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The manufactures of this county are not extensive. Flour, woollen and cotton goods, and leather, are the most important.
STAPLE PRODOCTIONS. Oil, fish, corn and oats.
Schools. There are in the county 142 district school-houses. The schools were maintained, in 1846, nine months; 9117 children received instruction, at a cost of $17,953. The district libraries contained 19,728 volumes.
There were, in addition, forty-six select schools, with 634 pupils, seven academies and one female seminary, attended by 119 scholars.
RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS. Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Universalists and Roman Catholics. There are seventy-nine churches, and eightytwo clergymen.
History. This county was peopled mostly by emigrants from New England, and the inhabitants have retained, in a great degree, to this day, their primitive simplicity of manners and habits.
Southold was the first town settled in the county, and the first to adopt a municipal organization, on the island. Its settlers removed here from New Haven, and remained under the jurisdiction of that colony, until it was included in the charter of Connecticut, in 1662, after which, it became a dependency of that colony, till 1676, when Sir Edmund Andross insisting on his right to jurisdiction over it, the people submitted, somewhat unwillingly.
Southampton and East Hampton were also included under the government of New Haven and Connecticut, until this period.
Smithtown was purchased by Richard Smythe, of Narragansett, Rhode Island, who obtained a patent from Governor Andross, in 1677, and removed here and founded a settlement. Gardiner's Island was settled by Lyon Gardiner, in 1635;* Shelter Island in 1652, by James Farrett and others; and Brookhaven in 1655, by emigrants, mostly from Boston.
In 1673, Colve, the Dutch governor of New Netherlands, attempted to reduce these towns to subjection to the Dutch authority at New Orange (New York). This effort called forth a sharp remonstrance from John Winthrop, the then governor of Connecticut, and a spirited correspondence ensued, which resulted in a partial compromise, on the part of the Dutch governor.
In 1674, however, the English sway was resumed, and in 1676 the county came under the government of the colony of - New York. In 1699, the pirate Kidd secreted a portion of his
Mr. Gardiner was a man of fine education, and exerted a powerful influence over the Indians, and the white settlers on the island. Wyandanch, the powerful sachem of the Montauks, regarded him with the utmost reverence and affection.
ill-gotten treasures on Gardiner's Island, in this county. These were seized by order of the Earl of Bellomont, the same year.
During the revolution, the people of Suffolk county were decidedly patriotic in their sentiments, and though under the domination of the British, they maintained their affection for their country, and consequently suffered severely from her enemies.
It deserves to be recorded, to the honor of Eas Hampton, that every man in the town, capable of bearing arms, signed a solemn pledge, on the 6th July, 1775, not to submit to British taxation. The other towns were nearly unanimous in their resistance to oppression.
On the 21st of May, 1777, the British having collected a considerable quantity of provisions and military stores at Sag Harbor, General Parsons formed the design of destroying them, and committed the enterprise to Lieutenant Colonel Meigs.
That officer proceeded directly to Guilford, but on account of the roughness of the weather, could not embark till the 23d, when he left Guilford, at one o'clock, P. M., with 170 men, in thirteen whale boats. They arrived at Southold about six o'clock, P. M., transported their boats over land to the bay, and arrived, at twelve o'clock at night, within four miles of Sag Harbor. Securing their boats under a guard, they marched directly for the village, and attacking the outposts with fixed bayonets, they proceeded immediately to the shipping.
An armed schooner, with twelve guns and seventy-nine men, lying here, fired upon them for three-fourths of an hour, but without effect. Twelve brigs and sloops, (one of which was the vessel above referred to), 120 tons of hay, corn and oats, ten hogsheads of rum, and a large quantity of merchandise, were completely destroyed; six of the enemy were killed, and ninety taken prisoners. Not one of Colonel Meigs' force was either killed or wounded.
At two o'clock in the afternoon, he returned to Guilford, having been absent only twenty-five hours. Congress voted a sword to Colonel Meigs, and Washington addressed him a letter of thanks, through General Parsons.
In retaliation for the capture of Major General Silliman, by the British, in May, 1779, a party of twenty-five volunteers set off from Bridgeport, Conn., on the 4th of November of the same year, to capture Hon. Thomas Jones, then judge of the supreme court, who was noted for his attachment to Great Britain. They succeeded in their object, and captured three other pris
These were exchanged, in May, 1780, for Major General Silliman, and other prisoners.
On the 21st November, 1780, Major Benjamin Tallmadge attempted an enterprise against Fort St. George, a British stockade post near Mastic, on the southern shore of the island, in the town of Brookhaven. Embarking at Fairfield, Conn., with
eighty men, he crossed the sound to Old Man's harbor, where he remained concealed through the day, and at night marched for the fort, which he reached about two o'clock in the morning, and carried immediately, at the point of the bayonet, taking fifty-four prisoners, and destroying several vessels laden with stores. On his return he stopped at Corum, and burned three hundred tons of hay, which had been collected by the British. He arrived at Fairfield, on the evening of the 22d, with his prisoners and booty, without the loss of a single man.
In October, 1781, Major Tallmadge attacked Fort Slongo, a British post at Tredwell's bank, in Smithtown, and destroyed it, taking a number of prisoners.
During the late war with Great Britain, the enemy repeatedly seized vessels in Long Island sound, and on the coast, and either wantonly destroyed them, or demanded an exorbitant. price for their ransom. In one of their incursions 'for this purpose, at Riverhead, in May, 1814, they were repulsed by the militia, with severe loss.
Villages. RIVERHEAD, the seat of justice for the county, is a small village on Peconic rlver.
Sag Harbor, the largest whaling port in the state, and the most populous village in the county, is situated on the boundary line between Southampton and East Hampton, the larger portion of it being in the former town. Its site is sandy and sterile, but its harbor is excellent. It was first settled in 1730.
In 1845 there were sixty-one ships and barks belonging to this port, engaged in the whaling business, employing a capital of more than $2,000,000, and a number of smaller vessels in the home fisheries and coasting trade. It suffered severely, from a disastrous fire in 1845, but was soon rebuilt, in a better manner than before. Population 3621.
Grernport, the terminus of the Long Island railroad, has sprung up since 1827, and has had a more rapid growth, than any other village in the county. It had twelve ships, engaged in the whaling business, in 1845. Population about 1200.
Huntington, in the town of the same name, a small but ancient village, with an incorporated academy. It has a fine harbor.
Oyster Ponds, or Orient, and Southold, are growing settlements,
VI. RICHMOND COUNTY.
Valuation, 1845, $1,373,279.
TOWNS. 1. Castleton, 1788. .
3. Southfield, 1788. 2. Northfield, 1788.
4. Westfield, 1788. Bays. A. New York Bay. a. The Narrows. b Arthur Kull Sound. c. Staten Island Sound. q. Newark Bay. w. Raritan.
x. Lower Bay. Forts. Tompkins. Richmond. Villages. RICHMOND. New Brighton. Tompkinsville. Factoryville.
BOUNDARIES. North by Newark bay and Arthur Kull sound; East by New York bay and the Narrows; South by the Lower bay and Raritan bay; and West by Staten Island sound. It embraces Shooter's island, and the islands of meadow on the west side of Staten island.
SURFACE. Richmond county is quite elevated and much broken. There are a few miles of marsh, however, on the western coast, extending back from Newark bay. The northern shore of the island is very bold, affording some delightful prospects and beautiful sites for building, some of which are occupied. The southeastern extremity is more level.
Bays, &c. New York bay on the north connects with Newark bay by means of the Arthur Kull sound. Staten island sound, seldom exceeding half a mile in width, bounds it for fifteen miles on the west. New York bay on the east is contracted at Signal hill into the Narrows which divide it into the upper and lower bays. That portion of the upper bay lying northeast of the island is known as the quarantine ground, where vessels from warm climates are obliged to lie at anchor, under quarantine regulations, till permission is given by the health officer for them to proceed to the city.
CLIMATE. The climate is less subject to extremes than in many sections of the state. The sea-breezes moderate alike the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Its inhabitants are healthy.
GEOLOGY AND MINERALOGY. Staten Island is based upon primitive rock, which rises near its centre into a ridge, running longitudinally through it, with a breadth of from one to two miles. Boulders of green-stone, sand-stone, gneiss, granite, &c., appear in some sections sparingly, but on the northeast part of the island in considerable abundance.
Steatite, containing veins of talc, amianthus, and alabaster, covers the granite of the ridge. This approaches in many places within one and a half feet of the surface. Brown hematitic iron ore, of a superior quality, is abundant, as well as a granular oxide of iron. Chalcedony, jasper, lignite, crystalized pyrites, asbestos, amianthus, dolomite, Brucite, Gurhofite, talc and serpentine, are the other principal minerals.
There is a single chalybeate spring, of no great strength, in the county. Marine fossils have been found in the alluvial portions of the island.
SOIL AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS. The soil of the county with proper culture produces fair crops, particularly of oats, corn and grass. Land, however, commands a high price per acre, even when taken in farms.
Oak, hickory, walnut, and chestnut trees are abundant on the ridge, but they are small, and chiefly of after growth.
Pursuits. The attention of the people is divided between agriculture, manufactures and commerce. Manufactures are almost entirely confined to the dyeing and printing of cloths.
Fisheries are a source of sustenance and profit to many of its inhabitants. Large quantities of fine oysters and clams, shad, herring and mossbonkers, or white-fish, are annually taken from its waters.
Many of its citizens are engaged in business in the city of New York.
SCHOOLS. The public school-houses are fourteen. The schools were taught in 1846 on an average ten months, and were attended by 1915 scholars. The wages of teachers amounted to $5425; the libraries contained 4462 volumes. There are twenty-six private schools with 716 pupils.