The commerce of the county is confined to the coasting trade, and carried on through the ports of Flushing, Glen's Cove, Oyster Bay, and Cold Spring. Steamers ply between New York, and Flushing, Glen's cove, and Rockaway.

STAPLE PRODUCTIONS. Corn, oats, butter, wool, fruit trees, and flowers.

Schools. The county has seventy public schoolhouses, in which schools were taught, in 1846, an average period of ten months. In them 4960 children received instruction, at an expense of $15,346. The school libraries contained 13,803 volumes.

Beside these there were thirty-six private schools, with 708 pupils, four academies and three female seminaries, with 272 pupils. One of these is a collegiate school, of a high order.

RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS. Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Friends, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics. Total number of churches, 59, of clergymen, 43.

History. The first settlement made in this county, was at Hempstead, by a company of emigrants from Stamford, Conn., in 1644. This company acknowledged the Dutch jurisdiction, and obtained a patent from Governor Kieft. The place was first called Hemsteede.

In the spring of 1645, a company of Englishmen who had previously resided in Vlissingen, in Holland, emigrated to this country, and locating themselves in Queens county, founded the town of Flushing, caled by them Vlissingen. They, too, obtained a patent, from Governor Kieft, for their lands. Between this period and 1656, settlements were commenced at Oyster bay, Newtown, and Jamaica.

A considerable number of Friends having settled in Vlissingen, Governor Stuyvesant, animated by the spirit of intolerance so prevalent at that day, issued an order requiring the people of the town to cease giving them any countenance, or entertaining them.

To this order, the people of that town sent a dignified remonstrance. Gov. Stuyvesant, however, persisted in his intolerant measures, inflicting heavy fines, protracted imprisonment, and severe corporeal punishment, on those who professed the Quaker faith, as well as upon all who assisted or sheltered them. Some thirteen or fourteen prominent individuals were thus made to feel the weight of his displeasure.

One of the sufferers, having manifested more firmness than the rest, in the avowal of his sentiments, was sent by the Governor, a prisoner in chains, to Amsterdam. He was liberated from confinement, and sent back by the West India Company, and made the bearer of a letter from the company to the persecuting Governor, which, for the noble sentiments, in regard to religious liberty, which it avows, deserves to be written in letters of gold.

But the intolerant spirit of the Dutch governor did not stop here. The Lutherans also fell under the ban of his displeasure, and he banished them from the colony.

This bigotry did much toward rendering the people dissatisfied with the sway of the director, and but for the incursion of the English, in 1664, they world, in all probabilty, have thrown off their allegiance, by a civil revolution. In the exchange of masters, however, there was little else than an exchange of tyrants. Religious intolerance still prevailed, under a new form.

In 1702, Lord Cornbury, having taken refuge in Jamaica, from yellow fever, (at that time epidemic in New York city), occupied the residence of Rev. Mr. Hubbard, the Presbyterian minister of the place, which was courteously tendered him, by its occupant, as the best dwelling in the village.

With characteristic ingratitude, he dispossessed this clergyman of his pulpit, in which he placed an Episcopal minister, whom, on his return to New York city, he ordered to occupy Mr. Hubbard's parsonage. Twenty-six years elapsed, before the Presbyterians were able to recover possession of their church edifice.

In 1707, Lord Cornbury imprisoned two Presbyterian clergymen, in this county, for preaching without his license, and finally liberated them, on the payment of a fine of $500.

During the Revolution, a majority of the inhabitants of this county took the oath of allegiance to Great Britain. British troops were stationed in different portions of the county, and the people were obliged to furnish them with large quantities of wood and provisions.

There were many, however, whose hearts beat with true loyalty to the cause of their country, and who rejoiced, when she succeeded in throwing off the yoke of foreign oppression.

It was rather, perhaps, the misfortune than the fault of the people of this county, that, exposed as they were, without defence, to the hostile power of the enemy, they yielded to a force they could not oppose.

Yet this was made a subject of reproach to them, and in 1784, a tax of £100,000 was levied upon the southern district, to be appropriated, as a compensation, to the other parts of the state, on account of their not having been able to take an active part in the war; and Queens county, in addition to her severe losses from the British, was obliged to atone for her own misfortunes.

Villages. NORTH HEMPSTEAD, the seat of justice for the county, is sitvated near the southern boundary of the town of the same na ne. It is an inconsiderable village, and was selected for the county seat, from its being the geographical centre of the county.

Flushing village, in the town of Flushing, situated at the head of the bay of the same name, is one of the most beautiful villages in the state. It is a favorite summer residence of merchants

[ocr errors]

and others, from the city of New York, and has many noble villas and country seats. Population 2500.

Its schools are highly celebrated. St. Ann's Hall, a female seminary of a high order, St. Thomas' Hall, and St. Paul's college, about three miles from the village, a collegiate school for boys, aré among the most distinguished. These schools are under the direction of the Episcopalians. The Friends have also a flourishing seminary, and there are several well conducted select schools.

The nurseries and botanic gardens here, have long held the first rank in our country. The Linnean Botanic garden was established, by Mr. Prince, in 1750, and still maintains a high reputation, while the new nursery of the Messrs. Prince, the Bloodgood nursery, the Commercial garden and nursery, and the Floral and Pomological nursery, contend with it for the palm.

In this town is still standing the Bowne mansion, where the celebrated George Fox, the apostle of the Friends, spent much of his time. Near it stands the ancient and venerable oak, under the canopy of which he proclaimed his views, with an eloquence which won many hearts.

Jamaica village, in the town of that name, is situated on the line of the Long Island railroad, twelve miles east from the city of Brooklyn. It is a beautiful village, with many facilities for intercourse with the adjacent towns. The railroad company have here a large manufactory, for the construction and repair of their cars. It also contains Union Hall academy, an old and flourishing institution, a female seminary of some reputation, and several select schools. The Union race course is within the limits of this town. Population about 2000.

Hempstead village is delightfully situated, on the southern margin of the great Hempstead plain, in the town of the same

For beauty and salubrity, it has few equals. The Hempstead seminary has a fine and costly edifice, and is in a flourishing condition. The village is a favorite summer resort. Population about 1800.

There are several other villages in the town. Rockaway beach, or Far Rockaway, is a headland projecting from the southern shore of the town, on which the restless surges of the ocean beat, with ceaseless vehemence.

Near Rockaway is a pleasant and thriving little village. Near the Methodist church, stands a marble monument erected to the memory of 139 unfortunate emigrants, whose bodies were washed ashore from the wrecks of the ships Bristol and Mexico, in the winter of 1836-7. In these two melancholy shipwrecks 215 persons were lost.

Newtown, Astoria, Oyster Bay, Glen Cove, and Norwich, are villages of some importance. Lloyd's neck belongs to the town of Oyster Bay.


Square Miles, 976.

Population, 34,579.
Organized, 1683.

Valuation, 1845, $5,962,618.


TOWNS. 1. Brookhaven, 1788.

6. Smithtown, 1788. 2. East Hampton, 1788. 7. Southampton, 1788. 3. Huntington, 1788.

8. Southold, 1788. 4. Islip, 1788.

9. Riverhead, 1792. 5. Shelter Island, 1788. Rivers. a. Connecticut creek. b. Nissiquogue River. c. Sampawan's

creek. d. Conesqua River. v. Peconic. Bays, &c. E. Atlantic Ocean. D. Long Island Sound. f. Great

South Bay. e. Great Peconic. g. Gardiner's. j. Smithtown. m.

Huntington’s. n. Shinecock. 0. Great West. Ponds. h. Ronkonkama. Islands, &c. q. Fisher's. r. Gardiner's. 8. Robbins'. t. Plumb.

u. Shelter. p. Montauk point. Villages. RIVERHEAD. Sag Harbor. Greenport.

BOUNDARIES. North by Long Island Sound; East and South by the Atlantic Ocean; and West by Queens county.

SURFACE. Toward the northern shore, the surface is hilly and broken. The southern portion is level and sandy. There are no hills of considerable altitude in the county. The Great Peconic bay, extending nearly into the centre of the county, divides it into two peninsulas.

Rivers. The county is not well watered. The Peconic, Connecticut, Nissiquogue, Sampawan's and Conesqua rivers are the principal.

or not.

Bays, &c. The Atlantic Ocean washes its southern and eastern shores, and Long Island sound its northern. Its most considerable bays are Huntington, Smithtown, Gardiner's, Great Peconic, Shinecock, Great West, and Great South bays.

PONDS. Ronkonkama pond lies at the junction of the towns of Islip, Smithtown and Brookhaven.

ISLANDS. Shelter, Gardiner's, Fisher's, Robbins’, Plumb, and the Gull islands on the coast belong to this county.

CLIMATE. Similar to that of the Island generally. The prevailing winds are from the southwest. The atmosphere is at all times moist, and the cold of winter is accompanied by a degree of chilliness, which renders it unpleasant. The longevity of its inhabitants is greater, however, than that of any other portion of the state.

GEOLOGY AND MINERALS. The geological formation of this county does not differ from that of the other counties of the island. It is a disputed point, whether the formation of the whole county is alluvial

That of the southern portion is undoubtedly so, and the immense granite and gneiss boulders imbedded in the soil, would indicate that the northern part might be also.

It is the opinion of many eminent geologists, that the northern portion of the island once formed a part of the coast of Connecticut, and that it was rent from the main, either by the force of the waves, or by some convulsion of nature.

Hematite, iron pyrites, lignite, clay, suitable for making porcelain ware, magnetic iron sand, and garnet, are the principal minerals.

SOIL AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS. Portions of the soil of this county are barren wastes of sand, producing little except pitch pine timber. Other portions on the southern shore are composed of sand dunes, or small hillocks of sand, affording no sustenance to any vegetable, except an occasional tuft of coarse grass. There are large tracts, however, of highly fertile land, which, manured with ashes, seaweed, and the fertilizing mossbonker, or whitefish, yield ample crops, to repay the husbandman for his toil.

The timber of the county is chiefly pitch pine, oak, hickory, chestnut and locust. The bay berry, or wax myrtle, abounds in Riverhead.

PURSUITS. Agriculture is the pursuit of a majority of the inhabitants. The preparation of lumber and wood, for market, occupies considerable attention, though less now than formerly. Corn and oats are raised to some extent, and in some parts of the county, there are extensive dairies.

The fisheries also afford employment to many of the inhabitants. The whale fishery is extensively prosecuted from Sag Harbor and Greenport. A considerable number of vessels are employed in the codfisheries, and numerous smacks, &c., in the coast fisheries. The entire amount of shipping, enrolled in this district, in 1845, was 28,348 tons.

« ForrigeFortsett »