Gazetteer of New York, 1860 & 1861 page 548
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548    QUEENS    COUNTY.

1788. It is the s. w. corner town of the co. A range of lowwooded hills forms its N. boundary;
but the remainder of the town consists of an extensive sand plain, and a series of wide salt
marshes along the shore. Jamaica Bay, forming its s. boundary, incloses a large number of low,
marshy islands. Several small streams take their rise in springs and small ponds among the
hills and flow s. to the bay.1 The soil is light and sandy. A considerable tract immediately
bordering upon the marshes is kept in a high state of fertility by artificial means, and is devoted
to market gardening. This town has long been celebrated for its race courses.2 The town poor
are annually let to the lowest bidder.2 Jamaica, (p. v.,) near the
n. border of the town, was
incorp. April 14, 1814. It contains 7 churches, the Union Hall Academy,4 several private semi¬
naries, a union school, 2 newspaper offices, and several manufactories.3 Pop. 2,817. Wood-
haven was organized in 1850 by a number of capitalists for the manufacture of shoes.
Cypress Avenue is a
r. r. station near the line in Kings co. The country in the immediate
vicinity is laid out in a village plat, and named Unionville, from the Union Race Course;
Clarenceville is a village plat on the
r. r., w. of Jamaica; Centerville, a plat adjacent
to the trotting course; Hopedale and Jamaica Meigliis, two prospective villages in
n. part; Willow Tree, a r. r. station, e. of Jamaica; Queens,6 (p.o.,) a r.r. station
near the
e. line, and Springfield, a vicinage 3 mi. long, in the e. part, extending to the
bay. Tbe first settlement was made about 1656, by people from Hempstead, who in that year
obtained leave of the Hutch Government to purchase lands and erect a town, “according unto
their place limited, named Canarise, about midway from Hempstead.” In 1702 the civil officers
of government removed to this place, on account of prevailing sickness. An attempt was
made soon after to appropriate the church to the use of the Episcopalians,—which was resisted,
and a controversy commenced, which was not settled until 1728. In 1753 the General Assembly
again convened at this' place. During the Revolution the town was occupied by the British, and,
especially in winter, large bodies of troops were stationed here. The Dutch Church was used as
a storehouse. The first church (Presb.) was formed in 1663. The Ref. Prot. D. Church was
formed in 1702; and the first Prot. E. services were held during the same year. The Chapel of the
Sisters—a neat edifice, built of hewn granite—was erected in the Presb. Cemetery, by Nicholas
Ludlum, of NewYork.7

IEWTOWS 8—was first conveyed hy patent, hy Gov. Stuyvesant, in 1652. The grant was
•confirmed hy Gov. Nicoll, March 6, 1666, and hy Gov. Dongan, Nov. 25, 1683.® It was recog¬
nized as a town March 7, 1788. It lies upon the East River and Long Island Sound, in the
corner of the co., and includes North and South Brother, Rikers, and Berriens Islands.10 A range
of hills extends along the s. border; hut the remaining part of its surface is level or moderately
uneven. Flushing Creek forms a portion of the
e. boundary, and Newtown Creek a portion of the
w. boundary. Extensive salt meadows border upon these creeks and the hays. Hell Gate is a nar¬
row, tortuous passage between
Wards Island and Hallets Point, near the n. extremity of the town.11
The soil is a fine quality of sandy loam. Market gardening and the cultivation of flowers are the
most important business. The town poor are let out hy contract. Astoria.,12 (p.v.,) upon East
River, near Hell Gate, was incorp. April 12,1836. It contains 5 churches, a female seminary, union
school, and several extensive manufactories.13 It is particularly distinguished for its floral gardens

Richard Betts, J.P., Capt. Thos. Lawrence, Capt. John Coe, John
Burroughs, Ralph Hunt, Dan’l Whitehead, and Joost Burger;
and the second the names of 108 freeholders. The annual quit¬
rent was 3£ 4s.—
Patents, II, 78; Sec. Office: Thompson’s Hist. L.

I., II, 142.

1° These islands are cultivated as gardens. Berrians, near
Lawrence Point, has an area of 12 acres. Bikers is, the largest
and most valuable, and was formerly called
“Hewletts Island,”
from its having been the residence of Geo. Hewlett. It is 1 mi.
from the mainland, and contains over 50 acres. It was con¬
firmed to Guisbert Biker by Stuyvesant, Dec. 24,1667, and is
still owned by the family.—
Thompson’s Hist., II, 154.

n This name was probably derived from the Dutch “Hellig,”
angry, and “Gat” a gate. It is often softened downto“.HwrJ
(Sate.” From the earliest time this has been a difficult strait to
navigate, owing to sunken rocks and the strong current of the
tide. In 1852 the rocks were mostly removed by a system of
submarine blasting and the navigation greatly improved.

12 This place was formerly known as “Hallets Cove ” and was
settled by Stephen A. and John C. Halsey. At the time of its
incorporation it was proposed to call it
“Sunswick,” from the
Indian name of a stream near by; but the name Astoria was
adopted, in hope of securing a gratuity from John Jacob Astor.
In this, however, the people were disappointed, as he gave only
$100 to the seminary.

13 The principal manufactories are the chemical works for


Several of these ponds have heen purchased hy the Brooklyn
Water Works Company. The remains of a mastodon were found
in excavating at Baisieys Pond, in this town, March 27, 1858.
They consisted of six molar teeth and some small fragments of
bones, blackened, but not mineralized.


8 The town elects trustees annually to manage its property.
It has a fund—given by Henry Townsend nearly two centuries
since—“ for the relief of poor widows and children, persons
blind, lamed, or aged, and such as should be unable to get a
living, or any that should suffer by fire and whose necessities
Blight call for relief.”


6 Three carriage factories and the repair shops of the L. I. B. R.


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