Early Days of Patchogue Pt.l

Footnotes to Long Island History


JUNE 30, 1960


Thomas R. Bayles

       Patchogue remained an unmarked part of the wilderness during the early years of the Island's settlement, and it began with the sale in June 1664, by Tobaccos, chief of the Unkechaug tribe of Indian, to Gov. John Winthrop of Connecticut, all that tract of land extending from a small pond near the bay in the extreme western part of Bellport to Namkee Creek in Blue Point. This comprises the village of East Patchogue, Patchogue and Blue Point.

       This tract was known as Winthrop's patent in 1680 and was composed of nine necks of land. The two eastern necks lying east of Saw Mill Creek were sold in 1749 to John Brewster and Thomas Strong. On March 27,1752, Humprhey Avery of  Preston, New London County,  Conn., bought the other seven necks for about  2,600 pounds. In 1756 he was in need of money so he asked and received permission from the governor and General Assembly to sell his tract of land by lottery.

       There were 8,000 tickets issued and sold at 30 shillings each and the drawing was made in June 1758 and was such a success that Mr. Avery was able to pay off his debts and buy back part of the land, where one of his descendants of the same name now lives.

       According to Ross's History, a mill was built on the Patchogue River before 1750 and the stream was considered so valuable for this purpose that other mills for grinding grain were soon built on it and were later devoted to more important industries.

       This territory developed very slowly and was not annexed to Brookhaven town until February 6, 1773, by an act of the colonial General Assembly. From that time on it grew more rapidly, especially after the Revolution.

       The first factory in Patchogue was a paper mill built in 1798 and located near the site of the former lace mill. It was destroyed by fire in 1850. This mill was owned by Jonas Wicks, who made strawboard and wrapping paper.

       About 1800 a cotton twine mill was located just to the west of  the paper mill, and owned by Frederick Odell, who sold it to Justice Roe in 1816. He was a son of Capt. Austin Roe of East Setauket, one of Washington's spies during the Revolution. In later years  this mill was built by John E. Roe and formed a part of the early lace mill. John E. Roe also had another twine mill on Swan Creek on the east side of the same dam on which the Swezey grist mill stood until it was destroyed by fire several years ago.

       In 1880 John Havens, then owner of the west mill, leased it to Carslow, Henderson& Co. Of Scotland, who began the manufacture of crinoline. Later they important lace curtains and bleached and finished them. In 1890 the mill was sold to the Patchogue Lace Mfg. Co.

       In 1822 Daniel Haff owned a two- story woolen mill that stood on the site of the old electric light plant at the Patchogue Lake dam, adjacent to the recent lace mill. The farmers for miles around brought their wool to this mill to be carded spun and woven into cloth.

       Another mill was built by Nathaniel Smith and Daniel C. Gillette in 1832 on the old dam across Tuttle's Creek at West Lake. Other industries around that time included an iron forge several tanneries and a shop making machines for manufacturing envelopes.

       Shipbuilding was an important industry about 1850, and this probably did more toward building up the village than anything else.

       In 1869 Edwin Bailey started the lumber business of E. Bailey& Son. In 1878 Justus Roe, son of Austin Roe, and a great grandson of Capt. Austin Roe began the manufacture of steel tapes and reels for surveyor's use.

       On Canaan lake there was an old paper mill owned by John S. Havens, which burned down 60 years or more ago.


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