THE EARLY HISTORY OF STATEN ISLAND

1524 - 1776





Before European settlers arrived

Before European setters arrived, the Algonquins lived in the New York area. Three tribes in the area were the -Tappans, Hackensacks, and Raritans. Indian villages were found all over Staten Island including Tottenville, Holland's Hook, Green Ridge, Giffords, and North West Brighton. Most recently Indian artifacts have been found in Woodrow.

Mid April,1524

Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian navigator working for the King of France and captain of his ship the Dauphine (the Dolphin ) discovered The Narrows (waters between present day Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan). He wrote that he had come upon "two prominent hills" at the "mouth of a very great river".

1525

Esteban Gomez, a Portuguese explorer sailed into the narrows and left.

September 11, 1609

Henry Hudson (Englishman sailing for the Dutch) sailed into the narrows on his boat De Halve Maen (or the Half Moon .) stopping briefly at Staten Island and then up the river that now bears his name. On his way back from the river he stopped at the Island again and called it Staaten Eylandt in honor of the States General of Holland. But the Indians gave him trouble so he left for Holland. The Dutch claimed the whole territory as theirs, naming it New Netherland .

1614

Dutch East India Company establishes a trading post in Fort Orange (now Albany)

1615

The New Netherland Company (part of the Dutch East India Company) built a storehouse at the tip of Manhattan Island to trade furs.

Spring of 1623

The Dutch West Indian Company's first permanent settlers landed in Manhattan from the ship New Netherland .

Most of the earlier settlers decided not to settle on Staten Island, but they often stopped at the north-east tip of Staten Island called the "Watering Place" to fill their bottles with fresh water from a stream.

1626

Director-General Peter Minuit bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for 60 guilders worth (about $24) of trinkets and cloth.

1629

The Dutch West Indian Company (in charge of running the colony) saw that there were very few people coming to New Netherland. So they came up with the patroon system to get more people to come.

The Patroon System works by one person getting a huge piece of land. The land was called a patroonship , the person was called a patroon. The patroon had to get 50 people to come to settle in New Netherland. The patroon was lord of his land.


Staten Island Patroons


Patroon # 1

Summer 1630



Michael Pauw (a wealthy director of the Dutch West Indian Company) was the first patroon. His patroonship included all of Staten Island, and parts of New Jersey (Bayonne, Jersey CIty and Hoboken). He did not settle a colony on Staten Island, however.


There is a street in New Brighton on the North Shore named after Staten Island's first patroon, Pauw Street . The street is only one block long between Jersey Street and York Avenue.

Patroon #2

August 13 1636


David Pieterszen De Vries (also a director of the Company) asks to take over Pauw's patroonship.

January 5 1639


De Vries lands at the "Watering Place" (today it is Tompkinsville) to build Staten Island's first colony. Many farms were started.

THE PIG WAR

July 1640
Hogs owned by the patroons were stolen . The settlers blamed the Raritan Indians, attacking and killing some of them.

September 1, 1640
The Raritan Indians retaliated, killing many settlers and burning all the buildings down. Staten Island's first settlement was wiped out.

Patroon #3

June, 1642


Cornelius Melyn became the third patroon. De Vries agreed to give him the entire Staten Island , except the De Vries plantation. Melyn's settlement was also destroyed by Indian during the whiskey war.

THE WHISKEY WAR

The Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam named Kieft asked Melyn to build America's first Whiskey distillery in what is known today as New Brighton. The settlers taught the Indians to drink whiskey, but when the Indians got drunk the settlers took advantage of them . The Indians got angry, killed almost all the Dutch farmers and burnt the homes down . Melyn fled to New Amsterdam.

Dec.19 1650

Melyn returned to Staten Island and built farms again. Peter Stuyvesant replaced Kieft as Governor.

THE PEACH WAR (1655)

There was a man named VanDyke who lived on Manhattan Island. One day he looked out his window and saw an Indian lady steal a peach from his tree. He shot the lady. The Indians got mad and started the peach war. Melyn's colony was destroyed so he left Staten Island and returned to Holland.

Patroon #4

Van der Capellen was Staten Island's last patroon, but he never went to live on his lands because of the damage caused by the Peach War.

August 22, 1661
Pierre Billiou (a Walloon) and Walraven Luten requested permission to build colonies on Staten Island. This colony, which was set up on the south shore, was the first permanent settlement on Staten Island.


A Walloon is a french-speaking person of Celtic descent who lived in Southern Belgium and France

1661

The next settlers to Staten Island were mainly French people who were looking for religious freedom. For example the Huguenots were French Protestants who settled in the middle and southern parts of Staten Island, in what is now known as Huguenot, New Springville, and Green Ridge. They built a church at Green Ridge , and a store and a court house and jail as well. This was the beginning of a government on Staten Island. The Dutch and Huguenot settlements were peaceful.

We can still see the influence of the Dutch and Huguenots in the names of many locations on Staten Island, for example, Great Kills, Fresh Kills, Huguenot , Achter Kill (known as Arthur Kill), Kill van Kull, and Robbens Reff (known as Robbin's Reef) and Eylandt street. . Several streets are named after the Dutch settlers too. They are Billiou street, Luten Avenue, Pauw street, Stuyvesant Place, and Stuyvesant Avenue.
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1664

Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch Governor in New Amsterdam, was forced to surrender to the British who attacked from the sea. New Amsterdam and Staten Island became part of the English colonies, which was now called New York.

April 13, 1670

There was a new govenor that purchased Staten Island from the Indians for good. His name was Francis Lovelace.

August 8 1673

The Dutch at war with the English recapture New York.

November 19, 1674


The Dutch and the English declare peace. The Dutch give Staten Island back to the English. Edmund Andros becomes the new govenor.

1680


Govenor granted all the Indians free.

1683


Thomas Dongan becomes the new govenor of New York.

November 1, 1683

Staten Island became Richmond County.

1692



Benjamin Fletcher becomes the new govenor.

The Revolutionary War

April 15, 1776


American soldiers attack British sailers at the Watering Place.

July 2 and 3, 1776


The British land 9,000 troops on the east shore of Staten Island.

July 9 , 1776


New Yorkers learn about the Declaration of Independence.

July 12, 1776


20,000 more British Troops land.

August 27, 1776


The Americans lose the Battle of Long Island against the British. The battle actually took place in Brooklyn.

September 11, 1776


Benjamin Franklyn , John Adams, and Edward Rutledge meet with British Commander Lord Howe to try to make peace between the Americans and the British. They met at the Christopher Billopp house at the tip of British-occupied Staten Island (Tottenville). The peace talks failed and the revolutionary war continued.

Bibliography



Morris' Memorial History of Staten Island New York, Vol. I by Ira K. Morris. New York: Memorial Publishing Company, 1898.


Staten Island: Gateway to New York by Dorothy V. Smith. Gateway State Bank , 1970.


Staten Island: 1524 - 1898, Revised Edition by Henry G. Steinmeyer. Staten Island Historical Society., Staten Island NY, 1987.


George Washington's Birthday February 22, 1976: An Almanac. The Staten Island Bicentenial Corporation, 1976.