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About Great River, NY
Great River is a hamlet and census-designated place (CDP) located in the Town of Islip, Suffolk County, New York, United States. It is situated approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of New York City on the South Shore of Long Island, adjoining the Great South Bay, a water body protected from the Atlantic Ocean by one of the outer barrier islands – Fire Island.
Great River’s name derives from Connetquot, an Algonquian word for “Great River.” It was formerly home to many wealthy families. As of the 2010 census, the population of Great River was 1,489. Great River’s buildings include a New York City-style steak house in a turn of the century (20th) house, a delicatessen, a rural delivery post office and the Great River Fire Department.
For centuries, the Algonquin people inhabited Long Island. A sub-division of the Algonquins known as the Secatogue tribe occupied all of the area in what is now the town of Islip. Their principal villages were at West Islip (Secatogue), Bay Shore (Penataquit), and Oakdale (Connetquot).
On November 29, 1683, William Nicoll (Nicolls), founder of the Town of Islip and son of New York City Mayor Matthias Nicoll, was awarded the first royal patent to the east end of what is now the Town of Islip. Nicoll purchased land from Sachem (Chief) Winnequaheagh of Connetquot. He named his 50,000-acre (20,000 ha) plantation (an 8-by-10-mile (13 by 16 km) tract of land) “Islip Grange”, in honor of his ancestral home of Islip in East Northamptonshire, England, from which Matthias emigrated in 1664. Nicoll’s domain extended from East Islip to Bayport and embraced the present-day communities of Sayville, West Sayville, Oakdale, Great River, Islip Terrace, Central Islip, Hauppauge, Holbrook, Bohemia, Brentwood, Holtsville, and a portion of Ronkonkoma. Nicoll paid an annual quit-rent (tax) to Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick and Governor of the Province of New York, of five bushels of good winter wheat or 25 shillings payable on March 25.
Other early land patentees were Andrew Gibb (Islip hamlet), John Mowbray (Bay Shore, originally Awixa), Stephan Van Cortlandt (Sagtikos Manor), and Thomas Willets (West Islip).
William Nicholl also purchased five islands from Winnequaheagh on November 19, 1687, including Hollins Island (a.k.a. East Fire Island. The purchase was confirmed on a patent by Governor Dongan on June 4, 1688. Altogether William Nicoll acquired four patents for land – the final purchase was on September 20, 1697, issued by Governor Benjamin Fletcher. Under Col. Fletcher, piracy was a leading economic development tool in New York City’s competition with the ports of Boston and Philadelphia. New York City had become a safe place for pirates (freebooters) who carried “real money” into the impoverished colony. Nicoll’s estate eventually became the largest manor on Long Island.
By 1710, the colonial government passed an act to enable the precinct of Islip in the County of Suffolk to elect two assessors, a collector, a constable and a supervisor. The people had a voice. Growth, however, remained at a standstill until the Revolutionary War ended, when in the 17 years that followed there was more progress than in the 50 years preceding. This activity was partly due to the impact of American shipping.
Great River hamlet was formerly known as Youngsport. In the 1840s the Youngs family lived about one and a half miles south of Montauk Highway on Great River Road. Erastus Youngs and his family began building and repairing boats on the west shore of the Connetquot River near Great South Bay. With hardly anyone else around (21 houses), the place was called Youngsport for 30 years. Youngsport had one store and a freight station on the South Side Railroad of Long Island two miles north of it. The inhabitants were principally known as bay men. Alva Vanderbilt (later Alva Belmont), the Oakdale socialite suffragette, bought the Youngs’ home and gave it to Trinity Lutheran Parish of Brooklyn, which used it as a summer camp called “Seaside Camp” for city children. Youngsport Village’s name was changed to Great River in either 1870 or 1881.
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Great River, NY Facts
|Geography||14.9 sq miles (12.7 land, 2.2 water)||Wikipedia|
|Median Household Income
|Mean Home Price
Great River, NY Agencies
Steve Ballone, County Executive
|Suffolk – (631) 853-4402||Website|
John L. Barry, Commissioner
|Suffolk County Police Department – (631) 852-6000||Website|
Vincent F. DeMarco, Sheriff
|Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office – (631) 852-2200||Website|
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