Richard Mather Bayles.

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

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west side of Griffin street, Tompkinsville, a few doors south of
the old Reformed Dutch church.

In May, 1866, the lodge fitted up rooms in what was known
as Egbert hall, on the east side of Griffin street, Tompkinsville,
about five hundred feet, south of the Weed building, where it
continued to meet for ten years.

During the winter of 1875-76 the lodge resolved to change its
place of meeting from Tompkinsville to Stapletoii, and at the
expiration of the lease (May 1, 1876) vacated Egbert hall. A
lease was taken of the upper floor of Tynan's building, then in
course of erection, on the corner of Bay and Dock streets,
Stapleton. The floor thus secured was laid out suitable for
lodge purposes, and the rooms were newly furnished. The
lodge still continues to meet and is in a flourishing condition,
the present membership being about one hundred.

The successive masters of the lodge have been: Isaac Lea,
1859-1867; Francis Hamilton, 1868; John L. Feeney, 1869 ;
Henry Seguine, 1870; George F. Hallock, 1871; Isaac Lea, 1872;
Sylvanus C. Hall, 1873-1874; Henry Seymour, 1875-1876; Syl-
vanus C. Hall, 1877; Peter W. Silvey, 1878-1879; Charles
Didler, 1880-1881; John Bale, 1882; William L. Ludlum, 1883;
H. W. Jewell, 1884; S. R. Brick, 1885.

The officers in 1886 were : Charles Didler, W. M. ; Robert
McDowell, S. W. ; Charles A. Harreus, J. W. ; J. E. Armstrong,
treasurer; James A. Ware, secretary; Barnett Brisk, S. D.;
Joseph H. White, J. D.; Oliver H. Griffin, S. M. C.; Frank I.
Rieff, J. M. C.; R. G. Summers, organist; George L. Troutt, T.

" Richmond Lodge, No. 66, F. & A. M," is the oldest, and
numerically, the strongest in the county; and from this other
lodges have eminated. Meetings are held on the first, third
and fifth Monday nights of each month. The lodge was organ
ized A. D. 1825. The first master and wardens were : Benjamin
Wood, master; A. S. Lawrence, senior warden; J. S. Wester-
velt, junior warden. Among its past masters, now deceased,
we find the name of Hon. Henry B. Metcalfe, county judge,
and at one time member of congress. The past masters of the


lodge have been as follows : Edward Steers, Sr., 1857, 1859,
1860, 1862; Lester A. Scofield, 1864; Isaac A. Bunn, 1867-8-9;
James Whitford, 1871; James Davis, 1872; Edward D. Clark,
1873-4; David Muddell. 1875; R. Preston Brown, 1877-8;
Thomas J. Butler, 1879; M. M. Brill, 1880; Thomas W. Butts,
1881; John Pelcher, 1882; Reon Barnes, 1883-4; Frank K.
Kohler, 1885. The officers for 1886 are : William C. Carpenter,
master; George H. Tredwell, S. W. ; Lucius Johnson, J. W. ;
James Seaton, treasurer; George P. Hallock, secretary; Reon
Barnes, S. D.; Albert F. Dunton, J. D.; E. H. Muddell, S. M. C.;
A. Applegate, J. M. C. ; William A. Devon, chaplain ; T. R.
Farrell, marshal; H. G. Shutzendorf, organist; William Foun-
tain, tyler.

" Klopstock Lodge, No. 760, F. & A. M," is the only German
lodge of this order on the island. It was chartered September
27, 1875, the charter members being F. B. Bardes, Aug. de
Jonge, Charles J. Fraucke, August Herrmann, E. de Planque,
John F. de Planque and Emil Zesch. It meets on the second
and fourth Mondays of every month, at the building of the
Staten Island Savings Bank, Stapleton. The present member-
ship is thirty-eight. The presiding officers have been : Ernil
Zesch, August Herrmann and Herman Sterzing. The present
officers (1886) are the last named, master; W. M. Wermerskirch,
and F. Bertuch, wardens; John Bardes, treasurer; Henry J.
Lingg, secretary; H. Muller, C. Schabelitz and A. Schwarzkopf,
trustees; P. Kuhne, J. Kryszewski and H. Methfessel, financial
committee; P. Kuhne, S. D.; Daniel Hess, J. D.; J. Kryszewski,
S. M. of C. ; A. Schuster, J. M. of C.; John Schiefer, organist;
and George L. Troutt, tyler.

" Beacon Light Lodge, No. 701, F. & A. M," meets at the
Village hall, New Brighton, on the second and fourth Mon-
days of every month.

''Aquehonga Lodge, No. 685, F. & A. M.," meets at Rich-
mond on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of every

''Neptune Lodge, No. 152, I. 0. O. F.," meets on Thursday
evenings at No. 219 and 221 Bay street, Stapleton.

"John Jacob Astor, Sr., Lodge, No. 432, I. 0. O. F.," meets
at No. 7 Broad street, Stapleton, every Tuesday evening. It
was first recognized in the order August 20, 1875. Ladies are
admitted to the lodge as well as gentlemen. The present mem-


bership is fifty-two. The presiding officer at present is Joseph
Schindler, and the next in power is Ludwig Meier.

"Richmond County Lodge, No. 88, I. O. O. F.," meets on
Wednesday evenings in Odd Fellows hall, West New Brighton.
"Salome Lodge, Daughters of Rebecca, No. 46, I. O. O. F.,"
meets on the first Thursday of every month at No. 7 Broad
street, Stapleton. It admits only the unmarried sisters and
daughters of Odd Fellows. Its work is carried on in the Ger-
man language. The district deputy grand master for Richmond
county, is Reinhard Kaltenmeier. The lodge has fourteen

The "German Ladies' Benevolent Society of Staten Island,"
has for its object the care of the distressed, sick and needy, and
the assistance of those who wish to help themselves. It is sus-
tained by payments of monthly dues by the membership, do-
nations and various public festivals and entertainments. It
meets on the last Tuesday of every month, in the German Club
house. The president is Mrs. M. Herpich ; vice-president, Mrs.
E. Schering ; treasurer, Mrs. S. Stake ; and secretary, Miss A.

The "Dutch American Citizens' Union," a political organi-
zation, having for its object the election of good and capable
men for public officers on Staten Island, without regard to party
lines, was organized in October, 1878, and re-organized in Sep-
tember, 1884. It meets at Credo's hotel on the first Wednes-
day of every month, and has about one hundred members. Its
president is Charles H. Graef ; vice-president, August Herr-
mann ; secretaries, H. Kunemund and John F. dePlanque; and
treasurer, Edward Meurer.

The "Deutscher Fraunen, K. U. Verein," of Staten Island,
was, until August 5, 1877, a branch of the German society, un-
der the name of " Louisen Zweig, No. 2." At the date men-
tioned they declared themselves independent under the present
name. The object is set forth in the title. It is a mutual bene-
fit association. Meetings are held on the first Sunday of every
month at Zorn's Germania hall, Tompkinsville. The president,
from the organization, has been Mrs. Julie Zorn.

The "Staten Island Quartette Club" is one of the most
prominent and respectable of the German associations of the
island. It was founded in 1861. Its ambition is to emulate the
excellence of the German Mgennergesang and to stimulate its


members to higher attainments in the musical art. The club
meets at Hotel Credo, Stapleton, weekly, and has now about
one hundred and fifty members. Mr. H. Sterzing has formally
years been the musical director and the soul of the organiza-

The "Richmond County Lodge, No. 155, Harugari," was
founded February 16, 1868. It is a benefit society and meets
semi-monthly at Stapleton. All business in the lodge is at all
times done in the German language. The presiding officer is
Philip Bruchheuser.

" Der Freundschafts-Verein, No. 1," of Staten Island, also a
benefit society, was founded November 18, 1856. They own a
burial plot in Woodlawn cemetery, worth one thousand dollars.
The present membership is thirty-six, and the president Michael

The " Staten Island Schutzen-Corps," a sporting club for the
practice of marksmanship, was formed in May, 1872, by F.
Bachmann, George Bechtel, C. Bryner, Julius Credo, Louis
Gieser, A. Hageman, A. Hubner, Charles Meorlin, Charles
Schafer, Jacob Schoen, F. Winsch and Philip Wolff. Their
headquarters are at Credo's hotel, where monthly meetings are
held, and their shooting ground is at Gebhardt's park, where a
shooting festival is annually held.

"Atlantic Lodge, No. 55," of the Order Germania, a mutual
benefit society, was started March 20, 1880, by John Glaser,
Carl Feist, Peter Otto, Aug. Tripke, Chr. Hetzel, Fr. Pankratz,
Jak. Schweikert, R. Lemperle, R. Hartmann, A. Giegeich,
John Litzenberger, Theo. Schiedemantel and Aug. Wolf. Its
president is George Bettke.

The "Staten Island Lodge, No. 18, Orden der Hermanns-
scihne," was founded September 16, 1858, and has at present
twenty members. Regular semi-monthly meetings are held at
No. 7 Broad street, Stapleton. It is a mutual benefit associa-
tion, and admits both men and women to membership.

The " Staten Island Liederkranz," a singing society, was or-
ganized at New Brighton, in 1882. It meets weekly at Parabola
hall. The society now has forty members, and is in a prosperous
condition. Ernst Haas is the musical leader.



The Ferries. Bridge Across the Sound. The Staten Island Railroad. The Shore
Railroad. North and South Shore Railroad. The Richmond County Rail-
road. The Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad. Lewis Henry Meyer.
Eckstein Norton. Roderick W. Cameron. John Frank Emmons. Harry L.
Horton. Reon Barnes. Orlando A. Wood.

BEGINNING with the time when the first settler established
himself upon the island, the necessity existed for some
form of a ferry to facilitate commerce and travel between it
and the neighboring settlements. At first, of course, boats
were used as occasion required and means permitted, without
any attempt at regularity of movement. When the first- ferry,
with some regard for regular appointment and accommodation
was established, we are unable to learn. The custom seemed
to grow up into definite form so gradually and imperceptibly,
nourished by the constantly pressing necessity, that it is no
more easy to say when the ferry system began to exist than it
is to say at what hour the contents of an egg begins to be a

The first definite statement that we have been able to find,
with regard to the existence of a ferry between Staten Island
and New York, is to the effect that such a ferry was established
in 1755. Whether any other had been in operation previous to
that or not we are not informed, but the language of the fol-
lowing advertisement, which appeared in the " New York Post
Boy" of November 10, 1755, leaves room for the suspicion that
such a ferry had been in operation :

" Publick Notice is hereby given to all, Gentlemen Travellers
and others, That MARTIN DUCKET has rented the noted Ferry
House on Staten Island, lately kept by John Watson, where
he intends to keep the best Entertainment for Man and Horse,
with three good Boats constantly attending said Ferry to and
from New York and Statten Island, in company with Scotch


JOHNNY of said City, Tavern-Keeper; as also a commodious
Stable, with all kinds of Provinder, for Horses, &c., near the
White Hall Slip, where all Gentlemen Travellers may be as-
sured of the best Entertainment for themselves and Horses ;
with the most careful and expeditious Passages across the Bay,
or to Long-Island (if required), by applying to said Scotch
Johnny, near the White-hall Ferry stairs, or said Ducket on
Staten Island aforesaid : And in Case a Boat show'd be wanted
on any Emergency, there shall be one in Readiness, on Notice
given to either of the Persons above mentioned."

The "New York Gazette,' 1 ' 1 of December 13, 1756, has this
item :

'Capt. Ducket, Keeper of one of the Ferries from Staten-
Island to this Place, was found dead in one of his Passage
Boats, on Monday Evening last, soon after he had assisted one
of his Boats to go from the Wharf with Passengers. Verdict
from the Jury, Apoplexy."

The following extract from the ''New York Gazette" of March
15, 1756, touches the subject of the early ferries :

"Thursday last about 12 o'Clock, happen'd a very melan-
choly Accident in our Bay, when one of the Ferry Boats from
Staten-Island, being coming over, in a pretty high Wind, with
13 Men and 3 Horses on board, a rough Sea, near Oyster-Island,
overwhelmed the Boat, and she sank down directly: by which
Means 11 of the Men and the three Horses were drowned : As
it happened to be just on the Edge of the Flats, about three
Feet of the Boat's Mast continued above Water after she sank,
to which several of the Men clung for a considerable Time :
And upon its being discovered from this City, two other Boats
immediately put off, who, tho' upwards of four Miles distant
happily reached them Time enough to save two of the Men, the
rest being quite spent with cold and wet, could not hold out;
and those saved were almost ready to drop like-
wise : Persons saved were Capt. Williams, de-
signed a Battoe-Man, and one of his Men : Those drowned were
Thomas Harrison, Israel Rose, Daniel Fling, and James Jones,
designed Battoemen under Capt. Williams; Mr. Thomas Alston

of Raway; Moore of Piscattaway; Denyse Van

Tyle. the Boatman; William Smallpierce, a Soldier belonging
to Shirley's Regiment; and three Gentlemen Strangers."

The same paper a week later has the following :


"Monday Morning last was taken up on the Jersey Shore,
and brought into the White Hall Slip, the Ferry-Boat in which
the melancholy Accident happened the Thursday before in our
Bay. Daniel Fling, one of the Battoe-Men drowned, was found
in the Boat, and soon after buried; and the Saddle-Bags that
were still in the Fore-Castle, discovered that the three Strangers
mentioned in our last to be likewise drowned, were, William
Lawrence, of Raway; and John and William Miller, of Sotau-
ket, on Long- Island.''

Besides the local demand for a ferry to New York the island
at an early period became a part of a popular route of travel
between New York and Philadelphia. This route was by way
of Amboy. The first notice of it that we have seen appeared
in 1753, of which the following is a copy :

" A commodious stage-boat will attend at the City Hall slip,
near the Half Moon battery, to receive goods and passengers,
on Saturdays and Wednesdays, and on Mondays and Thurs-
days will set out for Perth Amboy Ferry; there a stage wagon
will receive them and set out on Tuesdays and Fridays in the
morning, and carry them to Cranberry, and then the same day,
with fresh horses to Burlington, where a stage-boat receives
them, and immediately set out for Philadelphia."

The stage-boats of those days were the perianguas, or piro-
gues of the present; they were vessels without keels, heavy lee-
boards, two masts and two large sails; the improvement con-
sisted in substituting these boats for the small sloops used be-
fore. When wind and weather permitted, the " outside pass-
age' 1 was made that is, through the Narrows and around the
eastern side of Staten Island; at other times they passed
through the kills and sound. But the passage by water all the
way was perilous and tedious, and it was soon found that an
improvement could be effected by bringing in a stage route
across Staten Island as part of the journey. The establishment
of this is seen in the following announcement, which appeared
in a newspaper of January 31, 1757 :

"Whereas the Subscriber hath been instrumental of propa-
gating a Stage between Philadelphia and New York, and by
Experience, finding some Difficulty some Times to pass by
Water from Amboy Ferry to New York; Notice is hereby
given, That a Stage- Waggon is erected, to proceed from Mr.
Isaac Dote's, opposite to Perth- Amboy, on Monday the 17th


Instant, January, and to pass through Staten Island, Load or
no Load, to Mr. John Watson's, Mrs. Ducket's, and Mr. Van-
tile's, and on Tuesday proceed back to the aforesaid Dole's, and
so in like Manner every Day in the Week; when due Attendance
will be given, and Passengers meet with the best of Usage by me.


"N. B. To hinder any Disputes or Resentments that may
arise hereafter, I have thought fit to inform the Publick of my
Price and Custom; Each Passenger to pay Three Shillings, be
fore they proceed on their Journey, and in Proportion for other
Things, (except Letters, which are to be carried gratis.) Hope-
ing therefore that all Well-wishers of such an Undertaking
will give me the Encouragement it deserves, I remain

"Their very humble Servant, J. RICHARDS."

In another advertisement of this Joseph Richards he states
that his charge of three shillings is the same whether passen-
gers take the stage or leave it at either Watson's, Simonson's or
Vantile's ferries. This is in July, 1757, when Ducket's seems
to be occupied by Simonson. Richards also pledges himself to
make good any damage caused by failing to take passengers
through as he promises. He adds that he lives near the middle
of the island, " at the sign of the stage-waggon and horses."
In 1761 he was still running the stage, and in a newspaper letter
at that time we have his statement that his was the only " Stage-
Waggon " on the island. The ferry on the west end of the route
was then called Billop's ferry.

Destruction of life and property seems to have been of quite
frequent occurrence in the history of the early ferries. We
can here notice but a few of the most notable events of this
kind. The account given below is from a New York paper of
.August 18, 1763.

" We have just received the melancholy News that last Night
in the sudden Squal, which came up about Sun Set, Mr. Wat-
son's Ferry Boat, going to Staten Island, was over-set at a Place
called Robin's Reef, about two Miles from the Shore, and im-
mediately sunk, so every Person on Board was drowned, ex-
cept the Ferry Man, who, with much Difficulty swam a-shore.
The Names of the Persons we have heard of, who lost their
Lives by this melancholy Event, are Mr. Robert Kennedy, a
Scotch Gentleman. Mr. Chapman, and Mr. Anderson, of Phila-
delphia, M. De Loge, of Surinam, and his Negro Boy, Mr.


David Garnmel, Mrs. Henderton of this City, and Mrs. Rey-
nolds, Wife of Capt. Reynold's, now at Sea."

The perils of the passage from the ''Blazing Star" (meaning
the sign of a comet), being four or five miles from the ferry at
Staten Island, may be illustrated by the fact that the Baron
De Kalb, when he was a colonel in January, 1768, was the only
one of nine persons crossing in the scow, who was not so frozen
as to lose life or limb; some losing toes, others feet, fingers, etc.;
the scow sunk on a sand island, leaving them ovitallnigM. He
alone would not go to the fire when rescued, but pat his feet
and legs in cold icy water, took some refreshments, went to bed,
and got up unhurt. A Mr. George died before they were re-

Another route to Philadelphia was that which crossed from
New York to Paulus hook (Jersey City), where stages started,
running down to Bergen Point, where they were taken across
on large scows to the " Dutch Church," now Port Richmond,
whence they took the road to Blazing Star, near Rossville, where
they were again transported by scows across the sound, and pur-
sued thence their journey to Philadelphia. Improved accom-
modations and quicker time were demanded by the traveling
public of those days as well as at the present time, and the am-
bition of those who served that public strove to answer that de-
mand, as will be seen by the following announcement. John
Mersereau then lived at the new Blazing Star.

" This is to give Notice to the Publick, That the Stage- Wag-
gons kept by John Burrowhill in Elm-Street in Philadelphia,
and John Mersereax at the New Blazing Star, near New-York,
intend to perform the journey from Philadelphia to New -York
in two days also to continue seven Months, viz: From the 14th
of April to the 14th of Nov. and the remaining five Months of
the Year in three Days The Waggons to be kept in good
order, and good Horses, with sober Drivers. They purpose to
set off from Philadelphia and Powlas-Hook on Mondays and
Thursdays punctually at Sunrise, and be at Prince-Town the
same Nights, and change Passengers, and return to New- York
and Philadelphia the following days; the Passengers are de-
sired to cross Powlas-Hook Ferry the Evening before; the
Waggon is not to stay after Sunrise ; Price each Passenger
from Powlas-Hook to Prince-Town, Ten shillings, from thence
to Philadelphia, Ten shillings also; Ferriage fee, Three Pence


each Mile any Distance between. Any Gentlemen or Ladies
that wants to go to Philadelphia can go in the stage and be at
home in live Days and be two Nights and one Day in Phila-
delphia to do business, or see the Market Days. All Gentle-
men, and Ladies who are pleased to favour us with their cus-
tom, may depend on due Attendance and civil Usage by those
Humble Servants

"June 23, 1776.



The following notices of ferries and stages on the island
during the time of the revolution will throw more light on the
subject than a summary of their contents could, hence we in-
sert them in full :

" Staten-Island, May 30, 1777.

" Next Tuesday being the third day of June instant, a Stage
will set off from the place known by the name of Doyle's
Ferry, rear the Watering Place, or Staten-Island, now kept by
Capt. William Leake, and will proceed to John Stillwell's
Ferry, on the west side of the Island opposite Amboy, and con-
tinue the same every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and
carry passengers at Eight Shillings each; and goods as low as
possible. The best usage will be given, and great care taken of
every thing sent by the said waggon. The waggon will set off
in the morning as soon as passengers arrive, agreeable to the

The following is from a paper of February 15, 1779 :
"To be sold, the noted and very commodious Ferry known
by the name of Ryerson's ferry, at the east end of Staten-
Island, and at the entrance of the Kills, it is a pleasant situa-
tion, and commands a great deal of business; there is one hun-
dred acres of good land, and two orchards, a dwelling house
with 5 rooms on the first floor, and 4 rooms on the second story?
a garret, a cellar kitchen and cellar, a well at the door, two new
wharfs which form an exceeding fine harbor for ferry and other

" Staten Island, Jan. 12, 1779.

"COMPLAINT having been made, that an exorbitant price is
exacted by the different proprietors of the Ferry Boats, for the
fare of the passengers between this and New-York. It is


Brigadier General Leslie's orders that the boats shall ply at the
following prices, viz.

"Two Shillings currency for each passenger.
(Sic) Do Six Do. for each Horse.

"A Boat to go off with six or more passengers, and on com-
plaint being made of noncompliance with the above regula-
tions, the offender shall forfeit the liberty of plying with his
boat to or from this island.

"A. LESLIE, Brig. Gen."

The following fragments have been gleaned from various

Frederick Simonson owned a ferry at the Narrows in 1777,
and for several years previous to that date. It was probablj 1
used to cross to Long Island. No stated ferry has been main-
tained there since the first few years of the present century.

A ferry was established across the Kill Von Kull from Staten
Island to Bergen Point in 1764. It was at the present site of
Port Richmond. In 1777 it was known as Decker's ferry; after-
ward it was called Ryers', and still later Mersereau's.

In 1774 the New Blazing Star ferry was occupied by Reuben
Fitzrandolph. In the following year it was occupied by John
Mersereau. It was occupied by Francis B. Fitch in 1827.

In 1761 James Johnston ran a ferry at Staten Island.

In 1762 Adoniah Schuyler, of Elizabethtown Point owned a
ferry to Staten Island, together with the road or causeway from
the sound to the uplands on the island. Schuyler died during
the year mentioned. The ferry was spoken of by a writer about
1770 as " a wretched, half-rotten ferry."

The Amboy ferry, sometimes called Doty's and sometimes
Billop's, was kept by Isaac Butler for forty years, beginning
immediately after the revolution and extending to the time of
his death, about 1828.

The ferry at the Narrows was known at different times as
Watson's, Ducket's, Darby Doyle's, Cole's and Van Duzer's. It
was known as Cole's ferry in 1777. In 1775 it was owned by
Darby Doyle, the plant including barn, storehouse, barracks,
dock, garden and twenty acres of land.

There were two ferries plying between the northeast part of

Online LibraryRichard Mather BaylesHistory of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time → online text (page 66 of 72)