« AnteriorContinuar »
The object of the republication of this work, is to supply some deficiencies, particularly in relation to the colony government, and the sketch of General Woodhull; the materials for which, were obtained from the Secretary's office.
A brief statement of the inferior courts on Long-Island has been added in the appendix, to illustrate the changes of the law relative to them, with the names of the judges and clerks, to which I have also added the names of the members of Assembly from the several counties on LongIsland, from 1691 to 1776
I have also given a sketch of the biography of Col. William Smith, and William Nicolls, Esqrs. which is identified with the history of that period.
I embrace this occasion to express my acknowledgments to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, the Clerk of the Supreme Court at NewYork, to the Clerks of the several counties and towns on Long-Island for free access to their offices, and to all those gentlemen who have aided me by their researches, or have contributed to the facts contained in this work.
FIRST SETTLEMENT OF LONG-ISLAND, &c.
The state of the Country. AT the time of the first settlement of Long-Island, it appears that the western part of it, if not the whole, was in a great measure bare of timber.
The Indians here, as every where else where they were settled, annually burnt over the woods, in order to clear the land, to provide food for the deer and other game.
There are numerous facts to prove that, at the time of the first settlement of the Island, the woods werr destitute of une derbrush, and that the large trees were so scarce that it was deemed necessary to take measures for their preservation.
The first settlers in every town commenced their improvements without any previous clearing. They generally enclosed large tracts of land by a common fence, for planting, and also for pasturing such part of their stock as they did not wish to run at large. In 1646 the people of the town of Gravesend, by a vote at the first town meeting, held in the town, ordered every inhabitant to make twenty poles of fence, to enclose a common field for corn; and in 1648, voted in like manner to make a common pasture for their calves.
Similar regulations were made in Newtown, in Hempstead, in Huntington, and probably in most, if not all the towns on the Island. In 1654 the town of outhold passed a resolution, that no person should cut trees or sell wood from their common lands, for pipe staves, or heading, or other purposes, to any person not being a townsman, - without the town's lib' erty.” In 1659 the town of Huntington, by a vote of town meeting, resolved that no timber should be cut for sale within three miles of the settlement, under the penalty of five shillings for every trce. In 1660 they made an exception of oak timber for pipe staves; but in 1663 the magistrates, after stating their apprehensions that the town was in danger of being ruined by the destruction of its timber, ordered that no timber should be cut, for transportation, within three miles of the set