There has been a close connection between Long Island history and
Staten Island history, and Staten Island has been largely settled from Long
Island. The first settlement on Staten Island was at Onde Dorp, the present
site of Arrochar Park, near Fort Wadsworth. It contained but a few cottages
and was destroyed three times by the Indians. At Stony Brook was the first
permanent settlement. Nieuwe Dorp was a continuation of Stony Brook. Several
foundations of the old buildings may yet be distinguished. Long Neck was on
the site of the New Springville. It had one of the first public schools on
Staten Island. Smoking Point, later called Blazing Star, and later
Rossville, is a very old settlment. Tottenville was formerly the manor of
Bentley, named after the little vessel which brought Billopp to America.
Tompkinsville was laid out in 1814 by Governor Tompkins, who gave to the
streets the names of his children. The road from Tompkinsville to Richmond
is full of historic interest. On Pavilion Hill, at Tompkinsville, may be
seen an old British breastwork, which was rebuilt by Americans in the War of
1812. Concord was so named by the Emersons. Judge William Emerson, who was
county judge of Richmond County, lived there in 1840, and his brother,
Ralph, was a frequent guest, as was also Thoreau, the naturalist. West of
Emerson Hill is the Old Clinch homestead, built in 1700. It was confiscated
by British officers during  the Revolution.
	At Garretsons is the Perine home, erected in 1668, by one of the
Huguenot settlers, whose descendants still hold it. Captain Coughlin, of the
British Army, who married Margaret Moncrieffe, lived in this house while his
regiment was stationed at Staten Island. The old Moravian church at New Dorp
was built in 1763. The British made an unsuccessful attempt to burn it. Near
the head of New Dorp Lane stood for nearly 200 years the Rose and Crown farm
house, built by a Huguenot settler named Bedell. On July 4, 1776, Howe,
commander-in-chief of the British land forces in America, had his
headquarters there. In that house he first saw and read the Declaration of
Independence.  Here was planned the battle of Long Island to offset the
Declaration. The Black Horse Tavern is west of this site at the junction of
Amboy and Richmond roads. This was occupied by the British officers and here
they received the reports of the spies. A few hundred yards from the Black
Horse Tavern toward the west is Camp Hill, where stood the gambling den
which witnessed the ruin of many British officers. Near this on a level
depression now covered with trees was a duelling ground, where many famous
duels were fought. It is said that these two places caused the dishonorable
discharge of nearly fifty British officers. Beyond this on the Amboy Road
lies Stony Brook, where stood the first Waldensian church on the continent,
and the first church on Staten Island, the first trading post, the first
county court of Richmond County, and the second whipping post in that part
of the country. West of Stony Brook may be seen the remains of the Britton
homestead which, until a few years ago, was probably the oldest house
standing on the island.
	Beyond Green Ridge, between Huguenot and Rossville, is Woodrow. It
once held one of the very earliest Methodist churches built in America. In
the old Van Pelt house Bishop Asbury preached eleven days after his arrival
in America. The lower part of the island was known as Bentley Manor and
contains perhaps the greatest landmark in the borough, the Billopp house.
When the apportionment of the islands surrounding New York and New Jersey
was made, it was agreed that New York should have as many as could be
circumnavigated in one day. Captain Christopher Billopp, commander of a
small vessel, succeeded in including Staten Island in one day's sail, an act
which won from the Duke of York a tract of land containing 1,063 acres. This
includes the village of Tottenville. Under the roof of the Billopp house was
held the only peace conference of the Revolution. Benjamin Franklin, of
Pennsylvania; John Adams, of Massachusetts, and Edward Rutledge, of South
Carolina, were appointed as a committee by the Continental Congress, then in
session at Philadelphia, to confer on the issues of war.
	On the north shore the first object upon leaving St. George is the old
Pavilion Hotel, built in 1832, which was in the '50s the center of
attractiion for many wealthy Southerners. Sailors' Snug Harbor, a
world-famous institution, is the outcome of a will made by Robert Randall,
in 1801. The will was drawn up by Governor Daniel Tompkins and Alexander
Hamilton, and resulted in much legislation, in which Daniel Webster and Dr.
Emmett took part. The suits were not terminated till 1831, in which year the
corner-stone was laid. At Tompkins Place once stood the Fountain Hotel.
General Sullivan ordered this to be burned when he made his raid on Staten
Island, but the British succeeded in rescuing it. It was the scene of more
gaiety and social functions than any other of the ancient taverns on the
island. At Castle Corners was one of the oldest schoolhouses, being the
third on the island. It was just back of the site of the present school and
was built in 1784. At the junction of Brooks Avenue and Broadway is the
Tyler house, the former residence of the wife of the tenth President of the
United States, John Tyler. It later became the residence of the Russian
Consul General, whose coach and four-in-hand were the delight of the
neighbors. Old Place is interesting as the last Indian settlement or village
on Staten Island. Fort Wadsworth was established during the War of 1812 by
New York State. In 1847 the United States Government bought the property,
tore down the old forts, and built the present stronghold. The last shot of
the Revolutionary war is said to have been fired at this fort by a British
gunboat on Evacuation Day, 1783.

Source:  History of New York State 1523-1927
Publisher:  Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc.-New York, Chicago.
Copyright:  1927   Volume I ___________________________________________

                 Transcribed by Miriam Medina