Richard Mather Bayles.

History of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time online

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Engine Company, No. 7, organized October 16, 1858; Clifton
Engine Company, No. 8, organized June 2, 1863; Rescue En-
gine Company, No. 9, organized May 1, 1879; Enterprise Hook
and Ladder Company, No. 1, organized December 5, 1856;



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 663

Columbia Hook and Ladder Company, No. 5, organized March
15, 1880; Neptune Hose Company, No. 1, organized March 16,
1878; Benjamin Brown Hose Company, No. 3, organized Jan-
uary 1, 1869; Clifton Hose Company, No. 6, organized Septem-
ber 6, 1863; Robinson Hose Company, No. 9, organized Feb-
ruary 17, 1880; Excelsior Bucket Company, No. 1, organized
October 20, 1858; Relief Bucket Company, No. 2, organized
May 11, 1863, also has a chemical engine attached; Tompkins-
ville Fire Police Company, organized 1859.

The officers of the department at present are as follows :
Chief engineer, William Schick; assistants, James Lestrange
and Thomas Willshaw.

The board of representatives, which is composed of two mem-
bers for each company, holds regular monthly meetings in the
village hall. The officers are as follows : President, N. J.
Macklin; vice-president, John Potthoff ; secretary, Joseph
Scott; treasurer, Robert Goggin.

Much valuable property has been rescued from destruction
by the efficiency of this department. The men receive no
compensation for their services, and the annual appropriation,
which is divided among the various companies, amounts to
only $2,500. There are four hundred active firemen on the
rolls.

The North Shore Fire Department, which is composed of the
companies located in the towns of Castleton and Northfield,
was organized on April 2, 1874, and was chartered on March
10, 1875. The first meeting of the board of representatives
was held in the house of Zephyr Hose Company, Port Rich-
mond, on Monday, May 18, 1874, when W. M. Washburne was
elected president and Wilbur F. Disosway secretary. The
following companies formed the department: Washington En-
gine No. 1, Port Richmond; Cataract Engine No. 2, West
Brighton; Port Richmond Engine No. 3; New Brighton Engine
No. 4; Zephyr Hose Company No. 4, Port Richmond, and
Medora Hook and Ladder Company No. 3, of West Brighton.

Immediately after the companies were drawn together as one
organization, a parade was held, which seemed to create a good
feeling throughout the department, the effect of which is quite
visible even to-day. Visiting companies and distinguished
guests were present, and it was a gala day for Staten
Island.



664 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

Later, a movement was made to create the office of fire
marshal for the county; but it was so strenuously opposed by
this department that it never took effect.

At times two or three companies have been rendered in-
capable of efficient service through the loss of members; but
during the past two or three yeai's special efforts were made
to revive the old time spirit of the department. Credit is due
to Chief Engineer E. A. Bourne, who has just retired from
office, for materially aiding to reorganize the department and
to replace it upon an efficient footing. The most successful
firemen's parade ever witnessed on the north shore was under
Chief Bourne's command on Thanksgiving day, 1885. Two
great conflagrations will ever cause this officer's memory to be
honored by the citizens of New Brighton, viz.: the burning of
the cotton warehouse at Tompkinsville, on January 20th,
where the firemen were in service for days; and the burning of
Bodine Brothers' lumber yard, West Brighton, on March 1,
1886. The latter occurred during the severest weather of the
month, and continued for two days and two nights, during a
heavy wind that threatened to spread the flames for miles along
the north shore, and to totally destroy at least two-thirds of
New Brighton. The department, aided by friendly companies
from Bergen Point, under the direction of Chief Bourne, re-
mained at the posts of peril until there was no longer any
danger. A single mistake on the part of the chief would have
lain waste the most valuable part, of the village.

The department now is composed of the following companies:
Washington Engine Company No. 1, Port Richmond, organized
October 7, 1853; Cataract Steam Engine Company No. 2, West
New Brighton-, organized August 19, 1844; Port Richmond
Steam Engine Company No. 3, organized August 24, 1859;
New Brighton Steam Engine Company No. 4, organized Oc-
tober 4, 1856; Aquehonga Hook and Ladder Company No. 1,
Mariners' Harbor, organized January 1, 1879; Granite Hook
and Ladder Company No. 2, Grraniteville, organized August 4,
1881; Medora Hook and Ladder Company No. 3, West New
Brighton, organized June 10, 1868; Friendship Hook and
Ladder Company No. 4, New Brighton, organized August 8,
1876; Zephyr Hose Company No. 4, Port Richmond, organized
February 22, 1861; Oceanic Hook and Ladder Company, Travis-
ville, organized 1880; Steady Stream Hose and Bucket



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 665

Company No. 2, Port Richmond, organized November 14,
1885; Alert Hose Company No. 1, New Brighton, organized
1885; Lafayette Hose Company No. 3, New Brighton, organ-
ized in 1885. Starin Hose Company No. 5, West New Brighton,
was recently organized.

The officers of the department are as follows: Chief engineer,
Elijah R. Vanderbilt; assistants, W. S. Sheehan, William
James, Robert Brown, Jr., and Matthew Porter.

The board of representatives is composed of two members
from each company. The officers are: President, John L. Dob-
son; vice-president, John S. Ward; secretary, Charles M.
Schwalbe; treasurer, D. D. Simonson.



CHAPTER XIV.



MUTUAL ASSOCIATIONS.



Staten Island Athletic Club. Clifton Boat Club. Staten Island Rowing Club.
Kill Von Kull Rowing Association. Staten Island Cricket and Base Ball
Club. German Association. Grand Army of the Republic. Masonic So-
cieties. Odd Fellows Lodges. Miscellaneous Organizations.



THE idea of starting an athletic club on Staten Island was
first thought of in 1877, by an old athlete named William
Iken. He was joined by Messrs. Oliver T. Johnson, Robert T.
P. Fiske, Fred and Frank Janssen, John W. Edwards and W-
J. U. Roberts. These gentlemen soon took steps toward or-
ganizing the " Staten Island Athletic Club," which was accom-
plished in the latter part of that year.

The officers for 1878 were as follows: William K. Soutter,
president; D. J. H. Willcox, recording secretary; H. A. Caesar,
treasurer; R. T. P. Fiske, corresponding secretary; O. T. John-
son, captain; C. Thorp, first lieutenant; D. H. Rowland, second
lieutenant; John D. Vermeule, John W. Edwards, Louis Hen-
derson, D. R. Norvell, Arthur T. Shand, F. L. Rodewald,
trustees.

Not until the fall of 1878, did the club hold its first success-
ful games, open to all amateurs. A grand stand of planks and
beams had been built for the occasion, and the never-tiring mem-
bers, Johnson, Chute, Collins, Hayward, Wemple, Dedrechsen,
Shand and Charles F. True could be seen with their hats, coats,
vests, collars and cuffs all off, working like laborers, with the
sun's rays pouring down upon them, stretching an old lighter's
mainsail over the top of the so-called grand stand, to keep the
fair sex from being burnt brown. But the games proved a suc-
cess, and the club was greatly benefitted by them, while, during
the winter months plans and arrangements were being made for
the following yeai-'s work.

The new boat house was started in 1880, and was finished far
enough for habitation the following season, so the club moved



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 667

what few boats, etc., it had to its new quarters, and thus boat-
ing was added to the already many attractions of this club.
This line house started a boom in the membership, as the roll
soon ran up to two hundred and sixty, while a year before but
sixty names were enrolled in all. The boat house is one of, if
not the finest around New York, and the members are always
delighted to show their friends and visitors around at any
time.

The club belongs to the " National Association of Amateur
Athletes," the "Kill Von Kull Rowing Association," and some
smaller associations. The roll stands now (1886) at two hun-
dred and seventy, including eighteen life members.

For several years past this club has been contemplating buy-
ing some land where an athletic track, grand stands, club houses,
etp., could be built, in keeping with its elegant boat house.
This piece of land has now been obtained on Bement avenue
(the same street the present grounds are now located on), and it
is intended to make here the finest track and grounds in Amer-
ica. The club also intends taking up tennis, base ball, foot
ball and lacrosse, in addition to their now many sports, and the
members will take part in all these games, while the club in-
tends giving matches, tournaments and such like entertainments.
The new grounds are four hundred and twenty by four hundred
and fifty feet, and at present (in its rough state) the field has
but one and one-fourth feet grade over its entire surface. The
grounds cost $10,000 cash.

The present officers are as follows: John W. Edwards, presi-
dent; Henry O. Bailey, vice-president; William C. Davis, re-
cording secretary; George M. Mackellar, treasurer; Edgar Hicks,
corresponding secretary; William C. Rowland, captain; R. T.
P. Fiske, first lieutenant; Anson L. Carroll, second lieutenant.
The trustees are: Oliver J. Johnson, William A. Lentilhon,
Frank G. Janssen, J. Eberhard Faber, W. F. Disosway, A. L.
Faris, Harvey B. Rich.

The "Clifton Boat Club" was organized in 1881, commencing
with a membership of eight, which has steadily increased. The
club house is charmingly situated at Clifton, and is a delightful
place to visit during the boating season. The house is sixty-
six feet deep by thirty-five feet wide, with a piazza twelve feet
wide on two sides, facing the Narrows. This club was started
as a social organization, and until last year, when a large crew



668 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

was sent to compete in the Kill Von Kull regatta, had not taken
part in rowing regattas open to other clubs. In September,
1885, the Cliftons held a fair for their benefit which cleared the
handsome sum of one thousand three hundred and twenty-nine
dollars and fifty cents, and this, together with good manage-
ment, has placed the club in excellent financial condition. The
present membership is seventy-five, and the value of the house
and other property is about six thousand dollars. The club
has purchased some new boats, and now owns one six-oared
barge, one four-oared gig, one paired- oared gig, twelve singles,
and two four-oared barges. The following comprised the officers
for the year 1885 : I. K. Martin, president; W. Hodges, vice-
president; Gregory McKean, secretary; S. Howard Martin,
treasurer; George A. Post, captain; Arthur D. F. Wright, lieu-
tenant. Board of trustees : N. Marsh, W. B. McKean, B. B.
Hopkins, C. M. Dodge, C. Barton.

The " Staten Island Eowing Club " was established at New
Brighton, Staten Island, in the spring of 1878, with a member-
ship of fifty and the following officers: A. P. Stokes, president;
H. L. Horton, vice-president; E. Kelly, captain; G. B. West,
secretary; G. S. McCulloh, treasurer; C. D. Ingersoll, lieu
tenant.

The club has not participated in any of the regattas or races
with other clubs, but has confined itself to the quieter exercise
of steady daily pulls. Every year the circuit of Staten Island
(forty miles) is made four or five times, the quickest time for
the distance (five hours and twenty minutes) having been made
by the four-oared barge crew in 1884. In 1883 a day was set
aside in each week for the instruction of ladies in rowing in the
boats of the club, and a large number of ladies are now enrolled
as members.

The officers of the club in 1885 were: H. R. Kelly, president;
A. B. Boardman, vice-president; W. Hodges, treasurer; J. E.
Bonner, secretary; E. Flash, Jr., captain; B. Leaward, lieu-
tenant.

The "Kill Von Kull Rowing Association," which is now one
of the best known organizations of oarsmen in the country, was
organized in 1880. It comprises the following strong boat clubs:
The Argonauta Rowing Association, Bayonne Rowing Associa-
tion, and Viking Rowing Association, of Bayonne City; the
Staten Island Athletic Club and Clifton Boat Club, of Staten




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HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 669

Island; the Alcyone Rowing Association and Arthur Kill Row-
ing Association, of Elizabeth.

At the first three annual regattas all these clubs but the Clif-
ton, were represented, and in the last two regattas every club
in the association contested one or more of the races. These re-
gattas have always excited great interest among oarsmen, and
the official record of the time made has invariably been accepted
without question in boating circles throughout the country, a
fact which speaks volumes as to the standing and management
of the association.

The regattas have usually been held upon the kills, but as
this course is objectionable for many reasons, it was decided at
the annual meeting of the association in 1885, to hold the re-
gattas thereafter on the Newark bay course.

The officers of the Kill Von Kull Association for 1886 were :
William C. Davis, of the Staten Island Athletic Club, president;
Pierson Haviland, of the Argonauta Rowing Association, sec-
retary and treasurer.

Regatta committee : R. C. Annett, of the Argonautas; W. A.
Lentilhon, of the Staten Island Athletic Club; Joseph Elsworth,
of the Bayonnes; George A. Squire, of the Newark Bay Boat
Club.

The " Staten Island Cricket and Base Ball Club," which is
the leading amateur cricket and base ball club of New York
state, had its grounds for thirteen years near the present ferry
landing of St. George, immediately on the bay, and one of the
most picturesque locations imaginable

In 1886, owing to the fact that the railroad company pur-
chased the grounds hitherto used by it, the clab purchased the
Delafield property, at the foot of Bard avenue, New Brighton,
for the sum of $40,000.

The grounds can be reached within thirty minutes from the
Battery, the nearest station being Livingston or Cricket station.

The club has over five hundred members, and the meetings
are held monthly during the summer months. The officers in
1886 were : William Krebs, president; Gfeorge S. Scofield, Jr.,
vice-president; N. S. Walker, Jr., secretary ; E. J. Shriver,
treasurer, all of whom, with the following, comprised the board
of directors: W. M. Donald, W. K. Jewett, I. A. Vyse, G. C.
Allen, W. H. Davidge, James W. Pryor, D. R. Norvell, W. H.



670 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

Clark and E. H. Onterbridge. The club was incorporated in
January, 1886.

The principal games played by the members are cricket, base
ball and lawn tennis. Most of the famous cricket matches
which have taken place within the last few years in New York
state have been arranged by this club. It has a junior member-
ship of one hundred.

Starting in 1873 with only about thirty members, each year
has added to its growth until to-day it has a membership of over
live hundred, and is one of the largest, if not the largest club
of its character in the United States. Having only a lease year
by year of its former grounds, it was never able to erect a large
club house. It has always been one of the social attractions of
the island, and sets aside one day (Friday) in each week for
the ladies, who have exclusive use of the grounds on that day.
The Ladies' Club has a membership of over three hundred, being
known as the Ladies' Club for Out Door Sports. The cricket
match played between the visiting team of gentlemen of England
and the Sta.ten Island Cricket Club, which took place on the
grounds of the Staten Island club in September. 1885, was one
of the most important events in the annals of cricket in this
country.

The "German Association Erheiterung" of Staten Island
has for its object the social, dramatic and musical entertain-
ment and instruction of its members, who are among the best
elements of our German-American citizens. The association
was organized December 10, 1861, and incorporated June 15,
1865. The presidents have been in succession the following :
John C. Cavelti, M. D., Charles A. Herpich, A. G. Methfessel,
Albert Krohn, Charles H. Graef, Otto Lindemaun and Charles
A. Herpich.

In addition to the German-American portion of its member-
ship there are a few native born Americans in the club. The
building at Stapleton, the seat of this club, formerly known as
the " Lyceum," was in 1874 remodeled and rebuilt by this asso-
ciation at an expense of about $40,000, and is now occupied as
their club rooms. It contains the finest hall on the island.
The club is in a flourishing condition, and has a membership of
about one hundred and fifty.

The "Robert G. Shaw Post, No. 112, G. A. R.,'' was named
in honor of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, son of the late Francis



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 671

G. Shaw, and brother-in-law of our distinguished citizen, George
William Curtis. He was colonel of the Fifty-fourth Massachu-
setts regiment (colored), and was killed while leading his men
at the storming of Fort Wagner. The expression of the rebel
commander is now historic. It was : " Bury him with his nig-
gers." In after years, his father was requested to signify his
wish to have the remains found and sent to Staten Island,
where, in the Moravian cemetery at New Dorp, there is a beau-
tiful granite cenotaph sacred to his memory, and which Post
Shaw decorates every year with garlands and other costly floral
ornaments. The father replied : " He led a despised race to
freedom; let him rest with his soldiers."

The present post was organized in 1881, the first officers
elected being the following : William Wermerskirch, C.; Stew-
art C. Allen, S. V. C.; John R. Dodge, J. V. C.; Dr. H. C.
King, S. ; Henry Holder, Q. M.; Henry Gardiner, Adj.; Henry
Waugenstein, O. D.; Thomas Me Adams, O. G.; Alfred S. Nor-
man, Chaplain.

The officers in 1886 were: H. M. Reyes, M.D., C. ; James Burke,
S. V. C.; Andrew Featherston, J. V. C.; Edward F. Vett, Adj.;
John H. Eadie, Q. M.; Dr. Van Hoevenberg, S. ; Eugene Burke,
Chaplain; Hermann Schultze, O. D.; James Cuffrey, O. G. ; John
Herrel, S. M. ; James McCarthy, Q. M. S.

There was a post named "Post Shaw" organized in 1868, but
after two years' existence it disbanded. Its officers included
the late Colonel D. Archie Pell, of General Burnside's staff, and
other able and efficient veterans of the war. It was succeeded
in 1871 by Thomas Francis Meagher Post, No. 88. of which the
first commander was Michael T. Burke, and the first adjutant
James Burke. Rivalry of ambition caused the downfall of this
post. It is hoped that the green-eyed monster will never find
a dwelling place in the halls of "Post Robert G. Shaw."

"Lenhart Post, No. 163, Department of New York, G. A.
R.," was organized on the twenty-second of May, 1880, with
the following charter members : William Tysen, Jacob Cougle,
John J. Vaughn, Jr., William De Waters, D. S. Reckhow, Da-
vid Newberry, Joseph Morey, H. R. Yetman, Andrew Abrams,
Wesley Marshall, Nathan Reckhow, William Stewart, John
W. Corson, David J. Johnson, John W. Gibbs and David C.
Johnson.

The first officers were: D. S. Reckhow, C. ; William De Waters,



672 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

S.V.C.; Jacob Cougle, J.V.C.; David C. Johnson, O. D. ; Andre w
Abrams, Q. M.; William Stewart, Adjt.; David Newberry, O.
G. The commanders for the following years were : D. S. Reck-
how, 1881-2-3; Charles Thrall, 1884; J. C. Heney, 1885, to the
present time.

The officers for 1886 were: J. C. Heney, C.; W. Stewart, S.
V. C.; W. J. Slaughter, J. V. C.; William De Waters, O. D.;
B. H. Warford, S.; D. S. Reckhow, Q. M.; D. S. Johnson,
Adjt.; Nathan Reckhow, C.; Jacob Stein, O. G. ; Jacob Cougle,
Q. M. S.; Charles Thrall, S. M.

The post was named after Chaplain Lenhart, U. S. N.. who
went down with his vessel, the "Cumberland," in Hampton
Roads, being, as we understand, the first Union chaplain that
lost his life in the rebellion. At the time of his death he was a
respected citizen of Tottenville. The post is small in numbers
(having only at the present time thirty-nine members) bur is
large in charity. It meets on the first and third Tuesday eve-
nings of each month, in G. A. R. hall, Main street, Tottenville.

"Richmond Post, No. 524, Dept. New York, G. A. R.,"
was organized on the north shore of Staten Island, and was in-
stituted November 22, 1884, at Johnson's hall, Port Richmond.
The first officers were : Moses H. Leman, commander and aid-
de-camp to eomniander-in-chief ; Alfred G. Kinsey, S. V. C. ;
John Bronley, J. V. C. ; Benjamin J. Bodine, O. D.; Garrett
Van Pelt, O. G.; James Mullen, Adjt.; Samuel Decker, Q. M.;
Bedell Jones, S. M. ; Richard Johnson, Q. M. S. ; Reverend Web-
ster R. Maul, C. ; Edgar E. Coonley, M. D., surgeon; John
Leonard and Abram Decker, sentinels.

The officers for the year 1886 were the same as above, with
the exception of the following: Bernard Muller, J. V. C. ; Al
(red Richards, O. G.; Charles H. Dickenson, S. M. ; Captain
H. H, Burnett, Q. M. S.; Thomas Marsh, outside sentinel.

The rank and file of Richmond Post are composed of soldiers
and sailors, who have an honorable discharge from the United
States government for services rendered in upholding the ma-
jesty of our laws and in vindicating the honor of our glorious
flag and perpetuating the Union of our fathers. All the com-
rades have seen active service and smelt powder. Some have
been inmates of Anderson and Libby prisons, and have suffered
untold misery in those hells of inhumanity. The post is in a



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HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 673

prosperous condition, and numbers in its ranks some of Rich-
mond county's most respected citizens.

"Tompkins Lodge, F. & A. M.," was instituted in 1853. On
the 6th day of December, 1853, the grand lodge of the state of
New York located at " 600 Broadway " (there being two grand
lodges at the time), issued a warrant to Isaac Lea, M., Jacob B.
Wood, S. W., and James Harcourt, J. W., authorizing them
to open a lodge at Stapleton, Richmond county, New York, to
be known as Tompkins Lodge, No. 145. This warrant was signed
by Mordecai Meyers, G. M., Nathaniel F. Waring, D. G. M.,
James Jenkins, S. G. W., Col. O. C. Denslow, J. G. W., and
James Herring. G. S.

The lodge was accordingly opened, and its meetings were held
in the Tompkins Lyceum (now known as the German Club
rooms), on the Richmond road, corner of Prospect street. The
first election of officers was held December 28, 1853, when the
following were elected and appointed, and installed the same
evening: Isaac Lea, M.; Jacob B. Wood, S. W.; James Har-
court, J. W. ; John F. Raymond, secretary; George Chambers
treasurer; G. Scott, S. D.; George A. Weaver, J. D.

In May, 1856, the lodge room was located on the upper floor of
Masonic hall. Arietta street, Tompkinsville, a short distance
from the ferry landing, where it remained until the building-
was burned down (probably in 1857). The furniture, regalia
and books of the lodge were all destroyed, and there is no evi-
dence that the lodge ever met again under its warrant No. 145.

On the 31st day of March, 1859, in response to a petition
signed by Jacob B. Wood, Philip Bender, John McKee, S.
Herzka, John Mousley, Philpot Wolfe, John S. Westervelt
James Harcourt, Henry M. Weed, Thomas C. Burns, Charles S.
Kuh, Ray Tompkins, M. Politzer, Aaron Vanderbilt and Rich-
ard B. Locke, a second dispensation was granred to Tompkins
Lodge by M. W. Brother John L. Lewis, who appointed Isaac
Lea, M., Henry Crabtree, S. W., and Mark Cox, J. W., and
authorized them to open the lodge in Southtield (now Middle-
town), Richmond county, New York.

The first communication under this dispensation was held on
the evening of April 5, 1859, in the Tompkins Lyceum, where
the lodge had first organized under the number 145.

At the following session of the grand lodge, held in June of
the same year, a warrant was issued to Tompkins Lodge, No. 471,
43



674 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

signed by John J. Lewis, G. M., John W. Simons, D. G. M.,
Finlay M. King, S. G. W., Clinton F. Page, J. G. W., and
James M. Austin, G. S.

The lodge continued to meet in the Lyceum until February,
1864, when rooms were secured in the Weed building, on the



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