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Railroad Here in 1868

Footnotes to Long Island History

Railroad Here in 1868

by

Thomas R. Bayles


            During the early years of the settlement of Long Island, the mail was carried through the island by post riders on horseback once a week, and in later years before the coming of the railroad, the mail was carried by stage coach.

            According to Skinners New York State Register for 1830, mails were dispatched from New York City for Islip, Patchogue, Fireplace, the Hamptons and Sag Harbor every Tuesday and Thursday at 8 a.m.

            The prospect of the railroad being extended through the middle of the Island to Greenport caused great excitement among the residents of the villages along the line.  One historian of that time records the reaction of the people as follows:

            “The inhabitants have scarcely yet recovered from the consternation produced by the actual open¬≠ing of the railroad. Until they beheld with their own eyes, the cumbrous train of cars drawn by an iron horse, spouting forth smoke and steam, passing like a steed of lightning through their forests and fields, with such velocity that they could not tell whether the countenances of the passengers were human, celestial or infernal, they would not believe a railroad had power almost to annihilate both time and space.”

            The completion of the railroad to Greenport in July, 1844, changed the lives and habits of the residents of eastern Long Island a great deal; many of them who had never been 20 miles from home now made trips to New York City.

            The Boston train, as it was called, made the run to Greenport with only two stops, one at Hardscrabble (Farmingdale) and one at Punk’s Hole, (Manor), in 1845, and carried hundreds of passengers. The Manor station was an important stop, as wood and water for fuel were taken on there, and the passengers got their lunch at a lunchroom set up there. This was in one of the most remote wilderness settlements on the island.

            The mail now was brought by the railroad, and stage lines connected it with the villages along the south side. These carried freight and passengers besides the mail and operated until the road was brought to Patchogue in 1868.  In 1869 a line was extended from Manorville to Sag Harbor.

            On March 6, 1841, the Long Island Rail Road gave a mortgage of $40,000 on movable property to the Morris Canal and Banking company.  On June 15, 1843, A. E. Thompson of Islip purchased the mortgage which covered the following property: “Four locomotive engines with tenders, viz; an engine called ‘Taglion,’ one called ‘Hicksville,’ one called ‘Ariel,’ and one called ‘Post Boy.’ Also seventeen passenger cars; forty one burden and freight cars; three baggage cars; five turning tables; two cranes for hoisting; one set of Blacksmith’s tools and Engineer’s tools; ten tons of old scrap iron; two sawing machines; thirteen horses; nine sets of harness and one hundred cords of wood.”

            On December 6, 1845, the mortgage was renewed with the addition of the following security. “And also the locomotives names ‘Abner Chichester,’ ‘John A. King,’ ‘Elihu Townsend,’ ‘Brooks,’ ‘Fisk,’ ‘Henry Ruggles,’ ‘Derby,’ ‘Edwin Post,’ ‘Boston,’ and a new engine placed on the road in August, 1845. Also twenty-one new eight-wheel passenger cars, sixteen new eight-wheel burden cars, and forty five four-wheel cars, and also ten water tanks and their fixtures at the several water sta¬≠tions on said road. Also engine ‘Crab.’”

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