Villages in 1875; Concluded

Footnotes to Long Island History

Villages in 1875, Concluded

February 17, 1955


Thomas R. Bayles


          Glimpses into village life of 1875 in Brookhaven town are presented interestingly in a booklet entitled “Handbook of Long Island,” published at the time by Richard M. Bayles.  The second and last installment of the series of village descriptions from the book follows.

          Medford; A railroad station on the main line of the railroad, containing two houses surrounded by woods.  A stage line crosses the Island from Patchogue to Port Jefferson at this point.

          Middle Island; A scattered settlement of 283 inhabitants containing two stores and two churches.  The people are farmers and peach growing receives considerable attention.  Judge Bartlett of the Supreme court has a country retreat here.  The place is connected by stage with the railroad at Yaphank.

          Miller Place; A post hamlet compactly built and beautifully situated on the elevated plain, one mile from the sound, five miles past Port Jefferson.  It has a population of 134 and lies in the midst of well-tilled farms.

          Moriches; A village of 259 inhabitants northeast of Forge station on the Southern railroad.  It has a paper mill on forge river, a school and a store.  The locality is a pleasant one, in the midst of level, well-cultivated fields.

          Mount Misery; A peninsula lying between Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai harbors on the Sound.

          Mount Sinai; A village of 275 inhabitants upon and among a wild cluster of rugged rocky hills, one mile from the Sound and two miles east of Port Jefferson.  It has a shoal harbor which has been rich in its product of clams.  There are two churches, Congregational and Methodist.

          New Village; An old settlement of farmers lying on the Middle Country road one mile north of Lake Grove, with a population of 200; was formerly called West Middle Island and contains a Congregational church.

          Norwood; A hamlet of half a dozen house about two miles south of Setauket.

          Old Field; A peninsula projecting into the Sound two miles north from Setauket.  It is occupied by about 25 farm houses and rural homes.  The land slopes gracefully and beautifully toward Conscience bay on the southeast and rises to a bold head overlooking the Sound on the northwest.  A lighthouse on the extreme point supports a lantern 67 feet above the water.  The Indians called the locality Cometico. 

          Patchogue; The largest village in the town with a population of 2,503, derives its name from the Indians.  It is growing rapidly and contains a large number of stores, offices, shops, hotels, boarding houses, two grist mills, a cotton mill, manufactory of woolen cloth, paper mill, planing mill, lumber yards, large public school and five churches.  There are also two newspapers, a bank, public library, lodges of Odd Fellows, Free Masons, Royal Arcanum and a Grand Army post.  Its principal prosperity are the oyster interests and the entertainment of summer guests.  The surrounding region is level, and a few good farms are worked.

          Port Jefferson; A village of 1,724 inhabitants at the terminus of the Smithtown and Port Jefferson railroad, and is located at the head of one of the most beautiful bays on the Long Island coast.  The locality was called Souwasset, by the Indians and by the English, Drowned Meadow.  It has for years been the scene of much activity in the ship-building industry, and there are six shipyards, eight sets of marine railways, two wharves, two steam flouring mills, two sawing and planing mills, large number of stores, hotels and shops, two newspapers, Free Masons Lodge and four churches.

          Ridgeville; A locality adjoining Middle Island on the east, comprising ten farm houses scattered over a two-mile square section.  A combined schoolhouse and Presbyterian chapel stands in the neighborhood and is used for both secular and religious teaching.

          Rocky Point; A scattered settlement of 200, on the north side of the town among the hills that border the Sound.

          It has landings on the sound shore from which cordwood is shipped.  There is one church and farming is the occupation of the people.

          Ronkonkoma; A settlement on the wooded plain lying mostly in Islip town.  Within Brookhaven town there are 96 residents.  A cigar factory is located here.  It was formerly called Lake Land.

          Selden; A village of 88 inhabitants on the Middle Country road.  Large quantities of melons and early garden vegetables are raised here.  A Presbyterian church is located here.  The settlement is connected by stage with the railroad at Waverly Station.

          Setauket; The original settlement of Brookhaven town is situated among a group of hills that furnish some excellent soil for farming and afford many picturesque nooks for rural homes.  The village has a population of 492, and has stores, grist mills, rubber goods factory and three churches.

          South Haven; A post hamlet on the west side of Connecticut River.  It has and inviting, quiet, homelike air about it and shows a rich soil and several well-cultivated farms.  The Suffolk club has a large house and trout stream here.

          South Setauket; The southern part of Setauket, formerly known by the Indian name of Nassakeag.  It contains one church.

          Stony Brook; A village of 549 inhabitants in the northwest part of the town in a hilly and picturesque region.  The village contains several stores, a grist mill, and a Methodist church.  The people are largely interested in maritime affairs.

          Strong’s Neck; The first residence of Colonel William Smith, the patentee of the Manor of St. George, and previously the home of a tribe of Indians.  It lies between Setauket harbor and Conscience by a and contains 480 acres, and belongs to the estate of Selah B. Strong.

          Swezeytown; A hamlet of tem farm houses in the northern part of Middle Island, surrounding two ponds.

          Woodville Landing; A hamlet containing a store and a few houses in the northeast corner of the town near the sound.  It is a landing place for shipping cordwood from the neighboring forests, extensive tracts of which occupy this part of the town. (Now Shoreham.)

          Yaphank; A pleasant village of 424 inhabitants containing a lumber yard, two grist mills, two stores, and two churches.

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