Suffolk Supers in 1901

Footnotes to Long Island History


APRIL 7, 1960


Thomas R. Bayles

        The Board of Supervisors of Suffolk County is one of the oldest bodies in the State of New York. Suffolk County was created by an act of the General Assembly under Gov. Dongan in 1683, and covered the territory known as the east riding of Yorkshire which was formed in 1665. At first there were six towns in Suffolk County; Southold, Southampton, Easthampton, Brookhaven, Huntington, and Smithfield. The population of the county in 1683 was about 2,000 and in 1901 about 77,000.

       The following has been taken from an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of January 26, 1901:

       "During the past year the board has transacted considerable business. In former years it was the custom of the board to meet twice a year, but in late years the amount of business has increased so that 15 meetings were held during the past year.

       Among the most important affairs of the board during the past year were the appointments of Nathaniel Roe of Patchogue as county sealer of weights and measures and Addison cook as shellfish commissioner. The bounty on wild animals was extended to include foxes which have become very plentiful throughout the county. This was placed at $1 each. During the past year the board appropriated $16,000, for the support of the county almshouse at Yaphank and $6,000, for the support of the children's home at Yaphank. The sheriff was authorized to employ an extra warden at $50 a month and was granted compensation of $225 for the care of the county buildings.

       "The famous stone breaking edict, passed by a previous Board of Supervisors, which was enacted to clear the county of the tramp nuisance, was rescinded by the present board during the year, because of the accumulation of stone of previous years and the present limited number of vagrants confined to the jail for that purpose. That the stone breaking has proven a boon to the county is well known, as within the last year or two very few tramps have been found within the limits of the county .During the past year the board sold 300 tons of the  broken stone to the Riverhead village improvement Society at a price of 75 cents a ton. The stone has been used in improving Griffin Avenue in front of the county buildings.

       "One of the far reaching economies of the board was the purchase of 150 tons of coal at $4.64 a ton, when coal prices during the famous coal strike reached $9 a ton.

       "The most important business of the board during the past year was the awarding of the contract for the building of the $13,000 steel bridge at Sag Harbor, of which Supervisors Bailey and Skinner are the overseeing committee, The bridge will be completed within a short time.

       "The oldest surviving member of the board of supervisors is John Havens of Patchogue, who represented Brookhaven town during the years 1860, 1861,and 1862, and was again reelected for the years 1878 to 1882.

       "The hustling member of the board for Brookhaven town is Edwin Bailey Jr. of Patchogue. Like his father, Edwin Bailey, young Eddie, as he is called by townspeople has never known the word fail. Mr. Bailey is a native of Patchogue and was born July 25, 1860. He was elected supervisor in 1897 and received one of the largest votes ever given candidate in this town," the Daily Eagle article of 1901 concluded. 

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