them. In connection with this house he owned thirty acres
of land which his executors sold to Peter N. and Eder V.
Hanghwout, and which now constitutes an important and beau-
tiful portion of the village of Port Richmond. The large building
usually known as the Port Richmond or Continental hotel, at one
time belonged to him; it is still in the family, being now owned
by Mrs. C. J. Good. From the wharf in front of this hotel,
560 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
John Ryers ran a ferry boat to New York, fare 25 cents. John
Hilleker, who built the house next east of the brick house oc-
cupied by Mr. Mersereau, built a wharf nearly opposite his
residence, the remains of which are still to be seen, from
which he ran an opposition ferry, fare eighteen cents. Mr. Mer-
sereau bought both of these ferries, and ran his boats from the old
wharf. At the time Ryers ran his ferry, the place was known
as "Ryers' Ferry;" after the change of owners it was called
"Mersereau's Ferry," by which name it was known until that
of Port Richmond supplanted it.
Mr. Mersereau was member of assembly from this county
in 1807, 1808 and 1809, supervisor of Northfield in 1815, and
for many years one of the judges of the court of common
METCALFE. Though not among the oldest, this family is
among the most prominent ones of the county. Simon, the
progenitor of the family on Staten Island, came from England
in 1765, and settled in New York city, and was subsequently
appointed deputy surveyor of the colony. He left his son
George in England to be educated, until he was 17 years of age,
when he joined his father in this country. After studying law,
Gfeorge resided at Albany for a time, then went to Johnstown,
Fulton county, N. Y. He married the daughter of Commodore
Silas Talbot. In 1796 Gov. John Jay appointed him assistant
attorney-general, which office he held until 1811. He then re-
moved to New York, where he practiced law until 1816, when
he removed to Staten Island, and in 1818, when the office of
district attorney was made a county office, he was appointed to
perform its duties. He died in 1826. His children were Maria,
who married William S. Root, of Tompkinsville; Silas Talbot;
Simon; Catharine, who was the first wife of John B. Simonson;
Henry Bleecker; Georgiana, who married Daniel Fenn, of Mas-
sachusetts, and Louisa, twins, and George.
Henry Bleecker was born January 20, 1805, studied law with
his father, and was admitted to the bar in 1826. The same year
he was appointed district attorney for Richmond county, which
office he held until 1833. In 1840 he was appointed a county
judge, and the same year United States boarding officer at quar-
antine, in the revenue department, which place he occupied un-
til 1843. In 1847 he was elected county judge and surrogate,
the two offices having been united, and re-elected from time to
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 561
time until near the close of 1875, at the end of which year he
would have been legally disqualified by age, but he resigned to
take his seat as member of congress, to which he had been
elected as representative of the First congressional district. He
died at his home on Staten Island, February 7, 1881.
NICHOLAS C. MILLER. Prominent among the aggressive cit-
izens of the village of Port Richmond is Nicholas C. Miller, who
was born in New York city November 9, 1838. His ancestors
were among the original Dutch settlers of Manhattan island and
the places in its vicinity. After receiving a good education Mi 1 .
Miller began business in the dry goods trade, entering first the
employ of Burr, Griffith & White, at 61 Cedar street, and after-
ward that of Spaulding, Vail & Fuller and their successors. In
January, 1864, he began his career as an insurance man by ac-
cepting the cashiership of the International Insurance Company.
During the same year he assisted in the organization of the
Star Fire Insurance Company, becoming its secretary, and after-
ward, from 1868, till the present time, its president.
Rapidly familiarizing himself with the technical management
of fire underwriting, Mr. Miller acquired ere long a broad and
practical knowledge of its principles. He was made secretary
of the committee on rates and surveys of the New York Board
of Fire Underwriters, and in that capacity rendered important
services previous to and during the trying times of the great
Chicago and Boston fires. For two years he was the efficient
president of the board. On retiring from that position in 1886,
Mr. Miller was tendered by his associates in the board of
underwriters a highly complimentary testimonial to his value
as an officer and the esteem with which he was regarded as a
In June, 1885, Mr. Miller was elected a trustee of the Mutual
Life Insurance Company of New York city, and has since that
time constantly taken an active part in promoting its interests.
He is also connected as a director with several corporate enter-
prises in New York, Staten Island and Chicago, among them
the North River Bank of New York city and the First National
Bank of Staten Island. He is business-like by habit and cour-
teous in manner, familiar with the progress of the country both
east and west, and cultured by travel abroad. He possesses an
experience in affairs and a knowledge of men most valuable to
an enterprising American.
562 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
Since 1865 Mr. Miller has been a resident of Richmond
county, in the affairs of which he has been deeply interested.
He is a member of the Reformed church of Port Richmond and
is well known in the social life of Staten Island. He married
Miss Emma Cropsey, daughter of Jacob R. Cropsey, and they
have four children, three of whom reside with their parents.
MORGAN. This family was on Staten Island at an early date,
but the notices of them in the records are very few. Thomas
Morgan was a member of the colonial assembly from this county
in 1692. This is the first occurrence of the name in the county
records. His name occurs again in the Dutch church records
as having a son Abraham, baptized May 5, 1696. and a daugh-
ter Martha, September 7, 1698.
Thomas (probably a son of the former) and Magdalena Staats,
his wife, had the following children : Elisabet, baptized Febru-
ary 7, 1725; Magdalena, baptized February 12, 1727; Pieter,
baptized March 9, 1729; Thomas, baptized October 10, 1731; and
Sarah, baptized September 16, 1739.
The name does not again appear until December 16, 1754,
when William Morgan and Elizabeth Winter wei'e married. It
is probable that William was the son of Pieter mentioned above,
though not certain. William had a son John, who lived and
died in the vicinity of Xew Springville. Among his children
was a son Charles, who married a. Vroom, and they were the
parents of Mr. Henry C., of Travisville, and his brother, the
late John Vroom, of Mariners' Harbor.
OLD FAMILIES AND PROMINENT INDIVIDUALS (Concluded).
Ferine. Poillon. Post.- Prall. Aquila Rich. Alfred Z. Ross. Ryerss.
Seguine. John G. Seguine. Henry S. Seguine. Sharrott. Francis G.
Shaw. Simonson. Stil well. Sprague. Taylor. Totten. -Epraim J. Tot-
ten. Tyson. Van Buskirk, Van Duzer. John H. Van Clief. The Vander-
bilts. The Van Name Family. Van Pelt. Wandel. Albert Ward.
Stephen Whitman. Winant. Garrett Ellis Winants. Woglorn. Wood.
Abraham C. Wood. Jacob B. Wood. Abraham J. Wood. Other Families.
Eminent Men and Women of Staten Island.
FERINE. The original orthography of the name was Pen-in.
Count Perrin was a Huguenot refugee from Nouere; the Ameri-
can family are not descended from him, but the original emi-
grant was akin to him. The first occurrence of the name in
this county was in 1687, when Daniel Ferine sold land, and he
was probably the progenitor of the Perines of the present day.
Like many other old families in the county they have a family
record, but very imperfect, except, perhaps, for the last two or
three generations. The branch which we are able to trace, lived
for a century and a half, or more, in the same house, which is
still standing, and occupied by them, on the Richmond road, a
short distance north of Garrison's station, on the Staten Island
railroad. It is probably the oldest dwelling house in the
county occupied by the family who built it.
Cornelius S. and Joseph E. are the sons of Simon S., who
was the son of Joseph, born June 4, 1759, died April 16th,
1814. Joseph's brothers were Edward, born July 6, 1766, and
Henry, born November 29, 1768, and married Mary Winant,
June 21, 1795 ; they were the parents of Mrs. Elizabeth, relict
of the late Richard Tysen, Esq. Joseph's parents were Edward
and Ann ; Edward died during the revolution. We are unable
to trace the pedigree of any branch of the family beyond Ed-
ward, with any degree of certainty. Probably Edward was the
son, possibly the grandson of Daniel, whom we suppose to be
564 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
In addition to the above, the following are found on the
county and 'church records, on tombstones, etc. Henry and
Susannah his wife had a son Edward, born February 19, 1758 ;
a son Peter, born May 22, 1764. Henry made his will April
10, 1788, which was proved June 7, 1788, in which he mentions
his wife Susannah and his children, David and Cornelius, then
minors, and his other children, Edward, Margaret and Susan-
nah, Abraham, Henry, Nancy and Mary. This younger Henry
was a weaver, and made his will October 29, 1792, which was
proved April 2, 1793, in which he speaks of his brothers, David,
Cornelius and Edward, but alludes to no wife nor children.
Henry and Ann his wife had a son Abraham, born February 1,
1766. Henry and Hannah his wife had a son Henry born June
5, 1767. James and Nannie had a daughter Sophia, born July
17, 1767. William and Miranda his wife had a son Peter, bap-
tized J une 27, 1790. Edward and Patience Mersereau were mar-
ried June 7, 1790, and had a daughter Mary, born October 9,
1790. Abraham and Sarah Rezeau were married August 24,
1790, and had a son Peter Rezeau, born September 20, 1791.
Peter and Mary Bedell were married December 31, 1788. Ed-
ward and Adriar Guyon were married January 20, 1791. Henry
and Magdelena Simonson were married June 19, 1800.. Corne-
lius and Mary McLean were married March 31, 1804. Edward,
born in 1745, died November 22, 1818. James G., born August
29, 1796, died September 17, 1833. There was a Peter, living in
1766, and a Henry in 1767, who were interested in the purchase
or sale of land.
POILLON. The first mention of the name found was in connec-
tion with Staten Island when Jaques Poullion was appointed a
justice for Richmond county, December 14, 1689, by Leisler.
The family were very numerous. Jaques is frequently men-
tioned as buying or selling land prior to 1703. After him we
have no notice of any member of the family for half a century;
then John and Margaret, his wife, had sons: John, born June 6,
1753; Peter, born January 27, 1763, and James, baptized No-
vember 3, 1772. James and Frances, his wife, had a son John,
baptized November 14, 1762. Peter and Margaret, his wife, had
a son John, born October 28, 1770, and a son Peter, born March
6, 1772. This Peter was a communicant in St. Andrew's church,
1792, after his father's death. Abraham and Susan Cole mar-
ried June 17, 1790; he died young. John and Elizabeth Seguine
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 565
married July 5, 1792. Abraham made his will July 20, 1791,
proved August 8, 1791, in which he mentions his wife Susan,
and his son Peter, a minor. John, named above, made his will
March 16, 1802, proved February 18, 1803; mentions his wife
Margaret, his daughters Mary, Margaret, Ann, Sarah and
Catharine, and his sons Peter, John and James, deceased. There
were three or four Johns, but they had all disappeared many
POST. Adrian Post, who was, without doubt, the progenitor
of the family on Staten Island, was commander of a ship which
brought emigrants to the colony before 1650. He was subse-
quently the superintendent of Baron Van deCappelau's planta-
tion on the island. The Indian massacre of 1655 drove him
temporarily from the island, but he soon returned, and resumed
his residence there. His family consisted of his wife, five chil-
dren and two servants. John, who was probably a grandson of
Adrian, married Anna Housman, and they had the following
sons baptized: Abraham, April 19, 1743, and Adrian, April 26,
1748. Garret and Sarah Ellis had the following sons baptized:
Garret, August 7, 1754, and Abraham, March 12, 1758. Abra-
ham had a daughter Miriam, born July 31, 1790. There was
another .Garret, born in 1720 and died March 31, 1797.
PRALL. The later representatives of the family are Hon.
Benjamin P. Prall, of Huguenot, Westfield, and his brother
Captain Arthur Prall, of New Springville, Northfield. Their
father was Peter Prall, born 1763 and died November 1, 1822;
his father was Benjamin Prall, born 1733 and died 1796; his
father was Abraham Prall, born 1706 and died September 28,
1775; his father was Peter Prall, whose name we find recorded
as a witness or sponsor at a baptism in 1708; he had an older
son than Abraham, viz.: Arent, born 1698, and a younger, Isaac,
born 1710. This- brings us very near or quite to the original of
the family. There was, however, an Arent Prall, who probably
was either father or brother of the last mentioned Peter. We
find his (Arent' s) name on record as owning one hundred and
twenty acres of land on Long Neck in 1694.
Other members of the family, not in the above line, were
Peter, born April 9, 1735, and died February 28, 1822, and his
brother Abraham, born 1740, died May 6, 1820. He had two sons,
viz.: Daniel, drowned October 10, 1817, and Ichabod, a merchant
566 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
in New York; Daniel married Ann Mersereau January 22,
Scattered through various records we find the following,
whom we are unable to place, viz.: Aron, Jr., and his wife
Antye Staats, had a daughter born Mav 21, 1715; a son Aron
in 1717; a daughter in 1719, and a son Peter in 1724. Aron, or
Arent (not Jr.) and his wife Maritje Bowman had a son William
Joris, born 1730, and a son Hendrick born 1735. Isaac (prob-
ably the son of Abraham above mentioned) and his wife Maria
Debaa or Dubois, had a daughter born in 1746, and another in
1748; a son Peter in 1744. and a son Lewis in 1751. Benjamin
and his wife Sarah Swairn had a son Abraham born in 1752, and
a son John in 1766. John (wife's name not given) had a daughter
born in 1719. Abraham and Sarah Cannon were married
in August, 1776. John and Martha Latourette were married
January 14, 1802. There was a Wolford Praule, who was a
freeholder as early as 1695, but he was not probably connected
with this family, as his name was spelled differently, and there is
no further notice of him.
AQUILA RICH. Prominent among New York business men
residing on Staten Island is Mr.Aquila Rich, of the well known
firm of C. T Raynolds & Co. Mr. Rich's ancestors were among
the first New England settlers, and many interesting facts con-
cerning them are contained in the " History of Cape Cod."
The family coat of arms is still preserved and a copy is now in
Mr. Rich's possession. His grandfather, after whom he is
named, was a sea captain and shipowner, and twice suffered im
prisonment for his loyalty to the American cause. During the
revolutionary war he was captured by the British and confined
in Dartmore prison, England, for three years, and in the war
of 1812 both himself and his ship were taken while in the act
of running the blockade. He was retained in Halifax as a
prisoner of war and died there on the day upon which he was
to have been exchanged. Mr. Rich's father, who is still living,
and who resides at Waltham, Mass., was for many years an
active New England merchant and manufacturer, and it is from
him that Mr. Rich inherits his energetic and persevering quali-
ties. In youth he was apprenticed to a silversmith, became a
manufacturing chemist at Boston, Mass., and finally a glue
manufacturer at Woburn in the same state. It has been his
misfortune to suffer from blindness during the past few years.
L \c\ Mtlo. / \\c\v
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 567
Aquila, of whom we write, was born in Boston, March 23,
1835. He attended the " Hawes " public school in South Boston,
from which he graduated in 1850. At the age of fifteen he was
apprenticed in the old English style to the wholesale drug house
of Brewers, Stevens & Gushing, sign of the good Samaritan,
Washington street, Boston, where he remained four years. At
the expiration of that period he received a flattering offer from
a cousin doing business in New York city and came thither, but
the unsuccessful termination of his cousin's enterprise a year
later left him without a position, and his tastes leading him in
that direction he decided to follow the sea, which he did in sev-
eral capacities till 1859. He then entered the employ of Ray-
nolds, Devoe & Pratt, dealers in paints, oils and artists' ma-
terials at Nos. 106 and 108 Fulton street, New York city. Here
he remained as a clerk for twelve years, after which he became
a member of the firm, ranch of its subsequent success being due
to his clear head and business ability. Since he entered the
house in 1859 the firm name has twice changed; first to Ray-
nolds, Pratt & Co. and later to C. T. Raynolds & Co., as it is at
present known. . The influence of the house in the business
world is far-reaching and powerful, and its policy is character-
ized by careful integrity and honorable dealing in all its vast
In] 1871 Mr. Rich removed to Staten Island, where he pur-
chased his present residence and where he has since acquired
other property. He early connected himself with Christ church,
in which he has served for many years as vestryman and of
which for the last three years he has been treasurer. He is a
life member of Beacon Light Lodge No. 701, F. & A. M., of
New Brighton. In 1885 he was appointed Deputy Grand Master
of the order for Richmond county and was reappointed the
following year. He is also a life member of the " Staten Island
Athletic Club." For several years he has been a trustee of the
Smith Infirmary, and has served for five years as treasurer of
the commit tee and manager of the annual charity ball held in aid
of that institution. He is also a member of the building com-
Though in no sense of the word a politician he has been a
strong republican, and as such twice elected to the county con-
vention, on both of which occasions Mr. George William Curtis
was chosen as delegate to the national convention. Both nf
568 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
these elections were simple tributes to the trustworthiness which
is liis prevailing characteristic, and were not brought about
either directly or indirectly through his instrumentality.
Mr. Rich is whole souled and cordial. The varied travels and
adventures, together with the extended business relations
which have diversified his career, lend to his conversation a
charm and vivacity which places all who are brought into con-
tact with him, of whatever station in life, at their ease, and
make their possessor a favorite in social circles. His simple
but comfortable home partakes of a warmth which is the result
of family love, jealously guarded by parents who understand
the value both of religious and social training to their children.
Mr. Rich married in June, 1861, Miss Beales, of Brooklyn.
He has four children still living, a daughter Susie having died.
The remaining children are: Harvey B., who is a member of the
New York Stock Exchange and one of the well known firm of
Horace L. Hotchkiss & Co., brokers; Aquila B., Seton Heather
and Clara O., all residents of Richmond county.
ALFRED Z. Ross, for many years prominent in real estate
and business circles in Richmond county, is the son of John
Ross, formerly a resident of Staten Island. John Ross (Scotch)
married Miss Sarah P. Zeluff, of an old Staten Island family
(German), and of their two children Alfred was the second.
He was born at Port Richmond July 26, 1844. During his
youth he attended the private academy of Theodore A. Thomp-
son, from which he entered the Ashland Seminary at Ashland,
Greene county, N. Y. Subsequently he studied in the public
school in Port Richmond, leaving it at the age of seventeen, to
engage in sail-making. He continued this till 1867, when he
became a clerk in the employ of Barrett, Nephews & Co., dyers,
where he remained till 1874. In November of that year he em-
barked in the real estate business at Port Richmond, in which he
still remains. Mr. Ross, by care in the management of his con-
cerns and the practice of thorough integrity in all his transac-
tions, has won for himself an enviable reputation among business
men as well as a sound financial success. He combines with the
real estate an extensive insurance business, being the represen-
tative of several companies both at home and abroad.
Mr. Ross has also been prominent in the politics of Rich-
mond county. During the year 1879 he represented the town
of Northfield in the board of supervisors in such a manner as
HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 569
to win the commendation of thinking men of both parties, and
his long attachment to the republican party entitles him to
a prominent place in its ranks. His genial temperament and
thorough business qualities are constantly winning for him the
esteem of all with whom he is brought into contact. He was
married June 2d, 1867, to Sarah E., daughter of Captain Garrett
KYERSS. We find this name at an early date on Long Is-
land. Arie Ryerse and Maerte Ryerse were assessed as owners
of property at Middelwout, now Flatbush, in 1676, but when
their connection with Staten Island began is unknown. Adrian
was born in 1715, and died December 12, 1779; his wife was
Hester Debaa (Dubois) ; their son Lewis was born December 7,
1754, and died April 13, 1806. Aris, another son of Adrian,
had a daughter baptized July 27, 1786, and a son David, bap-
tized October 17, 1790. Gozen, also a son of Adrian, made his
will October 21, 1800, proved January 13, 1802, in which he
speaks of his son John P., and his daughter Margaret, his
brother Lewis, and his grandsons Gozen Adrian Ryers, and
Ryerss De Hart. He was an exceedingly obese man, and re-
quired two ordinary chairs to sit upon; his wife was in the same
condition. He was a wealthy man, and owned property in
various parts of the county. In 1791 he became the owner of
300 acres of land, in the eastern part of the state, which, when
the line between New York and Massachusetts was finally de-
termined, fell within the latter state. To compensate him for
the loss of this land, the state of New York gave him a patent
for 1,800 acres in Wilmington township, Essex county, which is
known as Ryerss' grant to this day. He dwelt for many years
preceding his death at Port Richmond, in the large house
known as the St. James Hotel. He was a very prominent and
SEGUINE. We are obliged to be content with such informa-
tion as can be found in the local records, the earliest of which
is: Jean and Elizabeth Hooper had a son Jonas, baptized De-
cember 12, 1725. Jaques and Lady Mambrut, daughter Sara,
baptized March 3, 172S. A son Jean, baptized March 19, 1732.
Jean and Jaques stood sponsors for each other's children; they
were probably brothers. The above are from the records of the
Dutch church ; the following are from those of St. Andrew's :
James and Elsee, daughter Sara, born April, 1756 ; son James,
570 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.
born December 10, 1760. John and Sarah had the following
children : Elisha, born May 31, 1760 ; James, baptized July 18,
1762 ; and Henry, born February 4, 1764. Lawrence and Ann,
daughter Sara, born April 2, 1761. James and Caty, son
Stephen, born March 22, 1764 ; and son James, born April 5.
1766. James made his will June 13, 1795, proved October 7,
1795 ; mentions his wife Catharine and his children Barnt, Jo-
seph, Frederick, John, Henry, Stephen and James. John and
Rachel Mitchel were married in November, 1775. John and
Margaretta, sons John, baptized October 24, 1790, and Henry,
baptized October 27, 1793. James and Mary Guyon, married
June 30, 1791. Stephen and Susanna Poillon, married Novem-
ber 8, 1792. Henry and Jane Garretsou, married August 13,
1800. Stephen and Margaret Guyon, married March 5, 1805.
JOHN G. SEGUINE was born June 14, 1805, on the family es-
tate at Seguine's Point, Staten Island. His youtji was unevent-