I /i<-!<la, Erhardt, is abundant in drier locations. There are five
species of sumach, including the too well known "poison ivy '
(RTius Toxicodcjnlron, L. ) They are plentifully distributed
everywhere, with the exception of the "stag's horn sumach,"
which only occurs sparingly at Tottenville, Prince's bay and
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 27
Wild grapes are represented by four species, of which the large
fox grape ( Vitis labrusca, L.) is said to be excellent for pre-
serves. It is the original stock from which the Isabella and
other cultivated varieties have sprung. V. aestipalis, Michx.
and V. cord if of la, Michx., known as "frost grapes," are com-
mon everywhere, the small black fruit being ripe laie in
autumn. The second named frequently attains a large size,
climbing to the tops of the highest trees and becoming very
thick at the base, A magnificent vine formerly grew in the
ravine near the Kellet place, measuring 1 ft. 11 in. in circum-
ference at a distance of about two feet from the ground. It was
cut in two a short time ago, apparently for mere wanton de-
struction, and all traces of it will soon be obliterated. The
"Virginia creeper" (Ampelopxix quinquefolia, Michx.) and
"bitter sweet" (Celaslrus scandens, L.) are rapidly gaining
favor as ornamental vines for houses and fences. The
autumnal tints of the first are unsurpassed by any other plant,
and the bright orange and scarlet berries of the latter remain
unchanged almost throughout the entire winter. The Chinese
honeysuckle has escaped from gardens in places and may be
seen climbing over trees and bushes, apparently perfectly at
home. Such plants no doubt started from pieces thrown out
in rubbish heaps. The wild honeysuckle or "woodbine" is
quite common and is sometimes seen in cultivation. The
"trumpet vine" is thoroughly established in fields arid along-
hedge rows from Tottenville to Prince's bay, near the beach.
Ipnmnii /niinl nrata, Meyer, sometimes called " wild potato
vine'' and " man-of-the-earth," is common at Tottenville, es-
pecially in the pine groves. The flower resembles a convolvulus,
and the root is sometimes as large as a man's arm. It is
deeply buried in the ground, however, and requires considerable
digging to extract it.
"Catbrier" is common everywhere, forming dense and im
penetrable thickets in places, affording fine cover for birds and
small animals. The few game birds and rabbits that yet remain
on the island owe their existence to this plant more than to
almost any other cause. Clematis Virginiana, L., commonly
called "clematis" and "virgin's bower," is extensively gath-
ered for household decoration in the autumn, when the bunches
of feathery tailed seeds are ripe. Another species of clematis
(C. oclirolt'iti'it, Ait. ) is abundant on Todt hill and near Rich-
28 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
mond. It is a low plant, about a foot or two in height, bearing
heads of feathery seeds similar to the first mentioned. It is one
of Staten Island's characteristic plants, as it is very rare in
other parts of the United States, being known in bnt few
localities, mostly in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Botanists
from all over the country have made trips to Staten Island to
collect specimens, and they are now contained in nearly all the
large herbaria of the land. Another plant, rare elsewhere, is the
"mouse-ear chickweed" (cerastium oblong (folium, Torr.) It
grows in company with the latter, especially on and near Todt
Hill, in the rear of the Moravian parsonage. About the latter
part of May the flowers are in full bloom, forming conspicuous
white tufts and masses. This locality will well repay a visit
at this season of the year, as "bird's foot" violets and the
delicate little "bluets" are at their best about the same time,
and all grow in luxuriance together.
" Trailing arbutus " or " Mayflower" was, and is yet, abund-
ant from Eltingville to Tottenville, near the salt water. Un-
fortunately its location is known to many people in both New
York and Brooklyn, who organize " arbutus parties " every
year and carry it away by basketfnls. There is no doubt that
the near future will see its entire extermination if the present
rate of destruction continues. It is one of the earliest flowers
to bloom in the spring, generally showing itself before April,
and sometimes during the first week in March. Other early
flowers are the " liverwort," which is common everywhere, and
the " whitlow grass " (Draba verna, L.), which is particularly
abundant at Tottenville. In the warm sandy soil of the latter
place it is sometimes in bloom during February, and may fairly
be considered as our earliest spring flower. In company with
it grows the "crane's bill (Erodium cicutarium, L. Her.). This
plant has been found in blossom there during every month of
the year, the late flowers frequently holding on throughout the
winter until the new blossoms appear in the spring. "Blood-
root" is abundant in several restricted localities, which are
fortunately not well known, and as the plant is in blossom very
early it is out of bloom and inconspicuous before people are
likely to be rambling through the woods. It grows well in the
garden and might become a favorite. The common " water
cress" has been introduced in several of the water courses and
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 29
thrives finely. Certain parties have for years been in the habit
of gathering it for sale.
The violets, so familiar to all, number twelve species and va-
rieties, all common, with the exception of Viola tricolor, L., var
arvensis. which is the immediate ancestor of our garden pansy.
A species of cactus (Opuntia vulgar is, Mill.) is common at Tot-
tenville and South beach, and also sparingly on Todt hill. It
readily bears transplanting, and is a beautiful object when in
full bloom. Dypsacus syloestris, Mill., the common " teasel,"
is thoroughly established along roadsides near Garretson's and
Bull's Head, and in the brick yards at Green Ridge. The pres-
ent plants are doubtless the offspring of those that were culti-
vated years ago when the hand-weaving of cloth was a home
It will probably surprise some people to know that the island
possesses nineteen species and varieties of ' golden rod ''and
twenty-five asters. Many of these are well worthy of cultiva-
tion, but are too common to attract more than passing attention.
In England, however, they are highly appreciated, and many
of these species may be seen there adorning the gardens.
\Yintergreen grows in certain small patches, but is not abund-
ant and does not seem to fruit very freely.
One of the most gaudy plants is undoubtedly the so-called
"painted cup" (Castilleia coccinea, Spreng ). It is very
abundant in the Clove lake swamp, but has not been found else-
where. Both the yellow and red grow side by side. Several
other rare plants make this place their home, among which
may be mentioned the "grass of Parnassus" (Parnassia Car-
oltniana, Mich x.) and the orchids Calopogonpulchellus, R. Br.,
and Pogonia ophioc/lossoides, Nutt. For many other plants,
likewise, it is a favorite spot, and has quite a reputation among
botanists as a favorite hunting ground.
The common "cranberry" is abundant in certain peat bogs
near Richmond, and appears sparingly near Clove lake. It is
likely soon to be exterminated in both localities, in the latter
owing to a rise in the level of the water, and in the former on
account of the drainage of the swamps. Its flourishing condi-
tion at Richmond suggests the possibility of utilizing the peat
bogs for its culture.
It is a noteworthy fact that nearly all our worst weeds are plants
that have been introduced and are now naturalized. Among
30 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
these may be mentioned Galinsoya parniflora, Cav., which was
unknown here a few years ago. but has already become a
nuisance in many places. Its advent is so recent that, although
very abundant, no common name has yet been given to it. The
eleven species of Chenopixraini and Amaranthiis. known as
" wormseed," "pigweed," " prince's feather," etc., are familial-
objects in all waste places, rubbish heaps, and cultivated
grounds. They are all introduced plants.
"Mistletoe" has been reported, on good authority, from
the neighborhood of Clifton, but no specimens have been pre-
served and it has not recently been found. Twenty-four species
of orchids, several very rare, are known to occur here. The
"ladies' slipper" (Cypripeduim acaule, Ait.) is the most con-
spicuous and is very abundant at Tottenville, Watchogue and
one or two other points. 'The "crane fly orchis" (Tipvlaria
discolor, Nutt.) is abundant in most of the deep woods, but is
so inconspicuous as to escape general attention. The so-called
' screw plants" belong here, of which there are four species,
two of which are worthy of mention. They occur only at
Tottenville and are not very common there. These are Spiran-
thes simplex, Gray, and S. gramivea, Lindl. -car Walter!, Gray.
The rushes and sedges number about ninety, and the grasses
about one hundred and twenty species. The ferns show
twenty-eight species, of which the rarest and least known
is probably Cystopteris frag His, Bernb. It is confined to a
little rocky valley near Egbertville. "Maiden's hair" is
everywhere abundant, as is also the common " shield
fern," which is evergreen. The " scouring rush" (Equisetum
hyemale, L.) is abundant at Tottenville on the bluff overlook-
ing Raritan bay. There are five species of "club moss" or
"lycopodium," so well known as "ground pine" and used for
Christmas decorations. They are, however, none of them suf-
ficiently abundant to be of any economical value.
The herbarium from which the original catalogue and appen-
dices were compiled is now in the possession of the Natural
Science Association, and is one of the most complete local
herbariums in the country. Lists of the lower forms of plant
life (Mosses, lichens, &c.) are in course of preparation by
different members of the Natural Science Association, but it
will take many years yet to make them complete.
Years ago the island was frequented by deer, foxes and some
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 31
other large animals, and within the last half century foxes have
been known, but none of these animals are now known to live
wild upon the island. At the time of the revolution it is said
there were plenty of foxes and raccoons, and some opossums.
Not many years after the war the last deer known to be upon
the island were shot. Forty years ago the skunk abounded,
and about that time a mink was caught in the act of making a
raid upon a poultry yard. Wolves were also among the trouble-
some animals during the early years of settlement here. The
records tell us that about the close of the seventeenth century
the county paid a premium on all wolves that were caught. An
entry before us shows that in 1698 Thomas iStillwell received
fifteen shillings for a wolf and Cornelius Tysen received one
pound for a wolf s head. Different bounties were offered for
animals of different sex and age, as was the custom in many
counties of the state. By this means those animals were soon
exterminated. The mammalia now known to the island are
weasels (least and common), mink, skunk, moles (common and
star-nosed and mole shrew), gray and flying squirrels, chipmunk,
jumping mouse, Norway rat, common, house and deer mice,
muskrat, rabbit, brown, red, hoary and silver black bats.
The following list, prepared by Mr. Arthur Hollick and his
indefatigable associates, represents that part of the bird fauna
of Staten Island which is known to have nested here within the
past fifteen years. Several species not in the list would no
doubt have been included had it been compiled a quarter of a
century ago, and there is a probability that continued careful
search will reveal others. The value of this list will be appre-
ciated by those who have noticed the gradual disappearance of
some of the island species, and the scarcity of others that were
formerly abundant. We omit the scientific names from this
Robin, wood thrush, In-own thrush, mocking bird, cat bird,
blue bird, tufted titmouse, chickadee, house wren, long-billed
marsh wren, short-billed marsh wren, summer yellow bird, oven
bird, Maryland yellow-throat, yellow-breasted chat, scarlet
tanager, barn swallow, white-bellied swallow, eave swallow,
cedar bird or wax-wing, red-eyed hang bird, white-eyed hang-
bird, yellow bird, sea-side finch, sharp-tailed finch, swamp
sparrow, song sparrow, chippy, field sparrow, English sparrow,
indigo bird, cardinal grosbeak, chewink. bob-o-link. cow bird.
32 HISTORY OP RICHMOND COUNTY.
red -winged blackbird, meadow lark, orchard oriole, Baltimore
oriole, crow blackbird, common crow, fish crow, blue jay, king
l>ird, great crested flycatcher, phcebe bird, peewee, least fly-
catcher, night hawk, chimney swallow, ruby-throated humming-
bird, belted kingfisher, black-billed cuckoo, yellow-billed
cuckoo, downy woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker or high-
older, golden-winged wood screech owl, sharp-shinned or pigeon
hawk, red-shouldered hawk, fish hawk or osprey, wild pigeon,
quail, woodcock, teeter-tail or peep, shytepoke, and clapper
rail or mud hen.
Coming down to the lower orders and lesser wing creatures
we have the following list of butterflies which have been
captured on the island. This has been kindly furnished us by
Mr. William T. Davis, to whose labors in this department of nat-
ural history we are indebted for its compilation. The list
though not supposed to be entirely complete comprises:
Papilionidae, Papilio Philenor, L. Papilio Asterias, F.
Papilio Troilus, L. Papilio Turnus, L. Papilio Turnus, dim.
var. Glaucus, L. Papilio Cresphontes, Cram. Pieris Protodice,
Bd-Lec. Pieris Oleracea, Bd. Pieris Rapae, L. Colias Philo-
dice, Godt. Colias Philodice, var Alba. Terias Nicippe, Cram,
common in 1880, saw none before or since. Terias Lisa, Bd.
Nymphalidae. Danais Archippus, F. Argynnis Idalin,
Drury. Argynnis Cybele, F. Argynnis Myrina, Cram. Ar-
gynnis Bellona, F. Euptoieta Claudia, Cram, one specimen,
Clove Valley, C. W. Butler. Melitaea Phaeton, Drury. Phy-
ciodes Tharos, Drury. Grapta Interrogationis, F. Grapta In-
terrogationis, var Umbrosa, Lintn. Grapta Comma, Harr.
Grapta Comma, var Dryas, Edw. Grapta Progne, Cram.
Grapta J Album, Bd. ; one specimen, New Dorp, Miss M. Brit-
ton. Vanessa Antiopa, L. Pyrameis Atalanta, L. Pyrameis
Huntera, Drury. Pyrameis Cardui, L. Junonia Laviuia, Cram.
Limenitis Ursula, F. Lirnenitis Disippus, Godt. Neonympha
Eurytris, F. Neonympha Canthus, L. Satyrus Alope, F.
Lycaenidae. Thecla Humuli, Harr. Thecla Calamis, Hiib.
Thecla Smilacis, Bd.; C. W. Leng. Thecla Henrici, Gr. Rob.
Thecla Niphon, Hiib, Watchogue. Feniseca Tarquiuius, G.
Chrysophanus Americana, D' Urban. Lycaena Pseudargiolus,
Bd-Lec. Lycaena Pseudargiolus, var Violacea, Edw. Lycaena
Pseudargiolus, var Lucia, Kirby. Lycaena Pseudargiolus, var
Neglecta, Edw. Lycaena Comyntas, Godt.
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 33
Hesperidae. Ancyloxypha Numitor, F. Pampliila Massa-
soit, Scud. Pamphila Zabulon, Bd-Lec. Pamphila Zabnlon,
dim. var. Pocohonfas. Pamphila Sassacus, Scud. Pamphila
Pontiac, Edw. Pamphila Otho, var Egeremet. Pampliila
Peckius, Kirby. Pamphila Mystic, Edw. Pamphila Cernes,
Bd-Lec. Pamphila Metacomet, Harr. Pamphila Verna, Edw.
Pyrgns Tessellata, Scud. Thanaos Brizo, Bd. Thanaos Juven-
alis, F. Pholisora Catullus, Cram. Eudamus Pylades, Scud.
Eudamus Lycidas, Sm-Abb; one specimen, Clove Valley. Eu-
damus Tityrus. F.
Mr. Davis has also furnished us with the following list of the
reptiles and batrachians of the island. In geographical distri-
bution some of the reptiles are almost confined to the Cretaceous
and those portions of the island covered by marine alluvium.
C. Pennsylvanicum seems to be restricted to the shallow pools
near the salt water. It occurs near New Dorp, Richmond Val-
ley station and Watchogue. Ophibolus triangulus is a rather
scarce serpent on the island. Ranahalecina, though found in
other portions of the island, is much more common on the marsh
land near Watchogue. The species of Diemyctylus have only
been observed in the hilly districts. In 1881 the "spade foot"
frog made its appearance in some numbers, but it has not since
been seen. No copperheads or rattlesnakes have been found.
Reptilia. Testudinata; Cistudo clausa, Nanemys guttatus,
Chrysemys picta, Malacoclemmyspalustris, Cinosternum Penu-
sylvanicum, Chelydra serpentina, Chelonia mydas: Ophfdia:
Heterodon platyrhinus, Tropidonotus sipedon, Storeria dekayi,
Entaenia saurita, E. sirtalis, Bascanium constrictor, Liopeltis
vernalis, Diadophis punctatus, Ophibolus doliatus triangulus.
Batrachia. Anura; Rana halecina, R. palustris, R. clami-
tans, R. temporaria, Scaphiopus holbrookii, Hyla versicolor, H.
pickeringii, Acris gryllus, Bufolentiginosus: Urodela; Diemy-
ctylus viridescens, D. miniatus, Desmognathus fasca, Heruida-
ctylium scutatum, Plethodon erythronotus, P. glutinosus,
Spelerpes bilineatus, S. ruber, Amblystoma opacum ,A. puncta
The waters about the island have from time immemorial
abounded with living creatures of value to the inhabitants. To
the aborigines the abundance of clams and oysters was a con-
sideration that attracted thousands hither. Seals frequently
have been seen about the bay, and whales have been known to
34: HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
enter and pass through the Narrows, up the river. Van der
Donck tells us that in 1647 two whales of common size swain up
the river forty miles, and one of them on its return stranded
about twelve miles from sea. The other he says ran farther up
and grounded near the ''great Chapoos falls." As late as 1841
a whale was seen sporting between the Narrows and Governor's
island, and another is reported as entering the bay some five or
six years later. The menhaden or moss-bunker abounded iu
these waters, and was formerly used in large quantities for fer-
tilizing the soil, the fishing commencing on the south shore in
June. Thirty or forty years ago these fish were sold to farmers
in large quantities at 75 cents a thousand. Soon afterward the
business of extracting the oil from them sprang up, and this
use being more profitable the price was increased until it became
about four times the one mentioned. This practically placed
the fish beyond the reach of the farmer. Clams are found in
large numbers along the shores of the island. The Great kills
was formerly noted for these bivalves. Some peculiarities in
the soft clams found at different points along the shores have
been noticed by those who have studied the subject. These va-
riations are attributed to the different conditions of the beach
upon which they are found. From New Brighton to the mouth
of the Narrows, where the shore is rocky, the clams are only
of moderate size, the ends being often broken and the outside
of the shell corrugated. On the sandy beach of the south
shore, which is open to the sea, the shells are very thin and of
even growth. All the lateral and transverse markings are com-
plete, the shells often very beautiful in form and color, and
here the largest specimens are found. About a half-mile south-
west of the "Elm Tree Light " the shore is composed of salt
meadow or peat, which is supposed to be too hard for the free
development of well formed shells, hence the clams found there
exhibit more deformities and are often more rounded in shape
than those found elsewhere. Beyond Seguine's point, however,
the shore resembles in character that of New Brighton, and the
clams also correspond to those of that shore. The oyster
growth and habits will be more particularly noticed in connec-
tion with that industry.
| Many traces of the savage occupants have been found upon
/the island. These are most common along the shores from
Prince's bay around to Watchogue. Shell heaps are found
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 35
that indicate that the work of wampum manufacture and the
preparation of clams and oysters for food was carried on in
those localities. The two most fruitful localities in affording
Indian relics are perhaps Totteiiville and Watchogue. Hun-
dreds of implements have been found, some mixed up with
debris of the shell heaps and others scattered over the fields.
These implements consist of net-sinkers, hammer stones, axes,
arrow-heads, mortars, pestles, beads, anvils, and others the use
of which is unknown. Arrow-heads were found by the bushel,
being turned up by the plow in most of the fields. Indian
burying grounds have been discovered near Tottenville, and
isolated remains at other points. In these interments various
implements accompanied the bodies, among which were arrow-
heads such as were used in war, those being distinguishable
from the arrow-heads used in hunting. Nearly all the arrows
found about the fields are of the latter kind. Among the
objects of special interest are discoidal and shuttle shaped per-
forated stones, supposed by some to have been intended as
ceremonial implements of some kind, and by others to have
been for the practical purpose of shaping bow-strings by draw-
ing the soft material back and forth through the small holes.
The discoidal stones have the opposite flat faces either ground
roughly or polished, and are of hard quartzite. The only
shuttle-shaped stone found is composed of soft banded slate.
As no material of this kind exists here it is supposed that this
specimen had been brought from Ohio or Illinois, where similar
objects had been found. Evidences of fire places have been
noticed in several of the shell mounds, specimens of cracked
and partly fused stone having been found. In some of the
stones the surface was entirely fused into a glass-like slag.
One of the most striking curiosities of this nature, however, is
the stone head found near Clifton in 1884. This was unearthed
by Mr. James Clark, in the latter part of February, while dig-
ging up the root of a blue huckleberry bush which he intended
to use in the manufacture of rustic basket work. It lay about
eighteen inches under the soil at a point two to three hundred
feet east of the railroad track, and near the Fingerboard road,
at the edge of a low dense swamp. In digging with a pick, that
instrument struck the stone and turned it up. The material is a
brown sandstone, apparently more compact than the common New
Jersey sandstone, and composed almost entirely of grains of
36 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
quartz with an occasional small pebble. The head is seven inches
high, four inches through the cheeks and six inches from the tip
of the nose through to the back of the head, and its weight is
about eight pounds. The nostrils are one and seven-eighths
inches across their base and the eyes are one and a quarter
inches long and five-eighths wide. They are raised in the cen-
ters and have a groove running around close to the lids. A
round hole one-fifth inch deep had been drilled in the lower
part of the nose, in the space between the two nostrils, evidently
for the purpose of fastening an ornament, and both nostrils
were hollowed out to some depth. The cheeks, in their lower
part, are sunken in a very curious manner, causing the cheek
bones to stand up very high. The forehead is low and retreats
at an angle of sixty degrees. A trace of what had been or was
to be the ear was noticeable on the right side. The back and
upper parts of the head are almost entirely rough and unworked,
as though the image had never been finished, or else was only
a part of some larger figure. The surface is rough and slightly
weathered, the cheeks, forehead and chin having single grains
of sand apparently raised above the surface as if by age and
exposure. The features are too well cut for a common off-hand
piece of work by a stone maker. The style is not Egyptian or
Eastern, so it does not appear that it could have been thrown
out here by any sailor or other person who had ever brought it
from across the ocean. It is said to bear some resemblance to
the Mexican, and still more to the Aztec style of work. The
spot where it was found is and has been within the memory of
man an unfrequented wild, remote from any habitation, and the
soil in which it lay is a compact sandy clay of light brown
color, in which a stone like this might lie buried for centuries
without much disintegration.
But we must draw this chapter of description to a close; but
in doing so we cannot refrain from introducing the beautiful
poem by James Biirke, entitled "The Isle of the Bay," which so