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A Brief History of Richmond County, Staten Island

History, Geography, and Community

NY State and Staten Island Towns It is said that the Indian name for Staten Island is Monacnong, or Enchanted Woods. Staten Island has, indeed, been enchanted for those who have had the privilege of living there. Somewhere between the city and the country you get the balance that is Staten Island.

Why is Staten Island part of New York and not New Jersey? Watch this very entertaining video to learn!

A British officer wrote in 1776 about Staten Island: "Surely this country is the Paradise of the world...the inhabitants of this Island are tall, thin, narrow shouldered people, very simple in their manners, know neither Poverty nor Riches, each house has a good farm, and every man a trade, they know no distinction of Persons, and I am sure must have lived very happily till these troubles." (The Revolution)

Richmond County was named in honor of the Duke of Richmond, son of Charles II. (Source: New York Department of State.)

New York City History and Facts (thanks, Keri!)

  • New York City vs. Staten Island vs. Richmond County? Staten Island, Hoffman Island, Shooters Island, and Swinburne Island make up Richmond County. This is one of the five boroughs of New York City. The other four, and their NYGenWeb links when applicable, are: Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens (Queens County), and The Bronx (Bronx County).

    It is officially known as Staten Island since the 1970's. Staten Island, Brooklyn, and part of the Bronx consolidated with Manhattan into New York City in 1898; most things since then are done on a city-wide level. Prior, records are mainly separate.
    (Side note: Do check out the Center for Brooklyn History). The city currently handles most of the governmental, administrative, and record-keeping duties.

  • New York State Historical Association is no more
  • A Guide to New York Historical Resources http://www.areavibes.com/library/new-york-historical-resources/
  • Staten Island History, from the Staten Island Advance.
  • The Staten Island Advance listed 100 events in Staten Island history and asked readers to vote on the most significant. It's now presenting the 100 in reverse order. Here they are.
  • From the UMich Making of America site:

    Geography and Maps
    New York, the 11th State

    • The United States consists of 50 states. It became the eleventh state in 1788. It consists of about 62 counties. Richmond is one of them. Staten Island comprises the bulk of Richmond County. An excellent NYS County map (pdf).

    • Historic Map Works Staten Island Maps - they are for sale, but very good quality free online.
    • New York Bay Area - United States Coast map 1878 640x475 - 301K Full size - 1.15M
    • NYPL Maps: http://web-static.nypl.org/exhibitions/midatlantic/
    • Staten Island was divided into five official Towns: Castleton, Middletown, Southfield, Northfield, and Westfield. Other communities were just villages, most (if not all) of them unincorporated. The Towns lost their political identity when Richmond County was incorporated into Greater New York City in 1898 as the Borough of Richmond. (Since 1975 it is now officially the Borough of Staten Island, Richmond County.) There are currently about 60 towns. In 1898, the Towns became Wards which may be noted on maps of modern times.

    • Towns
      Old (town) Names (on SI)
      A good current map of some of the towns in Staten Island, from the Staten Island Advance
      A 1941 map.
      From Leng and Davis:
      In 1788, Staten Island was divided into four towns: Northfield, Southfield, Castleton, and Westfield. In 1860, the town of Middletown was created from parts of Southfield and Castletown. The geographical areas called "towns" contained both incorporated and unincorporated villages, like other counties in New York State do today. Six years later, in 1866, the incorporated village of Edgewater was created. (Charter) Edgewater, as an incorporated village, became responsible for keeping its own vital records among other things. Vital records surviving from the village of Edgewater only begin in 1885.
    • Excellent history of towns for NY City (incl. Richmond County) from the NYG&BS:
      • Castleton, formed 1683, First Ward, aka New Brighton, included Sailors Snug Harbor, New Brighton, Elliottville (Livingston), Factoryville (now West New Brighton), Castleton Corners
      • Middletown, formed 1860 from Castleton and Southfield, Second Ward, included Stapleton, Edgewater (incorporated 1866 with Clifton), Tompkinsville, Egbertville and Centreville
      • Northfield, formed 1683, Third Ward, included Mariners Harbor, Port Richmond, Graniteville, Chelsea, Long Neck, Springville, Linoleumville (now Travis)
      • Southfield, formed 1683, Fourth Ward, included Stapleton until 1860, Clifton, New Dorp, Richmond, Bay View, South Side, Concord, Dongan Hill (Hills?), Grant City, Edgewater
      • Westfield, formed 1683, Fifth Ward, included Rossville, Tottenville, Marshall land (Marshland), Kreischerville, Richmond Valley, Pleasant Plains, (Lemon Creek P.O.), Annadale, Bloomingview, Bentley, Green Ridge, Princes Bay
      In 1898 the Borough of Richmond was created, and the former towns became the wards above, as the county consolidated with New York City. In 1975 the Borough of Richmond was renamed the Borough of Staten Island. The county remains Richmond.

      The boundaries are clearly delineated at Boundaries: https://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/Ward/1915.Ward.Assembly.Richmond.html.

      If you know more of these divisions, please let us know!

    • Summer Ville aka Summerville or Sommerville
      From The Tie That Binds

      Earliest Mariners Harbor Methodists also attended services in a little house situated between Bloomfield and the strip of land along the Arthur Kill that was called Tunissen's Neck. That portion of Northwest S. I. would later be called Old Place. And therein lies a tale.

      The little house of worship became so dilapidated that the Methodists who lived in Bloomfield and environs voted to build a new structure. They did. But the new building developed shortcomings, sufficient in number to cause the parishioners to abandon it, repair the earlier meeting house and resume services at -you guessed it- the "old place".

      From that day on, the area has been known as Old Place. The road stretching from Quarry Hill in what is now known as Elm Park, to the Arthur Kill, was called Old Place Road. A brook that also originated in Quarry Hill would a westerly course across Mariners Harbor to the creeks that flowed into the Arthur Kill. That brook became known in time as the Old Place Brook. The creeks became Old Place Creek.

      Some time along the way, there was petitioning to change the name of Old Place to Summer Ville. The residents around the juncture of Old Place Road (Forest Ave) and Harbor Road called their community Summer Ville. They wanted to include all the territory from Harbor Road to the Arthur Kill as their, Summer Ville. Since there is no record of the success of the petition, Old Place remains Old Place.

    • West New Brighton 1886
      Author, Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of S. I., NY: its Industries and commerce, 1886, page 69, Transcribed by Lynn

      Could the inanimate natural objects in this village no doubt tell of the scenes enacted two hundred year ago when Governor Dongan came to the Province of New York as its ruler, and was known as Lord of the Manor. This was in 1682. He had his hunting lodge far up the present Manor Road, and his manor, called the Castle, was erected in 1688 on this north shore in a full square of land bounded by Richmond terrace and Bodine, Cedar and Dongan streets. The foundation of his home is still seem. On the shore, in front of it, the Indians used to gather in friendly assemblies to smoke the pipe of peace, and celebrate their festivals days.

      Now the whole district known as West New Brighton is a choice locality for suburban residences, where peace, plenty and good fellowship prevail. With the Bay for its border, and within uplands that overlook the surrounding country, and forests, fruits and flowers, it is indeed one of the fairest spots in Richmond County. Being a subdivision of New Brighton it possesses every modern improvement of horse and steam railroad, telegraph, telephone, water and gas supply, police protection, etc., which has been already noted. The Richmond County Railroad Company run horse cars from Richmond terrace to Cherry lane and Eckstein's brewery, in connection with trains from New York. It has a post office of its own, and the merchants of the place, business men generally and property holders, are full of push, pluck and perseverance (three good p's to be found in one pod).


      On the corner of Davis and Castleton avenues, was incorporated in 1849. The first building was near the shore on Bard avenue; but in 1853, Mr. Bard having given a site, the present stone church was erected, and in 1858 the Rectory adjoining it was built.

    • Village of New Brighton 1886
      Author Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of S. I., NY: Its industries and commerce, 1886, Transcribed by Lynn

      The village of New Brighton is unique in its attractiveness. Its public buildings, churches, hotels and institutions are all handsome and substantial, its residences the perfection of refined taste; it has fifteen miles of streets, the principal of which are wide, well paved, and generally well shaded with ornamental trees. A complete system of sewerage has been adopted. The inhabitants are filled with a sense of local pride which is in itself most commendable and leads to the happiest results, the most noticeable of which perhaps is the great care bestowed upon their private residences. The neighbors seem to vie with each other in friendly emulation as to who shall keep the smoothest lawn, the neatest fence or the most graceful fountain.

      As a whole, the effect is most pleasing, but when the eye wanders beyond the artificial beauty of its immediate surroundings and rests upon the sparkling waters of the incomparable Bay of New York, with stretches of cultivated landscape in the distance, the picture is singularly lovely and complete.

      The churches of New Brighton are the Reformed Church, corner of Tompkins Avenue and Fort Street, St. Peter's Roman Catholic church, St. Mark's Place, Christ Church, Franklin Avenue, corner of Second St., First Baptist Church, Clinton Avenue.

    • Tompkinsville 1886
      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce. New York 1886, page 56
      Those fortunate people living in Tompkinsville find it to be the home of considerable manufacturing and trade - a thriving business place. It is located on New York Bay, in portions of two incorporated villages (New Brighton and Edgewater), the dividing line being Arietta Street, the main road running up from the old ferry landing. Before the advent of Rapid Transit, Tompkinsville was the first landing from New York on the populous east shore, which gained it some growth and advantage. The place derived its name from Governor Tompkins, one of the most distinguished and public-spirited men who ever lived on Staten Island. He bought a tract of land in 1814, which included the site, laid out and opened streets which he named after his children, built a boat landing, and made numerous other improvements. He constructed the road through the Island to the Blazing Star Ferry, now know as the Richmond Turnpike and made that route part of the most direct one between New York and Philadelphia. Tompkinsville has been slowly growing since it first took upon itself a name. In 1823 the Legislature passed an act incorporating the village, but no steps were ever taken to carry out its provisions.

      The Rapid Transit Company have a depot in the heart of the place, and street cars run to the south and east shores. The government maintains a post-office, and the interests of the people are greatly benefited today.

    • ELM PARK Author, Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, New York: Its industries and commerce. NY 1886

      Page 125

      Sketch of Staten Island

      ELM PARK was formerly the last landing of the boats on the North shore ferry and has been known for years to many thousands of people in New York as a spot where fun and frolic could be enjoyed. On hot Sundays especially, the place would boil over with enthusiastic excursionists, and the quantity of beer that has been drank there would certainly float a ship. The ferry line is now a thing of the past, but the park is left, and probably this summer will enjoy its usual patronage.

      The Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad has its present terminus at Elm Park, which can be reached in 35 minutes from New York. There is a find dock, but the business enterprise of the place is exceedingly limited.


      H. G. TAINTOR, Successor to Thos. WEDDLE and Co., Manufacturer of English Cliffstone Paris White, Whiting, Etc., Factories: Newburgh, NY, Staten Island, NY Office No. 281 Pearl Street, New York.

      One of the factories of the above named firm is located at Elm park. The property has a frontage of four hundred feet on Granite Avenue, the road leading from the main dock, and is 1500 feet back from the water. Whiting is manufactured principally at this factory, which has a capacity of one hundred barrels per day at ten house. The large buildings are filled with the best and most improved apparatus for the purpose of this special manufacture, and the product is almost entirely handled by machinery, only ten or twelve men being required.....

      Schooners and canal boats are loaded at a convenient dock, and the manufactured product is shipped direct to all parts of the country, from Maine to Texas and California.

    • Fort Wadsworth 1886
      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York 1886 page 139.

      This fortress, located on Staten Island, at the Narrows, below Clifton is constantly garrisoned by a detachment of regular troops, consisting of about fifty officers and men. It is on a lovely spot, standing high above the water, and its grassy slopes are visited daily, but most especially Sundays, by very large numbers of New Yorkers to enjoy the health-giving breezes from the sea and the grandeur of the views from its eminences.

    • Edgewater 1886
      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York, 1886 page 96

      This village was first incorporated in 1866, and the "http://richmond.nygenweb.net/ year the charter was amended, but the manner in which the government of the place was carried on for a number of years produced among the citizens great dissatisfaction. Finally, in 1875, the charter was again tinkered and changed, and the village was divided into two wards, instead of nine as originally. Under another amendment passed in 1884, the present board of five trustees came into existence, June 10 of that year. The term of service lasts two years, expiring June 10, 1886, when all the officers go out together, and afterwards their successors will be elected annually.

      The village officers are: Trustees - 1st ward, George H. DALEY, President of the Board; 2nd ward, Thomas BROWN; 3d ward, James NCNAMEE; 4th ward, John FINLEY; 5th ward, Henry A. OCKERHAUSEN. Police justice, John G. VAUGHN clerk of village, James SCOTT, Jr.; collector and treasurer, Michael CAHILL; village marshal, Joseph OLIVER; village engineer, J. M. MERRICK. Health Board, August HORRMANN, Charles W. ALEXANDER, William GARRETT, G.D.L'HUILIER, John FINLEY; secretary of Health Board, M. J. COLLINS; health officer, John L. FEENY, MD; counsel to Board of Health, Theodore FREAN; counsel to Board of Trustees, Stephen D. STEPHENS, Jr.

      The Trustees meet and legislate in the Village Hall, at Stapleton, where also the police court is held.

      Edgewater covers a portion of the towns of Middletown and Southfield; and Stapleton, Clifton, a part of Tompkinsville and a few outlying hamlets are within her boundaries. It is little known by its name, as the designations of the former steamboat landings are almost invariably used in business and social intercourse. There is no post office called Edgewater, and in fact in the matter of villages, government post offices, towns and steamboat landings, things are all mixed up throughout Richmond County.

      The Crystal Water Company furnish water under contract to Fire Department. Their supply comes from ten wells sunk to the depth of forty feet. These wells are quite near together, and are connected by induction pipes, with one pump, which delivers the water into a conduit through which it flows by gravity to a cistern or small reservoir, a few hundred yards distant. From this cistern it is drawn by large steam pumps of the Worthington pattern, which force it through a twelve-inch main, three and a half miles to the distributing reservoir. This reservoir is situated on a high ridge, two hundred and fifty feet above the water, and two and a half miles from the village of Edgewater, and will hold a little over 3,000,000 gallons. The pumps can deliver in round numbers one million (1,000,000) gallons of water daily, which is ample to supply a population fifty per cent. greater than the present population of Edgewater, at the rate of sixty-five gallons daily per head. The pressure at the hydrants is about 78 lb. per sq. inch. The source of supply is ample, the quality of the water excellent. The plant has been well designed as a while; the arrangements of the water company could not well have been made different for the present needs of the village.

    • Quarantine Station
      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York, 1886 page 139

      The houses of the Heath officers of the Port of New York are situated on the water front, at the Quarantine station near the Narrows. Vessels from transatlantic ports are boarded and examined here, between sunrise and sunset. The examination is generally a matter of form. The captain takes oath that no contagious disease has appeared on board his ship during the voyage, and a permit admitting him to the city is granted.

      Garibaldi resided on Staten Island for nearly two years, and was, perhaps, the most celebrated foreigner who ever lived there. He occupied a little wooden house on Forest Street, standing just east of Bachmann's Clifton brewery. It has a dormer window in the center of the roof, and windows inclosing the piazza. He spent his time in a very unromantic and democratic fashion - working in a candle factory and fishing from the docks. He was very quiet and seldom went to the city. In 1853 he resumed his profession of seaman, and left here as caption of the "Carman," bound for China. He returned in 1856, and stayed a month before he sailed for Italy. The cottage is owned by the Italian Society of New York, and over the door has been placed a marble tablet with the inscription in Italian which translated is as follows:

      Here lived in Exile from 1851 to 1853,
      The Hero of Two Worlds,
      Dedicated to His Friends.

      Signor Antonio Meucci, a hale and portly old gentleman, who owned the candle factory, in which Garibaldi worked, who was his friend and companion during his sojourn in this country, occupies the little historic house and preserves, with great veneration, a few personal mementos, and keeps the bed room of the great chieftain with its identical furniture and property as he left them.

      Frederick Bachmann's Clifton Brewery is a very large concern in the amount of capital invested, the size and importance of the buildings and the number of barrels annually produced......

      (cut) Mr. Bachmann employs many people and has added much to the prosperity of the Island; he is a public spirited citizen and has charitable and patriotic nature was exhibited at its best when he presented to the Italian Society of New York, as a free gift, the cottage in which Garibaldi lived in exile when in this country. For this act he received the thanks of the King of Italy and the freedom of the kingdom.


      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York 1886 page 133.

      More than thirty years ago this place was given its name by an association of gentlemen who purchased large tracts of land reaching from VANDERBILT'S Landing south and west along the beach and covering the Highlands adjoining. It was designed to subdivide the territory into choice residence plots, and to form a colony of superior homes. The project fell through however, and the lands generally reverted to the original owners, but the name remained, and now as the Rapid Transit has superseded ferry traffic, and the boat landing is closed, it seems proper that Clifton should be recognized as the name of the station, and of the village and territory round about.

      Clifton is well known, although it has no post-office; it however deserves one, and this benefit should be granted at once, for it is inconvenient and silly to oblige the people of this place to go to Stapleton after their mail matter.

      The business portion of Clifton is neither large nor remarkable, but sufficient for the needs of the community. There is some little manufacturing carried on around the depot, and there are stores scattered along New York avenue for two miles. The Richmond County Gas-Light Company have their works on Willow avenue, and the very extensive brewery of Frederick BACHMANN is one of the chief and important industries of the place.

      Trains run to St. George every twenty minutes.

      It is as a residence district that the South Shore of Staten Island is so justly famous. The views are grand; the ground high, healthy and the air pure from ocean and from land. You look out over the broad expanse of the Lower Bay, bounded on the east by Coney Island, and on the west by the far-distant blue highlands of Navesink. Nature's handiwork is lavished on all sides.

      There are many handsome dwellings on the commanding heights of the south shore. The forty acres, belonging to Mr. Louis H. MEYER, are the most beautifully adorned tract of land in the vicinity of New York. For twenty years the grounds have been under the highest cultivation, and it has been estimated that $1,000,000 has been expended to bringing them to their present admirable condition. Notable also are the LULING property, now owned by Mr. WALTERS; the splendid ground, with its fine residence, of Mr. W. W. MCFARLAND; the handsome resident of Mrs. MARSH and the homestead of the late John A. APPLETON, now owned by Mr. H. ALEXANDRE.

      The ALEXANDRE house and place are undoubtedly the finest on the shore. Their late owner, Mr. APPLETON, expended a large amount of time and money in laying out the grounds and beautifying them, and the house itself, with its comfortable rooms, interior furnishings and wide verandahs, is most attractive.

      We should mention too, the BIRMINGHAM property, now owned by Mr. EMMONS, President of the Rapid Transit Railroad; the handsome buildings of Mr. HAGEWITCH and Mr. HAXTUN; and the fine residence of the TOWNSENDS, which is one of the most picturesque on the Island. The main part of the house in nearly one hundred years old, and the towers give it a curious and quaint appearance.


      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York 1886 page 99.

      As the leading business point on the east shore, Stapleton is an important place. The people are busy, a spirit of activity pervades the place, and all seem to have awakened from the apathy and indifference which for so long a time characterized the inhabitants of Staten Island, and to be anxious to show a power for growing and expanding. They can demonstrate that their locality is the handsomest, healthiest and most accessible suburb that the metropolis has.

      Stapleton is in the village of Edgewater, and is the political headquarters of the east shore. It is noted not only for the beauty of its situation, but also for the facilities it affords for dock and commercial purposes. In its physical formation there is much to gratify the senses and to favor the health of its residents. Built on a slope slowly rising from the shore to a considerable altitude, there is every natural advantage for drainage and many delightful scenic views. The streets are broad, and laid out so as to conform to the natural features of the landscape, "http://richmond.nygenweb.net/ the course of the Bay, near the water, and winding up and around the hills with pleasing effect. Water is supplied to stores and dwellings by the Crystal Water Company.

      The Rapid Transit Railroad Company have their depot at the central point, and in addition the company runs several boats to New York each day for the carriage of teams and freight. The horse cars of the Shore Railroad running to the north and south, pass through the main street.

      The Richmond County Railroad Company are now building a street railroad from the Rapid Transit depot at Stapleton to concord, which will be completed, and cars running by June 20th of this year.

      The headquarters of the commissioners and captain of the County Police is on Bay street, and the fire department of this side of the Island is largely centred there.

      There is a public park or square in the busiest portion of the place, where free concerts are rendered in summer.

      A large number of the inhabitants are Germans, and they vie with the native Americans in the interest they take in the good government and progress of the community. The partiality of these people for innocent and rational amusements is shown by the establishment of the German Club "Erheiterung." their handsome clubhouse on Richmond road and Prospect street, is the largest, most commodious and complete building of the kind, in fitting and furnishing, to be found in Richmond County. It was erected in 1861, and the largest balls, theatrical plays, concerts, etc., are held therein. The officers are: Chas. A. HERPICH, president; O. LINDEMANN, 1st vice president; Jos. WEINHOLD, 2nd vice president.

      Also: St. Paul's Avenue - Stapleton Heights Historic District Designation Report


      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York 1886 page 95.

      This town was organized in 1860. It embraces the most populous part of the village of Edgewater and the hilly ridges of the interior, Grymes' Hill, Toad Hill and others. On these eminencies are erected great numbers of handsome residences. High above the surroundings you look down upon everything. Your eye reaches over pretty wooded hills, farms here and there, villages near the shores, and small clusters of houses scattered all over the Island. You watch the passing craft till it is only a little white speck, and the fort seems a petty thing for a man-of-war to fear. You can see far into Jersey and Long Island, over New York and Brooklyn, whose great bridge looks like a small span indeed.

      The residence of General JORDAN, the handsome UNKER dwelling with its splendid grounds (thirty acres) and beautiful view; the house of Mr. NICHOLS, on the corner of Clove road and Serpentine road; the elegant mansion of Captain Jacob VANDERBILT, in the midst of wood and open land, covering a large area; the beautiful residence of General WARD; the CUNARD estate, with two fine houses and sixty acres of ground; the fine dwelling of Mr. KING, President of the Union Trust Co.; the handsome DUNCAN mansion; the fine residence of Mr. MCNAMEE; the pretty dwelling of Mr. J. M. DAVIS, which commands, the grandest view; the CISCO houses with their handsome grounds, and the MOLSEY place are a few of the choice properties.

      The "http://richmond.nygenweb.net/ are the town officers: supervisor, George BECHTEL; town clerk, George H. MACKLIN; assessor, Pierce J. DUNN; collector, Bernard MCALOON; constables, Edward DOYLE, Robert GOGGIN, Patrick MURPHY, Andrew BRENNAN, and John ROONEY; game constable, James MCGUIRE; sealer of weights and measures, Patrick LANE; excise commissioners, R. C. CONSIDINE, Felix O'HANLON, F. KASSNER; commissioner of highways for separate road district, Monroe ECKSTEIN; justice of the peace, Peter TIERNAN, Franklin C. VITT, Walter COYLE, Charles J. KULLMAN.

      Middletown has four District Schools: District I, eight teachers, Mr. A. LEAK, principal; District 2, eighteen teachers, Mr. Geo. W. ROBINSON, principal; District 3, one teacher, Miss Lizzie KANE; District 4, one teacher, Miss Alcesta Beck.

    • NEW DORP - Black Horse

      When the British army came to America in 1776, to subdue our revolutionary sires, they landed and encamped on Staten Island and for a considerable time Gen. HOWE, the commander-in-chief, made his headquarters at the "Rose and Crown" tavern, near New Dorp. It was a one-story building of stone, with a hall through the middle, and rooms on either side; in front was a large elm tree. The house was demolished some years ago. The staff officers were at the same time quartered in the "Black Horse" tavern, at the corner of the Amboy and Richmond roads. This house has undergone many changes and alterations, but at this day it figures again as a popular hotel. During the Revolution the old elm tree beacon at the foot of New Dorp lane was used as a British signal station.

      Black Horse was actually the name of a tavern which stood on the westerly side of the road (forks of the Richmond Turnpike and Amboy Roads) almost opposite to New Dorp Lane. Howe used this tavern as his residence during the Revolutionary War. When Ebenezer Salter sold his land to John Voorhies on May 11, 1733, the land was listed as being in Old Town (Oude Dorp)

      I found another reference for Black Horse. "Blood Root Valley, Black Horse Ravine or Valley of Dead Man's Creek. This deep shaded ravine lies West of Egbert Avenue, about a quarter of a mile where it joins the road to Egbertville. It is called by the first of these names because Blood Root grows there in abundance; the second, on account of a tradition that a messenger between the British forts used to ride in the days of the Revolution through the valley and by the third, from the circumstances that a dead man was once found by the brook side.

      Since this reference was written in 1898, I am not sure the names would be the same.

    • NEW DORP

      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York 1886 page 144.

      This place is one of the most ancient on the Island. It was settled by the Moravians, and a parsonage was built by that denomination one hundred and twenty-three years ago, which is still standing. The present church edifice is a modern structure erected largely by the benefactions of wealthy men. Rev. Wm. H. VOGLER is pastor; a very painstaking and popular clergyman. The late Commodore and William H. VANDERBILT, both made munificent donations to this church, it being the religious home of their forefathers. In the cemetery, attached to it their remains are resting. The Moravian Cemetery was a burial ground for more than twenty years before the Moravians obtained possession of the land. To its many advantages of location and soil and its natural beauty, intelligent handling has added an artistic picturesqueness which the atmosphere of repose pervading the silent grounds makes unusually pleasing. The situation is high, and commands extensive and very beautiful views of the surrounding country and distant sea. The plot contains over sixty acres, and in extent is larger than all the other cemeteries on the Island put together.

      There are many objects of special interest, among which may be enumerated the monuments of Col. SHAW, W. B. TOWNSEND, J. K. DUSTAN and J. C. THOMPSON. The extensive and costly VANDERBILT mausoleum or family vault, which is now in process of construction, will not be completed before August.

      When the British army came to America in 1776, to subdue our revolutionary sires, they landed and encamped on Staten Island and for a considerable time Gen. HOWE, the commander-in-chief, made his headquarters at the "Rose and Crown" tavern, near New Dorp. It was a one-story building of stone, with a hall through the middle, and rooms on either side; in front was a large elm tree. The house was demolished some years ago. The staff officers were at the same time quartered in the "Black Horse" tavern, at the corner of the Amboy and Richmond roads. This house has undergone many changes and alterations, but at this day it figures again as a popular hotel. During the Revolution the old elm tree beacon at the foot of New Dorp lane was used as a British signal station.

      A great deal of valuable real estate in this vicinity is owned by members of the VANDERBILT family. Near by is the farm which Wm. H. VANDERBILT cultivated when a young man, and the homestead where most of his children were born. His father and grandfather had their homes in the town of Southfield.

      Sea View Park is a popular resort for outdoor sports of all kinds, and is much frequented by parties from the city. There is a good track for trotting.

      Peteler's south Beach Pavilion, on the shore near New Dorp is a well known place of entertainment, where chowder and clam bake parties enjoy themselves and picnics assemble.

    • Todt Hill

      I could only find a few references for Todt Hill. According to Morris in his "Memorial History of Staten Island" published in 1898. Todt or Toad Hill rises from the Richmond Road at Garretsons, the present Dongan Hills Post Office. It was not called Todt Hill before the Revolution, but the name began to be used the later part of the war. In the "Staten Islander" for Aug. 30, 1856, there is an article on the origin of the name Todt Hill. It is there stated that in one of the early encounters between the Indians and the Dutch settlers, several of the latter were killed on the hill, which in consequence received the name of Todt of Death Hill.

      Another reference states the "http://richmond.nygenweb.net/. "The Dutch name for Todt Hill was Yserbert, translated by their English successors into Iron Hill, and both referring to the iron ore found on it. Another derives the name Toad from a trivial social incident. The one that seems most probable relates the name Todt or dead to an early use of the hill as a burying place.


      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York 1886 page 147.

      Westfield is one of the original subdivisions of the county, and in population and wealth the smallest. It is located in the western portion of Staten Island and covers nearly twenty square miles - almost one-third of the Island. The land along the shores of Raritan Bay and Staten Island Sound is low and mostly covered with salt meadows, but higher in the interior. The Staten Island Railroad runs almost centrally through the territory and gives the inhabitants frequent access to New York.

      A. S. JOLINE of Tottenville is supervisor; the excise commissioners are: Peter FLORESCH, George B. WEIR, Isaac WHITEHOUSE; and James GRAHAM is collector of taxes.

      Westfield has eight District Schools: District 1, one teacher, Mr. James MERSER; District 2, two teachers, Mr. D. M. SPRAGUE, principal; district 3, one teacher, Miss Lizzie CROPSEY; District 4, two teachers, Mr. Nicholas HOAG, principal; District 5, seven teachers, Mr. John CONNER, principal; District 6, three teachers, Mr. A. B. KARNER, principal; District 7, two teachers, Mr. H. R. YETMAN, principal; District 8, two teachers, Mr. C. H. OWEN principal.

      There are two weekly newspapers and numerous churches within the district.

      The agricultural capacities of this end of the Island have been developed to only a small extent. The flat lands lying along the Lower Bay and the Sound are rich and admirably suited to market gardening, but there has been scarcely an attempt at any thing beyond the old and staple products of hay, oats and corn. there are a few who cultivate berries, and the Staten Island strawberries and blackberries are famous in Washington market, but no such extensive produce farms as are found on Long Island or at Vineland. Even the salt marshes could be drained and acres of asparagus planted, which would well repay the venture.


      Author: Anonymous, Illustrated sketch book of Staten Island, NY: Its industries and commerce, New York 1886 page 133.

      This is one of the four towns of Richmond County, organized in March 1688. As the name indicates, it is located on the southern shore of the Island, and it covers a strip from and including Clifton and extending westerly nearly two-thirds the width of the county. It takes in a portion of Edgewater village, the forts at the Narrows, New Dorp and Richmond. The inhabitants follow various occupations, manufacturing, mercantile and agricultural, etc.

      The Staten Island Railroad runs through the town, parallel with the shore.

      The town officers are: supervisor, Nathaniel MARSH, of Clifton; town clerk, Thomas SISK Sr., justices of the peace, John G. VAUGHN, Daniel T. CORNELL, Patrick LARKIN, John L. YOUNG; collector, Michael FINLEY; assessor, William GOOLD; commissioner of highways, James P. COLLINS; constables, Louis DELMAR, Hugh RUSH, Kady O'LEARY, Owen MORGAN, John FITZGERALD; excise commissioners, James KELLY, August MEYER, John FLORESCH; pound master Michael MCCARTHY; sealer of weights and measures, Thomas WELSHAW; game constable, John TOOLAN.

      Southfield has three District Schools: District 1, six teachers, Mr. H. E. CLEVELAND, principal; District 2, two teachers, Peter J. KIERNAN, principal; district 3, one teacher, C. F. SIMONS.

      On the South shore, below the Narrows, almost to Sequine's Point, stretches a white sandy beach, upon which the sea breaks with gentle rollers, coming a long distance across the lower bay of shallow water. This beach could be made as beautiful as coney Island and far safer, with inland scenery more grateful to the eye than Long Island's flat lands fading into the horizon without an eminence. It is expected that the Rapid Transit Company will soon continue their line from Clifton along the shore as far as Peteler's.

      Property of the value of over $300,000 changed owners in the town of Southfield during the months of October, November and December of last year. There is a great deal of excellent land in this town, easy of cultivation and which should be developed to a much greater extent that it is at present.

    • Andrew Schmitt has typed up the list of 1912 street name changes. Will be useful for those moving from the earlier censuses to the 1920 census or using city directories. Thanks, Andrew!
    • Changes are also listed at Steve Morse's site - look for Staten Island
    • The Official Staten Island Map (pdf)
    • Another map. (25K) A basic black and white scanned image, showing a lot of the current towns.
    • A decent 17K Revolution-era map that I cropped out of a map at a dead site
    • Expedia Staten Island map 12K.


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