Gazetteer of New York, 1860 & 1861 page 631
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This county1 was organized Nov. 1,    1683. It occupies the e. part

of Long    Island, embracing about    two-thirds of its area, and

includes several smaller islands off the e. and n. coasts. It is
centrally distant 138 mi. from Albany, and contains 1,200 sq. mi.
e. extremity of the island is divided by Great and Little Peconic
and Gardiners Bays into two narrow, unequal branches, between
which are Gardiners, Shelter, and Robins Islands. A chain of islands
extends from the n. branch nearly to the Conn. shore.2 A beach com¬
posed of alluvial sand and shingle, broken only by occasional inlets,
skirts the s. shore of the island, enclosing several large, irregular bays,
the principal of which are Great South, Moriches, Shinnecock, and
Mecox Bays. “ This great beach is a line of spits and islands. One
of the    islands    is about    25 mi.    long, with    a breadth ofta few hundred yards. They are all narrow

and    long ;    and    when    above    the reach of    the surf they are covered    by a labyrinth of hillocks of

drifted sand, imitating almost all the variety of form tvhich snow drifts possess after a storm.”
The action of the waves and winds is gradually extending this beach. Off the s. coast the sea
is very shallow; 50 mi. from the shore its depth nowhere exceeds 40 fathoms; and sandbars at a
considerable distance from the beach approach so near the surface as to break the waves into a
surf. The traveler along the beach is seldom out of sight of a wreck.3 Irregular branches project
inland from Long Island* Sound, in the
w. part of the co., and from the bays upon the s. and e.
The peninsulas and points thus formed are locally known as “necks.” Upon the s. side of the
island these necks generally take the name of the stream
e. of them. An irregular range of hills
e.    and    w.    through    the co., a little n. of the center. A second range, commencing in

Brookhaven,    extends    into    the    s. branch of the island, terminating at Canoe Place and reappear¬

ing farther e. as the Shinnecock Hills. Along the n. border of the co. the surface is somewhat
broken; but in the
s. it is very level. In the E. part are several fresh water lakes, and a few in
the central and w. parts, the principal of which is Lake Ronkonkoma, on the w. border of
Brookhaven. The principal streams are Peconic River, in the
e., and the Connecticut, in the
central part. The soil is generally a light, sandy loam, moderately fertile along the coasts; but
in some pa,rts the surface consists of almost sterile plains or barren sandhills. The interior of the
island, from near the foot of the hills to within one or two mi. of South Bay, is occupied by the
brush plains,” which are sparsely inhabited and hardly susceptible of cultivation. Thousands
of acres of these plains were burned over in 1844 and ’45 ; and a thin growth of scrub oak, 3 to 4
feet high, has since sprung up on the burned tract.4 Along the coast are extensive salt marshes.
No native rock is found within this co.; and the whole island, except a few. rocks near Ilellgate,
appears to belong to the drift formation or tp have been formed as a strand of the sea. The
waters of the sea are slowly encroaching upon the land of the
e. and n. parts.

The various branches of agriculture form the leading industrial pursuits.5 Successful hus¬
bandry in this co. involves, a large expenditure for fertilizers,6 which to considerable extent are
obtained from the neighboring seas. Immense quantities of bony fish7 are caught for this pur-

4 Some of these tracts are 8 to 10 mi. long and 2 to t wide.
The fires destroyed not only the forest trees, but every vestige
of vegetation, and thousands of cords of wood; hundreds of
deer and other animals perished in them. These lands are
valuable only for the timber upon them; and when that is
destroyed they become nearly worthless.

6 Corn and potatoes are the leading agricultural exportation,!.
This co. excels all others in the State in the amount of turnips
raised. Wheat is one of the principal crops.

6 The annual expenditure of this co. for manures is nearly
$200,000,—about half as much as is expended for the same pur¬
pose by all the rest of the State.

7 These fish are the Alosa menhaden, or “ moss bunkers,” and
are usually called “ bunkers” or “ skippaugs.” They are caught
from May to Nov., in seines, in immense quantities; at a single
haul, a few years since, 1.400.000 were taken. They are sold at
an average price of $1 per M. They are usually strewn upon
the surface as a top dressing, or plowed under, but are some¬
times rotted with earth, seaweed, and other articles in compost
heaps. The stench of these decaying fish is extremely un¬
pleasant and almost overpowering to strangers.



Named from a co. in England. From 1665 to 1683 this eo.
.formed the “
East Riding of Yorkshire.”


These islands appear to have been separated from the main¬
land and from each other by tidal currents, which flow between
them with great force. — IV.
Y. Geological Survey,—Mather.


3 From Nov. 1,1854, to June 28,1857,5 ships, 9 barks, 16 brigs,
25 schooners, and 9 sloops were wrecked, or in distress, off this
coast. The Government has established 26 lifeboat stations
Upon the s.,shore, (of which 19 are within this’CO.,) 1 on
Fisliers Island, 1 at Orient Point, and 2 upon the Sound. Each
station is furnished with boats, life-cars, mortars and rockets
for throwing lines, and at each a keeper is in constant attend¬
ance. Under the provisions of the act of Feb. 16,1787,
are appointed by the Governor and Senate in and for
the several counties bordering upon the seashore. Of these
there are 15 in Suffolk co. It is their duty to render every
possible aid to distressed vessels. A project has recently been


formed of constructing a telegraph line from Montauk Point to


Brooklyn, with stations along the beach, so that intelligence


may be transmitted in season to admit of aid being sent to


vessels in distress.


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