Gazetteer of New York, 1860 & 1861 page 547
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Upon the erection of North Hempstead, in 1784, its name was changed to South Hempstead; and
its present name was re-adopted Feb. 5, 1796. It was recognized as a town March 7, 1788. It
lies upon the s. side of the island, extending 20 mi. along the ocean, and embracing about 100
sq. mi. The shore is bordered by a line of beaches and sand hills; and within them are Hempstead
and South Oyster Bays, inclosing a large number of low, sedgy islands. West of the bay a long,
narrow sandbar, known as Rockaway Beach,1 extends to the s. w., forming the
e. boundary of
Jamaica Bay. Wide salt meadows border upon the bays, and from them the land spreads oul
•into an almost perfectly level plain.2 The soil along the borders of the marshes is moderately
fertile, and upon the plain it consists of sand and fine gravel, which is naturally barren,
although it may be made productive by the proper application of manures. A considerable
portion of the marshes and plain belongs to the town and is used as common property.3 The
people are largely engaged in market gardening. There is no poorhouse; but the paupers are
annually put up at auction and struck off to the lowest bidcfer. Hempstead, (p. v.,) near the
center of the town, was incorp. June 20, 1853. It contains 3 churches, the Hempstead Seminary,4
and 1,486 inhabitants. Along the s. shore are several villages, generally scattered and extended
over a large territory. They are mostly surrounded by gardens and orchards. Jerusalem
Soutls, (p. v.,) in the s. e. corner, contains a gristmill and Friends’ meetinghouse; next w.
are respectively Bridge Haven, containing a gristmill and church, Merrick,5 (p. o.,) and
Greenwich Point, two farming neighborhoods; Freeport,6 (p.v.,) a fishing village,
containing 2 churches; MiUtmrn, Baldwin ville, and Christian Hook, hamlets;
Rockville Center, (p.v.,) containing 1 church; Near Rockaway, a hamlet, and Far
Rockaway, (Rockaway p. o.,) a noted seabathing place.7 Valley Stream and Fosters
Meadow are two scattered settlements along the
e. border. New Bridge, (formerly
Little Neck ”) Washington Square, and Brookfield aire farming neighborhoods. The
first settlements were made in 1643, by a colony of English, who had previously settled at
Weathersfield and Stamford, in Conn. They founded the first English settlement- within tlie
co.8 The town early acquired a prominent rank, and its records (preserved at North Hemp¬
stead) contain a large amount of valuable historical information. Horse races were established
here by the Governor in 1690. The first church (Presb.) was started in 1648. There are 18
churches in town.9

JAMAICA 10—was first granted for settlement by Gov. Stuveysant, March 21, 1656; and a
more ample patent was granted in 1660. The rights of the town were confirmed by Gov.. Nicoll,
Feb. 15, 1666, and by Gov. Dongan, March 17, 1686.11 It was recognized as a town March 7,

ham, John Strickland, John Ogden, John Karman, John Law¬
rence, and Jonas Wood; those in the second patent were John
Hicks, J.iP., Capt. John Seaman, Richard Gildersleeve, Robert
Jackson, John Karman, John Smith, sr. and jr.; and those in
the third were Capt. John Seaman, Simon Searing, John Jackson,
James Pine, sr., Richard Gildersleeve, sr., and Nath’l Pearsall.
Thompson’s-Hist. L.I., II, 14; Patents, IV, 55, V, 182; Sec. Office.

1 The co. seal presents a view of sea and shore from this
beach. The name is of Indian origin. This point was formerly
inclosed hy a fence from Hempstead to Jamaica Bays, and was
used for pasturing cattle, horses, and sheep.

2 This plain is 15 mi. long and 4 broad. When first known to
the Europeans, it was destitute of timber and covered with grass.
The annual burning of this grass was prohibited by statute in
1726. It is mostly uninclosed, aud used as pasture.

3 About 16,000 acres of the plain and the salt meadows are
commoh property. The time for cutting the hay is fixed at the
annual town meetings, and the first one on the ground has the
choice of location. This leads the farmers to the meadows at an
early hour on the appointed day, and sometimes during the night
previous, where they stand scythe in hand, ready at the first
glance of sunrise to strike into the grass before them and mow
around as large a piece as they may be able. Several hundred
men are often thus employed. Each inhabitant may hire as many
laborers as he chooses, and may cut for sale. North Hempstead
formerly enjoyed the right of cutting grass upon these meadows,
but has been practically deprived of-it for many years. See
page 545.

4 This is a private seminary, owned by a joint stock company.

6 On old documents variously spelled “Meric,” “Moroke,” and

“Merikohe.” The name was derived from a tribe of Indians that
lived in the vicinity.

6 First settled by 'Edward Raynor, and formerly known as

7 This place contains the Pavilion,—an immense hotel,—and
several large summer boarding houses.

8 Among the early settlers were Rev. Richard Denton, Jonas
Wood, Wm. Raynor, Robert Coe, Richard Gildersleeve, Robert
Jackson, John Ogden, John Karman, Capt. John Underhill,
Andrew Ward, Thurston and Robt. Raynor, Matthew Mitchell,
and Robert Fordham. In 1647 the first eight, with Robt. Ash¬
man, Jeremy, Edmund, and Terry Wood, Benj. and John Coe,
Sam’l Strickland, John Topping, John Fordham, Wm. and John
Lawrence, Henry Hudson, Thomas Ireland, Richard Valentine,
Wm. Thickstone, Nicholas Tanner, Wm., John, sr. and jr., Jas.,
and Alvin Smith, Richard, jr., Sam’l, Dan’l, and Nath’l Denton,
Thos. Armitage, Simon Searing, Thomas Wilson, Henry Pierson,
Jos. and Wm. Scott, Henry Whiston, Richard and John Lewis,
Thos. Stevenson, John Storge, John and Robert Williams, Win.
Rogers, Richard Ogden, John Foucks, Wm. Washburne, Thos.
Sherman, Francis Yates, John Ellison, Wm. Shadding, Thomas
and Chas. Foster, Roger Lines, Sam’l Clark, John Hudd, Thos.
Pope, Daniel Whitehead, Edward Raynor, John Smith, Samuel
Baccus, and John Strickland were freeholders, and shared in the
division of the lands. A part of the above locations are now
included' in North Hempstead. The first, child born of white
parents in town was Caleb Karman, son of John Karman, Jau.
9,1645. An order was made at their General Court, Sept. 16,
1650, requiring all persons to “ repaire to the publique Meetings
and Assemblies on the Lords dayes, and on publique dayes of
fastings and thanksgivings, appointed by publique authority,
bothe on the forenoons and afternoons,” under a penalty of 5
guilders for the first, 10 for the second, and 20 for the third of¬
fense. The Rev. Richard Denton, a prominent founder, was their
first pastor. He returned to England in 1659. His eldest son,
Daniel Denton, wrote the first historical account of New York
ever published. It was printed in London in 1670.

9 10 M. E., 3 Prot. E., 2 Presb., 2 R. C., and one Friends. Near
the M. E. Church in South Hempstead is a monument, erected to
the memory of 139 English and Irish immigrants who peri,shed
on the ships Bristol and Mexico, wrecked Nov. 21,1836, and
Jan. 2,1837.

10 It was first proposed to name this place “Canerasset.” Many
ef the first settlers preferred the name
of “Crawford,;” and tha
Dutch named it “
Rusdorp,” signifying “ countytown.” Tha
present name is by some considered as from the Indian

11 The first patent of confirmation contained the names of
Daniel Denton, J. P., Robt. Coe, Capt. Bryan Newton, Wm. Hal-
let, Andrew Messenger, and Nathaniel Denton; and the second
named 24 persons.—
Patents, I, 66, 91, Y, 432; See. Office.


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