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Publication of the 

Staten Island Antiquarian Society, Inc, 

Headquarters: Old Perine House 
1476 Richmond Road, Dongan Hills, Staten Island 


of the 

Old Ring's Hig'h>vay 

now the 

Richmond Road 


Thrice 25 Cents 

The Richmond Road begins at Bay Street, Stapleton. 
Its length is traversed by the Richmond trolley. 

MTT These publications will include the History, Family Traditions, Folk-lore and 
jJ Legend of Staten Island. They will be issued at irregular intervals as 
material is secured. Ultimately it is hoped to gather them into what will be a 
convenient and interesting Guide to and Story of Staten Island. 
tfjT Owing to the recognized difficulty in gathering information, and the ever 
jI present uncertainty that that which is secured is correct in all its details, the 
Society trusts that those who know Staten Island will assist in the final revision 
of this work. Until final publication it will not be too late to make corrections 
and additions, and the Society will appreciate any information of such a nature. 
Communications may be made to C. G. HiNE, who has the matter in charge. 


Telephone. TompkinsviUe 1255 W. 225 Howard Ave., Stapleton. N. Y. 

Copyrighted 1916 by C. G. Hine 


Staten Island, lying as it does opposite the entrance of 
New York Harbor, was naturally visited by the early explorers 
and, as its convenience and fertility were great, it was soon 
apportioned among the first settlers. Verrazano discovered 
the Island in 1524; Henry Hudson, on September 2, 1609, 
when he called it "Staaten Eylandt" in honor of the States 
General of the Netherlands, in whose interests his expedition 
was sent out. 

The Indians were quickly evicted and few, if any, of their 
traditions remain, though evidences of their former occupancy 
are found at many points. Without any idea of private 
ownership in land — or probably much understanding of what 
they were doing — they sold the Island as often as a purchaser 
could be found who would pay a few copper kettles or bright 
colored blankets: First to Michael Pauw, in 1630, the Island 
having been included in a grant to Pauw by the Dutch 
proprietors. He called his possessions "Pavonia." 

Other proprietors were David Petersen de Vries, 1639; 
Cornelis Melyn, 1641. There was trouble with the Indians 
during these early days, due largely to harsh treatment at the 
hands of the white man. In 1641 and again in 1655 the Indians 
swept the Island of white settlers, killing those who were not 
fortunate enough to escape. 

It has been claimed that the first settlement on Staten 
Island was "Oude Dorp," but this is now disputed. Oude 
Dorp apparently resulted from orders given to Stuyvesant by 
the West India Company to fortify points on either side of 
the Narrows, and the village was not built until 1662-63, as 
in 1661 he informed the Company that all the houses on 
Staten Island had been destroyed during the Indian wars. 
Some time after he wrote that the village had been built about 
a half hour's walk from the Narrows. 

The transfer from Dutch to English rule — 1664 — was 
peaceable so far as Staten Island was concerned, and the 
Dutch and English settlers appear to have mingled without 
an undue amount of friction. French and Germans were 
also early settlers on the Island, and all of these nationalities 
intermarried freely. The inhabitants divided their time 
between the farm and the sea, and beyond erecting mills fqr ,' 

JUL |9l9l6©CI.A4;J3b-.« Lj^ f 


the grinding of their own corn and wheat, do not seem to have 
ventured into the manufactures, except that it is said the first 
distillery ever erected in North America was on Staten Island. 

Staten Island found itself in a peculiar position during 
the Revolution. The English used it as a huge camp and, 
consequently, those living here were not free to show 
sympathy for the American cause, as they rightly feared 
confiscation of property and molestation of their families. 
This largely accounts for the charge that Staten Island was 
strongly Tory during this period. 

Sir William Howe landed with troops on Staten Island, 
July 3, 1776. Possibly because of the overwhelming British 
occupation there were no important battles fought on the 
Island, though there were many raids by American troops and 
a number of skirmishes. The British troops evacuated Staten 
Island on November 25, 1783, when certain of its Tory 
inhabitants removed to Canada and Nova Scotia. 

After the Revolution Staten Island fell back into its 
former agricultural ways, and remained so until Southerners 
discovered its salubrious summer climate and those of New 
York City began to use it as an abiding place. 

The Island became Richmond County, in honor of the 
Duke of York, in 1683. In 1688 it was divided into the towns 
of Northfield, Southfield, Westfield and Castleton; in i860 
Middletown was established. 


The statements made in the following pages have been 
drawn from the several histories of the Island; from 
pamphlets on especial subjects, by William T. Davis and 
Edward C. Delavan; from magazine and newspaper articles; 
from the reminiscences of its inhabitants, and from the 
folk-lore and legend handed down from generation to 

Those who have furnished material aid to this pamphlet 
are : Tunis Butler, Mrs. Crowell M. Conner, William T. Davis, 
Edward C. Delavan, Cornelius G. Kolff, David J. Tysen and 


This Society was formed in 19 14- 15 for the preservation of 
historical landmarks in Staten Island ; the promotion of popular 
appreciation of its history ; its honored names and noted spots ; 
the collection and preservation of articles and information 
connected with the early history of the Island, and particularly 
for the purchase and preservation of the old Colonial 
homestead at 1476 Richmond Road, Dongan Hills, known as 
the Ferine House. 

On February fifteenth, nineteen hundred and fifteen, the 
Society purchased the Ferine House, and since that date the 
building has been thrown open to the public. It is hoped 
ultimately to make a museum of Staten Island antiquities and 
a small park of the property. 

The Staten Island Antiquarian Society is wholly 
uncommercial, being supported by subscriptions and dues 
from members ; no salaries are paid to officers, and all moneys 
received are devoted to necessary expenses in connection with 
the property, repairs and improvements. Those residing on, 
or interested in, Staten Island may without great expense 
become associated with this movement, which, if it receives 
sufficient encouragement, can be extended to the preservation 
of others of the old landmarks of the Island. 


Life Members $50.00 

Sustaining Members 10.00 

Associate Members 3.00 

The annual dues are payable to the Treasurer, Carl F. 
Grieshaber, Fort Hill Park, New Brighton, N. Y. 



t^ HI US. 


The Richmond Road begins its career at Bay Street, in the 
upper part of Stapleton, where were located the old Cole 
ferry during the Revolution, Abraham Van Duzer ferry, 1788- 
181 7, and, later, the ferry whereby Commodore Vanderbilt 
started on his way to fame and fortune. 

In the "Land Papers" of 1707 a petition is recorded to lay 
out a cart track to the King's Highway, in those days a 
common name for all main roads. Early wills and deeds refer 
to the road as the "Road" or the "Highway." The will of 
Ann Ferine, dated in 1800, in disposing of the Ferine House, 
terms it the "Main Road." In 1801 it was the "main road 
leading from Van Duzer's Ferry." In 1839 it was "Richmond 
Road to Quarantine"; 1843 to 1854 the "Road from Richmond 
Village to Quarantine," the "Richmond Flank Road," or the 
"Richmond Flank Road to Vanderbilt's Landing." 

In September, 1694, the freeholders were called together 
to lay out "hyghwaies for the inhabitants that live back of the 
woods to transport themselves and goods to the water sid." 
It is said that the early white settlers laid out this road eight 
rods (132 feet) in width to prevent as much as possible the 
danger from ambush by Indians. 


About 1905 the Richmond Road from Vanderbilt Avenue 
north was rechristened Van Duzer Street. 


Stapleton is named for William J. Staples, who, with 
Minthorn Tompkins, laid out the village site. 


Somewhere along the foot of Grymes Hill — possibly about 
the head of Broad Street — were to be seen as late as 1832 the 
remains of dwelling places of Hessian soldiers, erected during 


the Revolution. These consisted of excavations in the hillside 
covered with heavy planks on which earth had been placed 
to keep in the heat and keep out the rain. It is said there was 
no evidence of chimneys, and that the huts did not convey an 
impression of great luxury. 


A tollgate was situated two or three hundred feet 
southwest of the intersection of Vanderbilt Avenue when the 
Richmond Road was a plank road. 


The southern end of Grymes Hill, corner of Richmond 
and Clove Roads, is designated in old deeds as Brimstone 
Hill. Daniel Wandel of Concord, when asked how this name 
came, responded: "You could smell the brimstone — can smell 
it now." The origin of the name is not known. 


On a small plateau here some fifty or more feet above the 
road stands the house built during the Commodore Vanderbilt 
days by Jerry Simonson, who was of Simonson & Bell, 
shipbuilders. They built many, if not all, of the steamers that 
Commodore Vanderbilt used in his lines running to the 
Isthmus of Panama. One of these, the North Star, was used 
as a yacht by the Commodore for a trip abroad before being 
put into service ; another was the steamer C. Vanderbilt, that 
the Commodore presented to the Government during the 
Civil War. 


In 1809 the **Clove Meeting House" (Baptist) was moved 
to the foot of Emerson Hill, at the corner of Clove Road. It 
was abandoned some time before 1877. The site is now 
marked by crumbling tombstones half hidden in the brush, 
which are readily seen from the highway. This burial ground 
has a little history of its own. It was given to the pastor in 


payment of an unpaid salary, and he deeded it to the 
groceryman in payment of an unpaid grocery bill; the 
groceryman deeded it to a liquor dealer to apply on account, 
and the liquor dealer disposed of it for cash. 


Before the advent of Judge William Emerson the locality 
known as Concord was called Dutch Farms. 

About 1837 County Judge William Emerson purchased 
the Peter Wandel farm, which included what is now known as 
Emerson Hill. He repaired and occupied the farmhouse, 
which was known as The Snuggery. This was situated at the 
foot of the hill where it swings back from the road. After 
residing here for a time he built the stuccoed house that stands 
halfway up the hill. The Walter Price house on the hilltop 
was erected by Mr. Folsom, the law partner of Judge Emerson. 

Judge Emerson came from Concord, Mass., and it was he 
who renamed the locality Concord. His brother, Ralph Waldo 
Emerson, was a frequent visitor in his house. He is said to 
have prepared some of his lectures and to have composed 
many of his poems here. Hsnry D. Thoreau lived with the 
Judge's family during the summer of 1843 as a tutor. 

Mr. David J. Tysen recalls being taken, when a boy, by 
his father to call on Judge Emerson, the two being on intimate 
terms. He describes the Judge as a splendid specimen of 
manhood, both physically and mentally. On one such 
occasion he was entertained by Ralph Waldo, and for some 
reason not now remembered he [the boy] quoted in a 
somewhat grandiloquent tone: "A little learning is a 
dangerous thing." "Yes, young man," responded Ralph 
Waldo, "but it is not half as dangerous as to think you know 
it all." 

Thomas Munroe resided in the Emerson house during the 
Civil War. His son, Ralph M. Munroe, writes: "Your men- 
tion of the Draft Riots takes me right back. Our darkey 
coachman had to be hustled off into the woods on Emerson's 
Hill and cared for during several weeks, until things quieted 
down. My mother, sister and self were hurried off to Concord, 


Mass., for safety, leaving my father to hold the fort. Hearing 
that a mob was on its way from Stapleton to burn us out, he 
drove down to meet them, and so managed to jolly them that 
they gave the job up. Exciting times, for sure! The volun- 
teer troops quartered in numerous camps throughout the 
Island were, as I remember, equal to if not worse than the 
draft rioters. No person or thing was safe while they lasted." 


On the slope of Emerson Hill, C. T. Brown has constructed 
a Japanese garden that shows the art of the landscape architect 
in high degree. It contains a remarkable statue of a Japanese 
woman and child posed among the shrubbery on the edge of 
a brook. 


Those who would explore Emerson Hill will find on its 
summit, 350 feet above tide water, the unique creation of 
Cornelius G. Kolff, a former resident of the hill. This is the 
''Philosopher's Retreat," a typical old log cabin with its 
cheerful wood-fire and its latchstring always hanging out. 
Mr. Kolff has held many reunions here, when each ''philoso- 
pher" was presented with a corncob pipe, which later, with his 
name attached, was hung up in the cabin for use during future 

Before Staten Island became a part of the Greater New 
York, politics were a stink in the nostrils of decency, as the 
experience of Herman Stutzer amply proved. He was a 
former owner of the Walter Price house, situated on the 
northern brow of Emerson Hill. While other property of 
equal value was not disturbed the valuation of and taxes on 
this piece were so outrageously increased that the owner left 
the Island, whereupon the valuation was reduced to its 
original figure. 


No. 955 Richmond Road, corner of Crescent Avenue, is 
one of the old stone houses. J. H. Garretson, who died 


recently, has stated that this was built by Hendrick Garretson 
about 1780. Hendrick was a noted athlete with a powerful 
voice that, it is said, would carry a mile. He was a son of 
that Johannis Garretson who gave his name to the village of 
Garretson's, now Dongan Hills. After the death of Hendrick 
the property was sold to John Britton and in the course of 
time to Charles P. Clinch, and it is still commonly referred to 
as the Clinch house. Mr. Clinch was Collector of Customs for 
the Port of New York, and seems to have been as necessary 
to that service as Crowell M. Conner was to the Richmond 
County Clerk's office. Both were retained in office continu- 
ously, no matter what political party was in power. The 
house was at one time the home of Mrs. A. T. Stewart, who 
was a sister of Mr. Clinch. 


On the eastern side of the road, from about Clove Road 
to Fingerboard Road, lay the Dan Wandel farm. Fifty years 
or more ago — no one seems to know just when or why or how 
the story was started on its travels — much excitement was 
created by a rumor that some of Captain Kidd's treasure was 
buried here. No one has been found who has seen the color 
of the Captain's gold, but there are those who recall the story. 
A very small stone house formerly stood on the Wandel farm 
at the junction of the Richmond and Fingerboard Roads. 


Opposite the Old Town Road stands the Macfarlane 
house, built during Staten Island's palmy days. The low 
stone wall which fends this place from the highway is said in 
its northern portion to pass over an old slave burial ground. 


No. 1476 Richmond Road. Original house built about 
1680 by Thomas Stillwell. This may have burned and been 
rebuilt in 1713, or an addition may have been made in 1713. 
In 1749 Joseph Holmes, innkeeper, purchased the house, and 


for some years kept a tavern here. In 1758 Edward Ferine 
married Ann Holmes, daughter and heir of Joseph Holmes. 
He died shortly after the Revolutionary war began, and his 
widow, with her six small children, were left to face those 
rough times. British officers were quartered in the house, 
and at one time the widow and her entire brood were only 
allowed one room for themselves by the invaders. The fol- 
lowing story of that period is one of the Ferine family tradi- 
tions that has been handed down from generation to 

It was then the fashion for women to wear conspicuous 
buckles on their shoes, the social grade being indicated by the 
metal of which they were made. Common folks used com- 
mon metal ; those of higher station indulged in silver, which 
was more precious then than now, as is readily attested by the 
thinness of our great-grandmother's teaspoons. 

Ann Ferine was possessed of a large pair of silver 
buckles which were the family pride, and these she wore 
constantly, as the skirts of those days were short enough to 
display such decorations to advantage. One morning a soldier 
came in for a drink of water, and Ann noticed that his eyes 
were attracted by the buckles on her shoes. When he left 
she concluded it would be wise to put them away and sub- 
stitute a common pair, and after events proved that wisdom 
is justified of her children. The valuables were hidden, no 
doubt, in the secret chamber which still exists over the closet 
in the beam room. 

About dusk, and while she was alone in the house, the 
soldier returned and demanded her silver shoe-buckles, which 
he had seen on his first visit. She denied the possession of 
such treasures and thrust forward a foot to show that its 
decoration was of little value. The solider insisted that those 
were not the ones she wore in the morning, but she stuck to 
her story that she had no others and, finding argument use- 
less, he went to the candle and began to prime his gun. Just 
at this critical moment, however, a passing neighbor, hearing 
the noise of controversy, came in to learn the cause, and the 
defender of Britain's might sneaked out into the dark where 
evil deeds are hatched. 


The place was occupied continuously for 150 years by the 
Ferine family, and on February 15, 1915, came into the 
possession of the Staten Island Antiquarian Society, which 
was formed in order to preserve this house, so typical of the 
homes of our ancestors. The building is open to the public 
for inspection at all times. 


During the Revolution a prominent Tory lived on the 
North Shore, who had a daughter who was as beautiful and 
charming as all girls should be, and who drew many suitors 
to her father's door. One Mersereau outdistanced all others 
in the race, and, at the time our story opens, the young couple 
had been "cried in the church." But now came on the scene 
the villain, a young English officer whose attentions were 
encouraged by the Tory father. The girl, however, showed 
him no favor, and after months of vain endeavor, concluding 
that all was fair in love, he plotted with a young rascal to 
carry the girl off to a deserted hut which stood well back 
among the trees of this valley, near a spring which formed the 
headwaters of the brook. 

One evening the assistant villain appeared at the young 
woman's home with the statement that he had been sent to 
fetch her to the dwelling of an aunt, near Richmond, who was 
ill. Suspecting no evil she readily came, but when almost 
opposite the Ferine house two men sprang out from the road- 
side and, seizing the horse, ordered both to alight. One pre- 
tended to struggle with the driver while the other led the girl 
back into the woods, cautioning her that her safety depended 
on silence. 

Up to this point the plot had worked perfectly, but now 
a strange thing happened. Suddenly and without warning 
they were attacked by several men who seemed to spring from 
the ground about them. These seized the Lieutenant — for of 
course it was he — while one of the party, whom she quickly 
recognized through his disguise as Mersereau, took the girl 
to one side. The Englishman was then tied to a tree and told 
he was to be whipped, and that if he cried out he would be 


gagged. Two stout men, properly supplied with switches, 
then proceeded to lay on with right good will, and after 
thoroughly impressing the gay deceiver in this forceful way 
with the idea that kidnapping Staten Island girls was not his 
forte, they gave him a week in which to leave the Island, 
promising to cut off his ears if he was found hereabouts after 
that. In the meantime the driver had disappeared. It was 
never explained how the plot was discovered, but there was a 
strong suspicion that the driver had, for a consideration, 
uncovered the conspiracy to Mersereau. 


The "Yserberg" of the Dutch— "Iron Hill" of the English 
' — part of which forms the highest land on the Atlantic Coast 
between Maine and Florida, was worked as an iron mine as 
early as 1644 — possibly earlier. The ore here is known as 
hematite or bog ore, and occurs in pockets on the surface; 
hence all that shows to-day of the workings are a few shallow 
basins from which the ore has been dug. 

One of the early names of this height is Toad Hill, and 
various are the reasons advanced to account for the appella- 
tion. James Vreeland states that one Todd formerly lived 
here, and he thinks his name may have been applied to the 
locality and finally corrupted into Toad. But by far the 
most picturesque theory is advanced by Daniel Wandel of 
Concord, who has stated that in his youth, some seventy-five 
years ago, the local cure for quinsy was to split a toad and 
bind the parts about the throat, and that as there were certain 
sandy spots on the hill where toads could always be found, 
people afflicted with quinsy came or sent here for a toad. 
The Dutch word "Todt," meaning death, has been substituted 
of late on the theory, I understand, that an Indian massacre 
occurred at this point in early days. William T. Davis 
refers to the theory of one Woods that *'Toad" was a corrup- 
tion of "Towd," a Holland word for old, as the hill stood back 
of the Old Town, or Towd Town. 

About sixty-five years ago "old" Mrs. Stewart dwelt in a 
little house which stood just inside of what is now the Crom- 


well gate, on the brow of the hill. There were many cedar trees 
about her place and the locality was known as Mrs. Stewart's 
Cedars. Cart tracks that were used by the public ran hither 
and thither through these woods, and one day a boy who 
was driving a team of oxen was killed here. How he was 
killed seems to have remained a mystery, but it would seem 
to have been by foul means, for thereafter, at the hour when 
ghosts walk, a certain cedar would spout a stream of fire that 
flowed in a great arch over into the hollow nearby. This 
would appear to have been a supernatural attempt to explain 
the boy's mysterious death by pointing to the spot where the 
secret was buried. Tunis Butler, who, though a small boy at 
the time, was of an inquiring turn of mind, spent many nights 
on the porch of Mrs. Stewart's house, hoping to see this 
curious sight, but the fates were against him. If only he had 
been so fortunate the mystery might have been made plain. 


The ancient-looking frame building. No. 1632 Richmond 
Road, is known as the Egbert house. Joseph Egbert, Member 
of Congress from 1841 to 1843, lived here. The place was 
formerly owned by Anthony Fountain, and came to Egbert 
by marriage. The house may not be more than one hundred 
years old. 

On brow of hill. 


The house at No. 1807, recently occupied by Miss Anna 
McClure Scholl, who, in 1914, under the nom de plume of 
Geoffrey Corson, published a Staten Island novel entitled 
"Blue Blood and Red," is said to be two hundred years old. 
The house was formerly occupied by Joseph Barton, a son of 
Samuel Barton, and before him by Anthony Fountain. 



The red dwelling, No. 19 10, which is fast wending its way 
to the scrap heap, is an enlargement and rebuilding of the 
Barton homestead. One Joseph Barton was Lieutenant- 
Colonel of the Fifth Battalion of Skinner's Brigade during the 
Revolution. This was the home of Col. Samuel Barton, 
Member of the Assembly from 1820 to 1822, and Member of 
Congress from 1833 to 1837. He rebuilt the house. 

(14) RED LANE 

Red Lane, now Lincoln Avenue, the road to Midland 
Beach, was a farm lane to the Neddy Prane farm. It was 
*'Red" lane because coloring matter from the mine on the hill 
washed down this way: Neddy Prane was not all a good 
church member should be; his eyes were very bad, and 
possibly this was the reason he could not always distinguish 
the straight and narrow way. Neddy was inclined toward the 
cup that cheers, and Dr. David Moore, then Rector of St. 
Andrew's, felt called on to remonstrate, and did so in such 
direct fashion that he hurt Neddy's feelings. And he, while 
still under the smart — for Doctor Moore could whipsaw a man 
with his tongue in a way he was not apt to forget — went to 
St. Andrew's and, removing his pew, brought it to the farm, 
where he placed it near the road that all might see — and par- 
ticulary the Doctor — and turned it into a pigpen. 


The Moravians first came to America in 1735 to avoid 
persecution, the first settlements being made in the South; 
but because they would not take up arms they were compelled 
to relinquish their improvements, and emigrated to Pennsyl- 
vania. Here was headquarters; other places were known as 
preaching stations. About 1742 services began to be held on 
Staten Island, and from this grew the present church. The 
first property was purchased here in 1763; a comparatively 
small plot on which a church building was immediately 
erected. This land had evidently been used as a burial ground 


for many years before, as stones still standing date back to 
1739. The first church building still stands, but was removed 
to its present site a number of years ago. As it was then the 
custom of the Moravians to combine church and parsonage 
under one roof, the old building looks more like a dwelling 
than a church. Graves were made indiscriminately where there 
were no trees to trouble the gravediggers : the only rule ob- 
served was the placing of the feet toward the east. No charge 
either for ground or for gravedigging was made until about 
1819. During the Revolution the British set the church on 
fire, but members of the congregation who were watching 
extinguished the blaze before much damage was done. The 
present church building was dedicated in 1845. William H. 
Vanderbilt, who did much for the Moravian church, purchased 
the George Ebbitt farm, which extended up the hillside and 
forms a large part of the present cemetery, and gave it to the 
church. Some time later, when he wished to build the Van- 
derbilt mausoleum, he bought back from the church the ten 
acres which are inclosed in the Vanderbilt burial grounds. 

The old Cortelyou homestead stood within the limits of 
the present burial ground, the Norval monument standing on 
its site. 

When the graybeards of to-day were young — or possibly 
the legend was passed on to them from an earlier generation — 
there was much talk of two great dogs that raced up and 
down the top of the cemetery wall. The whips of those 
passing might cut them in two, but they would instantly grow 
together again. The origin of the legend has not been handed 

The tollgates were placed along the plank road, about 
three miles apart; the second stood about where the entrance 
to the cemetery is now located. 


Built about 1888 by William H. Vanderbilt. Entrance to 
ground a beautiful woodland road bordered by laurel, rhodo- 
dendron, etc. View from here over the lowlands and the sea 
very impressive. 



On a rise of ground immediately southwest of the 
Moravian burial ground stands a range light which, in the 
days before Ambrose Channel, was of vast importance. This, 
with the Elm Tree Light at the foot of New Dorp Lane, was 
the guide for mariners when the Swash Channel was the main 
entrance to New York Harbor. 


This may be the oldest house standing on Staten Island. 
It is not known who was the builder, or when it was built. 
Its documentary history, in the possession of Edward C. Dela- 
van, shows that on November i, 1675, this land was included 
in a tract granted to Lewis Lakeman by Governor Sir Edmond 
Andros. In 1684 it was deeded to George Cummins and 
Abraham Lockerman; in 17 14 to Rem Vander Beeck; this 
latter deed included house, barn and fencing. This may or 
may not refer to the house now standing. In 17 19 the place 
appears to have been in the possession of Isaac Van Tuyl. In 
1751 Augustine Creed deeded to Aaron Cortelyou; he disposed 
of it by will dated in 1789. In 1794 Richard Seaman, son- 
in-law of Cortelyou, deeded to Joseph Taylor; its present 
owner is David J. Tysen. It is sometimes referred to as the 
Cortelyou house, but more frequently as the Taylor-Tysen 


Erected in 1839, opposite the race course at the head of 
New Dorp Lane, and soon became the political, sporting and 
militia headquarters of Staten Island. 


Almost opposite New Dorp Lane, at what is now No. 
2481, stood the old Rose and Crown farmhouse, famous as 
British headquarters during the Revolution, but destroyed in 
1854. According to Mr. Morris, the Rose and Crown farm- 


house was built about the middle of the seventeenth century 
by Jacques Bedell, a Huguenot refugee. Bishop Bedell, a 
grandson, was born in the house a few years prior to the 
Revolution. It remained in the family for several generations, 
descending to the Moores, of which Bishop Richard Channing 
Moore of Virginia, former Rector of St. Andrew's, was a mem- 
ber. Shortly after the Revolution the Rose and Crown was 
purchased by Major William Bernard Gifford, a former aide- 
de-camp of General Washington; after his death, by Leonard 
Parkinson. In 1844 it was occupied by Richard Conner. 
Crowell M. Conner, Deputy County Clerk for many years, 
was born here. During the British occupation of Staten 
Island it sheltered Sir William Howe; Lord Howe, his 
brother ; William IV., then the youngest admiral in the British 
Navy; Sir Henry Clinton; Lord Cornwallis; Baron von 
Knyphausen; Sir Guy Carleton; Generals Cleveland, Pigot, 
Vaughan, Skinner, Agnew, Jones, Grant, Robertson, Erskine, 
Matthew, Leslie and De Huyster ; Governor Tryon ; Colonels 
Moncton, Simcoe and Billop; Major Andre, and others. It 
was here that General Howe gave a reception to Margaret 
Moncrieffe. It is stated that Sir William Howe and his 
generals first read the Declaration of Independence here, and 
that the Battle of Long Island was planned here. 


Clute states that those of Howe's staff who could not be 
cared for in the Rose and Crown were quartered here. 

The fireplace nearly monopolized all of the west wall. * * * 
The west wall and the foundations are stone. The second 
floor consisted of one apartment known as the ballroom. The 
sleeping rooms were back of the tap. The chimney once took 
fire and, after it was extinguished, thirty guineas were found 
in the soot and ashes. Morris states that the Black Horse 
Tavern was built in 1754 and was known as Wayside Rest 
until 1776, when it was occupied by members of the staff of 
Sir William Howe, one of whom was thrown against a large 
rock near, by a stumble of his horse, and was killed. The 


animal was black and noted as the fastest in the British Army, 
and because of the incident the present name was applied. 

That part of the Richmond Road from the Black Horse 
Tavern to and through Richmond village was formerly known 
as Stapleton Avenue ; the name appears on a map of property 
as early as 1854. 


Camp Hill is situated immediately back and west of the 
Black HDrse Tavern, merely a gentle swell of pasture land. 
Morris states that the name was applied by the British; that 
it was a resort for officers, and was a miniature Monte Carlo, 
which witnessed the ruin of many a member of the King's 
Army. West of it is a hollow, then surrounded by dense 
woods, known as the duelling ground. Gambling and duelling 
were practised to such an extent as to threaten the demorali- 
zation of the English troops. Nearly fifty officers were court- 
martialed and dishonorably discharged while the army was 
camped around New Dorp. Among the celebrities who fought 
duels here are General Robertson; Lieutenant-Colonel John 
Graves Simcoe (who fought Colonel Mayhood) ; Colonel Illig 
of Howe's staff (who fought Colonel Pentman, Major Andre 
acting as second). Colonel Christopher Billop is said to have 
fought General Erskine. The last duel here is said to have 
occurred about 1790 between a son of Alexander Hamilton and 
one Lathrop. 


Date of erection not known. Owned during latter 
part of Revolution, and probably occupied by Rev. Richard 
Charlton, who was in the habit of using his sermons as wad- 
ding for his fowling piece, as he knew all that was in them. 
Came into Fountain family about 1840; was occupied by 
Major Montresor during a portion of the Revolution, and, 
being in the immediate vicinity of the Rose and Crown and 
the Black Horse Tavern, it shared with them in the interesting 
events of that period; but beyond the fact that for a brief 


period it was the home of Margaret Moncrieffe, not much 
appears in the books. The story of Margaret Moncrieffe is 
interesting. She was the daughter of Major James Moncrieffe 
of the British Army, and was placed by her father under the 
protection of the American General, Putnam, in New York, 
on the plea that her father could not care for her. Once 
inside the American lines, she was caught apparently in an 
attempt to convey information to the British. It is thought 
she was to be used in an attempt to capture General Washing- 
ton, and when the reason for her being placed within the 
American lines became apparent, she was promptly returned 
to her father on Staten Island. Here she was feted by the 
officers, given a dinner by the British in the Rose and Crown, 
at which, when asked to give a toast, she created some excite- 
ment by giving "General Putnam of the American Army." 

There is a small window in the western gable end of the 
Fountain house, the reason for which is in doubt, but the ac- 
cepted theory has a kindly human aspect. It is that it was 
so placed that on dark nights a candle could be put therein to 
guide the belated traveler on his way — and a very dark and 
lonesome way it must have been coming through the Egbert- 
ville ravine. 


The cluster of houses at the point where the road swings 
around the schoolhouse, now known as Egbertville, has, 
according to the Leng-Davis map, been known in the past as 
Tipperary Corners, New Dublin and Young Ireland, from 
which we gather that the Emerald Isle supplied the raw ma- 
terial for its making. 


Mr. Morris states that the stone house known as Stouten- 
burg house — No. 51 Fourth Street, Egbertville — and which 
lies well back under the Richmond Hill, dates from the close 
of the Revolution. Dr. Richard Henderson, who served as a 
surgeon in the British Navy, remained behind when the 
English evacuated, and built this house. He married a Staten 


Island girl and settled down here to the practice of medicine, 
soon to become one of the prominent physicians of the Island. 


No. 396 Richmond Road, the former dwelling of Dr. 
Isaac L. Millspaugh, a well-known physician who died a few 
years since. This building stands on the site of the second 
county poorhouse. The first, which adjoined the Old Red 
Jail at the northeast corner of the Richmond and Fresh Kill 
roads, was removed in 1827 to make way for the County 
Clerk's office. 


Almost opposite the lighthouse stands the "Golden 
Rectory," the former rectory of St. Andrew's, built by Dr. 
David Moore in 1818. Dr. David Moore was an outspoken 
man. It is said that he spared no one and that many a parish- 
ioner squirmed under the plain talk that came from the pulpit 
of St. Andrew's. So hard were certain members of his 
congregation hit, that members of the vestry at one time made 
a practice of leaving the church during the sermon and playing 
cards on a fiat tombstone — that of Dr. Bailey — that stands just 
outside the door, apparently to show their indifference to the 
Doctor's opinion. 

The following, written by John Flavel Mines as his boy- 
hood recollection, was found in the Westfield "Times" of 
May 21, 1887:— 

"The only church on that side of the Island was the old 
parish of St. Andrew's, richly endowed and presided over by 
the Rev. David Moore, D.D., who, by virtue of having lived 
on Staten Island for nearly forty years, had become an adopted 
native and quite as old fashioned as the others. Poor old 
Doctor Moore! He was a better farmer than a preacher, and 
the young people found it a weekly purgatory to be compelled 
to sit in the high back pews and listen to him. Their elders 
knew his sermons by heart, and went to sleep as soon as the 
text was given out. Once a year the rector of St. Andrew's 


visited New York to attend the Diocesan Convention, and his 
family went with him to do their shopping. After many 
years Doctor Moore found himself the senior presbyter of the 
diocese, and, on one occasion, in the absence of Bishop Onder- 
donk, it became his duty to call the convention to order. It 
was a trying position for the ancient country parson, and he 
would have been glad to run away. In the extremity of his 
despair he happened to notice the friendly face of the Rev. 
Dr. Stephen H. Tyng, the elder, in the distance, and he 
crowded on sail and made a set for him. Tyng greeted his 
venerable colleague until he stated his case. 'What,' he cried, 
'have you been coming to Convention for fifty years, and 
don't know how to open it yet?' And he turned away in 
disgust. 'But — but, what shall I say?' was the aged presby- 
ter's plea. 'I'm sure I don't know what to say.' 'Say?' was 
the stern rejoinder. Go up into the chancel and stand there. 
The Lord put words into the mouth of Balaam's ass, and He 
will put words into yours.' " 


The village of Richmond was presumably settled at a very 
early period, possibly because it was at the head of navigation 
of the Fresh Kill. This may sound like a strange tale to 
those who search for the present stream among the reeds 
back of St. Andrew's, but as late as 1844 ^ political excursion of 
one thousand men came from New York on a steamer which 
worked its way up the Fresh Kill to Richmond to join in a 
great political celebration. In 1729 Richmond was made the 
county seat and has remained such up to the present time. At 
one time the locality was known as Cuckoldstown. 


The first courthouse in Richmond was erected between 
1727 and 1735. Its location is not known. The building was 
burned by the British when the Americans made an attack on 
Richmond; its stout stone walls are said to have stood for 
many years after. 



The present courthouse, which is the third in Richmond, 
was erected in 1827. 


A portion of the Rezeau family burial ground adjoins the 
courthouse on the west. Susannah Van Pelt, who lacked but 
six months and five days of reaching the century mark, was 
the last of the five generations of Rezeaus to be buried here. 


Said to be very old; is now the unpretentious southern 
portion of a saloon on the west side of the Fresh Kill Road 
just south of Center Street. 


Opposite the Rezeau house, on property now owned by 
William Flake at the southern corner of Center Street, 
formerly stood the Dutch Reformed Church; date of erection 
not known. As the first English missionary came to Staten 
Island about 1702 and held services in the French church at 
Green Ridge until St. Andrew's was finished in 17 11, it is 
possible that the Dutch church was not standing at that time. 
This building was burned by the British "because it was a 
rebel church." About 1798, members of the Reformed Church 
at Port Richmond secured permission to erect a new house of 
worship on the foundations of the old, but curiously enough 
they spoke of it as "The Old French Protestant Church." 
This building was completed in 1808 — was used up to about 
1884, when it was abandoned and fell on evil times. 


No. 49 Fresh Kill Road. This was erected in 1794, and 
when the present courthouse was built in 1837 was sold and 
used as a dwelling. It was in this building that the famous 
murder trial of Christian Smith occurred in 18 15. Smith 
killed a neighbor named Bornt Lake because the latter in- 


sisted on crossing Smith's land. There was no doubt of his 
guilt, but he was acquitted for the very good reason, as given 
by one of the jurors, that, "if we convict the prisoner the judge 
will give him two or three months more to live, during which 
time the county will be obliged to feed him and to keep his 
cell warm, which would cost a good deal of money. If to this 
is added the cost of building a gallows, the sheriff's fee for 
hanging him, the cost of burying him, the expenses will 
amount to a hundred or a hundred and fifty dollars, and all 
of which will have to be raised by taxation ; but if on the other 
hand we say 'not guilty,' every dollar of this amount will be 


Erected 1822. Political headquarters of the county; the 
scene of many rough and tumble fights between opposing 
factions. The clubhouse of this part of the Island, where 
parties and balls were held, and the aim of every sleighing 
party that ended with a supper and dance. Torn down in 1891. 


On the north corner of the Richmond and Fresh Kill 
Roads formerly stood the Old Red Jail, 17 10, one year before 
St. Andrew's was finished and next to it, and adjoining, the 
old County Clerk's office, 1827. The former was built when 
the village was known as Cuckoldstown as "a stronger gaol 
wherein to secure and retain ye criminals." It was 12 x 14 
feet, built of stone, two stories high. The British converted it 
into a military prison, and it is said its rooms were crowded to 
suffocation with patriots who were waiting to be transferred 
to the prison ship "Jersey" or other place of confinement. The 
latter lay for a time opposite South Beach and later at Sandy 
Hook. The jail was used as such until 1837. It has im- 
prisoned Indians and slaves, murderers and patriots, with 
equal disinterestedness. It was burned in 1895 


St. Andrew's Church, with its beautifully picturesque 


burial ground, stands on the corner of the Fresh Kill and Mill 

In 1702 the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 
Foreign Parts sent a missionary to New Jersey and Staten 
Island. For some years preaching was conducted in the 
French church at Green Ridge, but about 1708 the parish of 
St. Andrew's was organized, and in 1709 the building of a 
church on this site began, it being completed in 171 1. 

In 1708 Queen Anne presented the church with a silver 
communion set, a portion of which is still in its possession. 
In 1 7 15 Queen Anne granted her royal charter to St. Andrew's. 

During the Revolution this was the only church where 
services were not suspended. In October, 1776, the Ameri- 
cans attacked the British troops stationed in Richmond and 
the latter retreated to the church, which at the time was being 
used as a hospital. The officer in command of the attacking 
forces refused to fire on the church, until one of his men was 
killed, when an assault was ordered and the church carried 
by storm. Beyond the breaking of windows the building does 
not appear to have been much damaged at this time. In 1822 
the steeple, which was built shortly after the Revolution, was 
blown down; a new steeple was hardly completed when it 
was struck by lightning and destroyed. In 1867, and again in 
1869, the interior of the church was burned out and the steeple 
again destroyed. The churchyard contains many interesting 
and picturesque old headstones. One of these, dated in 1760, 
refers to the virtues of the lady whose name it bears as fol- 
lows : — 

She Was A Good Neighbor 

A Tender Mother to Ten 

Children And A Obedient 

Wife 35 Years Six Months And 

28 Days Whose Uns Potted 

Characters May Call Her The 

Patron Of A Christian. 


A forgotten incident of the days when anti-popish feeling 
ran high is connected with the Journey vault, which was 
erected by Albert Journey following the death of his wife. 
Innocently enough he caused a cross to be cut on its front; 
this symbol was then considered by the rabid element as 
strictly the emblem of popery, and the feeling was so bitter 
that a group of young men got together for the purpose of its 
destruction, but they lacked the requisite resolution and noth- 
ing occurred. 


Where the schoolhouse now stands, just west of St. 
Andrew's, formerly stood the whipping post, which was used 
to punish runaway slaves and petty offenders. This is said to 
have been in use as late as 1821. The City History Club Guide 
states that it was removed in 1825, two years before slavery 
was abolished in New York State. The only gallows erected 
on the Island was at this spot. 


Just when the first schoolhouse was built here is not cer- 
tain, but it was not an elaborate building, being the typical 
red schoolhouse of the forefathers. The first teacher who 
successfully handled the unruly element among the boys was 
Mrs. Crowell M. Conner, under whose management the at- 
tendance more than doubled. 


Before the Revolution, Abraham Cole, who lived on the 
west side of the Amboy Road, about midway between New 
Dorp and Giffords, was operating a gold mine on what is now 
the Latourette property. When the Revolution came the mine 
was closed and the tools used were left inside. Evidences of 
the opening were hidden as much as possible, and as it was 
not reopened after the war, the exact location was forgotten; 
and as the Cole family steadfastly refused to make known the 
spot, only the tradition remained. Shortly before his death, 


a few years ago, ^Richard Cole, a son of Abraham, stated that 
the opening into the mine was across the Mill Road from St. 
Andrew's and across Poverty Lane from the schoolhouse, in 
what was formerly an orchard, only a few trees of which now 


The road which ascends the hill from St. Andrew's, now 
known as Richmond Hill Road, formerly traveled under the 
engaging title of Poverty Lane. On the brow of the hill and 
on the right stands the Latourette house, built in 1830. This 
was formerly Crocheron property, and is said to have come 
into the Latourette family through marriage. 

A curious supernatural occurrence happened in this house 
so recently as 1913, when the ghost of old David Latourette 
appeared twice to its occupants. In the first instance a mother 
and daughter of a well-known New York family, who were 
sleeping together, were so terrified at the apparition that they 
refused to remain in the house and left about 2 o'clock a. m. 
In the second, an old man was seen sitting in the parlor by one 
temporarily in the house who knew nothing of the previous 
appearance, and who innocently asked who the stranger was. 
When a member of the household went to see, no one was 
found. It was not possible for a stranger to have come and 
gone without its being known. The description fitted very 
closely that of David Latourette. 


A lane which leads from the front of the Latourette place 
down to the Mill Road passes the ruins of an old house 
said to have been built by Obadiah Holmes, who removed 
from the New Dorp neighborhood at an early date. During 
the Revolution this was headquarters of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Simcoe of the Queen's Rangers. Morris states that the Battle 
of Springfield (N. J.) was planned here. 



On the brow of the hill overlooking the Fresh Kill may 
still be seen the remains of a British redoubt, now merely a 
few mounds of earth overgrown with trees and brush. The 
fort was about 44 feet square. It has been called Look-Out 
Place, Fort Richmond and Fort Izard. 


About two hundred feet downhill from the ruins (No. 38) 
is a spring known as the Lord Howe Spring, which probably 
does not mean much, except that it served its evident purpose 
when the British held these heights. 


Geib's Tide Mill still stands on the edge of Richmond 
Creek, below the ruins of the British redoubt. It was formerly 
known as Crocheron's Mill. When it was built is not known, 
but presumably before the Revolution, as tales of that strug- 
gle still cling about its weather-stained walls. 


That stood near the bend in the road, was operated by fresh 
water from Ketchum's Mill Pond, and back in the woods, 
farther up Ketchum's Brook, there was still another pond that 
served as a reservoir for this old mill. The remains of the dam 
are still to be seen. This was used both as a grist and woolen 
mill, as is evidenced by an advertisement which appeared in 
1828. The fact that the teasel or "fuller's thistle" grew in 
great abundance near this water power may have had some 
influence in the establishment of a woolen mill here. 




Starting at the Richmond Road and following the 
windings of the Douglas Road as it climbs the steep ascent 
of Emerson Hill, many picturesque bits are encountered before 
the top of the hill is reached, and many beautiful glimpses of 
the lowlands and the waters beyond. During this climb the 
Japanese garden, already mentioned, may be inspected. After 
reaching the top of the hill a little search will disclose a cart 
track, the trend of which is westerly, which debouches from 
the woods onto the Ocean Terrace. Turn to the left on the 
Ocean Terrace, and when nearing the top of the hill keep 
watch for a little used cart track on the left. This winds 
down through fields to the lower level, where one may follow 
the better traveled road. Crescent Avenue, back to the 
Richmond Road, or by bearing off toward the right, the south, 
follow winding cart tracks to the brow of the low ridge 
overlooking Richmond Road or into Mersereau Valley. The 
wood paths are many and devious. 


This valley is still heavily wooded, but a foot-path may 
be found which for a full half mile leads one through the 
forest aisles. This ends at the Ocean Terrace on the hilltop. 
Crossing the Ocean Terrace diligent search will discover more 
than one foot-path in the woods on the other side. Take any 
one of these and lead vou where it will — all are a joy. 

P D 7 4. 4 


Just back of the Vanderbilt mausoleum are to be found, 
among the second growth, several paths. Keeping to the 


right, one should come out near the old Nichols place, a large, 
red brick mansion of fifty or more years ago, which overlooks 
the Dongan Hills golf links and the lowlands to the sea, the 
Lower Bay, Sandy Hook and the Highlands, a beautiful 
stretch of land- and seascape. 

By turning to the left one would work out at Egbertville. 

Between these two extremes lies a considerable tract con- 
taining some fine old beech trees and attractive woodland. 


At Richmond take the road around St. Andrew's Church 
— the Old Mill Road. This is still an unmacadamed country 
road with nothing but a rail fence between the saunterer and 
the salt meadows. The views over these meadows are as 
many and varied as the hours and seasons. With a November 
haze and the soft fall colorings of the marsh grass, or the 
difference between high and low water; or with any of the 
innumerable changes that occur during every hour of every 
day, an artist could garner much here. This passes the old 
tide mill (No. 41) and the site of Ketchum's mill (No. 42). 
Turning to the right, the road soon enters a beautiful wood 
and crosses Ketchum's Brook, finally expanding into a road 
that a street sign tells us is Forest Hill Road. But before 
going so far — in fact, at and near the crossing of the brook — 
one can wander at will through the woods and swamp land, 
and by keeping along the southern edge of the wood follow 
an unused and overgrown road that, with a littk fence climb- 
ing, will take one to the New Springville Road. In times of 
much rain this is a wet walk. 

Story of the 

Old Ferine House 

Part I 
Deals With the Story of the Locality 

Part II 

5/orp and tradition of the Old Homestead 

Part III 

Includes All Wills and Deeds Whereby It Has 
Been "transferred from 1677 to 1916 

18 Illustrations 

Including Coats of Arms (in colors) of the 
Stillwell and Ferine Families 

Price, $2.00 

Can Be Obtained at the Ferine House 

or at 

Hine Brothers, 100 William Street, New York 

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