A History of Long Island, Vol. 1 - Peter Ross - ebook

A History of Long Island, Vol. 1 ebook

Peter Ross



With these books an effort has been made to present the history of the whole of Long Island in such a way as to combine all the salient facts of the long and interesting story in a manner that might be acceptable to the general reader and at the same time include much of that purely antiquarian lore which is to many the most delightful feature of local history. Long Island has played a most important part in the history of the State of New York and, through New York, in the annals of the Nation. It was one of the first places in the Colonies to give formal utterance to the doctrine that taxation without representation is unjust and should not be borne by men claiming to be free—the doctrine that gradually went deep into the hearts and consciences of men and led to discussion, opposition and war; to the declaration of independence, the achievement of liberty and the founding of a new nation. It took an active part in all that glorious movement, the most significant movement in modern history, and though handicapped by the merciless occupation of the British troops after the disaster of August, 1776, it continued to do what it could to help along the cause to which so many of its citizens had devoted their fortunes, their lives. This is volume one out of three, covering the general history of Long Island.

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A History of Long Island


From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time


Volume 1









A History of Long Island 1, Ross/Beck

Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck

86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9



ISBN: 9783849650056



[email protected]




































O God of Columbia! O Shield of the Free!

More grateful to you than the fanes of old story

Must the blood-bedewed soil, the red battle-ground, be

Where our forefathers championed America's glory!

Then how priceless the worth of the sanctified earth

We are standing on now! Lo! the slope of its girth

Where the martyrs were buried; nor prayers, tears or stones

Marked their crumbled-in coffins, their white holy bones.

Say. Sons of Long Island, in legend or song,

Keep ye aught of its record, that day dark and cheerless.

That cruel of days when, hope weak, the foe strong,

Was seen the Serene One, still faithful, still fearless,

Defending the worth of the sanctified earth

We are standing on now? &c.

Ah, Yes! be the answer. In memory still

We have placed in our hearts and embalmed there forever

The battle, the prison ship martyrs and hill.

Oh, may it be preserved till those hearts shall sever.

For how priceless the worth, &c.

And shall not the years, as they sweep o'er and o'er.

Shall they not even here bring the children of ages.

To exult as their fathers exulted before

In the freedom achieved by our ancestral sages?

And the prayer rise to heaven with gratitude given

And the sky by the thunder of cannon be riven?

Yea! Yea! let the echo responsively roll,

The echo that starts from the patriot's soul.




On the following pages an effort has been made to present the history of the whole of Long Island in such a way as to combine all the salient facts of the long and interesting story in a manner that might be acceptable to the general reader and at the same time include much of that purely antiquarian lore which is to many the most delightful feature of local history. Long Island has played a most important part in the history of the State of New York and, through New York, in the annals of the Nation. It was one of the first places in the Colonies to give formal utterance to the doctrine that taxation without representation is unjust and should not be borne by men claiming to be free — the doctrine that gradually went deep into the hearts and consciences of men and led to discussion, opposition and war; to the declaration of independence, the achievement of liberty and the founding of a new nation. It took an active part in all that glorious movement, the most significant movement in modern history, and though handicapped by the merciless occupation of the British troops after the disaster of August, 1776, it continued to do what it could to help along the cause to which so many of its citizens had devoted their fortunes, their lives.

On Long Island, too, the old theory of government by town meeting found full scope, even in those sections where the Dutch rule was closest and the story of these little republics with their laws and limitations is worthy of careful study at the present day. They present us, as in the case of Southold, with specimens of pure theocracies flourishing and progressing in spite of the watchful and pre-eminent rule of the local church directorate, or possibly rather as a consequence of it, and they also present us, as in Jamaica, with townships founded on somewhat less religious lines but in which the edict of the church authorities was a matter that commanded primal respect. But, one and all, these communities showed that the view of the people as expressed in town meeting was the supreme local law, the origin of all local power, even though a fussy Director General now and again made his authority and dignity known by interference, or a Proprietary or Colonial Governor attempted to tax the people or impose a minister or a religious system without other warrant than his own sweet will and his own imperious necessities, or the wishes of his superiors — in London.

In compiling this history all previous works relating to the story of Long Island have been laid under contribution, notably such volumes as those of Wood, Thomson, Onderdonk, Furman and Spooner. The invaluable labors of Dr. Henry R. Stiles, whose "History of Brooklyn" and other works are storehouses of local history, have been drawn upon freely, for no story of Brooklyn could now be written that would not be under the deepest obligation to the patient and learned writings of that most painstaking of antiquarians and local historians. The chapter on "Dentists in Brooklyn" was written for this volume by Dr. William Jarvie, and is the result of many years' research. The chapter on medical history by Dr. William Schroder forms another valuable feature.

Of local histories nearly all those accessible have been consulted. From the published writings of Mr. William S. Pelletreau, the erudite historian of Suffolk County, and the author of several valuable works illustrating the long, eventful, and highly honorable story in peace and war of that grand section of Long Island, many details have been gathered. From the writings of Dr. Wallace Tooker. of Sag Harbor, the indefatigable student of Indian lore on Long Island, much that is deeply interesting concerning the red man and his remains has been gleaned, and thanks are due both these gentlemen for their freely given permission to make their studies available for this volume. The cordial manner in which the Flatbush Trust Company permitted the use of several illustrations from its interesting work on "Flatbush, Past and Present," also demands an expression of thanks.

The files of the Brooklyn Eagle have been freely consulted and proved a most invaluable storehouse; in fact almost since its origin, in 1841, the Eagle has been, as every local newspaper should be, the best possible historian of Brooklyn, and indeed of Long Island. It has the happy art in these modern days of knowing how to combine those personal details which we look for in a local paper with the wide-reaching world-news which is the feature of a metropolitan daily. From the columns of the "Standard-Union" and the "The Brooklyn Times ' much has also been gathered.

The author desires also to thank the numerous correspondents to whom he is much indebted for details of considerable interest in the various township histories. In following the windings of family history, to which considerable space has been devoted, much curious matter would have been overlooked but from details received as the result of correspondence with the modern representatives of many of these old families. Thanks are given for all this in its proper place, and indeed an effort has been made throughout the work to quote every authority and give full credit to previous writers and to all who have in anyway, directly or indirectly, rendered assistance.





A PART of the state of New York, Long Island can hardly be said to have now any separate political interest or to have at any time in the past done anymore than a like share with the other sections of the Empire State in building up in Congress, in the tented field, or in the realms of literature, science or art, the country of whose present greatness, of whose rank among the nations of the earth we are all so proud. The inland has fully met every claim made upon her; in the Revolution she suffered much and deeply, and the name of Woodhull and many another gallant hero ranks high on the honored roll of those who sacrificed home and property and life that political and religious freedom might live; in the war of 1812 she was ready to meet any invading force, and her ships helped to win the victory and to wrest from Britain, for a time, at least, that country's old claim to invincibility on the sea; in the Civil war she liberally contributed men and treasure to preserve intact what the founders of the Republic had fought for, and in the war with Spain she freely responded to the call of the General Government. But, then, other sections of the state acted equally as nobly, according to the measure of their opportunities.

Still, Long Island did exert, indirectly, it is true, but none the less clearly traceable and unmistakable, a degree of influence upon the general history of the country, especially in the early stages — the stages when history was being made and precedents established. It has always been obedient to established authority, but when the rights of the individual or the community were assailed or trampled on — be the government Dutch or English — it has led the way in defending those rights, and even Peter Stuyvesant found the farmers of Long Island more troublesome and determined, at times, than the burghers of New Amsterdam. The keynote of liberty resounded over the island long before the call to arms was made, and one of her sons was among the immortals who signed the Declaration of Independence, while another presided over the discussions of the first patriot assembly of the state of New York. The position it held in the momentous affairs of the latter half of 1776, when it was regarded by the veteran Generals of King George as the key by which the continent was to be opened up again to British authority, was alone sufficient to exalt it to a position among the shrines of the nation, one 'of the spots on which the struggle for liberty was most strenuously waged, and where, though defeated, it was shown that in military skill and finesse the Continentals were the equal of their adversaries, the veterans of many wars. It was there, too, that Washington first earned his right to be regarded as one of the greatest captains of his time, of any time. But besides this Long Island showed, even before the Revolution, that the people were perfectly fit to rule themselves and the various town governments were models of local authority for the rest of the country. Even under the Dutch the townships enjoyed a generous measure of local rule, and what was not allowed by the authorities in the fort on Manhattan they took themselves. In fact the whole course of the history of Long Island shows that the less the general government interfered with local affairs the better the result all round. The Dutch paternal rule in the western section, the English town rule in the eastern, and the happy way in which in Queens county both Dutch and English could pool their issues, could respect each other's religious views and notions of statecraft, could live together in peace and harmony, formed three significant conditions which were not lost upon the statesmen who were engaged in the work of bridging this country safely across the chasm which separated the disjointed and jealous colonies into a strong and united nation.

Long Island since the echoes of the Revolutionary war have died away has always been found ranged on the side of liberty and toleration, her representatives in Congress and in the assembly have been men who by their talents commanded respect and by their efforts added largely to the progress the nation has made in all the arts that render men happy and ensure the prosperity of the country. She has been to a certain extent a community in herself, she so remains in a great measure to the passing day, and presents, in fact, in her own career an epitome of all that makes the country really great, thrift, honesty and religion leavening the whole, while progressiveness, energy and a watchfulness for opportunities add year by year to the general wealth.



LONG ISLAND lies between 40 decrees, 34 minutes, and 41 degrees, 10 minutes, north latitude, and between 71 degrees, 51 minutes, and 74 degrees, 4 minutes, west longitude from Greenwich, England. It is bounded south and east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by Long Island Sound and on the west by New York Bay and the East River, which latter divides it from Manhattan Island. Its length is about one hundred and twenty-five miles, its average width about fourteen miles, and its total area 927,900 acres. It is divided into the counties of Kings, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk; but all of Kings and part of Queens are now under the general government of the greater New York, although still retaining their county organization; The population of these divisions according to the census of 1900 was as follows:

Kings .... 1,166,582

Queens 152,999

Nassau... 55,448

Suffolk 55,582

Being a total for Long Island of 1,452,611. In 1880 the total was 743,957, and in 1890, 1,029,097, so that a considerable advance has been made. The advance has been greatest in Kings county, but all the divisions show substantial increases.

The island as a whole is flat and low-lying. Through the center is a range of small hills from New Utrecht northeasterly to Roslyn, and from there extending to Montauk Point, the best known being West, Dix, Comae, Bald and Shinnecock Hills. The average height of this chain is about 250 feet, but Harbor PI ill at Roslyn rises to a height of 384 feet, Janes Hill to 383 feet, Reuland's Hill to 340 feet and Wheatley Hill to 369 feet. Along the north shore from Astoria to Orient Point a bluff follows the outline of the coast, rising sometimes to a height of 200 feet. From the central chain of hills to the south shore the land slopes gently down to the sea, and much of the land, being pure sand, was long uncappable of cultivation, although it is yielding to modern methods and appliances. Between these hills and the bluff which overhangs the north shore is a level elevated plain, broken in many places by rocks and glacial debris, but on the whole capable of being brought to a high state of cultivation. The physical appearance of the entire island bears witness to the force of the movements of nature in the glacial period, and nowhere in America can that wonderful epoch be more closely or understandingly studied. In a general way it may be said that the south shore is level, while the north is full of bits of rugged nature, rocks, dells, splendid marine and land views and an ever changing vista of hills, forests, cultivated fields and rich pasture lands.

The entire coast line is indented with bays and inlets, some forming even in their ruggedness beautiful landscapes, and many of them affording splendid harbors and anchorages. On the south side of the island is the Great South Bay as it is called (although local names have been given to several sections), nearly one hundred miles long and from two to five miles broad, and it is separated from the Atlantic by a sandy bar from a fourth of a mile to a mile in width, changing its dimensions in every direction with every winter's storm. To the west end of the island are Jamaica, Hempstead, Oyster and Huntington Bays, and at the east end Gardiner's, Little Peconic and Great Peconic Bays; and the Peconic River, the only stream of water of any size on the island, ends its course of some fifteen miles at Riverhead. Gardiner's, Fisher's and Plumb Islands are politically incorporated with Long Island.

There are scattered throughout the island, especially throughout its eastern half, many small sheets of inland water, none worthy of mention in a summary such as this except one, the largest of them all — Lake Ronkonkoma. This beautiful lake, about three miles in circumference, has a maximum depth of eighty-three feet; its waters are ever pure and cool, and it has no visible outlet or inlet. The latter peculiarities are common to many much smaller lakes on the island. Ronkonkoma lies in the midst of a beautiful landscape, into which it fits naturally, becoming the center of one of the most delightful bits of scenery on Long Island. It was famous for its beauty even in the prehistoric Indian days, when the red man reigned and roamed over the soil, and many quaint and pathetic legends are yet associated with it, although it has now received the tinsel adornments common to a popular "resort."

The ocean bottom to the south of Long Island has a slope of about six feet to the mile, but intersected in what appears to have been the old valley of the Hudson by a series of deep depressions. In that distant time the shores of Long Island were much higher than now. It is impossible to tell when the age of retrogression set in, but it seems clear that the process is still going on, although so slowly as hardly to make any change visible to the casual eye in any single generation.

The animal life on Long Island presented nothing unusual. We have plenty of evidence that deer once had the freedom of the whole island and were hunted by the red men and the earlier settlers; but they have long been reduced to limited numbers in spite of the most stringent game laws. It has been thought that the moose and elk once roamed through the forests, and in 1712 we read of an attempt being made to ship a pair of moose from Fisher's Island to England as a gift to Queen Anne, but this pair seems to have been the last of the race. Wolves which so often played havoc with the lives and stock of the pioneer settlers have long since disappeared. Foxes, too, which were plentiful at one time, are now imported, or the aniseed trail is made to do duty in their stead for hunting purposes, and the old-time presence of wild cats, beavers, bears, opossum, raccoons and many others is forgotten. It may be said that all the animals common to New York and Connecticut were common to Long Island, and are so still, although the increasing march of population and culture renders their numbers smaller year after year. Bird life was and is plentiful, and grouse in the earlier days especially so. It has been said that some 320 species have been found on the island, specimens of most of them being in the museum of the Long Island Historical Society. The island was a resting place for many migratory species of birds on their semi-annual journeys north and south or vice versa, and at such seasons it was a veritable sportman's paradise. Indeed hunting was long, with agriculture, one of the arts by which the pioneers added to their store of wealth, while in the hands of an Indian a skin was a facile medium of exchange. The people, however, were early aroused to a consciousness that indiscriminate slaughter of animals or birds was a thing to be guarded against, and as early as 1786 the slaughter of deer and grouse was prohibited in Brookhaven except to actual citizens of the town. Since then the successive restrictions upon hunting have been numerous enough to form a theme for separate study, but stringent as they are Long Island is yearly becoming less and less a happy hunting ground for the man who goes out with a gun anxious to shoot something.

But in spite of the restrictions, the man with the gun keeps steadily in evidence. On Nov. 6, 1901, when the season for killing deer opened, it was estimated that 2,000 "hunters" armed with rifles were on Long Island, ready for the "sport." It was then estimated that about 2,000 deer were on Long Island, the bulk being, roughly, in the central portion extending from Islip and Setauket to Riverhead. The center of the hunting area is in the neighborhood of the South Side Sportsmen's Club at Oakdale in whose preserves the deer are not permitted to be killed, even by its own members. It is possible that it is to this organization, and to the rigid way in which it guards its grounds and protects the game from slaughter that the deer on Long Island have not been exterminated long ago. It is one of the disputed points on the island whether or not the deer really should be preserved. The farmers would vote for their extermination, while the hotel-keepers and the summer visitors would like their numbers increased. The growth of large private estates within recent years would indicate a careful preservation of all sorts of game and a consequent increase in numbers, especially of deer — the most picturesque of all game in civilized and populated communities. As early as 1679 we find the oyster industry in the Great South Bay a marked feature, — so marked that even then there was considered a possibility that the supply would be exhausted and orders were issued restricting the annual catch; but the bay from then to now has yearly extended its output, and the oyster industry of Long Island has brought to it more material wealth than any other. The inexhaustible supply of clams has also proved a profitable industry and over $1,000,000 of capital is employed in the Menhaden fishery alone. The factories where the oil is extracted from these fish have never been popular in Long Island for various reasons, but they still give employment to several thousand workers every year in one way or another, and have contributed their share to the commercial upbuilding of the section. Cod, bass and blue fish and other species — some 200 in all, it has been estimated — are common to the shores of Long Island, and generally are to be found, in their season, in immense quantities. The fisheries form quite a feature of the industrial life of the island, but the financial result, great as it is, is but a fraction of what it should be were the wealth of the sea worked as zealously and as scientifically as that which lies beneath the soil. However, Long Island has long been a delight to the amateur angler, and the many successful sporting clubs of which it now can boast all include angling, either with the seine or "with an angle," after the gentle manner of old Izaak Walton.

Although from a botanical point of view the plant life of Long Island is not as varied or interesting as might be expected, still, if we accept the estimate made by Elias Lewis in 1883 that there were then eighty-three species of forest trees within its boundaries, there is not much cause for complaint. The most prolific of these trees was the locust, which was first planted at Sand's Point about 1700 by Captain John Smith, who brought the pioneer specimens from Virginia. It spread with great rapidity and the quality of its lumber was regarded as better than that in the trees it left behind in its parent state. Nowhere else on the Atlantic coast does the locust flourish as on Long Island. Oaks, chestnut and walnut trees are to be found all over the island in great variety.

"Long Island," writes Mr. Elias Lewis, "is fairly well wooded. Its forests are of oak, hickory, chestnut, locust, with many other species of deciduous trees. The evergreens indigenous to the soil are almost entirely of the yellow or pitch pine, Pinus rigida. At an early period of its history the forest growth of the island was doubtless heavier than now. There were oaks, chestnuts, tulip trees, and others of great age and of immense size: a few of these survive. The fox oaks at Flushing, no longer existing, were historic trees and justly celebrated. A white oak at Greenvale, near Glen Cove, is twenty-one feet in girth, and is probably five hundred years old; another nearly as old is at Manhassett, in the Friends' meeting-house yard; others similar are at Smithtown and vicinity. A tulip tree at Lakeville, on the elevated grounds of S. B. M. Cornell, impaired by age and storms, is twenty-six feet in girth near the ground, and was a landmark from the ocean more than a century ago. The famous black walnut at Roslyn, on grounds of the late W. C. Bryant, is probably the largest tree on Long Island; it measures twenty-nine feet in girth at the ground, and twenty-one feet at the smallest part of the trunk below the spread of its enormous branches. Chestnut trees in the neighborhood of Brookville and Norwich, in the town of Oysteir Bay, are sixteen, eighteen and twenty-two feet in girth.

"The growth of hard-wood trees on Long Island is rapid. A few large trees standing indicate what they may have been, or what they might be if undisturbed. The evergreens grow with equal luxuriousness. A century and a half ago pitch pines were abundant from twenty inches to thirty-six inches in diameter."

Of the physical history of Long Island, however, the most interesting feature has been its geology, and this has been so thoroughly recognized that most of the local historians, including Thompson and Prime, have devoted to the subject considerable space in their respective works. It is well to follow their example, but in this case an improvement will be effected by presenting the subject as handled by a specialist, — for no one but a devoted and constant student of geology can write understandingly and with authority upon the youngest and most exhaustive of all the sciences, as someone has called it. So here is given part of a paper on the geology of Long Island which was prepared by F. J. H. Merrill. the learned and studious State Geologist of New York, and which has been buried in the transactions of one of our scientific societies for several years:

The lithology of Long Island is comparatively simple, the crystalline rocks being confined to quite a limited area. The greater part of the region consists of gravel, sand and clay, overlaid along the north shore and for some distance southward by glacial drift. This material forms an important element of the surface formation, and though it has been already described by Mather and Upham, I shall devote a short space to its discussion. For the sake of clearness, we may describe the drift as of two kinds: 1st, the till or drift proper, a heterogeneous mixture of gravel, sand and clay, with boulders, and 2d, the gravel drift, a deposit of coarse yellow gravel and sand, brought to its present place by glacial and alluvial action, but existing nearby in a stratified condition, before the arrival of the glacier. This yellow gravel drift, which in a comparatively unaltered condition forms the soil of the pine barrens of southern and eastern Long Island, and is exposed in section at Grossman's brickyard in Huntington, is equivalent to and indeed identical with the yellow drift or preglacial drift of New Jersey, a formation of very great extent in that state, and of which the origin and source have not yet been fully explained, though it is always overlaid by the glacial drift proper where these formations occur together.

In the hills near Brooklyn the till attains its maximum depth. This has never been definitely ascertained, but is probably between 150 and 200 feet. The only information we have on the subject is from a boring in Calvary Cemetery, where the drift was 139 feet deep, and this point is nearly five miles north of Mount Prospect, which is 194 feet high and probably consists for the most part of till. The occurrence of this till is quite local and very limited along the north shore between Roslyn and Horton's Point. From the former locality eastward the hills are mainly composed of stratified gravel and sand, probably underlaid by clay. On the railroad between Syosset and Setauket is an abundance of coarse gravel with but slight stratification. East of Setauket for some distance the drift is a fine yellowish sand, which washes white on the surface, and at Wading River the drift with cobble-stones was only eighteen inches thick where exposed, being underlaid with fine yellow sand. Along the remainder of the north shore to Orient Point, six feet was the maximum depth of drift observed. Under this were stratified sands, gravels and clays, usually dipping slightly from the shore. On Brown's Hills, north of Orient, the drift is overlaid by three feet of fine micaceous sand, which has probably been carried to its present position by the wind. The drift at this locality is a clayey till, and its surface is strewn with an abundance of boulders of coarse red gneiss. On Shelter Island are high ridges of gravel overlaid by a few feet of till. The hills from Sag Harbor eastward are also composed partially of unmodified drift, but the most extensive deposit on the east end of Long Island is between Nepeague Bay and Montauk Point. Here the drift is disposed in rounded hillocks from 80 to 200 feet above the sea, with bowl and trough-shaped depressions between. The bluff's along the south shore, which are rapidly yielding to the action of the waves, consist for the most part of boulder clay and hardpan of considerable depth, covered by a shallower layer of till. At a few places, however, on the south shore, west of the point, laminated blue clay streaked with limonite occurs, intercalated with the till. At the end of the point a similar bed of clay is exposed, overlaid by stratified sand. From the extremely limited character of the exposures I am unable to determine whether the clay underlies the whole of the point or is merely local in its occurrence. In character and position, however, it is analogous to beds occurring on Block Island. The boulders of Long Island attract the attention of the geologist by their size and variety. They represent almost every geological age, fossiliferous rocks of the Helderberg, Oriskany and Cauda Galli, Hamilton, Chemung and Eocene periods having been found in the drift. Examples of these are in the collection of the Long Island Historical Society. There are also various members of the Archaean series, viz., gneiss, granite, syenite, hornblende, chlorite, talcose and mica schist, limestone, dolomite, and serpentine; and the Palajozoic and Mesozoic ages are represented by Potsdam sandstone, Hudson River slate, Oneida conglomerate or Shawangunk grit, Catskill sandstone, and Triassic sandstone and trap. As the lithology of the boulders has been described in detail by Mather (Geol. 1st Dist. N. Y., pp. 165-177), it would be superfluous for me to undertake a similar description.

In addition to the rocks mentioned above, a ferruginous sandstone and conglomerate occur abundantly in fragments along the east shore of Hempstead Harbor, and in the drift between Glen Cove and Oyster Bay. Many of these fragments contain vegetable impressions, but in only two localities have any leaf prints been found. These were West Island, Dosoris, and the well of the Williamsburg Gas Co. The prints are supposed to belong to Cretaceous plants, but the evidence is incomplete.

Many of the erratic blocks are of immense size, one in particular, of gneiss, on Shelter Island, near Jennings' Point, contained as a solid mass over 9,000 cubic feet. It has split in three pieces since it was deposited. Mather (Geol. 1st Dist., p. 174) mentions a mass of granite near Plandome, which was estimated to contain 8,000 cubic yards above the surface of the ground.

Having thus briefly reviewed the characters of the surface drift, we will now consider in detail the strata which underlie it. The crystalline rocks outcrop along the shore at Hellgate and over a limited area in the vicinity of Astoria. They consist of finely laminated gneiss and schists, tilted at a high angle, and belong to the same formation as the rocks of Manhattan Island. I am informed by Mr. Elias Lewis, Jr., that in boring an artesian well in Calvary Cemetery, near Brooklyn, a bed of gneiss was encountered at a depth of 182 feet. Further than this we know nothing of the extent of the crystalline rocks on Long Island.

The greenish earth referred to lost its color on being treated with hydrochloric acid, and the white residue examined under the microscope appeared to consist of minute fragments of kaolinized feldspar, with occasional grains of quartz sand. The acid solution gave a strong reaction for iron, indicating a probable admixture of glauconite with the material. It is stated in Cozzens' Geological History of New York Island that a shell of Exogyra costata, with green-sand adhering, was found between Brooklyn and Flatlands, at a depth of sixty feet. This locality is about five miles south of the well just mentioned, and would indicate the presence of Cretaceous strata near Brooklyn.

The shell-bed was underlaid by quicksand bearing water.

In the vicinity of Manhasset, on the road to Port Washington, are extensive exposures of stratified sand, mare or less inclined from the horizontal. About 200 yards south of the post office, on the west side of the road, is a bank about 40 feet high, composed of a white, coarse, laminated sand, streaked with hydrous peroxide of iron, the layers dipping S. E. 13 degrees. A little northeast of the post office, along the road, there are banks of red sand cemented together in places by sesquioxide of iron and resembling the Cretaceous red sand bed of New Jersey.

On the shore of Manhasset Bay, near Port Washington, are high banks of coarse yellow stratified sand and gravel. This deposit is very irregular in its stratification, as it shows in many places the "flow and plunge" structure described by Dana, and which is evidently produced by swift currents. The depth of this formation cannot be determined: it is probably not less than 150 feet, and possibly is much greater. These beds dip about 15 degrees W.; the strike is nearly due north and south. Along the shore of Manhasset Bay, from Port Washington to Barker's Point, are extensive banks of stratified sand and gravel, much stained with iron and dipping westward. At Prospect Point and Mott's Point the banks are composed of coarse gravel similar to that at Port Washington.

Between Roslyn and Glen Cove there are high bands of red and flesh-colored sands, while at Carpenter's clay pits a most interesting section is presented. The greatest height of this section is seventy-three feet, the strike of the beds being N. 80 degrees W. and the dip about 37 degrees northerly, the layers here apparently consisting of quartz, but susceptible of being easily crushed in the hand. The pebbles are traversed by innumerable cracks, and are composed of coarse white gravel and sand, and appear to have been subjected to the action of an alkaline solution. Interstratified with the gravel are layers of fine white clay, from six inches to one foot in thickness, stained pink in some places, and containing occasional fragments of a soft hematite or red ochre. Besides these beds there is a deposit of kaolin farther south, but its stratigraphical relations to the layer exposed could not be determined. This kaolin is a soft, white, granular, clayey substance, consisting chiefly of hydrous silicate of alumina from the decomposition of feldspar. In fact the whole deposit would seem to be the decomposition product of a granulite rock such as occurs abundantly in Westchester county, New York, and in southwestern Connecticut. In the north end of the bank is an unconformability, the gravel beds, which dip 37 degrees, being overlaid by stratified sand dipping 15 degrees in the same direction. The layers shown in this section form the north slope of an anticlinal flexure, the lowest beds being, I am informed by Mr. Coles Carpenter, one of the proprietors, almost vertical.

These beds dipped about 15 degrees S. W., the locality being on the south slope of the anticlinal. Owing to the sandy nature of the clay, and the dryness of the season, no satisfactory specimens could be obtained. The prints retain no carbon, but simply show the venation of the leaves.

North of Sea Cliff, along the shore of Hempstead Harbor, to the Glen Cove steamboat landing, is a series of clay beds outcropping on the beach and dipping N. by E. about 10 degrees; these beds are of various colors, blue, yellow, reddish, white and black. The reddish clays contain fragments of a soft hematite, and one of the blue layers is overlaid by about two inches of lignite in small fragments. Other layers contain pyritized lignite and nodular pyrites, but it is impossible to determine the nature and order of these beds accurately, without extensive excavations. Dark clays, with pyrites, are also reported to occur in Carpenter's pits at a considerable depth. In the beds of decomposed gravel already mentioned are many geodes of sand cemented together by hydrous and anhydrous sesquioxide of iron, containing a dark granular mass which analysis shows to consist chiefly of decomposed pyrites. The conclusion is therefore justifiable that the nodules of marcasite which once existed in the gravel beds have decomposed by oxidation, and the resulting ferric oxide has cemented the sand about them into a hard crust, while the nodules in the clay beds which were protected from oxidation have remained unaltered.

North of Glen Cove clays of various kinds occur at East and West Islands, Dosoris and at Matinnecock Village. At the East Williston brickyard, near Mineola, there is a local deposit of grey micaceous clay. The depth of this, where excavated, varies from seven to eighteen feet. The clay overlies white laminated sands, stained with limonite, the upper surface of the sand being cemented together for the depth of an inch by the yellow oxide. Over the clay is about six inches of black alluvial earth.

At the brickyard on Center Island, in Oyster Bay, there is a deposit of brown sandy clay over a bed of more homogeneous and tougher clay. These beds undulate in an east and west direction or away from the shore, and the lower stratum contains shaly concretions or claystones. About a mile north of the brickyard it is said that a bed of white fire clay has been found at a depth of twenty-five feet under the drift and sand. A little west from the U. S. Fish Hatchery, at the head of Cold Spring Harbor, is a bank of stratified gravel seventy feet high. About forty feet below the top of this bank is an exposure of laminated sand and sandy clay stained red, brown and yellow with oxide of iron, and a short distance below a chalybeate spring issues from the bank. The clay deposit at Stewart's brickyard, at Bethpage, is about sixty feet in depth. The surface stratum is a yellowish micaceous clay, the lower part being mottled blue and yellow. It probably was originally a gray or blue clay, its present yellow color being due to the peroxidation and hydration of the iron contained. Of this stratum there is about thirty-five feet; below is about five feet of reddish sandy clay, and beneath this a blue-black sandy clay containing nodules of white pyrites. This stratum is about twenty-five feet deep and is underlaid by white sand. The beds are somewhat disturbed and folded, the uppermost being slightly undulating, while the two lower appear to be raised in a fold trending nearly east and west.

In the third stratum, at a depth of 168 feet, a fragment of the stem of a crinoid was found, which, together with a complete set of specimens from the well, is in the collection of the Long Island Historical Society. The fossil fragment is probably from some Paleozoic formation, and has no special importance.

The bed of diatomaceous earth is of undetermined extent, and appears to be replaced a little to the east by a blue clay, which, however, contains some diatoms. It is undoubtedly equivalent to the bed of ochre which overlies the sand throughout the remainder of the section. At Jones' brickyard, adjoining Crossman's, there is a similar fold nearly at right angles to the first, but the upper portion has been removed by ice or water down to the sand. This stratum, which is yellow and brown in the north part of Grossman's yard, is dark red in the south end and at Jones'. It appears to be mixed with a fine red clayey matter which separates on washing.

The formation on Lloyd's Neck is similar to that at Grossman's, with regard to the composition of the strata. On the north side of East Neck, at Eckerson's brickyard, is a deposit of reddish clay underlaid by brown clay very similar to that at Grossman's. To the west of this is a bank of white quartz gravel, while on the east is an extensive deposit of fine, white quartz sand, laminated with red, yellow and brown waved streaks. The exact relations of these strata I was unable to determine, but from their analogies to other deposits I am inclined to consider the laminated sand as the more recent.

On the north end of Little Neck there is another large deposit of these laminated sands. At this point they dip S. E. about 15 degrees.

The lowest stratum is separated into thin laminae by equally thin layers of sand, in which are numerous impressions of fragments of vegetable matter, but only one leaf-print has been found; this is in the museum of the Long Island Historical Society. It is a small, broadly elliptical leaf, about three-fourths of an inch long. In this same bed was found several years ago a shark's tooth which has been identified as Carcharodon augustideus or megalodon. It is difficult to determine the relation of this stratum to the other layers in the vicinity, but it is probably of the same period as the laminated sands, and seems to be identical with a bed which Mather describes as occurring on Eaton's Neck. (Geol. 1st Dist., p. 228.)

At the brickyard near West Deer Park, beneath the gravel and drift, is a stratum of flesh-colored clay, underlaid by dark blue clay containing pyrites. I was informed by the owner, Mr. Conklin, that in the center of the hill of gravel the clay rises up in a fold. Between Bethpage and West Deer Park is a deposit of ferruginous conglomerate and sandstone formed by the solidification of the stratified gravel and sand or yellow drift. This rock is very similar in composition and appearance to one which occurs in fragments in the glacial drift and contains vegetable impressions. At Provost's yard, near Fresh Ponds, are quite extensive beds of brown sandy clay, reddish clay, and chocolate-brown clay, dipping from the shore. The red and chocolate clays are probably identical with the similar beds at Crossman's in Huntington.

Lake Ronkonkoma is in a basin of which the bottom is about 210 feet below the high ground on the south. Its southern bank is composed of laminated sand streaked with oxide of iron, and the rest of the shore appears to be formed of the same material. At Crane Neck Point are bluffs, 60 feet high, of sand and gravel containing masses of ferruginous sandstone of recent date. At Herod's Point the bluffs consist of fine yellow sand and gravel, slightly stratified, and dipping a few degrees south. Limonite concretions are here abundant. The bluffs at Friar's Head are about 120 feet high, and consist of yellow stratified sand with pebbles. Over these is a dune of yellowish drifted sand 90 feet high, making the total height of the peak 210 feet. On the west side of Robbin's Island is an exposure of blue clay overlaid by laminated ferruginous sand. The depth of this clay-bed has not been determined, but it is similar in appearance and quality to some of the clays near Huntington, especially at Crossman's brick-yard. A chalybeate spring issues from the laminated sand on the shore, a little to the south of the clay-pit. The clay bed appears to dip southward about 10 degrees throughout the whole extent of the island. Near the railroad between Southold and Greenport are two brickyards. At the more easterly of the two there are various deposits of stratified sand and clay very much folded and tilted. At this place the section exposed shows two parallel folds, the axes of which trend a little north of east. The upper stratum of brown clay contains angular fragments of mica schist. At the other yard they are working a bed precisely similar to that just mentioned and also containing angular fragments of rock.

On Sheher Island are high hills of gravel with a thin covering of till; the highest point is about 180 feet above tide. West of the village of Orient is a narrow isthmus of sand beach and salt meadow, about a mile and a half long and not more than ten feet above tide. East of this, on the north side of the peninsula. Brown's Hills extend along the shore for a mile and a half, the highest point being 128 feet above Long Island Sound. The structure of these hills is difficult to determine, as extensive landslides have occurred, and the slopes are covered with grass and bushes.

The micaceous sand occurs at the foot of the bluffs along the shore in this vicinity. It may also be seen half a mile west of Orient, in a bank by the road-side.

On Gardiner's Island a very complete section is exposed on the southeast shore, which exhibits the strata to the depth of about 250 feet. Here stratified sands and clays of various kinds and colors are raised up in two parallel anticlinal folds. In the southerly fold the stratum is a light red, fine, plastic clay, very similar to that at Grossman's in Huntington; it is here exposed to a depth of about 100 feet and is upheaved at a high angle, its outer slopes dipping about 45 degrees, while along the axis of the fold the lamina; are vertical. The northern anticlinal has about 15 degrees dip on either side, and in its north slope is a stratum of yellowish clayey sand containing a bed of post-pliocene shells, at an average height of 15 feet above the sea. The formation which is here brought to view probably underlies the whole of the island, as it is exposed at various other points. On the north and southeast shores the beds are very much disturbed and folded, and the surface of the island is raised in a series of parallel ridges corresponding in position to the folds and having a general trend of N. 65 degrees E. The highest point on the island is 128 feet above the sea; the bluffs along the shore being from twenty-five to seventy feet high. The fossiliferous stratum is about 20 feet long and four feet thick, containing an abundance of shells, most of which appear to have been crushed by superincumbent pressure. The locality was visited in 1863 by Prof. Sanderson Smith, who describes the bed as 150 to 200 feet long. * * * *

Napeague Beach, east of Amagansett, is three miles long and one-quarter of a mile broad, consisting entirely of white quartz sand. Along the shore on the north and south are dunes of drifted sand 20 or 30 feet high, but the main portion of the beach probably averages less than 10 feet above the sea. East of the beach the country for twelve miles to the end of Montauk Point is chiefly a terminal moraine, and as such I have already briefly described it.




Having thus reviewed in detail the various strata underlying the drift, we come now to consider their age and history. Without attempting to decide the geological equivalence of the crystalline rocks at Astoria, we will discuss the unsolidified deposits which have just been described.

From the position and strike of the Gretaceous strata in New Jersey and Staten Island, it has been surmised by geologists that they underlie Long Island throughout the whole or a portion of its extent. The locality at which the strata most resemble the Cretaceous beds of New Jersey is Glen Gove, where the clays already described are probably of this age. If the Cretaceous formation extends under the whole of Long Island it must occur at a very great depth, since deep sections at points east of Glen Cove do not reveal its presence.

In regard to this formation and the following, it should be understood that sufficient data have not yet been obtained to warrant an attempt to map out their extent. The only exposures are in vertical sections along the shore and in various clay-pits or similar excavations; and there being an immense amount of quaternary material overlying them, no satisfactory degree of accuracy can be as yet attained in this regard.

The Tertiary strata of Long Island cannot as yet be identified with much more certainty than the Cretaceous. From their character and position we may surmise that the brown and red plastic clays of Huntington, Gardiner's Island and elsewhere belong to the age in question, but we have no palaeontological evidence except from the shark's tooth found on Little Neck, which would identify the bed in which it occurred as Eocene or Miocene. The stratified sands and gravels, however, which overlie the supposed Cretaceous and Tertiary beds, and in turn are overlaid unconformably by surface drift and till, we may accept as Postpliocene, from the analogy of their composition, structure and position to the deposits of Gardiner's Island and Sankaty Head, of which the fossils determine the age beyond question; unfortunately, however, there is no unconformability to show where the Tertiary ends and the Quaternary begins.

In view of the fact that we have nowhere else any good evidence of a change of sea level amounting to 200 feet in the vicinity of New York during the Glacial epoch, we can only account for the high elevation of some of these fossils by supposing that they, with their containing beds, have been raised to their present position by glacial action in the manner I shall describe.

Of the physical conditions under which the presumed Cretaceous and Tertiary beds were deposited we know nothing; though it is reasonable to conclude that they consist of the debris of New York and New England rocks carried down from the highlands and deposited along the coast by rivers or by other agencies of transportation. The overlying deposits of stratified gravel, sand and clay, part of which, as before stated, are equivalent to the "yellow drift" of New Jersey, are also difficult to account for. They consist largely of transported material from older beds, and by their structure indicate that they have been formed by swift currents which carried along and deposited coarse and fine material mingled together. Their fossils, so far as we know, exclude them from the Tertiary, and they underlie the drift unconformably, although by definition the Glacial period begins the Quaternary age.

If, however, we assume in the Quaternary a succession of glacial epochs, or alternate periods of advance and retreat of the ice-sheet, as suggested by Croll's theory, we can explain the origin of the beds in question by supposing that during the epoch of glaciation immediately preceding their deposition the ice-sheet did not reach so far south, while the floods of the succeeding warmer epoch modified and spread over the sea-bottom the drift thus formed.

In order to appreciate more exactly the relations of these Post-pliocene beds to the glacial drift, it will be necessary to consider some very interesting phenomena. Along the north shore of Long Island from Flushing to Orient Point are exhibited most striking evidences of glacial action. We find the stratified gravels, sands and clays upheaved by the lateral pressure of the ice-sheet and thrown into a series of marked folds at right angles to the line of glacial advance, which, judging from the grooves and striae on the rocks of New York and Connecticut, was about S. 30 degrees E. The glacier having thus crumpled and folded the underlying strata, it evidently rode over them and continued its course southward, pushing before it an immense mass of sand and gravel, together with debris from the rocks of New York and New England.

The theory that Long Island Sound was a body of water previous to the arrival of the ice-sheet would seem to be sustained by the character of the detritus deposited by the ice on Long Island. From Brooklyn to Whitestone, where the sound is narrow, the till or drift proper is quite conspicuous; east of this it becomes less noticeable, and beyond Roslyn, as before stated, it does not again occur in abundance until we reach the vicinity of Greenport, where the Sound again grows narrow. This seems to be due to the fact that the finer debris of the northern rocks was carried along imbedded in the lower part of the glacier. The channel of the East River, owing to its narrowness, was filled up and passed over, the till being deposited to form the range of hills near Brooklyn; but in crossing the broader part of the Sound the ice probably lost the greater portion of its load of till, and only carried over the boulders which were on the surface or in the upper part of the glacier. On reaching the north shore of the island the alluvial gravel and sands were scooped up and pushed forward in front of the ice-sheet, to form the "moraine," and the boulders, when the ice melted, were deposited on the surface. The map shows that the principal bays on the north shore penetrate the land in a direction identical with that of the advance of the glacier. We may reasonably infer from this fact that these indentations were ploughed out by projecting spurs of ice, and the inference is supported by the fact that the bays are walled in by high ridges which have been formed largely through the upheaval of the beds by lateral thrust. The best example of this displacement in the formation of a bay is shown in the section at Grossman's clay-pit in Huntington, which I have previously described. Harbor Hill, which stands at the head of Hempstead Harbor, is 384 feet high and chiefly consists of gravel and sand more or less stratified. Jane's Hill, four miles S. S. E. of the head of Cold Spring Harbor, is 383 feet high, and is composed of the same materials. In the vicinity of each of these hills, moreover, there are other ridges and elevations averaging about 300 feet in height. Southeasterly from Huntington Bay we have the Dix Hills and Comae Hills rising about 250 feet. Southeast of Smithtown Harbor, we have Mt. Pleasant, 200 feet in height; in a like direction from Stony Brook Harbor are the Bald Hills, also 200 feet high. Again we have Reulands Hill, which is 340 feet in height, and has the same general bearing from Port Jefferson Harbor. About South 30 degrees East from Wading River, where there is quite a deep valley, we find Terry's Hill, 175 feet high. South of Great Peconic Bay rise the Shinnecock Hills, 140 feet, and southeasterly from Little Peconic Bay are the Pine Hills, about 200 feet high. From these instances it will be seen that the areas of high elevation bear a very marked geographical relation to the deep indentations of the coast. That this relation is due to glacial action, seems more than probable, as it can scarcely be an accidental coincidence that the highest hills on the island should be in a line with the deepest bays on the northern coast, and that the course of these bays should coincide with that of the glacier.

At every point along the north shore where a section of the strata is exposed, the flexed structure of the beds under the drift may be observed. On Gardiner's Island these folds are remarkably prominent, the surface of the island being broken with numerous parallel ridges having a general trend N. 65 degrees E. These ridges correspond to folds in the stratified beds, which the surface drift overlies unconformably, and as they are at right angles to the line of glacial advance it is difficult to conceive any agency which could have produced them except the lateral thrust of the ice-sheet. Unless these phenomena can be referred satisfactorily to some other cause, and of this I very much doubt the possibility, we have in these folds a strong argument against the iceberg theory, as it seems evident that a mere drifting berg could not develop sufficient progressive force to do the work here shown. A similar origin may be attributed to the ranges of hills which form the so-called "backbone" of the island, as their structure indicates that they have been formed partly of gravel and sand transported from the north shore and partly through the upheaval of the stratified beds by the friction of the moving mass of ice. As the downward pressure of the glacier was about 450 lbs. per square inch for 1,000 feet of thickness, and its progressive force was only limited by the resistance of the ice, it is quite reasonable to assume it capable of producing such a result. At one locality, West Deer Park, this is manifestly the case, and I have no doubt that in time it will be found generally true. The numerous springs that issue from the hillsides along the north shore also lead one to infer that the substratum of clay has been raised up in the center of the hills. The occurrence of the springs might be accounted for hypothetically by supposing that morainal hills, distributed on the plain, eroded horizontal strata of sand underlaid by clay; but this we know is not the case.

Mr. Upham, in his discussion of the moraines, attributes all the stratified deposits to diluvial and alluvial action in the Champlain period, to which the Gardiner's Island deposit has been erroneously referred. He also concludes that the more southern drift hills, which are from 200 to 250 feet high, were formed in ice-walled river-channels formed upon the surface of the glacial sheet when rapidly melting. That this process has taken place in some cases quite probable, as there are undisputed kames in certain places; but from the analogy of the deposits in question to the others described, I am inclined to refer them generally to the same causes.

The changes which have occurred on Long Island since the retreat of the glacier have been mainly topographical, and unquestionably very extensive. The streams of the Champlain epoch carried down the drift from the moramal hills and distributed it on the plain to the south, forming in many places local beds of clay. In the vicinity of Bethpage and elsewhere are hillocks of stratified sand similar in appearance to the New England kames. The valleys mentioned above, which have been examined by Elias Lewis, Jr., are unquestionably the channels of streams resulting from the melting of the glacier.

The coast line of the island is rapidly changing on account of the action of the swift westerly currents, which are wearing away the east end and depositing the sediment along the north and south shores. By this means the bays which open into the Sound are rapidly becoming shallow. The Great South Beach is also an evidence of the action of the waves and currents in changing the outline of Long Island. We have, moreover, abundant evidence that the south shore has been gradually sinking. This subsidence probably began in the later Quaternary and may be still continuing.




Magnetite is the only metallic ore found on Long Island, and occurs almost everywhere on the beaches in the form of sand. It is not, however, sufficiently abundant in any one locality to render its collection profitable. A company was started some time since for the purpose of separating the ore. in the vicinity of Quogue, from its associated quartz and garnet sand by means of powerful electro-magnets; but the enterprise proved unsuccessful. Iron pyrites in its white variety, or marcasite, is common in the lower clay beds, but does not occur in sufficient abundance to pay for utilizing it. Lignite occurs only in small quantities and usually at great depths. Peat of an inferior kind, composed of the matted roots of grasses and other plants, occurs at the heads of most of the bays on the south shore, but is not used to any extent.

Although not productive of any of the valuable minerals. Long Island may be considered peculiarly rich, from the fact that almost the whole of the island can be utilized in the arts and trades. Its sands and gravels are of every kind in use, and its clays are suited for the manufacture of fine grades of brick and pottery. The most extensive deposit of fine pottery clay occurs at Glen Cove, on the premises of the Messrs. Carpenter. This clay is very plastic and burns a light cream color. The friable quartz pebbles described above produce, when shipped from Port Washington and the vicinity for building purposes, ground, the finest quality of white sand for glass and pottery. The deposit of kaolin is also unsurpassed. In addition to these materials, this locality furnishes fire-sand for pottery, gray and blue pottery clays and an excellent fire-clay.

The next locality of note is Huntington. In this town is an immense deposit of the finest brick clay, upheaved to such an elevation that it is easily accessible. The beds are worked at Grossman's and Jones' brickyards, and extend throughout Lloyds' Neck. Between Huntington and Gold Spring a large deposit of white pottery-clay has been worked for many years. The brick-clay extends east over ten miles, and is worked at Eckerson's yard on East Neck, and Provost's at Fresh Ponds. At Eckerson's and at Sammis' pits, on Little Neck, are immense deposits of fire-sand, which extend over Eaton's and Lloyd's Necks.

A little west of Greenport are two brickyards at which a bed of glacial clay is being worked. Between these two yards is a bed of mottled blue clay, used for making flower pots. The most extensive deposit of all, however, is that on Gardiner's Island. This clay is unsurpassed for the manufacture of bricks, and from the abundant supply of molding sand and the easy accessibility of the locality by water, must in time prove an important source of revenue.