Towns in Queens County, NY
From: Gazetteer of the State of New York
By: J. H. French, LL.D.
1860


TOWNS IN QUEENS COUNTY.

Note:
This work contained many footnotes that were not readable. These were not included in the online work even though they contained much valuable information.

Also see Queens County.

FLUSHING - was first granted by letters patent-issued by the Dutch Governor Keift, Oct. 10, 1645-to a company of English immigrants. This grant was confirmed by Gov. Nicoll, Feb. 1666, and by Gov. Dongan, March 23, 1685. Under the provisions of these charters a considerable amount of land was held in common, to be under the charge of 5 trustees, e1ected annually. It was recognized as a town under the State Government, March 7, 1788. It lies upon the N. border of the co., w. of the center. Its surface is moderately uneven and has a gent inclination to the N. A low range of hills extends along its s. border and separates it from Jamaica. Flushing Creek, the principal stream, forms a portion of the w. boundary. The principal indentations upon the coast are Flushing Bay, Powells Cove, Little Bay, and Little Neck Bay An extensive salt marsh extends along Flushing Creek and the head of Flushing Bay.6 The soil is a fine quality of productive sandy loam. Gardening, fruit growing,7 and the nursery business8 constitute the leading pursuits of the people. The town supports its own poor, and has a house and farm for their accommodation. Flushing, (p. v.,) at the head of Flushing Bay, was incorp. April 9, 1813. It contains 8 churches, 2 newspaper offices, several private seminaries, and has a limited amount of manufactures. It is connected with New York by the Flushing R. R. and by a steam ferry from Hunters Point. From its proximity to New York, it has become the residence of many wealthy persons doing business in the city. Pop. 3,488. College Point, (p. v.,) on the sound, E. of Flushing Bay, is a modern village, settled mostly by Germans. It contains 2 churches, and an immense manufactory of whalebone, India rubber, and ratan, giving employment to 500 to 700 hands. Pop. 1,150. Whitestone (p. v.) is located on the sound, in the extreme N. part of the town. It contains 2 churches, and an extensive tin and sheet ironware manufactory.'3 Pop. 630. Marathon, at the head of Little Neck Bay, is a small, straggling village with one church. Several of the neighborhoods in this town are known by distinct local names. Wilkins Point has recently been purchased by the U. S. Government for the site of a fort. There are now 13 churches in town. The first settlements were made by English, who probably had first settled in Holland. They arrived at "New Amsterdam" in 1645. They were Non-conformists in religion, and settled on the Dutch dorninions under the promise of entire religious freedom. But the Dutch soon commenced a series of persecutions that continued until the time of the British conquest in 1664. Several French Protestant families found their way into this town after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes; but few of their descendants are now found. The fruits introduced by these people are said to have given the first direction to the nursery business for which this town is so celebrated. During the Revolution a British force was stationed here.

HEMPSTEAD - was granted by Gov. Keift to several English families, Nov. 14, 1644. This patent was confirmed by Gov. Nicoll, March 6, 1666, and by Gov. Dongan, April 17, 1685. 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 hay a long, narrow sandbar, known as Roekaway Beach, 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 out into an almost perfectly level plain. 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 bidder. Hempstead, (p. v.,) near the center of the town, was incorp. June 20, 1853. It contains 3 churches, the Hempstead Seminary, 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 South, (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, (p. o.,) and Greenwich Point, two farming neighborhoods; Freeport, (p. v.,) a fishing village, containing 2 churches; Milburn, Baldwinville, 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. Valley Stream and Fosters Meadow are two scattered settlements along the E. border. New Bridge, (formerly "Little Heck,") Washington Square, and Brookfield are 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 the co. The town early acquired a prominent rank, and its records (preserved at North Hempstead) 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.

JAMAICA - 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. It was recognized as a town March 7, 1788. It is the S. W. corner town of the co. A range of low wooded 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. 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. The town poor are annually let to the lowest bidder. Jamaica, (p. v.,) near the N. border of the town, was incorp. April 14, 1814. It contains 7 churches, the Union Hall Academy, several private seminaries, a union school, 2 newspaper offices, and several manufactories. Pop. 2,817. Woodhaven 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 a. a., w. of Jamaica; Centerville, a plat adjacent to the trotting course; Hopedale and Jamaica Heights, two prospective villages in the N. part; Willow Tree, a R. R. station, E. of Jamaica; Queens, (p. o.,) a R. R. station near the E. line, and Springfield, a vicinage 3 mi. long, in the a. part, extending to the bay. The first settlement was made about 1656, by people from Hempstead, who in that year obtained leave of the Dutch 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 New York.

NEWTOWN - was first conveyed by patent, by Gov. Stuyvesant, in 1652. The grant was confirmed by Gov. Nicoll, March 6, 1666, and by Gov. Dongan, Nov. 25, 1683. It was recognized as a town March 7, 1788. It lies upon the East River and Long Island Sound, in the N. W. corner of the co., and includes North and South Brother, Rikers, and Berriens Islands. A range of hills extends along the S. border; but the remaining part of its surface is level or moderately uneven. Flushing Creek forms a portion of the a. boundary, and Newtown Creek a portion of the W. boundary. Extensive salt meadows border upon these creeks and the bays. Hell Gate is a narrow, tortuous passage between Wards Island and Hallets Point, near the N. extremity of the town. 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 by contract. Astoria, (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. It is particularly distinguished for its floral gardens and greenhouses. It is connected with New York by ferries, and is inhabited by many persons doing business in the city. Pop. about 3,200. Ravenswood, (p. v.,) upon the East River, is a suburban village, and the houses consist mostly of costly residences. The poorhouse farms of New York City were located at this place previous to the purchase of the islands in the river for that purpose. A rifle cartridge factory exploded here about 1850, occasioning a great destruction of life. Hunters Point is a newly surveyed and thinly settled village, immediately N. of the mouth of Newtown Creek. It has several manufactories,4 and is rapidly increasing in business and population. Newtown, (p. v.,) near the center, and Penny Bridge are stations upon the Flushing R. R.; and Winsfield and West Flushing are village plats upon the same roads. Masphat (p. o.) lies near the head of Newtown Creek; and Melvina, Columbusville, and Winantsville are village plats in the same vicinity. Lawrenceville, N. W. of Winfield, and Middletown, S. E. of Astoria, are village plats. Locust Grove, Linden Hills, New Astoria, Middle Village, and South Williamsburgh are localities and prospective villages. Dutch Kills is a gardening neighborhood. St. Ronans Well, a wooded island near the head of Flushing Bay, contains 7 acres, and is a favorite resort for picnic parties. Calvary Cemetery, on the Laurel Hills, N. of Newtown Creek, contains 59 acres, and is owned by the R. C. denomination. The Cemetery of the Evergreens, in the S. W. corner, is partly in Brooklyn and partly in New Lots, Kings co. It is beautifully situated upon the Cypress Hills, and contains 115 acres, with the privilege of extending its area to 500 acres. Cypress Hills Cemetery, E. of the latter, is also situated upon the highlands, and contains 400 acres. Mount Olivet Cemetery lies near Maspeth, and the Lutheran Cemetery near Middle Village. The National Race Course, incorp. May 31, 1854, is located near the Flushing R. R. The first settlements were made in 1651, by English immigrants, who had first located in New England. The first grant of privileges obtained from the Dutch in 1652 was followed by another more liberal in its character in 1665. The early records of the town were lost during the British occupation in the Revolution. A blockhouse was built at Hell Gate during the Revolution, and a water-battery, named Fort Stevens, during the War of 1812. The first church edifice (Presb.) of which there is any record was erected, in 1670, at Newtown Village; and the first preacher was Rev. John Moore, who was employed from the first settlement until his death, in 1661. The census reports 15 churches in town.

NORTH HEMPSTEAD - was formed from Hempstead, April 6, 1784. It lies upon Long Island Sound, between Hempstead Harbor and Little Neck Bay, and on the S. extends to near the center of Hempstead Plains. A range of hills extends E. and w. through near the center; and from them spurs extend to the Sound, giving to the N. part a moderately hilly character. Hempstead Harbor and Manhasset Bay are irregular bays extending far inland, dividing the coast into "necks" and points,-the principal of which are Cow and Creat Necks, Motts, Prospect, Sands, Barker, and Hewletts Points, and Plum Beach. The soil upon the plains is light and sandy, and in the N. part a sandy and clayey loam, very productive. The town poor are supported by the Jones Fund, at an institution situated at Brookville, in the town of Oyster Bay; and 2 trustees are annually elected to the board having this fund in charge. Manhasset, (p. v.,) near the center, a straggling village, contains 4 churches. The neck of land extending eastward of Manhasset Bay is called Manhasset. Roslyn, (p. v.,) at the head of Hempstead Harbor, 2 mi. above the steamboat landing, contains 2 churches and several manufactories. Pop. 592. North Hempstead (p. o.) is 2 mi. a. of the courthouse; Mineola (p. v.) is a scattered village at the junction of the L. I. & Hempstead Branch R. Roads; Flower Hill is a farming neighborhood near the center of Manhasset Neck; Montrose, a village plat near the country seat of Wm. C. Bryant. Westbury is a farming neighborhood, extending from near the courthouse to the E. line of the town. Carl Place, near Westbury, and Clowesville, near Mineola, are village plats. Hyde Park, near the R. R. Lakeville, near the line of Flushing, and Farmers Village, on the edge of the plains, are farming localities. Port Washington (p. o.) is a small village on the W. side of Manhasset Bay. The first settlement was made in the spring of 1640, by a small company of English immigrants from Lynn, Mass., under the lead of Capt. Daniel Howe, who took possession of the head of Cow Bay, under the authority of Farrett, agent of the Earl of Stirling. The Dutch sent a party of soldiers, who captured several of the intruders; but they were released upon promising to quit the place. These persons afterward made the first settlement at Southampton. The necks of land of this town were first used for pasturage in commons. During the Revolution marauding parties committed various depredations upon the people of this town, rendering both property and life insecure. The census reports 9 churches in town.

OYSTER BAY - was patented by Gov. Nicoll, Nov. 29, 1667, and confirmed by Gov. Andross, Sept. 29, 1677. It was recognized as a town March 7, 1788. It occupies the a extremity of the co., and extends across the island from the sound to the ocean. The N. shore is deeply indented by irregular bays, the principal of which are Oyster Bay, Cold Spring, and Oyster Bay Harbors, Mill Neck Creek, and Mosquito Cove. Cove Neck, Center Island," and Mosquito Neck are long peninsulas formed by these bays ;13 Lloyds Neck is a peninsula extending E. of Cold Spring Harbor. The great indentation of South Oyster Bay, separated from the ocean by Jones Beach, forms the s. boundary. This bay is bordered by salt meadows, and incloses several marshy islands belonging to the town. A range of hills extends through the N. part; and the remainder of the surface is level. The soil is a sandy and clayey loam, and with proper care is very productive. The town poor are supported by the Jones Fund. Oyster Ray, (p.v.,) on Oyster Bay Harbor, contains 6 churches and 900 inhabitants; Glen Cove, (p. v.,) near Hempstead Harbor, in the N. W. part, contains 3 churches, a printing office, fire insurance office, and a large starch factory. South Oyster Bay (p. o.) is a scattered village on the s. shore. Farmingdale (p.o.) is a hamlet and R. R. station near the E. line; Hicksvllle (p. o.) is a R. R. station near the w. line. Syosset (p. o.) is the present terminus of a R. R. extending N. E. from Hicksville, projected to Cold Spring. Norwich (East Norwich p. o.) is a farming settlement 3 mi. S. E. of Oyster Bay. Cedar Swamp, (p. o.,) S. E. of Glen Cove, and Locust Valley, N. E. of the same place, are farming settlements. Jericho (p. o.) is a settlement, N. of Hicksville; Woodbury (p.o.) is a small village, near the a. border; Lloyds Neck is a farming village, in the extreme N. E. part Bethphage is a farming locality, and Brookville is a hamlet. Fort Neck was named from two ancient Indian forts. Dosoris, Lattingtown, and Matinicock are localities N. E. of Glen Cove. An attempt was made by a party of English to make a settlement in this town in 1640; but the settlers were driven off by the Dutch. In 1642 other English parties, who had purchased lands of the Indians, were also driven off. The question of jurisdiction was a matter of debate until 1650, when commissioners were appointed on both sides to settle it. The W. boundary of Oyster Bay was fixed upon as the line of separation of the two colonies; and in 1653 the first permanent English settlement was made, upon land previously purchased of the Indians. In 1662 the town formed a close alliance with Conn. De Lancey's corps of royalists built a small fort on the hill, S. of the village of Oyster Bay, in 1776; and it was occupied by Simcoe's Queen's Rangers in 1778 and '79. The census reports 16 churches in town.

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