Robert Moses State Park Water Tower and Robert Moses Bridge (background), Captree State Park (August 26, 2012)
Robert Moses State Park Water Tower and Robert Moses Bridge (background), Captree State Park (August 26, 2012)

Originally, Long Island was in possession of England’s Earl of Stirling.  On April 26, 1636, the earl asked James Farrett to dispose of all real estate on Long Island.   The earl soon died and his heirs surrendered the grant of Long Island.  The island was later embodied in the King’s patent to the Duke of York in 1664.  During the years that Stirling’s patent was abandoned the eastern part of Long Island was not claimed by any power.  Settlers controlled their lands and were not obliged to obtain patents.  They often purchased land directly from the Indians.  Early settlers were mostly English immigrants who came to Long Island from New England to establish independent colonies.[1]  In time, these communities voluntarily placed themselves under the protection of the New England colonies and were part of Connecticut.[2]  When the Duke of York claimed all of Long Island, the English towns unwillingly consented to the transfer of their political connection and patronage.[3]  Henceforth, eastern Long Island was known as the east riding of Yorkshire.  Ridings were established for the accommodation of courts and the apportioning of taxes.[4]  At an Assembly meeting of the colony of New York on October 17, 1683, an act was passed which abolished the ridings and organized the counties of Kings, Queens, and Suffolk.[5]  It was later subdivided into municipalities or towns: Brookhven, East Hampton, Huntington, Islip, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Smithtown, and Southampton.[6]  The town of Babylon was added in 1872.[7]

Select one of the following:

Bellport, Brookhaven, and Yaphank: Rail Service to Central Brookhaven Town

Change at Manorville of Eastport: The History of the Long Island Rail Road’s Manorville-Eastport Spur

Discontinued Station Stops: The History of the Moriches and the Termination of Railroad Service

North Fork Rail Stations: A Brief History of Southold Town and its Railroad Way Stations

Port Jefferson: The Rise of an Incorporated Village

Speonk and Remsenburg: A History of Rail Service

The History of the Three Villages and St. James: With a Modern Chronicle of the Long Island Rail Road’s Eastern Port Jefferson Branch

The History of the Town of Riverhead and Its Railroad Stations

The Town of Islip and the Great South Bay

Tip of the North Fork: History of Rail Service to Greenport and Surrounding Territory

Water Mill: Life in the Country

“O Babylon, Beautiful Babylon, City down by the Sea”: Evolution of Babylon and its Railroad Station

“Port Jefferson Blues”: The Smithtown Commuter Saga

[1] Richard M. Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, with a Historical Outline of Long Island (Port Washington, NY: I. J. Friedman, 1962), 24-25.

[2] Ibid., 29.

[3] Ibid., 33.

[4] Ibid., 36.

[5] Ibid., 43.

[6] Benjamin F. Thompson, History of Long Island: Containing an Account of the Discovery and Settlement (New York: E. French, 1839), 142.

[7] “Old Town Hall,” Town of Babylon, accessed June 3, 2014,

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