This county1 was organized Nov. 1,1683. It includes Staten Island,3
Shooters Island,3 and the islands of the meadow in Staten Island
Sound. It is separated from Long Island by New York Bay, the
Narrows,1 and New York Harbor; from Bergen, N. J., hy the Kil
Yan Kull; and from N. J. on the w. hy the Arthur Kil, or Staten
Island Sound.2 Staten Island is nearly oval-shaped, its longest
diameter extending n. e. and s. w. It is 14 mi. long by 8 broad,
has an area of 58J sq. mi., and is centrally distant 146 mi. from
Albany. Princess Bay and Great Kils are small bays upon the s.
shore. Fresh Kils is a tidal estuary extending about 3 mi. inland
from Staten Island Sound, and during high tide it is navigable
nearly its whole extent. The surface of the co. is mostly level or
gently undulating. A broad range of hills extends from the Narrows across the island, termi¬
nating between the branches of the Fresh Kils. Near Tompkinsville these hills attain an elevation
of 310 ft. They are composed of granitic rock upon the n. slope and steatitic rock and serpentine
upon the s. Hematitie iron ore3 and many other interesting minerals are found in the co.4
Along the Fresh Kils, and along Staten Island Sound, in Northfield, and also around the head
of Great Kils and the mouth of New Creek, are extensive salt meadows. The waters of the
sound and the bays adjacent to the island abound in oysters; and the oyster trade is the principal
industrial pursuit of those inhabitants not engaged in business in New York, Brooklyn, or Jersey
City. The right of taking oysters belongs to the owners of the adjoining banks.8 At Port Rich¬
mond, Faetoryville, and other places along the N. shore, are extensive manufactories.9 Market
gardening is followed to a limited extent, chiefly to supply the home demand. The erection of
forts, hospitals, and other public establishments of the General and State Governments has given
employment to great numbers of persons and caused the expenditure among the people of the co.
of large sums of money. Since the establishment of regular steam ferries,10 many wealthy citi¬
zens engaged in business in New York City have erected residences upon the island. These coun¬
try seats are mostly upon the n. shore and upon the heights that overlook the bay and sound. All
the villages along the n. shore are lighted by gas furnished by the Richmond Gas Light Works,
located near the Quarantine. A company was incorp. in 1836 to build a k. r. across the island to
connect with the Camden & Amboy R. R.5
The co. seat is located at Richmond.12 A courthouse and jail, in the same building, was erected
pursuant to the act of March 23,1837, at a cost of $10,000.6 The co. clerk's office was erected in
10 The boats of the Staten Island & New York Ferry Co. ply
hourly between Whitehall St., in New York, and the island,
touching at Port Richmond, Faetoryville, New Brighton, Quaran¬
tine, Stapleton, and Vanderbilts Landing. This company was
organized Oct. 26, 1853, with a capital of $900,000, and now has
7 boats in constant use.
11 This enterprise was recently revived, and a route surveyed
running s. of the hills from Vanderbilts Landing to a point op¬
posite S. Amboy.' About $40,000 were expended in purchasing the
right of way and grading; and the work is now in progress.
12 The first record of an order for the erection of a prison is
dated March 4, 1710. It runs as follows:—“Ordered that Mr.
LambartGarisone and Mr. Wm. Tillyer see the prison house built
at Cuckols Towne. Ye Demensions Twelve ffot in breadth, ffour-
teen foot Long, two story high, six foot ye Low Roome from
beam to plank, and the uper story, 6 foot: and all to be built with
stone.” This building was inadequate to the requirements of the
co., and a larger one (of brick) was afterward built. The latter
building is still standing, and was used as a co. prison until 1837.
The first colonial Court of Sessions on Staten Island was held
Oct. 4,1680. The first court after the Revolution convened May
3,17S4; and the first court of Oyer and Terminer under the
State Government was held May 22,1787, Richard Morris, Chief
Justice, presiding. The first co. officers under the State Govern¬
ment were David Mersereau-First Judge; Cornelius Mersereau,
Hendrick Garrison, Peter Rezeau, Anthony Fountain, John
Wandle, Gilbert Jackson, and Lambert Merrill, Judges and Jus¬
tices; Abram Bancker, Sheriff; John Mersereau, Clerk; and
Adrian Bancker, Surrogate.
18 The commissioners under whose supervision this building
was erected were Richard D. Little, Harman B. Cropsey, and
Walter Betts. The jail is reported as without ventilation or
means for the classification of prisoners.
Named from a natural son of Charles II.
they are the narrowest, is about 2600 yds., and opposite the
Quarantine it is 3700 yds.
The average breadth of Staten Island Sound is about one-
third of a mile. It is not usually closed by ice, although in
severe winters it has been frozen many weeks together. It is
the ordinary routeof steamers of the Camden & Amboy R. R. Co.
6 This ore has a fibrous texture, and is found in botryoidal
forms, often with black polished surfaces, and in the granular
condition it is known as “ shot ore.” It is said to be abundant.
A heavy gray ore is also found. These ores have never been
smelted on the island.
i The minerals of the co., beside iron ore, are red and yellow
ochre, asbestus, amianthus, marmolite, hydrate and carbonate of
magnesia, sulphuret and chromate of iron, quartz, chalcedony,
feldspar, and lignite.
black. A large amount of lager beer is made in Castleton and
whom repair every Sunday to the saloons and gardens attached
to the breweries.