Bethpage Purchase

The Bethpage Purchase was a 1687 land transaction in which Thomas Powell, Sr, bought more than 15 square miles (39 km2) (about 10,000 acres) in central Long Island, New York for £140 (English pounds sterling) from local Indian tribes, including the Marsapeque, Matinecoc, and Sacatogue. This land, which includes present day Bethpage, East Farmingdale, Farmingdale, Old Bethpage, Plainedge, Plainview, South Farmingdale, and part of Melville, is approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east to west and 5 miles (8.0 km) north to south, covering land on both sides of the present-day border between Nassau and Suffolk counties.

On October 18, 1695, Mawmee (alias Serewanos), William Chepy, Seurushung, and Wamussum made their marks on the sheepskin deed. The deed, which recognizes Powell had already been in possession of part of the land for more than seven years, is recorded in the Queens County Clerks office, and in it, the Indians reserved the right to pick berries and hunt on the property sold. At that time, people would fish in the Massatayun River, which then extended further north than it does now.

Powell called the land he purchased "Bethphage", because it was situated between two other places on Long Island, Jericho and Jerusalem, just as the biblical town of Bethphage (meaning "house of figs") was situated between Jericho and Jerusalem in Israel. Today, the Long Island place formerly called "Jerusalem" is known as Wantagh and Island Trees, while the placename Jericho, also a Quaker settlement at that time, still has that name. Over time, the second "H" was dropped from the name, to spell "Bethpage". One of two houses Powell built in the area (circa 1700) still stands on Merritts Road in Farmingdale, just north of the Bethpage-Hempstead Turnpike.

Sources also mention Powell made a second purchase, in 1699, called the "Rim of the Woods Purchase", which includes land to the west of the original Bethpage Purchase; including most of present-day Bethpage and all the land in the northern section of present-day Plainedge (Boundary Avenue, north to Old Motor Parkway, and Hicksville Road east to Cedar Drive). By 1700, very little of Long Island had not been purchased from the native Indians by the English colonists, and townships controlled whatever land had not already been distributed.

Thomas Whitson bought one-third of the Bethpage Purchase in 1700, and died there in 1742 at the age of ninety. After Powell's death in 1721/1722, his remaining property was divided among his children and their heirs, leading to its evolution into several farming communities. Three separate communities within the original Bethpage Purchase have, at one time or another, been named Bethpage. The first community was centered in present-day Farmingdale around Merritts Road, just north of the Hempstead-Bethpage Turnpike; the second was present-day Old Bethpage; and the latest is present-day Bethpage.

Read more about Bethpage Purchase:  Thomas Powell, The Deed, Bethpage and Hardscrabble: Modern Farmingdale, Bedelltown, Jerusalem Station (and Jerusalem), Central Park: Modern Bethpage, Bethpage: Modern Old Bethpage

Other articles related to "bethpage purchase, bethpage":

Bethpage Purchase - Bethpage: Modern Old Bethpage
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