding the cutting of wood on 
the estates of persons " supposed to be in rebellion." 

The third important attempt to invade the island was made 
during this winter which is known as the hard winter of 1779- 
80. The American forces were quartered in New Jersey for 
the winter, but poorly clothed, provisioned and armed. Gen- 
eral Washington, in his quarters at Morristown, planned this 
expedition, and left its direction to General Stirling. From 
their peculiar exposure and sufferings at the moment, the com- 
mander-in-chief, perhaps, suggested this attack, to divert the 
minds of his discontented men from their numerous and fear- 
ful forebodings. The American army was then encamped on 
the hills back of Morristown, the encampment extending sev- 
eral miles into the country. Their canvas tents afforded but a 
miserable security from the rain, sleet and snow. On the 3d of 
January came one of the most tremendous snow storms ever 
remembered. Some of their sheltering hovels and tents were 
blown down or torn to pieces, and the soldiers became like 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 207 

sheep under the snow, which fell to a depth of from four to six 
feet. So obstructed were the roads as to prevent the usual re- 
ceipt of supplies, and for ten days each man had but two pounds 
of meat and some even were entirely destitute. But why con- 
tinue the details of the condition of the American army during 
that hard winter ? They are matters of general history. We 
have given enough to show that it was under the most disheart- 
ening circumstances that the plan of invading Staten Island 
was conceived and set in operation. 

General Stirling was dispatched with a body of the troops to 
attack the outposts of the enemy on Staten Island. They pro- 
ceeded in sleighs, and crossing the river on the ice at Elizabeth- 
town point, took up their line of march toward the present site 
of Port Richmond. The bridge of ice was sufficient to allow 
the passage of any force across the kills, and it was supposed 
that the same obstruction would prevent the movement of re- 
inforcements to the enemy by means of their shipping in the 
bay. The detachment under Stirling numbered about two 
thousand five hundred men. 

When a little east of Port Richmond the column divided, 
part marching onward toward New Brighton, where the British 
post had been erected on the hills, and the other wing proceed- 
ing up Mill lane, the present Columbia street of West New 
Brighton, and approached the mill which stood at the head of 
the pond. The night of the 14th, on which they made this 
long passage from camp to the designed scene of action was a 
starry night, bright and clear, but so intensely cold that about 
one third of the men were more or less wounded by the biting 
frost. The intent was to surprise Skinner's brigade of new re- 
cruits, but it was soon discovered that their designs had been 
anticipated by the enemy, information having reached them 
through the kind offices of their tory friends. A surprise was 
now out of the question, and as the works of the enemy were 
well situated and apparently strong, and the means of receiv- 
ing reinforcements from New York not obstructed as had been 
expected, it was deemed unadvisable to make an assault. 

The troops spent the day of the 15th of January and the fol- 
lowing night on the island, in snow waist deep, protecting them- 
selves as well as they could from the inclement weather by 
making huge fires of the cordwood which they found piled up 
where they halted. The British during the day sent a boat to 



208 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

New York, which returned at evening with reinforcements. On 
the morning of the 16th Stirling withdrew his detachment to 
Elizabethtown. The official report of Stirling concludes with 
the following statements : 

" The retreat was effected in good order, and with very little 
loss. A party of the enemy's horse charged our rear guard 
under Major Edwards, but was immediately repulsed. The 
major had three men killed. Some few of the men were frost 
bitten, and though we took all the pains in our power to have 
all those unable to march transported in sleighs, yet I imagine 
a very few may have been left behind. 

" Immediately after crossing, a party was detached under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Willett, to Decker's house. The corps there 
had been alarmed and barely made its escape. The house as 
a garrison place, and 8 or 9 small vessels were burned. A con- 
siderable quantity of blankets and other stores were found. 

" While the troops were upon the island, a number of per- 
sons from this side [Elizabethtown] took advantage of the oc- 
casion to pass upon the island, and plunder the people there in 
the most shameful and merciless manner. Many of them were 
stopped on their return, and their booty taken from them. In 
addition to which, I have sent an order for publication, requir- 
ing those who had eluded the search to restore the articles in 
their possession, and exhorting the good people at large, to as- 
sist in detecting them. All the soldiery on recrossing the ice, 
were searched, and the little plunder they had taken from them, 
and their names noted, that they may be brought to punish- 
ment. The articles recovered are, and will be deposited with 
the Revd. Mr. Caldwel, who is exerting himself in the affair, 
to be returned to the owners. I am happy to inform your Ex- 
cellency, that a very inconsiderable part indeed, of the troops, 
dishonored themselves, by participating in these enormities.'' 

Additional light is thrown upon the affair by the following 
extract from a letter from an officer on board the British brig 
" Hawk," lying off Staten Island at the time. 

" On the 15th inst. at Day break, the Alarm was given, that 
the Rebels were on Staten Island, an Express was sent on 
board from Gen. Sterling to prepare for Action; we immedi- 
ately got a Spring on our Cable and cleared Ship, the Rebels 
appeared on the Hill over the Ferry, and brought a Field Piece 
to bear upon us, which we perceiving, fired our bow Gun twice 



HISTOKV OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 20U 

at them, the second shot roused them from a Meal they wer 
making of broiled Beef Stakes; their Fire from the Field Piece 
was well directed, but the Shot fell short of us some Yards. 
A large Party of Rebels came down to burn the Houses and For- 
age, we fired on them, shot one Man's Arm off; he bled to death 
and now lays in the snow; our Firing made them retreat as fast 
as possible up the Hill to their main Body (which by the In- 
formation of two Prisoners and a Deserter that we had on board, 
consisted of 4,000 Foot, 200 Horse, 6 Brass Field Pieces 6 
Pounders, and a Number of Art.illery Men) Gen. Skinner sent 
a Letter on board, thanking us for the Service we did. 'Tis 
certain that the 'Hawk' prevented the Forage, the Tavern, 
and all the Houses in that Neighborhood from being burnt. A 
Number of Men, Women and Children came on board for Ref- 
uge with their Goods and Effects." 

Another British account contains so much that will be read 
with interest that it is presented here. Proper allowances must 
be made for the partisan coloring in these statements of inter- 
ested persons at the time : 

" On Friday Night the 14th inst. a large Detachment from 
the Rebel Army, consisting, it is supposed, of between 3 and 
4000 Men, with 6 Pieces of Cannon, and 2 Howitzers, moved 
suddenly from the Neighborhood of Morris-Town, and being 
(as it is reported) transported in Sleighs over the Ice, reached 
Staten-Island before Day break in the Morning of the 15th, 
bending their March towards Decker' s-Ferry. Colonel Buskirk 
commanding the 4th Battalion of Brigadier- General Skinner's 
Brigade posted there, having received Intelligence of their Ap- 
proach, judged it proper to retire towards Ryerson's Ferry, not 
being in Force sufficient to oppose so considerable a corps. 
The Rebels pursued their March, and before Noon took Post 
upon the Heights, near the Redoubts, constructed at the North 
End of the Island : from their Position, cutting off the Com- 
munication between the Corps hutted there, and the Troops at 
Richmond and the Flag Staff : they remained in this Situation 
till early in the Morning of the 16th, when they were observed 
retiring from Staten Island, without attempting any Thing ; 
they burnt Decker's House, and a very few small Vessels frozen 
in by the Ice at that Place. A small Detachment which har- 
assed their Rear, made a few Prisoners ; and several Deserters 
came to the different Posts during their Stay on the Island. 

14 



210 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

"They committed many Excesses, in plundering and dis- 
tressing the Inhabitants. 

"Sixteen Prisoners have been already sent to New York ; 
and it is imagined there are others not yet arrived from Staten 
Island." 

It may be noted in passing that the ice soon after became 
more solid, and there was a bridge across the bay from the is- 
land to New York, over which loaded sleighs and other heavy 
burdens were drawn. A paper of February 7 has the item that 
eighty six loaded sleighs passed over on the ice the day before. 
The most intense frost, accompanied by great falls of snow be- 
gan about the middle of December, and shut up navigation to 
the port of New York from the sea for many weeks. The se- 
verity of the weather increased to such an extent that about 
the middle of January all communication with New York city 
by water was cut off, and new means opened by the ice. The 
passage of the North river from the city was about the 19th of 
January practicable for the heaviest cannon, a circumstance 
previously unknown in the memory of man. Soon after pro- 
visions were transported in sleighs, and detachments of cavalry 
marched from New York to Staten Island upon the ice. The 
East river was also blocked up for many days. In this state of 
their communications the British on New York island were ap- 
prehensive of an attack from the army of Washington, and set 
on foot a project for putting the loyal expressions of the in- 
habitants to a test by raising about forty companies of troops 
among them. This gave them good courage and they actually 
began to hope that the Americans would make an attack, so 
well prepared did they feel to resist it. It was not until the 
20th of February that the frost abated so as to allow the waters 
surrounding New York to become navigable. 

General Knyphansen, who had command of the Hessian 
troops on Staten Island, early in June, 1780, resolved to make 
an incursion into New Jersey, Springfield being the point to 
which his efforts were to be directed. On the night of the 6th 
he passed over with about five thousand men, accompanied by 
Generals Robertson, Tryonand Sterling to Elizabethtown point. 
The militia stationed near there fired upon them and Sterling- 
was wounded in the thigh. The British troops, however, 
maintained their march and reached the town (Elizabeth) early 
in the morning of the 7th, whence, after a halt, they moved on 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 211 

toward Springfield. Finding the forces in that direction too 
strong to oppose, he drew back to Elizabethtown and awaited 
the arrival of Clinton and Arbuthnot on their return from 
Charlestown. The main strength of AVashington's army now 
being engaged in guarding points along the North river which 
were threatened by the British commander, Knyphausen hav- 
ing been reinforced marched again toward Springfield, where 
he engaged the Americans under Green and Dickenson, on the 
23d. From this engagement he returned the same day to Eliza- 
bethtown, and during the night following brought his entire 
army across to Staten Island. 

Toward the end of October, 1780, there was great excite- 
ment among the British on Staten Island, caused by a rumor 
that Lafayette had arrived in the vicinity of Elizabethtown 
with a large force, and furnished with boats on wheels, and 
that he meditated an attack on the British posts on the 
island. Every precaution was taken to prevent a surprise; the 
defenses were all strengthened, and defects which they sup- 
posed would not be observed by the inexperienced and unedu- 
cated eyes of the American officers, but which the more culti- 
vated observation of the French would readily detect, were re- 
paired so far as time and means permitted. Simcoe marched 
his rangers down from Richmond to Billop's point toward the 
close of the day, in full view of the people on the opposite 
shore, to create the impression that an inroad into New Jersey 
was about to be made, and then marched them back again 
through the interior after dark. Reinforcements were sent from 
New York city, and Simcoe issued the following procla- 
mation : 

" The Lt. Colonel has received information that M. Lafayette, 
a Frenchman, at the head of some of his majesty's deluded 
subjects, has threatened to plant French colors on the Rich- 
mond redoubts. The Lt. Colonel believes the report to be a 
gasconade; but as the evident ruin of the enemy's affairs may 
prompt them to some desperate attempt, the Queen's Rangers 
will lay in their clothes this night, and have their bayonets in 
perfect good order." 

He also had orders from the commander-in-chief to abandon 
his post " if the enemy should land in such force as to make, 
in his opinion, the remaining there attended with risk." Noth- 
ing, however, came of this alarm. 



212 . HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

The following letter, sent by Washington to Captain Judah 
Alden, commanding officer at Dobb's ferry, indicates that the 
American leader had some important scheme in contemplation 
which for some reason or other was never carried out, and the 
details of which are unknown to us. Nevertheless we consider 
the letter worthy of preservation, as it shows that Washing- 
ton's eye was frequently turned toward Staten Island, and that 
he had a lively sense of the importance of this little bit of terri- 
tory in the great struggle. 

" HEADQUARTERS, 23d Novem., 1780. 

" SIR : I impart to you in confidence that I intend to execute 
an enterprise against Staten Island to-morrow night, for 
which reason I am desirous of cutting off all intercourse with 
the enemy -on the east side of the river. You will therefore to- 
morrow at retreat beating set a guard upon any boats which 
may be at the flat or neck, and not suffer any to go out on any 
pretense whatever until next morning. Toward evening you 
will send a small party down to the Closter landing, and if they 
find any boats there you will give orders to have them scuttled 
in such a manner that they cannot be immediately used, but to 
prevent any possibility of it the party may remain there until to- 
ward daylight but are not to make fires or discover themselves 
and then return to your post. I depend upon the punctual 
observation of this order, and that you will keep this motive 
a secret. Acknowledge the rec' t of this, that I may be sure 
you have got it. 

" I am, Sir, Yr. Most obt. Servt., 

" GEO. WASHINGTON." 

On Friday evening, February 23, 1781, Capt. Cornelius Het- 
field, with a party of five tory refugees from New Jersey, crossed 
over to Elizabethtown and attacked the command of Captain 
John Craig, who was posted there. Seizing them by surprise 
the assailants were able to secure the captain and ten men as 
prisoners, and with them they returned to Staten Island. A 
similar raid was made on the night of March 1st, when a party 
of tories brought off Commissioner Clossen and an ensign 
and another man. The same method of partisan warfare was 
being prosecuted by the whigs from New Jersey, who made 
frequent descents upon the tories of the island, carried away 
prisoners and plundered their families. 

On the 20th of March a party of militia and refugees from the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 213 

island, under command of Lieut. Richard Seaman of the militia 
and Joseph Shotwell of the refugees, made an incursion several 
miles into the country in the township of Woodbridge, where 
they captured and brought off two subalterns and eleven pri- 
vates of the New Jersey militia. On their return they boasted 
with apparent pride that they had not stooped to the mean- 
ness of plundering the houses of those who fell in their power. 

The leader of the above exploit was at this time desirous to 
dispose of his farm, as will be seen by the following announce- 
ment, which is too much of a curiosity to be thrown away. 

" To be sold at Vendue, On Thursday the 19th inst, The Farm 
belonging to Richard Seaman, very pleasantly situated on the 
south side of Staten-Island (formerly the mansion house and 
part of the valuable plantation that did belong to Mr. Jaquis 
Poilloin, deceased) containing 190 acres, exclusive of the beach 
and flats on the front of the said farm, which will be included 
in the purchase on which comes great quantities of sea weed (a 
very valuable manure.) On said farm is a good house, barn, 
and all other necessary out-houses, a very good apple orchard, of 
above 200 ingrafted trees of the best fruit, now in its prime, 
with most sorts of other fruit trees, common to this country. 
The natural advantages of this plantation are so well known, 
that it is unnecessary to say any more on the subject. The 
vendue will be held on the premises, where the conditions of 
sale will be made known by Richard Seaman." 

On Saturday evening, the 21st of April, Capt. Cornelius Bit- 
field, with some of his tory refugees and a detachment of Gen- 
eral Skinner's corps under his command, crossed over to Eliza- 
bethtown, where they surprised and drove in the picket. Here 
they engaged in a skirmish, in which one of their number, 
Elias Mann, a tory, was killed. Hetfield and one private were 
also wounded. The party succeeded in liberating one Michael, 
a tory, who was held there in chains, and then made good their 
return to the island. 

A return of this kind of excursion took place on Tuesday, 
May 9th. Captain Hendricks, accompanied by a sergeant and 
eleven men, came from Elizabethtown to the island and at- 
tempted to take the patrol of the First battalion of New Jersey 
loyalists. Finding it impossible to surprise them they secreted 
themselves in the woods until they supposed the patrol had left 
the neighborhood, but were discovered later and a skirmish 



214 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ensued, in which one man was killed, another wounded, and 
two of the assailants made prisoners. They then retired to the 
Jersey shore. 

We give the account of another of these incursions as related 
from the British stand-point. On the 29th of June a party, con- 
sisting of thirty-eight of the First battalion of New Jersey vol- 
unteers, with about thirty-four militia and refugees, the former 
under the command of Lieutenant Hutchinson and Ensign 
Barton, and the latter under command of Captains Durham and 
Robbins, landed at Twembley's point, near the mouth of Rail- 
way river and surrounded a tavern in hopes of taking three 
rebel light horse, who were supposed to be stationed there to 
give notice of any troops approaching from Staten Island. Not 
finding these men here they proceeded to the house of one 
Captain Amos Morse, who was surprised and taken out of his 
bed, with four other " rebels." The party then went in search 
of cattle, and succeeded in capturing about forty head, and 
eighty sheep. As they were driving them to the landing at 
Twembley's point about forty of the "rebels" having collected, 
pursued them, and a skirmish ensued, in which twenty of the 
pursuers were made prisoners and some others were wounded. 
The British and tories were then able to land their booty and 
prisoners on Staten Island. 

July 21st Captain Heth'eld made an incursion into New Jer- 
sey and brought off Lieutenant Obadiah Meeker and fourteen 
privates of the "rebel" militia as prisoners, with whom he re- 
turned to Staten Island. 

On the night of the 23d of August a party from New Bruns- 
wick, under command of Captain Hyler, in six boats, landed 
on the island and took off with them three tories and nine 
horses. They also collected about one hundred head of. cattle 
on the shore, but the militia of the island being apprised of 
their movements, they were unable to convey them away. 

The incident related in the following paragraph, taken from 
a newspaper of November 12, 1781, shows the social possibili- 
ties under a martial condition such as that in which Staten 
Island then lay : 

" Last Saturday William Hetfield, an inhabitant of Elizabeth- 
Town, Railway, came to Staten Island with a small quantity of 
flour to dispose of, that he might get some hard money which 
would enable him to pay the taxes imposed by the rebel Gov- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 215 

ernor : On his return in the evening, he was met in the Sound 
by one Peter Terrat, a noted thief, who supports himself and a 
gang of such miscreants, by robbing and plundering ; to him 
and his party Hettield surrendered himself; but after he was 
a prisoner, Terrat thought Hetfield threw something overboard, 
on which the infernal fiend took a pistol out of his pocket and 
shot him dead, laid the body on the bank of the Sound, and 
went off exulting with the other prisoners he had taken. 

" Hetfield has left a wife and several children to lament their 
loss. It is said the people of the county, detesting such horrid 
violence, intend making enquiry into the murder, and punish 
the villain as he deserves. 

" We since hear that a Jury has brought a verdict against 
him guilty of murder, on which he fled from justice." 

Captain Adam Hyler, who has been already mentioned, made 
many predatory raids on Long Island, Staten Island and in New 
Jersey. He was an active partisan in and about that part of 
New Jersey where he resided. As his expeditions against the 
enemy were chiefly conducted by water, and in small boats, it 
is probable that he held his title of captain by courtesy, and not 
by commission. In January, 1782, a party of infantry from 
Staten Island, in six boats, went up the Raritan to New Bruns- 
wick, and before daylight succeeded in capturing all his boats. 
In less than a month thereafter Hyler launched a large new boat 
built for thirty oars. 

The following, taken from a paper, published in New York, in 
the interests of the royalists, is another instance of the enter- 
prise and indomitable resolution of Hyler. The date is July 
15, 1782 : 

" Last Tuesday night Mr. Hyler took 2 fishing boats near the 
Narrows, and ransomed them for $100 each. One of them has 
been twice captured." 

The same day " a little before sunset, Mr. Hyler, with 3 large 
24-oared boats, made an attack on the galley stationed at 
Prince's Bay, south side of Staten Island. VThere being little 
or no wind, he came up with a good deal of resolution, but 
Capt. Cashman gave him an 18-pounder, which went through 
the stern of one of the boats, and obliged Hyler to put ashore 
on the Island, where, after a smart combat, he was obliged to 
leave one of his boats and make the best of his way home with 
the other two." 



21 G HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

"John Althouse, with 12 men, was on board a guard-boat at 
anchor in Prince's Bay, when two whale boats were descried 
under South Amboy shore. It was calm. The cable was sprung 
and a 24- pounder brought to bear, which sent a shot through 
Hyler's boat. His crew were taken in the other boat, (Dickey's) 
and all made off for New Brunswick with Gen. Jacob S. Jack- 
son, whom they had captured in South Bay, and kept prisoner 
till he was ransomed." 

The mantle of Captain Hyler appears to have fallen on other 
shoulders after his death. The New Jersey Gazette of Novem- 
ber 18, 1782, says: "The brave Capt. Storer, commissioned as 
a private boat-of-war, under the States, and who promises fail- 
to be the genuine successor of the late valiant Capt. Hyler, has 
given a recent instance of his valor and conduct in capturing 
one of the enemy's vessels, and in cutting out a vessel lying 
Tinder the nag-staff and within half pistol shot of the battery 
of 14 guns, at the watering-place, Staten Island.' 1 

But the years of war were drawing to a close. The tale of 
plunder, rapine and murder, committed under the pretext of 
war was closed, and on the 16th of June, 1783, Adjutant Gen- 
eral De Lancey issued from his headquarters in New York the 
proclamation by which all estates on the island were to be im- 
mediately delivered up to their proprietors or their attorneys. 
This, however, did not entirely conclude the condition of war. 
<>] abolish the presence of a soldiery. A few months of hesi- 
tancy ensued. 

On the 25th day of November, 1783, the British finally evacu- 
ated New York and Staten Island. Eight years before, they 
had entered the country with the expectation that, in less than 
as many months, they would overrun it from north to south, 
and trample out the rebellion. The people should be made to 
bow with abject submission before the invincible power of Great 
Britain, and humbly sue for the privilege of lying in the dust 
and having her foot placed upon their necks. The march of the 
army through the land, from its beginning to its end, was to be 
an uninterrupted triumph. But they now returned overcome 
and crestfallen. The rebellion which they came to conquer had 
conquered them, and their overweening arrogance and pride had 
received a blow such as it had never received before nor has 
since. An eye witness of their departure described the scene as 
in the highest degree impressive. Several days before the 25th 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

bad been occupied in conveying the troops, cannon, tents, etc., 
from the land to the vessels, both in New York and on Staten 
Island. When all was ready, they passed through the Narrows 
silently ; not a sound was heard save the rattling of the cordage. 
"We stood," he said, "on the heights at the Narrows, and 
looked down upon the decks of their ships as they passed. We 
were very boisterous in our demonstrations of joy ; we shouted, 
we clapped our hands, we waved our hats, we sprang into the 
air, and some few, who had brought muskets with them, fired a 
feu-dejoie. A few others, in the exuberance of their gladness, 
indulged in gestures, which, though very expressive, were 
neither polite nor judicious. The British could not look upon 
the scene without making some demonstration of resentment. 
A large seventy-four, as she was passing, fired a shot which 
struck the bank a few feet beneath the spot upon which we 
were standing. If we had had a cannon, we would have re- 
turned it, but as we had none, we ran away as fast as we could. 
A few rods from us stood another group, composed of men and 
women,- who gazed silently, and some tearfully, upon the pass- 
ing ships, for some of the females had lovers, and some 
husbands on board of them, who were leaving them behind, 
never, probably, to see them again. It was long after dark 
when the last ship passed through the Narrows." 

But they did not all go ; many of the soldiers, especially 
Hessians, who had no home attractions across the water, when 
they learned that peace had been declared, and that the army 
would shortly leave the country, deserted, and sought places of 
concealment, from which they emerged when the power to arrest 
them had departed. Many had formed attachments which they 
were unwilling to sunder. But many more were detained by 
admiration of the country, and a desire to make for themselves 
a new home in a new world. From some of these have descend- 
ed men whose names are written in the country's history. 

Let us turn now for a brief space to review the period of the 
war and its general effect upon the people. If the history of 
the sufferings of the people of Staten Island during the war 
could be written, it would present a picture too dreadful to 
contemplate. Neither age, sex nor condition were exempt from 
insults and outrages of the grossest character; no home was too 
sacred to protect its inmates from injury; the rights of prop- 
erty were not recognized, if the invader coveted it; even the 



218 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

temples of God were desecrated; the law of might alone pre- 
vailed. Proclamations and professions of good will and protec- 
tion were repeatedly promulgated, but those who relied on 
them usually reaped disappointment. It was useless to appeal 
to those high in authority, for the complaints of the people 
were unheeded, and redress of injuries, except under pecu- 
liar circumstances, could not be obtained. If a British officer's 
horse was in need of hay or oats, a h'le of soldiers was sent 
to any farmer who was known to have a supply, to sieze and 
take away what was wanted. If the officer himself needed a 
horse, the same method was adopted to procure one. Money, 
provisions and even bedding and household furniture, were 
taken by force; sometimes promises of payment were made, but 
these were seldom fulfilled. The course adopted by the British 
while in possession of the island, effectually alienated many of 
the friends of the royal cause, and hence it was that so many 
of them, at the close of the war, eagerly took the oath of al- 
legiance to the new government, and so few adhered to the 
cause of the king, and followed its fortune. 

Numerous instances of suffering are preserved in the tradi- 
tions of some of the old families of the island. There was 
one man of local notoriety whose name is still remembered and 
mentioned by the descendants of those whose misfortune it 
was to suffer at his hands; his name was Nathaniel Robbins; 
he resided at what is now known as New Springville, but 
the house which he occupied was demolished many years 
ago. It stood near the corner of the roads leading to Rich- 
mond and Port Richmond, fronting on the former. He was 
an Englishman by birth, dissolute in his habits, and the terror 
not only of those who dwelt in his neighborhood, but of the 
whole county. His wife was a native of Staten Island, and a 
daughter of the widow Mary Merrill. The opinion which his 
wife's mother entertained of him may be inferred from a 
clause in her will, which was dated January loth, 1789, and 
in which she bequeaths to her daughter Mary Robbins the 
sum of 40, " so as never to be in the power or at the command 
of Nathaniel Robbins, her present husband." His depreda- 
tions were generally committed under some disguise, which 
he supposed effectually concealed his identity, though he was 
often betrayed by his voice or some other tell-tale circumstance. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 219 

He had his associates it is true, who were also well known, but 
Robbins was regarded as the leader and soul of the gang. 

Those families residing near the sound, or "the lines," as it 
was called, suffered more from marauders than those who 
dwelt in the interior, because the opportunities for approach 
and escape there were more convenient. As part of the local 
history of the island, authenticated chiefly by family tradi- 
tions, which are accepted as reliable, several instances are 
subjoined. 

At or near Chelsea dwelt several families of the name of 
Prall,someof whose descendants are among the most respectable 
of our citizens at the present day. Among them were two 
brothers, Abraham and Peter, both prosperous farmers and 
men of substance. The house in which the former resided has 
since been considerably modernized, on the Chelsea road, at no 
great distance from the Richmond turnpike. The Chelsea road 
at that time was little better than a private lane leading to 
these residences from the main r<>ad, and passing through 
dense woods. Oh one occasion a man who was indebted to 
Abraham Prall called on him and paid him a considerable sum 
in gold. The next evening the family were surprised by the 
approach of two men, who were evidently disguised. Their 
errand was at once suspected, and the old man had just time 
enough to take the money he had received out of the cupboard 
in which he had deposited it, and put it into his pockets. 
When the strangers entered one of them presented a pistol at 
him and said, "Prall, we know you have money, so deliver it 
up at once." He was very much alarmed, and his wife, per- 
ceiving his agitation, said, "Father, don't be alarmed, these 
men are our neighbors." She had detected the speaker by his 
voice, and knew him to be the same person who had paid the 
money the previous evening, and had seen it deposited in the 
cupboard. " Do you suppose," said the old man, "that I am 
so unwise as to keep any large sum of money in my house in 
times like these I You are welcome to any money you may 
rind in the house." They took him at his word, and the cup- 
board was the first place visited. 

The rest of the house was also searched, but without success. 
They then turned to go, but directed the old man to go before 
them through the lane to the public road. The path through 
the woods was intensely dark, and he managed, as he went 



220 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

along, to drop his guineas, one by one, upon the ground, until 
by the time they had reached the highway he had none remain- 
ing in his pockets. Here another effort was made to compel 
him to tell what he had done with it, but all the reply they 
could extort from him was, "The money I had in my house 
yesterday is not now in my possession." He was then searched, 
and made to solemnly swear that he would never divulge the 
circumstances of their visit, nor mention any names he might 
suspect. The oath, though by no means obligatory, he scrupu- 
lously kept. The next morning he retraced his steps of the pre- 
vious night, and picked up every piece of his money. 

A younger member of one of these families, while on his way 
homeward, at a late hour, on horseback, near the corner of the 
Port Richmond and Signs roads, New Springville, was suddenly 
stopped by a man, who rushed out of the bushes, seized his 
horse by the bridle, and ordered him to "deliver up." The 
horse was very spirited, and with a touch of the rider's spur 
suddenly sprang forward, throwing his assailant violently to 
the ground. Then, at the utmost of his speed, he made for 
home, springing over every fence or other obstacle, until he 
reached his stable door in safety. 

At another time, two young men took a sleigh ride to the 
south side of the island. When they returned, before remov- 
ing the harness from their beasts, they ran into the house for a 
moment to warm their hands, when one of the family came run- 
ning into the room saying that somebody was taking their 
horses away. Rushing out together, they saw two men in their 
sleighs driving rapidly in the direction of the sound. As pursuit 
was useless they stood still, and saw the thieves cross the sound 
on the ice, until they reached the Jersey shore, and then dis- 
appear in the country. They never saw their horses afterward. 

Mr. John Bodine, who then lived on the present poor house 
farm, having received a considerable sum of money, suspected 
that the fact was known, and if so, that an attempt would be 
made to rob him. He therefore buried it under the step-stone 
at his back door. His suspicions proved to be well founded. 
His expected visitors made their appearance the following even- 
ing and demanded all the money he had in the house. It was 
in vain that he protested that there was no money in the house. 
They insisted on searching for it, but before doing so bound 
him hand and foot, and then proceeded with their villainous 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 221 

work. Nothing, however, was found. But they were not dis- 
couraged. If the money was not in the house he had concealed 
it, and must reveal the place. He concluded that if prevarica- 
tion was ever justifiable it was under j*ust such circumstances 
as those in which he was then placed, so he persisted in his de- 
nial of having any or having concealed any. They threatened 
to shoot him. He told them to shoot away, he could not give 
them what he had not. Perceiving that the fear of death did 
not intimidate him, they resorted to torture. They heated a 
shovel, and proceeded to burn him on various parts of his body, 
but all in vain ; he persisted in his denial, and they finally de- 
sisted, supposing it to be improbable, if not impossible, for any 
man to endure so much agony for any amount of money. 

It was not only money that excited the rapacity of these 
thieves. Household furniture, clothing, linen, anything that 
had value in their eyes was ruthlessly parried away. One family 
had a vault constructed under the floor of a cider mill in which 
beds, bedding and other articles, except some of the most com- 
mon description, and in constant use, were concealed. Several 
years after the war a man who resided near " the lines," being 
on business in New Jersey, discovered in one house a mirror 
and several pictures belonging to himself, of which his house 
had been robbed during the war. 

We are indebted for the following incident to a man who 
died more than a quarter of a century ago, then in his ninetieth 
year. 

One afternoon, late in the fall, two British officers on horse 
back rode into his barn-yard, and having dismounted, entered 
the barn, and seeing two horses in their stalls, peremptorily 
ordered him to take them out and put theirs in. They then 
directed him to see that their beasts were well fed and other- 
wise cared for. From the barn they went into the house, and 
ordered the mistress to show them her best room. This being 
done, they proceeded to the upper part of the house, and after 
having examined every apartment, selected one, and directed 
her to prepare two beds in that room, and to see to it that they 
were clean and comfortable in all respects, and that the best 
room was furnished with everything suitable for the accommo- 
dation of gentlemen. They then descended into the cellar, and 
examined the family stores there and in the out-houses. Hav- 
ing ascertained the conveniences of the place, they ordered their 



222 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

supper to be prepared and served in the best room, informing 
her that they intended to reside there for some time, a.nd ex- 
pected to have their meals served regularly every day when 
they were at home. They brought no luggage with them except 
what was contained in two large valises strapped to their 
saddles. 

They remained in that house until spring. Their clothes 
were thrown out every week to be washed, and by their order a 
supply of fire-wood was constantly ready at their door. They 
did not always take the trouble to put the wood on their 
own lire, frequently calling on some one of the family to do 
it for them. One of them was a tory officer from Amboy, the 
other was an Englishman. Said the old man, "They lorded it 
over our house for that whole winter, and all we had to do was 
to obey them. There was no use in complaining or remonstrat- 
ing. If we had done so, we would have been requited with a 
curse and a blow of their swords. I felt like poisoning them, 
and verily believe I should have done so if it had not been for 
fear of the consequences. They left us as unceremoniously as 
they came, without even a ' thank you ' or a ' good-bye.' ' 

It is related of a young woman, the daughter of a farmer residing 
in the vicinity of the Fresh kills, while engaged one morning in 
boiling soap, two soldiers entered the kitchen and ordered her 
to prepare breakfast for them ; she declined to do so, as she 
was otherwise engaged, and could not leave her employment to 
oblige anybody. This reply excited their wrath, and one of 
them approached her with an intention of striking her. Seizing 
a large dipper, she filled it with the boiling liquid and dashed 
it at him. Perceiving her intention, he wheeled suddenly 
around and thus saved his face, but received the whole charge 
upon the back of his head and neck. His companion, fearing 
a similar reception, escaped as quickly as possible, but the 
scalded ruffian, in endeavoring to remove the hot soap, took all 
the hair off with it, which never grew again, but left the back 
of his head bald ever after. 

Another farmer in the same vicinity, while he and one of his 
sons were engaged in the barn one morning, was suddenly 
alarmed by a cry for help from the house. Each seizing a hay- 
fork, the farmer and his son ran in and found three soldiers in 
the house, one of whom was holding one of the young women 
by the arm. They both rushed at him, first one stabbed him 



HISTORY OF RICIOIOND COUNTY. 223 

in the shoulder, and the other in the thigh, disabling him at 
once. With the same weapons they attacked the other two, 
driving them all before them out of the house, and pursuing 
them for some distance down the road. 

The following romantic incident, though traditional, is well 
authenticated : 

Forty years ago or more there stood an old stone house nearly 
on the site later occupied by the residence of Capt. R. Chris- 
topher, in West New Brighton. For many years before it was 
demolished it was owned and occupied by the late Nathaniel 
Brit ton, Jr., but the name of the occupant during the early 
years of the revolution had entirely escaped the memory of the 
narrator. He was, however, a prominent tory, and the father 
of a daughter said to have possessed more than an ordinary de- 
gree of personal attractions. Before the commencement of the 
war she was affianced to a young man named Mersereau, who 
resided at or near Holland's Hook. A young British lieuten- 
ant saw and admired her, and probably from the outset marked 
her for a victim. He succeeded in becoming acquainted with 
her, and to the gratification of her father, became very assid- 
uous in his attentions. She, however, rejected his advances. 
After several months, finding he had utterly failed in impress- 
ing her with a sense of the honor of his alliance, he resolved to 
possess himself of her person, at all hazards. The same young 
tory who, on another occasion, betrayed Colonel Mersereau' s 
presence with his family, and who, it would appear, was some- 
what noted for his unscrupulousness, was applied to by the 
lieutenant. The plot agreed upon between them was carried 
into execution, with results as follows : 

Almost directly opposite the junction of the road from Gar- 
retson's station with the old Richmond road, then called the 
King's highway, there is a deep ravine, penetrating some dis- 
tance into Todt hill, at the farthest extremity of which there is 
a spring of water. Near this, before the war commenced, a 
solitary individual had built a rude cabin, in which he dwelt 
for several years, but when hostilities began he disappeared, 
leaving the cabin vacant. The approach to it was by a foot 
path through the dense forest which lined the hills on either 
side of the ravine. One evening the young tory called at the 
residence of the young lady, and informed her that he had been 
sent to convey her to the residence of her aunt, near Richmond, 



224 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

who had been taken suddenly ill, and had requested her to 
come to her. Suspecting no evil, and being much attached to 
her relative, she was soon ready to accompany him. Springing 
into the wagon which he had brought, she was rapidly driven 
away. When they reached the entrance to the ravine, two men 
rushed out of the bushes, seized the horse by the bridle, and 
ordered the occupants of the wagon to alight. One of them 
pretended to take possession of the driver, while the other led 
the young lady up the foot-path into the ravine, cautioning her 
that her safety depended upon her silence. 

So far the plot had been carried out successfully, but there 
was an avenger nearer than they suspected. They had taken 
but a few steps in the direction of the cabin, when several men 
rushed out of the bushes and seized the lieutenant, for it was 
he who had possession of the young lady. One of them took 
her hand, assuring her that they were her protectors, and that 
she need be under no apprehensions. Though they were all 
disguised, she at once recognized Mersereau by his voice. Those 
who had possession of the lieutenant proceeded to tie his hands, 
informing him that they intended to do no further harm than 
the infliction of a severe flogging ; and if he attempted to cry 
out they would gag him. A bundle of supple rods was at hand, 
and two of them, one after the other, inflicted the chastisement 
which they had promised. Having punished him to their hearts' 
content, they released him, with the warning that if, after the 
expiration of a week, he was found on the island, they would 
capture him again and cut off his ears. The young lady 'was 
safely returned to her home by the same conveyance, but not 
the same driver, for he had, by some means, disappeared. The 
lieutenant also saved his ears by departure before the week ex- 
pired. How the villainous plot was discovered was never posi- 
tively known, but it was shrewedly suspected that the young 
tory had played a double part, and for a consideration had be- 
trayed his military employer. The horse and wagon remained 
in the possession of Mersereau unclaimed for several weeks, 
but was finally stolen one night, and never heard of after. 

There is an instance of extraordinary self-possession and 
prompt decision related of a young man named Houstnan, 
which probably saved his life. He resided in the vicinity of 
the Four Corners, and one morning, after a slight fall of snow 
during the night, he went out with his gun in quest of rabbits. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 225 

Though the people of the island, during its occupany by the 
British, were prohibited from keeping tire-arms of any descrip- 
tion in their houses, some few had succeeded in concealing guns, 
which, from the associations connected with them, or for some 
other reasons, were valuable to them. Such was the gun car- 
ried by young Ilousman on this occasion. While tramping 
through the woods, a sudden turn in the path brought him in 
sight of two soldiers, who were probably out on the same er- 
rand. They saw each other simultaneously, and each party 
stopped. The young hunter thought of the loss of his gun, and 
probably of his life also, but suddenly turning his back to the 
soldiers, he waved his hand as if beckoning to some other per- 
sons as he stepped back round the turn, and shouted out, 
"Hurry up, here are two Britishers; three of you go round to 
the right, and three to the left, and the rest of you follow me ; 
hurry up, before they run away." What the "Britishers" 
had to fear we know not, but hearing these directions, and fear- 
ing there might be a small army about to surround them, they 
turned and fled, throwing away their arms to facilitate their 
flight. What report they made when they reached their quar- 
ters is not known, but a detachment was sent out to capture the 
young man and his army. Their surprise and mortification 
must have been extreme, when at the turn in the path they 
could only find the tracks of a single individual in the snow. 

A farmer, whose name has passed into oblivion, residing " in 
the Clove," left home late one day, leaving only his wife and 
a lad of seventeen years at home. It was after dark before the 
boy completed his work about the barn, but just as he was 
coming out he saw a soldier enter the house with a musket in 
hand. Before he had time to reach the house he heard his 
mother shrieking for help. He rushed forward, and as he 
entered saw the soldier holding his mother by the throat with 
his left hand, while his right was drawn back to strike her. 
When he entered, the soldier had placed his musket by the side 
of the door in the passage ; the son seized it, and at the risk of 
shooting his mother, levelled it at the ruffian's head and sent 
a ball crashing through his brain, killing him on the spot. But 
there was still cause for alarm. If the shot had been heard, 
and should attract any person to the spot, an exposure must 
necessarily follow and the lad would be executed, for no cir- 
cumstances would be admitted as justification for killing a 
15 



226 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

soldier. Fortunately, however, the noise had not been heard, 
or at least had attracted no attention. All that could now be 
done was to conceal the body until the return of the husband 
and father in the morning. This was done by dragging it under 
the stairs, where it was not likely to be seen by any person but 
themselves. The next morning, when the farmer returned, he 
removed a part of his barn floor, under which he dug a grave; 
and after dark the evening following the body was thrown 
into it, and the musket also, and buried, and there they prob- 
ably remain to this day. The family kept their own secret until 
after the close of the war, and the evacuation of the island by 
the British. 

A man named Cole, residffig in Southfield, was the proprietor 
of a remarkably fine gray horse. Several of the officers of the 
army had offered to purchase him, but he declined to part with 
him at any price. He had before sold a horse to an officer, who 
had promised to pay for him within two months, but two years 
had passed, and the debt was not yet discharged. At another 
time a Hessian officer, who had been quartered upon him for a 
short time, when he left, forcibly took away another horse, and 
Cole had repeatedly vowed that no other officer should have 
another horse of his unless he stole him ; he would shoot him 
fii-st the horse, not the officer. Early one bright winter even- 
ing he heard a commotion in his stable, and, always on the 
alert, he thrust two pistols in his pockets and hastened out. 
At the stable door he saw two soldiers attempting to put a 
halter on the head of his favorite horse. "Hi, there," he 
cried, " what are you going to do with that horse?" "Going 
to take him away," replied one of them; " Colonel - 
wants him, and sent us to get' him." " Well," said Cole, "you 
just make up you minds that neither you nor the colonel shall 
take that horse away without my consent." "Stand aside, 
you d d rebel," said one of them, as Cole attempted to take 
the horse from them, at the same time pointing a bayonet at 
him, "or I'll make a hole through your heart." Without far- 
ther reply, he drew one of his pistols and shot the horse 
through the head ; "There, you infernal thieves," he exclaimed 
as he threw the pistol down, "now you may take him." For 
a moment the soldiers were amazed as they gazed on the 
struggles of the dying animal, but soon recovering themselves, 
they prepared to rush upon him with their bayonets, when Cole, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 227 

presenting the other pistol, exclaimed, ''Come on, you thieves 
and robbers, with your bayonets, and I'll drop one of you at 
least." The soldiers considering discretion, in this instance, 
the better part of valor, turned and walked away, threatening 
him with the vengeance of the colonel. ''Go tell your master," 
said Cole, as he followed them to the gate, " that I'll serve him, 
or you, or any other thief who comes upon my premises at 
night to steal my property, as I served that horse." 

The majority of the English, of all ranks, regarded the colo- 
nists as physically, intellectually and morally inferior to them- 
selves. In their social intercourse with them as well as in their 
plundering, they made but little distinction between loyalists 
and rebels. But there were some exceptions. Among the 
officers of the British army were some who were gentlemen by 
nature and by culture, and a few were eminently pious men, 
who found no difficulty in reconciling their obligations to their 
king with their duty to their Maker. These two latter classes 
were ever ready to listen to the complaints of the oppressed, 
and as far as lay in their power, to redress the wrongs of the 
injured. 

Of this class was Captain John Yoke, of whom the following 
anecdote has been preserved. He was billeted upon a farmer 
in the vicinity of Richmond for some two or three months, and, 
unlike many other officers, regularly paid for his board and 
lodging. A few days after he had removed his quarters, the 
farmer came to him and informed him that during the previous 
night his house had been entered and robbed of a sum of money, 
and that he suspected that it had been done by soldiers, be- 
cause beneath the window through which the house had been 
entered, and which had been left open, he had found a button, 
by means of which, perhaps, the culprits might be detected. 
The captain took the button and promised to give the matter 
his immediate attention. The button indicated the regiment as 
well as the company to which the loser of it belonged. During 
the parade that same day, he closely scrutinized the company 
indicated, and found a soldier with a button missing on the 
front of his coat. After parade he communicated his suspicions 
to the colonel of the regiment, and the soldier was sent for. 
When he arrived, the colonel, using a little artifice, informed 
him that he suspected him of being implicated in a drunken 
brawl the night before at a tavern a mile or two distant. This 



228 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

the soldier denied, saying that he could prove he was nowhere 
near that tavern, or even in that direction, during the night pre- 
vious. "Were you out last night?" inquired the colonel; 
"Well yes," answered the soldier, "but not in that direc- 
tion." "Where were you?" "In various places, but not at 
that tavern." "By whom can you prove that you were not 
at that tavern : The name of another soldier was mentioned, 
and the colonel sent for him. When he arrived, he corroborated 
all the tirst had said, adding that they two had been together 
all the night. " Then," said the colonel, " you two are the burg- 
lars who entered the house of Mr. - - through a window last 
night, and robbed him of twenty guineas. Lay down the money 
upon this table, or you shall both be executed for burglary and 
robbery." The affrighted soldiers, taken by surprise, confessed 
their crime, and each placed ten guineas upon the table. What 
punishment was meted out to the culprits is not related, but 
Captain Yoke had the satisfaction of returning the money to 
the owner thereof in less than twenty-four hours after it had 
been stolen. 

Though there were, in the royal army, both among the Eng- 
lish and Hessians, a great many idle, dissolute and very wicked 
men, officers as well as privates, there were also among them 
many exemplary and industrious men, some of whom were me- 
chanics and some agriculturists. An army doing garrison duty 
has generally a good deal of idle time, which was employed by 
these men to their own profit and advantage. Shoemakers, for 
instance, frequently made boots and shoes for the officers and 
their families, when they had any, and for the citizens of the 
county ; and were permitted to take their surplus work to the 
city to sell to dealers, for all of which they were generally well 
paid. The government supplying all their personal wants, the 
money thus earned accumulated until, at the close of the war, 
many had large sums at their command. It was generally this 
class who contrived to stay behind, purchase land, orcommence 
business on their own account, sometimes, it is said, under as- 
sumed names. Some of the agriculturists obtained permis- 
sion from the neighboring farmers to clear and cultivate an acre 
or two of land which the owners, in many instances, had con- 
sidered worthless, because it was overgrown with bushes and 
briars, and would cost more to clear, as they said, than the land 
was worth. It is said that these industrious men literally made 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 229 

the wilderness " blossom as the rose." By a thrifty system of 
culture which they applied they were able to produce, as a ven- 
erable informant declared, " more from a single acre than I 
could raise on five." 

That there was no lack of patriots on the island during the 
war is shown by the following anecdote : 

A man named Taylor not of the Staten Island family of that 
name came over from New York, and took up his abode here 
for the avowed purpose of trading with the English vessels. He 
carried on the business for several months openly, and in defiance 
of all the cautions he had received by means of anonymous letters, 
which lie openly exhibited in public places, and held up to ridi- 
cule. He defied any power which the rebels possessed to pre- 
vent his doing as he pleased in the matter of trading with the 
ships. One very dark and stormy night, five men entered his 
dwelling unannounced. They were all disguised, and while a 
part of them seized and bound him, the remainder per- 
formed the same service for his wife. With pistols at their 
heads, they were cautioned to make no outcry. Having se- 
cured Taylor, they led him to his own barn, put a noose around 
his neck, threw the rope over one of the beams, and hoisted 
him from the floor by his neck ; then having fastened the rope 
to a post, left him and went their way. 

His wife hearing the men depart, apprehended something ser- 
ious had occurred, and made most desperate efforts to loose the 
thongs which bound her, and finally succeeded. Fortunately a 
lighted lantern stood in an adjoining room, which she seized 
and ran into the barn, where she found her worst apprehensions 
realized by seeing her husband struggling in the agonies of 
death. Finding she could not untie the knot around the 
manger post, she found a hatchet, with which she cut the rope 
and let him down upon the floor. Having removed the noose 
around his neck, and finding him insensible, she ran to a neigh- 
boring house for assistance, and at length succeeded in restor- 
ing him to consciousness. Two or three days afterward Taylor 
removed back again to New York, but he was accompanied by 
a guard of soldiers all the way to the city. 

At some time between the cessation of actual hostilities and 
the evacuation by the British, the following incident is said to 
have occurred : 
There were many ships of war lying at anchor in various 



230 HISTOKY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

parts of the harbor, mostly in the vicinity of the city ; 
there were some, however, which lay in, and even beyond the 
Narrows, and these were anchored as near the shores of Long and 
Staten Islands, as could safely be done, for the convenience of 
easy access to the land in all conditions of the weather, in order 
that the officers might obtain supplies of butter, vegetables, etc., 
from the farms in the vicinity. One day a boy, some seventeen 
or eighteen years of age, was in search of some stray cattle in 
the woods near the water, and saw a ship's boat with two sailors 
approaching. Supposing he might as well keep out of their 
sight in that solitary place, he concealed himself behind a large 
tree ; he saw them land, and while one of them remained in 
charge of the boat, the other, with a basket in his hand, en- 
tered the wood. After having proceeded a few rods, until he 
was out of sight of his companion, and of everybody else, as 
he supposed, he took off his coat, knelt down at the foot of a 
large, gnarled tree, and, with an instrument resembling a ma- 
son's trowel, dug a hole in the earth, and having deposited 
something therein, carefully filled the hole again with earth, 
and laid a large flat stone upon it. This done he arose to his 
feet, and took a long and careful survey of the surroundings, 
then proceeded on his way. The youth kept in his place of 
concealment for two full hours, when he saw the sailor return- 
ing with his basket apparently filled with vegetables. He 
passed by the place where he had dug the hole, scrutinized 
it closely, and then proceeded to the boat, which was still in 
waiting for him, and returned to the ship. Assuring himself 
that the coast was clear, the young man went to the place, re- 
opened the hole, and found therein a heavy canvas bag, evi- 
dently containing, as he judged by its sound, a quantity of 
money. Securing the prize, and without waiting to re-fill the 
hole, he hastened away, and found some other place of deposit, 
known only to himself. A day or two thereafter posters were 
put up in every public place, offering a large reward for the 
recovery of three hundred guineas, which had been stolen from 
one of his majesty's ships, being the property of the govern- 
ment, and an additional reward for the detection of the thief, 
but the boy kept his own counsel. The theft occasioned a good 
deal of talk at the time, but it was soon forgotten in the ex- 
citement consequent upon the declaration of peace and the 
preparations for the departure of the British from the country. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 231 

For nearly four years the young man kept his own secret, at 
which time he had attained his majority ; and then, when he 
purchased a farm for himself, and paid for it, did he first re- 
veal, to his parents only, the manner in which he obtained his 
means. 

During the whole time of their occupancy of the island the 
British kept a lookout on some convenient elevation for the 
arrival of vessels. At one time a sentinel was stationed in the 
top of % ' a large chestnut tree which grew upon the summit of 
the island, about a mile from a small wooden church which 
stood near the King's highway." There is a tradition confirma- 
tory of this statement, which says that the British kept a num- 
ber of soldiers on the top of Todt hill to guard the road and to 
keep a lookout over the land and water. From the locality 
indicated this might have been done very easily, for it com- 
mands a view of the outer bay and Sandy Hook in one direc- 
tion, and the kills, and New Jersey beyond, in another. The 
sentinel in the tree was provided with a platform upon which 
to stand, and signals to elevate upon a pole lashed to the high- 
est limb of the tree. This position was a perilous one in a 
heavy wind, and peculiarly so during a thunder storm. It is 
said that on one occasion a soldier on duty in that elevated 
place was overtaken by a sudden storm of rain, thunder and 
lightning. The ladder by which he had ascended was blown 
out of his reach, and he was unable to escape from the dangers 
which surrounded him. When the storm had passed away his 
body was found on the ground beneath the tree, with his 
neck broken; and certain livid marks on his person, together 
with the condition of the tree itself, indicated that he had been 
, stricken by lightning and fallen to the ground. About a month 
afterward another storm passed over the same locality, and the 
lookout descended from his elevation as quickly as possible, 
but he had no sooner reached the ground than the tree was 
again struck, and he was killed at its foot. After that the 
place of lookout was changed, and brought down the hill 
nearer the church, probably in the vicinity of the light house. 
The following season the doomed tree was again struck, and 
riven to splinters. 

An aged man named Brit ton, residing in Southfield, with his 
wife and granddaughter, a young lady about seventeen years 
of age, were seated before a bright fire on the hearth, one chilly 



232 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

autumn evening. On a table stood a mug of cider, and in the 
tire was one end of a long iron rod, with which, after heating it, 
the old man was in the habit of " mulling " his cider, a bever- 
age of which he partook every evening before retiring. While 
thus waiting the outer door suddenly opened and a huge Hes- 
sian soldier entered. After regarding the family group for a 
moment, he walked to the corner in which the young lady was 
sitting, and seated himself beside her. "Hey, missy," said 
he, attempting to put his arm around her waist, "how 
you like a big Dutchman for a husband, hey?" " Go away, 
you Dutch brute," said she. " Oh, no," he answered renew- 
ing his attempt at familiarity, " me not go away yet." "Go 
away," she repeated, " or I shall hurt you." Laughing at this 
threat he persisted in annoying her, until suddenly she 
stooped down, and seizing the iron rod, thrust the red hot end 
of it into his face. He uttered a yell, and in the effort to spring 
up, fell over his chair. She continued her assault upon him, 
by pushing the rod into any part of his person she could reach 
and when he regained his feet and made for th* door, she con- 
tinued to pursue him, even following him out of doors. He 
made repeated attempts to strike her, but her rod being longer 
than his arm, effectually prevented him from touching her. 
He also attempted to seize the rod, but it was too hot to hold, 
and every such effort only burned him the more. Foiled at 
every point, he turned and ran away. 

During the war British officers were quartered at the house 
of a Mrs. Dissosway, near the present site of Tottenville. Her 
husband was a prisoner in the hands of the British. Captain 
Nathaniel Fitz Randolph, who was very troublesome to the 
British, was her brother. A tory colonel once promised to 
procure the release of her husband if she would prevail upon 
her brother to remain quietly at home and become a neutral 
party. "And if I could" she replied, with a look of scorn, 
at the same time drawing up her tall figure to its utmost height, 
"if I could act so dastardly a part, think you that General 
Washington has but one Captain Randolph in his army?" 

On one occasion after the establishment of independence, it 
is related that several families of those who had suffered dur- 
ing the war were returning from a religious service in sleighs. 
As they approached the house of a certain tory captain, they 
all drew up in front, and Dissosway, the leader, went to the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 233 

fi'ont door and with the butt of his driving whip rapped. 
When his call was answered by the captain the former ex- 
plained, " We stopped to let you know we rebels have been to 
church. It is our turn now to give thanks." 

A Mrs. Jackson resided on the island during the war. Her 
husband was for nine months in the provost, and for two years 
afterward on parole. During his absence the house was the 
abode of British officers and soldiers. One day this resolute 
woman caught a soldier carrying her tin milk pail through the 
house to take it to his master, who wished to bathe his feet in 
it. Seizing the pail and tearing it from his grasp she fearlessly 
retorted, " Itfot for your master's master shall you touch what 
you have no business with." This lady used to send provis- 
ions to the American army on the opposite shore. To do this 
the utmost secrecy was required. To avoid suspicion she would 
often set her husband's mill going and attend to it herself while 
the black man who usually performed that service left his work 
to go across the river with provisions. One day she kept a 
fatted calf muzzled under her bed all day to send it to the 
Americans at night. On one occasion she received intelligence 
that the Americans were coming to surprise and capture the 
British who were lodged in her house. She gave no warning to 
the latter till the whig force was just at hand; then, not wish- 
ing to have a bloody contest in her house, she told them the 
wings were coming. " Run, gentlemen, run, or you are all pris- 
oners." They did run, without ceremony, but the whigs were 
upon them. 

After Jackson's return the house was robbed. A knock was 
heard at the door one night, and on opening it a disguised man 
appeared, with a pistol which he placed at the head of Mr. 
Jackson and enjoined silence underpain of instant death. A little 
daughter standing by involuntarily screamed out, when one of 
the ruffians struck her a blow on the head, which laid her in- 
sensible on the floor. The house was then stripped of what- 
ever articles the thieves desired to take away. Their path next 
morning could be traced by the articles they had dropped by 
the way in their haste as they departed. The family believed 
they were a band of tories, who were often more cruel and ra- 
pacious than the British soldiers. 

The following incident is related as being one of the most 
daring exploits of the revolution. A colonel of the American 



234 HISTORY OF KICHMOND COUNTY. 

army having been taken prisoner, and there being no British 
officer of a similar grade in their possession with whom to re- 
deem him, three men entered upon the perilous enterprise of 
taking a colonel from the very midst of the enemy then sta- 
tioned on Staten Island. They crossed the sound on a dark 
night, and approached the house where several officers were lo- 
cated, but found it strongly guarded. Proceeding with the 
utmost caution they were able to evade the guard in the dark- 
ness, and approaching the house took their stand near a window, 
through which they could see what was going on within. 
Watching a favorable opportunity they entered the house, and 
placing a pistol to the breast of a colonel they ordered him to 
inarch out as their prisoner, threatening to shoot him in case 
he made the least noise, or resistance. They took him away 
from his companions, out through the guard by which the 
house was encircled, and delivered him safely in Elizabethtown 
by sunrise the next morning. One of the men who performed 
this daring feat was Henry Willis, who died about forty years 
since, but of the names of the other two we are ignorant. 

The murder of Stephen Ball and its attendant circumstances 
are so intimately associated with Staten Island that we may be 
excused for introducing here an account of the matter. Ball 
was in the habit of supplying some of the British on Staten 
Island with such beef and other provisions as he had to sell. 
Upon one occasion a tory sent out from the British as a spy, 
had been taken by the Americans, tried by a regular court mar- 
tial and, being found guilty, was hung. One Hetfield, the 
leader of a notorious band of ruffians, vowed vengeance by re- 
taliation, and the next time Ball came to the island they 
seized him. This was in January, 1781. He was taken before 
General Patterson, and then before General Skinner, charged 
with being a spy, but they both knew his mission on the 
island and refused to try him, directing his release. The Het- 
field gang, however, were determined to execute their threats 
of vengeance, and accordingly, after robbing him of whatever 
valuable articles he had with him, took him over to Bergen Point 
and there hung him to a tree. This act of independent violence 
appears to have been deprecated by the British authorities as 
well as the Americans, from the fact that the victim was acting 
no partisan character, but simply engaged in a commercial 
transaction. The party engaged in it consisted of Cornelius, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

John, Smith, Job and James Hetfield, Elias and Samuel Mann 
and Job Smith, all of New Jersey. 

At the close of the war, Staten Island, New York island, and 
a part of Long Island, were peculiarly circumstanced; through- 
out the country the several state governments, and the minor 
county and town governments under them had been organized, 
and were in full operation, except in the counties mentioned ; 
these had been under the control of the British military au- 
thorities, and whatever civil government they had continued 
to be under the English laws ; any attempt to organize a gov- 
ernment which had the least tincture of republicanism would 
not have been tolerated a moment ; therefore, when the English 
evacuated the country, the government which had directed its 
destinies for a century, was, so far as these counties were con- 
cerned, annihilated as it were in a day, and the people, without 
any previous instruction or experience, were suddenly brought 
under the influences of a new code of laws. It would be inter- 
esting to trace the steps taken by the people of the island to 
acclimate themselves to the political atmosphere which they 
were thereafter to inhale, but here the resources fail. 

In proportion to its population, Perth Amboy contained more 
tories than any other place within the limits of the state of 
New Jersey. Many of them enlisted in the regiment known as 
the Queen's Rangers, and in the several companies composing 
Colonel Billop's regiment. We have been able to obtain the 
names of but two of the captains of the companies, viz.: Abra- 
ham Jones, a native Staten Islander, and David Alston, an 
Englishman or Scotchman by birth, but for years before the war 
a resident of New Jersey, in the vicinity of Rahway, and, after 
the war, of Staten Island. Many of the British officers, in all 
parts of the country, remained after the cessation of hostilities, 
but many more of the rank and tile. This was particularly so 
on Staten Island, and many of the families now residing here 
are the descendants of these officers and soldiers. There were 
not as many tories on the island at the close as at the beginning 
of the war. 

It is, after all, a doubtful matter whether there were many of 
the people on Staten Island who were really tories from prin- 
ciple. The Seaman and Billop families, and two or three others 
not quite so prominent, were all beneficiaries of the British 
government; they were the proprietors -of lai-ge and valuable 



236 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

estates bestowed upon them for merely nominal consideration; 
they were also the incumbents of lucrative offices, which gave 
them a power and an influence which otherwise they would not 
have possessed. The British officers, both of the army and 
navy, were lavish of their gold, and the people of the island, 
so far as money was concerned, were never in better circum- 
stances. The temptation then to infringe the resolutions of the 
provincial congress, prohibiting all intercourse with the vessels 
of the enemy, was irresistible, more especially as the congress 
was powerless to enforce its own ordinances, or to punish the 
infraction of them. 

The injustice and cruelty of the British during the war, and 
the frequent disrespect of their own promises, often repeated, 
as well as the inhumanity with which they treated the American 
prisoners who fell into their hands, had caused many to regret 
the step they had taken in publicly advocating the cause of 
the crown, and gradually they became converts to the cause 
of their native country, so that when the end came, there 
were few left who declined to take the oath of allegiance to 
the new government, and fewer still who were so infatuated 
with royalty as to abandon their property and the land of 
their nativity, to follow its fortunes. Of this latter class we 
have been able to find but two families, the Billops and the 
Seamans. The property of these families was confiscated and 
sold by Isaac Stoutenburgh and Philip Van Courtland, com- 
missioners of forfeiture for the Southern district of New York. 
On the 16th day of July, 1784, they sold to Thomas McFarren, 
of New York, the Manor of Bentley, containing 850 acres for 
4,695 ($11,737.50) forfeited to the people of this state by the 
attainder of Christopher Biliop. The boundaries given in this 
conveyance are as follows: "Bounded southerly by the Bay or 
water'called Prince's Bay, westerly by the river that runs be- 
tween the said Land and Amboy, Northerly partly by the Land 
of Jabob Reckhow and partly by the road, and Easterly partly 
by the road and partly by the Bay." The land was then occu- 
pied in different parcels by different individuals as follows: 373 
acres by Samuel Ward; 200 acres by Albert Ryckman; 50 acres 
by John Manner; 50 acres by Edmund Wood; 50 acres by An- 
drew Prior; 25 acres by James Churchward; 67| acres by Benja- 
min Drake; 23 acres by Joseph Totten; and 1U acres by Jacob 
Reckhow. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



On the same day, the same commissioners sold to the same 
individual, for 1,120.16 ($2,802), about eighty acres of land in 
the town of Castleton, consisting of eight lots, all hounded 
southerly by "a road leading from the Rose and Crown to Don- 
gan's Mill," which tract of land was forieited by the attainder 
of Benjamin Seaman. 

On the 30th day of April, 1785, the same commissioners sold 
to Cornelius C. Rosevelt, <>t' New York, two hundred acres 
of land, more or less, for 3,000 ($7,500), forfeited to the 
people of this state by the attainder of Benjamin Seaman, 
the same being then in the possession of Paul Michean. 




OLD BRITISH FORT. 



The policy of the government of the United States appears 
always to have been of a pacific and conciliatory character 
toward its enemies, after they had been subdued and rendered 
powerless for evil. All tories, as well as foreign foes, were 
permitted to take a position among the citizens of the country 
upon taking the oath of allegiance. All animosities were 
buried, and the descendants of a great number of these re- 
pentant royalists, now residing on the island, are ignorant of 
the position their ancestors took in the great political ques- 
tions which agitated the country a century ago. 

Some marks of the British occupancy of the island have 
remained to designate the localities of their encampments and 



238 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

the scenes of some of their active operations. One of the 
most conspicuous of these evidences is the old fort which oc- 
cupies a commanding hill to the west of Richmond. The site 
overlooks the valley in which mainly lies the village. The 
embankment encloses a space about tifty feet square and is 
situated near the brow of a hill which descends by a steep 
slope nearly three hundred feet to the salt marshes which lie 
at the base. The earth works, now beaten down by the ravages 
of a century, are still several feet in height, in the form of a 
square, facing the three directions in which the hill overlooks 
the surrounding country, while the entrance to the fort was 
from the fourth side, on the northwest, where the natural grade 
renders approach easy. 

More than thirty years ago Major Howard found a consider- 
able excavation in or under the hill that rises just west of Nau- 
tilus Hall at Tompkinsville. Being anxious to know its origin, 
he made numerous inquiries but without success until he was 
referred to an old black man, about eighty years of age, who, 
on being shown to the spot, explained that it was the saw pit 
where the British sawed timber for their barracks. The negro 
had often seen them engaged in that work. The hills were 
covered with a thick growth of heavy white oak timber 
which the British cut away, and subsequently pine and cedar 
came in and occupied the ground. The British had here a 
cantonment for seven thousand men extending along the foot 
of the hill and up the ravine partially followed by the present 
course of Arietta street. The timber was cut down to build 
these barracks. The troops were here for seven years, and as 
the old black man remarked, "On fine days and in summer 
the hills would be just covered with the red coats." 

As late as 1832 the remains of some of the dwelling places of 
the Hessian soldiers were distinctly to be seen along the 
Richmond road, at the foot of the hill in the rear of Stapleton. 
These consisted of excavations in the side of the hill, eight or 
ten feet square, which had been covered with planks or pieces 
of timber, upon which earth or sods were placed to form roofs. 
The fronts had been boarded up, and probably the sides. How 
they had been warmed in winter or whether they had been 
warmed at all was not apparent. They must have been miser- 
ably dark, damp caves, but probably, in the opinion of their 
English masters, good enough for Dutch mercenaries. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 239 

In closing this chapter of revolutionary history, we can per- 
haps give no more lifelike pictures of those times in general 
than may be gathered from the substance of interviews with 
living witnesses who gave their impressions and recollections 
of many scenes and events that passed under their notice. The 
facts gathered at a few such interviews with persons then liv- 
ing at advanced ages, but now long since dead, were noted 
down by Professor Charles Anthon, more than thirty years 
ago about the years 1850 to 1853; and from the notes of 
those interviews we have condensed the most interesting items 
referring to the revolution, in the following paragraphs. These 
facts are given as nearly as may be to the manner and form of 
their development in the interview, without regard to any 
order in matters of time or topic, or even harmony, of state- 
ment. 

From a conversation with Captain Blake, March 15, 1851 : 
He was about 13 years old when the British landed. It was 
three or four days before any of them were seen where he lived. 
Then four soldiers came along and said they wanted something 
to eat. When they had finished they each threw down a half 
dollar, to the great surprise of the people. The soldiers in gen- 
eral behaved at first very well, paying for everything that they 
took, but when they came back from Jersey they stole every- 
thing they could lay tlieir hands on. In general the people 
were well treated. Fifteen pence was the price for a dozen 
eggs. The currency used was principally English. Dollars 
passed for 4s. 6d. The soldiers were very liberal. All the 
vacant buildings were occupied by them. At Ryers' there was 
a "Fives' Court," a kind of game at which the British officers 
spent a great deal of time in playing. During this time a man 
by the name of Housman occupied the old Dongan manor 
house. The Hessians wore large whiskers, coming up to the 
corners of the mouth. He once saw two Hessians receive two 
hundred lashes apiece. They used to come around and buy 
cattle. The Forty-second regiment lay in Bodine's orchard. 
They were Scotch and wore the Highland uniform. The Het- 
fields were all robbers. There were several brothers of them. 
They frequently brought over thirty or forty head of cattle 
from Jersey to the British. On one occasion they threw a man 
into a hog-pen and required him to eat corn. On his refusal to 
do so they took him out and hammered his toe-nails off. 



240 HISTTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Decker's house was on the site of the Port Richmond hotel 
(now St. James). It was of brick. At the time of the invasion 
under Sullivan the Americans burned it. The Dutch church 
was burned on the same occasion. Mr -Blake's father was cross- 
ing the mill-dam, and when he reached the west side he came 
all at once among the Americans. They remained there until 
the British troops appeared with light-horse. They fired and 
killed a light-horseman, then ran away through the woods like 
so many frightened horses. 

From an interview with Rev. Dr. Van Pelt, June 5, 1851 : 
A man stopped at his house about the year 1804, he then living 
in the Port Richmond hotel. That man said he was in the en- 
gagement at the Dutch church. The weather was cold, but the 
heat of the action caused them to sweat profusely. The church, 
which was like a hay stack in form, was completely riddled by 
balls. Dr. Van Pelt said that when the war broke out there 
were two other Dutch churches on the island ; one in Westlield 
and another at Richmond. The latter had just been completed 
when the war broke out. It was a frame building, and the 
British used it gradually up for firewood. Judge Micheau was 
a witness of this, but was afraid to say anything, lest he should 
be suspected of disaffection. The few on the island who were 
attached to the American cause belonged generally to the Dutch 
church. Many persons living here professed attachment to the 
British, but secretly sent very valuable information to General 
Washington. A Mr. Latourette was engaged in carrying wood 
to the city during the hard winter of 1779-80, as long as a pas- 
sage remained open, and would often enable American officers de- 
tained as prisoners in the sugar house to escape. It was neces- 
sary for every one who wished to leave the city to present him- 
self to General Howe for permission to do so. Latourette would 
go before the general with these officers in disguise, and say, 
" General, I have brought you a fine load of wood, and am go- 
ing directly down for more ; I have some countrymen here who 
would like to go with me/' The general would give them a 
hasty look and say, "Let them all pass." Then they would 
go aboard the boat and make sail for Staten Island. At the 
mouth of the kills an armed vessel was stationed to examine 
all boats that passed, but .Latourette being well known was 
allowed to pass without examination under the plea that he 
was in a hurry to bring another load of wood to General Howe. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 241 

So having the officers secreted in the vessel he was able to land 
them safely where they could easily effect their escape. 

From an interview with Mrs. Bird, November 22, 1851, she 
then being 91 years of age : She was 15 years old when the 
British landed. They landed mostly at Van Bnskirk's dock. 
As they were landing they interchanged rifle shots with the 
Americans on the opposite shore of the kills. The first she saw 
of the British was a body of Highlanders who came marching 
up into the Clove (where she was living), from the direction of 
Van Duzer's ferry in quest of lodging. Some of them were 
quartered in their barn. She lived with her adoptive father, 
Thomas Seaman, whose house at that time was the first one on 
the left, as you turn out of the clove road into the Little Clove. 
General Knyphausen was a very fine looking man and used to 
ride great white horse. The Hessians were all fine looking 
men. Their dress was nearly all blue, and both dress and ac- 
coutrements were very heavy. Some wore beards and some did 
not. During the war the people along the north shore did not 
dare to burn lights at night, even in cases of sickness or other 
extreme need, lest they should be suspected of showing signals 
to the rebels. People in general had to be very discreet, and 
keep their mouths shut. "Parson Charlton" of St. Andrew's 
church wore a very white wig. The " Rose and Crown 1 ' was a 
public house during the war, and the headquarters for that part 
of the island. The "Black Horse" was also a tavern then. 
The Queen's Rangers were then stationed at the point since 
called the "Telegraph." There was a Presbyterian meeting 
house in the west quarter, which the British first converted into 
a hospital and then destroyed. 

From an interview with Mr. Isaac Simonson, December 26, 
1851, he being 90 years of age : The camp on Staten Island be- 
fore the revolution, to which the troops came on their return 
from Canada, in the time of the French war, was at the quaran- 
tine or watering place. At the time of the revolution, General 
Howe, within a few days after landing, employed Isaac Decker, 
a noted man and a great friend of the British, who was a captain 
of the light horse, to go all over the island and direct the farm- 
ers who were willing to dispose of their cattle or sheep, of 
which there were a great number on the island, to drive them 
to the watering place. None were taken by force. When the 
farmers had brought them they were all paid by the officer 

16 



242 " HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

whose duty it was to attend to that business. When these cat- 
tle arrived at the watering place they were turned into the fields 
of the " Glebe," among the young oats and wheat, and mowing 
grass. Guards were stationed to watch them, as the fences were 
all destroyed, not a rail being left in three months. At that 
time things were very cheap. After the British came prices 
more than doubled. 

The next day after the British landed, Mr. Simonson, with 
some other boys, went down to what is now Port Richmond to 
see them. They landed during the night. When the fleet ap- 
proached the Lower bay they anchored outside of Sandy Hook 
to wait for pilots to bring them in. The same Isaac Decker, 
before mentioned, was a fisherman, and with others of the same 
occupation who accompanied him, went down and brought in 
the ships. Decker piloted them to a landing place, and landed 
himself in the first boat. The spot was called the "White 
Rock." The exploit made Decker suddenly famous in a local 
way. The church at Port Richmond had eight corners and then 
went up high to a balcony, above which was a steeple which 
contained a bell. The sides were shingled from the ground up. 
The soldiers lived in it. The building finally blew down, no one 
being in it at the time. The Isaac Decker spoken of lived in 
the house known as Decker's which was burned at the time of 
Sullivan's invasion. At that time the Americans burned this 
house and three vessels, also Dongan's or John Bodine's barn, 
in which the British had a hospital, which was afterward rebuilt 
after the same model and on the same foundation, by John C. 
Dongan. When the Americans had got out of the woods and 
on the meadows they halted, while the forts on the Jersey side 
near Elizabethtown fired on the British, who were still on the 
upland and had no cannon. Cole's ferry was the same as Van 
Duzer's and Darby Doyle's. 

After the revolution all about the quarantine grounds was 
commons. Colonel Billop was a tall, slim man. His father-in- 
law, Seaman, owned a large tract in the manor, off which he 
sold the wood. Toward the latter part of the revolution he had 
teams cutting and carting there. The inhabitants commonly 
worked on the roads on Saturdays. One very warm day Mr. 
Isaac Simonson remembered working in company with others 
on the road that runs down from Four Corners to the north side, 
when Colonel Billop and Colonel Seaman came along, riding on 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 243 

horseback. They stopped and chatted with the road-master, 
and gave something to the men, as was then customary, but 
the men were dissatisfied with the smallness of the gift. 

John and Peter Latourette lived at Fresh kill. They were 
great patriots, and when the British came, tied to Jersey, whence 
they used to make visits in whale-boats to the island. Many 
of the inhabitants of the island were placed in confinement by 
the British, on account of being whigs. Among these were 
Hezekiah and Abraham Reckhow, brothers of Mr. Simonson's 
wife's mother. They were both at first confined in the guard- 
house in the fort at Dr. Westervelt's, but her father succeeded 
in getting the former out, as he was subject to fits. Abraham 
was taken from the guard-house to the prison ship, "Jersey," 
where he suffered greatly. Mrs. Peter Woglam was put into 
the same guard-house for standing up for her husband, but 
having friends on the other side who interceded for her. she 
was released. Those Staten Islanders who were thus confined 
were principally from the west quarter (Westfield). The guard- 
house mentioned was very dark and partly under ground. 
General Skinner lived within or about a hundred yards north 
from the fort. The British had redoubts all along the heights. 
There were no prisoners kept at the fort that was located near 
the site of the pavilion. The property at the entrance of the 
kills was occupied by Judge Ryers as a farm before the war. 
He sold it to Buskirk. It was not a regular ferry till the 
war, when one Mackatee hired it. 

Joshua Mersereau was the first militia colonel on Staten Is- 
land. The old colonel was no friend to the British, but to his 
country. The enemy were after him two or three times. He 
had notice of their coming and hid himself in a swamp. The 
Hetfields were a rough set of men "and feared neither God nor 
Devil." Cornelius, their leader, held a major's commission 
from the British. They accused Ball of being one of those who 
killed Long. Ball was a trader who brought things such as 
poultry, beef, and the like from the Jersey side. The Het- 
field's caught him and took him to Mackatee' s. They took 
him at Squire Merrill's, and intending at first only to make a 
prize of his wagon load of beef, poultry, etc., they told him to 
go on and they would follow with his wagon, but he would not 
leave it. They took him to General Skinner, at the fort at the 
Narrows, but he would have nothing to do with him, but told 



s 



244 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

them, " He is your prisoner ; do what you please with him." 
They took him across the kills ; got a table from Ham Brit ton's 
at the mill on this side ; placed the table under a big tree and 
stood Ball upon it; then, having fastened a noose about his neck 
and tied it to a limb, they kicked the the table from beneath 
his feet and hung him till he was dead. Mrs. Simonson saw it 
from the Staten Island side. Jake Hetfield kicked the table 
from under the feet of Ball. They all belonged to Jersey, ex- 
cept one called "Tow-head Jim," who was also born in Jersey, 
but served his time as a ship-carpenter on Staten Island. Long 
was the man who was hove into the hog- pen. He was on the 
British side, and was caught in Jersey. John and Cornelius 
Hetfield were both afterward tried for the murder of Ball, but 
neither was condemned. The Hetfields were not all brothers. 
Cornelius was an only son. He was a fine looking man, with 
dark hair, fair skin, and fine, ivory-like teeth. His father was 
very rich, and Cornelius was either brought up a minister, or 
at any rate received a fine education. He was very active and 
strong, and he would preach and pray like a minister. (The 
name is spelled sometimes Hetfield and sometimes Hatfield.) 
He had one sister, who married a man by the name of Blanchar. 
The large property which his father left to Cornelius Hetfield 
was transferred to his brother-in-law to prevent its confisca- 
tion. 

The night when Hetfield and his party burned the church in 
Elizabethtown they came back and had a meeting in the large 
mill at Port Richmond. They went in .there and Hetfield 
preached a sermon, and prayed like a minister. Hilliker bought 
this old mill, which was a large building containing a dwelling 
house, and had two runs of stone. It afterward caught fire and 
burned down. Hilliker built a smaller one in place of it, and 
that was burned, after which another was built. Daniel Seller 
was a great friend of the American cause. He was almost the first 
settler at Fayetteville, and built a public house there and cleared 
away the woods during the revolution. Col. Aaron Cortelyou 
kept a store where Edward Taylor since lived. It was this store 
that the negro Anthony Neal broke into, or was accused of 
breaking into and was hung for the offense. 

From an interview with Mr. Peter Wandel, January 8, 1853 : 
When the British first landed on the island they destroyed all 
the fences, and when they went to Jersey proclamation was 



HISTOUY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 245 

made to put them up again, but when they returned they de- 
stroyed them again. The forts abandoned by the British were 
never occupied by American soldiers. The buildings that were 
in them were afterward gradually removed. There were bar- 
racks, and in the fort at the Narrows there was a magazine un- 
der ground, made of timbers laid very close together, like a 
wall. This was built a year or two before the end of the war. 
After the evacution of New York city by the British they made 
no stay on the island. They left things here in a very damaged 
state. All was commons about the quarantine grounds. Cor- 
nelius Hetfield was a noble looking fellow, but capable of do- 
ing almost anything. He was, probably, not under General 
Skinner's command, but a kind of commander himself. He 
ought to have been hung. He, however, went to Nova Scotia 
after the war. Smith Hettield was a great bully. The refugee 
post on Bergen Point was opposite to Port Richmond. There 
was a whole company there. Wandel once came near being- 
made a prisoner by Hyler. He was with others on the banks 
fishing when Hyler, with his party in three boats, came upon 
them and took several of them. He probably would have taken 
the whole fleet of twenty-two fishing boats had it not been for 
the interference of an armed schooner that happened to pass. 

An appeal was afterward made to the governor, and he sent 
down a gun boat, and the next time they went down to fish the 
gun boat kept Hyler off. When Stirling came upon the island 
Peter Wandel, then a youth, served in the fort that stood back 
of Dr.Westervelt's, as a volunteer for the occasion. For this his 
father gave him a good whipping. Stirling could have taken 
all the forts in half an hour had he known their weakness and 
scantiness of provisions and ammunition. But instead of doing 
this he strung his troops all over the island. They were ex- 
tended all along the heights, the snow being four feet deep, and 
the weather intensely cold. The light horse went along the 
north shore in pursuit of them, and took some prisoners, but 
not many. No reinforcements came to the forts that day, but 
subsequently two hundred sleighs came down, and Ned Beattie, 
one of the Hetfield gang, availed himself of the opportunity 
to bring down a barrel of rum. The route they followed in 
coming down from the city was first to cross from the Battery 
to Powle's hook, and then come down over the flats and along 



246 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

the Jersey shore, and cross the kills from Bergen Point, taking 
Shooter's island on the way. 

The village of Richmond in the time of the war was generally 
called Cuckold's town. Todt hill was not so called before the 
war, but the name began to be nsed during the latter part of 
the war. Decker's ferry was afterward called Ryers', and 
still later Mersereau' s. Opposite to it was a house called Duf- 
fy's ferry, on the Bergen Point side. The wood cut by the 
British during the war was chiefly from the hills behind quar- 
antine, which were covered with all kinds of timber. Between 
Old Town and New Dorp it was very wild, with scattered trees 
and huckleberry bushes. There was heavy timber all around 
Fresh pond. The .riflemen from Virginia were very fond of 
fresh water fish, and would make a raft of rails upon which 
they would go out on the pond and catch cat fish and very 
large eels. The cat fish sometimes w r eighed eight or ten pounds 
apiece. 

Wandel, when a boy, went to school to Mr. Rogers, in a 
small one-story house that stood just above the Port Richmond 
church ; afterward taught by Mr. Riley, and moved to a point 
near the dock. His father's house was a short distance east of 
the Snug Harbor site. He stood at the door of his father's 
house and saw Hetfield's party engaged in hanging Ball on a 
tree on Peter Buskirk's farm. The night the British arrived 
his family was up in the clove, his father having removed them 
all thither through fear of the troops, but being assured of 
safety they all returned the next day. The British turned 
their horses in upon the growing crops on the farm. ]S"o com- 
pensation was ever received for it. At that time then there 
were not over nine houses between Van Duzer's and Richmond. 
When the fleet came up to Prince's bay the children all went 
up into the garrets to look out to see the ships come in. All 
the people in the neighborhood immediately got fresh provisions 
ready and killed great numbers of their young cattle. The 
English came ashore to purchase these articles. 

After the ships had come to at quarantine, the sailors took 
the sails off, and made tents of them for some of the soldiers. 
The encampment extended from New Brighton to Stapleton. 
In all the space occupied by them, in a short time there was 
not a blade of grass to be seen. Everything was trodden down 
by the troops, who were kept " forever marking time.'' Before 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 247 

the arrival of the main body of troops three vessels kept cruis- 
ing in the waters about Staten Island. These were, in the or- 
der of their size, the " Asin," the "Phoenix" and the "Sav- 
age," the last being a sloop. At this time there were on the 
island a body of New England troops stationed at the Narrows 
and another of Virginia riflemen, among whom were some men 
sixty years of age. These were billeted among the farmers on 
the north side. The British vessels stopped at the watering 
place to get water one day, the "Savage" lying quite close to 
the shore, while six or seven of her men were engaged in get- 
ting water. The Virginia riflemen heard of it, and taking Peter 
Wandel' s father for a guide, started for the spot. They rushed 
upon the sentinel so suddenly that he had not time to fire be- 
fore he was seized and made a prisoner. As they continued 
their course down the hill they were seen from the sloop and 
tired upon by those on board. The rinemen protected them- 
selves behind rocks and trees as well as they could, and none 
were hurt by the tire. The men who were getting water ran 
into the stream up to their chins, but being ordered to come 
out under pain of death, they obeyed, and all were taken 
prisoners. One of the men on board the "Savage" went up 
into her "round top" with a blunderbuss, but the rinemen 
shot him off. The British were prevented from getting water 
on this occasion. This was the first blood shed in the war in 
this quarter. On the American side none were injured except 
Neddy Beattie, who heard the firing and took a walk over the 
hill to see what was going on. He was struck by a spent ball, 
but without receiving any serious wound. 

There were three forts during the war near the Watering 
Place, one near where the pavilion now stands, one at the 
" Marble house," and one behind Dr. Westervelt's. Colonel 
Billop was accounted very clever, a large, stout, noble looking 
man. He pretty much governed the island during the war. 
Some robbers from Jersey plundered a Mrs. Marshall who lived 
near Rossville. She had a mare and colt. They took the 
former but left the latter. The next morning the mare came 
home again, swimming across the sound. During the war little 
" bush shops" were frequent all over the island. Their whole 
stock in trade consisted of rum and a gill cup. The latter hav- 
ing no handle the dealer would put his thumb in it to hold on 
by and at the same time lessen the quantity required to fill it. 



248 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

From a conversation with Mr. Dissosway, December 26, 1850: 
There was an encampment of British soldiers in Edwards' 
orchard, on the Shore road corner toward New Brighton. In 
making excavations while erecting one of the buildings on this 
property an entire skeleton was dug up. From time to time 
several baskets full of bones have been uncovered at the same 
place. It was the custom to send the invalid soldiers of the 
British army to Staten Island. There was another encampment 
at Belmont's hill, where the Hessians lived underground. The 
Port Richmond hotel, or the building that occupied its site and 
was the property of Judge Ryers, a leading tory, was the scene 
of a great deal of fun during the revolution. Ryers was the 
grandfather of Dissosway. He made a fortune out of the 
British. He was a contractor for supplies to the British troops. 
The Americans would drive their cattle over from Jersey to be 
sold. These would be kept at the slaughter-house, which was 
near Bard's. The Americans would come over at night, steal 
the cattle and sell them again to Ryers, who never said any- 
thing. He was a man of large size and great business tact, 
His first wife was killed by fright at the landing of the British. 

From a conversation with a Mrs. Blake, who had been a Miss 
Merrill: She was born near Bull's Head. There were a number 
of Americans who came over from the Jersey shore one day and 
were making merry at a drinking house. An English officer 
who was staying at her father's house appeared at dinner with 
his ruffles all bloody. He explained that he had killed half a 
dozen drunken Americans. She recollected seeing a negro 
woman covering one dead body with brush. 

Captain Blake said: Bodine's mill was the third one erected 
on that spot. During the war the Scotch Forty-second regi- 
ment was quartered in Dongan's orchard. The Hessians lived 
near about the "marble-house," in caves. He had visited them 
in their underground habitations to get the money for a beef 
which had been run through by them. They were fed on slices 
of pork, and rum with sugar shaken up in it, which later they 
called "Schnaps." 

From a conversation with Mr. P'eter Jacobsen, October 18, 
1851: His grandfather, Christian Jacobsen, was killed in his 
own house by the British. Four soldiers came at night, when 
he was in bed. They entered the kitchen and aroused the 
blacks, demanding to know where their master kept his money, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 249 

aud threatened to kill them if they did not tell. An old black 
woman passed by a secret route to the room of Mr. Jacobsen and 
aroused him. He opened the kitchen door and asked what the 
noise was about, whereupon one of the soldiers returned some 
insolent reply and at the same time fired upon him. The ball 
entered his side and he died in a few hours. The soldiers were 
made known to the officers, and the man who did the firing was 
hung. 



CHAPTER VI. 



UNDER THE REPUBLIC 1783 TO 1883. 



Condition at close of Revolution. Population. County Buildings. Manners 
and Customs. War of 1812. Extracts from the Records. The Militia. 
Growth and Improvement. Earthquakes. Quarantine. The Civil War. 
Some Notable Events. 



WE come now to the history of a period of almost uniform 
prosperity and advancement, with perhaps varying 
degrees at different times, but with no more such eras of de- 
vastation as that which we have been reviewing. Returning 
peace found the island in a demoralized state of desolation. 
But the sunshine of peace quickened its capabilities into new 
life. We see it now as a new era of prosperity has dawned 
upon the land. The clouds have rolled away and the vigorous 
youth of a new government, set out to run the race of its exist- 
ence, fills the prospect with cheering promises. 

The whigs who had left their homes and property at the be- 
ginning of the war now returned and began the work of rebuild- 
ing the places that had been laid waste. The condition in 
which they found their property need not be described. It. was 
what may readily be imagined as the result of seven years' oc- 
cupancy by a lawless military force and frequent raids of plun- 
derers from abroad. But the town organizations were re-estab- 
lished and the wheels of government gradually set in motion. 

It would be interesting to note the manner of doing this, but 
the records are too scanty to give us much knowledge. 

On the 26th day of September, 1775, there was a court of 
common pleas and general sessions held at the court house, in 
Richmond town, after which there is no record of any court 
having been held in the county until Monday, the 3d day of 
May, 1784, "being the first Court held after the Declaration of 
Independence being published." This court was held at the 
house of Thomas Frost, the court house having been burned by 
the British, David Mersereau, Esq., being judge. 



HISTORY OF KICIIMOND COUNTY. 251 

The first case on the record is entitled, " Tfte State PS. Thomas 
frost.'' The grand jury bronght in a bill of indictment against 
the defendant for profanity, " and the Deft, being in Court was 
called and the Indictment Read to him. Whereupon he 
pleaded not guilty and entered into recognizance himself in 
twenty pounds and Peter Mersereau his security in ten pounds 
to appear at the next Session to Try the Traverse." Unfortun- 
ately there is no record of the result of this indictment. The 
next court whose proceedings are recorded was held in Septem- 
ber, 1794. 

It may be a matter of interest to know the names of the 
officers of the first court held under the new government ; they 
are as follows : David Mersereau, Esq., judge ; Cornelius Mer- 
sereau, Hendrick Garrison, Peter Rezeau, Anthony Fountain, 
John Wandel, Gilbert Jackson and Lambert Merrill, associate 
judges; Abraham Bancker, Esq., sheriff; Jonathan Lewis, cor- 
oner ; Daniel Salter, James McDonald, John Baker and Abra- 
ham Burbanck, constables. The first act was to read the com- 
missions of the several officers. The first civil suit on the cal- 
endar was Richard Housman against Henry Perine. Trespass, 
damages 50. 

Subsequent to this the courts of this county were regulated 
by the following act of the state legislature passed February 5, 
1787: 

"Beit enacted," &c. 

>l That the Courts of Common Pleas and General Sessions of 
the Peace, in and for the County of Richmond, shall be held at 
the Court-House in the same County, on the fourth Monday in 
January, the first Monday in May, and the fourth Monday in 
September, in every year, and may continue and be held until 
the several Saturdays next following, inclusive." 

It is probable that in the work of restoring order and improve- 
ment to the desolated farms and homesteads the surplus ener- 
gies of the people were so much engaged that they had little 
time for unnecessary litigation. A paper of May 9, 1788, con- 
tains the following item : 

"A correspondent observes, much to the credit of the inhab- 
itants of Staten-Island, that the courts of general session, and 
common pleas, on that Island, county of Richmond, held on 
the 5th instant, in four hours after their convening, adjourned 
to September term, not having found a single bill of indictment, 



252 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

or a recognizance, presented. Who, except lawyers, would not 
wish to become a resident in so virtuous a community?" 

A record under date December 1, 1789, contains the following 
accounts : 

" To Richard Scarret for digging a Grave 0. 10. 

"To Lewis Dey for Boarding the Carpenters when repairing the 
County House & Building the Gallows & Furnished 100 shingles 
1 Bushel of Lime a pair of hinges & For fetching Anthony 
Cornish from New York Goal fees &c &c 6. 0. 

"To Lewis Ryerss [then sheriff] for two locks for the Goal, for 
going to New York for to Report Anthony Cornishes Escape 
from Goal, for Going to New York when he was apprehended, 
for Fetching him from New York, Making the Gallows & Exe- 
cuting of Anthony Cornish, for Expence of Apprehending of sd 
Cornish at New York, Goal costs 16. 16. 0" 

"We have been unable to find a more detailed account of 
this case. A very aged man, living when this was written 
(1875) and nine years old at the time of the execution, and who 
remembered it well, said that the prisoner was known as ' Black 
Antony, 1 being a negro ; he had committed a murder on board 
of a vessel in the sound. The place of execution was near the 
site of the present school house in Richmond village." 

The explanation above is that made by Mr. Clute. We have 
in another chapter given an account of the execution of a 
negro, which corresponds so nearly in some points with the 
above as to make it quite probable that it was the same case. 
But if such is true, there are differences enough to make one or 
the other inaccurate. As we have not the means at hand to de- 
cide which is the correct one, we leave them both for the judg- 
ment of others to decide. 

"Oct. 19: 1790. The following is the amount of the In- 
habitants of the county of Richmond as numbered by the 
Supervisors and Assessors of said county Agreeable to an Act 
of the Legislature passed the 18th day of February 1790. 

Males. Females. Slaves. 

Town of Southfield 309 330 258 

Town of Westfield 440 451 267 

Town of Northfield 463 409 167 

Town of Castleton 381 340 127 

Souls in Richmond Co. 

In all 3942 1593 1530 819" 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



253 



The growth of the count}' in population during the decades 
from that time to the present is as follows : 1790, 3,838 ; 1800, 
4,564; 1810, 5,347; 1820, 6,135; 1830, 7,082; 1840, 10,965; 
1850, 15,061 ; I860; 25,492 ; 1870, 33,029 ; 1880, 38,991. 

The following extract from the records tells its own story of 
the preliminary steps toward building a new court house. 

" July 7 : 1792 At a meeting of the Supervisors Together 
with the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas for the County 
of Richmond the 26th of June 1792 Lawrence Hillyer, Joseph 
Barton Jun. were unanimously appointed Commissioners to 
Superintend the Building of a Court House in the Town of 
Richmond on a Lott of ground given by Doctor Thomas Frost, 




HOUSE OF ISAAC M. MARSH, FORMERLY USED AS 
THE COURT HOUSE. 

and Thomas Frost having since been appointed a Commissioner 
to be with the said Lawrence Hillyer and Joseph Barton to 
Superintend Said Court House and to Advertise for Undertakers 
& to receive proposals that may be Consistent with ^economy 
and the Interest of the County. 

"RICHARD CONNER Clk Supervisors." 

In 1792 a tax of 315 ($787.50) was levied upon the county for 
building the court house, and the sum of 15 ($37.50) was paid 
to Dr. Thomas Frost in payment for the "Lott" which the 
previous entry says he had given for the purpose. The record 



254 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

does not give the name of the " undertaker" to whom the con- 
tract was awarded. 

This building is still standing opposite the hotel known as the 
Richmond County hall. When the present court house was 
built, the old court house property was sold to Walter Belts, 
who converted it into a dwelling. It is now (1875) owned and 
occupied by Isaac M. Marsh, Esq. While this building was 
used for a court house, the brick building on the opposite cor- 
ner was the prison. 

The same year, 1792, another tax of 84 ($210) was levied for 
finishing the court house. The completion of it was delayed 
for nearly two years, for under date of October, 1794, we are 
informed that the supervisors met in it for the first time. 

The lot on which the present court house stands was con- 
veyed to the supervisors by Henry I. Seaman and wife, by 
deed bearing date April 19, 1837, at a nominal price, for the 
purpose of erecting a court house thereon; according to the 
terms of the conveyance, when the property shall cease to be 
used for that purpose, it shall revert to the said Seaman or his 
heirs. 

On the 22d December, 1847, Farnham Hall and wife, in 
consideration of fifty dollars, conveyed to the supervisors 
the lot in the rear of that on which the court house now 
stands. 

In one of the old record books containing minutes of the pro- 
ceedings of the supervisors, is the following entry: 

"1827, May 5th, At a meeting held this day, present Har- 
manus Guyon, John Totten & Nicholas Crocheron, Supervisors, 
also Richard Crocheron, Esq., James Guyon, Esq., and Walter 
Belts, Esq., Commissioners appointed according to a law passed 
April lOlh, 1826, an acl lo provide for Building a Fire proof 
Clerk and Surrogate's office in the County of Richmond, 
whereby it was made the duty of the Supervisors at their an- 
nual meeting lo cause lo be levied and collected a sum not ex- 
ceeding One Thousand five hundred Dollars, over and above 
the expense of Collecting the same, for the purpose of building 
a fireproof Clerk and Surrogate's Office for Said County, to be 
located in such part of Said County as the Judges of the Said 
County, or a majority of them shall direct, and in which all 
the public Records and Papers belonging as well to the Clerk 
as the Surrogate of the Said County shall be kept, and the said 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 255 

Judges have fixed Upon the Cite of the Old County-house on 
the East side of the Goal for the locating the same. 

" Whereupon resolved by the Said Supervisors Present that 
the county-house be sold and removed without delay to make a 
clear Cite for the purpose of erecting Said Clerk and Surro- 
gate's office, and also that the proceeds of such sail be paid to 
the County Treasurer, subject to the order of the Supervisors, 
and also that the said Commissioners be and hereby are em- 
powered to sell Said County house for the best price that can 
be got for the same at public Vendue. notice to be given of the 
sime (sic) of such sale. And the Supervisors having caused to 
be raised and paid into the Treasury of Said County the sum of 
six hundred dollars for and towards the Building Said Clerk 
and Surrogate's office. Also resolved by the Supervisors that 
they will in case the six hundred dollars raised for the purpose 
of building Said Clerk and Surrogate's office should be Insuffi- 
cient to pay for building the same; In such case they will Bor- 
row as much as will be sufficient to complete the same. Pro- 
vided however that the whole cost of building such office shall 
not exceed one thousand five hundred dollars. 

Signed HERMS GUYON, 

NICHOLAS CROCHERON, 
JOHN TOTTEN. 

"Whereupon it was ordered by the Supervisors that their Clk 
shall Immediately give to said Commissioners an order on the 
County Treasurer for the said sum of six hundred Dollars. 

' ' Which said order was indue form made out and delivered to 
one of the said Commissioners for the Payment of the said six 
hundred Dollars as aforesaid. 

RICHARD CONNER, Clk ) $ C. 

of the board of Supervisors \ 600 00." 

The above document is given in full, as a specimen of the 
verbose and exceedingly precise style in which Col. Richard 
Conner, as clerk of the supervisors, kept all the county records 
under his official care. 

The " Goal " herein alluded to is that building which stands 
on the corner, north of the old dilapidated hotel called the 
"Richmond County Hall," and the clerk and surrogate's fire- 
proof offices, built on the "cite" of the former county house 
is the brick building adjoining it on the east. The cost of 



256 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



erecting it is not known, but bills for material and labor to the 
amount of $941.08 were audited that year. The building was 
completed during that and the following years, as will be seen 
by the following record dated October 7, 1828. 

" It is Resolved by a Majority of the Supervisors of the 
County of Richmond that three men be appointed to take 
charge of the records of the County of Richmond, in conse- 
quence of the 111 health of the present County Clerk, Jonathan 
Lewis, Esq., and that they make an Inventory of such Books 
and Papers as they shall find in the office of Said Clerk, and 
shall deposit such Books and Papers in the office now erected 




BUILDING FORMERLY USED AS A CLERK S OFFICE 
AND JAIL. 

in the Village of Richmond for that purpose. Resolved that 
Walter Betts, Esq., Richard D. Littell, Esq., and Abraham 
Auten, Deputy Clerk, is hereby appointed to take an Inven- 
tory of said Books and Papers and deliver them to the said 
Abraham Auten, Deputy Clerk, on his giving a receipt for 
such Books and Papers on the Schedule or Inventory, 
and deliver such Schedule so signed to the^Su per visors of Said 
County." 

The old court house and the lot in which it stands was sold 
at auction to Isaac M. Morris December 17, 1837. That build- 
ing still stands on the west side of the street, nearly opposite 



HISTORY OF RICIIJIOXD COUNTY. 



257 



a point midway between the old Dutch Reformed church and 
the old jail above referred to. It is a two-story-and-basement 
building, and is now devoted to private uses. 

The present jail, in the yard in the rear of the present court 
house, was built in I860. A new county clerk's office, on the 
opposite side of the street from the court house, is now being- 
completed. 




PRESEMT COURT HOUSE AND JAIL. 



We have but little evidence of the use of the whipping-post 
and stocks in this county. All that we have at hand is the 
record of the supervisors under date of October 26, 1801, when 
a bill was audited for the amount of -$12 to Lawrence Hillyer 
"for Erecting a Public Stocks according to Law." 

In giving a glimpse of the domestic and social customs of 
the early years of the republican period we condense from an 
interview made years ago with one whose personal recollection 

17 



258 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

extended back to that time. Most articles of home consump- 
tion were then made at home. Each member of the family 
had one new pair of shoes every year, made by a shoemaker 
who came to the house in the fall. It was the custom of that 
craft to go from house to house in annual rounds of repairing 
and newly fitting shoes for the feet of the family. There was 
little money on the island. People were paid in articles of pro- 
duce. A girl who could spin at the rate of seven hundred 
strands to the pound was considered a good spinner. The 
young ones spun tow. It was customary for the negroes to 
raise tobacco for their own use. All people drank a great deal 
of cider. It was offered to every neighbor or stranger on ar- 
riving. It was a custom to put into the pitcher of cider a piece 
of hot toasted bread or a doughnut, to warm the beverage. 
This hospitality was indulged on the occasions of the people 
assembling at some neighbor's house fora religious service. 

The conveyance then in use was the farm wagon, with a pair 
of clean sides to be put on it after it had been all the week used 
for carting manure or other dirty substances. The old fash- 
ioned rush-bottom chairs were placed in it for seats. To this 
the horses were hitched and their movements were guided by 
means of a single rope rein on the outside of each horse and a 
connecting rope running across from one bit to the other. 
These were called " couple-towse." Men of somewhat wealthy 
or aristocratic pretensions wore knee-buckles. A silver- 
mounted riding whip was considered a great acquisition to the 
make-up of an aspiring man. Two-wheeled gigs were some- 
times used. They had no tops, but had wooden springs, called 
" grasshopper springs." 

It is said that John C. Dongan brought to his wife, from 
Europe, the first silk dress ever seen on Staten Island. He 
pronounced it only a "middling good one," having cost but 
fifty pounds, when for one hundred pounds he could have ob- 
tained a really good one. A schoolmaster, by the name of 
Pritchett was remembered as coming to the employer to get his 
pay for teaching. He took it in fresh meat and other articles. 
After spending the evening, chatting and drinking cider, he 
went home, having prepared for his lonely walk through the 
woods by having a stout hickory stick burned to a live coal at 
one end. By brandishing this stick in the air he kept the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 259 

wolves, with which the woods abounded, and which would be 
attracted by the smell of the meat, from attacking him. It 
was customary for the most respectable persons to go to taverns. 
One of the highest repute was the "Bull's Head," then kept 
by a man named Johnson, and later by one Garrison. The 
"Black Horse" was of rather inferior tone, being frequented 
by those who ran horses on the road there. 

Flax was raised in considerable quantities, not only for the 
linen fibre it yielded, but for the seed, large quantities of which 
were shipped to Ireland, where it brought a good price. John 
V. D. Jacobsen, who lived at New Dorp, and was accounted 
one of the three richest men on the island in his time (Judge 
Seguine and Jacob Mersereau being the others), died in 1826, 
his property being valued then at seventeen thousand five hun- 
dred dollars. In those times the price of a drink at a tavern 
was three cents, but in the time of the war of 1812 this was in- 
creased to four cents when sugar was taken. Cigars cost 
twenty-five cents a hundred, and were frequently kept by land- 
lords to be given away whenever asked for. 

The war of 1812 passed without leaving any considerable 
traces upon this island that are now discernable. Fortifications 
were thrown up for defense in case the British fleet should 
come into the bay. One of these was located on the summit of 
the hill at Prince's bay, a little north of the light-house. The 
embankment was on the seaward margin of the height, and part 
of it has evidently been washed away by rains and the tide un- 
dermining the bank. It is said that the fort contained a block 
house, the stones of which were afterward used in the con- 
struction of the light-house and keeper's house adjoining. 
Another earthwork was at Little Fort hill, near the site of the 
present fort that commands the narrows. 

The general laws of the state from time to time enacted for 
the gradual extinction of slavery were the same in their appli- 
cation to this county as elewhere. The records of the differ- 
ent towns show some interesting relics of the custom. We 
have only space for a few. Here is a transcription from the 
Westfield town records : 

"I Winant Winants of the County of Eichmond and State 
of New York and Town of Westfield, Yeoman Doth Certify 
that I have Had a Female Negroe Child Born of a Slave the 



260 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

26th July 1799 Named Bett from its Birth to this Date is Six 
months and Twenty Four Days old. 

" WLNANT WIN ANTS. 
" Recorded this 19th February, 1800. 
" HENRY PARLEE, Town Clerk." 

This is also from the records of Westfield : 

"This is to Certify that on the third Day of February 1800 
the Negro wench a Slave Belonging to Benjamin Larzelere, 
Yeoman of the Town of Westfield in the County of Richmond 
and State of New York was Dilivered of a male Child wich is 
now Living by the Name of Tom. 

" Given under my hand the 7th Day of April 1800. 

" BENJAMIN LARZELERE. 

" Recorded this seventh Day of April one thousd Eight 
Hundred 1880 

" HENKY PARLEE, Town Clerk." 

The following are from the records of the town of Castleton: 
"I do hearby certify that a male negro child named Nicholas 
the Father of whom named Sam belongs to me, and the mother 
named Bett belongs to Cornelius Cruser, was born In my House 
at Castle Town the eight day of may in the year of our Lord 
one thousand Eight hundred, and I request that this return of 
the Birth of the Said Child may be Entered agreeable to the 
directions Contained In a late Act for the gradual Abolition of 
Slavery. 

" JOHN MERCEREAU." 
"Castletown January 15th, 1801." 

" Richmond County 30th wit : 

" Personally came & appeared before me John Garretson, 
first Judge of the said County, the Rev. Peter I. Vanpelt, who 
being duly sworn deposeth and saith, that he has a coloured 
boy named Harry born February 1803 also that he has a col- 
oured Girl named Eliza born August 1810 also a coloured girl 
named Dian born June 29th 1814 also a coloured boy named 
Ned born Febry 28th 1818 And further this deponent saith 
not. 

"PETER I. VANPELT 

' ' Sworn before me 
this 6th day of april 1818 

"JOHN GARRETSON 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 261 

" To be recorded by the Town Clerk of Castletown as the Law 
directs." 

"This is to Certify that my Woman of Colour named Mary 
had a female child born the fifteenth day of December in the 
Year 1814 named Mary and also same Woman had a male child 
born the Second day of March 1817 named harry - 
and also my woman of Colour named Jane had a male child 
born the tenth day of July one thousand eight hundred and 
sixteen named Murry which Certificate I hereby request the 
Clerk of Castletown to record. Dated at Castletown the 9th 
day of May, 1817. 

"JAMES G-UYON " 

"To the Clerk of Castle Town. I hereby certify to you that 
a female negro Child named Mary, born of my slave Jane the 
fifth day of February last, which was given up to be recorded, 
I do hereby Manumit and give up all my rig lit & title to the 
service thereof given under my hand at Castle Town the third 
day of February, 1804 

"JACOB LOZIEE" 
" Richmond County [ 

Town of Northfield ) To whom it may Concern know ye that 
on the 24 day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand 
Eight hundred & Eleven T Joseph Ryers a free Black Man do 
by thease presence Manumit and abandon all My Rite and title 
to the service of my son Harry and he is hereby pronounced By 
me to be a free man agreable to the Laws of the State of New 
York as witness My hand 

his 
"JOSEPH X RYERSS" 

mark 

During the years of the first half of this century, as well as 
those of the eighteenth century that followed the revolution, 
the people paid attention to the training of their able bodied 
citizens in the manipulation of weapons of defense and military 
movements. Years afterward, when the settled condition of 
peace seemed to lull the public mind into indifference in regard 
to preparations for war, the custom fell into disuse. The mil- 
itia system was under similar regulations in this as in other 
counties of the state. It was held as the bulwark of that con- 
fidence which the people had in their own dominant might ; the 
dearest feature and safeguard of freedom ; the life guard of a 



262 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

nation, drawn out yearly before the view of its rulers, showing 
them their own proper orbits by a display of numerical strength 
which it would be madness to oppose, and at the same time 
showing to the eyes of foreign powers the muscle of the nation, 
against which it would be folly to make conquest. 

Reviews of the militia were held on the broad plain which 
was spread out on either side of New Dorp lane. Here the re- 
view by the officers annually took place, and those occasions 
were gala days to the people who witnessed them, as well as to 
those who took part in the parade. Officers and men were on 
the alert to make the best possible exhibition, for critical eyes 
were upon them, as well, as was often the case, the eyes of loved 
ones, the fair and the beautiful. A sumptuous dinner and gen- 
eral merry-making, often accompanied by the perverted good 
cheer that flowed from the old decanters and made discord 
where harmony was intended, usually followed the military 
review. 

The militia of Staten Island in 1837 composed the One Hun- 
dred and Forty-sixth regiment, which was a part of the Sixty- 
fifth brigade, in the Second division of New York state in- 
fantry. The division was then in command of Major-General 
Van Buren, the brigade was under Brigadier-General D. Denyse, 
and the regiment was commanded by Colonel Tompkins. The 
" Mirror" a local paper of the time, in its issue of September 
7, 1837, contains the following picture of one of these militia 
parades. 

" On Friday last we were witness to a parade of the officers 
of the 146th regiment. Major Tompkins of the staff of Major 
General Van Buren, has lately been promoted to the command 
of this regiment, and this was his first parade, or drill of offi- 
cers. We unexpectedly met the battalion on its way to Rich- 
mond village; the sounds of martial music reverberated along 
the hills, and prickled up't he hairs on our horse's ears, his whole 
frame quivered with alarm; steed threatened steed with high 
and boastful neighings; cows scampered off like militiamen at 
the clarion's sound; OUT own impatient nag turned tail upon 
the army, bearing safely away his interesting burthen: the very 
mud-turtles, that inhabit the ponds in the neighborhood, 
plunged headlong into the tide and hid their coward heads; but 
all this consternation and dismay was occasioned by the rascally 
exotics who were hired for the occasion to make a racket with 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 263 

their drums and trumpets. The detachment themselves were as 
peaceable a set of men as ever shouldered arms; and we were 
much better pleased with their manual exercise than we have 
been with like exhibitions in New York. The officers of the 
Tompkins Guards looked well in their new uniforms, and the 
non-commissioned officers behaved like soldiers. One thing we 
have to commend Col. Tompkins for his orders were given cor- 
rectly and in good time; but on the march his guides of the left 
were poorly covered this is a matter of some importance, and 
should be attended to. We understand that the field and staff 
are about adopting the United States infantry uniform good. 
Old Richmond begins to pick up spirit on every hand she'll do 
presently. Go it fellow sogers." 

A statute fixed the first Monday in September of each 
year as the day for annual military parade, for all the 
enrolled militia of the state to parade by companies in 
each company district. This occasion was frequently denom- 
inated the "September training day." Those "September 
training days" were remarkable occasions, landmarks in the 
lives of the sturdy yeomanry. To get the crowd into shape 
was a task indeed for the officers, and the line would often 
be a marvel of curvature straight as a new moon. This 
might be accounted for in a measure by the fact that it 
was the only time in each year when the privates were drilled 
by companies, and was also the day when the corporal would 
bring in his new recruits, and report their enrollment. Those 
new recruits, the boys, were not required to be equipped at 
their first appearance, but simply to answer at roll call, and 
when any of them remained in the ranks during the drill, it 
was only to have a good time generally. If those young sol- 
diers appeared with anything less crude than a hoe handle or 
a flail staff instead of a musket, the officers were to be con- 
gratulated. 

The regimental parade, or " general muster," as it was called, 
was neither boys' play nor a drill with wooden guns in a half 
circle. Upon the adjutant, who was chief of the colonel's staff, 
devolved the duty of forming the companies into one regimen- 
tal line and to equalize the divisions, then the whole was turned 
over to the colonel commanding, and after drill and evolutions 
in his discretion the regiment was reviewed by the division and 
brigadier generals, each with his staff officers all mounted. 



264 HISTORY or RICHMOND COUNTY. 

After passing in review, the field officers and the colonel's 
mounted staff were all inspected in the saddle by the brigade 
inspector. Then followed the inspection of the officers and 
privates in the line, the inspector having dismounted. Every 
sword, musket, lock and flint, cartridge-box and bayonet, as 
well as the uniform of the officers, must pass the ordeal, and 
the belt or buckle that betrayed any sign of weakness was at 
the risk of being sundered by a little extra force of the inspec- 
tor's arm. The confusion and loose discipline of the " Septem- 
ber training day " had no place in the " general muster." 

The colonel commanding was required by law to issue an 
order annually, summoning the regimental and staff officers, 
the commissioned and non-commissioned officers and musi- 
cians of the whole island to rendezvous at some place designated 
by him in the order, three successive days, for drill and in- 
struction, which was conducted by the regimental officers 
under the supervision of the colonel. To be buttoned to the 
chin in the regulation coat, and exposed to the rays of the 
hot summer sun, under a brimless beaver chapeau, was an 
ordeal that was dreaded by those who had to pass through 
it, but the blasts of the sun on the parade field were not to 
be compared in their destructive effects with the blasts of 
gunpowder on the field of battle. About forty years ago the 
state laws were materially changed, and all those old military 
organizations were disbanded. 

An era of improvement seemed to open upon the island 
about the year 1836. In the following year it was said that 
more buildings were then in process of erection or had just 
been completed than at any previous time since the revolution. 
In Richmond village a new street had just been opened and 
seven new houses had been built upon it. The village had 
grown dormant, but this dash seemed like the pushing forth 
of a new life. Tompkinsville was estimated to have doubled 
its population within a short space of time, a rapid growth de- 
veloping toward Stapleton. New Brighton was unusually 
fall of life and bustle. Factoryville had suffered somewhat 
from the decreased activity in its manufactures, yet the 
recent erection of many new homes gave it a cheering glow of 
promise. Improvements were also noticeable at Rossville, the 
name of which had not long before been changed from the old 
cognomen, " Blazing Star." 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

That there are two sides to every question of public policy, 
and that there was a strong sentiment against some enterprises 
that are generally welcomed, is seen by the action of the people 
of this county taken in regard to the establishment of a bank, 
a whaling company and a steam ferry company in 1838. These 
three enterprises were projected here in 1838,and notice was duly 
given that applications would be made to the legislature for 
acts to incorporate them. A public meeting was called at Fac- 
toryville, at the "Shakespeare Hotel," January 11, 1838, in 
which call the "citizens of Richmond County, without dis- 
tinction of party, opposed to all monopolies," were invited to 
join in opposing the granting of charters to the aforesaid 
companies. The meeting, which was said to be "large and 
respectable," was presided over by Hon. Samuel Barton, 
while Paul Mersereau acted as secretary. Animated discus- 
sions followed, and a number of resolutions were passed, the 
result of which was to decide upon a remonstrance to the 
legislature against granting charters to any of the proposed 
incorporations. The sentiments prevailing in these expressions 
declared that " we view the application for a bank at the pres- 
ent as a most flagrant and daring insult to the good of the 
People and that we will use all honorable 

means to bring into contempt our present odious banking sys- 
tem;" that they regarded the incorporation of a steamboat com- 
pany as entirely unnecessary; and in general that all acts of 
special incorporation come from the people and that the people 
have a just right to inquire into the necessity of such acts, 
" and if found wanting in the balance of justice, to instruct 
our representative to veto the applications in the bud. and 
thereby save ourselves a vast amount of money which is ex- 
pended in payment of legislatures for discussing topics which 
they of right have no business to meddle with." In the re- 
monstrance the following passage appears, which we think 
worthy of notice here: 

"Your petitioners think it preposterous in any government 
to lend its aid to carry into effect the mad schemes of specu- 
lators, to permit them by the aid of their corporate privileges 
to appropriate all the profits arising therefrom to their 
private use, as long as successful, by which they often ac- 
quire princely fortunes, and then by their private property 
being exempt from the payment of their corporate debts, 



266 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

enable them, when unsuccessful, to throw the burthen of their 
losses on the community. It is no longer a novelty to see the 
individual stockholders of a bankrupt institution living in 
splendor and rolling in wealth, while from the poor mechanic 
and laborer they withhold the amounts justly due to them, 
and thereby deprive them of the means of supporting their 
destitute and unhappy families. It is also a bitter reflection 
that such cruelty and injustice is sanctioned by the laws 
of our beloved country, from which there is no earthly 
appeal." 

As we follow the chronological order of our history circum- 
stances invite our attention for a moment to the remarkable 
peculiarities of the season of 1843. The early part of the 
preceding winter had been quite mild, but it became very 
severe about February, and so continued until near May, 
when the weather became suddenly warm. Extremes of heat 
and cold followed in frequent alternations. But little spring 
weather was developed. On the 3d of June ice formed in the 
Clove road an eighth of an inch thick. All vegetation was 
stunted. Early in that month extreme heat commenced, accom- 
panied with drought which extended into July. The seventeen- 
year locusts appeared early in June, doing a great amount of 
mischief to young trees. They remained about six weeks. On 
the 2d of July the thermometer marked 94 in the shade, and 
in the afternoon of that day a terrific tornado passed over the 
island, adding to the damage of frost, drought and locusts. 
Early in August a deluge of rain followed the drought. Early 
in September a remarkably cold week necessitated fires to keep 
warm by, and this was followed by a spell of extreme heat. 

The island has several times felt the shock of earthquakes. 
On the 21st of February, 1845, between 7 and 8 o'clock in the 
evening, a shock was felt. Persons seated at the time could feel 
the chairs oscillating beneath them. The same impression was 
perceptible in different parts of the island. On the 25th of the 
following October, another shock was sensibly felt on the island, 
this one moving from east to west. February 4, 1846, still 
another similar shock was felt. The preceding summer was 
one of great heat and extreme dryness. On the 8th of Septem- 
ber, 1848, about 11 o'clock at night, an earthquake was felt 
on the island. One who remembers it, thus describes his im- 
pressions. "I was in bed at the time, and in an imperfect sleep 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 267 

and was awakened by it. It shook the house and was accom- 
panied by a noise as of many carriages passing over the paved 
streets of a city. Its course seemed from southwest to north- 
east, and it continued several seconds. But perhaps the most 
severe earthquake shock ever felt here was that which visited 
the island, in common with some other parts of the country, on 
the afternoon of Sunday, August 10, 1884. It passed at 10 min- 
utes past 2 o'clock, and was preceded by a deep rumbling 
sound, which increased in volume till every house on the island 
trembled, shaking sashes, doors and shutters, throwing dishes 
from tables and shelves and jostling bricks off the tops of chim- 
nies. Some supposed that the Standard oil works on Bergen 
point had exploded. At the Pavilion hotel the guests were at 
dinner. Great confusion prevailed, men and women rushing 
into the halls and about the house, while some ladies fainted. 
More or less confusion prevailed in other houses, but no serious 
damage was done. 

We come now to notice one of the most conspicuous barriers 
to the prosperity and growth of Staten Island that its history 
can show. That "barrier" was indeed long since "burned 
away." We refer to the quarantine hospitals, which were 
located at Tompkinsville, and the removal of which is one of 
the most striking examples of the determination to which a 
community may in very desperation be driven by a persistent 
course of oppression, even when pursued under the cloak of 
state authoi'ity. 

As the commerce of the port of New York extended itself) 
and vessels from all parts of the world visited its harbor, and 
sometimes brought infectious diseases with them, it became an 
imperative necessity that the authorities should establish a 
quarantine for the protection of the people dwelling within its 
limits. Accordingly, the colonial legislature, in 1758, enacted 
a law creating a quarantine establishment, and located it upon 
Bedloe's island, where it remained thirty-eight years, and from 
which it was removed to Nutten, or Governor's island. In 1799, 
the yellow fever was brought to New York, and it was decided 
that the establishment was altogether too near the metropolis to 
be of any service in protecting the people, by preventing the 
spread of malignant diseases. Commissioners were then ap- 
pointed by aci of legislature to procure a site on Staten Island. 
They selected a parcel of land containing thirty acres, belong- 



268 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ing to St. Andrew's church, beautifully located on the northeast 
shore of the island. Strong opposition was made not only by 
the owners of the land, but by the people of the island gener- 
ally, to its location among them, but it was taken, notwith- 
standing, by what in law is termed " the right of eminent 
domain." Hospitals and other necessary buildings were erected, 
and during the first year of its existence on the island, twenty- 
five cases of yellow fever occurred among the people residing 
outside of its boundaries, nil but one of which proved fatal. 
Almost every year thereafter contagious diseases, in some form, 
found victims among the people. In 1848, the number of per- 
sons sick from infectious diseases outside of the quarantine 
amounted to one hundred and eighty. In that year an earnest 
petition for relief was presented to the legislature by the people 
of the island, supported by powerful influences from New York 
and Brooklyn, and a committee was appointed by the legisla- 
ture to examine into the matter, and report at the following 
session. This committee at once proceeded to the performance 
of the duty assigned them, and in 1849 " unhesitatingly recom- 
mended the immediate removal of the quarantine." While the 
committee were engaged in performing their duty, the yellow 
fever again broke out, and extended itself to various other 
places. In April an act was passed for the removal of the quar- 
antine establishment from Staten Island to Sandy Hook. The 
measure had its opponents among the shipping merchants and 
others in New York, who were not idle ; the state of New Jer- 
sey also interposed its objections, and the persons appointed by 
the legislature of New York to carry out its intentions, took no 
action whatever, so that the removal act remained a dead letter- 
on the statute books. 

The fearful visitation of yellow fever in 1856 once more 
aroused the people of the island, and another application for 
relief was made. In March, 1857, another act was passed for 
the removal of the quarantine from Staten Island, but the op- 
position of the commissioners of emigration, the board of 
underwriters of New York, and the shipping interests of that 
city, again thwarted the beneficent designs of the legislature. 
The precautions adopted by the local authorities to protect the 
citizens and their families from infection, were opposed by 
the health officer, and every possible obstacle was thrown in the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 269 

way of the local officers to embarrass them in the performance 
of their duties. 

The largest hospital building in the enclosure was three 
stories high, one hundred and thirty-six by twenty-eight feet, 
and had wings thirty-seven by twenty-eight feet at each end. 
A hospital building near the water was three stories high, fifty 
by forty-five feet, with wings at each end sixty-six by twenty- 
six feet. These two buildings were designed to accommodate 
four hundred patients. The small-pox hospital was two stories 
high, eighty by twenty-eight feet, with a piazza running along 
the front and rear. It was designed to accommodate fifty 
patients. There were twelve other buildings on the grounds, 
viz. : health -officer's residence, deputy health-officer's residence, 
assistant physician's house, steward and farmer's house, work- 
house, house for barge-men, boat house, office, carpenter's shop, 
ice and coal house, wagon house and barn. 

The board of health of the town of Castleton was organized 
August 2, 1856, with Richard Christopher as chairman and Dr. 
Isaac Lea as health officer. Frequent meetings were held, and 
the health of the villages of the town, and the effect of the 
quarantine upon them frequently considered. Carelessness was 
prevalent in the management of that institution, and diseases 
were frequently propagated from the hospitals among the people 
living in the town. These diseases were communicated by em- 
ployees of the quarantine going out among the people, and by 
miasmatic transmission through the atmosphere. The history 
of the action of this board and the progress of the popular 
sentiment which kept pace with it would be interesting to those 
who have time to read, but space forbids following it in any 
detail during the three years of its growth up to the culminat- 
ing point. Dr. E. C. Mundy was appointed health officer dur- 
ing this time, and at times a guard was employed to keep sur- 
veilance over the enclosure, to prevent as far as possible the 
commerce of its employees with the people outside. 

At a meeting July 15, 1858, health officer Doctor Mundy stated 
that a persistent determination was manifest to thwart the ac- 
tion of the board by misrepresentation and ridicule. In order 
to counteract in some measure the influence of such efforts he 
made a statement as follows : 

" We have located in our midst a lazaretto, whence emanates 
those noxious effluvia which produce disease and death. This 



270 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

monstrous nuisance, it seems, from the result of the efforts 
made for the accomplishment of its removal by the people of 
the county for several years past, we are doomed still to bear 
with and submit to, and hence it becomes necessary to adopt 
such measures as the law authorizes to mitigate as far as pos- 
sible the evils of its presence and protect our citizens from the 
influence of its deadly miasmata. For this purpose and no 
other, the Board of Health was organized, and at its last meet- 
ing adopted rules and regulations by which all persons engaged 
off shore or on board of any infected or quarantined vessels, and 
all passengers and luggage landed from such vessel shall be 
prohibited from comingoutside of the quarantine enclosure and 
from going to the City of New York upon any of the boats of 
the Staten Island Perry Company." 

Though the approval of the quarantine health officer. Doctor 
Thompson, seems to have been secured, harmony did not exist 
with the commissioners of health of New York city. Notwith- 
standing all efforts of the health officers he reports July 23 
" Stevedores and lightermen, passengers and luggage from in- 
fected vessels, continue as previously to pass from the quarantine 
enclosure to other parts of the town and on board our public ferry 
boats." The spirit of discord between the quarantine authorities 
and the local board of health increased until Doctor Mundy 
declared his conclusion " that the health authorities of the port 
of New York look upon the health and lives of the people of 
Richmond county as matters of secondary importance, and 
hardly worthy their consideration." Several cases of yellow 
fever occurred, all of which were directly traceable to viola- 
tions of the board of health rules. It was also evident that 
great laxity existed in the administration of quarantine rules, 
men being allowed to pass to and from infected vessels where- 
ever they pleased. 

At a meeting of the board August 19th it was reported that 
seventeen cases of yellow fever had occurred outside of the 
quarantine walls. A district at Tompkinsville was then infected 
with yellow fever. Power was given to Doctor Mundy, as health 
officer of the board, to make and attend to the enforcement of 
such rules and regulations as he thought proper, and the pen- 
alty affixed for the violation of such rules in the name of the 
board was limited at one thousand dollars fine or two years im- 
prisonment. August 27th the board met again. The infection 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 271 

of yellow i'ever which was spreading into the town, was clearly 
caused by the presence of a fleet of infected vessels lying at 
quarantine. Doctor Mundy in his report at that meeting said : 
" But over this source of evil I am aware that your honorable 
Board has no control, and therefore I have no suggestions to 
make in relation to it." Subsequent events, however, showed 
that suggestions were alive from another source, of which we 
have no written record to tell us of their growth. The same re- 
port gives another cause of the transmission of disease by in- 
fected articles being conveyed to the home of one of the em- 
ployees whose duty it was to burn them. He did not do so, 
but carried the clothing to his residence and there washed it. 
The whole district lying in the triangle surrounded by the bay, 
the hospital buildings and Griffin street was infected. The 
doctor recommended prompt, decisive action to prevent a re- 
currence of the offense. 

At a meeting of the board on the 1st of September the follow- 
ing resolutions were unanimously passed, and ordered to be 
published : 

"Resolved, that the whole Quarantine Establishment, located 
as it is, in the midst of a dense population, has become a pest 
and a nuisance of the most odious character, bringing death 
and desolation to the very doors of the people of the Towns of 
Castleton and Southfteld. 

"Resolved, that it is a nuisance too intolerable to be borne 
by the citizens of these towns any longer. 

"Resolved, that this Board recommend the citizens of this 
Town and County to protect themselves by abating this abom- 
inable nuisance without delay." 

On the night of that and the following day, September 1 and 
2, 1858, about thirty men entered the quarantine enclosure, 
and after removing the patients from the several hospitals, set 
fire to and burned down every building connected with the 
establishment. That some excesses should be committed by an 
exasperated populace, was to be expected. There was so much 
system, however, in their mode of operation, that it was evi- 
dent everything had been previously arranged, and that the 
people were carrying out instructions previously received. 
During the continuance of this intense excitement, it was re- 
markable that not a single life was sacrificed, nor was any one 
seriously injured. 



272 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

These summary proceedings of the people of Staten Island 
produced great excitement, not only in the city of New York, 
but throughout the state, and indeed throughout the country. 
The people engaged in them were termed in the public prints 
barbarians, savages, incarnate fiends, sepoys, and in fact no 
epithets were considered too vile to be applied to them. But 
they were all borne with equanimity, sustained by the con- 
sciousness that sooner or later there would be a revolution in 
public opinion. After all the mischief had been done, the gov- 
ernor of the state declared the island to be in a state of revolt, 
and sent over several regiments of militia, who were for some 
time encamped upon the grounds immediately north of the 
quarantine. 

A matter of a character so serious, could not, of course, be 
passed over in silence. Legal proceedings were at, once insti- 
tuted, and Messrs. John C. Thompson and Ray Tompkins, who 
were regarded as the instigators and ringleaders of the incend- 
iaries, were arrested on a charge of arson, and arraigned before 
the county judge, Hon. H. B. Metcalfe, for examination. His 
opinion, which was extensively copied and read, had great in- 
fluence in changing public opinion. His closing remarks merit 
repetition and preservation. 

"Undoubtedly the city of New York is entitled to all the 
protection in the matter that the State can give, consistently 
with the health of others ; she has no right to more. Her great 
advantages are attended by correspondent inconveniences ; 
her great public works, by great expenditures ; her great for- 
eign commerce, by the infection it brings. Bat the legislature 
can no more apportion upon the surrounding communities her 
dangers, than her expenses ; no more compel them to do her 
dying, than to pay her taxes ; neither can be done." 

Thus ended the charges brought against the prisoners ; no 
person was punished for any complicity in the matter, but the 
county, very unjustly in the opinion of many, was compelled 
to pay for the value of the property destroyed, both public and 
private ; nevertheless, the people consoled themselves with the 
reflection, that even at that price, they had cheaply, as well as 
effectually, rid themselves of a grievous nuisance, which had 
not only depreciated the value of their property, and exposed 
themselves and their families to contagion in its worst forms, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 273 

but had actually been the direct cause of the death of hundreds 
of their relatives and neighbors. 

The board of health employed a force of special police, twen- 
ty-five by day and an equal number by night, to keep a con- 
stant guard around the quarantine enclosure, to allow no com- 
munication between it and the town. The infected district at 
Tompkinsville was more effectually quarantined, and the health 
officer was instructed to prevent all intercourse with the dis- 
trict, even by fencing it in if he should deem it necessary. 
Meetings of the board were held daily, and all physicians were 
required to report daily all cases of infectious diseases. On the 
14th of September the board passed unanimous resolutions that 
immediate steps be taken to prevent the re-establishment of the 
quarantine buildings, and appointed a committee to legally re- 
strain the board of health of the city of New York and the 
health commissioners and commissioners of emigration " from 
re-erecting the said hospitals, buildings and shanties or in do- 
ing any act by which the said nuisance may be re-established, 
continued or maintained in the Town of Castleton." 

The quarantine establishment was never rebuilt here. A 
floating hospital was arranged and anchored in the Lower bay 
in 1860, and later hospitals were erected on two small islands in 
the Lower bay nearly opposite New Dorp, but far enough from 
the island shore to give freedom from any apprehensions of in- 
fectious communications. 

Under an act of April 16, 1860, a commission was authorized 
to investigate the damage sustained by the state in the destruc- 
tion of the old quarantine hospitals. The commission met in 
June, and after an extended inquiry, made their award, fixing 
the whole amount at $121,598.39. The supervisors of Richmond 
county in December accepted the award, and soon after issued 
bonds of the county to meet the same. These were given to the 
commissioners of emigration, who sold them as occasion re- 
quired and appropriated the proceeds to the expenses of their 
work. By an act of the legislature, passed in 1870, the bonds 
then remaining, to the amount of $10,725, were ordered to be 
surrendered and cancelled by the comptroller. 

At the beginning of the year 1861 clouds of discord and po- 
litical strife began to darken the sky and obscure the prospects 
of the island in common with other parts of the land. Fanat- 
icism and hot headed indiscretion had accomplished their work 
18 



274 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

and the direful results were then hidden behind the veil which 
was about to remove and disclose the horrors of four years of 
civil war. As the opening events developed, the people in some 
measure were able to lay aside party spirit and join with some 
show of unanimity in the work of sustaining the government in 
its efforts to contend with a gigantic rebellion. In accordance 
with the recommendation of the president, Wednesday, Jan. 
uary 4th was observed as a day of fasting and prayer, that the 
threatened war clouds might pass away. 

One of the first acts of hostility in which Staten Island was 
directly concerned was the seizure early in that month, of the 
schooner " S. W. Lutrell " of Staten Island, at Norfolk, Va., 
for violation of the inspection laws of that state for preventing 
the escape of fugitives and slaves. 

A large and enthusiastic Union meeting said at the time to 
be the largest mass meeting that had ever convened on the is- 
land, was held at Tottenville on Saturday the 26th of January. 
A banner was raised, bearing upon it the motto, "The Consti- 
tution and the Union," and the most enthusiastic expres- 
sions of loyalty and devotion to the country of our 
fathers were indulged in. Guns were fired for the states of the 
Union, for General Scott and for Major Anderson, and resolu- 
tions were adopted, among which was the following : 

" Resolved, That the peace and happiness of this country 
depend not on mere amendments to the Constitution, nor con- 
cession to the slave power, but upon a strict adherence to the 
Constitution, and a wise, firm and determined execution of the 
federal law." 

In April preparations were made to meet the expected call 
for troops to defend the nation. The island began thus early 
to assume a martial appearance. Uniformed men might be seen 
hurrying to and fro, and recruits from almost every household 
were answering to the call, and making ready to go into camp. 
On the 20th of the month a number of young men who had 
joined the Seventy-first N. Y., embarked with the regiment on 
board the steamer " R. R. Cuyler." Others enlisted in the 
Seventy-third and other regiments. The flames of patriotism 
burned high, and party feeling was forgotton in the desire to 
maintain the integrity of the nation. An editorial in a local 
paper said "We know that the soldiers of Staten Island go 
with no vindictive feelings towards the South to gratify. They 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 275 

go with the sword in one hand, and the olive branch in the 
other ; and the secession traitors South, as well as the abolition 
traitors North, are the objects of their special abhorrence." 

The community now began to be greatly agitated in regard to 
the war in prospect. Handbills were posted throughout the 
county calling for recruits in the Scott Life Gruard in New 
York ; sign boards, bearing the words " Death to all Traitors," 
were nailed np on trees along the shore roads ; in one instance 
an effigy, with protruding tongue, was hung by the neck from a 
stake in the center of a mill pond, while on his breast the figure 
bore a placard, on which were the words "The Traitor's Doom;" 
a secret combination was said to have been formed on the island, 
whose members assumed the duty of learning who were pos- 
sessed of traitorous sympathies and inclinations, and warning 
them against manifesting those sympathies too freely; recruit- 
ing officers frequently visited the island from the city and drew 
away large numbers of the young men ; flags were raised on 
vessels in the river and bay, on house tops and public build- 
ings, on horses and vehicles in the street, and were even worn 
upon the persons of ladies and gentlemen, some, however, sub- 
stituting rosettes instead of flags. Daring the month the Sev- 
enty third was engaged in recruiting its ranks, and tendered 
their services to the governor. The regiment was under com- 
mand of Colonel Ray Tompkins. At the close of the month it 
was under marching orders. The Middletown guard, an inde- 
pendent organization commanded by Captain Stahl, also pre- 
pared to take an active part in the war. The ministers in the 
different parts of the island made reference on Sunday to the 
national troubles. The arrival of Major Anderson and his com- 
mand in New York, after the evacuation of Fort Sumter, set 
free a blaze which swept over the whole northern states; and 
Staten Island, so closely connected with New York, could not 
but feel a double portion of the patriotic enthusiasm that 
glowed already with such a fervid heat. A mass meeting of 
the citizens of the county was called at the old quarantine 
grounds in Tompkinsville, on Saturday the 27th, " to take 
measnres for the prompt action of Richmond County at this 
crisis." This meeting, though not large, was enthusiastic. It 
was addressed by Mr. Clark and Henry J. Raymond. The vig- 
orous prosecution of the war was urged, and the following reso- 
lutions offered by Mr. G. W. Curtis were adopted : 



276 UISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

" Whereas, The people of the United States within the 
Union, and under their own Government, have for three- 
quarters of a century enjoyed an unparalleled prosperity and 
progress, for the continuance of which the Constitution of the 
United States is the perpetual guarantee ; and, 

" Whereas, That Constitution provides for a constant, refer- 
ence of every disputed political policy to the peaceful decision 
of the people at the polls, and of every question arising under 
the Constitution and laws to the judgment of the Supreme 
Court of the United States, thereby removing all conceivable 
occasion for forcible resistance to the laws ; and, 

" Whereas, An armed rebellion now threatens the very ex- 
istence of that Government, seizing the forts, arsenals, navy- 
yards, vessels and hospitals which belong to the people of the 
United States, and consummating its crime by firing upon the 
flag of the nation, the glorious symbol of our unity, our liberty, 
and our general welfare. 

" Resolved, That it was the duty of all persons in the country, 
who felt themselves aggrieved, to resort to the peaceful and 
legal means of redress provided by the Constitution ; and that 
when, instead of so doing, they took up arms and organized 
resistance to the Government of the country, they struck at the 
very heart of organized civil society. 

" Resolved, That the Government of the United States has 
properly sought, by every kind of forbearance, to avoid the 
sad necessity of asserting its authority by force of arms, but 
that it is at length manifest to the whole world that it must now 
subdue or be subdued. 

" Resolved, That in forcibly maintaining that authority every- 
where within its dominions, and at every cost, the Government 
wages no war of invasion or conquest, but simply does its duty, 
expecting every citizen to do the same, and to take care that 
the doom of the rebels and traitors who would ruin the most 
beneficent Government in the world, and so destroy the hope 
of free popular institutions forever, shall be swift, sudden and 
overwhelming. 

" Resolved, That when the supreme authority of the Govern- 
ment of the people of the United States shall have been complete- 
ly reestablished, we, with all other good citizens, will cheerfully 
cooperate in any measures that may be taken in accordance 
with the Constitution, fully to consider and lawfully to redress 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 277 

all grievances that may anywhere be shown to exist, yielding 
ourselves, and expecting all others to yield to the will of the 
whole people, constitutionally expressed. 

''Resolved, That we, loyal citizens of Richmond Connty 
hereby, before God and man, take the oath of fidelity to the 
sacred flag of our country, and to the cause of popular liberty 
and Constitutional Government which that represents, pledging 
ourselves to each other, that by the love we bear our native 
land, and our unfaltering faith in the principles of our Govern- 
ment, we will transmit to our children, unimpaired, the great 
heritage of blessings we have received from our fathers. 

" Resolved, That a committee of three from each town in the 
County be appointed by the Chair, to solicit subscriptions for 
the benefit of the families of residents of the County, who may 
be absent upon actual service, and for the equipment of volun- 
teers; and that this fund shall be distributed by a Committee 
consisting of the Supervisors of the County. 

"Resolved, That it be recommended to the citizens to form 
companies in their various neighborhoods, to elect their own 
officers, to drill regularly, and to hold themselves ready to an- 
swer the call of their country. 

" Resolved, That knowing the readiness of the women of this 
country to take their part in the holy struggle, we invite them, 
by the immediate formation of local societies of relief, to pre- 
pare bandages and lint for husbands, sons, brothers and lovers, 
that all hands may work, as all hearts are beating, for God and 
and our native land." 

Several regiments of soldiers, among whom were Wilson's 
Zouaves, were encamped in the quarantine enclosure at that 
time. They were marched out and drawn up in line at this 
meeting and much of the speaking was addressed to them. 
To the question put to them, "Are you ready to march through 
Baltimore?" they gave a hearty response expressive of their 
determination and earnest readiness to face the conflict which 
was before them. 

An unpleasant feature of the presence of these troops tempo- 
rarily stationed here soon began to manifest itself. These re- 
cruits, fresh from the low haunts of New York city and unused 
to the restraints of military discipline, were not held by the 
orders, however strict, forbidding them to leave the enclosure 
of the quarantine grounds. They frequently scaled the walls 



278 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

and in parties, sometimes as many as thirty, roamed along the 
shores and over the country, visiting the houses and annoying 
the inhabitants. Many petty depredations and thefts were com- 
mitted by them. A few were arrested and taken back to the 
encampment. 

The island now became a rendezvous for many regiments and 
parts of regiments while waiting to fill their ranks with recruits 
or for orders to move forward toward the seat of war. 

The ladies also, acting on the suggestions contained in the 
resolutions already quoted, formed associations in the different 
villages of the county, and while the sterner sex were drilling 
and equipping for the hard experiences of the battle-field they 
were preparing lint and bandages and other conveniences and 
comforts for the disabled, the sick and the dying. 

The supervisors, in response to the people's resolutions, met 
at Tompkinsville on April 27th and appointed W. S. Pendleton 
as treasurer to hold the fund that might be raised for the 
equipment of volunteers and the support of their families 
during their absence. They also authorized him to dispense 
the fund, with the concurrence of one or more supervisors. 

A number of young men, constituting an organization known 
as the "Young American Guards," began drilling at the Conti- 
nental hotel at Port Eichmond, tinder the direction of Abraham 
C. Wood. 

When the first recruits were equipping themselves for the 
war, great difficulty was experienced in finding a sufficient 
supply of uniforms and equipments. The market in such 
things was soon run dry, and men who were anxious to be off 
for the seat of war were delayed until the necessary equip- 
ments could be obtained or manufactured. 

After the first installment of Staten Island boys had gone 
out in the Seventy-first and other regiments, their friends 
looked anxiously for tidings from them. And as their ac- 
quaintances and even strangers on the island were desirous of 
hearing from them, their letters were often published in the 
local papers and were read with great interest. 

During the following summer the popular feeling must have 
been agitated to a fever heat. Besides the commotion caused 
by the exciting news from the war, and the presence of large 
numbers of soldiers in the midst, and the recruiting, flag-rais- 
ing, speech-making and other work for the cause of the nation, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 279 

there were other causes generating agitations that helped still 
further to inflame the public mind. In partisan politics the 
outbreak of the war and other influences had greatly disturbed 
the lines of the old political parties, and a new organ- 
ization called the Citizen's Union party, which was favorable 
to sustaining the Union arms and reforming some local abuses, 
was growing up amid a vast amount of partisan friction. The 
unsettled condition of the quarantine management also was a 
cause of frequent alarm for fear that the occupation of the old 
grounds might be renewed, or the floating hospitals in the bay 
might be drifted near enough to bring infectious diseases to 
the island. The frequent disturbances created by drunken 
soldiers and the consequent insults and annoyances that the 
people suffered from them, together with the discord generated 
by the efforts that were made to suppress liquor selling to the 
soldiers, and the resistance of a numerous and determined band 
of liquor dealers who were tempted by the unusual profits to 
continue in the business, all conspired to add more fuel to the 
flames of popular passion. 

The petty depredations frequently committed by soldiers en- 
camped here, and the fear of still greater insecurity .from that 
source led to the organization of a "Home Guard," and a 
volunteer police force, to be called out by the supervisors in 
case of any general disturbance that might be caused by the 
lawlessness of men from the encampments. Reasonable means 
were taken by the authorities of the camps to prevent the men 
going out to obtain liquor or to prey upon the peace of the 
community. 

At the circuit court held in November, 1861, the grand jury 
delivered to the court the following presentment, which is sug- 
gestive. 

" The Grand Jury of the County of Richmond, upon the ter- 
mination of their duties, respectfully present, that they are 
gratified that no serious violations of law have demanded their 
investigation during the present session of this court, and re- 
gard that as a gratifying evidence of the peaceable and law- 
abiding character of the citizens of this County. Such cases, 
however, as have fallen under their notice disclose the fact that 
many violations of public order may be traced to the indulgence 
and use of intoxicating liquors, and they would recommend 
that the Commissioners of Excise should stringently, and with 



280 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

energy, prosecute all persons who are engaged in the sale of 
strong and. spirituous liquors without license, and collect the 
penalties prescribed for such violations of the law. In this con- 
nection, the Grand Jury would intimate that inasmuch as those 
penalties are directed by the statute to be appropriated when 
collected for the benefit of the poor of the County, that no com- 
promise of any suits instituted for their recovery can be legally 
authorized." 

Some idea of the extent to which the people responded to 
the calls of the nation may be gained from the fact that up to 
the end of November, 1861. in the town of Castleton, there had 
been subscribed three thousand two hundred and fifty dollars 
for the families of volunteers. There had volunteered from 
this town one hundred and twenty-eight men, leaving sixty- 
four dependent families to be cared for. 

At a meeting held at the court house on the evening of No- 
vember 13th, a committee was appointed to obtain blankets, mit- 
tens, stockings, and other useful articles for the soldiers in the 
field. Other meetings were held in other villages to further the 
same object, which was the work of the sanitary commission. 
All through the years of the war the ladies were not lacking in 
their readiness to engage in labors of love and mercy in doing 
what they could for the comfort of those on the field of battle 
and in hospitals. 

After the first recruits who went out in the spring of 1861 had 
served their three months in the war, the work of recruiting for 
the war settled down to actual business. Meetings were now 
held at different places to arouse the enthusiasm and patriotic 
devotion of the strong-armed men of the county to go forth to 
fight the battles of their country. At a meeting held in Demp- 
sey' shall, Factory ville, September 2, 1861, for the purpose of 
organizing a company of young men of the island, James Bo- 
dine made a patriotic address, and at its close about fifty young 
men signed the roll. A station was opened during that month, 
in a large carpenter's shop that had been previously owned by 
James OK Burger. Unusual inducements were offered to re- 
cruits to join a company which was to be transferred to Colonel 
Tompkins' regiment (Second New York state militia) already at 
the seat of war. Forty-two of these recruits, belonging to Com- 
pany A, left Port Richmond on the 23d to join the regiment at 
Poolsville, Md. Recruiting was now said to be more lively than 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 281 

it had been before. The following are the names of those of 
this company who were from the island : Peter Pero (corpo- 
ral), Lewis D. Johnson (corporal), John E. Johnson, Joseph B. 
Johnson, John J. Simonson, James H. Munson, Daniel Mallett, 
Eugene Daily, Henry D. Spong (corporal), Alexander Fitz Sim- 
mons, Edward M. Sharrott, Jeremiah Leary, Charles Steers, 
Thomas J. Gushing, George F. Burbank, James H. Simonson, 
Jacob T. Selzer, Cornelius Degraff, William D. Maskell, Charles 
H. King, William Eccles, Joseph K. Plant, Henry Sharp, Jos- 
eph B. Barnes, Joseph L. Thompson, James Post, Isaac Lock- 
man, C. P. B. Slaight, Jr., Henry Mercereau, Cornelius Mar- 
tineau, Jacob Lockman, James B. Burbank, Simon V. N. 
Decker, Albert Mason, Matthins B. Stewart, James B. Halli- 
day, Albion Noble, John Reynolds, Abraham Turner, Francis 
M. Tarsney, William H. Fullagar, Arthur Haughian, George 
Conner, Thomas Conner, Joseph Simonson, Henry T. Paulson, 
Henry Decker, Samuel Warrender, John W. Tynan, James 
Simonson, Thomas Flanelly, Frigero Gassq, John R. Green. 

The Seventy-third, under Colonel Tompkins, composed of the 
citizen soldiers of Staten Island, was by a resolution of its of- 
ficers at a meeting held at Tompkins' Lyceum, June 9th, 1862, 
offered to the government for three years or the war. It was 
expected that it would be attached to Spinola's brigade. 

In accordance with the direction of the governor, the super- 
visors, in July, appointed men to meet with others to form a 
committee for this senatorial district to superintend the raising 
of troops for the army. The men appointed from Richmond 
county were Col. Nathan Barrett, Richard Christopher, William 
II. Vanderbilt, J. Bechtel, William Corry, Henry L. Norris and 
Edward Banker. 

During July a number of Staten Island men enlisted in the 
Seventy-ninth (Highlanders), which was already in the field. 
The raising of recruits, however, proceeded slowly, and the 
authorities seemed backward about taking earnest hold of the 
matter of raising troops. It seemed necessary that some means 
should be taken to arouse the public mind to the importance 
of action. Accordingly, one of the largest and most enthusi- 
astic war meetings ever gathered in the county was held 
at Port Richmond on the evening of August llth. Its object 
was to encourage enlistments to fill the calls for six hundred 
thousand men which had recently been made by the president. 



282 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

The quota of Richmond county under these calls amounted to 
seven hundred and eighty-four men. The meeting assembled 
at the steamboat wharf, near Oriental hall, where more than 
fifteen hundred people were present. 

Resolutions were passed, heartily approving of the call for 
troops, declaring it to be the imperative duty of men enjoying 
the protection and benefits of the government to do all in their 
power to sustain it ; declaring for the perfect union of the states 
and the maintenance of the authority of the government at 
whatever cost ; calling for immediate, prompt, constant and 
energetic action until the cause for such action should cease ; 
branding as enemies all who should refuse to speak or act when 
occasion required for the preservation of the country, and fi- 
nally that "we have come here to-night to act, and that we will, 
without delay, contribute liberally of our means to forward en- 
listments and carry out the great measures now being instituted 
for the earnest and vigorous prosecution of the war, well as- 
sured that the greater the sacrifices we now make the more 
speedily we shall see our country rejoicing in the blessings of 
peace, and the whole constellation of stars in our political 
heaven restored to their accustomed brilliancy and beauty, never 
again to be dimmed nor obscured." 

Hon. Erastus Brooks then made an eloquent and stirring ad- 
dress, during the delivery of which he was frequently inter 
rupted by applause. A bounty of lift}' dollars each was offered 
to volunteers, and the chairman was appointed to receive sub- 
scriptions to a fund for that purpose. The list was headed by 
a subscription of five hundred dollars, and several others of one 
hundred dollars each, and enlistments and subscriptions flowed 
in. Other meetings were held in other parts of the county and 
efforts made to meet the demands of the hour, but the results 
were not sufficiently rapid to prevent apprehensions that a draft 
might be resorted to. 

The possibilities of a draft in the future developed a peculiar 
feature in the eagerness with which some endeavored to evade 
those possibilities. Like the invited guests of a certain great 
supper of old, they began to make excuses. Men who had 
never thought of complaining of any ailment now assumed, 
with the best possible grace, the role of invalids, or found, often 
by hard stretches of truth, perhaps, that some good reason ex- 
isted to relieve them of military duty. One has the bronchitis, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 283 

another an affection of the jaw, another finds his eyesight very 
poor and bought spectacles after the order fora draft was made, 
another has one leg shorter than the other, another is 4 ' thick 
of hearing," another has a sick wife, another gets ont of 
breath very soon, and many others are over forty-five years old 
or hold some office that exempts them. 

Mass meetings were held in the different towns in August, for 
the purpose of encouraging enlistments and raising subscrip- 
tions from which to pay a bounty of $50 to volunteers and to 
furnish aid to take care of their dependent families during their 
absence. Such a meeting for Northfield was held at Elm Park 
on the 16th, at which some two thousand persons were present, 
and resolutions were passed expressing the same sentiments as 
those of the previous meeting and calling on the supervisors to 
raise by taxation on the towns of the county ten thousand dol- 
lars to be appropriated to the relief of the families of volunteers. 
Voluntary subscriptions for the same purpose were also received. 
In New Brighton a similar meeting was held on the 18th, at 
which over three thousand dollars was subscribed for a relief 
and bounty fund for the town, and a committee appointed to at- 
tend to dispensing it and collecting more. Another meeting of 
the people of Castleton was held on the 21st, at Factoryville. 
Speeches, resolutions, subscriptions and enthusiasm flowed 
freely on these occasions. This relief fund, which had been 
established in 1861, had already received and dispensed above 
five thousand dollars, and at this time had more than one hun- 
dred families dependent on it. The citizens of Middletown 
held a meeting on the 2<)th, at which resolutions were passed 
expressive of a full determination to sustain the government in 
carrying on the war and calling on the supervisors of the county 
to appropriate twenty thousand dollars to be distributed to the 
families of volunteers who had or should enlist from this county. 
One of these resolutions is in the following language : 

"Resolved, That much as Ave may differ as to questions of 
policy in minor matters, we are one in the conviction that it is 
our individual duty to stand by the government of our fathers, 
and to swear eternal hostility to treason and its abettors whether 
at home or abroad." The meeting adjourned in a full blaze of 
enthusiasm, and several enlisted at once. 

A meeting at Southfield was held on the 21st, at which some 
two thousand persons were present. Patriotic resolutions, ex- 



284 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

pressive of full sympathy with the war, were passed, among 
which were the following : 

"That the people of the town of Southfield are heart and soul 
devoted to the national cause at the present vital crisis, and that 
they will make any sacrifice to preserve our national existence, 
which is now menaced by a band of lawless traitors." 

"That while differences of opinion exist among us on politi- 
cal questions, we are satisfied that this is no time to agitate 
them when the life of the nation hangs trembling in the bal- 
ance, and foreign despots look on exultingly, expecting and 
hoping to see the failure of democratic institutions thoroughly 
demonstrated by this war." 

" That we now call upon the supervisor of this town to co- 
operate with the other supervisors of this County in appropri- 
ating a sum of $20,000 as a bounty for volunteers, and for the 
support of their wives and children, trusting to the legislature 
to legalize the act." 

Westfield was not behind her sister towns in answering the 
country's call. Two meetings were held, and the enthusiasm 
generated was sufficient to excite the resolution to raise a com- 
pany of seventy-five men, which should be officered from the 
town. 

The supervisors of Richmond county met on the 27th of 
August and resolved to issue the bonds of the county to the 
amount of twenty thousand dollars, the proceeds of which 
should be used for the payment of extra bounties and relief for 
tin- families of volunteers. Though this action was at the time 
contrary to law, yet it was deemed expedient in view of the ex- 
treme circumstances, and the loud call for it which the popular 
meetings in the different towns had made on the board. It was 
presumed that the legislature would sanction it. which was 
done when that body met in the following winter. 

Enlistments were now very brisk, the war spirit having, by 
the enthusiastic speeches and action of the people, become 
thoroughly aroused. A new company mostly from the town of 
Castleton was formed, with Louis Schaffner, captain ; Orville 
D. Jewett, first lieutenant, and Clarence Barrett, second 
lieutenant. Recruiting offices were opened at Dempsey's hotel, 
Factoryville, and at the white lead works of John Jewett & 
Sons at Port Richmond. An extra bounty of fifty dollars each 
was paid volunteers. John C. Green of Castleton, gave one 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 285 

thousand dollars toward paying these bounties. Barracks were 
erected for the use of this company on the corner of Broadway 
and Church street, in Port Richmond. It was decided to attach 
the company to the regiment of Colonel Minthorne Tompkins. 

A meeting of the citizens of the county was held at Clifton 
park, August 30th, amid the flaunting of banners, the strains 
of stirring music, and the cheers of the multitude. Enthusias- 
tic speeches were made by Judge H. B. Metcalfe, who presided, 
George William Curtis, General Busteed, Honorable Eras t us 
Brooks, and others. The following resolutions were passed : 

" Whereas, The County of Richmond has not been hitherto, 
and will not be hereafter behind any county in the State in loy- 
alty ; that her sons are fighting in regiments in almost every 
division of the national army, and that among the men who 
still remain at home there are scores who will be proud to face 
the foe for the sake of the Union. Therefore, 

"Resolved, That we will relieve the Government from the 
necessity of making a draft in this County by providing volun- 
teers to fill our quotas under both calls. 

" Resolved, That it is the duty of every man to support the 
Government by every means in his power, by his voice, his ex- 
ample, his money and his good right arm. 

" Resolved, That the schemes of the unscrupulous traitors 
who have dared to raise their fratricidal hands against their 
brethren are deserving the most extreme punishment, and that 
the Government is justified in adopting any and all measures 
known to civilized warfare to suppress this infernal and wicked 
rebellion at any and every cost. 

" Resolved, That the action of the Supervisors of the County 
in appropriating the sum of 20,000 for the relief of the fami- 
lies of volunteers meets with our hearty approval, and we here- 
by endorse the same, and call upon the next Legislature to 
legalize the said acts of the Supervisors. 

" Resolved, That the local Committees thoroughly canvass 
each Town and procure all the subscriptions they can in aid of 
the enlistment, and the support of the families of volunteers." 

The governor at this time had appointed two citizens in each 
town, who, with the aid of the supervisor and assessors, were 
charged with the duty of enrolling all persons liable to mili- 
tary duty, which they proceeded to do. 

The war cominittee of the First senatorial district was held 



286 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

at Jamaica, on Thursday, the 4th of September, for the purpose 
of aiding in the organization of a regiment of volunteers and to 
equalize the quotas of the several counties of the district and 
apportion any deficiencies in those counties among the towns 
that compose them. In this committee Richmond county was 
represented by Hon. Smith Ely, William Correy, Nathan Bar- 
rett, William H. Vanderbilt and Henry Lee Norris, the latter 
of whom was one of the secretaries of the meeting. Among 
other business done it was resolved to recognize and adopt the 
regiment being formed by Colonel Minthorne Tompkins as the 
regiment of the district, and the committee pledged itself to 
spare no effort to fill up the regiment as rapidly as possible, and 
to organize it so as to make it most efficient in the field and a 
credit to the district as well as the country. 

Recruiting stations for this i-egiment were opened in all parts 
of the island. It was said that the officers at these rendezvous 
wore smiling countenances and made encouraging reports of the 
progress of the work. Fears of a draft were imminent, and this 
stimulated some to volunteer and others to contribute to the 
fund for extra bounties and relief for the families of volunteers. 
Up to the 6th of September there remained three hundred and 
ten of the quota of the county to be made up, but little more 
than half of the quota under the two last calls being filled. 

About this time several deserters were captured on the island 
and returned to their regiments. The freedom of speech and of 
the press were shown to be capable of abuse, to the injury of the 
common interest. At this time it seemed important to guard 
against such abuses. Occasionally a man was arrested and con- 
fined in Fort Lafayette for disloyal expressions, but they were 
not held in such confinement for any considerable length of 
time. 

A large number of Staten Island men about this time, Sep- 
tember, 1862, enlisted in Spinola's brigade, which was encamped 
at East New York. As the months wore along recruits came 
in so that by the middle of the month fears of an immediate 
draft subsided, the quotas being nearly full. Southfield had ex- 
ceeded hers, and Westfield and Northfield had filled theirs. 
The volunteer fund of Castleton was receiving liberal contribu- 
tions. Of those which up to September llth amounted to $100 
or more the following is a list : Barrett, Nephews & Co., $300; 
Wm. S. Pendleton, $300; John S. Westervelt, $300; Daniel G. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 287 

Bacon, 300; Crab tree & Wilkinson, 200; Francis G. Shaw, 
$300; Lucius Tuckerman, $100; Edward F. Davison, $100; 
Bodine Brothers, $100; George C. Ward, $300; John Martin, 
Jr., 8150; J. Freeman Tyson, $100; Cornelius Du Bois, $100; 
New York Dyeing and Printing Co., $500; Thomas M. Rian- 
hard, $100; John C. Green, $1,000; Ernest Fielder, $100; John 
M. Pendleton, $100; Edward Bement, $200; C. C. Taber, $300; 
Mrs. William Bard, $200. 

Under the famous internal revenue act, which went into effect 
about this time, the following persons were appointed assistant 
collectors for the towns of this county, which composed col- 
lection districts,each numbered as indicated: Westfield, No. 16, 
William A. Brown; Castleton, No. 17, Robert Rakestraw; 
Middletown, No. 18, Henry Mendell; Northtield, No. 19, Daniel 
Zeluff; Southfield, No. 20, John B. Jacobson. 

By the latter part of October the material of the island had 
become so much exhausted by recruiting that the regiment 
which was intended to represent Staten Island, and be under 
command of Colonel Minthorne Tompkins, filled up slowly. 
The prospect of filling it soon became so faint, and the need of 
men in the field was so urgent that an order was issued by'In- 
spector-General Van Vechten to consolidate three of its com- 
panies with the One hundred and Fifty-sixth which had left 
Kingston, Ulster county, with seven hundred men, and was 
then in the barracks in NewYork city hall park. Accordingly, 
on the 13th and 14th of November, the companies of Captains 
Schaffner, Shelton and Vaughn were transferred to that regi- 
ment. This gave rise to great dissatisfaction, and great excite- 
ment prevailed, amounting almost to a riot. In the midst of 
the tumult one man was stabbed in the back with a bayonet. 
The remaining island companies of Tompkins 1 regiment became 
disordered and took to the woods and hills, leaving the camp 
at Factoryville almost deserted, being occupied by only about 
forty officers and men. While in this condition, on Monday 
morning, the 17th, the barracks took fire and were nearly de- 
stroyed. The fire was supposed to be the work of an incendiary. 
The Richmond county regiment, which numbered (with a com- 
pany of one hundred men from Flushing which was expected 
to join it), six hundred and fifty men, was now broken up. 
The remaining companies were transferred to the One hundred 
and Fifty-seventh, then encamped at East New York. Of these, 



288 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

two companies, under Captains Mark Cox and William Hilde- 
brandt, were mainly composed of Staten Island men. Colonel 
Tompkins was offered a position as lieutenant-colonel in the 
One hundred and Fifty-eighth, but declined. His adjutant was 
retained and his senior captain was made major of the One 
hundred and Fifty-sixth. 

In this sluggish condition of the work of recruiting the pros- 
pect of a draft again began to rise. The day was appointed for 
the drawing to take place, and Judge H. B. Metcalfe was ap- 
pointed commissioner for superintending it, and William G. 
Eadie examining surgeon. These officials sat daily at the sur- 
rogate's office, at Richmond, from October 22d till the day be- 
fore the draft was to take place, to hear any claims of persons 
liable to military duty for exemption. But the efforts which 
were made here, by enthusiastic public meetings and other means, 
were sufficient to push forward the work so that no draft was 
required in Richmond county. At a meeting of the senatorial 
district committee at Jamaica on the 6th of November, the 
county was able to show the following encouraging report: 

Towns. Quota. Enlisted. 

Middletown 193 211 

Castleton 209 241 

Northfield . , 150 127 

Southfield 113 123 

Westfiedd 123 94 

County 788 796 

List of men recruited on Staten Island by Charles G. Smith, 
First Lieutenant Company B, One Hundred and Thirty-second 
regiment, up to November 19, 1862. 

From Southfield: William Church, Edward Henkel, Bryan 
Carney, Edward Jaspart, Peter Schmidt. From Middletown: 
Caspar Elmer, William Elmer, James Foley, Patrick Gorman, 
Smith W. Higgins, Robert Huston, William L. Ludlum, George 
Lambert, Conrad Liebacher, Edward B. Murray, Thos. McKee, 
Charles Ockhert, Bernard Schmit, Theodore Simonson, Fred- 
erick W. Taxter, Addison White, John Williams. 

The following list was recruited at Port Richmond, by David 
Stothers, first lieutenant, afterward captain of Company K, 
the same regiment. 

Northfield: Charles H. Jones, Jacob V. P. Long, Cornelius 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 289 

Jones, sergeants; Charles J. Elms, Freeman W. Jones, corpo- 
rals; Charles Applebee, Wm. G. E. Decker, John R. Patter- 
son, Joseph Emery, William Durrua, George W. Smith, James 
W. Houseman, John H. Leonard. Qastleton: James Ma- 
honey, David McConnell, George Turner. Soutlifield: Gilbert 
H. Randolph. 

The above were honorably discharged at the disbandment of 
the regiment. The following were discharged previously: 

Hiram C. Decker, John A. Taylor, Hyacinth Burke, Michael 
Valliere, Andrew P. Van Pelt, John B. Corsen, and Garrett E. 
Van Pelt, Northfield; William C. Dunn, Southfield, and Joseph 
H. Caine, Castleton, for disability; Richard C. Johnson, Nich- 
olas Cubberly, Vreeland Johnson, Bedell Jones, John Brinly, 
and Peter S. Brinly, Nor Infield, transferred to the navy; Henry 
Valliere, Northfield, to be Hospital Steward; Henry B. Tibbetts, 
Northfield, to U. S. Signal Corps; Charles E. Smith, Castleton, 
to Ninety-ninth regiment N. Y. V.; Jacob Bowman, Northfield, 
killed at Bachelor's Creek, N. C. ; Edward V. Ford, sergeant, 
Northfield; Benjamin B. Kinsey, sergeant, Northfield; Abram 
B. Houseman, Castleton; George Davis, Northfield; James 
Wilson, Castleton, and Aaron Beatty, died in Andersonville 
prison; Jacob R. Decker, and William W. Stilwell, Northfield; 
Isaac B. Lewis, and James G. Woglom, Westfield, died of 
disease contracted in service, and James Shaunessy, Castleton, 
deserted. 

We have the following particulars in regard to the Staten 
Island men who were in company B, of Tompkin's regiment, 
which after the consolidation with the One Hundred and Fifty- 
sixth became company K, of that regiment. Captain Shelton 
resigned at Long Island, on account of sickness. The officers 
then became James J. Hoyt, of Castleton, captain; Magnus 
Bouscher, first lieutenant, and Edward Openshaw, second 
lieutenant. The first and second served through the war, the 
third till June, 1864. First Sergeant Charles Westren, of Mid 
dletown, was promoted to be a captain, and remained, being 
now a captain in the regular army. William Seaton, of Cas- 
tleton, sergeant, was promoted to the rank of a captain. John 
J. Farrell, of Castleton, sergeant, returned from a rebel prison 
at the close of the war, having been taken at Cedar Creek. John 
Peterson, private, became a first sergeant. Isaac Fullagar, Cas- 
tleton, corporal, served through the war; Evan Riley, Castle- 
19 



290 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ton, served through the war; Michael Cotter, Castleton, dis 
charged for physical disability; William Gill, Castleton, and 
Cornelius Sullivan, drummer, served through the war, were 
members of this company. 

Early in January, 1863, the supervisors passed a resolution, 
authorizing an additional loan of twenty thousand dollars on 
the bonds of the county, for the payment of bounties and re- 
lief, trusting to the action of the legislature to sanction the 
same. The bill legalizing this action, as well as that previously 
had in raising money for war purposes passed the legislature 
February 21, 1863. Most of the towns drew upon this fund. 
The town of Southfield was the only one in the county that did 
not, but filled its quota under the calls of July, 1862. and paid 
its bounties entirely by voluntary contributions. These contri- 
butions in that town amounted to seven thousand four hundred 
and sixty-two dollars. Bounties were paid to one hundred and 
twenty-two recruits, amounting to seven thousand three hundred 
and twenty dollars, and the balance was used for other pur- 
poses. In Northfield eighty-eight recruits received fifty dollars 
each, and ten dollars each additional was paid for recruiting 
them, making five thousand one hundred and thirty dollars 
paid in that town for filling these calls. In Westfield five 
thousand one hundred and forty dollars was expended for the 
same purpose. Meanwhile, the energies of the benevolent were 
constant in contributing to the relief and support of the fami- 
lies of those who had gone to the scenes of war, and to works 
of love and tender regard in the preparation of articles of ne- 
cessity, comfort and luxury for the soldiers in the army and in 
the hospitals. 

That some fear of opposition to the proposed draft of 1863, 
and to the plans of the government, was entertained thus early 
is shown by the following newspaper paragraph, printed in 
April, though what grounds there were, or to what extent they 
were manifest, does not appear. The opposition was not, how- 
ever, of sufficient magnitude to bring about any serious results: 
"A United States Detective paid a visit to the North Shore 
last week, to ascertain whether any anti-conscription meetings 
had been held in that quarter ; and, if so, to get the names of 
the officers and speakers, what was said and done, and who at- 
tended the meetings. He states that he has the names of thir- 
ty-three individuals who require looking after ; also that their 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 291 

places of rendezvous are watched, and that the government has 
established a reliable telegraph station in the midst of them, or 
in other words, a spy to report their movements. The detective 
is said to favor grave stones as convenient places of observa- 
tion." 

The names of persons appointed to make the enrollment un- 
der the conscription act of 1863, which was made in June, were 
as follows : For Castleton, Edward Jones ; Middletown, J. J. 
Clute ; Northfield, Simon Haughwout ; Southfield, John Jacob- 
son ; Westfield, - . 

The quota of Richmond county in the call of 1863, was for 
four hundred men, who were to be taken from those enrolled 
between the ages of twenty and thirty-five, unless a deficiency 
in that class should necessitate drawing upon the class beyond 
that age. While the question of enforcing the draft was being- 
discussed, and its execution appeared as a probability of the 
near future, events developed which gave this localitj 7 a sudden 
and undesirable notoriety. 

From its proximity to Xew York city this county could not 
but feel every pulsation of popular emotion that disturbed the 
bosom of that city, and when the celebrated draft riots of July, 
186H, filled it with the horrors of an inferno it is perhaps no 
more than a reasonable consequence that some kindred spirit 
should find expression here. On the island the public mind 
was in a state of high fermentation. Riot was in the air, and 
it would seem that men hardly knew what they did. For two 
years the public mind here had been almost constantly wrought 
up to fever heat, and now the prospect of a draft being made to 
fill the quota of four hundred men in this county under the 
recent call, but few of whom were already enlisted, made a 
strain upon the public nerve which it was in a poor condition 
to bear with tranquility. For a moment the steady arm of 
patriotism seemed to falter, weakened as it had been by the 
drain upon it caused by the withdrawal of hundreds from the 
community to the field of the war. Sober counsels wavered 
and the influence of men of means was weak, because of the ob- 
noxious clause in the conscription act which promised to ex- 
empt all drafted men who should pay three hundred dollars. 
In this weak moment the baser elements of society gathered 
strength, and disorder attempted to block the wheels of organ- 
ized government. 



292 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

In this critical moment the innocent colored population were 
among the first to receive the demoniacal thrusts of unchained 
hatred. In McKeon street, Stapleton, a large number of this 
class resided, and there was located their African church. On 
Tuesday evening, July 14th, crowds began to gather and indica- 
tions of trouble appeared that alarmed the people of this neigh- 
borhood with fears that an attack upon them and upon this 
church was about to be made. Rumors were circulated that a 
mob was about to burn the houses of the negroes and their 
church, but the night passed without any such demonstration 
being made. 

About the same time a large crowd, variously estimated to 
number from fifty to two hundred persons, a large number of 
whom were boys, proceeded to the Tompkins Lyceum, in Van 
Duzer street, and with the noisy demonstrations of a band of wild 
Indians, forced the outer door, and took all the muskets that 
were stored there in the drill-room of the Tompkins cadets. 
Another drill-room near Stapleton landing was similarly robbed 
of muskets. Different estimates placed the number of guns 
thus seized by this mob at from thirty to three hundred. 

The mob, gathering numerical strength as it went, reached 
the Vanderbilt landing railroad station at about midnight, 
where they set fire to a building used as a car house, and 
burned it to the ground. Two engine companies who came to 
the scene were forbidden to interfere, but they were permitted 
to direct their efforts toward saving the dwelling of Mrs. Cor- 
son, whose house stood near by, and in this they succeeded. 

The nucleus of another mob was formed on the same evening 
at Factoryville, which proceeded eastward, gathering strength 
as it proceeded, making night hideous with shoutings of "No 
Draft" and many other violent and threatening expressions, 
too odious to be repeated. At New Brighton they proceeded 
to the ice cream saloon of a colored man by the name of Green, 
who fortunately had been apprised of their coming, and had 
closed his place and fled. They then entered the drug store of 
Mr. Christie with such noisy demonstrations that the propri- 
etor fled to the cellar for safety. But being assured that he 
was not the object of their search he returned, and the mob sat- 
isfied themselves that the negro Green was not there, and de- 
parted. While they were thus drifting about the streets of 
New Brighton the Rev. Mr. Conron, of St. Peter's church, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 293 

gained their ears, and by his influence they were pacified and 
induced to disperse and go to their homes. 

On the afternoon of the following day a mob, consisting of 
nearly fifty men, made an attack upon the houses of the negroes 
living in McKeon street, Stapleton. These were mostly small 
one-story houses. One after another the windows were broken 
in, the doors torn down and the furniture and materials inside 
were broken up and thrown into the street. The inmates of 
these houses had fled to the woods on the previous evening, 
and this, no doubt, saved some of their lives. One house, be- 
longing to one Wormsley, who was particularly obnoxious, 
and whom rumors had credited with advocating arming the 
blacks to assist in enforcing the draft, was burned to the ground. 
A three-story brick house occupied by families in the upper 
stories and a grocery store below, was completely "gutted," 
the mob helping themselves to groceries as they were thrown 
into the street. In one of the houses a lame man had remained. 
He was dragged from his house and heartlessly beaten, and 
others were kicked and beaten as they were met on the high- 
ways. A few colored persons who remained quietly in their 
houses were unmolested, doubtless escaping the notice of 
or not being known to the leaders of the mob. An attempt 
was made to burn the church, but the fire was extinguished by 
a friendly hand before much damage was done. A colored 
coachman was attacked as he was driving his coach on the 
afternoon of the 13th, at Vanderbilt landing. Several men 
seized the horse, while others leaped upon the seat and com- 
menced beating the driver. By the timely interference of a 
gentleman the negro was rescued and sent in a small boat to 
Fort Hamilton for safety. 

On the north side of the island rumors of intended attacks 
upon the leading republicans and negroes were flying about and 
creating great alarm. Many families packed up their valu- 
ables and left their houses. In some the male members only 
remained to guard their homes while the female members went 
to some place of supposed safety. The negroes fled, some to 
the woods, and some to the Jersey shore. Private meetings of 
citizens were held, and guards were set at various points along 
the shore, and the streets were patrolled for several nights. No 
serious outbreak occurred there. 

At Richmond, the sheriff, suspecting that an attempt would 



294 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

be made to seize a negro prisoner who was in the jail on a charge 
of rape, obtained a military force from the camp at New Dorp 
and had the jail guarded for a day or two, and then had the 
prisoner referred to conveyed to the Tombs in New York city. 

In this highly excited condition of the public mind a mass 
meeting was held at Clifton on Wednesday, the 15th. This 
was presided over by Messrs. William Shaw, D wight Townsend, 
and Mr. Fellows, and was attended by many respectable citi- 
zens, the bulk of the meeting being made up of the laborers at 
the fortifications. The Rev. Father Lewis addressed the meet- 
ing with conciliatory language, exhorting respect to law and 
assuring them that no unjust demands would be made upon 
them. Speeches were also made by Messrs. D wight Townsend, 
Robert Christie, Jr., and Mr. Hull, after which the following 
preamble and resolutions were passed : 

11 Whereas, In the sense of this meeting the Conscription Act 
sought to be enforced by the Government is oppressive and un- 
just in its enactments, and under present circumstances un- 
called for ; be it therefore 

'' Resolved, 1. That we call upon the Governor of the State 
of New York to, without delay, have the constitutionality of 
this Conscription Act tested before our State courts, by whose 
decision we pledge ourselves to abide. 

" 2. That in case our State Courts should decide the Con- 
scription to be constitutional, we will, under the $300 clause, 
procure a substitute for every drafted man in the town of South- 
field who is not able or not willing to leave his home and 
family. 

" 3. That we pledge ourselves, one and all, to support, with 
all our might, the Government in its great efforts to restore the 
Union and the full force of the Constitution in all the States ; 
and to uphold everywhere, by word and example, the principles 
of law and order." 

Handbills were also distributed, signed by the town officers, 
announcing that the draft had been stopped. This action 
probably averted any uprising of rioters that might have been 
brewing in that section of the island. 

But it would appear that riot was in the atmosphere and as 
though violence had a free license for the time. On Thursday, 
the 16th, two ruffians attacked John Ryan, of Cherry lane, 
Castleton, as he was going home from work, and brutally beat 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. .':i."i 

him and robbed him of his clothes which he wore, leaving him 
only a shirt on his person. They had stolen a horse and wagon 
at Port Richmond, and continued their evening's riot by knock- 
ing another man down, smashing a vehicle and "cleaning out" 
a tavern, after which they were secured and committed to jail. 

But a still more serious affray occurred at Vanderbilt land- 
ing on the 20th. In the early evening two or three soldiers were 
in a drinking saloon, when one of them h'red his musket at a 
boy. This enraged some others who were present to such an 
extent that they set upon the soldiers and beat them so badly 
as to leave them for dead. A train of cars came up just then, 
having on board a company of soldiers, who came out and com- 
menced firing upon the crowd that had by this time collected. 
They no doubt took the crowd to be a mob gathering and de- 
termined to scatter it. In doing so their shot took effect in the 
body of one Charles Murphy with such force that he died 
shortly after. About ten men were arrested by the soldiers and 
taken to camp. One or both of the soldiers who began the 
disturbance died within a few days. 

The county subsequently paid damages for property de- 
stroyed in these riots as follows, to which expense may be ad- 
ded about ten thousand dollars incurred in contesting several 
of the claims in the courts : John B. Smith, $61.00; S. I. R. R. 
Co., $1,336.00; J. M. Evans & Son, $222.38; Henrietta Corson, 
891.50; William Wilson, $3,697.96; Sarah Cornish, $585.21; 
Jacob Gunsett, $215.46; Rosetta Graves, $791.97; Mary Brown, 
$197.95; Abraham Wilson, $352.08; Aaron Dunn, $297.18; Pat- 
rick Sullivan, $900.00; M. Tool, $382.50; John Lewis, $17.00; 
Levi Purnell, $700.98; Edward Felix, $888.94; Charles Worms- 
ley, $330.18; Oliver Wilson, $354.40; J. J. Galligher, $120.95; 
Daniel A. Lewis, $798.87; Eleanor S. Wormsley, $1,187.08; 
David Wormsley. $3,638.44: total, $17,207.99. 

On the 25th of August the supervisors passed resolutions au- 
thorizing the county treasurer to raise, on the bonds of the 
county, fifty thousand dollars to be appropriated as might be 
necessary in providing for those who might be drafted and were 
notable to pay the exemption fee of three hundred dollars, un- 
der the conscription act which, it was expected, would be en- 
forced in the First congressional district. The enrollment had 
been revised and corrected throughout the county preparatory 
to such a draft. 



296 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTS. 

The draft took place at Jamaica, on Monday, August 30th, 
under the supervision of Provost Marshall Edwin Rose. The 
day passed without any disorderly demonstrations. The num- 
ber enrolled from this county was 2,205, which was distributed 
among the towns as follows: Castleton, 559 ; Southfield, 463; 
Northfield, 444; Westfield, 438; Middletown, 301. The number 
to be drawn from these was five hundred and ninety-four, which 
included an addition of fifty per cent, to make up the deficiency 
which should result from exemptions. 

After the draft was made notices were served on the drafted 
men, requiring them to appear before the provost marshall at 
Jamaica by a certain time or be accounted as deserters. The 
officer whose duty it was to serve these notices, while so en- 
gaged in Wood road was set on by the women of the neighbor- 
hood, armed with brickbats and hot water, and so fierce was 
their onslaught that the officer fled before them Later he se- 
cured the assistance of a squad of men from a neighboring 
camp and completed the fulfillment of his duties. But few men 
were actually gained for the service by this draft, the majority 
of those who were held paying the commutation fee of three 
hundred dollars. The supervisors meantime raised the proposed 
loan for this purpose from fifty thousand dollars, as it had been 
fixed by their vote of August 25, to seventy- five thousand dol- 
lars. This action was approved by resolutions passed at a mass 
meeting of the citizens and tax-payers of the county held at 
the pagoda at Clifton park on the 19th of September. The 
bonds issued for this purpose were disposed of in a very few 
days. The five hundred and ninety-four drafted men were ac- 
counted for October 14th, in the following manner: Seventy-four 
were aliens ; ten furnished substitutes ; ninety-four were exempt 
for physical disability ; one hundred and three were exempt for 
other causes ; one hundred and sixty-two commuted, and one 
hundred and fifty-one failed to report. 

Under the call of the president for three hundred thousand 
men made in October, 1863, which was to be filled by January 
5, 1864, the quota from each town of this county was: Castleton, 
seventy-seven ; Southfield, sixty-five ; Northfield, sixty-two ; 
Westfield, sixty-two ; Middletown, forty-two. Two months 
passed seeing but little done toward meeting it. A mass 
meeting was called by the supervisors, which convened at 
the court house on the 19th of December, to give popular ex- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 297 

pression to the means to be adopted to meet the call. Resolu- 
tions were passed calling on the supervisors to raise one hundred 
and twenty thousand dollars, or as much of that sum as might be 
necessary, and to pay to each volunteer, drafted man or substi- 
tute, counting in the quota, four hundred dollars, and to open 
a recruiting office in each town and to appoint suitable persons 
to attend to the same. About the 1st of January, 1864, re- 
enlistments were taking place in the field, and these were 
allowed to count to the credit of localities as though they had 
taken place at home, when so specified and arranged. By this 
and other means the supervisors were able to fill the quota and 
so avoid a draft. The quota was completed early in March. 

We may remark in passing, that the early months of 1864, 
witnessed an unusual degree of activity in business on the 
north shore of the island. Real estate seemed unusually active 
there and also on other parts of the island, especially on the 
western shore. 

Another call for troops was made in March, 1864. To provide 
for it the supervisors met on the 18th and determined to con- 
tract with some responsible party to fill the quota of one hun- 
dred men which belonged to this county to furnish. They 
published an advertisement on the following day inviting par- 
ties wishing to contract for filling the quota to present themselves 
with their sureties at a meeting appointed for the 22d instant. 
A draft was ordered for April 15th, if the quota was not other- 
wise filled before that time. The supervisors on the llth 
preceding, offered three hundred and fifty dollars each for men 
two hundred dollars of which was to be paid to the recruit, 
and one hundred and fifty dollars to the party who should pro- 
cure him. The quota was filled during April. 

A new enrollment of persons liable to do military duty was 
ordered in May, and the work of enrolling began about the 1st 
of June. The names of all who could prove causes of exemp- 
tion were stricken off, and those who had been omitted or 
had since come within the range of age or residence were 
added. 

In July a call was made for 500,000 more. To arrange for 
filling the quota under this a mass meeting was held at Clifton 
Park on the 26th, when resolutions were passed placing the 
entire business of raising money and filling the quota in the 
hands of the supervisors and calling upon them to exercise 



298 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

those duties. On August 8th the committee which had been 
appointed to solicit subscriptions to a loan reported to the 
supervisors that they had secured 75,000. Under this call 
the quotas for this county were: Middletown, 123; Southiield, 
70; Westfield, 77; Castleton, 154; Northfield, 119; making a 
total of 543. The supervisors, on the 22d of August, resolved 
to establish a recruiting office on the island, and offered 200 
for each recruit and $200 additional to the agent or broker 
procuring him, or $400 to every man liable to draft who should 
secure a substitute to be credited to the county. Camp Wash- 
ington, just outside the quarantine walls, was designated as the 
recruiting depot. For $600 deposited with the supervisors by 
any citizen liable to draft, before September 5th, they would un- 
dertake to procure a substitute for him, such substitutes to be 
supplied in the order in which applications and deposits were 
made. The prices mentioned were not sufficient to procure the 
needed recruits. The price advanced until $700 apiece was paid 
for them. Then about the latter part of September the quota was 
still one hundred and eighty men short, and the county had no 
ready money with which to pay for more. Arrangements were 
effected, however, by which the county bonds were exchanged 
for men, and the quota was tilled, though a form of drafting 
was begun on the 3d of October. 

About this time large sums of money were made speculating 
in recruits. Human flesh was bought and sold like cattle in 
the shambles. Fresh emigrants from foreign countries and 
others, whom circumstances in various ways had brought to this 
step, were seized and controlled by brokers who understood the 
means of holding them, and offered in the market where they 
would command the highest price. The poor victims them- 
selves received perhaps a paltry hundred dollars, more or less, 
while the greater part of the money paid by the people went 
into the pockets of brokers, officials and others who had the 
manipulating of the business. Enormous sums of money were 
raised on corporate obligations and appropriated with a reck- 
lessness that would have been appalling at any other time 
than under the exigency of the hour. Charges of complicity 
with the brokers and sharing in the spoils were often made 
by popular gossip against the servants of the people. It was 
impossible at the time and is still more so at this late day to 
reach the facts which would decide in every case whether those 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 299 

charges were true or false. Whilst the meagre and often im- 
perfect records which boards of supervisors and other officials 
left sometimes give reasonable ground for suspicion that 
crooked work was being carried on behind the scenes, it is 
doubtless true that many an honest man, whose actions were 
prompted by patriotic and unselfish motives, has been made 
the object of unjust imputations in connection with this busi- 
ness. These remarks are founded on observations made in the 
history of different counties. They apply to Richmond as well 
as to many others. 

A revision of the enrollment was made in December, 1864, 
under the direction of an enrolling board in each town, which 
was composed of the supervisor, town clerk and one inspector 
of election. 

A mass meeting was held at the court house, January 6, 1865, 
to provide for raising the quota under the call of December 19th, 
for 300,000 men. The supervisors were instructed to fill the 
quota and raise the money necessary on the credit of the 
county. They later resolved to raise two hundred men. Fre- 
quent meetings were held by the board, but the work of filling 
the quota progressed slowly. A draft finally took place on the 
25th of February, at which four hundred and forty-six names 
were drawn. Previous to the drawing the supervisors, Feb- 
ruary 18th, offered bounties of 300 for one year's men, $400 
for two years' men, 600 for three years' men and $100 
additional " hand money " to the person presenting the recruit, 
or the same additional sum to the recruit presenting himself. 
The same bounties, but not the "hand-money." were offered to 
men liable to draft who should secure substitutes before the 
draft. The drafted men were not required to report as long as 
enlistments were active. 

Great dissatisfaction arose during the latter part of 1864 and 
the early part of 1865 in regard to the management of the 
county finances. It was charged that the supervisors and officials 
acting under their authority were using more money in procur- 
ing recruits than was necessary, and intimations were even pro- 
mulgated that those officials were using their positions to en- 
rich themselves by sharing with the brokers the enormous 
commissions that were allowed for procuring recruits. 

Whether much or little foundation existed for this dissatis- 
faction, it arose to such a pitch that public meetings were held 



300 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

in some of the towns to discuss measures for the protection of 
the tax-payers against the wanton increase of their burdens. 
The debt of the county at the beginning of 1865 had reached 
an amount exceeding $700,000. Such a meeting was held at 
Giesser's hotel, Middletown, on the first of February, at which 
resolutions were passed declaring that in the opinion of the 
majority of the citizens of the town there was great misman- 
agement in town and county offices, owing to a lack of capacity 
and economy in public matters, resulting in enormous taxation 
for which the citizens received no due return; that a new, in- 
telligent and economical administration of affairs must be inau- 
gurated; that to accomplish this end they would lay aside party 
considerations and put forth their utmost exertions to elect such 
men as by public consent were without suspicion or reproach; 
and to appoint a committee to aid in bringing before the state 
legislature the petition of the people of the county for a 
thorough investigation of the accounts of the supervisors. A 
similar meeting was held at Fireman's hall, Port Richmond, on 
the 8th inst., at which similar resolutions were passed. 

The result of this agitation was the election of a board of 
supervisors, nearly all of whom were new members, and men 
in whom the people had full confidence as to their ability and 
disposition to discharge the responsible duties of their office in 
a conscientious and creditable manner. Still however, a change 
in the board of supervisors did not remedy all the evils which 
annoyed the people. Abuses existed in the management of the 
recruiting office, as the following paragraph from the " Ga- 
zette" at the time will illustrate. 

" A SWINDLING SHOP. The recruiting office at Nautilus Hall, 
Tompkinsville, Staten Island. The majority of the persons 
brought to this place, or going there voluntarily are swindled 
out of a large part of the bounties they receive from the County, 
and the harpies who make part and parcel of the machine 
operated there, fill their pockets with the plunder. These 
facts we have from the most credible witnesses, from whom 
we can obtain dates, names, amounts and particulars of trans- 
actions, if necessary. The iniquities have become known to 
the Supervisors, and they have made strong efforts to prevent 
their continuance, but in spite of all their labor and remon- 
strances, there is but too much reason to know that they have 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 301 

continued with unabated force, although possibly disguised to 
some extent." 

By the end of March, 1865, the quota under the last call 
was filled, to the number of about two hundred and eighty- 
eight men. The surroundings of the recruiting station, and 
the management of that work, as well as the labors of the 
board of supervisors to reform its unrighteous practices, are 
graphically pictured in the following language by a local paper 
at the time. 

"Col. Barrett, Supervisor of Castleton, and Hon. Thomas 
Child, of Northfield, visited the recruiting station almost daily 
and remained several hours. The attention they gave to the 
matter and the vigilance they exercised considerably facilitated 
the operations, although we understand that many men were 
fleeced of their money almost under their very eyes, and they 
were quite unable to prevent it in consequence of want of power 
over the physician and the mustering officer in charge. * * * 

"A sight of the cormorants, vultures, harpies, blacklegs, 
loafers and swindlers who have held high carnival in and about 
the recruiting station ever since there were men to be gulled 
and robbed, and tricks to be played, would have disgusted any 
one but his infernal majesty himself. Nor were these vile char- 
acters all imported, but some of our own citizens, slyly at first, 
and then more openly, indulged in similar practices, and to 
their lasting shame be it said, greedily grasped at and got a 
share of the spoils. Men of mature years, men of respectability 
as the world defines the term, came to look upon an association 
with the lowest grade of society, and the reception of a hand- 
ful of bank notes from unfortunate wretches whose families at 
that moment lacked bread, as a thing quite unobjectionable ! 
As there is now nothing left to pick but the bones, we trust the 
creatures will disperse, and that such a crew will never assem- 
ble again on this side of Tophet." 

The various sums authorized to be raised on bonds of the 
county for the purposes of the war at different times were as 
follows, the dates given indicating when the resolutions were 
passed by the board of supervisors : 

Aug. 22, 1862, for relief of volunteers' families $20,000 

Dec. 16, " " 20,000 

Aug. 25, 1863, for relief of drafted men 50,000 

Sept. 9, " " 25,000 



302 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Dec. 29, 1863, to obtain volunteers 125,000 

Feb. 13, 1864, 180,000 

July 28, " bounties for volunteers 250,000 

Jan. 28, 1865, for filling the quota 75,000 

Feb. 16, " " 75,000 

Feb. 25, " " 75,000 



Total amount 8895,000 

Not only in the disbursement of funds for the relief of its 
citizens and the support of dependent families of volunteers, 
but in supplying the strong arm of her native citizens to fight 
the battles of their country, Staten Island bore her full propor- 
tion of the burdens of the war. Material was furnished to forty- 
five regiments of infantry, six regiments of artillery, and four 
of cavalry, besides some to the contingents of other states. The 
island was more especially represented in the Empire brigade, 
where it had nearly two companies ; in the Excelsior brigade 
of the army of the Potomac ; in the Eighty-second, One hun- 
dred and Thirty-third, One hundred and Fifty-sixth and One 
hundred and Seventy-fifth New York infantry ; in Serrell's 
famous Engineer regiment in the far West ; in the old Seventy- 
ninth "Highlanders"; in the "Mounted Rifles"; in the 
Fourth artillery ; and in the Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Fifty- 
third "Zouaves." According to careful estimates more than 
eight hundred men joined the army from this county. Of this 
number, who left their homes ^Fullof health and vigor, it is esti- 
mated that about one hundred and eighty fell on the field or 
died of sickness or wounds in our camps. Nearly forty were 
brought back here to be buried among their kindred. 

The Seventy-ninth Highlanders, N. Y. S M., left New York 
for Washington on Sunday, June 2, 1861, having, in one company 
connected with it, the following men from Staten Island : John 
W. Morse, Herman C. Buecke, Walter N. Brown, Theodore 
Hall, George H. McCready, William White, J. J. Thaxter, A. 
Miranda, Rheinhart Snyder, Richard Wall, James Bancker, 
Edward Bancker, John Coughic, David Wilkins, Benjamin 
Wilkins. Daniel Beatty, William B. Lusch, William Simon- 
son, Edward Barker, James Breen, Edward Brice, Michael 
Kirkman, Robert Kelly, Patrick Carlin, Bernard Scanlon, 
Thomas McAdams, George Howarth, David Howarth, 
Eugene Burke, John Johnson, James Colgan, William 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTV. 303 

Ross, John Racey, John Breen, David Sands, Peter 
Tushingham, William Smith, J. Smith, Richard Barrett, 
Charles Wilhelm, Charles Piratzki, Philip Daly. 

During the war the island was made a rendezvous for bring- 
ing together different parts of organizations preparatory to mov- 
ing forward to the seat of war. A large number of regiments 
were encamped here for longer or shorter periods, while awaiting 
more perfect organization or drill, or more definite orders for 
moving. No complete record of these can be given, but we have, 
at considerable pains, gathered fragments from which we are 
able to give the list of camps and many of the organizations 
that occcupied them, with some indication of the dates when 
they were so occupied, and occasionally some other information 
in regard to them. This information we condense in the fol- 
lowing paragraphs : 

Camp Washington was located at the quarantine grounds, 
partly inside and partly outside the walled enclosure. Bar- 
racks were erected on the outside. Here were Wilson's Zouaves, 
May and June, 1861 ; Serrell's regiment of artizans and en- 
gineers, August and September, 1861 ; Yates' Rilies, August, 
1861 ; the Empire Zouaves, August, 1861 ; German Rangers, 
September, 1861 ; Siegel Rifles, September, 1861 ; Swain's Cav- 
alry, March. 1862 ; Colonel Tompkins' Regiment, September, 
1862, whence it was moved to barracks erected for it on land of 
Colonel Barrett at Factoryville ; Second Duryea's Zouaves, Oc- 
tober, 1862 ; inside the walls were Allen's Regiment, May, 1861; 
Colonel Bartlett's Naval Brigade, May, 1861; Third Irish Vol- 
unteers, August, 1861 ; Union Rifles, September, 1861 ; Scott's 
Nine Hundred (Eleventh N. Y. Cavalry), March, 1862 ; Eighty- 
first N. Y., March, 1862 ; First National (Monitors), August 
and September, 1862. 

Camp Arthur was located near the quarantine grounds. It 
was established in June, 1861 ; the British Volunteers and Me 
Clellan Rifles were here in August, 1861 ; and the Lancers in 
September, 1861. 

A camp was made on the Dr. Smith farm at Old Town in May, 
1861. This farm presented a level sward of about one hundred 
acres, giving a fine parade ground. The old stone house was 
occupied by the officers. 

Camp Vanderbilt was near New Dorp. Here the Washington 
Zouaves were encamped in September, 1861. 



304 HISTOTCY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Camp Yates was at New Dorp. Here were the Seventh regi- 
ment and the Thirty-second cavalry in May, 1861. While the 
latter regiment was here the ladies of Staten Island presented 
it with a flag. The presentation was made with appropriate 
ceremonies on June 5th. About seventy-rive ladies were present. 
Dr. Ephraim Clark made the presentation with a very happy 
little speech, which was responded to by Mr. Matthewson, the 
officer in command. The flag was then raised on its staff, 
amid the cheers of the assembled multitude. 

Camp Lafayette was at New Dorp. It was occupied by the 
Garde Lafayette (Fifty-fifth) in August and September, 1861 ; 
and by the Warren Rifles in March, 1862. 

Camp Leslie, at Clifton Park, was near Port Tompkins. Here 
were Col. Cone's Clinton Guard, August, 1861 ; and the 
D'Epeneuil Zouaves (Fifty third regiment), September, 1861. 

Camp McClellan was on land of Samuel Burger, near Fac- 
toryville, on land lying between the Shore road and Castleton 
avenue. A high, board fence was built around it, and a guard 
house and other buildings were erected. The McClellan rifles 
were here September to November, 1861. Their departure for 
the front, on the twenty-second, was, according to a local paper, 
" to the great joy of those who resided in the vicinity of the 
camp. They burned four hundred feet of Mr. Edward Be- 
ment's fence, had a great liking for chickens, and some of them 
were not averse to anything that hands could carry off." 

Camp Herndon was located at Stapleton flats, and here the Ira 
Harris cavalry was encamped in August and September, 1861. 

Camp Morrison was on A. Ward's land, at the base of Pa- 
vilion hill. It was occupied by the Cameron light infantry in 
August, 1861. 

Camp Low, at Elm Park, after being occupied a few weeks by 
the Morgan artillery, was broken up about the middle of No- 
vember, 1861. Of their departure it was said : 

" Such a scene as ensued on Wednesday night and the suc- 
ceeding morning baffles description. Suffice it to say that in 
the afternoon, when preparations were being made for the de- 
parture of a portion of the regiment, a large number of men 
were found with their eyes in mourning, holes in their heads, 
bloody noses, palsied legs and tongues, torn clothes, and in a 
dilapidated condition generally. There were, of course, many 
honorable exceptions to this rule. Companies A to H left the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 305 

camp and took their way to the shore, and were received on 
board of the steamboat Atlas, and thence transferred to the 
cars. Quite a number of men were missing. Those whose legs 
refused to support them were carried down in carts ; such as 
had only a small brick in their hats managed to get along pretty 
well with a comrade supporting them on either side. While 
waiting at the wharf the soldiers indulged in cheering." 

Camp Ward was at Port Richmond. It was occupied by 
Colonel Doubleday's regiment while forming from November, 
1861, to February 10, 1862. 

Camp Scott, one of the most notable camps of the period, 
was atStapleton. Here were the Excelsior Brigade, May, 1861; 
Ira Harris Guards, September. 1861 ; Second Ira Harris Cavalry 
(Sixth N". Y.), December, 1861 ; and Corcoran' s Irish Legion, 
September to November, 1862. While it was occupied by the 
Excelsior Brigade it was under the command of Col Don. Wil- 
liamson. In order to preserve the peace and security of the 
neighboring inhabitants an order given by General Sickles was- 
promulgated throughout the camp on the 30th of May, requiring 
field officers to be present with their regiments in camp, forbid- 
ding officers or privates leaving camp without the permission 
of specified officers and in accordance with certain restrictions, 
requiring a regular system of drill, directing the severe punish- 
ment of trespassing on or interference with the property or per- 
sons of citizens, forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquors in 
or about the encampment, and calling upon the local authori- 
ties to withhold licenses from taverns in the neighborhood. By 
the enforcement of these orders and improved discipline, the 
annoyances of drunken and marauding bands of men from the 
encampments were in a measure obviated. A picket was placed 
at the door of every open liquor saloon in the neighborhood to 
prevent the men from the camp getting liquor. The following 
description of the camp was given in June, 1861 : 

" Camp Scott wears a beautiful and picturesque appearance. 
Across the broad plateau selected for the encampment, large 
numbers of white tents gleam in the sunshine. Among them are 
broad streets and avenues, and with their four thousand ten- 
ants the place seems the site of some bustling city sprung into 
existence in a night. Stricter discipline prevails than in most 
of the camps we have seen. Around the edge, but in no in- 
stance inside of the lines, men and women with apples, candies, 
20 



306 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

oranges, nuts and various tempting articles, ply their trade, 
and do a good business. On Sunday afternoon, in the expec- 
tation of seeing a full dress parade, great numbers of visitors 
were upon the ground. Carriages, carts, and jaunting cars of 
all sorts and sizes ; men, women, children and babies of all 
kinds and degrees were there." 

The condition of this camp and its surroundings in the latter 
part of 1861 are set forth in the published diary of an army 
surgeon (Thomas I. Ellis, M. D.) who had medical supervision 
over it for a while, and who writes as follows . 

"The wooden building used as a guard house I found one of 
the most wretched and lilthy holes imaginable ; the roof leaky, 
the boarded floors had been torn up and used for kindling 
wood by the prisoners conh'ned in it, and all those who for 
weeks had been locked up there had accumulated a heap of 
filth, composed of the rejected food and offal of every kind, 
which sent forth an intolerable and unhealthy stench. I at 
once determined on the removal of the prisoners to better quar- 
ters, and on examining the dozen or more unfortunates, ordered 
four to the hospital, and recommended to the commandant 
of the post, who accompanied me, the discharge of four others. 
The remainder being deserters, confined under written charges 
preferred against them, who, at great trouble and expense, had 
been brought back from Boston, he had no authority or desire 
to liberate. To obtain a suitable building to use for a guard 
house was a matter of no small difficulty, there being but three 
others near the camp : one, the hospital, I had nearly full of 
patients; another, the post sutler's establishment, was too 
large, and was indispensable to the camp, as most of the officers' 
and all the hospital food was cooked in it. I found, however, 
a smaller wooden building which belonged to the former 
sutler of the Sickles Brigade and recommended the command 
ant of the post to take possession of it and make the necessary 
changes to adapt it for use as a guard house. 

"Having made these arrangements, and having had the hospi- 
tal building repaired and heated with large stoves, and the bed- 
ding properly cared for, I was able to control the epidemic then 
raging ; and, before two weeks had expired, the sick report de- 
creased from one hundred and six to sixty-four. There was 
still another fruitful source of disorder and disease, which, 
though not in the camp, exercised a wonderful and pernicious 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 307 

influence on the men. On the roadside which led to the steam- 
boat landing, and within an eighth of a mile, there stood a 
frame cottage in which the vilest liquor was sold, and from 
whence it was daily smuggled into camp, causing drunkenness 
with all its attendant ill consequences, and sickness from ex- 
posure, as the men, on getting intoxicated, would ramble off 
into the adjoining woods, and there lie down on the damp 
ground, certain to awake in the morning with a violent cold or 
the prevalent sore throat ; besides these ill effects the officers 
found this place a source of great annoyance, and I was not at 
all grieved on passing the place one day where this rum-mill had 
stood, to find it torn down. On inquiry, I learned that the 
evening previous a fight occurred between the keeper of the 
place and some of the soldiers, who, maddened with the vile 
stuff drank on the premises, proceeded to blows, and in the 
'melee which followed, the cottage was entirely gutted, and then 
levelled to the ground. Several of the men who participated 
in this affair were, I found, on my daily visit to the guard 
house, doing penance for it ; but, as a few days showed that the 
removal of the groggery was a blessing to the camp, they were 
let off with a lighter punishment than would otherwise have 
been their lot. [This groggery was familiarly known as " THE 
CANTEEN."] 

"The isolated position of the camp was one of its strongest 
recommendations, and went far in influencing the selection, in 
spite of the soft, muddy nature of the ground, and the difficulty 
in guarding it against desertion by the men, and thieving by 
the Staten Islanders a nest of whom from Rocky Hollow made 
nightly visits, and generally succeeded in carrying off some 
booty. One night it would be a government saddle ; another, a 
sack of oats, or even a horse ; the aggregate loss to the govern- 
ment, by these depredations, was considerable, nor could the 
utmost vigilance of the officers prevent it." 

Late in December, 1861, Camp Scott was vacated, and it was 
not again occupied until the Corcoran Legion occupied it in the 
summer of 1862. They remained until the early part of Novem- 
ber, and when they left, the following article was printed in a 
local paper, giving us a glimpse of the estimation in which they 
were held by the community in whose neighborhood they had 
been encamped. 

"The Corcoran Legion has departed, and who is sorry ( Not 



308 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

the farmer whose hen roosts were robbed and whose fences were 
carried away for camp fires not the peaceable citizen who 
found his safest place to be within his own house after night- 
fall, nor his wife and daughters who were insulted in broad day 
and jeered at with foulest language by the ruffian soldiery not 
the public officers of the county whose writs were disobeyed 
and who dare not arrest a man of their number unless they run 
the risk of having daylight let through their unfortunate bodies 
by bayonet thrusts not the city police who were paid for re- 
turning deserters by a volley of stones at their heads, and con- 
sidered themselves lucky in escaping with whole bones. We 
trust that the quiet of Camp Scott may never again be disturbed, 
and night made hideous by such a collection of barbarians as 
the Corcoran Legion for the most part were. There were good 
men among them, but they were rare. Should we relate all the 
well authenticated tales of horrible things connected with this 
camp from its organization to its breaking up we would scarce 
be believed. 

" Men have been kidnapped and taken to the camp and made 
to serve against their will their calls for help wasted upon the 
wind, and the efforts of their friends for their release found to 
be useless. Young boys and others, many of them sickly and 
unfit for duty, have been seduced by the wiles of the recruiting 
officers from homes where they were tenderly reared and where 
affectionate parents, when they learned their loss, mourned 
their children as dead. Some rushed to the courts and judges 
for aid for relatives and friends, only to learn with dismay that 
even the ragged sentries who guarded the camp were more pow- 
erful than the learned judge upon the bench, and that the 
colonels and captains defied the process of the courts and cursed 
all who interfered with military rule. 

" A gentleman informed us last week that he saw one of the 
officers strike an unoffending drummer boy in the face with his 
sword, cutting him through the cheek to the bone, and break- 
ing loose several teeth, so that the boy spit them out of his 
mouth with the blood! The boy was at a distance from an 
affray which was taking place, and neither spoke nor acted with 
regard to it, and the blow could only have been caused by the 
desire of the officer to vent his brutality upon some one, it mat- 
tered not whom." 

Camp Decker was the camping ground of the Second regi- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 309 

ment of Fire Zouaves in August, 1861; and of the Governor's 
Giiard in September, 1861. At Tompkinsville were also en- 
camped the Second light artillery in December, 1861; and the 
Seventy-eighth regiment in March, 1862. At New Dorp the 
Thirteenth Brooklyn regiment was encamped in September, 
1861; the Stanton Legion, July to September, 1862; the One 
Hundred and Sixty-ninth N. Y., October, 1863; and the One 
Hundred and Fifty-ninth, November, 1862. 

Camp Sprague was located at New Dorp. The following de- 
scription of it by a visitor in May, 1863, will be interesting to 
many: 

"It consists of a row of barracks upon three sides of an ex- 
tensive field, capable, it is said, of accommodating ten thousand 
men. On the fourth side it is protected by a high board fence, 
through which is the entrance to the camp. This fence is 
erected not so much to keep outsiders from going in as to pre- 
vent insiders from coming out; and though easily scaled from 
the outside, presents an insurmountable barrier to the poor 
skedaddler within. After considerable parleying at the gate, 
and a severe scrutiny of our countenance, and the summoning 
of the officer of the guard, and the officer of the day, until we 
were thoroughly impressed with our utter insignificance, we 
were finally admitted, but having entered, we were at liberty 
to go whither the spirit moved us. 

" The camp is under the command of Colonel Lansing, but 
under the immediate charge of Lieutenant Colonel Loeve, a very 
pleasant and gentlemanly officer, with considerable bon hom- 
mie expressed in his countenance. His headquarters are very 
tastefully decorated in front with grass plats and flower beds, 
and pleasantly shaded by three or four pear trees in full 
bloom. 

" We next visited the hospital, which is under the charge of 
Dr. Ephraim Clark, of our island, who was recently appointed 
to the post by General Wool. We are informed that when the 
Doctor first took charge of the hospital, nothing could exceed 
the filthy and comfortless condition of the place now it is a 
model of neatness and comfort, with a complete assortment of 
medical stores and surgical instruments. The ladies of the 
neighborhood, whose sympathies he has enlisted in behalf of 
the camp, have kindly presented the Doctor with jellies and 
domestic wines for the use of the sick. There are but few con- 



310 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

fined in the hospital at present. We noticed one poor fellow 
suffering from a pistol shot wound in the arm received some 
time since while insubordinate. He showed us the ball, which 
was completely flattened in its passage through the bone. 

"From the hospital we visited the gardens in front of the 
men's barracks, which we had heard highly spoken of. They 
certainly exhibited a great deal of taste and skill, and would 
do credit to any landscape gardener. Here was a beautiful 
Union shield blooming in green sod and moss, with the word 
' LIBERTY ' engraven in evergreen upon it there an Emerald 
Harp from the Emerald Isle, in a soft bed of white sand and 
beside it a full spread eagle with a shield on his breast, and a 
streamer with the motto ' E Pluribus Unum.' A little further 
on, a mortar of sod mounted on a little bank threatened hourly 
destruction to a little band of flowers who were endeavoring to 
scale the bank and take possession. Still further on, the en- 
gineers had erected beautiful models in sod of rifle pits and 
earthworks, like Lilliputian forts. There were many other 
pretty designs, and the lettering in all cases was particularly 
well done. In the center of this camp ground a large flag staff 
is about being erected, which will add greatly to the beauty of 
the camp. 

" There are about eleven hundred men at present in camp, 
although we believe the roll calls for over fourteen hundred. 
There are regiments and parts of regiments among them the 
' Seymour Cavalry, 1 ' Les Enfants Perdus ' or ' Lost Children' 
(a French Regiment), and a corps of engineers. There are, we 
are informed, representatives from almost every European na- 
tion English, Irish, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Swede, 
Dane, Russian and even John CJiinaman. It is quite a little 
world in itself, and one is forcibly reminded in visiting it, of 
the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel. 

" The Rev. Dr. Irving, we understand, is laboring earnestly 
among them, and has already effected much good. Bibles and 
tracts in different languages have already been largely circu- 
lated among them.'' 

A serious riot took place at this camp on the 13th of May, 
1863, which resulted in the death of one soldier and the wound- 
ing of two others. Some of the troops quartered here had been 
in camp for several months without receiving any of the bounty 
money which was due them. This fact had given rise to great 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 311 

discontent on the part of those who had been thus slighted. 
Desertions from camp were taking place every night, so that 
the ranks were filling up very slowly. On the morning of the 
day above referred to groups of men could be seen collecting in 
different parts of the parade ground discussing with vehemence 
and indignation the subject of their complaint and declaiming 
bitterly against the deception which had been practiced upon 
them. In vain did several officers try to appease their wrath 
with the oft repeated story that their grievances would shortly 
be adjusted. They determined to take matters into their own 
hands, and leave the camp. 

Accordingly, about noon the Burnside Rifles armed them- 
selves with clubs, axes and stones, and headed by two drum- 
mers, marched defiantly toward the main entrance of the camp. 
Here, however, they were met by Colonel Leave, who had been 
informed of the threatened movement and had provided a 
strong guard of picked men for the emergency. Upon being 
ordered by the colonel to ret urn to their quarters, the men set up a 
yell of defiance, one of them hurling a large stone which struck 
the colonel a violent blow on the side. As soon as he recovered 
from the shock he sprang into the midst of the mob and ar- 
rested the man who threw the stone; the others, being cowed by 
his resolute action, offered meanwhile no resistance. 

The mutineers now turned in another direction. Marching 
directly to the south side of the barracks they determined to 
cut their way out. and about twenty-eight men actually suc- 
ceeded in doing so before their progress could be stopped. The 
" Enfants Perdus" were marched to the scene of action and 
ordered to fire upon them, which they did, resulting in the 
death of one man and the supposed mortally wounding of an- 
other. The twenty-eight who had escaped were subsequently 
captured by a revenue cutter while attempting to cross over to 
Jersey in a boat which they had taken for the purpose. They 
were subsequently conveyed to Governor's island, where they 
were put in irons. 

In the course of the day a demonstration was made against 
the sutler's department, but was put down without much 
trouble. About ten o'clock in the evening flames were seen is- 
suing from the stables adjoining the hospital department. The 
energy of the officers and men succeeded in saving some valu- 
able horses that were in these buildings, and also, by great ex- 



312 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ertions, the hospital itself, which was at one time seriously en- 
dangered. The patrol guard was strengthened, and this 
effectually prevented any making their escape amid the confu- 
sion consequent upon the fire. 

Squads of soldiers were detailed that afternoon to go to the 
different ferries and look out for any deserters who might at- 
tempt to leave the island by the ferry-boats. One of the guard 
at Stapleton landing, named Spellissy, while attending to this 
duty, attempted to arrest two young men whom he took to be 
deserters, but who claimed to have been honorably discharged 
from the service. In the scuffle which ensued one Donahue, a 
by-stander, came to the assistance of the young men, and after 
a hand to hand encounter with Spellissy broke from him and 
ran away, when the latter fired upon him, the ball making a 
wound in the thigh of Donahue, and also striking the knee of 
a little child in its passage. Spellissy was arrested, and barely 
escaping being lynched at the hands of the incensed populace, 
was confined in Richmond jail. 

It would appear to be the fact that some grounds of complaint 
existed with the men, owing to their treatment and their fare. One 
who had inquired into the subject somewhat wrote: "All through 
the winter complaints have come to us from soldiers quar- 
tered at New Dorp and Tompkinsville that their bounties have 
been withheld ; and for a long time, at the latter camp ground, 
miserable fare has been loudly talked of, and on more than one 
occasion the men have demolished the cook-house where, they 
insisted, decayed food had been prepared for them. I have con- 
versed with a large number of these men, and discovered that 
they were not of the commoner sort, being very intelligent, and 
many of them sons of thrifty farmers in the northern and west- 
ern sections of this state ; consequently they know what decent 
treatment is, and felt that they had a right to expect it at the 
hands of the government or its officers. Hundreds of them 
have 'skedaddled 1 in disgust, and doubtless have borne to 
the ears of the community to which they belong, dismal tidings 
of the state of affairs in Uncle Samuel's camp, and pictured in 
their mental vision scenes to which they are likely to remain 
strangers, at least as far as they are able. 1 ' 

A small number of skeleton organizations, or parts of organi- 
zations, were brought together here and consolidated in June, 
1863. Among these remnants were the ; ' Tompkins," " H. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 313 

Seymour" and "Davis" cavalry, the "Blair Rifles," " Sey 
mour Light Infantry," "Defenders," " Burnside Rifles, "Pratt 
Guard," and the " Westchester Light Infantry." 

General McClellan was present at a grand review which took 
place at this camp September 8, 1863. There were about three 
thousand five hundred men in the various commands then or- 
ganizing here, and the occasion called out about eight thousand 
spectators. The affair was said to be one of the most brilliant 
military demonstrations ever witnessed on the island. General 
McClellan having taken a position, the troops marched in re- 
view before him, the following regiments taking part and mov- 
ing in the order named : Eleventh IS. Y., Thirty-first, Duryea's 
Zouaves, Thirty-fourth, Ninth, Twelfth cavalry, Coming's 
Eighteenth light cavalry, Twenty-first cavalry (dismounted), 
Seventeenth, Thirteenth and some other regiments. After the 
column had passed the general addressed the soldiers, many of 
whom had been in the service with him, in the following lan- 
guage : 

" My COMRADES I am glad and sad and proud to meet you 
again. (Loud cheers). I am glad because we are all glad to 
meet old comrades and brothers in arms. (Renewed cheering). 
lam sad because I am reminded in seeing you, of your brethren 
slain on our fields of battle. I remember, too, our last fight, 
opposite Warrentown. I am proud because I call to mind all 
our battles from Yorktown to Antietam. I am proud because 
you who are here are some of the old Army of the Potomac, on 
which I have looked with pride, and ever shall. (Tremendous 
cheering). When you return to your comrades say to them 
that their old commander has continued to watch their every 
battle with as much interest, feeling and pride as when with 
you, and that he will ever do so. (Cheers). I am also glad to 
know that so many of you are returning to the service. I thank 
you, comrades, for the kind welcome you have given me. I will 
not say good-bye again. We have said that once before, and I 
trust never to repeat it." 

Early in November, 1863, four or five hundred men remaining, 
discontent arose and insubordination was manifest. This culmi- 
nated on the night of the 4th in the burning of the barracks. 
At about one o'clock of the following morning fire was dis- 
covered on the east side of the camp. The alarm was given by 
the firing of howitzers, and several apparatus companies came 



314 HISTOTCY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

to the scene, Excelsior Backet Company No. 1, Protection 
Hose, of Stapleton, and Neptune Hose, of Tompkinsville, being 
the first to arrive. The flames were extinguished, but not until 
all the eastern side and about one hundred feet of the northern 
side of the camp were destroyed. Unusual vigilance was exer- 
cised on the following night, but flames again appeared at about 
the same hour of the night, and before any available assistance 
could reach the spot the remaining part of the structure 
was burned to the ground. A few days later a plot was ex- 
posed by one of the men implicated in it, which had been 
planned for the purpose of burning the hospital which was 
lilled with sick men. The man who exposed the plot had not 
the hardened heart to allow him to carry out the scheme of 
crime that he had engaged in, and he named the ringleaders, 
who were arrested and put in irons. On the following day 
General Canby ordered all the men except about forty cavalry 
to be removed to Governors island. The camp was now de- 
serted except by the few men who remained to guard its 
ruins. 

When the encampments of soldiers were first made on the 
island considerable alarm was felt for the safety of the inhabi- 
tants and the security of their property against the molestation 
of the troops. A police force was talked of and steps toward a 
regular organization, to be employed and paid by the public funds, 
were taken. There were differences of opinion, some believing 
that such a force was necessary and others arguing that it 
would be a needless expense, and that the camp regulations 
would be sufficient to protect the people against any serious 
damage or molestation. A line of sentries was stationed by the 
commandant of Camp Scott as far as Vanderbilt landing, about 
two miles from the camp. 

Thus, as we have seen, now and heretofore in this article, the 
most vigilant effort was in many cases made to protect the 
people from the annoyances of the encamped army. But this 
could be but imperfectly done. The local and government 
authorities sometimes came into conflict, when soldiers who 
had been arrested and imprisoned for offenses against the civil 
law, were demanded by the officers of the military organizations 
to which they belonged to move with the organization to the 
seat of war. In this way many a guilty criminal escaped pun- 
ishment. This emboldened others to be more reckless in their 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 315 

offensive conduct, especially when it was known that their 
regiments were to move forward before a trial in the civil 
courts would be had. 

One of the frequent manifestations of lawlessness was seen in 
the work of the incendiary torch. The frequency of fires in 
1862 is thus referred to in a paragraph in a local paper at the 
time: 

"FiRE NUMBER 26. Notwithstanding the general desire to 
efface party lines there is still a party on the North Shore 
which keeps up its organization and performs its labors with 
much diligence. We allude to the barnburners. These nota- 
ble individuals enjoyed themselves for the twenty-sixth time on 
Sunday morning, at half-past three o'clock (the usual hour for 
such fun), by setting h're to the barn of Mr. Henry Cornell on 
the Mill Eoad, Castleton. It was burned to the ground loss 
about $300. The inhabitants all get awake in time to see the 
fire, but the incendiaries are generally supposed to be in- 
visible. 

" Many of the people are said to be so used to the- alarm of 
fire that when they discover it is not their barn they go to bed 
again." 

Incendiary fires, burglaries, thefts, assaults, and drunken 
fights were of daily occurrence during much of the time. The 
expenses of the county for the services of constables and patrol- 
men for the year 1862 was eight thousand six hundred and 
forty-five dollars and twenty-one cents. About two thousand 
six hundred arrests for criminal offenses were made during the 
year. The bills of the justices of the peace for acting on these 
cases amounted to five thousand two hundred and twenty-three 
dollars and seventy-one cents ; making an aggregate of thirteen 
thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight dollars and ninety-two 
cents paid for preserving the public peace, which after all was 
continually in a precarious condition. 

The summer of 1865 was notable for the frequency of assaults, 
robberies and other examples of ruffianism. Many of the per- 
petrators of outrages of this character upon the peaceable 
citizens, which occurred almost daily, were returned soldiers, 
who had been schooled amid scenes of war, and being without 
any principle of honor, were ready to practice theft and violence 
upon unprotected citizens in a land of peace. The island was 
overcome by a tide of ruffianism and crime that rendered life 



316 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

and property here decidedly unsafe. It was a publicly admitted 
fact that crime was enormously on the increase. Highway rob- 
beries, house breakings, violent assaults and batteries, riots and 
other heinous offenses, almost without number, were committed. 
Any attempt to give a detailed list of specific instances would 
be a sickening task. Many arrests were made and the guilty 
parties were imprisoned in the county jail. But even here their 
bold defiance of law manifested itself in threats of using the 
political influence which some of them claimed to have to de- 
feat at the ballot box the public officials who should dare to 
bring them to punishment. Despite such threats, however, the 
grand jury at the next court of sessions, in September, found 
indictments against thirty-eight prisoners, nineteen of which 
were for assault and battery, four for burglary, two for assault 
with intent to kill, and the remainder for various crimes. 

But the period of war is closed. Let us be done with the 
lawlessness, the riots, the contentions, the destruction of prop- 
erty, the ill feelings, the excitements, the sorrowings and all 
the train of skeleton forms that attend on a time of war. And 
how mean a recompense is the blare of martial music, the 
graceful evolutions of military parade, the glitter of dazzling 
uniforms and equipments or the gallant carriage of a command- 
ing hero on the field ! Let us pray kind Heaven that this fail- 
island may not again be desecrated by the presence of an en- 
camped soldiery preparing themselves for scenes of carnage and 
destruction. 

From the scenes in which men were engaged the scenes in 
which their aim was to shed the blood of their fellow men, it is 
refreshing to turn a moment to the scenes in which honorable 
women were meanwhile engaged the work of staying the crim- 
son tide, healing the wounds that men had made and relieving 
the sufferings that were the inevitable fruits of war. While 
the men were at work fanning the flames of passion to make 
them burn higher for the destruction of their fellows, the 
ladies were unobtrusively working away, preparing articles of use 
and comfort for the soldiers at the front or the sick and wound- 
ed in hospitals. Organizations were effected in the different 
villages, preparing articles of clothing, such as stockings, shirts, 
drawers, handkerchiefs, mittens, besides lint, bandages, blank- 
ets, preserves, and other little delicacies and luxuries. There 
were the "Mariner's Harbor Soldiers' Relief Society," com- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 317 

posed largely of active young ladies, the "Ladies' Relief 
Society of New Springville," the ''North Shore Soldiers' Aid 
Society at Factoryville," and others whose names or work are 
not before us now, but which were equally noble, self-sacrificing 
and worthy of grateful remembrance. 

We will, in closing this chapter of war, append the following 
list of Staten Islanders who served during the War of the 
Rebellion, in Company I, One Hundred and Fifty-sixth New 
York State Volunteers : 

Orville D. Jewett, Castleton, first lieutenant; captain; re- 
signed 1863. 

Clarence T. Barrett, Castleton, second lieutenant ; first lieu- 
tenant ; adjutant ; served as aid-de-camp on staff of Major- 
General W. H. Emory, commanding Nineteenth army corps ; 
then on staff of Major-General E. S. Canby, commanding de- 
partment of gulf ; captain and aid-de-camp, United States 
army; brevet ted major for gallant and meritorious services at 
the capture of Mobile. 

Charles W. Kennedy, Castleton, first sergeant : second lieu- 
tenant ; first lieutenant ; captain ; served for two years on staff 
of Third brigade, Second division, Nineteenth army corps, as 
brigade commissary, and acting assistant adjutant-general. 

Edward Steers, Castleton, sergeant ; first lieutenant ; served 
until the end of war. 

William Cortelyou, Southfield, sergeant; second lieutenant; 
wounded at Cedar Creek ; served until the end of war. 

Bennett H. Buel, Castleton, sergeant ; served until the end 
of war. 

George G. Cadmus, Northfield, sergeant ; discharged for 
disability. 

Charles T. Pine, Castleton, corporal ; discharged to accept 
commission on corps d'Afrique. 

George Mersereau, Castleton, corporal ; sergeant ; served un- 
til the end of war. 

Edward Haggerty, Northfield, corporal ; killed before Port- 
Hudson. 

Nathan M. Barrett, Castleton, corporal color-guard ; served 
until the end of war. 

William C. Simonson, Southfield, corporal ; sergeant ; served 
until the end of war. 



318 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Oscar Guyon, Southfield, corporal ; sergeant ; served until 
the end of war. 

Albert P. Heal, Castleton, corporal ; served until the end of 
war. 

John Vanderbilt, Castleton, corporal ; discharged to accept 
appointment as master of arms United States navy. 

Thomas Steers, Castleton, corporal ; discharged to accept 
commission as assistant engineer United States navy. 

John G. Bott, Castleton, private ; served until the end of war. 

William Bamber, Castleton, private ; corporal ; served until 
the end of war, 

Robert Bell, Southfield, private ; died of disease in service. 

Henry V. Buel, Castleton, private ; died of disease in service. 

Edmund Blake, Castleton, private ; wounded at Winchester ; 
served until the end of war ; died from effects of wound. 

James Brogan, Castleton, private ; served until end of war. 

Nathan F. Barrett, Castleton, private ; sergeant-major ; sec- 
ond lieutenant ; served until end of war. 

Abiel H. Burbank, Southfield, private ; died of disease in 
service. 

Ebenezer Chichester, Castleton, private ; served till close of 
war. 

Daniel Collins, Castleton, private ; served till close of war. 

Dewitt C. Connor, Southfield, private ; killed in action at 
Fort Bisland. 

Edward Clary, Castleton, private ; wounded at Cedar Creek ; 
served until end of war. 

Patrick Colbert, Castleton, private ; served until end of war. 

Thomas F. Donnelly, Castleton, private ; sergeant ; served 
until end of war. 

Richard Dawlin, Castleton, private; wounded at Fisher's 
Hill ; discharged. 

Albert G. Denton, Castleton, private ; discharged for disabil- 
ity. 

Daniel Elms, Northfield, private ; served until end of war. 

Jacob N. Guyon, Southfield, private ; corporal ; discharged 
for disability. 

Nelson Gilby, Southfield, private; served until end of war. 

Joseph Jacobs, Castleton, private ; served until end of war. 

Bernard Jacobs, Castleton, private; drum-major; served un- 
til end of war; 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 319 

Albert Jones, Castleton, private ; died of disease in service. 

James E. Hood, Castleton, private; discharged for disability. 

Ira McVeigh, Castleton, private ; wounded at Cedar Creek ; 
discharged. 

Reuben S. Miller, Castleton, private ; served until end of war. 

Philip J. Miller, Southliekl, private ; corporal ; served until 
end of war. 

Mark Mallett, Castleton, private ; taken prisoner at Cedar 
Creek ; discharged. 

John Prosi, Castleton, private ; served until end of war. 

Edward N. Pomeroy, Castleton, private ; discharged to re- 
ceive commission in corps d'Afrique. 

Atagustus W. Sexton, Jr., Castleton, private; discharged to 
receive commission. 

William B. Smith, Castleton. private ; served until end of 
war. 

Robert Stewart, Castleton, private ; served until end of war. 

George Wackerhagen, Castleton, private ; discharged to re- 
ceive appointment as hospital steward United States army. 

Thomas Wright, Castleton, private ; wounded at Montesino 
Bayou ; served until end of war. 

James Watson, Castleton, private ; taken prisoner at Cedar 
Creek ; died from exposure. 

The death of President Garfield occasioned one of the most 
remarkable and general popular demonstrations of sorrow that 
has ever been witnessed here. The newspapers of the island 
were dressed in mourning. Memorial services were held by 
nearly every church and organization on Monday, October 26, 
1881. In the north side villages a parade was organized. This 
was composed of Washington Engine Company No. 1, Port 
Richmond Engine Company No. 3. Lincoln Club of New 
Brighton; New Brighton Engine Company No. 4; Zephyr Hose 
Company No. 4; Aquehonga Hook and Ladder Company No. 1; 
Medora Hook and Ladder Company No. 3; Metamora Council 
No. 650, American Legion of Honor; Continental Council No. 27, 
O. U. A. M. The line of march was taken along the shore road 
from the Pavilion hotel at New Brighton to Port Richmond, 
where a speaker's stand had been erected in the open h'eld on 
Heberton avenue opposite the school house. Here appropriate 
services were conducted, consisting of singing and addresses, 
the latter bv Rev. Jesse S. Gilbert and Hou. Erastus Brooks. 



320 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Appropriate services were also held at the church of the 
Ascension, West New Brighton, at 11 o'clock, Rev. Mr. Cornell 
officiating in the absence of the rector. Services on the pre- 
vious Sunday at Trinity M. E. church had reference .to the sub- 
ject, and similar services were held at the Moravian church at 
New Dorp. At the Reformed church memorial exercises were 
conducted on Monday at 2 o'clock by Rev. Dr. Brownlee, as- 
sisted by Rev. Dr. John Robinson and Rev. Mr. Vansant. The 
Rev. C. A. Frincke at the German Lutheran church, St. John's, 
conducted memorial services in German at the same hour. High 
mass was celebrated at St. Mary's, Clifton, by the Rev. John 
Lewis and the Litany of the Saints, in which is included prayers 
for all people, governors, rulers and officials, was recited in re- 
spect to the occasion, on the same day. 

An elaborate service was conducted at St. John's, Clifton, 
which included the prescribed service, music, and addresses by 
Rev. Dr. Eccleston, the pastor, and Mr. W. W. MacFarland; 
while at Christ church, New Brighton, the liturgical and musi- 
cal services were supplemented by an address by Rev. George 
D. Johnson, the rector. At the Park Baptist church the pastor, 
being absent at the time, spoke with reference to the subject on 
the following Sabbath. At the Seamen's Retreat chapel ser- 
vices were held Monday afternoon and addresses were made by 
Rev. Drs. Kipp and Rockwell. At the Kingsley M. E. and St. 
Paul's Memorial churches, Edgewater, services were held on 
Monday, while on Sunday morning Rev. Dr. Rockwell, of the 
Presbyterian church, held a commemorative service. Masses 
were celebrated on Monday in St. Peter's, New Brighton, and 
St. Rose of Lima, West New Brighton; and in the latter 
church, after mass, prayer for the authorities, composed by 
Archbishop Carrol], of Baltimore, was recited. There were 
also services in St. Paul's M. E. and the South Baptist churches 
at Tottenville; in St. Joseph's at Rossville, and St. Mark's at 
Pleasant Plains. Rev. Mr. Cole, of Woodrow, delivered an 
essay on the life and service of President Garh'eld on the pre- 
ceding Sunday, and Rev. Mr. Morris, of Bethel M. E. church, 
gave a memorial sermon on the following Sabbath. 

Nearly all these churches were draped, some on the inside, 
some on the outside and some on both. Heavy folds and cov- 
erings of black cloth were tastefully arranged on pulpits, 
chairs, tables, organs, railings, around windows, over doorways 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 321 

and arches and upon supporting pillars. Many residences, 
hotels and business places were also heavily dressed in mourn- 
ing, and in some cases bells were tolled at intervals through the 
day. Services at Stapleton Park were held under the auspices 
of Robert G. Shaw Post, G. A. R., and a large audience as- 
sembled, over which Mr. Justus O. Woods presided. Lenhart 
Post, of Tottenville, and the Staten Island Quartette Club, 
represented by thirty-five members, assisted in the exercises, 
and Ex-Congressman James W. Covert delivered an appropri- 
ate and touching address. 

Probably the most destructive storm ever known on the island 
was that of September, 1882. Rain commenced on Wednesday 
evening the 20th, and continued until Saturday. Heavy rains- 
fell during this time, and created freshets in many places, de- 
stroying property and rendering impossible the ordinary avenues 
of travel. The storm was accompanied by unusually high tides, 
which added to the aggregate damage along the shores. Wil- 
low brook was swelled to an alarming fullness. The culvert in 
the railroad embankment between Prince's bay and Pleasant 
Plains was not sufficient to give vent to the great body of water 
that accumulated above it, and on Saturday evening a breach 
was made and about thirty feet of the embankment was carried 
down the stream. The water by this time had risen so high as 
to cover many gardens and roads, and to fill many cellars, even 
covering the first floors in some houses. Out-houses and a 
nameless multitude of small articles were borne away on the 
seething flood. Blacksmith shops, barns and dwelling-houses 
were undermined or otherwise damaged, as were also their con- 
tents, by the water, and a number of bridges were lifted from 
their foundations or carried away. Nearly two weeks elapsed 
before a temporary track could be laid across the breach so as 
to allow the passing of trains. 

The railroad track was also badly damaged in several places 
in the vicinity of Richmond Valley. At the station the track 
was bent and torn, and a short distance below another washout 
occurred, while a train which had reached this point found it- 
self between two impaired spots, so as to be unable to pass with 
safety either way, in which condition it remained till Sunday 
afternoon. Several bridges were destroyed in the vicinity of 
Rossville and Green Ridge, and deep cuts were made in the 
roads in many places, which made them for the time impassable. 
21 



322 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

At Tottenville the railroad track and turn-tables were submerged, 
a brick wall in the rear of John Nelson's hotel was thrown 
down, and sidewalks and streets were badly disfigured, cellars 
rilled and property destroyed. Near Huguenot the South Side 
hotel was damaged to the extent of about two thousand dollars 
value, by the undermining of its foundations, caused by the 
outburst of Arbutus lake. In Stapleton the streets were flooded, 
as were a large number of houses. At New Brighton the streets 
were deluged, and many houses that were considered proof 
against any ordinary flood were filled with water. 

The stone wall that protects the causeway over which the road 
crosses the meadow at Sailors' Snug Harbor gave way, and the 
road was flooded so that the platforms of passing horse cars 
were under water. 

At West New Brighton Broadway became a great river, its 
turbulent waters undermining a carpenter's shop belonging to 
David Pero, and another shop adjoining, cut out a great hole 
in the street near by, and flowed into the lower story of police 
station No. 2, to the depth of nine inches on the floor. The 
prisoners had to be transferred to the second story and the 
officers were obliged to sit up all night and watch them. The 
causeway between West New Brighton and Port Richmond was 
covered by two feet of water, and the torrent, as it swept over, 
took with it a cow, two pigs and a great quantity of miscellane- 
ous property. In this part of the island the story of demol- 
ished bridges, inundated floors and uptorn sidewalks and 
streets were on every hand too frequent to be particularized. 

A very appropriate and commendable demonstration was 
made by the people of this county on the anniversary of the 
second centennial of the organization of the county of Rich- 
mond. The credit of being the first to suggest such a demon- 
stration here is given to Mr. Robert Moore, then supervisor of 
Castleton. In accordance with that suggestion the board of 
supervisors called a meeting of citizens to cooperate with them 
in perfecting plans for such a celebration. 

The first meeting of citizens was held September 22d, 1883, 
at which Hon. Erastus Brooks was chosen president; Hon. 
George William Curtis, Louis De Jonge, Erastus Wiman and 
Dr. Ephraim Clark, vice-presidents; George H. Daley, record- 
ing secretary, and Charles Arthur Hollick, corresponding sec- 
retary. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 323 

At this meeting the subject was fully discussed, and the su- 
pervisors were authorized to appoint a committee of four 
citizens from each town, in conjunction with themselves, to act as 
a committee of arrangements. This committee was afterward in- 
creased to nine from each town, which, together with the super- 
visors, was to be known as the citizens' committee of fifty. 
At this meeting, on motion of Dr. Ephraim Clarke, Hon. Eras- 
tus Brooks was unanimously chosen to prepare and deliver an. 
historical address. At a subsequent meeting of this committee, 
Professor Anton G. Methfessel was chosen chairman, and Theo- 
dore C. Vermilye, secretary. 

A sub-committee of four from each town, in conjunction with 
the supervisors, was appointed by the chairman, to be known 
as the executive committee, and to them was referred the whole 
subject of preparing a plan for the celebration. The executive 
committee organized, with Frederick White as chairman and 
Duncan R. Norvell as secretary, and after considerable discus- 
sion, a parade was decided upon, and full particulars reported 
to the committee of fifty. 

The executive committee was composed of the following men: 
George Bechtel, Frederick White, Philip Wolff, A. G. Meth- 
fessel, Nathaniel Marsh, Benjamin Brown, C. A. Hart, D. J. 
Tysen, Abram Crocheron, DeWitt Stafford, Robert Moore, D. 
R. Norvell, R. B. Whiltemore, Read Benedict, Jesse Oakley, 
B. H. Warlord, M. Conklin, P. G. Ullman, J. H. Van Clief, 
sr., William Ricard; Frederick White, chairman; Duncan R. 
Norvell, secretary. 

Arrangements having been perfected, in accordance therewith 
the procession formed at Elm Park at 12 o'clock at noon on the 
1st of November, 1883. The procession was made up of the 
following organizations in the order named: mounted police, 
Kickapoo Indians in a wagon, Fort Hamilton band, marshals, 
Staten Island Schutzen Corps, chariot containing "Goddess of 
Liberty," Tottenville Cornet Band and Drum Corps, Battalion 
Grand Army of the Republic, Shaw Post, Lenhart Post, fifty 
sons of veterans, disabled veterans on a truck, citizens' associ- 
ation, carriages containing speakers, county officials, Staten Is- 
land Quartette Club and citizens, Citizens' Cornet Band of South 
Amboy, Red Cross Division of Knights of Pythias of South 
Amboy, Protection Hook and Ladder Company of Perth 
Amboy, Lincoln Hose Company of Perth Amboy, Tot ten- 



324 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ville Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, Kreischer- 
ville Drum Corps, one hundred and forty employees of B. 
Kreischer & Sons, New Dorp Pioneer Corps, Mulligan's Band 
of New York, one hundred men of One Hundred and Thirteenth 
regiment, Washington Band, Enterprise Hook and Ladder Com- 
pany No. 1 of Stapleton, Neptune Engine Company No. 6, 
Protection Engine Company No. 7, Sixty-ninth Regiment Drum 
Corps, Excelsior Bucket Company No. 1, Relief Bucket Com- 
pany, Engine Company No. 8 of Clifton, Columbia Cornet 
Band of Pleasant Plains, Clifton Hose Company No. 6, Excel- 
sior Drum Corps of Tompkinsville, Ben. Brown Hose No. 3, 
Eterick's Band of Brooklyn, Engine Company No. 9, Robinson 
Hose No. 9, Forty-seventh Regiment Drum Corps, Neptune 
Engine Company No. 1 of West Hoboken, Lincoln Club Band, 
Niagara Engine No. 5, Neptune Hose No. 1, Olvany's Band, 
Columbia Hook and Ladder, South Amboy Band, Continental 
Council No. 27, Order United American Mechanics, the Z. Z. Z. 
Z. Social Club, Newark Cornet Band, Colored Citizens' Associa- 
tion of Newark, Twelfth Regiment Band, Washington Engine 
No. 4 of Port Richmond, Osceola Cornet Band of Mariners' 
Harbor, Aquehonga Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, West 
Brighton Band, Cataract Engine Company No. 2 of West 
Brighton, Union Base-ball Clubs of Young Men's Christian 
Union of West Brighton. Elizabeth Cornet Band, Granite Hook 
and Ladder Company No. 2, Port Richmond Engine Company 
No. 3, Medora Hook and Ladder Company No. 3 of West 
Brighton, Joyce's Band of New York, New Brighton Engine 
Company No. 4, Friendship Hook and Ladder Company No. 
4, Oceanic Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 of Travisville, 
Linoleum Social Club, In-Seine Club and sixty-seven vehicles 
representing trades, business, characters and fancies, among 
which were several four-horse turnouts, and one wagon drawn 
by ten horses. A large number of private wagons followed to 
bring up the rear. The procession started at 12 o'clock, ad 
preceded by the Shore road to Finger Board road and then re- 
turned to Stapleton Flats, where a large tent had been erected, 
iu which addresses were made and music was given. Invitations 
had been given to the president, governor, mayors of New York 
and Brooklyn and General Hancock to participate in the ceremo- 
nies, none of whom however found it practicable to attend. 
By the favor of the secretary of the navy, obtained through 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 325 

Hon. Perry Belmont, the United States ship "Vandalia," an- 
chored off Stapleton, where she lay during the day, being deco- 
rated with flags and fired a salute of twenty-one guns at noon. 
For the public exercises of the occasion a large tent had been 
erected on a portion of Stapleton Flats. The interior was taste- 
fully trimmed with United States flags. At the conclusion of 
the parade the meeting in the tent was called to order by tlie 
secretary, Theodore C. Vermilye. Prayer was offered by the 
Rev. Dr. Brownlee. Dr. Ephraim Clark was made chairman 
of the meeting, and addresses were delivered by Hon. Erastus 
Brooks, Hon. Perry Belmont, Hon. George William Curtis, 
Hon. A. S. Sullivan, Hon. Henry J. Scudder and Hon. Brad- 
ford L. Prince, the exercises closing with prayer by the Rev. 
Mr. Palmer of Tottenville. In the evening a grand display of 
fireworks was made at Stapleton, and thus closed the day cele- 
brated to mark the completion of two centuries of the exist- 
ence of Richmond county. 



CHAPTEE VII. 

CIVIL DIVISIONS AND CIVIL OFFICERS. 

The County. The Towns. The Villages. Hon. Daniel D. Tompkins. Hon. 
Erastus Brooks. Cornelius A. Hart. 

WE have already seen in a previous chapter that the county 
of Richmond was erected by an act of the colonial legis- 
lature, " to divide this province and dependencies into Shires 
and Counties," which was passed November 1, 1688. The act 
specified "The connty of Richmond to conteyne all Staten 
Island, Shutter's Island, and the islands of meadow on the 
west side thereof." 

Under this organization it remained till the colonial govern- 
ment was supplanted by that of the state, when, by the act of 
the state legislature passed March 7, 1788, for dividing the 
state into counties, the previous organization was confirmed in 
the following language, which differs from that in the former 
act only in orthography: "The Connty of Richmond to con- 
tain all Staten- Island, Shooter 's- Island and the Islands of 
Meadow on the West Side thereof." 

The act of March 7, 1788, dividing the counties of this state 
into towns, gives the division of Richmond as follows: 

"And all that Part of the County of Richmond, bounded 
northerly by Kill-Van-Cull, easterly by Hudson s- River, south- . 
erly by the Road leading from Van Duerson's Ferry south- 
ward of the Water ing -Place to Richmond-Town, and westerly 
by a Lyne beginning at the Mouth of Dongari 1 s Mill-creek, 
and running from thence along the Line of the Manor of 
Castle-Town to the Road at the Rear of the Patent of Corsen 
and Company, thence along the northerly Side of the said 
Road westerly to the Road leading to HaughwouV s Mill, and 
then southerly along the westerly Side of the last mentioned 
Road as it runs along by Richard Conner's, to the Tavern 
called the Rose and Crown, on the said Road leading to Rich- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 327 

mend-Town, shall be and hereby is erected into a Town by the 
Name of Castle-Toicit. 

"And that all that Part of the said County of Richmond, 
bounded northerly by the North Side of said Road leading 
from Van Duerson's Ferry to JticTimond-Fown and the fresh- 
Kill, easterly by Hudson s-River, southerly by the Bay, and 
westerly by a Line beginning on the Fresh-Kill at the North- 
west Corner of the Land and Meadow late of James Egberts, 
and running from thence southerly along the same to Egberts' 
Lane, and then along the same Lane to the Road called the 
New Road and then along the same New Road westerly to the 
Land of Henry Ferine, and then southerly along his easterly 
Bounds to the Bay shall be, and hereby is erected into a Town 
by the Name of South-field. 

"And that all that Part of the said County of Richmond, 
bounded northerly by the Fresh-Kill, easterly by Southtield, 
southerly by the Bay, and westerly by the Sound, shall be, 
and hereby is erected into a Town by the Name of Westfield. 

" And that all the Residue of the said County of Richmond, 
shall be, and hereby is erected into a Town by the Name of 
NorihfieW." 

The following men from this county have been members of 
important state and national representative bodies as indi- 
cated: 

Members of the Provincial Congress: Adrian Bancker, 2d 
Prov. Cong., 1775-76 ; Richard Conner, 1st and 3d Prov. 
Cong., 1775-76 ; Aaron Cortelyou, 1st and 3d Prov. Cong., 1775 
-76 ; John Journeay, 1st and 3d Prov. Cong., 1775-76 ; Richard 
Lawrence, 1st and 2d Prov. Cong., 1775-76 ; Paul Micheau, 1st 
and 3d Prov. Cong., 1775-76. 

Representatives in Congress: Daniel D. Tompkins, 9th 
Congress, 1805-06 ; Henry Crocheron, 14th Congress, 1815-17 ; 
James Guy on, Jr., 16th Congress, 1819-21 ; Jacob Crocheron, 
21st Congress, 1829-31 ; Samuel Barton, 24th Congress, 1833-37; 
Joseph Egbert, 27th Congress, 1841-43 ; Henry I. Seaman, 29th 
Congress, 1843-47; Obadiah Bowne, 32d Congress, 1851-53; 
Henry G. Stebbins, 38th Congress, resigned ; Dwight Townsend, 
38th Congress, 1863-65 ; Henry B. Metcalfe, 44th Congress, 1875 
-77. 

Presidential Electors .-1808. John Garretson ; 1812, Joseph 
Ferine ; 1836, Jacob Crocheron ; 1840, John T. Harrison ; 1844, 



328 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

John C. Thompson; 1848, James M. Cross; 1856, Minthorne 
Tompkins ; 1864, Obadiah Bowne. 

State Senators : Paul Mioheau, 1789-92 ; Jacob Tysen, 
1828 ; Hartnan B. Cropsey, 1832-35 ; Minthorne Tompkins, 
1840-41 ; James E. Cooley, 1852-53; Robert Christie, Jr., 
1864-65; Nicholas La Ban, 1866 67 ; Samuel H. Frost, 1870-71. 

Members of the State Constitutional Conventions : Conven- 
tion of 1788, Abraham Bancker, Gozen Ryerss ; 1801, Joseph 
Ferine ; 1821, Daniel D. Tompkins ; 1845, John T. Harrison ; 
1868, George Wm. Curtis. 

Regents of the University: Abraham Bancker, John C. 
Dongan, first board. 1784 ; Harmanus Garrison, second board, 
1784 ; after which time the county was not represented in the 
board until April 12th, 1864, when George Wm. Curtis was ap- 
pointed, and still continues in office (1886). 

The following men have served the county in the offices 
specified during the years indicated : 

Judges of the County Courts : 1691, Ellis Duxbury ; 1710, 
Daniel Lake; 1711, Joseph Billop; 1712, Thomas Farmar; 1739, 
Richard Merrill ; 1739, John Le Conte ; 1756, William Walton 
(He was also a member of the council from 1758 to 1768, when 
he died) ; 1761, Joseph Bedell ; 1775, Benjamin Seaman ; 1786, 
Pan! Micheau ; 1797, Gozen Ryerss ; 1802, John J. Murray ; 
1803, John Garretson ; 1823, Jacob Tysen; 1840, Henry B. Met- 
oa.lfe; 1841, William Emerson ; 1844, Albert Ward ; 1847, Hen- 
ry B. Metcalfe; 1876, Tompkins Westervelt ; 1882, Stephen D. 
Stephens, Jr. 

District Attorneys* : 1818, George Metcalfe; 1826, Henry B. 
Metcalfe ; 1833, Thorn S. Kingsland; 1839, George Catlin; 1840, 
Roderick N. Morrison ; 1841, Lot C. Clark ; 1849, George Cat- 
lin ; 1850, George White; 1853, Alfred DeGroot : 1860, Abra- 
ham W. Winant ; 1865, John H. Hedley : 1872, Sidney F. 
Rawson ; 1875, John Croak ; 1881, John Gallagher. 

Surrogates, under Colonial Government : 1733, Walter Don- 
gan ; 1759, Benjamin Seaman. 

Under Federal Government .-1787, Adrian Bancker ; 1792, 
Abraham Bancker ; 1809, John Housman ; 1810, Cornelius Be 
dell ; 1811, Jonathan Lewis ; 1813, Cornelius Bedell ; 1815, Tu- 
nis Egbert ; 1820, Richard Conner ; 1820, John Garrison ; 1821, 
Tunis Egbert ; 1830, Richard Crocheron ; 1843, Lewis R. Marsh; 

*This was made a county office in 1818. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 329 

1847, Henry B. Metcalfe : 1876, Tompkins Westervelt ; 1882, 
Stephen D. Stephens, Jr. 

County Clerks: 1682, Francis Williamson; 1684, Samuel 
Winder; 1689, Jacob Corbet; 1691, Thomas Carhart; 1698, Thomas 
Coen; 1706, William Tillyer; 1708, Alexander Stuart; 1728, 
Adam Mott; 1738, Daniel Stihvell; 1739, Daniel Corsen; 1761, 
Paul Micheair 1781, Abraham Bancker; 1784, John Mersereau; 

1798, Joseph Ferine; 1810, John V. D. Jacobsen; 1811, Joseph 
Ferine; 1815, Jonathan Lewis; 1828, Walter Belts; 1843, Joshua 
Mersereau, Jr.; 1852, Israel C. Denyse; 1855, James Cubberly; 
1858, Israel C. Denyse; 1861, Abraham V. Connor; 1864, Michael 

P. O'Brien; , Joseph Egbert; 1869, John H. Van Clief, Jr.; 

1873, David H. Cortelyou; 1876, Abraham V. Conner; 1879, Cor- 
nelius A. Hart. 

School Superintendents, etc.: Harman B. Cropsey, county 
superintendent, appointed 1843. David A. Edgar, Henry M. 
Boehm, Isaac Lea, James Brownlee, county commissioners, 
elected. 

Sheriffs: 1863, John Palmer; 1684, Thomas Lovelace; 1685, 
Thomas Stilwell; 1689, EliCrossen; 1691, Thomas Stilwell; 1692, 
John Stilwell; 1698, John De Fue; 1699, Jacob Coulsen; 1700, 
Christian Corsen; 1701, John De Pue; 1702, Lambert Garrison; 
1709, William Tillyer; 1722, Benjamin Bill; 1730, Charles Garri- 
son; 1736, Paul Micheau; 1739, Nicholas Larzalere; 1751, John 
Hillyer; 1775, Thomas Frost; 1784, Abraham Bancker; 17S8, 
Lewis Ryerss; 1792, Benjamin Parker; 1796, Isaac Cubberly; 

1799, John Hillyer; 1802, Jacob Crocheron; 1806, Jonathan Lewis; 
1810, Daniel Guyon; 1811, Jacob Crocheron; 1813, Jacob Hillyer; 
1815, Henry Ferine; 1819, John Hillyer; 1821, Jacob Crocheron; 
1825, Walter Betts; 1828, Harman B. Cropsey; 1831, Lawrence 
Hillyer; 1834, Israel Oakley; 1837, Andrew' B. Decker; 1840, 
Jacob Simonson; 1843, Israel O. Dissosway; 1846, Jacob G. 
Guyon; 1849, Israel O. Dissosway; 1852, Abraham Ellis; 1855, 
Abraham Lockman; 1858, Isaac M. Marsh; 1861, Moses Alston; 
1864, Abraham Winant; 1867, Jacob G. Winant; 1870, Moses 
Alston; 1673, William C. Denyse; 1876, Benjamin Brown; 1880, 
Abraham V. Conner; 1883, Benjamin Brown; 1886, John J. 
Vaughn, Jr. 

Members of the Colonial Assembly : John Dally, 1691; Lam- 
bert Dorland, 1691 ; Ellis Duxbury, 1691-95-98 ; Thomas Mor- 
gan, 1692-98-1702 ; J. T. Van Pelt, 1692-97-98 ; John Shadwell, 



330 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

1693-95 ; Thomas Stilwell, 1693-98 ; John Tunison, 1694-95-98 ; 
John Wogloin, 1698-99 ; Garret Veghte, 1699, 1702 ; John Stil- 
well, 1702, -25 ; Abraham Lakerman, 1702-26 ; Richard Merrill, 
1725-37 ; John Le Count, 1726-56 ; Adam Mott, 1737-39 ; Richard 
Stilwell, 1739-48; Paul Micheau, 1748-51; William T. Walton, 
1751-61; Benjamin Seaman, 1756-75; Henry Holland, 1761-69; 
Christopher Billop, 1769-75. 

Members of Assembly for Richmond County, under the State 
Government : Abraham Jones, 1777-78; Joshua Mersereau, 
1777-78; no name recorded, 1778-79, Joshua Mersereau, 1779- 
80, 1780-81, 1781-82, 1782-83; Adrian Bancker, 1784; Johannes 
Van Wagenen, 1784; Joshua Mersereau, 1784-85; Cornelius 
Corsen, 1784-85; Joshua Mersereau, 1786; John Dongan, 1786; 
John C. Dongan, 1787; Thomas Frost, 1787; John C. Dongan, 
1788; Peter Winant, 1788; Abraham Bancker, 1788-89; John 
C. Dongan, 1788-89 ; Abraham Bancker, 1789-90 ; Peter 
Winant, 1789-90; Peter Winant, 1791; Gozen Ryerss, 1791, 
1792, 1793, 1794; Lewis Ryerss, 1795, 1796, 1797; Paul J. 
Micheau, 1798, 1799; John P. Ryerss, 1800; Paul J. Micheau, 
1800-01, 1802, 1803; John Housman, 1804; John Dunn, 1804-05, 
1806; David Mersereau, 1807, 1608, 1808-09; Richard Conner, 
1810; James Guyon, 1811, 1812; James Guyon, Jr., 1812-13, 
1814; Jesse Oakley, 1814-15; Richard Corsen, 1816; Richard C. 
Corsen, 1816-17, 1818; Harmanus Guyon, 1819, 1820; Samuel 
Barton, 1820-21, 1822; Isaac R. Housman, 1823; Henry Ferine, 
1824; Harmanus Garrison, 1825; no election, 1826; Abraham 
Cole, 1827, 1828; John Vanderbilt, 1829: John T. Harrison, 
1830, 1831; Jacob Mersereau, 1832, 1833; Paul Mersereau, 1834; 
Lawrence Hillyer, 1835; John Garrison, Jr., 1836; Lawrence 
Hillyer, 1837; Israel Oakley, 1838, 1839; Bornt P. Wiuant. 
1840; Israel Oakley, 1841; Henry Cole, 1842, 1843; William 
Nickles, 1844; Peter Mersereau, 1845; George H. Cole, 1846, 
1847; Ephraim J. Totten, 1848; Gabriel P. Disosway, 1849; 
Benjamin P. Prall, 1850; William H. Anthon, 1851; Lawrence 
H. Cortelyou, 1852; Henry De Hart, 1853; Nicholas Crocheron, 
1854; John F. Raymond, 1855; William J. Shea, 1856; Joshua 
Mersereau, 1857; Eben W. Hubbard, 1858; Robert Christie, Jr., 
1859; Theodore C. Vermilye, 1860; N. Dane Ellingwood, 1861; 
Smith Ely, 1862; Theodore Frean, 1863; William H. Rutau, 
1864; James Ridgway, 1865; Thomas Child, 1866; Nathaniel J. 
Wyeth, 1867; John Decker, 1868-71; David W. Judd, 1872; 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 331 

John B. Hillyer, 1873; Stephen D. Stephens, Jr., 1874-75; 
Kneeland Townsend, 187G; Samuel R. Brick, 1877; Erastns 
Brooks, 1878, 1879, 1881, 1882, 1883; Oliver Fiske, 1880; Ed- 
ward A. Moore, 1884; Michael S. Tynan, 1883; Edward P. 
Doyle, 188G; Edward A. Moore, 1887. 

Supervisors of the several towns in Richmond county since 
the beginning of the year 1766, alphabetically arranged: 

Castleton: Barnes, George, 1792-93; Barrett, Nathan, 1837- 
38; Burbanck, Abraham, 1794-98; Cary, Richard S., 1804; 
Christopher, Richard, 1846, 1849, 1857-8-9, 1868-9, 1874-5-6; 
Clute, John J., 1860; Conner, Richard, 1766 84, 1786-92; Crab- 
tree, James H., 1865; Crocheron, Abraham, 1832-3; Davis, 
George B., 1853; De Groot, Jacob, 1839; Dongan, John C., 1785; 
Ely, Smith, 1861-2; Esterbrook, Joseph, 1866; Gardiner, David 
L., 1864; Garrison, John, 1803; Garrison, John, Jr., 1834 5-6; 
Hazard, Robert M, 1847-8; Heal, Nathan M., 1867; Herpeck, 
Charles A., 1877; Housmau, John, 1799 to 1802, 1810; Hous- 
man, Isaac R., 1822-31; Laforge, Peter D., 1841-2; Martling, 
Joseph B. H., 1850-52; Martino, Gabriel, 1855; Mersereau, 
Joshua, 1854; Minturn, Robert B., 1871; Pell, D. Archie, 1870; 
Thompson, John C., 1840; Tysen, Jacob, 1811-21; Tysen, John, 
Jr., 1805-09; Vermeule, John D., 1872-3: Vreeland, Eder, 1844- 
5; Ward, Albert, 1843. 

Nortlifield: Bedell, Cornelius, 1790, 1794; Burger, James G., 
1855; Child, Thomas, 1863; Corsen, Cornelius, 1779-84; Croch- 
eron, Henry, 1800-04, 1808-14; Crocheron, Nicholas, 1805-7, 
1825-30, 1846-7; Crocheron, Richard. 1816 23; Denyse, Israel C., 
1866-7; Hillyer, John, 1767; Hillyer, John B., 1872; Hillyer, 
John, Jr., 1772-3; Hillyer, Lawrence, 1851, 1856; Laforge, Peter 
C., 1862; Lake, Daniel, 1795 97; Latourette, Henry, 1767; La- 
tourette, Richard, 1876-77; Martin, Oliver R., 1848; Mersereau, 
David, 1815; Mersereau, Jacob, 1792-3, 1799; Mersereau, John, 
1788; Mersereau, Peter, 1841-44; Moore, Richard C.,1854; Ferine, 
James, 1831-32; Post, Garret G., 1850, 1857 61; Prall, William, 
1824; Ryerss, Gozen, 1785-87; Simonson, Bornt, 1774-78; Si- 
monson, Garret, 1873-76; Simonson, Jacob, 1833 40, 1849; Tysen, 
John, 1789, 1791, 1798; Wright, Garret P., 1852; Van Clief, 
John H., 1868-71; Van Name, Charles, 1853, 1864; Van Name, 
Michael, 1845. 

SoutJifleld: Barnes, George, 1789, 1800; Barton, Edward P., 
1869; Barton, Samuel, 1852, 1857; Brady, Philip, 1870; Britton, 



332 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Alexander EL, 1844; Clark, Epkraim, 1866-67; Cocroft, James, 
1865; Coddington, Samuel, 1841-43, 1857; Cole, George H., 1845; 
Corry, William, 1876, 1877; Cortelyou, Peter, 1789 98; Egbert, 
Joseph, 1855-56; Fountain, Anthony, 1767, 1769, 1784; Gar- 
rison, John C., 1849, 1858-60; Greenfield, George J., 1872 to ; 
Guyon, Harmanus, 1816-20, 1822-33; Guyon, James, 1782-3, 1785- 
6; Guyon, James, 1838-40, 1847-8, 1850-51; Hall, Farnham, 1846; 
Jacobson, Christian, 1772-81; Jacobson, John V. D., 1802-15; 
Johnson, Anthony, 1834-36; Keeley, Dennis, 1861-64, 1871; 
Ketteltas, J. S., 1868; Mersereau, Jacob W., 1853-4; Ferine, 
Henry, 1821; Poillon, John, 1766, 1768; Tysen, John, 1795-98. 

Westfield: Bancker, Adrian, 1772-73; Cole, Cornelius, 1788, 
1794; Cole, Gilbert A., 1857, 1862; Cropsey, Jacob R. 1844-45; 
Depuy, Nicholas, 1766 to 1769; Eddy, Andrew, 1846; Ellis, 
George W., 1870-71; Frost, Samuel H., 1851 to 1856; Guyon, 
Jacob, M., 1876; Jackson, Richard, 1828; Larzelere, Benjamin, 
1789, 1795 to 1801; Latourette, David, 1835-36; Mersereau, 
Daniel, 1829-33; Micheau, Paul, 1790-93: Oakley, Israel, 1840; 
Oakley. Jesse, 1850; Ferine, Henry, 1774-83; Rutan, William 
H., 1858-61; Seguine, Henry H., 1874, 1877; Seguine, Joseph, 
1826, 1837-39; Tstten, Ephraim J., 1847, 1849; Totten, Gilbert, 
1802-25, 1827; Totten, John, 1784, 1809-25, 1827; Winant, Peter, 
1785-87; Winant, Bornt P., 1834, 1841-43, 1848; Wood, Abraham 
H., 1864-65; Wood, Abraham J., 1866 69, 1872-73. 

Middletown: Armstrong, John E., 1873; Bechtel, John, 1864; 
Bradley, Alvin C., 1872; Brick, Samuel R., 1868-71; Davis, 
George B., 1861; Frean, Theodore, 1866, 1877; Frost, Henry, 
1876; Hornby, Alexander, 1862; Lord, D. Porter, 1865, 1867; 
White, Frederick, 1874; Wood, Jacob B., 1860. 

N. B. There is no record of supervisors' names earlier than 
1766, except in a few instances noticed below. The names of 
the supervisors of 1770 and 1771 are not recorded. It is pos- 
sible that the names of some of the earliest supervisors are 
arranged under the wrong town, as in no case are the names of 
the towns and supervisors connected. 

Sui>erisors prior to 1766 : 1699 William Tiljeu, North; 
Anthony Tyson, West; Abm. Lakeman, South. 1703 Richard 
Merrill, North; Stoifel Garrison, South; Anthony Tysen, West. 
1704- - Merrill, North; Tunis Egbert, West. 1705 Aron 
Prall, North; Tunis Egbert, West; Stoffel Van Sant, South. 
1706 Tunis Egbert, West; Aaron Prall, North. 1709 -Alex- 



HISTOUY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 333 

ander Stuart. South; Jacob Corsen. North; Tunis Egbert, 
West. 

The earliest record of a town election in Castleton now to be 
found is that dated 1781. At that election the following officers 
were chosen: Richard Conner, supervisor; Peter Housman, 
clerk; James Lisk, constable and collector; Peter Housman 
and George Barnes, assessors; Peter Housman and Daniel 
Corsen, commissioners of roads, and other officers. 

The following list, dated December 22, 1783, in Castleton, 
contains the " Names of the persons that swore to the State of 
New York." Hendrick Garrison, John Wandel, John C. 
Dongan, John Dorsett, Matthew Decker, Tunis Egberts, Na- 
thaniel Britten, Abraham Egberts, Joseph Barton, Daniel 
Corsen, Joseph Christopher, Abraham Housman, Matthias 
Smith, John Housman, Thomas Kingston, Edward Blake, 
Samuel Van Pelt, James Johnston, John Lisk, John Bodine, 
Nicholas Bnsh, William Van Pelt, Edward Egberts and 
George Barns. 

The town of Middlerown was erected by an act of the state leg- 
islature passed April 16th, 1860. It was formed from parts of 
Southfield and Castleton, the new town being bounded by aline 
" commencing on the bay or shore on the east side of Staten 
Island at the point where the Richmond turnpike strikes said 
bay; thence running westerly along said Richmond turnpike 
road to the town of Northh'eld; thence southerly on the line 
between the towns of Northfield and Castleton to where said 
line terminates at Southfield; thence northeasterly on the line 
between Castleton and Southfield, along the Richmond plank- 
road to Vanderbilt avenue; thence easterly along the south- 
erly side of said Vanderbilt avenue to the bay of New York; 
thence northerly along the shore or bay of New York to the 
point of beginning." These bounds included the eastern por- 
tion of Southfield and the southerly portion of Castleton. The 
first town meeting of the new town was held at Nautilus hall, 
on the second day of May following, and the act appointed 
Thomas Standerwick, Thomas Garrett and Gary Devery to pre- 
side at that meeting. 

The village of Edgewater, comprising part of Tompkinsville, 
and all of Stapleton and Clifton, was originally incorporated in 
1866, being then divided into nine wards, but some legal defect 
having been detected, a new charter was obtained the following 



334 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

year. The names of the first trustees, under the new charter, 
and the wards they represented were as follows : William C_ 
Denyse, 1st ; David Burgher, 2d ; George Bechtel, 3d ; Theo- 
dore Frean, 4th; Dr. Thomas C. Moffat, 5th; James R. Robinson, 
6th ; Alfred Wandell, 7th; Dennis Keeley, 8th; J. Duigan, 9th. 
The officers then were : Theodore Frean, president ; Henry F. 
Standerwick, clerk ; Thomas Garrett, police justice. 

The experiment of village government was not as successful 
as might be desired, and many were in favor of returning to the 
former status under the town. The village charter was, how- 
ever, amended by acts of legislature in 1870, 1872, 1873, 1874, 
1875, 1877 and 1884. Under the charter of 1875 the village was 
divided into only two wards, with one trustee each, and a third 
trustee at large, who was to be president of the village corpora- 
tion. Under this charter the first ward trustees were Benjamin 
Brown and Mr. Fellowes ; and William Corry, president. 
Henry F. Standerwick was elected clerk. By the charter of 
1884 the village was divided into five wards, and the number of 
trustees was correspondingly increased. The boundaries given 
in that charter are as follows : 

"Commencing at a point on the shore of the bay of New 
York, where the center line of Arietta street, if prolonged, 
would intersect the shore of said bay, and running thence along 
said center line of Arietta street, southwesterly to the center 
line of the Richmond Turnpike ; thence along the said center 
line of the Richmond turnpike, southwesterly to the south- 
westerly side of the Clove road ; thence along the southwester- 
ly side of the Clove road southeasterly to the Richmond road ; 
thence along the easterly line of the Richmond road, southerly 
to the northerly line of the Old Town road ; thence along the 
northerly line of the Old Town road six hundred feet ; and 
thence on a line parallel to and at a distance of six hundred 
feet from the easterly side of the Richmond road, and continu- 
ing thence on a line parallel to and at a distance of six hundred 
feet southerly from the southerly line of the Fingerboard road, 
and westerly line of Sand lane to where said line intersects the 
Old Town road ; thence in a due southeasterly line to the lower 
bay of New York ; and thence along the lower and upper bay 
of New York, northeasterly and northerly to the place of be- 
ginning." 

The village of New Brighton was incorporated by act of the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 335 

legislature, April 26, 1866, and embraced the northerly half of 
the town of Castleton. It was about two and a half miles long 
in a straight line, and about one mile in width. This territory 
was divided into four wards, and the trustees appointed by the 
same act to carry its provisions into effect were: Augustus 
Prentice, first ward ; James W. Simonson, second ward ; Fran- 
cis Gr. Shaw, third ward ; and William H. J. Bodine, fourth 
ward. The portion of the town remaining unincorporated was 
very sparsely populated, but was obliged, nevertheless, to have 
a full corps of town officers, some of whom resided within the 
village, and exercised the offices without, as well as within, and 
the duties of some, such as the commissioners of highways, 
which office had been abolished within the village, could be 
performed only in the unincorporated remnant of the town. 
The bills rendered by these officers for their services at the end 
of each year were so large, that the taxes outside of the village 
were greater than those within. The only method the people 
could resort to for ridding themselves of this burden, was to 
seek admission into the corporation, which they did, and in 
1872 the remainder of the town was added to the village, and 
divided into two wards, the fifth and sixth. The dimensions of 
the village now are, about four miles long and two miles wide. 
In 1871, a large and elegant village hall was erected on Lafay- 
ette avenue, corner of Second street, at a cost of about thirty- 
six thousand dollars, including the land. 

The first village election was held May 22, 1866, for the 
election of a police justice. One of the first ordinances of the 
village trustees, on the 12th of May, "ordained" that a public 
pound be established on the premises of Edward Roe on the 
Mill road, and the said Roe was appointed pound master. The 
expenses of the village incorporation for the first year, to June 
1, 1867, were twenty-two thousand three hundred and twenty- 
six dollars and forty-two cents. The charter was amended by 
acts of the legislature in 1867, 1871, 1872, 1873 and 1875. Its 
limits are now identical with those of the former town of Cas- 
tleton. The office of village president has been held by the 
following : Augustus Prentice, 1866 ; John Laforge, 1867-69 ; 
Anson Livingston, 1870 ; George M. Usher, 1871 ; M. J. Fowler, 
1872; D. A. Pell, 1873; William Chorlton, 1874; R. B. Whitte- 
more, 1875-76 ; William II. J. Bodine, 1877; Harry L. Horton, 
1878-79; David J. H. Willcox, 1880-84; John J. Featherston, 



336 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

1885. The village clerks have been: Mark Cox, 1866-69.; George 
Bowman, 1870 ; C. T. McCarthy, 1871-78 ; James C. Hill, 1879- 
81 ; John J. Kenney, 1883-85. 

The village of Port Richmond was incorporated by act of April 
24, 1866, but by reason of the nnconstitutionality of the act, 
which appointed trustees for the village, no organization was 
effected until after the passage of an amendment on April 25, 
1867. Pursuant to this last act an election was held May 11, 
1867, and Nicholas Van Pelt, George W. Jewett, William A. 
Ross, Garret P. Wright, James B. Pollock, and Henry Miller, 
Jr., were elected trustees. The boundaries of the village given 
in the charter are as follows : 

"Northerly, by the river Kill Von Ivull ; easterly, by the line 
between Castleton and Northfield ; southerly, beginning on a 
point at the bridge about three hundred feet southerly from the 
German Lutheran church and running thence westerly to the 
southerly side of the residence of Jacob Hath'eld ; thence west- 
erly to a monument on the southwest corner of the Richmond 
granite quarry at the Morning Star road ; thence running a 
westerly course to the southernmost line of the property of the 
Methodist Episcopal church on the new road at Mariner's Har- 
bor ; thence following the center of the road a northerly course 
to the river Kill Von Kull ; thence following the river to the 
place of beginning." 

Captain Nicholas Van Pelt occupied the position of president 
of the board of trustees continuously from the first till his 
death in December, 1881, when he was followed by Captain 
Garret P. Wright who has held the office till the present time 
(1885\ Frederick Groshon, the first village clerk, held that 
office till his death, March 12, 1872, when he was succeeded by 
De Witt Stafford, who continues in the office. James B. Pol- 
lock has been treasurer from the beginning to the present time. 

At the time of the organization of the village there was 
only about five hundred feet of sidewalk, mostly of brick, in 
the whole village. Improvement of the streets has since been 
steadily carried forward, including the widening of Shore 
road, Richmond and Jewett avenues, and other roads of less 
importance, until now every street of any considerable note 
is not only flagged, curbed and guttered, but thoroughly 
macadamized. In 1884 the village was supplied with water by 
contract with the Staten Island Water Company. Gas had 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



337 



been introduced previous to the organization of the village, 
though the corporation does not yet light the streets. A public 
park is owned by the village, through a gift of Messrs. Peter 
N". and Eder V. Hanghwoul; who dedicated this spot for that 
purpose. These gentlemen, in 183G, purchased the farm of 
Judge David Merserean, which lay between Richmond avenue 
on the west and Cottage place on the east, and the kills on the 
north and what is now Bond street on the south. Upon this 
they laid out what has since become the principal part of the 
village. 




THE JAQUES GUION HOUSE, 
NEW DORP. 



The territory now in the village limits lying east of the tract 
just described and on the south of it as far west as Church 
road belonged to the John Simonson farm and was a part of 
the original patent to Cornelius Corsen. Cornelius Sebring 
owned a considerable tract lying on the west side of Richmond 
avenue (originally called Church road), as far west as to take 
in the lots facing on the west side of Mechanics' avenue, now 
called Lafayette avenue. A large tract on both sides of Morn- 
ing Star road, and on which are situated the granite quarries, 
was formerly owned by Vincent Fountain, and was purchased 
by one David Sand, by whom it was laid out into lots, and it 
now constitutes the thriving middle and southerly portion of 
the village, a part of it being known as Elm Park. The 
Haughwout tract before referred to may be more definitely 
described as being bounded on the north by the kills, west by 
22 



338 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Richmond avenue, south by the south line of Bond street 
and a continuation of that line westward to Richmond 
avenue, and east by a line about twelve feet east of the east 
side of Cottage place, and a continuation of the same line 
north to the kills. This was part of a tract which was 
granted by Governor Andros to Cornelius Corsen, Andrews 
Urianson, Derrick Corneliusen and John Peterson, December 
30, 1680. That grant extended from Palmer's run and the 
mill pond, eighty-eight rods along the shore of the kills to the 
little creek between the store of Johnson and the Speer ship- 
yard, and comprehended 320 acres. 

Other village incorporations have been attempted, but their 
existence has been of short duration. In 1823 the legislature 
passed an act incorporating the village of Richmond, but the 
organization was not consumated. Tottenville was incorporated 
by an act of April 28, 1869, which was amended April 14, 1871. 
This charter also became inoperative through the failure of the 
people to approve its conditions. 



HON. DANIEL D. TOMPKINS, governor of the state of New 
York and vice-president of the United States, whose later years 
were spent on Staten Island, and after whom the village of 
Tompkinsville is named, was born at Scarsdale, Westchester 
county, N. Y., June 21, 1774. The son of Christian parents he 
was brought up in the Protestant faith. His delicate constitu- 
tion and aptness to learn induced his father to place him at the 
grammar school of Malcom Campbell in New York, September, 
1787; whence, at the end of a year, he was removed to the 
academy in North Salem. Here he continued till 1792, when 
he entered the sophomore class in Columbia College. During 
the last year of his college course he served in the law office of 
Peter Jay Monroe, Esq., and two years after graduating at the 
head of his class in 1795, he was admitted an attorney of the 
supreme court and subsequently a counsellor. He early inter- 
ested himself in politics. He became a staunch republican, and 
in the party struggles of 1799, 1800 and 1801 he took a promi- 
nent and conspicuous part. His influence in the city of New 
York, especially in the Seventh ward, in which he had married 
Miss Hannah Minthorne, daughter of the wealthy and respect- 
able alderman of that name, was early felt, and to him in a 
great measure was due the election of Thomas Jefferson to the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 339 

presidency. In 1801 lie was elected a representative of the city 
for the purpose of revising the constitution of the state and the 
following year he became a member of the slate legislature. 
Shortly after he was appointed by Judge Morgan Lewis one of 
the supreme judges of New York. In 1806 he might have suc- 
ceeded John S. Hobert to the district judgeship of the United 
States for the district of New York, but he declined, continu- 
ing to serve as a supreme judge till the spring of 1807, when he 
became, in his thirty-second year, the rival candidate of Gov- 
ernor Lewis for the chief magistracy of the state. 

He was elected to the gubernatorial chair by an immense ma- 
jority, being inducted into office on the day on which intelli- 
gence was received of the British attack upon the American 
frigate "Chesapeake." The order of the president of the United 
States calling upon the governors to organize their respective 
quotas of militia also arrived at the State Capitol on the same 
day, and Governor Tompkins immediately set about the task 
of defending his native state. In 1808 the president appointed 
him to the command of all the regular and militia forces on the 
frontier of New York. His instructions to the militia on this 
occasion evinced his energy and promptitude of character and 
received the marked approbation of General Wilkinson, then 
commander-in-chief of the army. 

In 1812 Governor Tompkins, for the first time in the history 
of the state, prorogued the legislature. Through the favorable 
reception of a number of petitions of banking companies for 
incorporation a system had been projected which threatened 
irreparable evils to the community. This had been aided and 
promoted by corruption and bribery, and the emphatic action 
of the governor was taken as a last resort. The step excited 
unusual animadversion, which extended even so far as to 
threaten his personal safety, but he was sustained throughout 
by the knowledge of having done his duty, and the fact that 
he was supported by the more honorable portion of the repub- 
lican party. 

In June, 1812, President James Madison declared war with 
Great Britain, and Governor Tompkins stood forth boldly as the 
fearless champion of the rights and liberties of the American 
people. A numerous and powerful party of disaffected citizens 
had shown itself in the Eastern states, formed with a view to 
paralyze the energies and cripple the resources of the United 



340 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

States; and it became the avowed object of many persons of high 
consideration in that section of the Union to make a separate 
peace with the enemy of the republic and of United America. 
To make this project effectual it was necessary to gain New 
York state. The bold stand taken by Governor Tompkins in 
the proroguing of the legislature had raised for him many ene- 
mies among republicans, and a majority of federal members had 
been elected to the state legislature and to congress. In spite, 
however, of the opposition which howled against him, he was 
again elected to the governorship. His situation at that time 
was well calculated to dismay the stoutest heart. Amidst the 
disaffection in the East, the opposition of one branch of the 
legislature, and the northern frontier harassed by the enemy 
from Champlain to Presqu' isle, and threatening the capital of 
the state in the south, unaided by the constituted author- 
ities appointed to share with him in the government of the 
state, the governor had alone to sustain the arduous, embarass- 
ing and responsible duty of defense. But he rose superior to 
circumstances, and by the firm, unshaken energy of his conduct 
he silenced or rendered inefficient the opposition of his own 
state. When the treasury was in an impoverished condition, 
money scarce and much wanted to carry on the war, he raised 
funds on his own responsibility and made himself liable beyond 
his means. He gave great attention to the defenses and in- 
trenchments in and around New York city and harbor, at which 
the citizens turned out and worked en masse. The vast prepa- 
ration for an expected attack, the pouring in of militia, volun- 
teers and regular troops were always accompanied by the pleas- 
ant, cheering and animated presence of Governor Tompkins. 
In 1813-14, upon his own responsibility, while the legislature 
was still in session, he issued orders for organizing a brigade of 
volunteers, to the command of which he appointed Gen. Peter 
B. Porter. This contingent saved the remnant of the gallant 
army of Niagara at the memorable sortie from Fort Erie. He 
also called into the field a large body of militia, and organized 
a corps of sea-fencibles, without waiting the slow action of the 
legislature. In this important measure he received the cordial 
suppori and co-operation of the gallant Decatur, who com- 
manded the naval force of the United States on that station, as 
also the promised sanction and support of Hon. Rufus King. 
About this time the enemy's ships, commanded by Admiral 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 341 

Cockburn, which had appeared off Sandy Hook for some time, 
suddenly disappeared. 

Soon after intelligence was received of the capture of the city 
of Washington, and of the intended movement of the enemy 
toward Baltimore. Decatur resolved at once to push forward 
with his sea-fencibles to the assistance of that city, and Gov- 
ernor Tompkins, to give spirit to the enterprise, promptly of- 
fered to accompany him as far as New Brunswick, when the 
news of the enemy being vanquished and their retreat from 
Baltimore arrived just in time to prevent the march. In Octo- 
ber, 1814, Governor Tompkins was appointed to the command 
of the Third military district, which comprehended one of the 
most valuable portions of the United States, and included the 
largest and most heterogeneous military force that ever before 
fell to the command of an American general. He had also the 
offer of being secretary of slate in the cabinet of the president, 
but this he declined, thinking his services more useful in the 
situation in which he was placed. 

In 1814 the general government was desirous of fitting out an 
expedition to dislodge the enemy from Castine. They applied 
to the governor of Massachusetts for aid, which was refused. 
In this dilemma the situation of the government was hinted to 
Governor Tompkins, who raised, on his own responsibility, 
three hundred thousand dollars, which he forthwith subjected 
to the orders of General Dearborn. Shortly afterward the war 
between Great Britain and the United States was brought to a 
successful termination, and the governor returned to the peace- 
ful duties of the chief magistracy. In the last term of his guber- 
natorial career, at the approaching election, he was proposed 
as a suitable person for president of the United States, which 
however, was waived by him and his friends in consideration of 
his being a junior in age to James Monroe, whose revolutionary 
services entitled him to superior claims ; he was accordingly 
nominated and elected vice-president. 

On the expiration of his term as vice-president he retired to 
private life, spending the greater part of his time in the im- 
provement of his farm in Richmond county. Here his spacious 
and hospitable mansion became one of the homes of literature, 
philanthropy and art. To its ever open doors nocked men of 
letters, artists, lawyers, statesmen, patriots and soldiers, people 
of all nationalities and of all beliefs. At Staten Island he re- 



342 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY, 

J 

ceived the illustrious victor, General Jackson, also President 
Monroe and the beloved La Fayette after his landing at quaran- 
tine on his second visit to the United States. 

The last public service of Governor Tompkins was as a dele- 
gate from Richmond county to the state convention to alter the 
constitution in 1821, of which he became president. In June, 
1825, in the 51st year of his age, he died. His mortal remains, 
on the 13th of June, 1825, were conveyed in the steamboat 
" Nautilus," to the city of New York, and at Whitehall, the 
place of landing, were met by a vast concourse of citizens, who 
accompanied them to their last resting place in the family vault 
of his wife's father, Alderman Minthorne, in St, Mark's 
churchyard. Eighteen years after his burial, on the 21st day 
of June, 1843, his birthday was celebrated at the village of 
Tompkinsville, Staten Island. An address was delivered and 
troops from various parts of the country took part in the cele- 
bration. 

Such was the man whose patriotism, talents, integrity and 
distinguished services to his country in trial and difficulty, both 
in peace and in war, we record, as a just tribute to his memory. 
His name added a lustre to the county in which he spent his 
declining years and in its history he deserves a conspicuous 
place. To its churches, schools and social life he lent the ripe- 
ness of his talent and the richness of his benevolence. As one 
of her greatest and her noblest citizens Staten Island will ever 
continue to honor his memory. 

HON. ERASTTJS BROOKS. Among the many well known liter- 
ary and professional gentlemen who from time to time have 
made their homes on Staten Island was Hon. Erastus BrookSj 
formerly editor of the "New York Express. 1 " He was a man well 
known in the religious, social and political life of Richmond 
county, and during the years 1878, 1879, 1881, 1882 and 1883, 
lie was its representative in assembly. 

Mr. Brooks was born in Portland, Me., January 31, 1815. 
Shortly before his birth his father, Captain James Brooks, who 
commanded a privateer during the war of 1812, had gone down 
with his vessel, leaving his wife and three children dependent 
for their support npon a government pension. As a result of 
these straightened circumstances, Erastus, at the age of 8 years, 
left his home for Boston with the object of earning his own liv- 
ing. He found a place in a grocery store and worked for his 




* 



" 







I 




HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 343 

board and clothes, studying diligently the while, at a night- 
school. Soon he entered a printing office and learned the trade 
of a compositor, and with the money which he earned he ob- 
tained enough education to enter " Brown University." Here 
he pursued a partial course, at the same time supporting him- 
self by working at the compositor's case. When he was 18, he 
started a newspaper, called the " Yankee" after his father's brig, 
in Wiscasset, Me., soon after which he purchased theHaverhill 
" Gazette." 

In 1835, Mr. Brooks went to Washington, D. C., and became 
the correspondent of a number of newspapers, an employment 
in which he continued for sixteen years. He engaged as asso- 
ciate editor of the "Jfew York Express " with his brother, James 
Brooks, in 1840, and remained in this connection forty-one 
years. During this time he passed through various experiences, 
traveling in 1843 through Europe, and being wrecked off Sandy 
Hook on his return; an accident in which he suffered the loss 
of all his possessions. He published his paper almost single 
handed during the cholera epidemic, when people fled from the 
city, and he was among the first to use the telegraph for news- 
paper reports. Mr. Brooks was fond of telling of his news 
victories over rival journals, and some of these showed great 
sagacity and enterprise. For many years he served as one of 
the executive committee of the associated press, and was for 
a considerable time its general manager. 

His entrance into politics was rather forced on him than 
sought, but once enlisted, he engaged with his whole heart in 
this as he did in everything which he undertook. He was 
elected to the state senate in 1853. Two years afterward he 
rendered his position prominent by a controversy with Arch- 
bishop Hughes relative to the limits to be set to the acquisition 
of church property by the Roman Catholic church and the ex- 
emption of property from taxation, he holding that, as its title 
was vested in the priest, it should be taxed when it reached be- 
yond a certain value. The controversy, first carried on through 
the columns of the " Courier and Enquirer" finally went into 
the state senate, of which Mr. Brooks was elected a member on 
the know-nothing or American party ticket in 1853. This 
controversy, which attracted attention all over the world, was 
published in book form in 1855, under the title of "A Contro- 
versy on Church Property." Tlie position he took led to his 



344 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

being nominated by the know-nothings as a candidate for gov- 
ernor in 1856. From that time onward, he was frequently in 
public office, taking part in political conventions and serving 
the state in the constitutional conventions and in the assembly 
for a number of years. He became the leader of his party 
and one of the more prominent and influential men of the bodies 
in which he served. 

Mr. Brooks was a man of great dignity and decorum. Having 
been called on to preside over important public assemblies 
through a long period, he had acquired habits of attention to 
business and prompt decision which made him an admirable 
executive. His acquaintance was extensive, and he knew the 
character and adaptations of men, so that in the formation of 
committees or the management of affairs he was of great use to 
the cause which he served. He was conservative in his princi- 
ples and a man of strong convictions of duty. He might have 
had many more political honors than those which he won by 
positive merit, had he been able to crouch or fawn, or make un- 
worthy bargains with party leaders, but he was a high-minded, 
upright man who served God and his own conscience first, and 
party second. Hence he was often ignored by the politicians 
who knew that he could not be used for their purposes, though 
they sorely needed his ability and wisdom. 

He was a most benevolent man. He was not rich, and there- 
fore could not endow charitable institutions, but he gave what 
was better than money, his personal service in their boards of 
direction. He spent freely of his time, even in the busiest 
period of his life, and gave careful and regular attention to the 
management of such charities as the "New York Institution 
for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb " and the " Nursery 
and Child's Hospital." He visited the legislature in their be- 
half, and attended frequent meetings to promote their interests; 
through the press, and by personal influence he attracted at- 
tention to their wants, and secured new friends for them. 
When he took hold of any work he took hold " with both 
hands earnestly." In the National Charities Association, in 
the state board of health, in the national convention of deaf 
mute instructors, as a trustee of Cornell University, in the In- 
dian conferences, and in the constitutional conventions, he was 
recognized as a man of wisdom and power, of profound convic- 
tions, untiring industry and excellent judgment. In social life 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 345 

he was a pleasant companion. He had lived so much in public 
that his conversation abounded in reminiscences of the great 
men of a past generation, and he could draw at will upon a full 
and retentive memory to illustrate or adorn any subject of dis- 
cussion. But his public life had not made him cold and care- 
less of private and personal interests. He was too much of a 
Puritan to be very demonstrative, but he made close and warm 
friendships founded upon mutual esteem. 

Mr. Brooks believed in reforming and elevating society by 
personal effort with individuals, and not by schemes and reso- 
lutions ; and so, while he was a true philanthropist, he was what 
is better still, a true Christian. He believed in God, and served 
him first and always, and was known and respected as a religi- 
ous man. Like the late Governor Seymour, who was his inti- 
mate friend, he honored religion and was esteemed and trusted 
by men of the church, as well as by men of the world who knew 
his staunch integrity, and by men of the state who knew his 
political virtue. He was a simple, humble Christian, who 
often opened the meetings of boards where he presided \vith 
prayer, and who, though firm in his own opinions, had charity 
and kindness for those who held different ones. His life was 
long honored and useful, his name will be cherished by many 
whom he has befriended, and will be recorded among the edit- 
ors, the statesmen and the benefactors of this century in the 
state of New York and in the United States of America. His 
last public service was in connection with the Indian conference 
at Lake Mohonk in October, from which he returned seriously 
ill, and his last literary work was a review of that conference 
which he wrote for the "New York Observer." Mr. Brooks 
died November 25th, 1886. His loss was deeply felt, not only in 
his family and the community in which he lived, but through- 
out the whole country. The newspapers, of which he was so 
thorough an advocate, were filled with eulogistic articles tak 
ing up the story of his life anew. With his death passed from 
the stage of action one of the noblest and brightest examples 
of old fashioned statesmanship and patriotism. Staten Island 
had in him a true citizen, and its society profitted by associa- 
tion and acquaintance with him. 

* This life of Mr. Brooks, with slight modification, appeared in the " Neiv York 
Observer,'' Dec. 9th, 1886. 



346 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

CORNELIUS A. HART. Perhaps no young man in Richmond 
county has so distinguished himself for his energy and busi- 
ness ability as has the present county clerk, Cornelius A Hart. 
Born under no advantageous circumstances surrounded by 
none of those conditions which usually foster ambition and 
create desire to shine, he has yet, though but thirty seven years 
of age, succeeded iu gaining for himself a sound and practical 
education, the possession of ample fortune and a popularity 
second to that of no other individual on Staten Island. 

Mr. Hart was born in New Brighton in 1851. After a pre- 
liminary course at the public school in that village he attended 
the academy conducted by Dr. Scheck in the building now 
known as "Belmont Hall." In 1868 he commenced a course 
of study at the New York Commercial College, which he left 
to enter the importing house of James Reid & Co., of New 
York city. Here in a short period of time he succeeded in 
raising himself from the lowest to the highest position in the 
employ of the firm, passing through every grade in the office 
and having nine clerks under his charge at the time of his leave 
taking. 

Mr. Hart's father, Patrick Hart, had been for many years a 
prominent and successful contractor on Staten Island. It was 
he who laid out Bard avenue and many of the principal streets 
in the neighborhood of New Brighton, and his son, influenced 
by his example, left the firm with which he was employed to en- 
gage in the same business. His remarkable success in it is well 
known to the people of Staten Island. 

Mr. Hart's connection with the laying out of new streets and 
with improvements generally, has induced him to make 
numerous and large investments in real estate which he is 
constantly improving and reselling in lots to suit purchasers. 
In 1884, he bought a large tract of land in New Brighton 
through which he has opened seven avenues, Forest, Hart, 
Sharon, Oakwood, Greenwood, Laurel and University place. 
The whole is divided into three hundred and fifty city lots and 
situated in one of the most attractive localities on the island. 
Mr. Hart is one of the largest tax-payers in the town of Cas- 
tleton. He has also recently purchased other lots in New 
Brighton, a large plot of ground in West Brighton and the 
residence and grounds of the late Commodore Sloat, com- 
mander of the United States Navy. His extensive advertise- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 347 

ments in the New York " World" and other New York daily 
papers are rapidly bringing him into prominence as a real estate 
speculator and owner. 

To speak of Mr. Hart's political career is bat to repeat what 
is already known throughout, the whole of Richmond county. 
From his boyhood days he took an interest in politics and his 
connection with the democratic party has resulted in benefit 
both to it and himself. In 1876 he was elected trustee of the 
village of New Brighton by the largest majority ever given a 
candidate from the Second ward. In 1878 he was elected county 
clerk by a phenominally large majority, was reelected to the 
position in 1881, his antagonist receiving but 278 votes out of a 
total of about 7,000 cast, and was again elected in 1864, when he 
ran 1,000 votes ahead of the Cleveland majority, in itself the 
largest ever received by a presidental ticket in the county. 
When he first entered the clerk's office at Richmond he found 
books and papers scattered about in confusion, and the most 
valuable historical documents in process of slow destruction 
from want of the most ordinary care. He immediately set him- 
self to work with that determination and will which character- 
ized all his actions, and in a short time, to the great relief of 
the legal fraternity with whom he has most of his dealings, 
had so thoroughly straightened affairs as to draw down upon 
himself the enconiums of the entire county press irrespective 
of party. The lack of partiality which he has shown in all 
his dealings has not been the least noticeable feature of his ad- 
ministration at Richmond, and his pleasant word for all policy 
has greatly added to his popularity as a man. 

He numbers among his friends and adherents both democrats 
and republicans, rich and poor, young and old. His benevo- 
lent and charitable disposition is widely known and appreciated, 
and his brilliant parts are constantly attracting to him the notice 
of substantial and thoughtful business men. This is shown by 
the fact that he was chosen by the Rapid Transit Railroad Com- 
pany to represent their cause at Washington, which he did with 
ability and with success. 

Mr. Hart was married, June 23, 1875, to Miss Hannah Bowman 
of New Brighton, whose exemplary life won for her many friends, 
and whose sad death, July 25, 1882, was deeply felt through- 
out the entire community. Mr. Hart is a member of St. Peter's 
church, New Brighton, and is liberal in his gifts toward its sup- 



348 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

port. He is also connected with many clubs, societies and 
social organizations. In his tastes he is domestic, though he is 
fond of athletic sports, especially of hunting and fishing, 
which he frequently travels long distances to enjoy. He is on 
intimate terms with many of the foremost newspaper men in 
the country, and extracts in the daily papers referring to him 
are numerous, some coming even from California. The many 
incidents and laughable stories relating to him which have been 
published will long be remembered, and the popularity which 
he has acquired by his fine social qualities is built on a lasting 
foundation. We take pleasure in presenting this short sketch 
of his life, especially to his many young friends on Staten 
Island. His history strikingly illustrates the truth of the fol- 
lowing lines from a poem which he has preserved in a scrap book 
containing many allusions to him, now in the author's posses- 
sion. 

"There is no chance, no destiny, no fate 
Can circumvent or hinder or control 

The firm resolve of a determined soul. 
***** 

Let the fool prate of Luck. The fortunate 

Is he whose earnest purpose never swerves, 

Whose slightest action or inaction serves 

The one great aim. Why, even death stands still 

And waits an hour sometimes for such a will.'' 



CHAPTER VIII. 



CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS. 



The Dutch Reformed Churches. The Episcopal Churches. Baptist Churches. 
Methodist Churches. The Moravian Church. The Roman Catholic Churches. 
The Church of the Huguenots. Unitarian Church. Presbyterian Churches. 
Lutheran Churches. Y. M. C. A. 



FOR a large part of the history of the Dutch Reformed de- 
nomination on the island we are indebted to the vener- 
able pastor of the church at Port Richmond, Rev. James 
Bro \vnlee, D. D., who enjoys the very unusual honor of a pas- 
torate of more than fifty years' duration. 

There is evidence enough to prove, in an unbroken chain, the 
identity of this church, from the time when the little band of 
Waldenses first settled on these shores and established the wor- 
ship of the Redeemer for whom they had suffered so much. 

It would be a matter of great interest to us now to know 
more of the way in which our ancestors worshipped ; their dif- 
ficulties, and struggles, and successes. Even their names, 
standing on the record, would be of interest to their descend- 
ants. Many of these, indeed, we have, in an old register of 
baptisms in the Dutch language, from 1696 onward, and many 
names of families also which have no living representatives on 
the island. This record will be found in another part of this 
work. 

The Rev. Samuel Drisins, who was one of the pastors of the 
Dutch church in New York, then New Amsterdam, from 1652 
to 1682, preached regularly once a month to the Waldenses on 
Staten Island from about 1660 onward. It may be fairly in- 
ferred from that fact, that there was a little church of that 
noble and devoted people established here ; not a church build- 
ing, perhaps, till later, but a little band of Christ's people, wor- 
shipping in some spot where they found it most convenient ; it 
might be in one of de Vries' buildings for the dressing of buck- 



350 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

skin; it might be under some spreading oak of the primeval 
forest at " Oude Dorp," where their first settlement was made. 
Doctor De Witt, some years before his death, in a brief note to 
Doctor Brownlee, says on this subject : 

"During the Dutch Colonial government there was a settle- 
ment of the persecuted French Vaudois, or Waldenses, on Sta- 
ten Island, as early as 1660. The Rev. Samuel Drisius, of our 
church in this city, crossed the bay once a month to preach to 
them. There was a Huguenot settlement on the Island a short 
time afterward, parties of these having fled to Holland to escape 
from persecution, and having come over to New Netherlands in 
company with their new friends. After a season the French 
church and organization passed away, and the great body of its 
members became blended with the Dutch inhabitants, in the 
Reformed Dutch church. The fact of the settlement of a con- 
siderable number of the persecuted Waldenses on Staten Island 
is very interesting. They had fled from the dreadful persecu- 
tions in the valleys of Piedmont, to Holland, and were sent, at 
the expense of the city of Amsterdam, amply provided for, to 
New Netherlands in America." 

We may be certain that these martyrs for the faitli of Christ, 
whose religion was everything to them, would not be long con- 
tent without some regular church organization, and the stated 
enjoyment of ordinances; and therefore we conclude that soon 
after 1660, under the care of Dominie Drisius, this privilege 
was secured by them. 

In 1661 grants of land on the island were made to several 
persons, among whom were some Waldenses, and also many 
Huguenots, who had fled hither from La Rochelle. They 
commenced a new settlement a few miles south of the Narrows, 
near that of de Vries already mentioned, and built a little vil- 
lage of twelve or fourteen houses, and a block-house with two 
small guns and a garrison of ten soldiers, for protection against 
the Indians. It was to this little colony, at their earnest re- 
quest, that Dominie Drisius, who could preach in French, min- 
istered once a month, dispensing the sacraments at regular in- 
tervals, while the colony was too feeble to support a minister 
of its own. The descendants of these Waldenses and Hugue- 
nots are still numerous on the island, and bear some of the old- 
est and most honored names among us. Many of them have 
become connected with other denominations, partly from con- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 351 

venience of residence, but more on account of the persist- 
ence of the Dutch church in the use of the language of the 
Fatherland, long after English had become the prevailing 
tongue. 

In the year 1680 it is known that there were two churches, 
with houses of worship on the island. One, and perhaps the 
first built, was a church of the Huguenots at Fresh kill, on 
what is known as the Seaman farm. The services in this 
church for nearly forty years later were conducted in French, 
and although all vestiges of the church building have disap- 
peared, there is still the little grave-yard with a few dilapidated 
gravestones to mark the spot were it stood. 

Very soon after this there was another French church built 
at Stony Brook, on the road from Quarantine to Amboy, not 
far from what was long known as the Black Horse tavern. This 
was built by the Waldenses from " Oude Dorp," whose num- 
bers had increased and led them to extend their settlements. 
All remains, save some stones of the foundation of this church, 
have disappeared, but here, too, there are some graves of these 
noble exiles. 

About the same time (1680) there are traces of a church on 
the north side, in which the services were in the Dutch language, 
the Hollanders having settled in considerable numbers along 
the kills. 

As yet these churches had no settled pastor of their own. 
Along with Dominie Drisius, Dominie Selyns, who was pastor 
of the churches of Brooklyn, Bushwick and Gravesend, from 
1660 to 1701 with an interval of some years, during which he 
revisited Holland preached to the churches here at stated 
times. 

In 1682 and 1683, Dominie Tarchemaker, from the University 
of Utrecht, supplied the churches on the island. He afterward 
removed to Schenectady, and perished there in a massacre by 
the Indians in February. 1690. 

The Rev. Pierre Daille, who had been professor in the Col- 
lege of Saumur, and who came to America in 1683, and was 
colleague to Dominie Selyns from that year to 1692, preached 
frequently to the Huguenots on Staten Island, and also at New 
Rochelle, and elsewhere in the vicinity of New York. Domi- 
nie Selyns, in a letter to the Classis of Amsterdam, speaks of 
him as being "full of fire, godliness and learning. Banished 



352 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

on account of his religion, he maintains the cause of Christ 
with untiring zeal." 

About this time, from 1687 onward, for nearly two years, the 
church at Stony Brook was supplied by a certain Laurentius 
Van den Bosch, or Van Bosen, as it was sometimes written. 
His character seems to have been under a cloud, for he was 
suspended from the ministry by Dominie Selyns and others, 
who could not wait for the slow process of sending their pro- 
ceedings to be reviewed by the authorities in Holland, which 
in those times frequently consumed a whole year. Van Boseu 
afterward went to Maryland. 

From 1694 for about three years the churches were without 
any stated supply. They were visited frequently, however, and 
the ordinances administered to them by the ministers of New 
York and Long Island. There are also frequent records of 
baptisms by Dominie Batolvius, as it is written, and also by 
Dominie Gilliam, whose i-esidence is not mentioned. It has 
been ascertained that these names indicate the Rev. Guillaume 
Bertholf, who was pastor of the churches of Aquachanonck 
and Hackensack, N. J., from 1694 to 1724, and whose services 
were much in demand on the island. 

In 1697 the French church at Freshkill obtained the services 
of a pastor of their own. The Rev. Dr. David Bonrepos, who 
had been settled several years at New Rochelle, came to Staten 
Island, and remained till 1717, preaching also to the church at 
Stony Brook. In the latter year the good old pastor was com- 
pelled by age and infirmities to j-elinquish his charge, and left 
the island. 

In 1714 a grant was made by Governor Hunter, to the repre- 
sentatives of the "Reformed Protestant Dutch Church," to 
erect a new house of worship at some convenient place on the 
north shore, the place not specih'ed. The grant for a new 
church implies an old one previously existing. The grant itself 
is still extant, and in perfect preservation. It is signed by the 
governor, and dated at Fort George, September 3, 1714. 

Before 1717 there must have been a Dutch church in the vil- 
lage of Richmond, although no record of it exists. In that 
year, after the retirement of Dr. Bonrepos, the churches at 
Freshkill and at Stony Brook united with the Dutch inhab- 
itants, who had gradually become the preponderating element 
in the population, and together built a new church in the vil- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 353 

lage of Richmond, which stood, probably, in or near a little 
graveyard nearly opposite the court house. 

About the same time as this grant from Governor Hunter, or 
perhaps a year earlier, in the twelfth year of the reign of Queen 
Anne, which would be 1713, St. Andrew's church in Richmond 
was erected. The first accounts of the settlement of the Eng- 
lish church, as it was then called, are interesting and character- 
istic. There is a " Historical account of the society for propa- 
gating the gospel in the British Colonies," by David Hum- 
phreys, D. D., published in London. 1730. A copy is to be 
found in the rooms of the Long Island Historical Society, in 
Brooklyn. 

It appears that the Rev. Mr. McKenzie was sent here as a 
missionary in 1704, and met with a very kind reception from 
the people, although scarcely one third of them were English. 
The rest were Dutch and French. The French had a minister 
of their own, and had built a church. The English had no 
place convenient for divine worship, and the French generously 
granted the use of their church to Mr. McKenzie, which he oc- 
cupied for seven years, till St. Andrew's was built. That was 
characteristic of the French and the Dutch, who were by this 
time cordially blending in their worship, as their doctrines 
were identical. 

It is said that the Dutch were at first somewhat averse to the 
English liturgy, but as it was taken for granted that their ob- 
jections could only arise from their ignorance of it, Mr. Mc- 
Kenzie sent to London for a good supply of prayer books in 
Dutch, and distributed them freely among the people, after 
which, it is added, " they found no fault with it, and began to 
have a just esteem for our excellent form of worship." That 
was a wise scheme, and accounts, in part at least, for so many 
Dutch and French names in St. Andrew's church. 

Then again Mr. McKenzie, who seems to- have been a very 
zealous man, had the island divided into three precincts, and a 
teacher was appointed in each, who was supported by a grant 
from the society in London. These taught, of course, in the 
English language, and also taught the children in the church 
catechism, with the explanations, and taught them also to join 
in public worship. 

In 1712 " the Justices of Richmond County, the High Sheriff, 
the Clerk and the Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's militia 
23 



354 HISTORY: OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

in the County, as well for themselves as in the name, and at 
the desire of the other inhabitants of the said County members 
of the Church of England," return thanks to the society in 
London for the support of their worthy pastor, whom they 
highly and justly praise. And then they go on to say, " upon 
his first induction there were not above four or five in the whole 
county who knew anything of our excellent liturgy and form 
of worship, and many of them knew little more of any religion 
than the common notion of a Deity; and as their ignorance was 
great, so was their practice irregular and barbarous. But now, 
by the blessing of God attending his labors, our church in- 
creases; a considerable reformation is wrought, and something 
of the face of Christianity is seen among us." 

It will be observed that this is written while they had as yet 
no place of worship of their own, and were still occupying the 
French church "by sufferance," as they themselves express it. 
And yet these blessed justices and high sheriff and the rest 
ignore with celestial complacency the fact that there had been 
Christian worship on the island for more than fifty years, and 
at least three Christian churches built for more than thirty 
years, and sustained by the descendants of the Waldenses and 
Huguenots, among the noblest Christian men and women the 
world has ever seen; that one of these churches for seven years 
past had charitably given shelter to these members of the Eng- 
lish church in their religious services. 

In the meantime the church on the north side, although a 
house of worship was erected at a very early period, seems to 
have been dependent on such occasional services as the neigh- 
boring ministers were able to render. Besides those of Drisius, 
Selyns, Daille and Bertholf, there were frequent services by 
Dominie Freeman, of New Utrecht, on Long Island, and also 
by Dominie Anthonius, of Flatbush, Flatlands and Bushwick. 
Long Island. In one instance a baptism is recorded as per- 
formed by " Dom. Anthony of Staaten Eiland," but it is evi- 
dently a mistake for Long Island. There are also frequent 
records of baptisms "door Dominy uit Esopus," whose name 
is not mentioned, but who was without doubt the Rev. Petrus 
Vas, who was minister at Esopus, or Kingston, and afterward 
at Rhinebeck from 1710 to 1756, and who died at the age 
of 96. 

After the retirement of Dr. Bonrepos, in 1717, the three 



HISTORY OF EICHMOXD COUNTY. 355 

churches, of the Waldenses at Stony Brook, of the Huguenots 
at Freshkill, and the Dutch at Richmond, united and came to 
worship together at Richmond. We can find no account of this 
Dutch church further than the fact of their having a house of 
worship to offer to the united churches, which is a matter of 
record. In that year the church at the north side and this 
united church at Richmond joined in a call to Rev. Cornelius 
VanSantvoord, of Leyden, in Holland. He accepted the call, 
and came over to this country in 1718, when he was settled as 
pastor over these churches. It was thus that the churches on 
the island became blended into one, and transmitted to us here 
the honorable ancestry to which we lay claim, as the repre- 
sentatives of the Waldenses and the Huguenots, merging their 
organization at length in that of the more rapidly increasing 
Dutch. 

There is no date of the settlement of Dominie Van Santvoord 
extant; but the first baptism administered by him is recorded 
April 20th, 1718, the child's name being Johannes Van Namen. 
Dominie Van Santvoord was a man of admirable character and 
abilities, and is known to have ministered with great accept- 
ance from time to time, in the neighboring churches of New 
Jersey and Long Island as well as in the city. He remained in 
his charge here, preaching also frequently at Second River, 
now Belleville, N. J., until 1742, when he removed to Schenec- 
tady. Among the papers in possession of the consistory there 
is a bundle of receipts for salary from Dominie Van Santvoord, 
extending over several years. .They are written in beautiful 
handwriting, and are sometimes given for very small sums, on 
one occasion "Twee ponden, acht schellingen," being carefully 
acknowledged. They indicate the fact of his ministering to 
the two churches, that on the north side being evidently the 
principal one. He was the author of several works of a theo- 
logical character. He also kept up a correspondence with the 
professors of the University of Leyden, by whom he was much 
esteemed. 

After Dr. Van Santvoord left the island there is an interval 
of eight years, up to 1750, of which no record can be found. 
Occasional services were performed, and baptisms administered 
by ministers from the city, and also by Dominies Vas and 
Anthonius as before. 

In 1750 the church on the north side united with that at Ber- 



356 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUWTY. 

gen, N. J., in a call to a minister to supply them in common. 
His name was Petrus De Wint. The agreement drawn np by 
the consistories regarding their respective shares of the ser- 
vices, and their contributions for the ministers support, is very 
specific. Each was to have a righteous half of the services, 
and to make a righteous half of the payment. The church at 
Bergen was to furnish a parsonage and sufficient firewood. 
That on Staten Island engaged to give "an able riding horse, 
with all that belongs to it." After that it was stipulated that 
" the dominie was to look out for his own horse." 

De Wint accepted the call, and commenced his labors in the 
two churches in 1751 ; but these did not continue long. The 
call had to be sent to Holland, to be approved by the Classis 
of Amsterdam, and they immediately wrote back to the con- 
sistory at Bergen that De Wint was an imposter, and that the 
credentials by which he had obtained a favorable reception 
were forgeries. Of course he was at once discharged by the two 
consistories ; and a final settlement was had with him at Ber- 
gen, which is recorded in the minutes of that consistory, June 
22, 1752. 

In June, 1753, the two churches again joined in calling Mr. 
William Jackson, then a student under the care of Rev. John 
Frelinghuysen, of Raritan, N. J. By the terms of the call 
Mr. Jackson was to proceed to Holland to complete his studies 
there, the churches agreeing, in the meantime, to pay him an 
annual sum for his support. He remained in Holland four 
years and a half, and was ordained there. On his return he 
was installed pastor of the two churches, in 1757. 

Mr. Jackson was much esteemed as a preacher, and in the re- 
formed Dutch churches in Middlesex and Somerset counties, 
had a reputation as a field preacher scarcely inferior to Whit- 
field. Instances are recorded in which the crowds assembled to 
hear him could not be contained in any church, and the ser- 
vices had to be held in the open air. After ministering for up- 
ward of a quarter of a century, he became subject to fits of 
mental aberration ; not frequent at first, but very afflictive; and 
while suffering from them he would say strange things in the 
pulpit, by which the gravity of his hearers was sorely dis- 
turbed, while the body of his discourse would be sound and 
edifying. His illness at last increased to such a degree that the 
two churches had to apply to the Classis of Hackensack for a 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 357 

commission to inquire into his case. This met in December, 
1780, and after a patient investigation, continued during three 
days, Mr. Jackson's insanity was deemed to be such as to pre- 
clude the hope of his farther usefulness, and he was advised to 
return his call. This he finally did, although with extreme re- 
luctance, for his heart was set upon his Master's work. He 
never seemed willing to stop when preaching. On one occasion, 
when at New Brunswick, his audience became so weary that 
his friend, Hon. James Schureman, ventured to give him a hint 
by holding up his watch. The dominie said to him quietly, 
"Schureman, put up your watch, Paul preached till mid- 
night." 

He finally bound himself under a penalty of five hundred 
pounds not to preach, or administer the sacraments within the 
bounds of the two churches. His ministry lasted thirty-two 
years, and the two churches, greatly to their honor, united in 
making a comfortable provision for their pastor as long as he 
lived. 

After Mr. Jackson resigned his ministry the connection be- 
tween the two churches of Bergen and Staten Island was dis- 
solved, having continued harmoniously thirty-nine years. In 
1769 a deed was given by Jacob Rezeau to the Rev. Mr. Jack- 
son and the consistory of the Reformed Dutch church at Rich- 
mond and the session of the English Presbyterian church at 
Stony Brook, for land in the village of Richmond on which to 
build a church, these two bodies being desirous of uniting. 

From this it would appear that after the Waldenses left 
Stony Brook, in order to unite with the Dutch and the French 
Huguenots in 1717, as already mentioned, a Presbyterian church 
was formed in the place which they had occupied. The deed 
mentions the names of James Rezeau and Samuel Broome as 
" the present Elders of the English Presbyterian Church, ac- 
cording to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Catechism 
and Directory, agreeable to the present established Church of 
Scotland." The deed conveyed a small lot, sixty-five feet by 
fifty-five, to these parties. As far as we can understand it this 
is the ground on which the present Reformed church in Rich- 
mond stands. The church then standing at Stony Brook \v;is 
to be removed and rebuilt on this lot. The deed was granted 
by the donor " in consideration of the pious and laudable de- 
sign of the said parties, and also of the sum of ten shillings, 



358 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

lawful money of the province of New York, to him in hand 
paid." It is distinctly specified that if ever any attempt shall 
be made to alienate the property from sacred to secular pur- 
poses, it shall be lawful for the grantor, his heirs or assigns, to 
enter on it and reclaim it. This, unhappily, seems a not im- 
possible contingency, in the present condition of that church. 

The first minutes of the consistory of the Port Richmond 
church, preserved in regular form, are dated June 25, 1785. 
At a meeting then held, this minute is recorded, along with 
some others not of interest, "our house of worship the six- 
sided building described before having been destroyed in the 
late unhappy war, it was resolved to build a new one, of brick." 
The account is that the building was greatly injured by fire by 
the British troops, and afterward blown down in a severe storm. 
A committee was appointed to raise money for the purpose at 
home and in the neighboring churches, and to superintend the 
building. There are no particulars of the progress of the work, 
but it was ready, for service in March, 1788. 

In 1790, the Rev. Peter Stryker was ordained minister of 
this church, and remained till 1794, when he accepted a call 
from Second River, now Belleville, N. J. During his incum- 
bency the church was incorporated, in 1792, under the style and 
title of "The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, on Staten 
Island," the names of the incorporators being Rev. Peter Stry- 
ker, Hendrick Garretson, John Van Pelt, Wilhelmus Vreeland, 
John Garretson, William Merrill, Peter Haughwout, Abraham 
Prahl, and Nicholas Haughwout. 

After Mr. Stryker' s departure, the church remained without 
a pastor for three years, when Mr. Thomas Kirby was ordained 
over it. He remained a little over three years, when he was 
obliged to resign ; the means of his support having been almost 
entirely withdrawn. He was an Englishman without culture, 
unable even to spell correctly, and the minutes in his hand- 
writing are such as would disgrace a schoolboy. Fifty years 
ago there were many living who had sat under his ministry, 
and knew him well. He soon showed himself to be a man with- 
out much character, and his habits were so gross as to disgust 
most of those who came into contact with him. He was 
suspended from the ministry for intemperance after leav- 
ing the island, but was afterward restored, and went to 
Canada. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 35!) 

The church at Richmond, erected on Mr. Rezeau's grant, 
was burnt down also, during the war, by the British troops, 
because it was, as they termed it, a rebel church. "This 
speaks well," says Doctor Brownlee, "for the descendants of 
the Waldenses and the Huguenots, and the Dutch 
with whom they blended ; and their descendants may feel 
proud that it did not earn the distinction of being al- 
lowed to stand. There were no lories then in our churches, here 
or at Richmond ; and so both of them were burnt." 

During Mr. Kirby's ministry, an application was made by 
Benjamin Swaim and Israel Oakley, for the concurrence of the 
consistoiy here in building a new church at Richmond, on 
the foundation of the old French church ; and steps were taken 
to organize a church, by ordaining two elders and two deacons. 
Very particular arrangements were also made as to the times and 
the amount of service to be rendered by the pastor ; but Mr. 
Kirby was not the man to succeed in a work of that kind, 
and the project was not carried out till some years later. 

On the 16th of May, 1802, Rev. Peter I. Tan Pelt, after- 
ward Doctor Van Pelt, was ordained pastor of the church, 
and remained till 1835, when the relation between him and the 
church was dissolved by mutual consent. Dr. Van Pelt's 
labors were exceedingly popular and successful from the first ; 
and numerous additions were made to the membership of the 
church at almost every communion. 

During the incumbency of Dr. Van Pelt, a building was 
erected on the spot now occupied by the brick stores in Port 
Richmond, then the property of the church, with the view of 
establishing a parochial school, under the care of the church. 
The project, however, did not succeed very well ; and, after 
trying two or three teachers, it was finally given up. What is 
chiefly interesting in connection with this, is the fact of a Sab- 
bath school being opened in the building as early as 1812, and 
believed to have been among the earliest in this country. 

In 1835, on the fourth Sabbath of August, the present pastor, 
Rev. James Brownlee, was ordained ; and through a kind 
Providence remains to this day. During all these years the 
church has been, on the whole, growing, and has made many 
efforts and some sacrifices to reach its present position, and 
"provide things honest in sight of all men." 

" Soon after my settlement, says Dr. Brownlee, " it was de- 



360 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



termined to repair the old church, which had become much 
dilapidated. This was immediately done, at a cost of over 
84,000. The next year lots were purchased for a parsonage, 
and a house was erected, the whole costing over $3,000. 

"In 1845 it was found that the church was not large enough 
for those desiring to worship in it, and after much discussion 
as to enlarging the old building or erecting a new one, it 
was finally resolved to build anew. This was accordingly done, 
and the house which is now occupied was built, at a cost of 




PORT RICHMOND DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH. 

$10,000, and dedicated in February, 1846, the Rev. Dr. De 
Witt, and other clergymen participating in the services. Since 
then the parsonage has been enlarged and beautified at a cost of 
$5,000, and is now one of the most convenient and comfortable 
anywhere to be found. 

' 'A necessity having long been felt for some additional burying 
ground, that around the church as far as it is available being 
almost completely filled up, about the year 1874 the consistory 
purchased a piece of ground for a cemetery, most eligibly situ- 
ated, and in one of the most beautiful spots on the island. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 361 

The consistory felt that this was necessary, as they had no 
proper space to bury their dead, and the time cannot be far dis- 
tant when the increase of population and the demands of 
business may render it necessary, as in so many other places, 
to remove the dead farther from the dwellings of men. 

" During all these years the church has been much favored in 
spiritual tilings. For a time after my settlement there was a 
most depressing state of coldness almost of lethargy in the 
church. But we had a band of praying men among us, men of 
faith, who never ceased to plead before the mercy seat ; and 
speedily their prayers were heard. Converts began to come in 
in numbers, into our fold ; and from that time to the present, a 
year has never passed, and rarely a communion season, without 
some additions to our membership. In 1838, thirteen were added 
to our list of members, by confession. In the year following, 
sixteen, and so on. God never left himself without a witness 
among us. 

" We also have had our seasons of gracious revival but reviv- 
al of the right sort ; not that which is got up, but that which 
comes down ; which begins to show itself in a silent, prevalent 
earnestness, and diligent attendance on the prayer-meetings 
and other means of grace. Of that kind was the gracious sea- 
son of 1843-44, when twenty-eight were brought into the 
church ; some of whom are among the most warm-hearted and 
devoted followers of Christ among us to this day. 

" In 1858, there was another very remarkable outpouring of 
the spirit among us. It began as before, silently and without 
any concerted action. 

"The consistory and myself sought rather to guide and reg- 
ulate, than to stimulate it ; while at the same time we could 
not but discern and gratefully recognize the hand of the Lord. 
In April of that year, fifty were received in fellowship at one 
communion; and within the year thirty-three more, making 
eighty- three in all. It was a season that stirred the souls of 
God's people to their depths, in joy and praise, and caused 
their Christian graces to shine forth with new and holy lustre. 

"Our Sabbath school has long been prosperous. It has for 
years been under the very best management, without any at- 
tempt at display ; without any efforts or contrivances to 
allure teachers or scholars from quarters to which courtesy for- 
bade us to apply. We have kept to the steady purpose of 



362 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

cultivating the useful and solid, rather than the entertaining. 

' It would be interesting, if space permitted, to give short 
sketches of some of the fathers of the church, who have gone 
to their reward from among us. Allow me very briefly to men- 
tion a few. 

' The first to pass away were Jacob Bodine and Joshua Mer- 
sereau, both of Huguenot origin, and both exhibiting the inef- 
faceable traits of their lineage, in the vivacity and energy which 
we usually attribute to the French blood. Mr. Bodine was for 
many years a member of the consistory, and an active and un- 
tiring friend of the church. He and Mr. Mersereau, along with 
Dr. Clark, had the whole burden of remodelling the old church 
to bear, and of building the parsonage; and amid many diffi- 
culties, chiefly met and surmounted by Mr. Bodine 1 s business 
skill and tact, they succeeded, to the satisfaction of all con- 
cerned. 

"Mr. Mersereau was somewhat reserved in his manner; 
prompt, decided, and resolute. He had the appearance, to 
those who did not know him, of being rather stern; but his 
friends knew him to be of the most kindly and genial disposi- 
tion, when he met them in the quiet family circle. He was a 
man of incorruptible integrity, before whom no one could safely 
venture to commit any meanact. He, too, was a life-long steady 
friend of his church. 

" Then there was Judge Tysen, who had been member of 
congress, and for many years first associate judge of the 
county; a most careful and accurate business man, for 
many years the treasurer of the church; always ready, by 
word and deed, to advance the interests of the church; faith- 
ful and liberal in all his ways. To him, along with George Cad- 
mus and myself, was committed the duty of overseeing the build- 
ing of the present church, and on him fell by far the heaviest 
share. He was indefatigable in his attention to the work while 
it was in progress, and professed himself amply rewarded for 
his labor when he saw the building completed which had a 
much more creditable appearance then than it bears to-day, 
among the many new church edifices which have been built all 
around us. He was re-elected to the office of elder again and 
again, as long as he would consent to serve; and when he was 
taken away, in ripe old age, it seemed as if the most prominent 
place in the church was left empty. 



IIISTOKY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 363 

" Ther.e was Aartie Housman, as he was commonly called. 
His name is entered on the record as Aaron, but I think it must 
have been a mistake for Arthur. Many will remember him as 
he sat under the gallery, with his tall, erect, massive frame, 
and his magnificent head, with flowing white hair, which at once 
attracted the notice of every stranger who entered the pulpit, 
and which might have served as a model for a head of Jupiter. 
He was a man of but limited education, but of strong good 
sense and natural intelligence; who with greater advantages of 
training, could not have failed to distinguish himself. 

" Garrit Martling, for many years an elder and warm friend 
of the church, was a man of few words, but his face beamed 
with the kindliness which filled his heart; and when any one 
asked a favor of him, he always granted it as if it were con- 
ferred upon himself, delighted with the opportunity of doing a 
kind act. 

" Solomon Zeluff was long an elder. Quiet and reserved in 
manner, but faithful to all that he deemed right; he was a man 
of prayer, and earnestly attached to the doctrines and usages 
of his church. 

" George Cadmus was not a member of the church, but a 
constant and generous friend. Without doubt, he was a true 
Christian for years before his death, although, from unaffected 
humility, he shrank from taking the name openly. Open 
hearted, full of quips and jokes, he was a most attractive com- 
panion and friend, beloved by all who knew him. 

" Paul La Tourette, also long an elder, was of Huguenot ori- 
gin, and showed it in form and manner. A man of prayer and 
faith beyond many, he was strong in the Scriptures. Indeed, 
his Bible was almost his exclusive study. His mind was clear 
and logical, grasping at once the main points of any subject ; 
and although he had not enjoyed many advantages of education 
in early life, there were very few who could hold an argument 
with him successfully on any Scriptural or doctrinal point. He 
was remarkably fluent in prayer ; and so warm were his feelings 
and so much did he become engaged that sometimes he would 
pray for half an hour, or even three-quarters ; and would be 
surprised when his friends told him how long he had been on his 
knees. 

'' Time would fail to speak of all whom we lovingly remem- 
ber. But I must mention John Garretson (Judge Garretson, as 



364 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

he was commonly called), who had also been in congress. His 
name is the first of those subscribed to my call ; and he was the 
first to depart. He and his wife Martha were the oldest mem- 
bers of the church at Richmond, having been received in Dominie 
Jackson's time. He was a devoted Christian, and one of the 
finest specimens of the Christian gentleman ; polished, and even 
courtly in his manners, which his usual dress and appearance 
did not lead one to expect. He was a man of very extensive 
information, and clear, incisive intellect ; and would have 
greatly surprised any stranger who might have taken him for 
nothing more than the plain farmer he appeared to be. His 
household was one of the most delightful I ever knew. It was 
probably the last in the county in which the Dutch language 
was spoken. He and his wife always used it when alone ; and 
when, at my request, they would speak it, it seemed to lose 
every trace of uncouthness, which those unacquainted with it 
are apt to attribute to it, and to be the very dialect of warm, 
homely, household regard. 

"The judge used to ride to church at Port Richmond every 
Sabbath, for years, till the Richmond church was built, in 1808; 
and, although he lived twelve miles away, there was no more 
regular attendant than he. I remember well his saying, ' I do 
not know what has come to our young people now ; it takes so 
little to keep them home on a Sabbath day. I have gone for 
years, through all weather, and it never hart me.' And, look- 
ing kindly at his aged companion he added, ' and thejufvrouw 
always went with me. It took a storm mind, I say a storm 
to keep her home.' 

' I cherish his memory with grateful affection. He was the 
first to speak words of encouragement to me when I came here, 
without experience in the ministry ; and to predict that there 
was in the young dominie ' something that would wear.' He 
was my kind friend to his dying day." 

Rev. Alfred H. Demarest was called as associate pastor to 
Doctor Brownlee, and was ordained and installed November 6, 
1884. 

The fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of Doctor Brownlee 
was celebrated on Sunday, August 23, 188/5. At that time it 
was said that Mrs. Martha Miller, of Mariners' Harbor, was the 
onlj r person living who was a communicant of the church at the 
time of Doctor Brownlee' s installation. Several of the neigh- 




ml tiom a tracing made TJJ- B. M. Bay les, from Ilia original sketch) 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

boring churches suspended services in the morning out of 
respect to this celebration. 

At that time Doctor Brownlee had, during the tifty years of 
his pastorate, baptized eight hundred and thirty-nine children 
and seventy adults ; married six hundred and twenty-four 
couples, attended about six hundred and fifty burials ; received 
seven hundred and twenty-one persons into the communion of the 
church ; preached four thousand three hundred and sixty-six 
written sermons, and delivered about five thousand extempore 
addresses at evening prayer-meetings, funerals and on other 
occasions. The fact was a remarkable one that he had married 
a couple, not long before, whose parents he had married in 1860, 
and whose grand-parents he had married in 1838. 

The record of baptisms belonging to this early church, and 
covering about half a century from 1696 onward, has been 
transcribed for this work, and will be found in this chapter. 

Accompanying this article will be found a diagram of the 
second edifice of this church which stood at Port Richmond 
about where the present church stands. It was built about 
1714 and destroyed during the revolution. The following ex- 
planations of the diagram of the old church were given by Mr. 
J. J. Clute. 

Translation of the title: " Plan of the Christian Low Dutch 
Church on Staten Island, the 30th September, in the year of our 
Lord 1751 , made by Daniel Corsen." 

A. Predikestoel Pulpit. B. Ouderlingen Elders. C. Diakenen Deacons. 
1 Boumeester's Plaats en Kerkmeester's Plaats The Master-Builder's Place and 
the Church-Warden's Place. 

2 Plaats voor den Overheidt Place for the Magistrate. 

3 Nicholas Backer, 23 Johannes Sirnonson, 

4 Douwe Van Wogelom, The succeeding nine are vacant, 

5 Ernst Lende, Henrik Croesen, 33 Antonie Van Pelt, 

6 Jan Veghte, 34 Jon Roll, Junr., 

7 Jacob Corsen, Cornelis Corsen, 35 Joseae Morseroe, Junr. , 

8 Gerrit Croesen, Abraham Croesen, 36 Cornelius Elles, 

9 Joshua Mersereaux, 37 Vacant, 

10 Gerrit Kroessen, 38 Art Simonson or Simonze, 

11 Gerrit Post, Cors Krock, 39 Richard Men-ell, 

12 Pieter De Groot, 40 Jan Roll, 

13 Johannes De Groot, 41 Cornelius sen., 

14 Jan Van Pelt, and another illegible, 42 Isaac Simonze, 

15 Joris Prall, 4:5 Jc ihanne Vanwagena, 

16 Thomas Burbank, 14 Wilhelmus Vreelandt, 

17 Jacob Van Pelt, 45 Cornelius Corsen, 

18 Peter Martlinghe, 46 Christian Corsen, 

19 Cornelius Croesen, 47 Otto Van Tuyl, 

20 Egbert Hagabot, 48 Jacob Corsen, 

21 Robert De Groot, 49 Vacant, 

C2 Hendrik Proll, and another erased, 50 Nealtje Hagewout, 



366 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

51 Cornelia Corsen. 64 Elsje Merrill. 

52 Aaltje Van Pelt. 65 Gurtruyde Merrell, 

53 Jan Veghte, 66 Antjv Cfrsen. 

54 Cornelia Veghte, 67 Cornelia Croesen, 

55 Vacant, 68 Gerret Croesen, 

56 Helena Croesen, 6tf -- Simonse, 

57 Elisabet Corsen, Sister Bock, 70 Cornelia 

.">x Maria Praal, 71 De Nakomelings ran (the descendants 

59 Catrina Berckelo, of) Catharine Hoogelandt, 

60 Sara Elles, 73 Vacant, 

61 Arayaentie Elles, 73 Knelia -- ricke, 

62 Elizabeth Baker, 74 Magritie Gen-ode, 

63 Sara Post, 75 Jannetje Van Woggelom, 

64 Belitie De Groot, 76 Maria Beekman, 

65 Elizabeth De Groot, 77 Ferrnie Van B 

66 Aeyea Speer, 78 Vacant, 

67 Vacant, 79 Fytie Mersereau, 

68 Maria Mersereau, 80 Lena Van Wagene, 

69 Fransyntje Post, and another erased, 81 Maria Pi-all, 

60 Marigrita Simonze, 82 Annietie fountain, 

61 Marritje Bin-bank, 83 Wintie Van Tuyls. 

62 Neliete Vreelandt, 84 Rebecca Staats. 

63 Aimitii' Martlinghs, 



It will be observed that the numbers from 60 to 69, both in- 
clusive, are duplicated. It will also be observed that according 
to the universal custom in the olden times, the sexes were sepa- 
rated in their seats. 

Across the ends of 76, 77 and 78 are written the words 
''Stoelen voor den Predikant " Chairs for the Preacher. 

This was the second church edifice ; it was built about 1714, 
partially destroyed by fire by the British early in the revolu- 
tion as a rebel church, and what was left standing was subse- 
quently blown down, in a heavy gale. 

The name of Daniel Corsen does not appear among those of 
the pew-holders; but as he was generally the incumbent 
of some civil office, his seat was in No. 1 or 2. He was county 
clerk at the time he made the diagram. 

Soon after the settlement of Dr. Van Pelt the plan of re- 
building the church at Richmond was revived, and through 
the energetic efforts of the pastor, it was carried successfully 
into execution. The church now standing was built, and ready 
for service in July, 1808, when it was dedicated ; the Rev. Dr. 
Livingston, of New York, conducting the services. From that 
time on Doctor Van Pelt ministered to this church and that at 
the north side until 1835, when Doctor Brownlee, his successor, 
ministered to both until 1853. The connection between the two 
churches was dissolved in 1854, when the church in Richmond 
became a distinct and separate ecclesiastical organization. Its 
first pastor after that event was the Rev. Thomas R. G. Peck, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 367 

and his successors have been Rev. Erskine N. White, Rev. 
Jacob Fehrmann, Rev. J. H. Sinclair, and the pulpit was for a 
while supplied alternately with that of the church of the 
Huguenots, by Rev. Dr. F. M. Kip. This church has a chapel 
at Gifford's. 

The building of a new church was talked of in 1818, and 
Governor Tompkins gave two lots at Tompkinsville, on which 
to erect it. The work was commenced and the corner stone 
laid October 20, 1818. The church was completed, and dedi- 
cated July 23, 1820. Rev. Peter I. Van Pelt of the Port Rich- 
mond church occupied the pulpit till May, 1823, when this 
church became a distinct society and separate charge, its incor- 
poration being effected the same year. This enterprise was car- 
ried to completion through the perseverance of Doctor Van Pelt, 
assisted by the munificence of Vice-President Tompkins, who 
donated the land and contributed a large sum of money toward 
building the church. Doctor Van Pelt supplied the pulpit 
until 1823, when, as an independent church, the Rev. John E. 
Miller became its pastor. He was installed October 19, 1823, 
and for nearly twenty-four years was pastor of the church. He 
died August 24, 1847, and the Rev. Alexander R. Thompson 
became the second pastor, in 1848. During his incumbency, 
some of the members withdrew their connection, and organized 
a church at Stapleton, nearer their own residences, with which 
Mr. Thompson identified himself, after having served this 
church three years and three months. The vacancy thus left 
by him was filled by the Rev. Philip M. Brett, who was in- 
stalled December 24, 1851, and died January 14, 1860. He was 
succeeded by the Rev. Edward \V. Hitchcock, who was ordained 
and installed August 8, 1860. It was his first pastorate. He 
resigned March 1, 1866. It was during his pastorate that the 
new church edifice was built, on what is known as Brighton 
Heights, on a hill commanding a line view of the bay, New 
York city and Long Island. The corner stone of this church 
was laid October 27, 1863, and it was dedicated November 3, 
1864. The cost of the church was $14,300. Its site is diagon- 
ally opposite the northwest corner of the old quarantine 
grounds. 

The old church building was sold, and has since been used 
for a variety of purposes, at times as a feed store, confectionery 
shop, political headquarters and carriage shop, in which use it 



368 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

is still occupied. Some of the older people, as well as the 
former pastors, who have precious memories connected with 
religious work within the ancient edifice, deplore the action 
which consigned the building to such unhallowed uses. It 
may justly be claimed that a respectful regard for the good 
and faithful ones who founded the church, and the pious men 
and women who maintained its services during so many years 
of its history, and a wholesome reverence for the cause it re- 
presented, ought to have prompted those who had the manage- 
ment of the matter, to have held the building from the pur- 
poses of secular business, for the possibilities of further use in 
connection with some of the enterprises of the church. 

Rev. Herman R. Timlow was installed October 24, 1866, and 
resigned November 1, 1867. Rev. I. Ralston Smith supplied 
the pulpit in 1868. Rev. Thomas G. Watson was installed 
May 13, 1869, and resigned September 11, 1871. Rev. William 
T. Enyard was installed April 13, 1873, and resigned on account 
of ill health, July 13, 1879. He died April 26. 1880. Rev. 
William Walton Clark, the succeeding pastor was installed March 
16, 1880. During his pastorate, the church was entirely released 
from debt, and a beautiful Sunday school and lecture room 
was built in the rear of the church. The expense of building and 
furnishing the Sunday school and lecture room, and repairing 
and refurnishing the church in 1881, amounted to $9,980.73. 

THE ANCIENT BAPTISMAL RECORD OF THE EARLY DUTCH 

CHURCH. 

This book, beginning in 1696, and containing apparently a 
complete record of the baptisms of the early Dutch church on 
Staten Island for a period of more than half a century, is still 
in existence, being now in the keeping of the consistory of the 
Dutch Reformed church at Fort Ricmond. This venerable and 
valuable relic several years ago fell into bad company and be- 
came degraded to the level of common garret rubbish. While 
in this condition, and just as it was about to be consigned to a 
bonfire by those who had no knowledge of its value, it was 
rescued from destruction by Mr. Alfred de Groot, who 
promptly placed it in the hands of its proper custodians. Its 
records contain valuable genealogical data touching almost, 
every old family of the island and many others. It is written 
in Dutch, and is now considerably defaced by time and wear, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 369 

and much of it quite difficult to read. Those who would con- 
sult it also find a still greater difficulty in the utter absence 
of any order in its arrangement, so that to surely find whether 
any desired name is contained in it or not, the whole book 
must be gone through. These obstacles united render the 
record practically a "sealed book," except to those who have 
the ability to read faded Dutch manuscript, and the time and 
patience to search through such a long list to find the names 
they wish to see. Believing that the service of unlocking this 
sealed treasure will be appreciated by those who may have 
occasion to refer to it, we have transcribed the entire list, as 
far as it has any genealogical significance, and have arranged 
the entries all in the alphabetic order of the surnames of the 
fathers. 

The custom prevailed of baptizing children at a very tender 
age. In the early years of the record occasionally the date 
of birth is given together with the date of baptism, as in the 
following entry : 

" Cornells Tyssen zyne gedoopte Kinderen zyn Dochter 
Elizabeth is gebooren den 1705 28 van May ende heeft 
zynen Doop ontfangen den 2 Augustus De Getuygen 
bennen Leenert Smack de ende Sara Smack." 

In the very early records it will be noticed the mother's name 
is not given. In most cases two "getuygen" or witnesses, 
names appear in connection with each baptism, though in some 
only one appears, and in others none at all. 

The record contains many old Dutch words and phrases now 
more or less obsolete, which, through the kindness of Dr. 
Brownlee, who has made the book a matter of considerable 
study, we are able to bring together in the following list, with 
their parallel English words or expression. We give the Dutch 
in Roman type, and the corresponding English in italics : 

Ouwders parents; kinderen children; getruygen witness- 
es ; gedoopt baptized; den the or then ; de the; vanof; 
dese these; zyne his or her ; soon, or zoon son; bennen 
are; dochter daughter ; en and; geborn born; met with; 
gemelle, or tweelings twins; bediening office, employment or 
service ; heeft 7ias ; de compeer god-father ; de peet god- 
mother; doop baptism; Christelycken Christian; onfangen 
obtained or received; haar, or haaren her ; vervolgh contin- 
uation; eene a or one; vooi-for; op of; het the; genaemt 

24 



370 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

is named ; zie see; dezer tliis ; donderdagh Thursday; 
dingsday Tuesday; sonne opgang sunrise; omtrent about; 
Heeren the Lord; naam name; opgegeven given up. 

The book also contains records of later date, of children 
baptized by Rev. William Jackson for the Reformed Protestant 
Dutch church at the north side of Staten Island, July 9, 1786 to 
October 29 of the same year, 7: in the "new church at the 
North Side," from May 27, 1787 to October 11, 1789, 31: by 
Rev. Peter Stryker, from October 17, 1790 to November 14, 
same year, 9. Mr. Stryker was installed in this church by Mr. 
Livingston, Thursday, November 11, 1790. The record of bap- 
tisms was kept by Mr. A. Ryersz. The fee of one, or some- 
times two shillings, which was sometimes paid, was duly en- 
tered. The names of "parents or witnesses" accompany the 
entry of each baptism in that list in such a way as to leave no 
way of distinguishing between the two classes, hence the omis- 
sion of all names on that list. 

The title page bears the following inscription: 

"Register Boek Van De K d Namen Der Kinderen De- 

welck Gedoopt Bennen On Staten Eylandt Van D - Beginne 
Van flet Jaer Anno 1696." 

In the following list, the date of baptism is followed by 
the names of child, father and mother, in the order mentioned. 

Oct. 8, 1721, Hilletje, dozen Adriaannsz, Femmetje vand'rBilt. 

May 17, 1724, Leah, Jan Andrevet, Leah Sweem. 

Apr. 7, 1729, Jan, Jan Andrevet, Leah Sweem. 

Aug. 26, 1722, Neeltje, Jan Andrevet, Leah Sweem. 

Mar. 27, 1720, Rebecca, Pieter Andrevet, Rebecca Cole. 

Dec. 25, 1723. Elisabet, Pieter Andrevet, Rebecca Cole. 

Jan. i, 1726, Elisabet and Anna, twins, Pieter Andrevet, Rebecca Cole. 

Mar. 25, 1701, Andrys, Andrys Andryssen. 
- 1707. Lontys, Joseph Bastido. 

July, 3, 1707, Rossanna, Joseph Bastido. 

July, 26, 1711, Bastido, Joseph Bastido. 

May 4, 1714 Jan, Joseph Bastido. 

Jan. 18, 1717, maria, Joseph Bastido. 

Oct. 18, 1719, Pieter, Joseph Bastido, Judith Ryke. 

Apr. 22, 1707, Tryntie, Nicolaas Backer. 

Oct. 31, 1756, Jacob, Niclos Backer, Liesabet toret. 

Feb. 26, 1758, Mary, Niclos Backer, Liesabet Latoret. 

Oct. 21, 1707, Nicolaas, Hendricus Backer. 

Aug. 24, 1729, Catharina, Jacobus Bakker, Rebecca Staats. 

Jan. 30, 1734, Nicolaas, Jacobus Bakker, Rebeeca Staats. 

Mar. 28, 1736, Geertje, Jan Barbank, Leah Hagewout. 

Dec. 8, 1728, Thomas, Jan Barbank, Leah Hagewout. 

Mar. 28, 1736, Maria, Lucas Barbank, Martha Baile. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 371 

Jan. 16, 1732, Maria, Jan Barbank, Lea Hagewout. 
Apr. '3. i?42i Catharina, Lucas Barrabank, Martha Baely. 
Oct. n, 1719, Maria, Thomas Barbanck, Marritje Martling. 
Sep. 22, 1723, Abraham, Pieter Barbaric, Elisabet du Secoy. 
Jan. i, 1729, Cornelia, Jacob Bergen, Maria Croesen. 
Sep. 23, 1731, Jacob, Jacob Bergen, Maria Croesen. 
May 6, 1745, Grietje, Jacob Bergen, Grietie Bennet. 
June 10, 1747, Gerretye, Jacb bergen, Margrietye bennet. 
May 3, 1749, adriaen, Jacob Bergen, maragreta Bennet. 
Sept. 4, 1737, Cornelia, Jacob Bergen, Maria Croesen. 
Apr. 29, 1722, Gerritje, Fredrik Bergen, Gerritje Veghte. 
Sept. 26. 1725, Henrik, Frederik Bergen, Gerritje Veghte. 
Mar. 12, 1732, Elsje, Fredrik Bergen, Gerritje Veghte. 
May 21, 1727, Elisabet, Jacob Bennet, Elisabet Brouwer. 
May 26, 1729, Willem, Jacob Bennet, Elisabet Brouwer. 
Dec. 20, 1724, Juriaan, Jacob Bennet, Elizabet Brouwer. 
Sept. 24, 1732, Cornelius, Jacob Bennet, Elisabet Brouwer. 
Oct. 28, 1722, Aaltje, Jacob Bennet, Elizabet Brouwer. 
Apr. 22, 1707, Aeltie, Thomas Berbanck. 
Nov. 2, 1754, Cattriena, Abraham Beckelo, Cattriena Ebis. 

July 28, , Gerret, - - Berkelo, - Elles. 

Oct. 13, 1747, Cornelius, Abraham berkelau, catrina Ellis. 
Oct. 19, 1708, Daniel, Issac Bellin. 
Mar. 14, 172$, Maria, Jacobus Biebaut, Maria Sweem. 
May 5, 1729, Petrus, Jacobus Biebant, marytje Sweem. 
Feb. 19, 1727, Elisabet, Jacubus Biebant, Maria Sweem. 
July 16, 1721, Jacobus, jacobus Biebant, Maria Sweems. 
Nov. 2, 1718, Isaak, Teunis Bogaart, Catharina Hegeman. 
Dec. 18, 1720, Adriaan, Teunis Bogaart, Catharina Hegeman. 
Dec. 30, 1722, Margareta, Simon Bogaart, Margrietje Ten Eyk. 
Jan. 19, 1729, Gysbert, Simon Bogaart, Margrietje ten Eyk. 
Oct. 18, 1719, Elisabet, Simon Bogaart, Margrietje ten Eik. 
May 19, 1726, Simon, Simon Bogaart, Margrietje Ten Eyk. 
Apr. 21, 1723, Abraham, Teunis Bogaart, Catharina Hegeman. 
Mar. 28, 1725, Maria, Teunis Bogaart, Catharina Hegeman. 
Mar. 2, 1729, Cornelius, Teunis Bogaart, Catharina Hegeman. 
Feb. 13, 1732, Sarah, Simon Bogaart, Margrietje Ten Eyk. 
Nov. 29, 1719, Jean, Francois Bodin, Maria Dey. 
Nov. 3, 1754, Eliesebeth, Nettenel Bos, Jannetye Post. 
Sept. 17, 1758, Gerret, Nettenel bos, Jannetye Post. 

- 1706, Samuel, Josua Bosch. 

May 6, 1745, Antje, Nicklas Bos, Elisabet Drenkwater. 
Sept. 8, 1734, Barent, Nicolaas Bosch, Elisabet Drinkwater. 
Nov. 21, 1731, Margareta, Nicolaas Bosch, Elisabet Drinkwater. 
July 13, 1740, Nicolaas, Nicolaus Bosch, Elisabet Drinkwater. 
Nov. 24, 1728, Eduard, Nicolaas Bosch, Elisabet Drenkwater. 
Dec. n, 1737, Samuel, Louis du Bois Jun'r, Catharina van Brunt. 
Apr. 22, 1718, Anna, James Bosler, Sara Pereine. 
Apr. i, 1728, Forms, Andries Bowman. 
Mar. 20, 1716, Andries, Andries Bowman. 
May 6, 1745, aeltje, Cornelus Bowman, Aeltje Titus. 
Apr. 19, 1715, Neeltje, Cornelis Bouwman. 



372 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Sept. 14, 1742, Neeltje, Jacob bowman, Maria Williams. 

Jan. 16, 1732, Harmen, Pieter Bouwman, Elsje van Pelt. 

Sept. 14, 1742, Neeltje, pieter bowman, Elsje Van pelt. 

Apr. 23, 1739, Pieter, Pieter Bouwman, Elsje van Pelt. 

July 24, 1710, Joris, Harmen Bowman. 

Oct. 23, 1711, Tryntie, Harmen Bowman. 

May 4, 1714, Jacob, Harmen Bowman. 

June 15, 1716, Cornelis, Harmen Bowman, Neeltje Staats. 

May 15, 1720, Neeltje, Cornelis Bouwman, Antje Staats. 

Apr. 22, 1707, Elisabeth, Jores Bowman. 

Sept. 22, 1709, Johanna, Jores Bowman. 

Feb. 12, 1758, Catriena, Antony brat, neety haagewout. 

July 20, 1718, Cornelis, Cornelis Brees, Sara Schilmans. 

Aug. 18, 1741, Jan, Johanes Brestede, Trintie Hagewout. 

Aug. 16, 1743, Pieter, Johannes Brestede, Treintje hagewout. 

Apr. 22, 1746, Eckbert, Johannes brestede, Catherina hagewouyt. 

- 1715, Johannes, VVillem breetstede. 

- 1715, Andries. Willem breetstede. 

Jan. 18, 1719, Andries, Willem Breetstede, Christina Bouwman. 
Aug. 13, 1721, Engeltje, Willem Breetstede, Christina Bouwman. 
Sept. 9, 1722, Henrik, Henrik Bries, Dina du Cecoy. 
Jan. 31, 1725, Sara, Henrik Bries, Dina du Secoy. 
Apr. 9, 1732, Sara, Nathanael Britton, Esther Billeville. 
Apr. 23, 1707, Jeams, Joseph Britten. 
Oct. ii, 1708, William, Nicolaes Britten. 
Apr. 20, 1740, Maria, John Brown, Susanne Roseau. 
Aug. 16, 1743, Jan, Jan burbanck, Leea hagewout. 
Apr. 22, 1746, Abraham, John burbanck, Lea hagewout. 
Feb. 23, 1724. Nathan, Elias Burger, Susanna Whitman. 
Oct. 19, 1718, Samuel, Samuel Burnet, Obiit, Antje Mangels Ral. 
June 8, 1735, Sara, James Butler, Sara Parain. 
Apr. 9, 1732, Jan, James Butler, Sara Parem. 
Nov. 18, 1733, Andries, Dirk Cadmus, Jannetje van Hoorn. 
Oct. 31, 1731, Cathrina, Dirk Cadmus, Jannetje van Hoorn. 
July 19, 1724, Rutgers, Dirk Cadmus, Jannetje van Hoorn. 
Dec. n, 1720, Frederyk, Dirk Cadmus, Jannetye van Hoorn. 
Apr. 22, 1746, Elizabeth, Jar. Cahon, maria Egberts. 
Aug. 26, 1739, Catharina, Jean Canon, Maria Egberts. 
July 19, 1748, Jacobus, John Canone, Maria Egberts. 
Oct. 22, 1707, Margriete, Beniamin Carenton. 
June 6, 1715, Jannetie, Joseph Carrinton. 
Nov. 20, 1719, Philip, Philip Casier, Catharina Hooglant. 
Aug. 28, 1726, Casparus, Jsak Gaspers, Elisabet Lisk. 
Jan. 21, 1739, Cornelia and Antje, twins, Johannes Cavelier, Catlyntje 
Andriessen. 

April 10, 1726, Jacobus, Phillippe Cazier, Catharina Hooghlant. 
Mar. 15, 1724, Dirk, Philip Cazier, Catharina Hooghlant. 
Jan. 14, 1722, Catharina, Philip Cazier, Catharina Hooglant. 
Aug. 23, 1730, Petrus> Phillipe Cazier, Catharina Hooghlant. 
Sept. 14, 1718, Elsje, Pieter Cielo, Blandina van Pelt. 
Oct. 14, 1722, Peter, Pieter Ceilo, Blandina van Pelt. 
June 6, 1725, Cornelia, Peter Ceilo, Blandina van Pelt. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 373 

July 9, 1727, Sara, Pieter Ceilo, Blandina van Pelt. 

Jan. 12, 1729, Daniel, Pieter Ceilo, Blandina van Pelt. 

Mar. 14, 1731, Wilhelmus, Pieter Ceilo, Blandina van Pelt. 

Nov. 16, 1735, Johannes and Maria, twins, Peter Ceilo, Blandina van 
Pelt. 

Aug. 4, 1703, Niclaes, Barent Christoffelzen. 

Apr. 23, 1706, Catharyna, Barent Christoffelzen. 

Apr. 20, 17 , Rebecka, Barent Christoffelzen. 

1710, Maria, Barent Christoffelzen. 

Aug. 13, 1716, ane catryn and Barent, Barent Christofer. 

Jan. u, 1719, Susanna, Barent Christopher, Anna Cathrina Stihvel. 

Nov. 27, 1726, Barent, Nicolaas Christpher, Christina Bowman. 

Sept. 26, 173.1, Anna Catharina, Nicolaas Christopher, Christina Bouw- 
man. 

Apr. 16, 1732, Johannes, Hans Christopher, Jane Arrowsmith. 

Apr. 14, 1734, Barent, Hans Christopher, Tane Arrowsmith. 

Aug. 8, 1736, Joseph, Hans Christopher. Jane Arrowsmith. 

Sept. 30, 1739, Richard, Hans Christopher, Jane arrowsmith. 

Oct. 22, 1701, Femmetye, Derek Claassen. 

Apr. 20, 1703, Hendrickie, Derek Claassen. 

Apr. 23, 1706, Jacobus, Derek Claassen. 

June 8, 1718, Francyntje, Jan Claatz, Maria de Chene. 

Apr. 22, 1707, Femmetie, Cobus Claazen. 

Aug. 30, 1743, Maria, Walter Clendenne, pieternel Olfer. 

May 6, 1745, Johannes, Walter Clendenne, Nieltje ollifer. 

Apr. 22, 1747, Jacob, waiter clendenne, peternella Oliver. 

Sept. 17, 1748, Cathilyna, Walter Clendenne, Piternela Oliver. 

May n, 1735, Patience, adam Clendenny, Eva Johnson. 

Oct. 31, 1756, Jeams, Jeams Clendeny, rabecke Jonson. 

June 24, 1759, Antye, Walter Cleninne, nelli alever. 

Oct. 21, 1707, Dorote, Jan Clerck. 

Apr. 19, 1709, Dorothea, Jan Clerck. 

Apr. 17, 1711, Jan, Jan Clerck. 

July 14, 1713, Sara, Jan Clerck. 

July 14, 1713, Rachel, - Clindinne. 

July 28, , Walteris, Clindinne, nelli alver. 

May i, 1753, Pieternelle, waiter Clindinne, Pieternelle alver. 

Feb. 16, 1755, Joseph, Walter Clindinne, nelli allever. 

Mar. 13, 1720, Abraham, Jan Cochean, Elisabet Jackson. 

Apr. 18, 1725, Femmetje, Teunis Coevert, Femmetje vander Schure. 

Oct. 5, 1766, willim, Andru Colter, Mary Clendenny. 

Aug. 26, 1759, Andries, David Cornon, Aaltye Praal. 

Nov. 2, 1754, Aront, Davit Cornon, Aaltye Praal. 

Jan. 29, 1756, Davit. Davit Cornon, Aaltye Praal. 

Aug. 26, 1759, Danal, Peatar Cornon, Mally Stebs. 

May 4, 1714, Cornelis, Beniamin Corsen. 

Aug. 13, 1716, Maria, Benjamen Corssen. 

Aug. 3, 1718, Benyamin, Benyamin Corsen, Blandina Vile. 

Nov. 24, 1723, Maria, Cornelius Corssen, Jannetje Boskerk. 

Aug. 13, 1725, Pieter, Cornelius Corssen, Jannetje Boskerk. 

Feb. 26, 1727, Christiaan, Cornelius Corssen, Jannetje Boskerk. 

Feb. 23, 1728, Cornelius, Cornelis Corssen, Jannetje van Boskerk. 



374 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Feb. 21, 1731, Cornelius, Cornells Crossen, Jannetje van Boskerk. 

Oct. 10, 1731, Henrik, Cornelis Croesen, Helena van Tuyl. 

Oct. 22, 1732, Jacobus, Cornelius Corssen, Jannetje van Boskerk. 

Sept. 19, 1736, Catharina, Cornelius Corssen, Jannetje van Boskerk. 

Mar. 25, 1701, Suster, Jacob Corssen. 

Oct. 21, 1707, Jacob, Jacob Corssen. 

Apr. i, 1718, Beniamyn, Jacob Corssen. 

Apr. 18, 1743, Cornelia, Jacob Corsen, Cornelia Croesen. 

Dec. 23, 1739, Maria, Jacob Corssen Junior, Cornelia Croesen. 

Oct. 13, 1747, Jacob, Jacob Corsen Jun'r, Cornelia kroese. 

Aug. 25, 1751, Neelty, Jacob Corsen Juner, Cornelia Croesen. 

Nov. 7, 1753, Richard, Daniel Corsen, Maria Stilwell. 

Nov. 7, 1753, Daniel, Daniel Corsen, Maria Stilwell. 

Sept. 17, 1758, Cornelius, Daniel Corsen, Liesebeth bogert. 

Oct. 5, 1755, ragel, Douwe Corson, Janntye Conein. 

Nov. 4, 1722, Pieter, Jaques Coteleau, Jacomyntje van Pelt. 

Dec. 26, 1720, Debora, Jaques Coteleau, Jacomyntje van Pelt. 

May 29, 1726, Neeltje, Jaques Coteleau, Jacomyntje van Pelt. 

Nov. 21, 1731, Maria, Samuel Couwenhoven. Sara Drinkwater. 

Apr. 3, 1720, Anna, Jacobus Craven, Antje Iniaart. 

Dec. 23, 1722, Christina, Jacobus Craven, Antje Iniaart. 

Sept. 26, 1725, Esther, Jacobus Craven, Antje Iniaart. 

Apr. 22, 1707, Elsie, Cobus Creven. 

July 27, 1714, Johannes, Cobus Creven. 

Apr. i, 1718, Gillis, Cobus Creven. 

Mar. 30, 1740, Abraham, Daniel Crocheron, Maria du Puy. 

Dec. 8, 1723, Henrik, Gerrit Croesen, Henriks Zoon, Geestruyd van 
Tuyl. 

Sept. 13, 1728, Femmetje, Gerrit Croesen, Henriks zoon, Geertruyd 
van Tuyl. 

Aug. 6, 1732, Abraham, Gerrit Oroesen, Henriks zoon, Geerttuyd van 
Tuyl. 

Aug. 27, 1740, Cornelia, Gerrit Croesen, Claasje Brinkerhof. 

Apr. 18, 1743, Maria, Gerret Croesen, Claesje Blenkerhof. 

June 24, 1752, Hendrick, Gerret Croesen, Claesye Blinckerhof. 

July 29, 1733, Abraham, Cornelis Croesen, Helena van Tuyl. 

Mar. 9, 1735, Daniel, Cornelius Corssen, Jannetje van Boskerk. 

Aug. 8, 1736, Cornelius, Cornelis Croesen, Helena van Tuyl. 

July 14, 1713, Elisabeth, Jan Crosson. 

Oct. 5, 1760, Marya, Charsels daecr, maccy maral. 

Aug. 26, 1759, Andro, Sammual Danges, Jenny ryt. 

Feb. 7, 1720, Samuel, Henry Day, Maria van Pelt. 

June 7, 1724, Petrus, Henry Day, Maria van Pelt. 

May 30, 1726, Maria, Heny Day, Moria van Pelt. 

Aug. n, 1728, Simon, Henry Day, Maria van Pelt. 

Feb. 15, 1730, William, John Day, Anne More. 

Oct. 31, 1736, Johannes, John Day. Hanna More. 

June 7, 1719, I/aurens, Gideon de Camp, Hendrikje Elles. 

Aug. 30, 1724, Bastiaan, Gideon de Camp, Hendrikje Elles 

Oct. 15, 1727, Gideon, Gideon de Camp, Henrikje Elles. 

Aug. 2, 1719, David, Hendrik de Camp. Maria La mes. 

May 21, 1721, Gideon, Hendrik de Camp, Maria La mes. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 375 

Feb. 13, 1726, Christoffcl, Hendrik, de Camp, Maria La Mes. 
Feb. 6, 1728, Charles, Charles Dekker, Lena Sweem. 
Apr. 5, 1730, Matthys, Charles Dekker, Lena Sweem. 
Oct. 29, 1732, Magdalena, Charles Dekker, Lena Sweem. 
Mar. 16, 1735, Mattheus, Charles Dekker, Lena Sweem. 
Jan. 8, 1738, Esther, Charles Dekker, Lena Sweem. 
May 7, 1741, Eva, Charles Decker, Helena Sweam. 
July 28, 1751, marya, Charlis Deckker, helena Sweem. 
July 3, 1726, Maria, Johannes Dekker, Maria Sweem. 
Apr. 21, 1728, Sarah, Johannes Dekker, Maria Sweem. 
Apr. 19, 1743, Johannes, Johannes Decker, nence Merrel. 
Apr. 26, 1748, Richard, John Decker, Anna Merrell. 
Apr. 22, 1747 Elstye, mattheus decker, Elstye Merrill. 
Sept. 7, 169-, Johannes, Mattheus De Decker. 
Oct. 21, 1707, Abraham, Mattheus De Decker. 
Apr. 17, 1711, Elisabeth, Matthtus De Decker. 
, 1715, Mattheus, Mattheus De Decker. 
July 27, 1755, Cattriena, Pieter Degroot, Claartye Post. 
July 25, 1758, Geertruy, Pieter Degroot, Claartye Post. 
Aug. 6, 1745, Vereltje, Baltes De'iart, Maria Phillipel. 
Sept. 17, 1746, catalyna, b;iltus dehart, mary phillipse, 
May 20, 1750, Samuel. Samul Dehart, Abigael Jones. 
Sept. 21, 1718, Maria, Pieter Dekker, Susanna Hetfeel. 
July 24, 1720, Johannes, Pieter Dekker, Susanna Hetfeel, 
May 24, 1724, Susanna, Pieter Dekker, Susanna Hetfeel. 
Oct. 23, 1726, Sara, Pieter Dekker, Susanna Hetfeel. 
June 10, 1728, Mattheus, Pieter Dekker, Susanna Hetfeel. 
Mar. 26, 1732, Eva, Pieter Dekker, Susanna Hetfeele. 
Apr. li '73S. Abraham, Pieter Dekker, Susanna Hetfield. 
May 7, 1741, Jacob, Peter Decker, Susane Helfeull. 
Apr. 5, 1730, Eva, Seger Dekker, Elisabet du puy. 
Apr. 8, 1733, Eva, Zeger Dekker, Susanna Jones. 
May 24, 1730, Matthys, Johannes Dekker, Maria Sweem. 
Mai. 25, 1739, Eva, Joh: Dekkers, Marytje Sweem. 
Apr. 13, 1742, Johannes, barend de pu, .Elsje Peljoung. 
Oct. 13, 1747, Elizabeth, barent depuy, Elsye poilyon. 
Nov. 3, 1754, Johannis, Barent depue, Elsye Puelyon. 
Oct. 21, 1707, Lambert, Jan Dorlandt. 
Apr. 17, 1711, Joris, Jan Dorlandt. 
Apr. 17, 1717, Isack, Jan dorlandt. 

Apr. 3, 1720, Harmpje and Eva, twins, Jan Dorlant, Barbara Aukes. 
Aug. 29, 1725, Abraham, Jan Dorlant, Barbara Aukes. 
Oct. 26 1729, Anthony, Cornelis Dorlant, Saartje van Pelt. 
Jan. 17, 1754, Maria, Thomas Doghety, Sara Van Naame. 
Tune 3, 1739, Margrietje, Pierre Drageau, Elisabet Gewan. 
Oct. 9, 1720, Cornelius, Michiel du Chene, Susanno vandr Hoven. 
May 21, 1716, Valentyen, Machayel Due Seen. 
May 20, 1750, Martha, Barent Dupue, Elsye Puilyon. 
Apr. 6, 1734, Catharina, Nicolaas du puy. Neeltje Dekker. 
Nov. 7, 1749, Benya.nen, Jacus Ecbers, Catharina Backer. 
June 6, 1715, Abraham, Abraham Egbertsen. 
Apr. 10, 1720, Johannes, Abraham Egbertsen, Francyntje Parain. 



376 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Jan. 17, 1722, Elisabet, Abraham Egbertsen, Francyntje Parain. 

Apr. 17, 1744, Elisabet, Abram Egbertse, Elisabet Gerresen. 

July 28, 1751, Hester, Abraham Egbertse, Elizabet Gerretse. 

July 13, 1713, Abraham, Egbert Egbertsen. 

Apr. 10, 1720, Isaak, Egbert Egbertse, Francyntje de Chene. 

May, 20, 1722, Johannes, Egbert Egbertszen, Francyntje du Chene. 

Feb. 14, 1720, Maria, Jacodus Egbertsen, Catharina Dey. 

Oct. 8, 1721, Teunis, Jacobus Egbertsen, Catharina Dey. 

July, 14, 1723, Johannes, Jacobus Egbertzen, Catharina Deuy. 

Mar. 24, 1724-5, Laurens, Jaqnes Egbertszen, Catharina Deuy. 

Mar. 23, 1729, Nicolaas, Jaques Egbertszen, Catharina Bakker. 

June, 7, 1731, Piecer, Jaques Egbertszen, Catharina Bakker. 

Nov. 4, 1733, Susanna, Jaques Egbertsz, Catharina Bakker. 

Apr. 18, 1736, Abraham, Jaques Egbertsen, Catharina Bakker. 

Aug. 20, 1738, Elisabet, Jaques Egbertzen, Catharina Bakker. 

Oct. n, 1743, Catrina, Jacus Egberts, trintje Backer. 

Apr. 22, 1747, Antye, Jacus Egberts, Catrina backers. 

Aug. 10, 1718, Teunis, Teunis Egbertsen, Jannetje Chesne. 

Dec. 12, 1745, Johines, Teunes Egbertse, Peternel Depey. 

Oct. 13, 1747, abrahem, tunes Egbertse, Peternella depuy. 

Nov. 7, 1749, Barent, teunis Egbertsen, Pieternelle depu. 

Apr. i, 1718, Altje, Cornelis Egmont. 

Apr. 30, 1721, Femmetje, Cornelis Egmont, Elsje de Camp. 

July, 21, 1723, Zeger, Cornelis Egmont, Elsje de Camp. 

Jan. 2, 1726, Christoffel, Cornelius Egmont, Elsje de Camp. 

May, 7, 1719, Johannes, Charles Ellens, Marytje de Camp. 

Aug. 30, 1724, Catharina, Bastiaan Elles, Sara Neesjes. 

Nov. 7, 1725, Cornelius, Bastiaan Elles, Sara Neesjes. 

Oct. i, 1727. Hagtje, Bastiaan Elles, Sara Neesjes. 

Jan. 31, 1730, Sara, Bastiaan Elles, Sara Neesjes. 

Apr. 22, 1746, Maria, basteyaen Elles, Sara neefyes. 

Aug. 26, 1759, Saara, Cornelius ellis, Leena vanderbilt. 

Apr. 17, 1744, Antje, Wellim Elsewart, Babecca Stihvel. 

Apr. 17, 1744, Mareitje, Wellim Elsewart. 

Apr. 18, 1743, Elisabet, Mathies Enjard, Elisabet Gerreson. 

July, 28, 1728, Esther, Andre Escord, Catline Richand. 

Jon. 4, 1730, Maria, Andre Escord, Catline Richaud. 

Oct. 18, 1715, Susan, tunes Exberson. 

May, 4, 1714, Hieronimus, Stieven Feteto. 

Feb. 8, 1769, Daniel, hanry fiaban, eghije vanwinkel. 

May, n, 1729, Antje, Anthony Fountain, Belitje Byvank. 

Nov. 20, 1754, Johannis, Antoni founten, Anaatye gerretson. 

Nov. 3, 1754, Antoni, Antoni founten, Anaatye Gerretson. 

Mar. , 1756, Maragrietye, Antoni founen, Anaatye Gerretson. 

Dec. 23, 1759, Cornelus, Antony founten, Annaetye Gerritson. 

Feb. 17, 1723, Usselton, Robert Frost, Sara Usselton. 

Mar. 21, 1731. Christopher, Isaac Garritzen, Maria Christopher. 

June 12, 1726, Metje, Jacob Gammaux, Dirkje van Tilfaurgh. 

June 27, 1736, Daniel, Cornelis Gerritzen, Aaltje van Winkel. 

Apr. 12, 1719, Charles, Charles Gerritsz. 

Nov. 4, 1759, Neeltye, Christeyaan Gerrebrans Marya Post. 

Nov. 4, 1759, Maragrietye, Johannis Gerritson, Marritye demot. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 377 

May 5, 1696, Daniel, Lambert Gerritzen. 

July 14, 1713, Lambert, Lambert Gerritzen. 

Mar. i, 1719, Magdalena, Lambert Gerritysz Junior, Lysbet Swweem. 

July 2, 1721, Nicolaas, Lambert Gerritz Junior, Lysbet Sweem. 

Aug. 25, 1723, Abraham, Lambert Gerritzen Jun'r, Lysbet Sweem. 

May 24, 1730, Elisabet, Lambert Gerretzen, Lysbet Sweem. 

May 26, 1729, Elisabet, Frans Gerbrantsz, Neeltje Corssen. 

Apr. 19, 1743, France, Frances Gerrebrats, Nieltje Cossen. 

Sept. 17, 1746, Daniel, frans Gerrtbratse, neeltye corsen. 

June 26, 1726, Nicolaas, Nicolaas Gerritson, Christina v. Woggelum. 

Jan. 28, 1728, Susanna, Nicolaas Gerritsen, Christina V. Woggelum. 

Sept. 14, 1729, Jan, Nicolaas Gerritzon, Christina van Woggelum. 

Aug. 13, 1732, Lambert, Nicolaas gerritzen, Christina van Woggelum. 

Aug. 12, 1738, Zeger, Nicolaas Gerritzen, Christina van Woggelum. 

June 15, 1740, Blandina, Nicolaas Gerritzen, Christina v. Woggelum. 

, 1742, Zeger, nicklaes Gerresen, Crestina Van Woglom. 
Sept. 18, 1744, Abraham, Nicolaes Gerresen, Cristina Van Wogelom. 
June 3, 1734, Marytje, John Gold, Antje Wynants. 
Oct. 5, 1735, J an - J onn Gold, Antje Wynants. 
Aug. 13, 1716, Johannes, Jacob Gramo. 

Oct. 26, 1718, Catharina, Jacob Grameaux, Dirkje van Tilburgh. 
Aug. 6, 1721, Anna Catharina, Jacob de Garemeaux, Dirkje van Til- 
burgh. 

Nov. 24, 1723, Matthys, Jacob de grammeaux, Derkje van Tilburgh. 

May 26, 1728, Agneta, Jacob de Gramo, Dirkje van Tilburgh. 

Dec. 25, 1731, Jacob, Jacob de Gramo, Dirkje van Tilburgh. 

Apr. 15, 1734, Dirkje, Jacob ke Gramo, Dirkje van Tilburgh. 

Oct. 18, 1719, Martinus, Thomas Greegs, Lena du Puy. 

May 7, 1721, Preternelle. Thomas Greegs, Lena du Puy. 

May 20, 1722, Anna, Thomas Greegs, Lena du Puy. 

Apr. 19, 1724, John, Thomas Greegs, Lena du Puy. 

Dec. 12, 1725, Maria, Thomas Greegs, Lena du Puy. 

Sept. 15, 1723, Isaak, Abraham Gray, Ariaantje Aarisen. 

Apr. u, 1731, Pieter, Jeah Grondin, Marguerite du Bois. 

Oct. 10, 1731, Robbert, Johannes de Groot, Elisabet Sikkels. 

Feb. i, 1736, Johannes, Johannes de Groot, Elisabet Sikkel. 

July 30, 1750, Elizabeth, Pieter D Grood, Claertye Post. 

Aug. 25, 1751, Gerret, Pieter D Grood, Claerty Post. 

May i, 1753, Johannes, Pieter D Grood, Claertye Post. 

Apr. 20, 1729, Susanna, Louis Guineau, Anna Cisenu. 

Nov. 5, 1738, Esther, Elisce Gulledet, Magdelaine Gendron. 

May 4, 1714, Derckie, Egbert Hagewout. 

Mar. 8, 1772, Danniel, egbert haugwout, elener garebrantz. 

Oct. 16, 1720, Aaltje, Jan Hagewout, Eiisabet Hooghlant. 

Apr. i, 2718, pieter, pieter hagevvont. 

Dec. 26, 1719, Nicolaas, Pieter Hagewout, Neeltje Bakkers. 

Feb. 25, 1722, Dirkje, Pieter Hagewout, Neeltje Bakkers. 

Oct. 16, 1726, Egbert, Pieter Hagewout, Neeltje Bakkers. 

Dec. 22, 1728, Neeltje, Pieter Hagewout, Neeltje Bakkers. 

Mar. 14, 1731, Jacobus, Pieter Hagewout, Neeltje Bakker. 

Jan. 13, 1734, Geertruyd, Pieter Hagewout, Neeltje Bakker. 

Oct. 3, 1736, Margreta, Pieter Hagewout, Neeltje Bakker. 



378 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

July 28, 1751, neeltye, Pieter Hagewout, aeltye Bennet. 

June 24, 1752, Pieter, Pieter Hagewout, aeltye bennet. 

May i, 1753, Annaetye, Peter Hagewout, aeltye Bennet. 

July 27, 175*5, Gryetye, Pieter Hagewout, Altye Bennet. 

Mar. 12, 1758, Necclos, Pieter haagewout. Altye bennet. 

Apr. 20, 1760, wynant, Peter Haagewout, Aaltye bennit, 

Sept. 28, 1735, Isaak, Symon Hanszen of Symons, Helena Sweem. 

Aug. 18, 1728, Jacob, Benyamin Haste, Jannesje Johannis. 

Mar. 29, 1730, Johannes, Benyamin Haste, Jannesje Johannis. 

Mar. 19, 1731-2, Benjamin, Benjamin Haste, Jannetje Johannis. 

Aug. 6, 1721, Jacob, Jonannes Hasten, Marytje Johannesz. 

Mar. 21, 1724-5, Johannes, Johannes Hasten, Marytje Johannetz. 

Oct. 22, 1707, Daniel, Daniel de Hart. 

Apr. 17, 1711, Saartie, Daniel de Hart. 

- 1715, Matthys, Daniel de Hart. 
Apr. 19, 1715, Elisabeth, Daniel de Hart. 
Aug. 1717, Sameuel, Daniel de hart. 

1700, Elisabeth, Ryck Hendrickzen. 

1700, femmetye, Ryck Hendrickzen. 

- 1700, Marytie, Ryck Hendrickzen. 

May 22, 1718, Symon, Ryk Hendriksz, Ledy Henriks. 

May 22, 1718, Jan, Ryk Hendriksz, Ledy Henriks. 

Feb. 26, 1727, Catharina, Johan Henrick Packer, Anna Maria Juger. 

Jan. 7, 1722, Sara, Jaques Hervan, Charite Bries. 

May 17, 1724, Cornelis, Jaques Hervan, Geertje Bries. 

Sept. 3, 1721, Jenneke, Dirk Hogelant, Maria Slot. 

Apr. 26, 1748, Cornelia, Christophel Hoogelandt, Jannetye Veghten. 

May 5, 1696, Marytie, Jores Hoogelandt. 

Apr. 6, 1735, Rachel, Clement Hooper, Mary Stihvell. 

May 26, 1723, Joseph, obadias Holmes, Susanna du Puy. 

May 30, 1725, Susanna, obadias Holmes, Susanna du Puy. 

June 1 8, 1727, Johannes, Obadias Holmes, Susanna du Puy. 

Oct. n, 1743, Elisabet, Johannes huisman, Weintje Seimesen. 

Oct. 6, 1765, baarent, Johannes Huisman, Antye Merling. 

Oct. 31, 1756, Mary Miglen, Matteus bus, Attrena hus. 

Nov. 23, 1718, Anna, Johannes Huysman, Christina Hoppe. 

Jan. 15, 1721, Rachel, Johannes Huysman, Christina Hoppe. 

Sept. 4, 1726, Anna, Johannes Huysman, Wyntje Symons. 

May 26, 1728, Pieter, Johannes Huysman, Wyntje Symons. 

Feb. 15, 1730, Aarz, Johannes Huysman, Wyntje Simons. 

Jan. i, 1732, Margareta, Johannes Huysman, Wyntje Symons. 

Jan. 13, 1734, Johannes, Johannes Huysman, Wyntje Symons. 

Feb. 29, 1736, Dirk, Johannes Huysman, Wyntje Symons. 

Dec. 9, 1739, Abraham, Johannes Huysman, Wyntje Symons. 

July 19, 1748, Jemynna, Johannes Huysman, Wyntye Symensse. 

Jan. i, 1738, Maria, Johannes Huysman, Wyntje Simons. 

Apr. 22, 1746, Catherina, Johannes huysman, wyntye Symonson. 

Jan. 7, 1730, Matthys, Matthys Jniaart, Elisabet Gerritzen. 

Apr. 22, 1746, nicklaes, matthys inyard, Elizabeth Gerretse. 

June 12, 1725, Rachel, Gerrit Jacobusz, Ann van nes. 

Mar. 25, 1701, Jacobus, Jacob Jansen. 

Apr. 22, 1707, Johanna, Jacob Jansen. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 379 

- 1707, Wyntie, Jacob Jansen. 
Apr. 19, 1709, Jacobus, Jacob Jans. 
June 12, 1716, Beletje, Tyes Jansen. 
May 22, 1718, Maria, Thys Jansz. 

July 17, 1726, Elisabet, Jan Janssen, Jannetje Glascow. 
Apr. 19, 1719, Johannes, Johannes Jansz, Johanna Stol. 
June 19, 1720, Matthys, Mathys Jansz, Elisabet Ward. 
Jan, 17, 1722, Rachel, Matthys Jansz, Elisabet Ward. 
July 14, 1713, Marytie, Hendrick Jansen. 
May 29, 1719, Matthys, Hendrik Janszen, Abigail Britton. 
July 16, 1727, Henrik, Hendrik Janszen, Francyntje Parein. 
Apr. 22, 1728, Belitje, Hendrik Janszen, Francyntje Parein. 
Aug. 31, 1729, Esther, Hendrik Janszen obit, Francyntje Parein. 
Apr. 6, 1724, Sara, Cornelis Janszen, Sara Manbrut. 
Feb. 20, 1726, Maria, Cornelis Janszen, Sara Manbrut. 
Dec. 25, 1728, Rachel, Cornelis Janszen, Sara Mambrut. 
Nov. 10, 1728, Elsje, Jan Janszen, Mayke Verkerk. 
May 5, 1696, Winnefrit, Lambert Janzen. 
Sept. 7, 1698, Aefye, Lambert Janzen. 

Aug. 29, 1731, Wynant, Matthys Janszen, Geertje Wynants. 
May 30, 1726, Thomas, Thomas Janszen, Antje van Pelt. 
Dec. 16, 1733. Femmetje, Williem Janszen, Lena van Gelder. 
Jan. 13, 1737, Henricus, Willem Janszen, Lena van Gelder. 
Mar. 18, 1739, Wynant, Willem Janszen, Lena van Gelder. 

1710, Johannes, Michiel De Jeen. 

Apr. 17, 1744, Aentje. Jan Jennens, Aeltje Marteling. 

July 19, 1748, Enne, Joseph Jeuvson, Wenne Johnson. 

June 5, 1720, Sara, John Jennes, Antje Wouters. 

Sept. 17, 1748, Willem, John Jenner, Aeltye martlinghs. 

Sept. i, 1734, Elsje, John Jennes, - - Johnson. 

Oct. i, 1752, Elsye, Joh Jenners, aeltye meerlings. 

Oct. 1 1, 1748, Maria, Lambert Jenners, Anna Martelinghs. 

Apr. 22, 1746, John or Jan, John Jennens, aeltje martlings. 

May 6, 1745, Sara, Lummert Jinnens, annatje Marteling. 

June 24, 1752, Antye, Willem Jinnes, Jannetye Gerretse. 

June 22, 1735, Esther, Eneas Johnson, Sara Morgan. 

Feb. 29, 1736, Thomas, Johannes Johnson, Jannetje Glascow. 

Nov. 7, 1753, Pieter, John Johnson, Cornelia Ceilo. 

June i, 1729, Albert, Johannes Johnson, Jannetje Glascow. 

Nov. 19, 1738, Henricus, Nathanael Johnson, Sophia van Gelder. 

June 17, 1746, Wynant, nathaniel Johnson, Mary Cole. 

July n, 1731, Francyntje, Niers Johnson, Sara Morgan. 

Dec. 23, 1739, Sara, Niers Johnson, Sara Morgan. 

Oct. 2, 1755, Johnneton, Pieter Johnson, malli lister. 

June 30, 1738, Casparus, Thomas Johnson, Anna Bouwman. 

July 20, 1718, Eduard, Eduard Jones, Catharina Dekkers. 

Nov. 8, 1719, Mattheus, Eduard Jones, Catharina Dekkers. 

Apr. 22, 1722, Abigail, Eduard Jones, Catharina Dekkers. 

Aug. 14, 1726, Eduard, Eduard Jones, Catharina Dekkers. 

June 7, 1730, Maria, John Jones, Rachel van Engelen. 

Apr. 10, 1732, Elisabet, John Jones, Rachel van Engelen. 

Mar. 9, 1735, Johannes, John Jones, Rachel van Engelen. 



380 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Sept. 18, 1737, Rachel, John Jones, Rachel van Engelen. 

Mar. 30, 1740, Lucretia, John Jones, Rachel van Engelen. 

May 6, 1745 - Jan Jones, Ragel Van Engelen. 

Apr. 22, 1747, Isaac, John Jones, rachel van engelen. 

June 7, 1743, Catrina, Mateus Jones, Margrietje Gowen. 

May i, 1753, Jannetye, Abraham Joons, Jannetye peestnet. 

Dec. 17, 1732, Gillis, Matthys Jniaarx, Elisabet Gerritzen. 

May 4, 1735, Susanna, Matthys Jniaars, Elisabet Gerritzen. 

Apr. 23, 1739, Catharina, Matthys Jniaars, Elisabet Gerritzen. 

July, 30, 1750, Eefye, Joseph Juessen, Wynty Clindinne. 

Jan. 15, 1721, Johanna, Jan Jurks, Agneetje Staats. 

May 23, 1723, Pieter, Jan Jurks, Agnietje Staats. 

Oct. 10, 1725, Rachel, Jan Jurks, Agnietje Staats. 

Apr. 28, 1728, Catharina, Jan Jurks, Agnietje Staats. 

May 20, 1746, Joseph Juwsen, Joseph Juwsen, Venne Johnson. 

July 24, 1752, Sara, David kanon, Aeltye Prael. 

May i, 1753, marytye, David kanon, aeltye Prael. 

May 7, 1741, Abraham, Jan Kanon, Maria Egberts. 

June 24, 1752, Jenneke, Joris katmus, Jannetye vreland. 

Mar. 27, 1720, Samuel, Samuel Kierstede, Lydia Deuy. 

Apr. 14, 1723, Johannes, Samuel Kierstede, Lydia Deuy. 

Feb. 14, 1725, Lydia, Samuel Kierstede, Lydia Deuy. 

Aug. 7, 1754, Liesabet, Jacob Korson, Cornelia Kroeson. 

Mar. 3, 1734, Samuel, Samuel Kouwenhoven, Sara Drinkwater. 

Oct. 23, 1711, Cornelis, Gerrit Kroese. 

Dec. 1698, maritje, Heuderyck Kroesen. 

May 20, 1703, gerret, Henderyck Kroesen. 

Oct. 1708, Cornelis, Henderyck Kroesn. 

Apr. 22, 1713, neelje, Henderyck Kroesen. 

Aug. 26, 1759, Cornelius, Cornelius kroeson, Beelitye Degroot. 

Dec. 1 8, 1755, Geertruy, Gerret Kroesen, Klaasye Blencrof. 

Oct. 18, 1715, dirrick, Gerrit Kroesen. 

Apr. i, 1718, son, gerret Kroesen. 

Oct. 19, 1708, Gornelis, Hendrick Kroesen. 

, 1715, Neeltie, Hendrick Kroesen. 

Oct. 30, 1716, Cornelya, Hendrick kroesen. 

May 5, 1696, Niekasa, Derek Kroessen. 

Oct. 22, 1701, Derek, Derek Kroessen. 

July 30, 1707, Hendrick, Derek Kroessen. 

Sept. 17, 1758, Geertruy, Abraham Kroeson, Antye Symonson. 

Jan. 14, 1760, Johannis, Abraham kroeson, Antye Symonson, 

Oct. n, 1748, Claeseye, Gerret kroose, Claesye Blinckerof. 

Feb. 26, 1758, Isak, Nattenal Laacerman, marya marel. 

Nov, 3, 1754, Susanna, Nettenel Laakerman, Mareytye Merrel. 

Oct. 31, 1756, Nettenel, Nettenel Laakerman, Mareytye Merel. 

June 10, 1747, Jacob, Jan laarens, Caatye backer. 

May 3, 1749, Jan, John Laarens, Catherina Backer. 

July 28, 1751, Antye, John Laarns, kaetye Backer. 

Nov. 26, 1752, Catharina, John laarns, Catharina Backer. 

Oct. 19, 1718, Thomas, Thomas Lake, Jannetje Stryker. 

Mar. 26, 1731, Abraham. Joseph Lake, Aaltje Barbank. 

May 23, 1731, Louis, Isak Lakerman, Catharina Christopher. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 381 

Feb. so, 1760, richard, John Larns, Caatye backer. 
Mar. 3, 1728, Daniel, Pierre La Tourette, Mariamne Mersereaux. 
Oct. n, 1730, David and Jaques, twins, Pierre La Tourette, Mariamne 
Mersereaux. 

Mar. 24, 1734, Marie Susanne, Pierre La Tourette, Mariamne Mersereaux 

Apr. 26, 1736, Elisabet, Pierre La Tourette, Mariamne Mersereaux. 

Mar. 19, 1732, Jaques, David La Tourette, Catherine Poillon. 

Sept. i, 1734, Marie, David la Tourette, Catherine Poillon. 

Apr. 24, 1726, David, Jean La Tourette, Marie Mersereaux. 

Sept. 8, 1728, Marie, Jean La Tourette, Marie mersereaux. 

Jan. 24, 1731, Henricus, Jean La Tourette, Mane Mersereaux. 

May n, 1735, Maria, Joseph Leak, Aaltje Barbank. 

Apr. 13, 1735, Jacob, Richard Lean, Sara Johnson. 

Oct. 10, 1736, John, Richard Lean, Sara Johnson. 

Apr. 20, 1708, Joseph, Abraham Leeck. 

July 25, 1710, Margariet, Abraham Leeck. 

- i7 : 5, Abraham, Abraham Leeck. 
Mar. 25, 1701, Jan, Jeems Lesck. 

July 27, 1755, Necclos, John Lerns, kaatye backer. 

Sept. n, 1757, Mareia, John Lerns, kaatye backer. 

Jan. 21, 1728; Jacob, John Lisk, Rachel Hagewout. 

Aug. 24, 1729, Sara, Thomas Lisk, Catlyntje van Pelt. 

Mar. 26, 1731, Margriet, Thomas Lisk, Catlyntje van Pelt. 

Nov. 4, 1736, Sara, Thomas Lisk, Catlyntje van Pelt. 

May 6, 1745, Martha, tomas lisk, Catlintje van Pelt. 

Sept. 17, 1746, antye, thomas leisk, catlyna Van Pelt. 

Dec 5, 1731, Neeltje, John Lion, Maria Haurnens Bouwman. 

- 1715, Elisabeth, Engelbart Lot. 
June 18, 1717, Pieter, Engelbart Lot. 

Aug. 6, 1745, Wellem, John Lawrance, Derkje Van pelt. 
May 21, 1744, Elisabet, Carel Mackleen, Maria Corsen. 
Jan, i, 1721, Maria, William Mackelien, Elisabet Merl. 
Oct. 13, 1747, Jannetye, Charles McClean, Maria corsen. 
Nov. 7, 1753, Maria, Charles McLean, Maria Corsen, 
Sept. 19, 1749, VVillem, Cherles makleen, Marytye Corsen. 
Apr. 20, 1708, Margriet, Jan Maklies. 
May 26, 1723, Abraham, Abraham Manez. Anna Jansen. 
Apr. 20, 1729, Petrus, Abraham Manez, Sara du Chine. 
Oct. 25, 1730, Antje, Abraham Manez, Sara du Chene. 
Jan. 4, 1732, Maria, Abraham Manez, Sara du Chesne. 
Apr. 4, 1736, Catherine, Abraham Manez, Sara du Chesne. 
Mar. 26, 1738, Rachel, Abraham Manez, Sara du Chesne. 
Mar. 30, 1740, Sara, Abraham Manez, Sara du Chesne. 
Aug. 8, 1725, Maria, Pieter Manez, Mary Brooks. 
Jan. i, 1758, John, John marel, Anna marel. 
Aug. 13, 1716, Isack, Pieter Marlyngh. 
Aug. 6, 1745, Maria, Barent Marteling, Susana Gerresen. 
Oct. 13, 1747, Jannety, b.irent martlinghs, Susanna gerretse. 
Apr. 15, 1722, Anna, Isaak Martling, Anna van Namen. 
Jan. 10, 1724-5, Aaltje, Isah Martling, anna van namen. 
Feb. 21, 1731, Johannes, Isaak Martling, Anna van Namen. 
June i, 1718, Petrus, Pieter Martlings, Antje Vielen. 



382 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

June 26, 1720, Barent, Pieter Martlings, Antje Yilen. 

Aug. 19, 1722, Debora, Pieter Martlings, Antje Vilen. 

Nov. 18, 1733, Catharina, Pieter Martlings, Marytje Andries. 

Oct. u, 1743, Johannes, peter marteling, annatje hegeman. 

Apr. 26, 1748, Johannes, Piter martlings, Jannetye Heereman. 

Apr. 22, 1746, rachel, Josua masciro, maria Corsen. 

Jan. i, 1760, marya, John Marssero, Marya Praal. 

Mar. 4, 1759, John, Denel marsero, Cornelia vanderbih. 

Oct. 31, 1750, Mareya, Jacob marsero, fitye rol. 

July 27, 1755, Cattriena, Cherls mechleen, maria Corson. 

Oct. 31, 1756, Annaetye, tammas Merel, eva yoons. 

Aug. 26, 1759, tammes, tammas Merel, eva yoons. 

Jan. i, 1721, Lambert, Richard Merl, Elsje Dorlant. 

Sept. 13, 1724, Susanna, Richard Merl, Elsje Dorlant, 

Sept. 22, 1709, Richard, Richart Merrel. 
- 1715, Richard, Richart Merrel. 

Apr. i, 1708, elsje, Richart Merrel. 

Sept. 14, 1741, Jan, Jan Merrel, Aeltie Bennit. 

May 6, 1745, Sara, Jan Merrel, Aeltje Bennet. 

May 6, 1745, Seimon, Jan Merrel, Aeltje Bennet. 

Oct. 2, 1755, Sara, John merrel, Anna merrel. 

Apr. 19, 1743, Annatje, Richard Merrell, Jannetje Gowns. 

Nov. 7, 1753, Wintie, Jan Merrell, Anna Merrell. 

May 3, 1749, Gertruyt, John Merrell, Anna merrell. 

July 4, 1725, Catharina and Susanna, twins, Philip Merril, Elisabet 
Bakker. 

Feb. 24, 1727, Phillip, Phillip Merril, Elisabet Bakker. 

Sept. 9, 1726, Geertruyd, John Merril, Geertruyd Symonsz. 

Oct. 31, 1736, Annatie, Richard Merril, Thomas Zoon, Jenne Gewan. 

Nov. 24, 1728, Nicolaas, Philip Merril, Elisabet Bakker. 

Jan. 17, 1731, Mary, Phillip Merril, Elisabet Bakker. 

Apr. 8, 1733, Elisabet, Philip Merril, Elisabet Bakker. 

Mar. 9, 1735, Neeltje, Philip Merril, Elisabet Bakker. 

Mar. 8, 1772, anney, honnis merril, cherrety merril. 

Jan. i, 1738, Margareta, Richard Merril, Thomas Zoon, Jenne Gewan. 

Apr. 22, 1747, richard, Johannes Merrill, aeltye Dennet. 

Apr. 22, 1747, Joida, John merrill, antye merrill. 

Dec. 12, 1745, Elsse, Lodewik Metchel, Ragel Sayler. 

Nov. 2, 1718, Elisabet, Charles Messiel, Marytje. 

Aug. 30, 1719, Aaje and Abraham, twins, Johannes Metselaar, Cath- 
ryna neesjes. 

Oct. 15, 1721, Harmpje, Johannes Metzelaar, Cathryna Neesjes. 

July 21, 1723, Cornelis, Johannes Metzelaar, Cathryna Neesjes. 

Dec. 26, 1725, Cornnelis and Sara, twins, Johannes Metzelaar, Cath- 
ryna neesjes. 

Feb. n, 1728, Joha.nnes, Johannes Metzelaar, Tryntje Neesjes. 

Apr. 19, 1715, Jacobus, Abraham Metzelaer. 

July 8, 1722, Harmpje, Pieter Metzelaar, Maria Neesjes. 

June 7, 1724, Cornelius, Peter Metzelaar, Maria Neesjes. 

June 26, 1726, Aaghtje, Pieter Metzelaar, Maria Neesjes. 

May 20, 1750, abraham, Pieter meerlings Jun. anne Heereman. 

Sept. 17, 1752, Benyaman, Pieter meerlings Junier, Annaetye Heereman. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 383 

June 24, 1752, Antye, Barent meerlings, Susanna Gerretse. 

- Daniel, Estienne Mersereaux, Anne Michel. 
Jan. i, 1735, Marie, Estienne Mersereaux, Anne Mitchel. 
May 25, 1740, Richard, Estienne Mersereaux, Anne Mitchel. 
Oct. 13, 1728, Josua, Josue Mersereaux, Maria Corsen. 
May 24, 1730, Jacob, Josue de mersereaux, Maria Corssen. 
Mar. 26, 1732, Johannes, Josue Mersereaux, Maria Corssen. 
Jan. 20, 1734, Elisabet, Josue Mersereaux, Maria Corssen. 
Oct. 9, 1768, Allada, John Mercereau, Mary Prall. 
Feb. 28, 1731, Josua, Jean Mersersaux, Elisabet Creage. 
July 18, 1731, Daniel, Jean Mersereaux, Elisabet Mersereaux. 
Apr. 22, 1707, Hendriekie, Evert Mesker. 

, 1707, Neeltie, Evert Mebker. 

, 1715, Mattheus, Evert Mesker. 

, 1707, Neeltie, Harmen Mesker. 

July 23, 1707, Johannes, Harmen Mesker. 

Oct. 19, 1714, Abraham, Harmen Mesker. 

Nov. 7, 1749, Barent, Barent menlings Juner, Susanna Gerretse. 

Jan. i, 1739, Francyntje, Thomas Milbourn, Anna Preyer. 

Apr. 22, 1747, harmentye, leuues mitchel, rachel tyler. 

Nov. 7, 1749, Joannis, Lewis Mitchel, Rachel Teeler. 

Apr. 1 8, 1743, Elisabet, Josua Mossero, Maria Corsen. 

July 4, 1731, Elisabet, Laurens More, Sara Marobrut. 

July 7, 1734, Johannes, Laurens More, Sara mambrut. 

Aug. 20, 1738, Rachel, Laurens More, Sara Mambrut. 

Oct. 23, 1703, Margrietye, Jarels Morgen. 

Apr. 20, 1708, Sarah, Jarels Morgen. 

May 9, 1725, Maria, Charles Morgan, Sara Lorson. 

Dec. n, 1726, Thomas, Charles Morgan Jun'r, Sara Rutan. 

June 28, 1730, Abrahm, Charles Morgan, Sara Rutan. 

July 30, 1732, Charles, Charles Morgan, Sara Rutan. 

Apr. 7, 1735, Thomas, Charles Morga.i, Sara Rutan. 

May 5, 1696, Abraham, Thomas Morgen. 

Sept. 7, 1698, Martha, Thomas Morgen. 

Feb. 7, 1725, Elisabet, Thomas Morgan, Magdalena Staats. 

Feb. 12, 1727, Magdalena, Thomas Morgan, Magdalena Staats. 

Mar. 9, 1729, Pieter, Thomas Morgan, Magdalena Staats. 

Oct. 10, 1731, Thomas, Thomas Morgan, Magdalena Staats. 

July 18, 1736, Annatje, Thomas Morgan, Magdalena Staats. 

Sept. 1 6, 1739, Sara, Thomas Morgan, Magdalena Staats. 

Apr. 22, 1746, Pieter, Pieter nartlings, anna heeveman. 

1700, Metye, Cornells Neesies. 

- 1707, Cornells, Cornelis Neesies. 

Dec. 13, 1724, Pieter, Johannes Neesjes, Antje gerritsz. 
June 19, 1717, Eeohtje, Jornis nestjes. 

Sept. 13, 1719, Johannes, Joris Netsjes, WUk-mpje Borkelo. 
Oct. 15, 1721, Margarietje, Joris Neesjes, Willempje Borkelo. 
Jan. 12, 1724, Pieter, Joris Neesjes, Willempje Borkelo. 
Jan. 30, 1426, Aaghje, Joris Neesjes, Willempje Borkelo. 
Sept. 14, 1718, Dirkje, Johannes Neul, Geertje Hagewout. 
Mar. 6, 1720, Henrik, Johannes Neul, Geertje Hagewout. 
Dec. 24, 1721, Margareta, Johannes Neul, Geertje Hagewout. 



384 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Apr. 17, 1711, Cornelis, Joris Nevins. 

- 1715, Margrietie, Joris Nevins. 

- 1715, Jan, Joris Nevins. 

Oct. 23, 1711, Cornells, Johannes Nevins. 

July 14, 1713, Gerrit, Johannes Nevins. 

Sept. 16, 1739, Carel, Carel nyts, Rebecca Winter. 

Sept. 8, 1717, Annetje, Cornelis Oenaert 

Apr. 19, 1709, Margarietie, Donckin Oliver. 

July 27, 1718, Catharina, Samuel Olivier, Catharina du Puy. 

Aug. 12, 1722, Petronella, Samuel Oliver, Catharina du Puy. 

Jan. 1 6, 1734, Eduard, Jean Parlie, Abigail Jones. 

Jan. 20, 1740, Petrus, Pierre Parlier, Martha du Bois. 

June 13, 1736, Pieter, Jean Parliez, Abigail Jones. 

Apr. 26, 1748, Adriaen, Johannes Pelt, Anna Huysman. 

June 13, 1731, Jannetje, George Personet, Jannetje Mangels. 

Aug. 17, 1735, Johannes, George Personet, Jannetje mangels. 

May 31, 1730, Elisabet, Charles Petit, Anna Perliez. 

June 7, 1730, Willem Jorisze, Arent Praal, Marytje Bouwman. 

Oct. 7, 1733, Henricus, Arent Praal, Marytje Bouwman. 

May ii, 1735, Henderske, arent Praal, Marytje Bouwman. 

June 6, 1715, Elisabeth, Aron Praal Junior. 

Apr. 17, 1717, Aaron, Aron Paraal. 

Feb. 14, 1720, Anna, Arent Praal Junior, Antje Staats. 

Sept. 20, 1724, Pieter, Arent Praal Junior, Antje Staats. 

July 28, 1751, Lowies, Isaak Prael, marya de baa. 

Nov. 2, 1754, Abraham, beniemen Praal, Sara Sweem. 

Aug. 26, 1766, Johannis, beniemen Praal, Sara Sweem. 

Apr. 13, 1742, Catharina, Isaac Praal, Maria du bois. 

July 19, 1748, Maragritye, ysaac Praal, Maria Dubaa. 

Oct. n, 1719, Aaltje, Johannes Praal. 

- 1698, Arent, Pieter Praal. 

- 1705, Abiaham, Pieter Praal. 
Oct. 21, 1707, Antie, Pieter Praal. 
July 25, 1710, Isaac, Pieter Praal. 

May 21, 1744, Petrus, Isaak Pral, Maria Du bois. 
Sept. 16, 1746, Altye, ysack prael, maria de baa. 
Sept. 8, 1717, pieter, Valeteyn Presser. 
Feb. 17, 1722-3, Andries, Jacob Preyer, Lea Beekman. 
July 31, 1726, Johanna, Jacob Preyer, Lea Beekman. 
Feb. 14, 1732, Pieter, Jacob Preyer, Lea Beekman. 
May 20, 1722, Anna, Johannes Preyer, Maria Ral. 
Dec. 12, 1725, Andries, Johannes Preyer, Maria Rail. 
Oct. 20, 1728, Jannetje, Johannes Preyer, Maria Rail. 
Mar. 18, 1733, Catharina, Johannes Preyer, Marytje Roll. 
June 10, 1747, Jan, andries Pryor, helena Dorlandt. 

- 1698, Jan, Thomas Possel. 

Aug. 7, 1754, Gerrit, Gerrit Post, Sara ellis. 

Mar. 12, 1758, Abraham, Gerrit Post, Sara ellis. 

Apr. 19, 1743, Abraham, Johannes post, Antje huisman. 

July 28, 1751, Leya, Johannes Post, Antye Huysman. 

Oct. 22, 1707, Elisabeth, Johan Pue. 

July 27, 1714, Moses, Johan Pue. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 385 

Dec. 9, 1739, Elsje, Barent du Puy, Elsje Poillon. 

Oct. 9,-i726, Mattheus, Nicolaas du Puy, Neeltje Dekkers. 

June 27, 1726, Johannes, Nicolaas du Puy, Neeltje Dekkers. 

Jan. 4, 1730, Nicolaas, Nicolaas du Puy, Neeltje Dekkers. 

Oct. 29, 1732, Moses, Nicolaas du Puy, Neeltje Dekker. 

Aug. 26, 1739, Aaron, Nicolas du Puy, Neeltje Dekkers. 

May 26, 1740, Fytje, Jan Ral Junior, Fytje van Boskerk. 

May 20, 1746, Abraham, Joseph ralph, neeltye Croese. 

Apr. 26, 1748, Benyamen, Joseph Ralph, Neeltye Kroose. 

Nov. 7, 1749, Elizabeth, Joseph Ralph, Neltye kroesen. 

Oct. 1 8, 1715, Elesabet, Reick Reyken. 

May 6, 1745, Susanna, Jacob Resoe. Susanna Merrel. 

July 24, 1752, Geertruy, Jacob reso, Susanna merrel. 

Nov. 2, 1754, Catriena, Jacob resoo, Susanna merel. 

July 17,1720, Lea, Joh: Richaud, Amy Carber. 

Oct. 20, 1728, Elsje. Johannes Richand, Amy Corbet. 

Sept. 17, 1748, margret, William Richardson, Anne fisher. 

Apr. 23, 1707, Jacob, Johannes Richau. 

Oct. 22, 1707, Daniel, Paul Richau. 

Dec. 25, 1725, Rachel, Johannes Richaud, Amy Carbet. 
Apr. 20, 1708, Isaack, Johannes Richgan. 
Apr. 17, 1711, Mary, Sohannes Richgan. 
- 1715, Antie, Johannes Richgan. 

June 1 8, 1745, Ragel, Abraham Rigga, annatje Van Woglom. 
May 23, 1749, Philip, Charlens Rollens, Susanna merrell. 
Sept. 1 8, 1744, Cornelia, Joseph Rolph, Nieltje Croesen. 
Apr. 19, 1743, Weintje, Jacob Rooso, Susanna Merrel. 
Feb. 25, 1739, Petrus. Jacob Roseau, Susanne merril. 
Sept. 14, 1718, Nicolaas, gerret Rosen, Judith Toers. 
Aug. 13, 1717, Jacob, Pieter Rycke. 
Mar. 25, 1701, Johanes, Pieter Rycken. 
Apr. 20, 1703, Hendricus, Peter Rycken. 
Apr. 23, 1706, Pieter, Pieter Rycken. 
Apr. 17, 1711, Abraham, Pieter Rycken. 
July 14, 1714, Isaac, Pieter Rycken. 
Feb. 16, 1755, Luwes, Adriaan Ryerse, Hester Debaa. 
Aug. 17, 1718, Fernmetje, Abraham Ryke, Anneken Oliver. 
Jan. 25, 1720-1, Abraham, Abraham Ryke, Anneke Oliver. 
Nov. 23, 1715, Abraham, Johannes Ryke. 
Oct. 19, 1718, Femmetie, Ryk Ryken. 
Oct. 23, 1711, Lena, Ryk Ryken. 
May 4, 1714, Sofia, Ryk Ryken. 

Mar. 15, 1719, Henricus, Ryk Ryken, Willempje Clement. 
Dec. 18, 1726, Rebecca, Albert Rykman, Catharina Christopher. 
Oct. 26, 1729, Albert, Albert Rykman, (obit), Cathrina Christopher. 
May 20, 1722, Maria, Jacob Ryt, Anna Ral. 
Sept. 25, 1757, Hanna, richard Sandars, ragel. 
Oct. 5, 1760, Sara, richard Sandars, ragel. 
Dec. 22, 1728. Jacoba, Corn: v. Santvoord, Anna Staats. 
Oct - 7. 1733. Zeger, Corn: v. Santvoord, Anna Staats. 
Mar. 6, 1720, Maria Catharina, Corn: v. Santvoord, Anna Staats. 
July 23, 1721, Anna, Corn: v. Santvoord, Anna Staats. 




386 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Mar. 8, 1723. Cornelius, Corn: v. Santvoord, Anna Staats. 

Mar. 21, 1725, Staats, Corn: v. Santvoord, Anna Staats. 

July 27, 1755, Susanna, John Schinnis, Aaltye Maerling. 

Apr. 17, 1720, Adriaan, Ary Schouten, Maria van Pelt. 

June 3, 1722, Anna, Israel du Secoy, Geertruyd van Deventer. 

Apr. 20. 1703, Gabriel, Marcus Du Secoy. 

Sept. 22, 1723, Johannes, Job du Secoy, Sarah Denis. 

Dec. 12, 1725, Jonas, Jean Seguin, Elizabet Hooper. 

Mar. 3, 1728, Sara, Jaques Seguin, Lady mambrut. s 

Mar. 19, 1732, Jean, Jaques Seguin, Lady Mambru. 

Mar. 19, 1732, Jaques, Jean Seguin, Elizabet Hooper. - 

June 12, 1716, tabeta, Sande Semson. 

May i, 1753, Antye, Chrisstoffel Seymonse, Catharina van Schuere. 

Nov. 26, 1752, Sara, Daniel Seymonse, mareytye Decker. 

Sept. 16, 1746, maria, Seymon Seymonse. Sara Von pelt. 

Oct. 13, 1728, Jacob, Fredrik Sharman, Margreta Winter. 

July 19, 1730, Thomas, Fredrik Sharman, Margreta winter. 

July 27, 1755, Saartye, Daneel Silof, Henne klerrc. 

Aug. 26, 1759, Dane!, Danel Silof, Henne klac. 

Aug. 7, 1754, Clandiena, Pieter Sielof, Marya vanpelt. 

May 6, 1745, Catrina, Cristofel Simesen, Catrina Van Seuren. 

Apr. 19, 1743, Cristofel, Cristofel Simeson, Catrina Van Schuerse. 

June 7, 1743, Blandena, Hans Simonsen, antje Van pelt. 

Apr. 13, 1742, Van Pelt, Simon Simonsse, Sara van Pelt. 

May 3., 1749, Jeremyah, Simon Simonsen, Helena Sweem. 

June 8, 1735, Thomas, Thomas Simon, Maria Johnson. 

Apr. 20, 1708, Simon, Aert Simonszen. 
, 1710, Hans, Aert Simonszen. 

Oct. 23, 1711, Aert, Aert Simonszen. 

July 14, 1713, Aert, Aert Simonszen. 

May ii, 1729, Aaltje, Jan Philip Simsenbach, Ule Catharina Pikk- 
erling. 

May 2, 1754, Lammert, Wellem Sinnis, yannetye gerretse. 

Mar. 26, 1732, Pieter, Matthew Skane, Jannetje Tites. 

Dec. 4, 1768, Peggy, Abraham Skirmen, Alizabeth. 

Oct. 22, i 707, Johan, Barent Slecht. 

Apr. 19, 1709, Cornells, Barent Slecht. 

Mar. 27, 1720, Maria, Henrik Slecht, Catharina Wynants. 

Jan. 7, 1722, Hilletje, Henrik Slecht, Catharina Wynants. 

Dec. 13, 1724, Barent, Henrik Slecht, Catharina Wynants. 

Mar. 20, 1726, Jacob, Henrik Slecht, Catharina Wynants. 

Mar. 17, 1728, Jan, Henrik Slecht, Catharina Wynants. 

Apr. 17, 1720, Cornelia and Catharina, twins, Johannes Slecht, Cathar- 
ina Berger. 

Feb. 29, 1736, Elisabet, Johannes Slecht, Elisabet van Engelen. 

Dec. 9, 1739, Catharina, Johan Adam Schtnit, Maria Margareta Staat. 

July 23, 1707, Annetie, Johannes Smack. 

July 26, 1711, Marytie, Johannes Smack. 
- 1707, Jan, Thomas Sotten. 

Feb. 25, 1721-2, Syrje, Baay Spier, Catalyntje Hasten. 

July 27, 1755, Edword, Willim Spree, Cattriena Maerling. 

Feb. 26, 1758, Caty, Willim Spree, Cattriena maarling. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 387 

Mar. 25, 1760. - - Willim Spree, Cattrena maarling. 

Oct. 21, 1707, Isaak, Abraham Staats. 

May 5, 1696, Cornelia, Johan Staats. 

June 20, 1700, Annetye, Johan Staats. 

Oct. 22, 1707, Rebecka, Johan Staats. 

Apr. 20, 1708, Edmond. Pieter Staats. 

May 4, 1714, Pieter, Pieter Siaats. 

June 7, 1731, Francyntje, Daniel Stillwell, Marie Poillon. 

Apr. 4, 1736, Daniel, Daniel Stillwell, Maria Poillon. 

Mar. 26, 1738, Jaques, Daniel Stillwell, Marie Poillon. 

July 31, 1737, Catharina, Daniel Stilwell, Catharine Lazilier. 

Nov. 25, 1739, Richard, Daniel Stilwell, Catherine Lazelier. 

Jan. 30, 1726, Thomas, Elias Stilwell, Anna Barbank. 

Mar. 24, 1728, Daniel, Elias Stilwell. Anna Barbank. 

Nov. 15, 1719, Johannes, Jan Stilwell, Elisabet Pardin. 

June 24, 1752, Eleyas, Jan Stilwil, helena van namen. 

May 23, 1749, Richard, Joachim Stillewel, Anna Jenners. 

July 28, 1751, Jan, Joackim Stilwils, antye Jinnes. 

Sept. 21, 1735, Nicolas, Richard Stilwell, Jenneke van namen. 

Dec. 22, 1723, Thomas, Thomas Stilwell, Sara van Namen. 

June 10, 1747, Elias, Thomas Stillwell, debora martlings. 

Sept. 17, 1752, Annaetye, thomas Stillewil, Debera meerlings. 

Feb. 16, 1755, Antoni, tammes Stillwel, nensy founten. 

Sept. 6, 1719, Willem and Daniel, twins, Willem Stilwell, obiit, Sara 
Pareyn. 

Sept. 5, 1731, Christoft'el, Jan Philip Sumsenback, Ule Cathrina Pik- 
kerling. 

Oct. 1 8, 1715, Magyel (son), Wellem Swane. 

May 5, 1728, Maria, Anthony Sweem, Anna Brooks. 

Nov. 7, 1731, Johannes, Barent Sweem, Marie Canon. 

Apr. 20, 1708, Annetie, Johannes Sweem. 

Apr. 17, 1711, Magdalena, Johannes Sweem. 

Oct. 19, 1714, Antie, Johannes Sweem. 

, 1715, Martha, Johannes Sweem. 

, 1715, Tys, Johannes Sweem. 

Apr. i, 1718, Lysabet, Johannes Sweem. 

Oct. 18, 1715, Albert, Johannes Swame. 

July 20, 1718, Jan, Johannis Sweem, Senior, Jannetje La Forge. 

Mar. i, 1719, Jacobus, Joh: Sweems, Anthonysz, Mary Rue. 

Aug. 25, 1723, Elisabet, Johannes Sweem, Mary Perine. 

Apr. 22, 1718, Rachel, Johannes Sweem, Mary Row. 

Oct. 5, 1760, Marya, John Sweem, Cornelia bergen. 
, 1707, Maydaleen, Matthys Sweem. 

Apr. 19, 1719, Anthony, Matthys Sweem, Catharina Mangels Ral. 

Oct. 22, 1727, Jannetje, Matthys Sweem, Catharina Mangels Rol. 

Apr. 21, 1734, Matthias, Matthys Sweem, Cathrina Mangels Rol. 

Apr. 19, 1743, Matties, Mateis Swem, Catrina Merrel. 

May 6, 1745, Martinus, Mattas Swem, Catrina Merrel. 

Sept. 16, 1746, benyamen, matthys Sweem, catherina merrill. 

May 23, 1749, Catherina, Matthys Sweem, Catherina merrell. 

July 28, 1751. Isaak, Mathys Sweem, Chatarina Merril. 

May i, 1753, Susanna, matheus Swem, Catharina merrel. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Sept. 18, 1737, Geertruyd, Tys Sweem, Catharina Merril. 

Mar. 18, 1739, Johannes, Tys Sweem, Catharina Merril. 

Oct. 18, 1719, Johannes, Willem Sweem, Marya Lageler. 

Mar. 18, 1722, Cornelius, Willem Sweem, Marie Lageler. 
, Abraham, Symon, Prael. 

Oct. 6, , Vredrick, Symonse, - Sweem. 

Nov. 4, 1754, fransintye, Aart Symenson, fransintye Morgon. 

June 10, 1717, Christoffel, Auert Symensen. 

Aug. 5, 1722, Anna, Aart Symons, Margriet Daniels. 

July 26, 1724, Daniel, Aart Symons, Margriet Daniels. 

Oct. 16, 1726, Susanna, Aart Symons, Margriet Daniels. 

July 14, 1728, Barent, Aart Symons, Margriet Daniels. 

Aug. 23, 1730, Cornelius, Aart Symons, Margriet Daniels. 

Aug. 4, 1734, Isaak, Aart Symons, Margriet Daniels. 

Mar. 25, 1701, Wyntie, Barent Symessen. 
, 1707, Johannes, Barent Symessen. 

, 1710, Aron, Barent Symessen. 

Aug. 24, 1718, Maria, Barent Symonssen, Apollonia Messeker. 

June 17, 1746, Symon, christoffel Symonse, Catherina Van Spensc. 

April 26. 1748, nicholaes, Christophel Symonson, Catherina van 
Schaarc. 

Jan. 24, 1759, barant, Cornelis Symonson, liesebat depne. 

June 9, 1754, - , Daniel Symeson, Mally Decker. 

Feb. 26, 1758, Abraham, Daniel Symenson, Mally Dacker. 

Sept. 14, 1735, Annatje, Hans Symons, antje van Pelt. 

Jan. 7, 1739, Maria, Hans Symons, Antje van Pelt. 

May 23, 1749, Wyntye, Hans Symonse, Anna Van Pelt. 

June 12, 1720, Jeremias, Isaak Symons, Antje vand'r Bilt. 

July 8, 1722, Maria, Isak Symonsz, Antje vand'r Bilt. 

Dec. 17, 1732, Isaak, Isaak Symons, Neeltje Coteleau. 

Feb. n, 1733, Antje, Johannes Symons, Dina van Leuwen. 
June 22, 1735, Isak, Johannes Symons, Dina van Leuwen. 
Oct. 3, 1736, Geertje, Johannes Symons, Dina van Leeuwen. 
Sept 9, 1739, Aaltje, Johannes Svmons, Dina van Lawa. 
June 9, 1742, Johannes, Johannes Symonsse, Suster Corsse 
May 20, 1746, Johannes, Johannes Symonson, Antye Van Pelt. 
July 21, 1758, Geertruy, Johnnis Symonson, Antye banpelt. 
Oct. 2, 1755, Marretye, rem Symeson, Geertroy boskere. 
May 2, 1725, Antje, Symon Symonsz, Maria Woertman. 
Apr. 9, 1727, Marritje, Symon Symonsz, Maria Woertman. 
Mar. 1 6, 1729, Maria, Symon Symonsz, Maria Woertman. 
Apr. n, 1731, Simon, Symon Symonsz, Maria Woertman. 
July 15, 1733, Cornelia, Symon Symonsz, Maria Woertman. 
Aug. i, 1736, Anna, Symon Symonsz Aarts Zoon, Sara van Pelt. 
Nov. 4, 1739, Aaltje, Symon Symons aarts Zoon, Sara van Pelt. 
Apr. 17, 1744, Art, Symen Symonson, Sara Van pelt. 
July 19, 1748, Elizabeth, Symon Symonson, Sarah van Pelt. 
May 2, 1754, Johennis, Symon Symeson, Sara vanpelt. 
Dec 1 8, 1755, Eevert, Symon Symeson, Sara van Pelt. 
Nov. 20, 1757, Sara, Symon Symonson, Sara vanpelt. 
Oct. 23, 1711, Ephrum, Abraham Talor. 
May i, 1715, Altje, Abram Talor. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 389 

Nov. 23, 1715, maregriet, Abraam taylor. 

Aug. 21, 1720, Rachel, Abraham Tailor, Harmpje Hagewout. 

Nov. 25, 1722, Aaltje, Abraham Tailor, Harmpje Hagewout. 

July 4, 1725, Pieter, Abraham Tailor, Harmpje Hagewout. 

Apr. 6, 1729, Ephraim, Abraham Tailor, Harmpje Hagewout. 

Jan. 8, 1720-1, Isaak, Auke Tansz, Catharina Sebering. 

Nov. 23, 1715, Johannes, Pieter telburgh. 

Sept. 16, 1746, david, Samuel teeler, Suster Waggelom. 

May 5, 1696, Margrietie, Ephraim Thealer. 

- 1696, Jan, Ephraim Thealer. 

Aug. i, 1731, Margreta, Timothy Thorp, Margrietje Heermans. 
Aug. i, 1731, Abigail, John Thorp, Appollonia Heermans. 
Jan. 16, 1732, Marytje, Teunis Tiebout, Margrietje Drinkwater. 
Jan. 14, 1733, Teunis, Teunis Tiebout, Margrietje Drinkwater. 
Dec. n, 1720, Willem, Pieter van Tilburgh, Metje Bouwman. 
Feb. 24, 1727, Henricus, Pieter van Tilburgh, Metje Bouwman. 
Feb. 25, 1722, Cornells. Syrah Tites, Aaltje Webs. 
Aug. 16, 1724, Aaltje, Tites Tites, Blandina van Pelt, 
Apr. 10, 1726, Sara, Tites Tites, Blandina van Pelt. 
Mar. 24, 1728, Maria, Titus Titusz, Blandina van Pelt. 
Mar. 6, 1730, Syrah, Titus Titusz, Blandina van Pelt. 
Apr. 15, 1734, Antje, Titus Titusz, Blandina van Pelt. 
May 2, 1736, Marytje, Titus Titusz, Blandina van Pelt. 
May 26, 1740, Teunis, Tites Titesz, Blandina van Pelt. 
June 25, 1727, Benjamin, Woodhul Tourneur, Anna Lawrence. 
Mar. 29, 1725, Willem, Willem Tribs, Catlyna de Hart. 
Apr. i, 1718, Jorms, Pieter tylborgh. 
Aug. 2, 1705, Elisabeth, Cornelis Tyssen. 

- Safya, - Tytes, - - Van Pelt. 
Oct. 30, 1716, Saertie, Seymen van Amen. 
Apr. 22, 1728, Rachel, Matthys van Brakel, Rachel Jansz. 
Mar. 30, 1730, Maria, Matthys van Brakel, Rachel Jansz. 
Apr. 19, 1709, Laurens, Hendrick Van Campen. 
Apr. 17, 1711, Lammert, Hendrick Van Campen. 

1715, Aeltie, Hendrick Van Campen. 

1715, Hendrick, Hendrick Van Campen. 

Apr. 17, 1717, Johanes, Hendrick Van Campen. 

Apr. 23, 1707, Martha, Johannes Van Campen. 

Apr. n, 1711, Christina, Johannes Van Campen. 

June 6, 1715, Arent, Johannes Van Campen. 

Apr. 17, 1717, gerret, oydeon Van Campen. 

Apr. 26, 1736, Jan, Cornelius van Cleef, Sara Mashal. 

July 27, 1714, Geesie, Rut Van Den Bergh. 

Oct. 21, 1713, Hilletie, Rein Van De Bilt. 

July 21, 1758, Liesabet, Conradus vanderbeeck, Catlyntye Lisk. 

July 26, 1719, Jan, Rem vander Beek, Dorothea Cateleau. 

May 28, 1721, Rem, Rem vander Beek, Dorothea Cateleau. 

June 2, 1723, Jaques, Rem vander Beek, Dorothea Coteleau. 

Jan. 21, 1728, Dorothea, Rem vander Beek, Dorothea Coteleau. 

June 18, 1745, Doritje, Jan Van Derbek, Annatje Martens. 

June 3, 1736, Lena, Rem vander Beek, Dorothea Coteleau. 

Mar. 27, 1720, Hilletje, Jacob vand'r Bjlt, Neelje Denys. 



390 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Feb. 3, 1722-3, Jacobus, Jacob vander Bilt, Neeltje Denys. 
Dec. 25, 1725, Magdalena, Jacob vander Bilt, Neeltje Denys. 
Dec. 25, 1728, Johannes, Jacob vander Bilt, Neeltje Denys. 
Oct. 24, 1731, Cornelius, Jacob vander Bilt, Neeltje Denys. 
Feb. 24, 1734, Antje, Jacob vander Bilt, Neeltje Denysz. 
May 19, 1739, Femmetje, Jacob vand'r Bilt, Neeltje Denys. 
Jan. 21, 1739, Gerrit, Hendrik vender Hoef, Eva Slot. 
Apr. 19, 1719, Lea, Joh: vand'r Hoeven, Anna Sweem. 
Mar. 1 8, 1722, Cornelius, Johannes vand'r Hoeven, Anna Sweem. 
Feb. 2, 1723-4 Lea, Johannes vandr Howen, Anna Sweem. 
May 29, 1726, Elizabet, Johannes vander Hoeven, Anna Sweem. 
Feb. 18, 1728, Johannes, Johannes vander Hoeve, Anna Sweem. 
Jan. 24, 1731, Anthony, Johannes vandr Hoeven, Anna Sweem. 
Aug. 13, 1727, Catharina, Jacob van Dyk, Catharina van Brunt. 
Feb. 8, 1730, Catharina, Jacob van Dyk, Catharina van Brunt. 
Feb. 13, 1732, Zacheus, Jacob van Dyk, Catharina van Brunt. 
Apr. 14, 1734, Cornelius, Jacob van Dyk, Catharina van Brunt. 

1698, Annetie, Hendrick Van Dyck. 

June n, 1721, Henricus, Lambert van Dyk, Marritje Hogelant. 
Apr. 14, 1723, Elisabet, Lambert van Dyk, Marritje Hooglant. 
Oct. 22, 1709, Rachel, Ahasuerus Van Engelen. 
Apr. 17, 1718, Johannes, Ahasuerus Van Engelen. 
Aug. 9, 1719, Frederyk, Hendrik van Leuwen, Geurtje Cateleau. 
Oct. 6, 1727. Lena, Hendrik van Leuwen, Geurlje Coteleau. 
July 19, 1748, Aron, Aron Van namen, Maria Maclean. 
July 28, 1751, rachel, Aron van namen, Mary Mackleen. 
Mar. 23, 1760, Moses. Aron Vannamen, Maria Macleen. 
Feb. 16, 1755, Antye, Aron Vannamen, Maria Macleen. 
Apr. 12, 1719, Johannes, Engelbert van Namen, Marytje de Camp. 
Oct. 15, 1721, Sara and Meria, twins, Engelbert van Namen, Marytje 
de Camp. 

Apr. 22, 1709, Joseph, Evert Van Namen. 

Aug. 3, 1718, Maria, Evert van Namen, Wyntje Benham. 

May 18, 1718, Pieter, Johannes Van Namen. 

Mar. 29, 1725, Sara. Johannes van Namen, Marytje van Pelt. 

Aug. 17, 1718, Aaron, Symon van Namen, Sara Praal. 

Feb. 21, 1725, Moses, Simon van Namem, Sara Praal. 

, - , Jannetye, - - Van Pelt, - Valkenburgh. 

Oct. 13, 1747, maria, Antoni Van Pelt, Jannetye Symonse. 

July 30, 1750, Elizabeth, Antony Van Pelt, Jenneke Seymense. 

Jan. i, 1760, Sara, Antony vanpelt, Jenneke Symeson. 

Dec. 10, 1721, Maria, Aart van Pelt, Christina Jmmet. 

May 5, 1696, Annetie, Hendrick Van Pelt. 

Mar. 25, 1701, Aeltie, Hendrick Van Pelt. 

Apr. 12, 1719, Catlyntje, Hendrik van Pelt, Margrietje de Hart. 

Jan. i, 1721, Hendrik, Hendrik van Pelt, Margrietje de Hart. 

Apr. 17, 1711, Jan, Jacob Van Pelt. 

, 1715, Derckie (girl), Jacob Van Pelt. 

, 1715, Marytie, Jacob Van Pelt. 

Apr. 16, 1717, Pieter, Jacob Van pelt. 

Nov. 8, 1719, Cytlyntje, Jacob van Pelt, Aaltje Hagewout. 

Sept. 27, 1724, Catlyntje, Jacob Van Pelt, Aaltje Hagewout. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 391 

Oct. 15, 1727, Jan, Jacob Van Pelt, Aaltje Hagewout. 
Jan. 25, 1719, Sara, Jan van Pelt, Aaltje Hoogslant 

Oct. 16, 1720, Catlyntje, Jan van Pelt, Aaltje Hooghlant. 

May 25, 1729, Jan and Susanna, twins, Jan Van Pelt, Anthony's zoon, 
Susanna La Tourette. 

Apr. 25, 1731, Maria, Jan van Pelt, Jan's zoon, Tryntje Bouwman. 

Apr. 15, 1733, Anthony, Jan van Pelt, Anthony's zoon, Susanne la 
Tourette. 

Mar. 28, 1736. Antje, Jan van Pelt, Pieter's Zoon, Jannetje Adams. 

Apr. 4, 1736, Joost, Jan van Pelt, Anthony's Zoon, Susanne La Tour- 
ette. 

Sept. 14, 1742, Trientje, Jan Van Pelt, maria Bouman. 

Apr. 13, 1742, William, Jan Van Pelt, Jannetje Adams. 

Apr. 17, 1744, Jannetje, Jan Van pelt, Jannetje Adams. 

May 6, 1745, Nieltje, Jan Van pelt Jun'r, Catrina Bouman. 

Apr. 22, 1746, maria, Jan Van Pelt, Jane adams. 

Apr. 26, 1748, maragritye, Jan Van Pelt, Jane Adams. 

May 20, 1750, Samuel, Jan Van Pelt, Jane adams. 

Apr. 23, 1707, Blandyena, Johannes Van Pelt. 

Apr. 20, 1708, Simon, Johannes Van Pelt. 

, 1710, Cathalyh, Johannes Van Pelt. 

Apr. 19, 1715, Simon, Johannes Van Pelt. 

Apr. 16, 1717, Petrus, Johannes Van Pelt. 

June 7, 1719, Johannes, Johannes van Pelt, Sara Le Roy. 

Jan. i, 1721, Sara, Johannes van Pelt, Sarah Le Roy. 

Feb. 16, 17.55, Susanna, John Van Pelt, Maria Joons. 

Mar. 8, 1772, Mary, John vanpelt, Catherine lawrence. 

May 4, 1714, Catharina, Joost Van Pelt. 

Sept. 8, 1717, Johannes, Joost Van Pelt. 

Mar. 20, 1716, Joost, Joost Van pelt. 

Oct. 21, 1707, Jan, Pieter Van Pelt. 

July 25, 1710, Samuel, Pieter Van Pelt. 

Nov. 23, 1715, Willem, Pieter Van pelt. 

Apr. 16, 1717, Sameul, Peter Van Pelt. 

Apr. 18, 1743, Maria, Petures Van Pelt, Barbera houltie. 

Sept. 16, 1746, Johannes, Pieter Van Pelt, barbara, hoolten. 

Sept. T7, 1748, Barbara, Pieter Van Pelt, Barbara hoelten. 

Nov. 7, 1753, Jacob, Petrus Van Pelt, Barbara Hulten. 

Oct. 12, 1755, David, Pieter vanpelt, Barber Houlton. 

Aug. 26, 1759, Sara, Piater vanpelt, Barber- . 

July 19, 1748, Pieter, Samuel Van Pelt, Maria falkenborgh. 

Apr. 1 8, 1743, Maria, Simon Van pelt, Maria Adams. 

Aug. 6, 1745, Sara, Scimen Van Pelt, Maria Adams. 

June 10, 1747, Jennie, Symon Van Pelt, Malli adams. 

May 23, 1749, Peterus, Symon Van Pelt, mria Adams. 

, 1696, Marritsie, Theunis van Pelt. 

Oct. 9, 1726, Anthony, Teunis van Pelt, Maria Drageau. 

Feb. 14, 1731, Johannes, Teunis van Pelt, Marie Drageau. 

June 3, 1734, Maria, Teunis van Pelt, Marie Drageau. 

May 19, 1737, Joost, Teunis van Pelt, Marie Drageau. 

Nov. 19, 1738, Teunis, Teunis van Pelt, Marie Drageau. 

Oct. 22, 1701, Stoffel, Stoffel van Santen. 



392 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



, 1706, Josua, Stoffel van Santen. 



Feb. 7, 1719-20, Otto, Abraham van Tuyl, Femmetje Denytz. 

Oct. 2, 1705, Geertruyt, Abraham Van Tuyl. 

Sept. 22, 1709, Elena, Abraham Van Tuyl. 

June 2, 1734, Jan, Abraham van Tyl Isaak's zoon, Marytje ven Pelt. 

Nov. 18, 1739, Femmetje, Abraham van Tuyl, Metje Vreelans. 

May 7, 1741, Machiel, Abraham Van Tuyl, Metje Vrielandt. 

Aug. 16, 1743, femmetje, Abraham Vantuyt, Mitje freeland. 

Aug. i, 1731, Abraham, Denys van Tuyl, Neeltje Croesen. 

Sept. 8, 1734, Denys, Denys van Tuyl, Neeltje Croesen. 

Mar. 4, 1739, Neeltye, Denys van Tuyl, (obit), Neeltje Croesen. 

Sept. 22, 1709, Catharyntie, Isaac Van Tuyl. 

May i, 1720, Catharina, Isaak Van Tuyl, Sara Lakerman. 

Apr. 6, 1724, Geertruyd, Isaak van Tuyl, Sara Lakerman. 

May 4, 1735, Abraham, Jan van Tuyl. 

Sept. 17, 1738, Johannes, Johannes van Tuyl, Belitje Byeank. 

Sept. 16, 1746, Abraham, otto Van Tuyl, Tryntye boskek. 

Nov. n, 1722, Femmetje, Jan Van Voorhees, Neeltje Neesjes. 

Nov. ii, 1722, Willemsje, Jan Van Voorhees, Neeltje Neesjes. 

Nov. n, 1722, [The two last, no doubt were twins.] 

May 9, 1725, Jacobus, Jan van Voorhees, Neeltje Neesjes. 

Mar. 24, 1728, Roelof, Jan van Voorhees, Neeltje Neesjes. 

Apr. 16, 1732, Neeltje, Jan van Voorhees, Neeltje Neesjes. 

Oct. 23, 1737, Maria, Roelof van Voorhes, - - Coteleau. 

Dec. 12, 1745, Aentje, Cornelus van Wagenen, Hellena Bon. 

Sept. 17, 1746, maragrita, Cornelius Vanwagenon, helena bon. 

July 24, 1752, Catharina, Cornelius van wagenen, helena Bon. 

Feb. 16, 1755, Lena, Cornelus Vanwagenne, Lena Bon. 

June 24, 1752, marregrietye, Hendrick van wagene, Palli Seymense. 

Nov. 7, 1753, Annatje, Hendrick Van Wagenne, Maria Simonse. 

Feb. 16, 17^5, Johannes, Hendrick Van Wagenne, Maria Simonse. 

Oct. ir, 1748, Johannes, Johannes Van wagene, Elsye Berge. 

Mar. 9, 1729, Aaghje, Daniel van Winkel, Jannetje Vreelant. 

July 27, 1729, Adriaan, Adriaan van Waggelum, Celia Preyer. 

Aug. 8, 1731, Abraham, Adriaan van Woggelum, Celitje Preyer. 

Sept. 18, 1726, Jan, Douwe van Woggelum, Jannetje Staats. 

Feb. 25, 1728, Jan Staats, Douwe van Woggelum, Jannetje Staats. 

May 21, 1716, Jan, Arey Van Woglom. 

July 19, 1724. Zuster, Douwe van Woggelum, Jannetje Staats. 

June 28, 1730, Cornelius, Douwe van Woggelum, Jannetje Staats. 

June 27, 1736, Catharina, Douwe van Woglum, Jannetje Staats. 

Sept. 14, 1742, Antje, Douwen Van Woglom, Jannetje Staats. 

Apr. 17, 1711, Nicolaes, Jan Vechten. 

Oct. 22, 1717, Catharyna, Johan Vechten. 

Mar. 20, 1716, Gerret, Jan Veghte. 

Nov. 8, 1719, Johannes, Jan Vtrghten, Cornelia Staats. 

Jan. 24, 1725, Jannetje, Jan Veghte, Cornelia Staats. 

June 25, 1727, Henrik, Jan Veghte, Cornelia Staats. 

Apr. 7, 1734, Jan, Nicolaas Veghte, Neeltje van Tuyl. 

Nov. 7, 1753, Jannetje, Jan Veldtman, Jannetje Jurks. 

July 28, - Hendrick, - - Vellman, Jurks. 

Sept. 1 8, 1744, Maria, Jan Veltman, Jannetje Jurcks. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 393 

Apr. 22, 1746, Jan, Jan Veldtman, Jannety'e Jurks. 
Sept. 17, 1748, Geertruyt, Jan Veltman, Jannetye Turks. 
June 12, 1716, petrus, Steven Vetyto. 

Au S- 5. '739, Michiel, Michiel Vreelant, Janneke van Houten. 
Sept. 17, 1752, Johannes, Helmig vreland, neeltye van hoor. 
Nov. 3, 1754, Wachgiel, Helmis vrelant, Neeltye vanhoren. 
Oct. 8, 1738, Jacobus, Joseph Walderon, Aasje Healaken. 
Apr. 22, 1707, Lambert, Lambert Wels. 
June 26, 1720, John, John Whithead, Elisabet Bakker. 
Mar. 6, 1725 6, Maria, Johannes Wimmer, Wyntje Symons. 
Feb. i, 1730, Jesuias, Jan Winter, Martha Bug. 
Feb. 14, 1732, Maria. Jan Winter, Martha Baile. 
May 31, 1719, Frans, obadias Winter, Susanna du Puy. 
May 8, 1737, Thomas, Thomas Wilmot, Elisabet Mersereaux. 
Apr. 22, 1707, Christyntien, Johan Woggelum. 
July 26, 1711, Suster, Johan Woggelum. 
Dec. 25, 1719, Johanna, Aryvan Woglum. Celia Preyer. 
Jan. 3, 1722, Anna, Aryvan Woglum, Celia Preyer. 
Jan. 27, 1725, Andries, Aryvan Woglum, Celia Preyer. 
Aug. 7, 1720, Hendrikje, Cornelis Woinat, Tryntje Bouwman. 
Sept. 19, 1725, Jannetje, Stephen Wood, Geertje Winter. 
Dec. 24, 1727, Steve and Obadia, twins, Stephen Wood, Geertje Win- 
ter. 

July '3, I73 1 . Richard, Stephen Wood, Jomine Mott. 
Apr. 20, 1703, Cornelis, Jacob Wouters. 
Oct. 23, 1711, Beniamin, Jacob Wouters. 
Apr. 19, 1709, Sara, Lambert Wouters. 

- 1729, Henricus, Henry Wright, Aaltje Martlings. 
May 29, 1726, Susanna, Jacob Wright, Antje Role. 
May 26, 1723, Elisabet, Cornelis Wynant, Maria Cole. 
Dec. 25, 1725, Maria, Cornelis Wynant, Maria Cole. 
Feb. 6, 1728, Cornelius, Cornelis Wynant, Mary Coles. 
May 4, 1729, Cathryr.tje, Johannes Wynants, Lena Bird. 
Mar. 19, 1732, Pieter, Johannes Wynants, Magdalena Bird. 
A P r - 2 3, 1707, Pieter, Pieter Wynants. 
Mar. 27, 1720, Pieter, Wynandt Wynandts, Ann Cole. 
Mar. 14, 1725, Abrahan, Wynant Wynants, Ann Cole. 
Oct. 9, 1726, Jacob, Wynant Wynants, Ann Cole. 
Apr. 22, 1728, Daniel, Wynant Wynants, Ann Cole. 
Feb. 28, 1731, Joseph, Abraham Yates, Hester Drinkwater. 
Sept. 17, 1758, Mareya, John yennes, Altye merling. 
.J an - J3. 1734, Christiana, Johan Philip Zumsenbach, Ule Cathrine 
Pikkerling. 

Mar. 28, 1736, Hanna, Johan Philep Zumsenbach, Ule Catharine 
Pikkerling. 

July 19, 1726, Abraham, Abraham Zuiphen, Marytje Borkelo. 
June 4, 1727, Maria, Abraham Zutphen, Marytje Borkelo. 
Oct. 26, 1729, Antje, Abraham Zutphen, Marytje Borkelo. 
Oct. 24, 1731, Jannetje, Abraham Zutphen, Marytje Borkelo. 
July 25, 1710, Sara Gennens 
fuly 25, 1710. Mary Gennens. 
A Pr- 8, 1733, Eva. 



394 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Sept. 14, 1741, Maryya, Tamlisck - - Kadlyne van peldt. 
Apr. 19, 1743, hester, - Ragel Willmsen. 

June 1 8, 1745, Jucres, - Sara Van namen. 

May 2, 1754, Isack, - - Merya Sinnis 

May 2, 1754, Jan. Sara Dey. 

It is supposed that religious services after the forms of the 
church of England were occasionally held here previous io 1704, 
for in October of that year the Rev. William Vesey, of Trinity 
church, New York, in reporting the state of religion in this 
county to the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 
Foreign Parts," says there was a tax of forty pounds a year 
laid upon the people and they desired to have a minister sent 
to them. The foundation for this tax lay in the act which was 
passed under the direction of Governor Fletcher in 1693, which 
in effect established the church of England in the counties of 
New York, Westchester, Queens and Richmond, under the 
patronage of the government. By this act the inhabitants of 
each county named were to choose annually ten vestrymen and 
two church wardens. These officers were empowered to make 
choice of the minister or ministers for each district, and for 
the support of these ministers a certain sum was directed to be 
assessed on the inhabitants of all denominations in each 
county. The act indeed did not especially enjoin that the min- 
isters so chosen should be of the Episcopal church, and by an 
explanatory act, passed several years afterward, it was even de- 
clared that dissenting ministers might be chosen. By lodging 
the right of choice, however, with the vestrymen and church 
wardens alone, it was well known that Episcopal ministers 
would of course be always elected. 

Though this law remained upon the statute book during the 
colonial period it became to a degree inoperative, through the 
munificent bequest of Judge Duxbury made some years later. 

In 1706 Rev. John Talbot was sent here as a missionary, but 
a church in New Jersey shared his ministrations. Soon after 
he was succeeded by the Rev. Eneas McKenzie. Catechists or 
schoolmasters were employed under the direction of the so- 
ciety as early as 1712. Before this time even, the matter of 
erecting a church building was talked of. The\ r were then 
using the French church for their worship. On the 6th of 
August, 1711, William Tillyer and Mary, his wife, gave to the 
society a building site for a church and burial ground at the 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 395 

head of Fresh kill, on Kaiie's neck. In 1713 a donation of 
one hundred and fifty acres of land was made to this church 
by the generosity of Adolphus Philips, counsellor; Lancaster 
Symes, a captain in Fort Lewis; Ebenezer Wilson and Peter 
Fanlconer, merchants, all of New York. This was sold by the 
trustees, and another piece of ground, more conveniently lo- 
cated, was purchased for a glebe. During the year 1713 a church 
was erected on the ground which two years before had been 
given for the purpose. This was a plain stone structure, and 
as far as anything is known stood on substantially the same 
site now occupied by St. Andrew's church at Richmond. In 
the year last mentioned Mr. McKenzie writes to the society 
that during the first seven years of his ministry here he had 
preached "upon sufferance in aFrench Church," but the church 
people had now "got a pretty handsome church of their own 
to preach in," and a house was about being built on the recently 
purchased glebe. 

The church was now established under the royal charter of 
Queen Anne, who also presented the church with prayer books, 
a pulpit cover, a silver communion service and a bell. The 
names of prominent freeholders on the island, attached to this 
church, appear in the charter, as follows: Ellis Duxbury, 
Thomas Harmer, Augustin Graham, Joseph Arrow-smith, 
Lambert Gerritson, Nathaniel Brittain, William Tillyer, Rich- 
ard Merrill, John Morgan and Alexander Stewart. 

In 1718 Ellis Duxbury bequeathed to this church an extensive 
tract of land. His will bears date May 5, 1718, and it was ad- 
mitted to probate October 22 following. The property was a 
plantation of two hundred acres, situated on the northeast ex- 
tremity of the island; and consequently the point of land at New 
Brighton was, until a recent date, generally known as "Dux- 
bury's Point," and sometimes " The Glebe." It was bequeathed 
to the minister, church wardens and vestry of St. Andrew's 
church, for the only use and maintenance of the minister and 
incumbent. The property still owned by the church at Tomp- 
kinsville and its vicinity is a part of this bequest. Being a de- 
vise to a religious incorporation, it was void by law, but as the 
title of the church was never disputed, and as the state by sev- 
eral acts incidentally recognized its validity, to say nothing of a 
possession of more than a century and a half, the title has long 
ago become unimpeachable. By the same will the church re- 



396 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

ceived - - for building additions to the church, in addition 
to the above bequest. 

The salary of Rev. Mr. McKenzie, in 1717, appears to have 
been raised to 50 a year. At what time he closed his labors 
here we are not informed, but in 1733 Mr. Harrison appears as 
the missionary on Staten Island. Two years later the numerical 
strength of the church was about fifty communicants. Mr. Har- 
rison at this time writes that he has baptized nearly seventy 
children since he came here, also " that he hath baptized one 
Indian Woman, two adult Negroes, and three Negroe Children ; 
that he preaches on Sundays once ; catechises and expounds 
after the second Lesson, and teaches the Negroes after Service 
is ended, and the Congregation gone home ; for many of them 
live far from Church, and will not come twice, nor stay long." 
The labors of Mr. Harrison ended with his death, which took 
place October 4, 1739. The vestry then elected a Mr. Arnold, a 
missionary who had been traveling in New England, to be mis- 
sionary on Staten Island. In 1743 Mr. Arnold writes " that his 
church is Church is increased twofold and he hath lately bap- 
tized ten Negroes, and is still preparing several more for that 
Sacrament.'' He resigned in 1745, and Rev. Richard Caner was 
appointed to the mission. 

In 1747 the Rev. Richard Charlton became rector ; his eldest 
daughter was connected by marriage with the Dongan family, be- 
ing the wife of Thomas Dongan, and mother of John C. Dongan; 
and another daughter was the wife of Dr. Richard Bailey, who 
was health officer of the port of New York, and died in 1801 ; 
his remains are interred in the grave yard of the church. Dr. 
Charlton' s ministry continued thirty-two years; he died in 1779, 
and was buried under the communion table in St. Andrew's 
church. 

After the decease of Mr. Charlton the pulpit was supplied for 
a brief term by the Rev. Mr. Barker. On the first day of May, 
1780, the Rev. Mr. Field became the rector ; he had been a chap- 
lain in the British army, stationed in the fortifications in the vi 
cinity of the church. His first baptism is recorded as having 
been performed two weeks after that day. Mr. Field died in 
1782, and was buried by the soldiers of the Seventy-seventh 
regiment of British troops, the place of his sepulchre being be- 
neath the church. 

During the whole revolutionary war, the island being in pos- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 397 

session of the British, divine service was generally suspended in 
all the churches except this. The same is true of all other parts 
of the country where the British were in possession. Where the 
whigs had power none were closed except such Episcopal 
churches, the rectors of which refused to omit the prayers for 
the king. 

In 1783 the Rev. John H. Rowland became rector. He was a 
native of Wales, and had been previously settled in a parish 
in Virginia. In 1788 he removed to Nova Scotia, and died in 
1795. 

In October, 1788, the Rev. Richard Channing Moore became 
rector. He was born in the city of New York, August 21st, 
1762 ; he studied medicine and practised physic for a few years, 
when he became a student of Bishop Provost. His first minis- 
try, after receiving orders, for a very brief period, was at Rye, 
inWestchester county, and at the date above mentioned he came 
to Staten Island, where he remained until 1808, when he accepted 
a call to St. Stephen' s church, New York. In 1814 he was elected 
Bishop of Virginia and rector of the Monumental church in the 
city of Richmond, and was consecrated May 18, 1814. During 
his incumbency, in 1802, a chapel was built on the north side, 
and called "Trinity Chapel," which has since become the 
Church of the Ascension. He died November 11, 1841. From 
1793 to 1801 he officiated also at Amboy at stated times. 

In May, 1808, Dr. Moore was succeeded by his eldest son, the 
Rev. David Moore, who continued rector for the period of forty- 
eight years. Rev. David Moore, D.D., was born in the city of 
New York, Jane 3d, 1787 ; he studied theology with his father, 
and was admitted to the diaconate in 1808, when he immediately 
took charge of his parish. In the northeast corner of the burial 
ground of St. Andrew's church stands a beautiful marble monu- 
ment, with the following inscription on one side : 

REV. DAVID MOORE, D.D., 

Rector of 

St. Andrew's Church, 
Including Trinity Chapel, 

Staten Island. 

Born June 3d, 1787, 

Died Sept. 30th, 1856, 

Aged 69 Years. 



398 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



On a mural tablet within the church is the following: 
" Sacred to the memory of Rev. David Moore, D. D.; or- 
dained Deacon in Trinity Church, May 8, 1808. Received 
priests' orders in old St. Andrew's, June, 1811. After a min- 
istry of 48 years in this parish, entered into rest on Tuesday 
evening, September 30, 1856. In his life and character he 
was an exemplary pattern to his flock, possessing- in an emi- 
nent degree those qualifications which endeared him to the 
hearts of an attached people, and raised in their affections a 
monument which will endure when the church militant on 
earth shall receive the full fruition of the church triumphant in 
Heaven." 




tip , .1 . , - 



ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, RICHMOND. 

Dr. Moore was succeeded by the Rev. Theodore Irving, 
LL. D., February 5, 1857, who resigned in November, 1864. 

In June, 1865, Rev. C. W. Bolton became rector, but resigned 
in the following January, and was succeeded by the Rev. Kings- 
tori Goddard, D.D., of Philadelphia. Dr. Goddard died Octo- 
ber 24th, 1875, and was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. Yocum, who 
was installed June 15th, 1876. 

It is a circumstance worthy of note in connection with the 
revolutionary history of this church that although services in 
it were continued throughout the war while other churches 
were either closed or burned, the baptisms did not average more 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 399 

tlii'ii three in a year, and some of these were children whose 
patents belonged to the army. 

Tvie Episcopal churches on the island have at different times 
been the recipients of donations and loans from Trinity church, 
New York. Among these may be noticed a grant of $1,000 to 
the church on the North Side in 1800; one of $1,000 to St. 
Andrew's in 1802; and one of $1,500 to St. Luke's in 1846. 

In 1802, Trinity chapel, in connection with St. Andrew's 
church at Richmond, was built upon a lot of land on the north 
shore, conveyed for the purpose by John Me Vicar, Esq. Rev. 
Richmond Channing Moore, rector of the church at Richmond, 
officiated in it until he left the parish. After his departure, his 
son, Rev. David Moore, succeeded to the rectorship, and 
preached, usually every Sunday afternoon, until a short time 
before his decease, being assisted in his duties in both places 
by several other clergymen employed for the purpose. After 
his death, the services in the chapel were conducted by several 
clergymen temporarily engaged until May, 1869, when another 
parish was organized, and Trinity chapel became the Church of 
the Ascension. The first rector after the organization was Rev. 
Theodore Irving, LL. D., of Newburgh. The congregation in- 
creased so rapidly that the old frame building was found to be 
insufficient, and the erection of a new church was determined 
upon. The corner stone of the new edifice was laid with ap- 
propriate ceremonies on the 30th day of August, 1870, and was 
first opened for divine service on Ascension Day, May 16, 1871. 
Dr. Irving continued in the church until February, 1872. when 
he resigned. In July, 1872, the present rector, Rev. James S. 
Bush, of San Francisco, was settled. 

The officers of the church at the time of the erection of the 
chapel, were Rev. Richard Channing Moore, rector; James 
Guyon and Peter Mersereau, wardens, and Peter Laforge, 
John Latourette, John Van Dyke, Nicholas Journeay, Paul 
Micheau, Joshua Wright, Paul J. Micheau, and George W. 
Barnes, vestrymen. The material of which the church is built 
is Staten Island granite; it is cruciform, and has several 
beautiful memorial windows; it has a turret on the northeast 
corner, and a tower and spire one hundred and fifteen feet high 
on the northwest corner. 

St. John's parish was an offshoot from St. Andrew's. It 
was organized in May, 1843, when that part of the island was 



400 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



peopled by the families of metropolitan wealth, enterprise and 
social distinction. The first house of worship was a molest 
frame building standing on the west side of the avenue, nearly 
opposite the present church and in the midst of a natural growth 
of young forest trees. The corner stone of this church was 
laid July 14, 1843. William H. Aspinwall, Levi Cook and W. 
B. Townsend were the building committee. The first wardens 
were Charles M. Simonson and William H. Aspinwall; and the 
vestrymen were Levi Cook, James R. Boardman, M. D., W. B. 
Townsend, W. D. Cuthbertson, Lewis Lyman, D. B. Allen, W. 
A. Fountain and W. H. White. The cornerstone of the present 





/ 

- ^ , m 
''-^^\',/l^,. 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH AND RECTORY. 

church was laid November 10, 1869. This is a handsome stone 
building, of ample dimensions and graceful proportions and, is 
in keeping with the culture and resources of the congregation. 
The material of which it is built is mostly a rose colored granite, 
from Lyme, Conn., with string pieces and ornamentations of 
Belleville stone. The architecture is of the Gothic style of 
the XIV th century. The windows are of stained glass, with 
designs highly executed from Italian religious art. The great 
south transept window is a memorial of the beloved physi- 
cian, Dr. Anderson, who was long a celebrity at quarantine 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 401 

and in St. John's. The north side window in the chancel is 
a figure of surpassing loveliness, a memorial of the daughter 
of John Appleton, one of the most munificent and devoted 
friends of the parish, who is himself memorialized in an elab- 
orate mural tablet of polished brass, just within the chancel 
arch. The stained glass window architecture is said to be the 
finest specimen of rural church architecture in the diocese. The 
church was consecrated by Bishop Horatio Potter, September 
30, 1871. 

The first rector of this parish was Kingston Goddard, from 
June, 1844, to June, 1847. Later rectors have successively been: 
Alexander G. Mercer, June, 1847, to September, 1852; R. M. 
Abercrombie, January, 1853, to February, 1856; John C. Eccles- 
ton, April, 1856, to January, 1863; Thomas K. Conrad, March, 
1863, to October, 1866; and John C. Eccleston, D.D., again from 
1867 to the present time. 

In 1862 a commodious rectory was built adjoining the church. 
A parish building, known as the Mercer Memorial chape), was 
erected on the same plot of ground in 1865. Within the last 
sixteen years one hundred and fifty thousand dollars have been 
spent in parish improvements. 

JOHN C. ECCLESTON, M.D., D.D. Probably no man on Staten 
Island has attracted by his talents a greater amount of atten- 
tion, or possesses a reputation more to be envied than does the 
Rev. John C. Eccleston, M.D., D.D., rector of St. John's 
church, Clifton. The doctor has enjoyed a pastorate of more 
than twenty-six years in his present pulpit and during that 
time his energy and eloquence have done much to stamp his in- 
dividuality upon the community in which he lives. 

Doctor Eccleston was born in Kent county, Md., May 6, 1828. 
He is a descendant of the Ecclestons who came from the village of 
Ecclestown in England, with the first Maryland colonists, tak- 
ing an active part in the revolutionary struggles, by means of 
which they forfeited large landed estates in Great Britain. His 
father was judge of the supreme court of Maryland, and his 
uncle, Samuel Eccleston, archbishop of Baltimore and Metro- 
politan of the Roman Catholic church in the United States. 

The doctor graduated from the Roman Catholic college of Si. 
Sulfice in Baltimore, July 20, 1847, and on March 31, 1850, re- 
ceived the degree of M. D. from the University of Maryland. 
For a year he followed the medical profession in the city of 
26 



402 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Baltimore, after which he entered the General Theological Sem- 
inary in New York city. From there he graduated June 27, 
1854. On August 22d of the same year, he was ordained to the 
diaconate by Bishop Alonzo Potter, and on April 11, 1855, he 
assumed priestly orders. 

He received his first call to St. John's church, February 27, 
1856, assumed the rectorship of Trinity church, Newark, N. J., 
January 1, 1863, became rector of St. James church, Great Bar- 
rington, Mass., May 1, 1866, and returned to St. John's, at 
Clifton, November 1, 1867. The new stone church consecrated 
September 30, 1871, was erected largely through his energy and 
enterprise. The doctor has been twice married and has four 
children still living. His brother, Doctor J. H. Eccleston, is 
the distinguished rector of Emmanuel church, Baltimore, Md. 

Doctor Eccleston' s preaching is forcible and eloquent. Large 
numbers of people from all denominations and from all parts of 
the island are regularly attracted to his church by the power 
of his reasoning and by the magnetism of his manner. He has 
no sympathy with wrongdoing, never shrouds his true meaning 
in mystical language and is as independent in his private and 
political life as he is in the pulpit. His secular lectures which 
have been many, are characterized by a strength and vivacity 
equalled only by their instructive and useful qualities, and his 
thirty-one years of public speaking have won him a distin- 
guished place among the orators of his day. On Staten Island 
he is universally known and his name is connected with every 
really aggressive movement. Free in lending his influence to 
the advancement of everything that is noble, free and good, the 
doctor has made for himself many lasting and powerful friends, 
and the memory of his good works will long survive to testify 
of him. We take pleasure in presenting the citizens of Rich- 
mond county with this short sketch of one of the oldest and 
most respected of its living clergymen. 



The organization of St. Paul's church was effected at a meet- 
ing held at the Planters hotel, Tompkinsville, March 11, 1833. 
Previous to that time members of the Episcopal denomination 
attended religious services at St. Andrew's ; and for a tinrj ser- 
vices were held in private houses here, by the Rev. Samuel 
Haskell. The first officers elected were Henry Drisler and 
Richard S. Gary, wardens ; and Daniel Van Duzer, Sr., Caleb 




JOHN C. ECCLESTON 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 403 

T. Ward, Richard Harcourt, Charles Simonson, George Brown, 
Daniel Simonson, Richard Sharrott and Henry B. Metcalfe, 
vestrymen. The Rev. F. H. Gaming was called to the rector- 
ship at a salary of 300 a year and ferry tickets for himself and 
family to pass freely between the island and New York, where 
he resided. He commenced his services here in July, 1833. 
The number of communicants became during that year, seven- 
teen, and measures were set on foot to build a church. Success 
attended those efforts, and the corner stone of an edifice was 
laid on the 3d of July, 1834, Bishop Onderdonk officiat- 
ing. Rev. Mr. Cuming resigned on the 3d of May, 
the same year, and Rev. William Curtis was called in 
his stead. He entered upon his duties August 1st, fol- 
lowing, and his labors were cut short by his death on the 
21st of the same month. He was buried by the parish in St. 
Andrew's churchyard. The first church was built upon ground 
given by Caleb T. Ward, on what was then Richmond avenue, 
now known as St. Paul's avenue. The church was consecrated 
June 22, 1835, and was used for religious services until 1870. 
Its cost was $5,831.34. The financial condition of the church 
was for many years considerably depressed, and finally the 
building was sold under a foreclosure in 1861. It was pur- 
chased by Mr. Ward, and by him resold to the church on easy 
terms of payment, Still later, this generous benefactor of the 
church, Judge Albert Ward, proposed to erect at his own ex- 
pense a handsome stone church and donate it to the parish, on 
certain conditions, which were accepted, and the corner stone 
of the new church was laid September 29, 1866. The condi- 
tions referred to were that the parish should build a rectory 
and furnish the new church. This building of the new church 
was completed in 1870, and the first service held in it on Easter 
day, April 17th. The church was formally consecrated May 
31st, following, the corporate name having been changed to " St. 
Paul's' Memorial Church, Edgewater." The "memorial" was 
with respect to Miss Mary Mann Ward, a sister of the donor. 
The building is one of very substantial architecture and con- 
struction, and is said to have cost about $50,000. 

The rectors acting in this church have been : William H. 
Walter, 1836 to December 3, 1838, except during a leave of ab- 
sence from November, 1837, to the time of his resignation, his 
place meanwhile being temporarily filled by Gordon Winslow 



404 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

and R. C. Shimeall ; William Walton, December 27, 1839, to 
October 1, 1843 ; Gordon Winslow, May 1, 1844 to April, 1852 ; 
Charles A. Maison, July, 1852, to April, 1857; E. H. Cressy, 
October, 1859, to November, 1861 ; T. W. Punnett, November, 
1861, to February, 1875 ; Charles B. Coffin, April, 1875, to his 
death, July 10, 1875 ; Albert U. Stanley, November, 1875, to 
May 1, 1882 ; and Henry N. Wayne, July 1, 1882, the present 
rector. 

Of St. Luke's Church, Rossville, we have been able to pro- 
cure only a meagre account. The parish register appears to have 
been imperfectly kept. The church edifice was erected in 1843, 
and its first rector was Rev. C. D. Jackson ; he officiated some 
six or seven years, when he died in Westchester county. He 
was succeeded by the Rev. William H. Rees, who officiated 
about five years, when he died at Newark, N. J. The next rec- 
tor of whom we find any account was the Rev. Jesse Pound, 
who died in the parish after a service of some nine or ten years. 
He was succeeded by the Rev. Henry H. Bean, who, after sev- 
eral years' service, also died in the parish. There have been 
other rectors, but there is no record of them. The present rec- 
tor is the Rev. William Wardlaw. 

The Church of the Holy Comforter, located at Eltingville, was 
opened for worship October 8, 1865, its erection being largely 
due to the efforts of Mr. Albert Journeay, assisted by the ladies 
of the neighborhood. The building was designed by Mr. Up- 
john, the architect of Trinity church. The parish was organized 
October 24, 1865 ; the incorporators were Albert Journeay, 
James Guyon, Edward Banker, Jr., S. K. Raymond, John W. 
Mersereau, Jr., and Charles E. Robins. The church edifice was 
consecrated May 29, 1868. 

The rectors have been as follows : J. W. Payne, from Novem- 
ber 29, 1865, to August 9, 1866 ; W. W. Holley, from October 
4, 1866, to October 24, 1867 ; W. Leacock, from February 26, 
1868, to September 23, 1868 ; Newland Maynard, from .Septem- 
ber 27, 1869. to May 23, 1871; and Frederick M. Gray, from 
August 1, 1873, to - 

Christ Church, New Brighton, was organized on the 9th of 
July, 1849, its nucleus being an offshoot from St. Paul's at 
Tompkinsville. The nave of the present church was built in 
1850, the transepts being completed at a later date. The first 
\vardens were William Pendleton and David A. Comstock; and 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 40."> 

the first vestrymen were George Wotherspoon, Samuel T. Jones, 
Travis B. Cutting, Matthew Morgan, George E. Kunhardt, Peter 
Stuyvesant, Philip P. Kissam and Charles D. Rhodes. A hand- 
some Sunday school building was completed in 1874. The church 
is a frame building, and stands in the midst of tastefully ar- 
ranged and well kept grounds on the west side of Franklin 
avenue and just south of Second street. The Sunday school 
building stands in the rear, on the same grounds. 

The first rector of this church was Pierre P. Irving, who be- 
gan with the early existence of the church, and continued for a 
term of twenty-five years. During the last two or three years 
he was assisted in his duties by Hamilton Lee. The present 
rector, George D. Johnson, succeeded him in 1875, and has min- 
istered to the church since that time. The present number of 
communicants is about three hundred, representing about two 
hundred and twenty families. The present officers are : L. Sat- 
terlee and H. E. Alexander, wardens ; and W. P. Raynor, E. 
Wiman, A. Rich, E. B. Crowell, W. H. Motley, N. S. Walker, 
C. Whitman and R. I. Fearon, vestrymen. 

The establishment of the Baptist church on the island was due 
to the efforts of missionary work on the part of New York city 
pastors and licentiates. The first meetings of which we have any 
knowledge were held by Reverends John Gano and Elkanah 
Holmes in the summer of 1785. They were open air meetings, 
and were held at different places on the eastern shore and inter- 
ior of the island. Evening meetings were held in barns and pri- 
vate dwellings. The Methodists were in the meantime pursuing 
a similar course, occupying neighboring hills and orchards with 
their open air meetings, and sometimes the same buildings for 
their evening services. An important revival attended these 
early efforts. A church, under the name of the " First Baptist 
Church of Staten Island," was constituted on the 30th of De- 
cember, 1785. This was composed of the following persons, 
who had been baptized during the autumn preceding: Belichy 
Fountain, Anthony Fountain, Jr., Hannah Fountain, Nicholas 
Cox, Margaret Kruser, Mary Van Name, Mary Lockerman, 
Susannah Wandel, Jacob Van Pelt, John Wandel, Jr., Charles 
Van Name and John Lockerman. 

The Rev. Elkanah Holmes became the pastor of this church, 
and continued as such about ten years. Rev. Daniel Steers was 
ordained on or about August 23, 1797, and at once became pas- 



40(3 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

tor of this church, which he continued to serve until about 1808, 
when he resigned. He was succeeded by Rev. Nicholas Cox, 
who had been ordained to the ministry, but died shortly after- 
ward, when the pulpit was supplied by different ones for a year 
or more. 

Up to this time meetings had been held in the open air, pri- 
vate dwellings and school houses. In the early part of 1809 it 
was resolved to build a meeting house. This resolution was 
carried into effect, and the house being sufficiently completed, 
was opened for divine worship on the 24th of the following Oc- 
tober. The tirst sermon in it was delivered by Rev.W. Parkin- 
son, of the First Baptist church in New York. This building 
was about twenty by thirty feet in size, and it stood on the side 
of the hill at the junction of the old Clove road and the Rich- 
mond road, in the town of Southfield. Though the building has 
long since disappeared, its site is still marked by the graves 
which were made near it, of some of the oldest members of the 
denomination. This was the only edifice owned by this denomi- 
nation in the county up to the year 1830. It was known as the 
" Old Clove Church," and for many years, even after the date 
mentioned, was the favored center to which members of the sect 
came to worship from many of the surrounding villages. 

Rev. James Bruce commenced his pastorate here, May 1, 1810, 
and was ordained at the First church in New York, on the 21st 
of June following. He was then a yonng man, and soon en- 
deared himself to the church by his efforts as a faithful and 
earnest pastor. His career was cut short by death in February, 
1811. Rev. Samuel Carpenter was called in September follow- 
ing, and was pastor of the church until his resignation in March, 
1813. Different ministers supplied the pulpit now until the 
pastorate of Elder Robert F. Randolph, of Samptown, N. J., 
which began August 6, 1817. He resigned in the spring of 1819, 
and in May of that year was succeeded by Thomas B. Steven- 
son, then a licentiate. Baptisms were at that time frequently 
performed on the shore near John Lockerman's farm at Mari- 
ner's Harbor, as well as on the shore on the south side of the 
island. Mr. Stevenson was ordained on the 25th of August, 
1819, and continued to labor successfully with this congrega- 
tion until August, 1822, when he resigned to become a mission- 
ary. After another period of unsettled supply the pulpit was 
filled by Anna R. Martin, a licentiate of Bethel Baptist church 



HISTORY OF KICHMOND COUNTY. 407 

of New York for several months from October 5, 1823. He was 
finally settled, on a salary of three hundred dollars a year and 
some perquisites in the line of provisions for family use. He 
was ordained June 9, 1824. At this time the membership of the 
church numbered fifty persons, consisting of fifteen males and 
thirty-live females. 

The work of the church now moved steadily forward. Meet- 
ings were held in the neighborhood of Rossville, then known as 
the "West Quarter.'' A parsonage, standing opposite the 
church, was purchased during the first year of Mr. Martin's 
pastorate, and the final payment on it was made in December, 
1827. The history of the church was uneventful during a 
period of several years, except that the Mariners' Harbor mem- 
bers grew stronger in their desire for a church building nearer 
their homes, and in 1830 succeeded in erecting one at Granite- 
ville. In May, 1834, the membership of the church was 
seventy-six. Mr. Martin's pastorate closed with his death, 
October 26, 1835. 

Rev. Samuel White was called and became the pastor of this 
church June 1, 1836. Under his ministrations the membership 
increased until in 1840 it reached one hundred and thirty-four. 
In 1841 however, it was reduced to ninety-three, by the with- 
drawal of the church at Graniteville. The old church now fell 
into a decline, and for several years was barely able for a part 
of the time to maintain regular Sabbath services. Elder White 
was assisted in the few last years of his life by supplies who 
preached in the branch church and part of the time in the Old 
Clove church. He died May 3, 1863, after a pastorate of twenty- 
five years, during which time he had baptized two hundred and 
fifty-two persons, of whom several became licentiates or or- 
dained ministers. In much of his revival work he was assisted 
by the Rev. Mr. Arthur, father of Ex-President Chester A. 
Arthur. Mr. White's remains were deposited in the family 
vault in the grounds of the church at Graniteville, on the Gun 
Factory road. 

During the summer of 1863, Mr. Patterson, a son-in-law of 
Mr. White, became pastor of the church and continued in that 
capacity until May, 1865. Following that date the church had 
supplies for several years, and during that time its life seemed to 
dissolve into that of the branch church at Graniteville. In 
1868, the title to the Old Clove church became vested in the 



408 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

heirs of Mr. White in liquidation of a claim which he had long 
held against the church. The building was afterward used as a 
school house for several years, but in 1877 it was taken down, 
and a local writer of its history very appropriately says : 
"Only the crumbling, moss-covered stones which mark the 
resting places of the long-buried baptist dead remain, as fitting 
symbols to mark the spot where died the fairest, brightest, 
fondest hopes of the early converts and the mother church. 
Should not the denomination at least secure and preserve this 
site, this resting place of the baptist dead? " 

A new house of worship was built by the old church on a site 
at Graniteville about half a mile east of the "North" church. 
This is the building which stands on the " Gun Factory road." 
It was opened for worship in April, 1842, the Rev. Spencer H. 
Cone preaching the first sermon. This branch of the old 
"Clove" seemed to prosper for a time, but after the death of 
Mr. White it fell into decline. Prom 1867 to 1870 it was seldom 
opened for worship. Mr. Waters was employed a few months 
in the latter y,ear. John A. Wilson preached during the latter 
part of 1871, to May, 1872, and Henry Willets followed a short 
time. In September, 1872, Duncan Young became pastor and 
continued three years. Rev. Jackson Ga Nun labored eight 
mouths, beginning in January, 1876. John B. Palvert, in 
December, 1877, began serving as a supply, after the house had 
been closed over a year. He remained till July, 1879. James B. 
Drysden and George Nock held services in the church for short 
periods, but no services have been held in it since 1880. About 
1882 the society disbanded. The later history of this church 
seems to have been a race between it and its child the " North" 
church which afterward became the "Park" church, in which 
the old church, though for a time running well, was by the 
logic of circumstances obliged at last to give up the prize of 
existence. 

About the year 1810 meetings were held by the Baptist de- 
nomination in the vicinity of Howland's hook. These early meet- 
ings were often held in the orchard on John Lockerman's farm, 
just west of Summerfield avenue, and in other available locali- 
ties near there. A number of members of the Old Clove church 
lived in this vicinity, and they began several years later to con- 
sider the question of having a church more conveniently located. 
Regular services were begun in June, 1825, on Sabbath after- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 409 

noons, in the school house at Mariners' Harbor. A piece of 
ground for a building site, on the Richmond road at Granite- 
ville, was given by Jedediah Winant in 1829, and a building 
thirty-one by forty-one feet, and twenty feet high, was erected 
on it. This was completed and duly opened on the22d of July. 
1830. It stood upon what is now the burial ground known 
as "Hillside Cemetery " on the Richmond road directly oppo- 
site from the school house at Graniteville. The pulpit was sup- 
plied on Sabbath afternoons and alternate Sabbath evenings by 
the pastor of the Old Clove church. The first Baptist Sunday- 
school on the island was organized in this church on the third 
sabbath of August, 1832. 

This branch soon began to break away from the mother 
church. In 1836 it had a communion service and officers by it- 
self. The question of separation from the old church was fre- 
quently under discussion, and such a step was finally resolved 
upon at a meeting February 3, 1841. The "North Baptist 
Church" was accordingly organized with fifty-three members, 
March 1, 1841. The Rev. J. T. Seely became its pastor on the 
4th of May. During his pastorate a remarkable revival oc- 
curred, known as the " revival in the old Rubber Factory " at 
what is now West New Brighton. Fifty-one baptisms were the 
result of this. The members of this church now resolved to 
build a house of worship at Port Richmond. This, a modest 
frame building, was erected, and it was dedicated February 
27, 1843. Services were then held in both houses; at Granite 
ville in the morning and Port Richmond in the evening. This 
arrangement continued until February 15, 1857, when the Gran- 
iteville edifice became the property of the Mariners' Harbor 
church, organized at that time. 

The labors of Mr. Seely closed August 1, 1845, and he was 
succeeded by Rev. David Morris, whose service continued till 
May 1, 1849. He was followed by Rev. B. C. Townsend. who 
served the church from May, 1850, to May, 1852. Aaron Jack- 
son, the fourth pastor, gaye nine months' service. John Seage 
became pastor in May, 1853, and resigned in May, 1856. He 
was followed by Z. P. '\Vild, May 1, 1856, to May 15, 1858, dur- 
ing which time, February 15, 1857, forty-eight members were 
dismissed to constitute the Mariners' Harbor Baptist church. 
The energies of the Port Richmond church were now concen- 



410 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

trated upon its own locality, though it was weakened by the 
withdrawal of so large a number. 

George W. Dodge became pastor in August, 1858, and re- 
signed in June, 1859. In December, I860, W. A. Barnes became 
pastor, but was dismissed about two months later. The out- 
look of the church at this time seemed dark, and for several 
years its existence seemed a struggle between life and death, 
in which the chances trembled in the balance. Not until the 
summer of 1864 did the church enjoy the ministrations of a 
settled pastor, though for a while the Rev. W. B. Schrope 
served them as a supply. Extreme depression followed, in 
which the church was on the point of deeding its property to 
the Mariners' Harbor church and disbanding its membership. 
But the members aroused themselves to make one more effort 
for existence, and the Rev. D. B. Patterson was invited to 
the vacant pulpit, July 24, 1864. He resigned early in 1866. 
At this time the membership of the church had become reduced 
to thirty-one, and the house was closed for several months. 
Rev. D. W. Sherwood was called to the pastorate in December, 
1866, and resigned in 1870, having been instrumental in holding 
the church to its status and perhaps giving it a new impulse for- 
ward. S. G. Smith was pastor from October 1870 to 1877. Dur- 
ing this time the church had grown stronger; fifty-seven persons 
had been baptized, and the church edifice remodelled, at an ex- 
pense of $13,000. The name was changed to the Park Baptist 
Church, of Port Richmond, and the present brick church was 
elected. 

Rev. A. S. Gumbart became pastor April 1, 1878, was ordained 
May 16th following, and resigned in June, 1880, having received 
forty-nine members into the church. Rev. J. J. Muir entered 
upon his duties as pastor in March, 1880. He was succeeded in 
1883 by Rev. J. B. L'Hommedieu, the present pastor, who be- 
gan his service in that capacity October 1, 1883. Since that date 
sixty-eight persons have been added to the church, and the 
outlook is encouraging. Thomas Davis, jr., has for several 
years been superintendent of the Sunday school. 

February 15, 1857, forty-eight members were dismissed, at 
their own request, from the North Baptist church to organize 
the church at Mariners' Harbor. This church was constituted 
by a council held March 12, 1857, and a full organization effected 
by a meeting at the house of George F. Thompson on the first 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 411 

of April following. The first trustees were David Van Name, 
George F. Thompson, William Lissenden, John Thompson and 
David Van Name, Jr. The first deacons were George F. Thomp- 
son, William Lissenden and Jacob Van Pelt. The corner stone 
of a new edifice was laid September 9, 1857, and the building 
having been completed was dedicated May 5, 1858. Meetings 
were held in the old Graniteville church until the completion 
of the new one. The cost of this building and grounds was 
about $10,000. The Graniteville church had been granted to 
this society by a resolution of the North church made January 
17, 1857. In 1868 the church was cleared of debt. The church 
has enjoyed a wholesome degree of prosperity, and the present 
membership numbers about two hundred. The successive 
ministers who have served it have been : Z. P. Childs, 1857 to 
1858 ; J. N. Tolman, 1858 to 1861 ; G. P. Folwell, 1861 to 1862; 
J. L. Benedict, 1862 to 1864 ; J. J. Brouner, 1864 to 1869 ; W. 
B. Harris, 1869 to 1872 ; J. W. Taylor, 1872 to 1875 ; C. W. 
Hull, 1875 to 1877 ; W. R. Moore, November, 1877, to the present 
time. 

As early as 1826 meetings began to be held by the Baptists 
in private houses in different parts of the town of Westfield. 
At different times within a few years such meetings were held 
at the houses of Edward Weir in Pleasant Plains, Mrs. 
Gillatta Murray in Rossville, Israel Journeay and Mrs. Cath- 
erine Ely, and in school houses. These meetings were conducted 
under the auspices of the old First Baptist, or "Clove" 
church. 

The corner stone of a branch church at Kreischerville was laid 
March 31, 1847, and the building dedicated on the 16th of Sep- 
tember following. It was a frame building, thirty by forty-two 
feet. This remained as a branch or chapel, until the year 1848, 
when the " West Baptist Church of Staten Island" was organ- 
ized on the 24th of May. The constituent members were Israel 
Journeay, Aaron Van Name, Edward Weir, Catherine Journeay, 
Gillatta Murray, Catherine Ely, Alice A. Ellis, Phoabe Andro- 
vette, Malvina Ellis, Mahala Arnett, Sarah Ann Storer, Ann 
Androvette, Hannah Martin and Mary Benedict. A Sunday 
school was opened the first Sunday in May, 1849, with Mrs. 
Catherine Ely, superintendent. 

The first pastor of this church was William Pike, of Haver- 
straw, who, after preaching for a while on probation, entered 



412 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

the pastorate June 1, 1848. John Burnett became pastor No- 
vember 1, 1854. His salary was $350 and house rent. He also 
preached at Tottenville on stated evenings, in a chapel which 
had been built by Harmon Kingsbnry. Mr. Burnett died 
March 1, 1858. His successor was Thomas W. Conway, who 
was called July 1, and ordained October 20th of the same year. 
He remained till October 30, 1860. December 30, 1859, ten 
members withdrew to form the " South Church" at Tottenville. 
This left the church with a membership of thirty. 

Rev. Arthur Day became pastor of both churches January 1, 
1861 ; and resigned in January, 1863. Supplies followed until 
William James was settled over both churches in January, 
1865, continuing to February, 1866. William B. Harris was 
pastor from February 26, 1867, to March 1, 1869. David Taylor 
was pastor one year from June 1, 1869. The connection be- 
tween this and the South church in ministerial supply, was 
dissolved in 1870. Since then this church has had no separate 
pastor, but has been occasionally supplied by renewal for short 
periods of the association with the South church. 

From 1852 to 1858 Reverends Pike and Burnett of the West 
church, assisted by the Rev. Geo. F. Hendrickson of Perth 
Amboy, held occasional services at different private houses in 
the village of Tottenville, and also in a free chapel which had 
been erected by Harmon Kingsbury, near his grove. The Tem- 
perance hall was secured in the spring of 1859, and services 
were thereafter held in it on Sabbath mornings. After lengthy 
discussion the organization of a church here was effected De- 
cember 11, 1859, by the name of the "South Church of Staten 
Island." The members of this new organization, who had with- 
drawn from the West church, wereT. W. Conway, John Tucker, 
S. B. Hazelton, George D. Fisher, William Cooley, Isabella 
Fisher, Mary Wrifle, Sarah A. Ellis, Maria T. Hazelton, Isa- 
bella Ayer, Melvina Cole, Ann Storer and S. D. Reed. 

The corner stone of a new edifice was laid, and recognition 
services held, Monday, February 8, 1860. The church was sup- 
plied with ministerial service in connection with the West 
church until 1870. The church Avas cleared of debt in August, 
1871, which happy condition was brought about largely by the 
generous assistance of Mr. John Turner, who himself assumed 
one half the burden, and in addition erected at his own expense 
a lecture room in rear of the church. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 413 

The pulpit was filled by temporary supplies from October 
1871, to September, 1875, when the South and West churches 
were again united in pastoral support under the ministration of 
Isaac W. Brinckerhoff, who continued to serve them till July 
1, 1881. Calvin A. Hare became pastor of the South church 
April 10, 1882, and remained until 1884, when T. Burdette Bott 
was called. The membership now numbers about one hundred. 

The First Baptist church of New Brighton has been recently 
organized. The favorable location and the earnest work put 
forth bid fair to establish a large Baptist interest here. 
Rev. J. B. McQuillan was the first pastor. The church was or- 
ganized in June, 1884, with thirteen members. In November 
of the same year the church, having secured a lease of the Uni- 
tarian house of worship on Clinton avenue, extended a call to 
the Eev. J. B. McQuillan, then of Patterson, N. J., to become 
their pastor. His pastoral term began on the first Sabbath in 
January, 1885. A baptistery has been placed in the church, 
and several candidates have been immersed, the first in New 
Brighton for upwards of forty years. The church now num- 
bers thirty-one members. It was duly recognized, according to 
the custom of the denomination, by a council of the Southern 
New York Baptist Association, on the 2d of February, 1886. 
Mr. McQuillan resigned July 1, 1887, and the church is at 
present without a regular pastor. 

The introduction of Methodism on Staten Island is due to 
the persevering efforts of a few zealous individuals connected 
with the denomination in New Jersey and elsewhere. The first 
Methodist sermon preached on the island was in November, 
1771, by Francis Asbury, in the house of one Peter Van Pelt, 
only twelve days after his arrival in America. 

It is to the unwearied labors of Thomas Morrell and Robert 
Cloud, two preachers attached to th^Elizabethtown circuit, 
that this church is chiefly indebted for its organization. Of 
Morrell it is said that he had been a soldier, and bore upon his 
person scars of wounds received in fighting for his country. 
He was also a man of more than ordinary abilities and acquire- 
ments. Of the local preachers, William Cole was most prom- 
inent, and during the intervals between the visits of the itin- 
erants, frequently officiated in private houses, school houses, 
barns or any other place that offered. . 

On the fifth day of May, 1787, the first Methodist society on 



414 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

Staten Island was organized, and the following persons were 
elected trustees to take care of the temporalities of the church, 
viz.: Abraham Cole (at whose house the meeting was held), 
Benjamin Drake and John Hillyer, first class, to serve one year; 
Gilbert Totten, John Slaight and Joseph Wood, second class, 
to serve two years; Joseph Totten, Elias Price and Israel Dis- 
osway, third class, to serve three years. 

Measures were then adopted to erect a house of worship, and 
the following appeal to the Christian community was promul- 
gated: 

" To all Charitable, well-disposed Christians of every denom- 
ination of Staten Island. Whereas the Inhabitants on the 
West end of said Island are destitute of any Place of Public 
Worship, so that numbers, more especially of the poorer 
and middling ranks of People who have not Carriages, &c., 
are necessarily precluded from attending the Worship of God 
in a Public manner, their Children also lose the benefit of Pub- 
lic Instruction, and it is to be feared the Consequence will be 
to the rising Generation a settled Contempt for the worship of 
God and the ordinances of the House. 

"To remedy as far as human prudence can Extend the afore- 
said, and many other Inconveniences that might be named, the 
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church on said Island 
have chosen trustees agreeable to Law in order to Erect a 
Church for the Performance of Divine Service, and tis Supposed 
by the Blessing of God this may be the means of not only 
benefiting the present Generation, but that Numbei'S Yet un- 
born may have reason to Praise God for the pious Care of their 
forefathers. But as this will be Attended with a heavy Expence, 
to which the members of said Church are Inadequate, they 
hereby Respectful solicit the Donation of all such who are will- 
ing to promote so Laudable an Undertaking, we therefore the 
subscribers do hereby promise to pay or cause to be paid to the 
said Trustees or any Person Impowered by them to receive it, 
the sums affixed to our Several names, as Witness our Hands 
this Seventh day of June, In the Year of our Lord one Thou- 
sand Seven Hundred and Eighty-seven." 

Then follow the names of eighty-seven contributors, whose 
united subscriptions amount to nearly three hundred and fifty 
dollars. The largest contributors are Gilbert Totten, 8; Israel 
Disosway, 15; Benjamin Drake, 8; Mark Disosway, 5; Peter 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



415 



"Woglom, 6; Joshua Wright, 5; Jacob Reckhow, 5; John 
Androvat, 5; Peter Winant, sr., 4.15; John Slaght, 4.15. 
Among the subscribers we find the names of individuals at- 
tached to other churches, such as Bedells, Swains, Taylors, Lar- 
zeleres, Micheaus, La Tourettes, Mersereaus, Pralls, Con- 
ner, etc. 

It is said of Israel Disosway, that in addition to his subscrip- 
tion, which is the largest on the list, he gave the timber for 
erecting the new church, out of his own woods. 




, , i 1 |I 

'' ' , *&::: . .. , 



r ;\6 



WOODROW M. E. CHURCH. 



With the small sum realized by the subscriptions just men- 
tioned, the first Methodist church on Staten Island was built on 
the site now occupied by the Woodrow church in Westfield. 
This building is described as a low, roughly built house, with 
gable to the road, and having small windows and a plain batten 
door, the fastening of which was operated by the old fashioned 
latch-string. The interior showed a unique altar, high backed, 
uncushioned seats, and bare rafters overhead. Its site was 



416 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

amid the natural grandeur of the luxuriant forest, broken by 
scattered clearings and the primitive habitations of a few hardy 
settlers. 

That the trustees took excellent care of the temporalities of 
the church will be perceived from the following extract from 
the original " Day Book : " 

" At a meeting held in the Methodist Church for chosing a 
Saxon to serve for one year in said church to keep said house 
swept and sanded and scraped when the Trustees shall direct, 
and all other necessary dutys of a saxon for the sum of five 
dollars ; Eichard Mier was chosen and accepted." Subse- 
quently, the '' saxon" was allowed one shilling "for every 
fire he makes in the stove," additional. 

In 1842 the present church edifice was erected on the site of 
the former. This edifice is considerably larger than the first, 
and encroaches upon some of the graves in the surrounding 
church-yard that were made near the old house. 

This old burial ground contains many old graves of the early 
inhabitants. The first white marble stone erected here, we are 
told, is that to the memory of Rev. Joseph Totten, one of the 
first members of the Methodist church on the island. He was 
for twenty-six years an itinerant preacher of the gospel, and 
died May 20, 1818, while in charge of the society of St. John's 
church at Philadelphia. Immediately in front of the church 
stands a plain marble monument, which marks the grave of one 
of the most deeply revered preachers of the church, well known 
as "old Father Boehm." The monument bears the following 
inscription : 

"Sacred to the memory of Rev. Henry Boehm, born in Lan- 
caster, Pa., June 8, 1775, died on Staten Island, December 28, 
1875. A centenarian, who was for seventy-six years an hon- 
ored and beloved Methodist minister, as eminent for social, 
Christian and ministerial virtues as for longevity : the associate 
of Bishop Asbury and his compeers in labors on earth, he now 
rests with them in heaven." 

On the twelfth day of February, 1822, at a meeting held at 
the house of James Totten, it was unanimously resolved to 
build another honse of worship, in the town of Westfield, to be 
called "The Tabernacle." A church appears to have been or- 
ganized, and trustees duly elected. In August, 1823, a public 
meeting was held- "in the Tabernacle ;" the edifice must there- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 417 

fore have been erected immediately. The building was removed 
several years since, the establishment of churches at Totten- 
ville, so near by, doing away with the necessity for a church 
here. Its site was a few rods southeast of the railroad station 
at Richmond Valley. Some of the foundation stones are still 
lying there. 

The membership of the original church was so large in the 
neighborhood of Tottenville that in 1841 it was deemed advis- 
able to organize another society there. This was done, and the 
name "Bethel Church 11 given to it. A church was erected in 
1842, and the society prospered. The church cost about 
$14,000. It was destroyed by lire on Sunday night, January 
10, 1886. The building at that time, with its furniture, heating 
apparatus and organ, was valued at about $23,000. 

St. Paul's, located also at Tottenville, was organized in 1860. 
Immediate steps were taken to erect a house of worship. The 
corner stone to this was laid September 6, 1861, and the walls 
were rapidly raised, and the building advanced toward comple- 
tion. A debt hung over the church until November 13, 1881, 
when by a liberal effort it was cleared. The debt then amounted 
to $4,500. Among the foremost names on the subscription for 
that purpose and at that time were the following : Mrs. E. P. 
Wood, $1,100 ; David C. Butler, $250 ; Henry Van Name, $200 ; 
Aaron Van Name, $200 ; Paul Van Name, $100 ; Daniel Butler, 
125 ; John S. Sleight, $100 ; Wesley Patten, $100 ; Sylvester 
Joline, $100 ; Moses J. Van Name, $100. 

The early Methodists did not confine their efforts to the town 
of Westfield; for, not long after they had become domiciled 
there, a small class, under the leadership of Elias Price, who 
afterward became a local preacher, was organized in the town 
of Northfield, which, in 1802, had expanded sufficiently to 
warrant the creation of a new society, and the erection of a new 
church, which now is recognized as the Asbury church at New 
Springville. For more than thirty years this church was the 
only place of public worship possessed by the Methodists of 
Northfield and Castleton. It was connected in pastoral supply 
with the church at Mariners 1 Harbor from 1839 to 1849, when 
the latter church secured a minister independently of this. 

A branch of this church, called Bloornfield church, was estab- 
lished by the laying of its corner stone in June, 1885. It stands 
at the head of Merril avenue, on a plot of ground which was 
27 



418 HISTORi" OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

given by Joseph Ball, of Bloomfield, and Rev. J. B. Hilh'er of 
New Springville. Its erection is mainly due to the labors of 
Messrs. J. B. Hillyer and Thomas Standering, two local preachers 
of the congregation. 

In 1838 those residing along the shore in Castleton andNorth- 
lield began to agitate the matter of building a new church 
nearer their own residences, and at or near Graniteville. The 
next year Mr. Robert, C. Simonson offered a lot of land on the 
Pond road, Port Richmond, as a free gift, if they would erect a 
church thereon. This offer was at once accepted by those re- 
siding in that vicinity, and the proposed church at Graniteville 
was abandoned. 

The church on the Pond road was erected and dedicated early 
in the winter of 1839, the conveyance of the lot from Mr. Simon- 
son being dated December 1, 1839. The Westtield and North- 
field charges were divided in 1840, and Daniel Cross became 
the preacher on this circuit, which was called the Northfield 
and Quarantine mission. In 1841 this was again divided and 
made two circuits, that of Northfield comprehending Asbury 
and Mariners' Harbor, while this was known as Quarantine and 
Port Richmond. Of this Rev. R. Lutton became pastor. His 
name appears with those of Benjamin Day and Jefferson Lewis, 
between that date and 1848. They were succeeded by pastors 
as follows: Alexander Gillmore, 1848-49; Charles E. Hill, 1850-51; 
- Kelly, 1852-53; T. Pierson. 1854-55; N. Yansant, 1856-57; 
M. E. Ellison, 1858-59; J. M. Freeman, 186061; R. S. Arndt, 
1862-63; J. C. Winner, 1864; J. F. Hurst, 1865-66; - - Owen, 
part of 1866; T. H. Smith, 1867-69. 

The house erected on the Pond road, now occupied by the 
German Lutheran church, continued to be their house of wor- 
ship until 1853, when they erected the large and commodious 
brick church edifice at the corner of the Shore road and Dongan 
street, West New Brighton. The original building and lot were 
sold April 28, 1853, to the German Evangelical Lutherans for 
the sum of $1,500. The new church took the name of Trinity, 
and was incorporated under that name January 10, 1853, the 
trustees being Jasper G. Codmus, John W. Snedeker, Lewis 
Edwards, Azariah Dunham and John Simonson. The land 
on which the present church and parsonage is built, consti 
tuted the lots numbered 45 and 46 of the estate of John Bodine, 
Sen., and was purchased of Noyes P. H. Barrett, June 25, 1851, 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 419 

Jasper G. Codmus, John W. Snedeker, Lewis Edwards and 
John Simonson being trustees. It was subsequently discovered 
that the title was defective, inasmuch as the land was con- 
veyed to the above named persons individually, and before the 
incorporation; therefore on the 10th day of July, 1869, the same 
individuals quit-claimed the property to the trustees of the 
church, and thus remedied the defect. The bell and clock in 
the tower of this church were procured by the contributions of 
the people residing in its vicinity. The stewards in 1885 were 
William Snedeker, Noah Sellick, William Bamber, T. D. Lyons, 
M. D., Benedict Parker, George Pero, E. L. Kennedy, Ephraim 
Smith, C. E. Surdam, A. H. Richards and J W. Bodine. 

In 1838 the Methodists of Mariners' Harbor resolved, inas- 
much as a church for their accommodation had become a neces- 
sity, to erect one nearer their own homes. Accordingly on the 
6th day of April, 1839, a new society was organized by the 
election of Peter Braisted, Henry Jones, Benjamin B. Kinsey, 
John L. Richards and Daniel Simonson as trustees. The cer- 
tificate of incorporation was recorded on the 4th day of May 
following, and immediately thereafter that is, on the llth of 
the same month a lot was purchased for the consideration 
of $275, and during the following six months the church was 
erected, and on the 1st day of December, 1839 it was dedicated. 
For several years the same preacher served this church, and the 
one on " the Neck" (now Asbury), but in 1849 the connection 
was severed, and each church became independent of the other. 
In 1854 a parsonage was purchased. The membership of the 
church having rapidly increased, it was found necessary to erect 
a new and larger house, which was accordingly done, and the 
new edifice, which has since been known as the " Summerfield 
Church," was dedicated on the 10th day of October, 1869. The 
old church, which is the southwesternmost building within the 
corporate limits of the village of Port Richmond, was sold for 
$1,500, and is now occupied as an African church. 

The new church is nicely finished and the interior tastefully 
furnished. The society rejoices in the fact that it is clear of 
debt. The minister's salary has been raised from $1,000 to 
$1,500, and the church is now ranked as the fourth in the Eliza- 
beth conference district. 

Grace church was originally called the " North Shore Free 
M. E. Church." It was organized under that name, January 



420 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

23, 1867, being then composed of forty-eight persons, the most 
of whom had withdrawn from Trinity M. E. church. The meet- 
ing for organization was held in the Baptist church at Port 
Richmond, at which place the first Sabbath services of this 
church were also held, on the 27th of the same month. At the 
first election of trustees, on the 18th of February, 1867, the 
present name was adopted. The trustees then elected were 
Read Benedict, Ward McLean, John Q. Simonson, William 
Greer, N. P. H, Barrett, John S. Spragg, William Bamber, Dr. 
Frank G. Johnson and George F. Heal. Previous to the erec- 
tion of the present church a tabernacle, which cost $600, was 
temporarily used for public worship. 

The corner stone of the new church was laid August 1, 1867, 
and the church was dedicated December 29, 1867. The church 
lot is bounded on the north by Bond street, on the south by 
Cornelius street, and on the west or front by Heberton street, 
the land having been purchased of Cornelius B. Mersereau. The 
building was erected at a cost of about $10,000. 

The pastors of this church have been: Alexander M. Mead, 
1867 to September, 1868; P. D. Day, September 15, 1868, to the 
end of the conference year; John Coyle, 1869 to 1871; A. J. 
Palmer, 1872; J. J. Read, Jr., 1873; W. I. Gill, 1874 to 1876; 
T. H. Landon, 1877; Joseph A. Owen, 1878; J. S. Gilbert, 1879 
to 1881; E. C. Dutcher, 1882 to 1883; R. S. Arndt, 1884 to 
1886. 

In July, 1872, the church known as St. Marks, at Pleasant 
Plains, was dedicated. For a brief period it was considered as 
under the patronage and supervision of the Woodrow church, 
but in 1873 it became an independent organization. 

The Kingsley Methodist Episcopal church, situated on Cebra 
avenue near Saint Paul's avenue, Stapleton, is one of the oldest 
of the denomination on the island. The traditional history, 
strongly supported by documentary evidence, is that Rev. 
Henry Boehm, a minister in the Philadelphia conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal church, and stationed at Woodrow, organ- 
ized a class in the spring of 1835, at the house of Widow White, 
on ; 'Mud Lane," now known as St. Paul's avenue, and directly 
opposite the present site of the church. The names of this class, 
as nearly as can be ascertained, were: Mrs. James White, Wil- 
liam Howard, William Thoon, Mr. and Mrs. Kirby, and Mr. 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 421 

and Mrs. Capt. Hart. William Thoon was made the leader of 
the class. 

Public services were first held at the residence of Mrs. James 
White, the lady above referred to, and afterward, until the first 
church was built, in the "Village Academy." 

The first board of trustees was elected on the 21st, and the 
"Society" was incorporated on the 22d of July, 1835, under 
the name of the "Methodist Episcopal Church of Tompkins- 
ville, Staten Island." The board of trustees consisted of John 
Totten, Joseph Smith, A. C. Wheeler, Henry Cole and Law- 
rence Hillyer. 

The present site of the church is the only one the society has 
ever owned. It originally consisted of four lots, and was do- 
nated by Mr. Caleb T. Ward, of Stapleton, in December, 1835. 
on condition that it be used only for church purposes. Mr. 
Ward, many years afterward, gave the land in fee to the society, 
and an additional piece of land, so as to bring the site of its 
western boundary to Marion avenue. 

On the 8th of June, 1837, plans for a church building thirty- 
eight by sixty feet were agreed upon, and estimates were re- 
ceived for its erection. The contract was finally awarded to Mr. 
J. H. Quilthot for one thousand one hundred and sixty dollars. 
Mr. Quilthot mysteriously left the place before the house was 
completed, and it is said was never heard of afterward. The 
church, when it was finished, cost the society one thousand five 
hundred dollars. The corner stone was laid about the 1st of 
July, 1837, and the building was completed and dedicated about 
the 1st of September, 1838. 

In 1853 the building of a new church was agitated, the old 
one being considered not well located and unsuitable. Nego- 
tiations were entered into with Mr. Richard Smith for the pur- 
chase of lots located on Richmond road, near Beach street, and 
three hundred dollars was paid on them by the trustees of the 
society. When the trustees made application to Mr. Ward for 
the privilege of selling the old site, it was found that in at- 
tempting to buy a new site before the old was sold, they had 
reckoned "without their host," for Mr. Ward refused to re- 
move the proviso in the deed, and so they lost their three hun- 
dred dollars. The idea of a new location was then abandoned, 
but the agitation for a new church continued, until finally, on 
the 28th of May, 1855, the first church building was sold at pub- 



422 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 

lie auction. Mr. S. N. Havens was the purchaser, for two hun- 
dred and fifty dollars, and he removed it at once to New 
Brighton, and converted it into a dwelling house, where it still 
stands. The present membership of the Sunday school is one 
hundred and twenty. 

For fifteen years after the organization of this church, it was 
connected with other M. E. churches on the island in what is 
called the "Circuit" plan, making the pastor of this church 
also the pastor of all the others embraced in the circuit. 
With this explanation, the first pastor was Rev. Henry Boehm, 
who had been the travelling companion of Bishop Asbury, 
one of the first bishops of the M. E. church in the United 
States. Father Boehm, as he was afterward called, lived to the 
advanced age of 100 years, and died on Staten Island the 28th 
of December, 1875. 

The society has had twenty-nine pastors, viz.: Henry Boehm, 
two years; Mulford Day, two years; John S. Begle, one year; 
Mr. Lutton, one year; Mr. Lewis, one year; Benjamin Day, 
two years; George Wisnor, two years; Walters Burroughs, 
two years; John Stephenson, two years; Mr. Miller, one year; 
J. B. Graw, two years; D. F. Reed, one year; Mr. Bishop, eight 
months; Rev. E. Clement, four months; William H. Dickerson, 
one year; A. S. Burdett, fifteen months; C. R. Snyder, twenty- 
one months; S. 1ST. Bebour, one year; J. B. Faulks, two years; 
J. Coyle, three years; H. Spellmyer, three years; J. Cowans, 
one year; G. Smith, one year; H. Simpson, two years; T. 
Michael, one year; J. F. Andrew, two years; C. S. Woodruff, 
three years; C. W. McCormick, one year; R. B. Collins, three 
years. 

In April, 1885, this society completed a beautiful and com- 
modious, parsonage at the cost of $3,500, It is situated on the 
west side of the church, and has a commanding view of New 
York bay and Coney Island. The whole church property is 
valued at $15,000. 

The above history was prepared for this work by Rev. R. B. 
Collins, pastor of the church. 

The corner stone of the second church building was laid 
about the 1st of June, 1855, during the ministry of Rev. J. 
B. Graw, and was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God 
in December of the same year. The new church was known, 
thereafter, as the " Stapleton Methodist Episcopal Church." 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 423 



In 1870, during the ministry of the Rev, Henry Spellmyer, the 
church was remodelled, enlarged and refurnished, at a cost of 
$12,000. After these improvements, its name was changed again, 
this time to Kingsley Methodist Episcopal church, Stapleton, 
after Bishop Calvin Kingsley, of the M. E. Church, who while 
performing a tour of Episcopal visitation of the world, and 
when on his way home, was attacked by disease and died at 
Berut, Syria, April 6th, 1870. The building has a seating 
capacity for 700 persons, and with a commodious lecture room 
for Sunday school and social meetings, has every covenience in 
the way of room to carry on its work. The present membership 
of the church is one hundred and thirty. The Sunday school 
was organized in 1838, during the ministry of Rev. J. S. Begle. 
William Thome was the first superintendent. 

So far as is now known, the first of the denomination of Chris- 
tians called Moravians, or United Brethren, on Staten Island, was 
Captain Nicholas Garrison. It is said that the ship which he 
commanded, while on a voyage from Georgia to New York, 
was overtaken by an exceedingly violent storm. Among the 
passengers on board was the Bishop Spangenberg, who remained 
calm and undisturbed amidst the confusion and terror which 
prevailed on board, spending most of the time in earnest prayer. 
This ship was built for the purposes of the Moravian church, 
most of the expense having been borne by Bishop Spangenberg 
himself. She made many passages across the ocean, and on a 
subsequent voyage was captured by a French privateer and 
finally wrecked on the coast of Cape Breton island. 

In 1742, David Bruce, a very zealous servant of God, was 
sent 'to visit the scattered flocks in New York, and on Long 
and Staten islands, and he was probably the first Moravian 
preacher who ever officiated as such on Staten Island. Of those 
most prominent in sustaining this church on the island the 
names of Jacobus and Vettje Van Der Bilt are mentioned in 
September, 1747, at which time the church in America compre- 
hended three localities, viz., New York city, Staten Island and 
Bethlehem, Pa. After the arrival of the first colony of Mora- 
vians in June, 1742, these three places jointly constituted a 
field in which their evangelists labored. Among those who 
thus labored in these early years were the Brethren David Bruce, 
Aimers, Gambold, Jasper Payne, Thomas Rodgers, Thomas 
Ynrrell, Neisser, Richard Utley, Owen Rice and John Wade. 



424 



HISTORY Oi' RICHMOND COUNTY. 



In referring- to the early period of this church, Mrs. Bird, 
an aged lady who was interviewed by Professor Anthon years 
ago. said : " Mr. Gambold was a nice old man. The church on 
Christmas eve used to be beautifully decorated with greens, 
and artificial flowers, such as roses, pinks and such like, of their 
own make. The pulpit was covered with flowers from top to 
bottom, and the windows were also adorned. But the custom 
of celebrating Christmas eve was not kept up in later years so 
much as in earlv times." 




OLD MORAVIAN CHURCH AND PARSONAGE. 

Between 1742 and 1743, about a dozen different clergymen of 
the denomination came occasionally to the island to officiate. 
In 1756 there were only three communicant members on the 
island, viz.: Jacobus Vanderbilt and his wife Yettje or ISTeiltje, 
and the widow Elizabeth Inyard. The religious services were 
usually held in a school house, which, as some say, stood on 
or near the site of the present church, but as others say, with 
more probability, at the corner of the roads at what is now 
called Egbertville. In 1762, Richard Connor, Stephen Martino, 
Jr., Tunis Egbert, Jacob Yander Bilt, Aaron Cortelyou, Ma- 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNT V. 425 

thias Enyard, John Baty, Cornelius Cortelyou, Cornelius 
Vander Bilt, Cornelius Van Deventer, Stephen Martino, Mary 
Stilwell, Cornelius Martino and Peter Ferine, applied to the 
church authorities at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for the estab- 
lishment of a Moravian church on Staten Island. On the 7th 
of July, 1763, the corner stone of a church and parsonage was 
laid, and on the ensuing 7th of December the church was con- 
secrated. The identical building is still standing, and is shown 
in the illustration accompanying this notice. The custom of 
the Moravians at that period was to combine church and par- 
sonage under one roof, hence the arrangement and un-church- 
like appearance of this old building. The last religious exer- 
cises in this church, before its removal from the original 
site, were held on Thursday, October 26, 1882. They were con- 
ducted by Rev. W. H. Vogler, the pastor of the church. 

The first regularly settled pastor was the Rev. Hector Gam- 
bold, who had come to the field August 17, 1763, and pending 
the completion of the parsonage was accommodated in another 
house. On the 21st of December, he and his family moved into 
the rooms now made ready for his occupancy, and here he found 
his home during his long pastorate, which extended to the year 
1784. Following him for brief periods were James Birkly and 
E. Thorp, and in 1787 Frederick Moehring assumed the pastor- 
ate. His term of service continued until 1793, when he was 
followed by Mr. Birkly again. The latter remained till 1797, 
when Mr. Moehring returned and exercised the pastoral func- 
tion until 1803. His successor that year was Nathaniel Brown, 
who held the position until removed by death in 1813. He was 
a native of Nazareth, Pa., where he was born July 9, 1763, 
two days after the laying of the corner stone of this church. 
His father, Rev. Peter Brown, was for upward of twenty years 
a missionary of the United Brethren on the island of Antigua, 
and he had himself been a missionary to the island of Jamaica, 
whither he was sent in 1789. His stay there was not long, his 
return to the United States following shortly after the death of 
his wife, Elizabeth Chitty. He afterward married Anna Cath- 
erine Frederica Unger, in Maryland, about two years before he 
came to this charge. He was followed by John C. Bechler, from 
1813 to 1817, and others followed successively as named : George 
A. Hartmann, from 1817 to 1837 ; Ambrose Rondthaler, from 
1837 to 1839 ; H. G. Clauder, from 1839 to 1852 ; Bernhard de 



426 



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 



Schweinitz, from 1852 to 1854 ; Amadeus A. Reinke, from 1854 
to 1860 ; Edwin T. Senseman, from 1860 to 1862 ; Eugene Leib- 
ert, from ]862 to 1867; Francis F. Hagen, from 1867 to 1870 ; 
William L. Lennert, from 1870 to 1876; William H. Vogler, 
from 1876 present incumbent. 

The early dates and events given above have been derived 
chiefly from denominational sources, the records of the church 
having been destroyed during the revolution, when some Brit- 
ish soldiers forcibly entered the parsonage at night, and after 



H,^f>^P^ae 







MORAVIAN CHUECH, NEW DORP. 

wantonly destroying furniture and other articles belonging to 
the occupant, carried off the archies of the infant church. 
About the same time, probably on the same night, the house 
of Caps. Christian Jacobson, in the vicinity of the church, 
was also entered, and he was killed by being shot. He was 
an eminently pious man, and captain of the Moravian ship 
" Irene,"