COUNTY, which comprises about two thirds of Long Island, was organized
in 1683, at which time the ridings were abolished, and Long Island was
divided into three counties, as they have remained ever since.
It is about one hundred and ten miles in length, and in some parts twenty
in width. On the north side next the sound the land is considerably
broken and hilly; in the interior, and on the south side it is mostly a
sandy plain, covered for the greater part with forests of pine, in which
the wild deer is still an inhabitant. The county is not well
watered, the streams being few and small. The chief business
of the inhabitants is agriculture and fishing; they also send large quantities
of pine wood to market. The original settlers of the county
were mostly from New England, and the inhabitants have ever retained to
a great degree the habits and manners of the Puritans. The
county is divided into 9 towns, all of which, except Riverhead, were organized
in 1788. Pop. 32,468.
is a view taken at the western entrance into the village of Patchogue ;
the Congregational and Methodist churches are seen on the left, and the
compact part of the village in the distance on the right. The
village is named after the Patchogue tribe of Indians, who once possessed
the territory in this part of the island. It contains about
75 dwellings, the greater part of which have been erected within a few
years. It is 28 miles from Riverhead, and 60 from New York,
upon the great thoroughfare from Brooklyn to Sagg Harbor. Four
miles east is the recently built village of Bell Port, containing about
30 dwellings, an academy, 2 ship-yards, &c. Five miles
east of here is a small settlement called Fire-place, known as a rendezvous
for sportsmen. Moriches is in the east part of the town, extending
east from Mastic river. The groves of Mastic are somewhat celerated.
the largest town in the county, embraces the whole width of the island.
It contains more than 103,000 acres, of which only about 35,000 are improved.
The greater part of the inhabitants are distributed along the villages
on the sound and the ocean. The. middle portion is for the
most part covered with pine forests, in which deer abound.
first settlement in the town was commenced at Setauket, in 1655, by which
name the town was at first called. Most, if not all, the original planters
came from Boston and itsvieinity. The civil affairs of the settlement were
conducted by magistrates elected from among themselves, and by rules and
ordinances adopted in the primary assemblies of the people. After the conquest
of New York in 1664, a patent of confirmation for their purchases of the
natives was obtained from Governor Nicol. The first minister,
Rev. Nathaniel Brewster, was settled here in 1665. He was a
grandson of Elder William Brewster, one of the founders of the Plymouth
colony, who came over in the May Flower, in 1620. Mr. Brewster
died in 1690. It would seem that from e or some
other infirmity, he was unable to discharge his pastoral duties for some
years bore his death; for at a town meeting held, October 31, 1635, Samuel
Ebume was chosen by vote to be minister of the town, and it being proposed
unto him, that in regard of some tender consciences, he would omit the
ceremony in the book of common prayer, the said Samuel promised, that according
to their desire, in regard of their tender consciences, to omit and not
use the aforesaid ceremonies in the public worship, except to such as should
desire the wane.' The next minister, Rev. George. Phillips,
came to Setauket in 1697, and continued here till his death in 1739.
The next minister was Rev. David Youngs : his successor, Rev. Benjamin
Tallmadge was settled here in 1754. Mr. Tallmadge was succeeded by Noah
Wetmore, who came here in 1786: Rev. Zachariah Greene was his successor.
The following relative to seating the meeting-house, recorded on the town
books, is a curious relic of olden times:
meeting of the trustees of Brookhaven, August 6th, 1703: Whereas there
hath been several rude actions of late happened in our church by reason
of the people not being seated, which is much to the dishonor of God and
the discouragement of virtue. For preventing the like again it is ordered
that the inhabitants be seated after the manner and form following All
freeholders that have or shall subscribe within a month to pay 40 shillings
to Mr. Phillips towards his sallary shall be seated at the table, and that
no women are permitted to set there except Col. Smith's lady, nor any women
kind; And that the President for the time being shall sit in the right-hand
seat under the pulpit, and the clerk on the left : the trustees in the
front seat, and the Justices that are inhabitants of the town, are to be
seated at the table, whether they pay 40 shillings, or less.
And the pew, No. 1, all such persons as have or shall subscribe 20 shillings;
and the pew, No. 2, such as subscribe to pay 15 shillingss in pew, No.
3, such as subscribe to pay 10 shillings; No. 4, 8 shillings; No. 5,.12
shillings; No. 6, 9 shilangs; No. 7, for the young men; No. 8, for the
boys; No. 9, for ministers' widows and wives and for those women whose
husbands pay 40 shillings, to sit according, to their age ; No. 11, for
those men's wives that pay from 20 to 15 shillings The alley
fronting the pews to be for such maids whose parents or selves shall subscribe
for two, 6 shillings; No. 11, far those men's wives who pay from 10 to
15 shillings No. 13, for maids; No. 14, for girls; and No.
15, free for any. Captain Clark and Joseph Cooker to settle the inhabitants
according to the above order."
church, in Setauket, the first Episcopal church on Long Island was erected
in 1730. This building, after having been repeatedly altered
and repaired, is. still standing. The Congregational church at Old Mans,
was first erected in 1720, and rebuilt m 1805. The Presbytenan
church was built in 1800, at Middletown, and another at Fire-place, in
1828 ; the first church at this latter place was erected in 1740. The first
Congregational church at Patchogue was built in 1767, the present to 1822.
The Methodist church at this place was erected in 1830. The Baptist church
at Corurm has stood about ninety years. The Methodist church at Stonybrook
was erected in 1817.
the oldest and one of the most populous villages in the town, received
its name from its being the residence of the Seatalcott tribe of Indians.
It is situated on both sides of the harbor, occupying about two square
miles. The village of Stonybrook is on the western side of
the town adjoining the sound, and has one of the best harbors in this part
of the island. There are about 60 dwellings ; shipbuilding
to a considerable extent is carried on in this place. Port
Jefferson and Millers Place are small villages.
is near the centre of the town, and has been the seat of the town business
for more than 60 years. It is a small village containing about 150 inhabitants.
In, or near the village, the British had accumulated a large quantity of
forage in the winter of 1780, which was destroyed by Colonel Tallmadge,
a native of Setauket. The plan of this expedition was approved of by a
communication from General Washington.
of this communication, Major Tallmadge ordered the detachment to repair
to F airfield. Here being met by other troops, the party embarked,
the 21st of November, 1780, at four o'clock, P. M., in eight whale-boats.
The whole number, including the crews of the boats amounted to eighty men.
They crossed the sound in four hours, and landed at old Mans at nine o'clock.
The troops had marched about five miles, when it began to rain, they returned,
and took shelter under their boats, and lay concealed in the bushes all
that night and the next day. At evening the rain abating, the
troops were again put in motion, and at three o'clock in the morning were
within two miles of the fort. Here he divided his men into
three parties, ordering each to attack the fort at the same time at diflcrent
points. The order was so well executed, that the three divisions
arrived nearly at the same moment. It was a triangular enclosure
of several acres, strongly stockaded, well barricaded houses at two of
the angles, and at the third a fort, with a deep ditch and wall, encircled
by an abatis of sharpened pickets, projecting at an angle of forty-five
degrees. The stockade was cut down, the column led through
the grand-parade, and in ten minutes the main fort was carried by the bayonet.
The vessels near the fort, laden with stores, attempted to escape, but
the guns of the fort being brought to bear upon them, they were secured
and burnt, as were the works and stores. The number of prisoners
was fifty-four, of whom seven were wounded. While they were
marched to the boats under an escort Major Tallmadge proceeded with the
remainder of his detachment, destroyed about three hundred tons of hay
collected at Corum, and returned to the place of debarkation just as the
party with the prisoners had arrived, and reached Fairfield by eleven o'clock
the same evening; having accomplished the enterprise, including a march
of forty miles by land and as much by water. without the loss of a man.
Congress passed a resolve complimentary to the commander and troops engaged
in this expedition, which was said by them to have been landed and
conducted with wisdom and great gallantry by Major Tallmadge, and execute
with intrepidity and complete success by the officers and soldiers of his
the most easterly town on Long Island, includes the peninsula of Montauk
and Gardiner's Island. It is centrally distant from New York
110 miles. Pop. 2,076. The town was settled in
1649 by about thirty families from Lynn, Massachusetts, and the towns adjacent.
The town continued an independent plantation or community till 1657, when
they put themselves under the jurisdiction of Connecticut.
The Rev. Thomas James was the first minister in the town; he died in 1696,
and was succeeded by Rev. Nathaniel Hunting. Mr. Hunting was
succeeded by Rev. Samuel Buell in 1746. The fourth minister
was Rev. Lyman Beecher, who was settled here in 1799. Mr. Beecher
is now the President of the Lane Seminary in Ohio. The village
of Easthampton is confined to a single street, of about a mile in length,
having about 100 dwellings, mostly of an antiquated appearance, a church,
and the Clinton academy, erected here in 1785, being the first institution
of the kind on Long Island. The village of Amagansett, containing about
50 houses, is three miles to the east. Wainscott is a small village in
the SW. part. Gardiner's Island contains about 3,300 acres, with a soil
mostly of a good quality; the nearest point of distance to Long Island
is three miles. Lyon Gardiner, the first settler on the island,
was a native of Scotland. He belonged to the republican party,
with the illustrious Hampden, Cromwell, and others. His family bible, now
in possession of his descendants on the island, contains the following,
written in his own hand.
year 1635, the 10th day of July, came I, Lyon Gardiner, and Mary my wife,
from Woden, a town of Holland, where my wife was born, being the daughter
of one Diricke Willemson; her mother's name was Hachir, and her aunt, sister
of her mother, was the wife of Wouter Leanderson Old Burger Muster, dwelling
in the Hostade, over ag ainst the Bruaer, in the Unicorne's HQ; her brother's
name was Punce Garretson, also old Burger Muster. We came from Woden to
London, and from thence to New England, and dwelt at Saybrook fort four
years; it is at the mouth of Connecticut River, of which I was commander;
and there was born to me a son, named David, the first born in that place;
and in 1638 a daughter was born, named Mary, 30th of August, and then I
went to an island of my own, which I had bought of the Indians, called
by them Manchonock, by us Isle of Wight, and there was born another daughter
the 14th of September, 1641, she being the first child of English parents
pirate William Kidd visited this island and buried a valuable treasure.
From this circumstance, doubtless, has arisen the numerous legends respecting
the burial of "Kidd's money," in many places along the coast.
The following is a brief account of Kidd.
Kidd, the famous freebooter and pirate, was the commander of a merchant
vessel which sailed between New York and London, and celebrated for his
nautical skill and enterprise: on which account he was strongly recommended
by Mr. Livingston of New York, then in London, as a proper person to take
charge of a vessel which Lord Romney and others had purchased, and were
then fitting out against the hordes of marauders which infested the Indian
seas, and preyed upon the commerce of all nations. The expense
of this expedition was £6000 sterling. It was a joint
fund, to which the King, Lord Somers, the Earl of Rumsey, the Duke of Shrewsbury,
the Earl of Oxford, Lord Bellamont, and Mr. Livingston were contributors.
Kidd agreed to be concerned to the amount of one-fifth of the whole, and
Mr. Livingston became his surety for the sum of £600:
He soon set sail, and arrived on the American coast where he continued
for some time, and was useful in protecting our commerce, for which he
received much public applause; and the assembly of this state voted him
the sum of £250 as an acknowledgment of his services.
He soon after established himself at the Island of Madagascar, where he
lay like a shark, darting out at pleasure, and robbing with impunity the
vessels of every country. Having captured a larger and better
vessel than his own, he burnt the one in which he had sailed, and took
command of the other; in which he ranged over the Indian coast from the
Red Sea to Malabar, and his depredations extended from the Eastern Ocean,
back along the Atlantic coast of South America, through the Bahamas, the
whole West Indies, and the shores of Long Island. The last
of which were selected as the fittest for depositing his ill-gotten treasures.
He is supposed to have returned from the east with more valuable spoil
than ever fell to the lot of any other individual. On his homeward
passage from the West Indies to Boston where he was finally apprehended,
he anchored in Gardiner's bay, and in the presence of the owner of the
island, Mr. Gardiner, and under the most solemn injunctions of secrecy
buried a pot of gold, silver, and precious stones. On the 3d
of July 1699, he was summoned before Lord Bellamont at Boston, and ordered
to report his proceedings while in the service of the company; which refusing
to do he was immediately arrested and transported to England, where he
was tried, convicted, and executed at "Execution Dock" on the 12th of May,
1701. He was found guilty of the murder of William
Moore, gunner of the ship, and was hung in chains. Mr. John
G. Gardiner has a small piece of gold cloth, which his father received
from Mrs. Wetmore, who gave also the following account of Kidd's visit
to the island. ` I remember, (she says) when very young, hearing my mother
say that her grandmother was the wife to Lord Gardiner when the pirate
came to that island. He wanted Mrs. Gardiner to roast him a
pig; she being afraid to refuse him, roasted it very nice, and he was much
pleased with it. He then made her a present of this cloth, which she gave
to her two daughters; what became of the other know I not, but this was
handed down to me, and is, I believe, as nice as when first given, which
must be upwards of a hundred years.'
been ascertained that he. had buried treasures upon this island, commissioners
were sent by Governor Bellamont, who obtained the same, and for which they
gave the following receipt:
account of all such gold, silver, jewels, and merchandize, late in the
possession of Captain William Kidd, which had been seized and secured by
us pursuant to an order from his Excellency, Richard Earl of Bellamont,
bearing date July 7, 1699.
of Montauk contains 9,000 acres. The land is owned by about
forty individuals, as tenants in common. The Indians have non-fructuary
interest in a portion of the land; but as the race is nearly extinct, this
incumbrance must be of short duration. The soil is generally good, and
is used as pasture land. The surface is rough, and in some
places precipitous. " There is a sublimity and wildness, as
well as solitariness here, which leave a powerful impression on the heart.
In a storm, the scene which the ocean presents is awfully grand and terrific.
On the extreme point stands the tall white column erected by the government
for a lighthouse in 1795, at an expense of $22,300. It is constructed
of stone, in the most substantial manner." Within five or six
miles of this place the Spanish schooner Amistad, in possession of a company
of African slaves, was captured and carried into New London.
The following particulars respecting the schooner, &c., was written
by one of the officers of the United States brig Washington.-
New London, August 26, 1839.
RIVERHEAD, the shire town, was taken from Southold in 1792. Only a comparatively
small portion of the town is under improvement; much of its territory is
covered with wood, which has for a long period been a staple article for
this vessel was sounding this day between Gardiner's and Montauk Points,
a schooner was seen lying in-shore off Culloden Point, under circumstances
so suspicious as to authorize Lieutenant-commandant Gedney to stand in
to see what was her character. Seeing a number of people on the beach with
carts and horses, and a boat passing to and fro, a boat was armed and despatched
with an officer to board her. On coming alongside, a number of negroes
were discovered on her deck, and twenty or thirty more were on the beach-two
white men came forward and claimed the protection of the officer.
The schooner proved to be the Amtistad,' Captain Ramonffues, from the Havanna,
bound to Guanajah, Port Principe, with 54 blacks and two passengers on
board; the former four nights after they were out, rose and murdered the
captain and three of the crew-they then took possession of the vessel,
with the intention of returning to the coast of Africa. Pedro
Montez, passenger, and Jose Ruiz, owner of the slaves and a part of the
cargo, were only saved to navigate the vessel. After boxing about for four
days in the Bahama channel, the vessel was steered for the Island of St.
Andrews, near New Providence-from thence she went to Green Key, where the
blacks laid in a supply of water. After leaving this place
the vessel was steered by Pedro Montez for New Providence, the negroes
being under the impression that she was steering for the coast of Africa-they
would not however permit her to enter the port, but anchored every night
off the coast. The situation of the two whites was all this
time truly deplorable, being treated with the greatest severity, and Pedro
Montez who had charge of the navigation was suffering from two severe wounds,
one on the head and one on the arm, their lives being threatened every
instant. He was ordered to change the course again for the
coast of Africa, the negroes themselves steering by the sun in the daytime,
while at night he would alter their
course so as to bring
them back to their original place of destination. They remained
three days off Long Island., to the eastward of Providence, after which
time they were two months on the ocean, sometimes steering to the eastward,
and whenever an occasion would permit, the whites would alter the course
to the northward and westward, always in hopes of falling in with some
vessel of war, or being enabled to run into some port, when they would
be relieved from their horrid situation.
times they were boarded by vessels; once by an American schooner from Kingston;
on these occasions the whites were ordered below, while the negroes communicated
and traded with the vessels; the schooner from Kingston supplied them with
a demijohn of water for the moderate sum of one doubloon-this schooner,
whose name was not ascertained, finding that the negroes had plenty of
money, remained lashed alongside the Amistad for twenty four hours,
though they must have been aware that all was not right on board, and probably
suspected the character of the vessel-this was on the eighteenth of the
present month; the vessel was steered to the northward and westward, and
on the 20th instant, distant from New York 25 miles, the pilot-boat No.
3 came alongside and gave the negroes some apples. She was also hailed
by No. 4; when the latter boat came near, the negroes armed themselves
and would not permit her to board them ; they were so exasperated with
the two whites for bringing them so much out of their way, that they expected
every moment to be murdered. On the 24th they made Montauk
light, and steered for it in the hope of running the vessel ashore, but
the tide drifted them up the bay, and they anchored where they were found
by the brig Washington, off Culloden point. The negroes were found in communication
with the shore, where they laid in a fresh supply of water, and were on
the point of sailing again for the coast of Africa. They had
a good eupply of money, some of which it is likely was taken by the people
on the beach. After disarming and sending them on board from
the beach, the leader jumped overboard with three hundred doubloons about
him, the property of the captain, all of which he succeeded in losing from
his person, and then submitted himself to be captured. The
schooner was taken in tow by the brig and carried into New London." The
Africans were afterward taken to New Haven; and an investigation was had
before the United States court at Hartford. In January, 1840, their case
was tried before the United States district court. Judge Judson
decided that they should be delivered up to the President of the United
States to be sent back to Africa. The United States attorney
having appealed from this decision, the case was referred to the Supreme
Court, at Washington, which set in January, 1841. This court
declared the freedom of the Africans.
the westernmost town in the county, is bounded on the N. by the sound,
and S. by the ocean. The surface in the N. is rough and hilly,
in the centre a high sandy plain, covered with pines and shrub oaks.
The South Bay has on its northern shore a strip of salt meadow nearly a
mile wide. The soil near the sound, and particularly upon the
necks, is the best in the town. Pop. 6,562. The
earliest deed for land in this town was given to Gov. Eaton, of New Haven,
for Eaton's Neck, in 1646, the first Indian deed to the original settlers
of Huntington, and comprised six square miles.
early period of the settlement, in this town as well as in others, almost
all domestic trade was carried on by means .of exchange. Contracts were
made to be satisfied in produce, and even the judgments given m the courts,
were made payable in grain, at fixed prices, or in merchantable pay at
the current price. The prices were established by the governor
and court of assize ; and in 1665 the assessors were ordered to fix an
estimate tbr stock. Accordingly, a horse or mare four years
old and upward, was to be taken in pay at twelve. pounds; a cow four years
old and upward, at five pounds; an ox or bull of the same age, at six pounds;
and other articles, as pork wheat, corn, &c., at proportionate prices.
In the draft of a. contract between the town and a schoolmaster in 1651,
the salary was to be paid in current pay; and in 1686 the town contracted
with a. carpenter to make an addition to the meeting-house, to be paid
in produce. Even executions issued by the magistrates, were
satisfied in the same way. At a town meeting, April 4, 1661,
it was agreed that a firkin of butter should be paid in, at Stephen Jarvis's
house, by the middle of June, for the sati.4'action of a debt due from
ye town to Ensigne Briant.' The more eflectually to preserve
the public morals, the people excluded from society those whom they thought
likely to injure them. In 1662, they appointed, by a vote at
town meeting, a committee, consisting of the minister and six of their
most respectable citizens, to examine the characters of hose coming to
settle among them; with power to admit or reject, as they judged most likely
to benefit or injure society, with a proviso, that they should not exclude
any ` that were honest, and well approved by honest and judicious men and
forbid any inhabitant to sell or let house or land to any one not approved
by the committee, under the penalty of ten pounds, to be paid to the town.
In 1653, the town forbade any inhabitant to entertain a certain obnoxious
individual longer than the space of a week, either gratuitously or for
pay, under the penalty of forty shillings."
the town put themselves under the jurisdiction of Connecticut, and in 1662,
elected two deputies to attend the general court at Hartford.
The connection was dissolved on the conquest of New York, in 1664.
The first minister of the town was William Leveridge, who was established
here 1658. He was succeeded by Rev. Eliphalet Jones in 1677.
Mr. Jones was succeeded by Ebenezer Prime, who died in 1779, who was succeeded
by Rev. Nathan Woodhull, and the latter by the Rev. William Schenck.
shows the appearance of the village of Huntington as it is entered from
the westward. The Presbyterian church and academy are seen in the distance,
near the central part of the engraving. The Universalist church is seen
near the burying ground on the right. There are about one hundred dwellings
in the vicinity of the churches. A newspaper is published in
this place. This village is 40 miles W. from Riverhead, and
about 45 from New York. The thriving village of Babylon, 40
miles from New York, on the south side of the island, in full view of the
bay and ocean, contains about 250 inhabitants. It is situated
upon Sunquams Neck, and has a fine stream of water on either side, upon
which mills have long been erected. The
village of Little Cow Harbor is now called Centre Port, and the name of
Great Cow Harbor changed to North Port. The steamer Lexington was burnt
near Eaton's Neck, Jan. 13, 1840. ISLIP. This town, on the
S. side of the island, is centrally distant about 45 miles from New York.
It received its name from the first settlers, many of whom came from Islip,
in Oxfordshire, England. It has a level surface and a light and sandy soil,
rendered productive by manures of sea-weed and fish. The bay
on the south is 4 or 5 miles wide, containing an inexhaustible variety
of fish, and is visited by a vast number of wildfowl. Pop. 1,909. The extensive
domain known as Nicol's Patent, includes more than sixty square miles of
land, and has, since its first purchase from the Indians in 1683 by William
Nicol, been by successive entailment preserved as one estate.
The following is a southern view of the central part of the village of
Riverhead, as seen from the residence of Mr. J. P. Terry, about 50 rods
S. from the courthouse. The village is situated upon Peconic creek or river,
a mill stream, about 2 miles above Peconic bay, about 90 miles from New
York, 24 from Sagg Harbor, and 23 from Greenport. The village
contains about 70 dwellings, a large proportion of which are one story
in height, 1 Methodist, 1 Congregational, and 1 Swedenbourg or New Jerusalem
church, an academy, and about 500 inhabitants. The courthouse,
seen in the central part of the engraving with a small spire, has stood
more than a century. James Port is a recent village E. of Riverhead.
Old Aquabogue, Upper Aquabogue, Fresh Pond, Baiting Hollow, and Wading
River, are small villages.
SHELTER ISLAND is a town comprehending the island of that name in Gardiner's
bay. It is about six miles long and four broad, containing
about 8,000 acres, divided into several farms. Pop. 379.
The surface of the island is generally undulating, and covered in part
by oak and other timber. The Indian name of this island was
Manhansack-alea-qushu-wamock, meaning an island sheltered by other islands.
It was originally purchased by James Farret from the Indians; it afterward
became the property of Nathaniel and Constant Sylvester and Thomas Middleton.I
n 1674, the rights of these two last persons were confiscated by the Dutch
government, and sold to the first for £500,
the payment of which was enforced by a party of soldiers. The first church
on the island was erected by the Presbyterians in 1733: it was taken down
in 1816, and the present church erected on the same spot.
SMITHTOWN is centrally distant from New York 47 miles. Pop.1,932.
The town is nearly 10 miles square: the surface on the north is broken
and hilly, and on the south a perfectly level plain. The inhabitants
are much scattered over the surface. There are several small
villages, the most considerable of which are the Branch and the settlement
called Head o f the River.
This town derives its name from Richard Smith, the patentee. The annexed
account of this individual has been obligingly communicated by J. W. Blydenburgh,
"Smithtown takes its name from the original patentee, Richard Smith, jr.,
of' Narragansett, who with his father Richard Smith, sen., and other relatives
carne from Gloucestershire, England, to :Boston in 1630. Smith married
at Boston, and settled with his father at Taunton, 1637, where he remained
until 1641, when he purchased a tract. of the Narragansett sachems among
the thickest of the Indians, computed at :30,000 acres, erected a house
for trade, and gave free entertainment to travellers, it being the great
road of the country. The dwelling of Smith stood on the present
site of the Updike house in North Kingston, and it is said that the present
dwelling contains some of the materials of the old. Smith's was the first
house built in Narragansett, and was probably a blockhouse.
Roger Williams, Wilcox and others, built soon after, and Williams sold
out to Smith in 1651. Smith afterward made many purchases of
the Indians, and March 8, 1656, Coginiquant leased them for 60 years an
immense tract south of his dwelling. June 8, 1659, the same
sachem leased them for a thousand years an enlarged tract, which gave rise
to great disputes, which were the final cause of his removal to Long Island
and the settlement of Smithtown. In 1654, the war broke out
between the Ninigret and the Long Island Indians, which continued with
various success for several years. In one of the expeditions
made to Long Island by Ninigret, he took among other captives 14 of their
chief women one of whom proved to be the daughter of Wyandanch, chief sachem
of the Montaugs. These squaws were taken by Lyon Gardiner,
lieutenant of Lord Say, to Smith's house, where the Indian princess remained
until she was restored to her father by Gardiner who gave as her ransom
a grant of all the Nessaquake lands, since called Smithtown. Smith's douse
at Wickford, now North Kingston, R. I., was the rendezvous of the whites,
during all the Indian wars, and the great swamp fight took place a short
distance therefrom. Smith became very influential with the Indian chiefs.
He negotiated and signed the treaty for Connecticut 1 several timeq made
peace between the Narragansetts and the Massachusetts colonists, until
his eastern neighbors became jealous of his power and actually indicted
him in their court, ordered him to be arrested and carried to Newport for
trial. They attempted to defeat his lease of the Narragansett
lands, which occasioned Roger Williams to interfere in his behalf, and
write a very complimentary letter to King Charles the 2d concerning him.
In disgust at their conduct, he purchased of Lyon Gardiner, the Nessaquake
lands on Long lsland whither he removed and left his eastern possessions
with his relatives. On the arrivial of Cof. Richard Nicol,
he received a patent for his Smithtown tract, and after a successful lawsuit
in the general court of assize respecting his boundary, he at length secured
from Sir Edmund Andross a confimatory patent, under the title of Smithtown,
or Smithfield, dated 25th March 1677.
above fac-simile is taken from the deed. given by Richard Smith to his
grandson Obadiah; from which it appears that he spelt his name unlike his
"Rlchard Smith, patentee of Smithtown, made his will March 5th, 1691, and
died soon after. His will was proved, 1692. IIe gave to Lodovica Updike
all his homestead, as far south as was then fenced in, with his Sagoge
land, on condition of surrendering his Wesi Quoge farm. To Daniel and James
Updike the land south of Wickford, then occupied by Jacob Pindor and John
Thomas. To Israel and James Newton, the West Quoge farm.
To Thomas Newton, Hay Island and his house in Bristol. To Elizabeth
Pratt, alias Newman, the Boston neck land, on which Alexander King lived.
He gave legacies to Richard, son of Lodovica Updike, and Smith, son of
Thomas Newton, &c., &c., leaving his town on Long Island to his
seven children in equal shares. His son, Obadiah, was drowned
in crossing Nessaquake river, August 20th, 1690, and six sons and a daughter
survived him, as follows : Jonathan, who married Mary Brewster, who left
two children-Richard, who married Elizabeth Tucker, and left 5 children-Job,
who married Elizabeth Thompson, and left 7 children-Adam, who married Elizabeth
Brown and left I child-Samuel, who married Hannah Longbotham, and left
6 children-Daniel, who married Ruth Tucker, and left 7 children-and Deborah,
who married William Lawrence, and left 6 children.
The above is a northern view of Sago, Harbor, situated in the NE corner
of the town, 100 miles from New York. It has a good harbor,
lying on an arm of Gardiner's bay. The village contains 400
dwellings, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist, 1 Catholic, and 1 African church,
2 printing offices, and about 3,000 inhabitants. The wealth
and trade of the place may with propriety be said to be founded on the
"On the 13th March, 1735, his grandchildren entered into an agreement to
divide the town according to the proprietary rights of their parents, the
seven children, and it was surveyed and laid out in pursuance of such agreement.
"Smith was buried at Nessaquake, near his residence, on land now or late
in the possession of Jesse W. Floyd."
"It is probable," says Thompson, in his History of Long Island, "that horses
were very rare during the first settlement of this town, or that they had
not as yet been introduced; which accounts for Mr. Smith's having made
use of a large bull for many purposes for which horses were afterward used,
which occasioned him to be designated as the buU-rider, and his posterity
to this day as the Bull Smiths, while the descendants of Col. William Smith
of Brookhaven are as familiarly known as the Tangier Smiths, he having
once filled the office of governor of Tangier. There are also upon the
island two other distinct races of families by the name of Smith, the one
called Rock Smiths and the other Blue Smiths, the origin of which is matter
of conjecture. Many singular traits of character, and not a
few strange stories, are related concerning this famous progenitor of the
Smiths of Smithtown, the records of which have too much the semblance of
fiction to be worth perpetuating "
The first minister of the town was the Rev. Abner Reeve, who was employed
here about 173.5. Ile was the father of the Hon. Tappan Reeve,
the founder of the celebrated law school at :Litchfield, Conn.
His successor, the Rev. Napthali Daggett, was settled here in 1751.
Mr.Daggett afterward became President of Yale College. The
next clergymen were Thomas Lewis, Joshua Hart, and Luther Gleason.
"In a note to Moulton's History of New York, it is stated that an obituary
appeared in a newspaper, printed in 1739, of the death of a negro at Smithtown,
Long Island, reputed to have been one hundred and forty years old, who
declared that he well remembered when there were but three houses in New
York. The memory, therefore, of this remarkable individual must, have extended
back to the first settlement of New Amsterdam, (as New York was then called)
SOUTHAMPTON, called by the natives Agawam, was settled in 1640, principally
by about forty families from Lynn, Mass. Its name was given
in remembrance of Southampton, Eng. The surface of the township
is generally level, in the W. and N. the soil is light and sandy, in the
S. mixed with loam, and when properly manured, produces good crops.
Pop. 6,205. The people of this town early sought an alliance
with Connecticut, and were received into their jurisdiction in 1644.
They were represented by deputies in the general court at Hartford.
The Rev. Abraham Pierson was the first minister; he was succeeded by the
Rev. Robert Fordham in 1649, who was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Taylor in
1680, and Rev. Joseph Whiting in 1682. Rev. Samuel Gelston
settled here in 1'717, and remained about 10 years.
The village of Southampton is built on a single street, 18 miles from Riverhead.
Bridgehampton, Westhampton, Good Ground, Flanders Speunk, Quogue, Canoe
Place, and Beaverdam, are names of localities and villages.
Shinnecock, or Southampton bay, is a fine sheet of water, 10 miles long,
and from 3 to 4 wide. The territory of Shinnecock, containing
some thousands of acres, is little else than a collection of sand hills.
A small remnant of the Shinnecock tribe of Indians still linger on the
SE. part of this tract, where they have a small church and a few dwellings.
"Sagg Harbor is the most populous, wealthy, and commercial lace in the
county, and may therefore not improperly be considered the emporium of
Suflbl . The capital employed in trade here probably exceeds that of the
whole county besides, there being nearly a million of dollars invested
in the whale-fishery alone, employing a tonnage of more than six thousand,
exclusive of several fine packets and outer vessels engaged in the coasting
business. It is supposed that no permanent settlement was attempted
here previous to 1730, and then only a few small cottages were erected
near the head of the present wharf, for the convenience of those engaged
in fishing. Most of the land in the vicinity was then covered
with timber and forest, and it is probable also that no inconsiderable
number of Indians dwelt in the vicinity. In 1760, several respectable
families established themselves here, perceiving that it possessed many
local advantages, and built for themselves comfortable houses.
In 1767, the number of inhabitants had so increased, that it was resolved
to erect a house for public worship, and without the advantage of regular
preaching, the people were accustomed to assemble on the Sabbath at the
beat of drum, and hear a sermon read by one of the congregation.
They began soon after more largely to appreciate the commercial facilities
offered by the adjacent waters, and fresh efforts were made to improve
upon the old practice of boat-whaling. For this end small sloops
were fitted out, and ranged the ocean at some distance from the coast;
but when a whale was caught., it became necessary to return to port for
the purpose of boiling out the oil upon the shore. The business
had made but little progress when hostilities commenced between the mother
country and her colonies in 1775 ; and this island being the next year
abandoned to the enemy, commerce of every kind was of course suspended
till the close of the contest in 1783. Several British ships took their
stations in the bay, and this village was made not only a depot for military
stores, but the garrison for a considerable body of soldiers.
During the war it became the theatre of one of the most extraordinary feats
that was accomplished, uring the revolution. It has generally
been denominated Meig's Expedition, and the circumstances are thus related
by the historians of that period
"In retaliation for the burning of Ridgefield in Connecticut, by General
Arnold and the wretches under his command, in April, 1777, a few soldiers
from Newhaven went on a predatory excursion to Long Island.
A quantity of provisions had been collected at Sagg Harbor, and to
destroy these was the object of the expedition. The enterprise
was one of the most spirited and successful of that eventful period.
General Parsons conceived it possible to surprise the place, and confided
the execution of it to Lieutenant; colonel Meigs, who embarked from Newhaven,
May 21, 1777, with two hundred and thirty-four men, in thirteen whale-boats.
He proceeded to Guilford, but on account of the roughness of the sea, could
not pass the sound till the twenty-third. On that day, at one
o'clock in the afternoon, he left Guilford with one hundred and seventy
men, under convoy of two armed sloops, and crossed the sound to Southold,
where he arrived at six o'clock. The enemy's troops on this
part of the island had marched for New York two or three days before, but
it was reported that there was a party at Sagg Harbor on the south branch
of the island about fifteen miles distant. Colonel Meigs ordered
the whale-boats to be transported over the land to the bay between the
north and south branches of the island, where one hundred and thirty men
embarked, and at twelve o'clock at night arrived safely on the other side
of the bay within four miles of Sagg Harbor. Here the boats
were secured in a wood, under a guard, and the remainder of the detachment
marched quickly to the harbor, where they arrived at two o'clock in the
morning, in the greatest order, attacking the outpost with fixed bayonets,
and proceeding directly to the shipping at the wharf, which they found
unprepared for defence. The alarm was given, and an armed schooner
with twelve guns and seventy men began to fire upon them at the distance
of one hundred and fifty yards, which continued three quarters of an hour,
but did not prevent the troops from executing their design with the greatest
intrepidity and effect. Twelve brigs and sloops, one of which
was an armed vessel of twelve guns, and one hundred and twenty tons of
hay, corn, oats, ten hogs heads of rum, and a large quantity of merchandise,
were entirely destroyed. Six of the enemy were killed and ninety
taken prisoners. Not one of Colonel Meig's men was either killed
or wounded. He returned to Guilford at two o'clock in the afternoon,
having been absent only twenty-five hours; and in that time had transported
his troops by land and water full ninety miles, and completed his undertaking
with the most entire success.'
"On the declaration of war against Great Britain in 1812, preparations
were made to protect this place against the enemy, and a small detachment
of militia was stationed here, who employed themselves in erecting a fortification
upon the high ground overlooking the harbor. No regular garrison was established,
however, till the summer of 1813, when the British ships taking their station
in Gardiner's Bay, threatened to land at several points in the vicinity
of this port. At that time three or four hundred men were placed
here, and were continue till the end of the war. Some part
of the time a company of artillery, and another of regular troops, were
stationed here; and in 1814 one or more companies of sea fencibles.
But at no time was the number of soldiers sufficient to have effectually
defended the place against the enemy, had the capture of it been considered
by them an object of sufficient importance to have warranted the attempt.
It was wholly impossible to have prevented their landing at various places
bordering upon the bay and they accordingly visited at pleasure Gardiner's
Island, Montauk, and Oyster Ponds; takng such provisions as their necessities
required, and for which, it is believed, they generally paid an equivalent.
In June, 1813, a launch and two barges, with about one hundred men from
the squadron of Commodore Hardy, attempted to land at the wharf in the
night; but being timely discovered, the alarm was sounded, and the guns
of the fort brought to bear in the. direction of the boats; so successful
was the means used, that the designs of the enemy were eflectually frustrated.
They had only time to set fire to a sloop which they took from the wharf,
when a shot from the fort raked her fore and aft, and obliged them to abandon
her. The Americans going on board, extinguished the flames,
when they found a quantity of guns, swords, pistols, and other instruments,
which the invaders, (deerning discretion to be the better part of valor)
had left in their hurry to escape."
SOUTHOLD embraces the N. branch of Long Island, and includes Fisher's,
Plumb, Robins, and Gull islands. It is centrally situated 17
miles from Riverhead, and 103 from New York. The surface is
generally level, and the soil a sandy loam, and productive under careful
cultivation. Pop. 3,907. The inhabitants are principally
settled along the great road which passes centrally through the town in
a number of thickly settled neighborhoods or villages, as at Mattatuc,
Cutchogue, Southold, Oyster Ponds, or Orient, forming almost a continued
Greenport, the largest village in the town, is situated at what is called
Southold harbor, a part of the great Peconic bay, 23 miles from the courthouse
at Riverhead. It is laid out into streets and building lots. and contains
about 100 dwellings, 1 Baptist, 1 Methodist, and 1 Presbyterian church,
and wharves and railways for the accommodation of vessels.
The water is of sufficient depth for large ships, and well sheltered from
storms. The village was commenced by a few spirited individuals
in 182'7. The ancient village of Southold contains i Presbyterian
and 1 Universalist church, and an academy. The peninsula of Oyster Ponds
is the eastern extremity of the island; the village, now called Orient,
contains two churches, two docks or wharves, and upwards of 500 inhabitants.
Fisher's Island, belonging to this town, is 9 miles from New London, Conn.,
and 4 from Stonington. It is about 9 miles long, and has a
medial width of one mile, containing about 4,000 acres. This
island was purchased by Gov. Winthrop, of Connecticut, in 1664, and has
been in possession of the Winthrop family ever since. The staple
articles raised on the island are wool, butter, and cheese.
There are about .15 persons of all ages upon the island. Plumb
Island contains about 800 acres of land, and has a population of about
75 persons. Great and Little Gull islands are situated in what
is called the Race, on account of the swiftness of the current.
Great Gull contains 15 acres; Little Gull one acre, mostly a solid rock.
Upon this last island a lighthouse has been erected, which is of much importance
to the navigation of the sound.
"The Indian name of this towm is Yennecock, and was purchased from the
Corchougs, a tribe that possessed this part of the island, in the summer
of 1540. Most of the first planters were originally from Hingham,
in Norfolk, England, and came here by the way of New Haven. The Rev.
John Youngs, who had been a preacher in England, was their leader.
He organized a church at New Haven, and they, with others willing to accompany
them, commenced the settlement of this town. The principal
men among them, besides Mr. Youngs, were William Wells, Barnabas Horton,
Thomas Mapes, John Tuthill, and Matthias Corwin. The governor
of New Haven, Theophilus Eaton, and the authorities there, had not only
aided the first settlers in their negotiations about the purchase of the
soil, but actually tool: the conveyance in their own names, and exercised
a limited control over the territory for several years, which eventually
occasioned some dissatisfactionamong the inhabitants. The civil
and ecclesiastical concerns of the settlement were conducted in a similar
manner with the other plantations under the jurisdiction of New Haven.
All government was reputed to be in the church, and none were admitted
to the entire privileges of freemen, or free burgesses as they were called,
except church members; a court was in like manner instituted, which was
authorized to hear and determine all causes, civil and criminal, and whose
decisions were to be according to the laws of God as contained in the holy
scriptures. lit the general court, (or town meeting,) consisting
also of church members, was transacted the ordinary business of the plantation.
In these, orders were made in relation to the division of lands, the enclosure
or cultivation of common fields, the regulation of fences, highways, and
the time and manner of permitting cattle and sheep to go at large upon
the common lands; and such further measures as were required for the mutual
defence of the settlement from hostile attacks on every side.
One of the first ordinances required every man to provide himself with
arms and ammunition, and to assemble at an appointed place, whenever warned
so to do, under a certain penalty for neglect in any of these respects.
The plantation made early provision for the education of children, the
preservation of good morals, and the support of religion. A
committee was appointed to regulate the admission of new settlers, and
no one could become an inhabitant without their approbation; and no planter
could sell or let his house or land to a stranger, but only to such as
were approved by the said committee, under a heavy penalty."