Hicksville*


Robert Williams purchased from Pugnipan, Sachem of the Matinecock Indians, on May 20, 1648, the area known as the Williams Plantation which would be today part of Jericho, Woodbury, Hicksville, Plainview and Bethpage, for a quantity of trading (English) cloth.

Thomas Hicks, the son of John Hicks who settled in Hempstead along with Robert Williams, obtained a grant of 4000 acres of land around Great Neck in 1666. Two of Thomas’ sons are important to the Hicksville story.

Benjamin Hicks, Thomas’ sixth son, married Phebe Titus. It was their grandson, Valentine, who was to become of the founders of Hicksville in the Plantation area.

Jacob Hicks’ famous grandson, Elias, was born on March 10, 1748, at Rockaway, Long Island. His marriage to Jemina Seaman, January 02, 1771, brought him to live with his in-laws in the Williams Plantation. They had three daughters; it was Abigail, who married her cousin Valentine Hicks. Sarah, married Robert Seaman, and Martha, married Royal Aldrich. Each of these daughters shared in the division of Elias’ property which included the Hicksville area. The three sons-in- law were executors. The will is simple. In it, in addition to equal shares to his children and mention that Abigail’s share was to be taken from a sum owed him under bond by Valentine, he provided a life estate for David, the colored man who had long lived with him.

Valentine Hicks purchased tracts of land from Royal Aldrich and William Willets in the Plantation. In 1834 he formed a Land Association with Robert Seaman, David Seaman and others. The land was surveyed and laid out in numbered building lots. The map of the area drawn in October 1836, by Morris M. Fosdick was filed in Queens County in December of that year.

The problem before the associates was to encourage land purchases in small parcels. One inducement seemed to be secure a quick route to New York. The nearest road connection was the Jericho Turnpike, located several miles away. The answer lay in bringing a railroad to the area.

In 1834 Valentine Hicks and others appeared before the State Legislature for the passage of an act to incorporate a railroad. On April 24, 1834 an act was passed incorporating the Long Island Railroad.

Two years prior to this, the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad was under construction between the villages whose names it bore. The Long Island Railroad rented this line and commenced construction from Jamaica to Greenport. The tracks were extended to Hicksville in 1835. The first timetable called for two daily each way. When the railroad reached the place where the old Newbridge Road linked with the Jericho Road (now North Broadway), a new and more important crossroads community was born.

Three years before the LIRR arrived at Hicksville, the Jackson Brothers established a livery stable here in 1834. The stable was located near today’s depot at the sight which later became the location of the famous Grand Central Hotel(built by Timothy Jackson). His business picked up after 1837 when newspaper advertisements praised the Hicksville depot as an excellent stopover for hunters and fishermen. The advertisement said that Jackson’s livery stable would provide horses and wagon for the drive toward Massapequa, Seaford and Bayshore where the marshes full of ducks were a hunter’s paradise.

It is reported that in 1836 G. William Totten ran the first stage, which also carried the mails, between Hicksville Syosset and Cold Spring Harbor.

With the coming of the Germans, Hicksville as a railroad terminus began to take on the appearance of a community. It was in 1844 that Hicksville had two trains passing through it each way daily, a fire broke out in the depot. It was the Fourth of July, an old time account says. When that Independence Day was over, the railroad station, engine round house and storage shed were in ruins. The first station was located north of the railroad near today’s Memorial Fountain.

It is very likely that some of Valentine Hicks’ hopes for a community on his lands near the depot went up in smoke along with the railroad’s property. After the fire, the namesake of the village did not have too many more years to live. In 1849, just a year before his death, Valentine Hicks and the Hicksville Association sold 1,000 acres of their lands to a group of out-of-town real estate speculators, among them Frederick Heyne and John Heitz. These investors, new in the area, were German immigrants to the United States. By the middle of the nineteenth century, great numbers of German and Irish people were emigrating to America.

1850 marked the passing of Valentine Hicks whom we remember for his farsightedness and initiative and whose name the community bears. The year was also marked by the efforts of the German-Americans to take up the task left uncompleted by Hicks. Frederick Heyne laid out streets on his property map and advertised for lot buyers among his native countrymen in New York City. Little by little, individuals and then families, came from the city to seek a new life.

A History of Queens County, published in 1882 states that John Heitz was born in Germany in 1818. He wanted to become a minister, but gave up that desire to become a watchmaker. In 1847, with his widowed mother, he landed in America. For three years he conducted a successful watch making business in New York. It is there he may have met Heyne, and together they invested in Hicksville land. He moved to Hicksville and erected a small store. He increased his holdings in Hicksville land and laid out wide, regular streets lined with trees. In 1859, Heitz, went to Jericho woodlands and gathered hundreds of small maple and locust trees. He transplanted these trees on his acreage which included the present court house area. He went into retirement for six years, but in 1869 opened a dry-goods and clothing business. He was one of the founders of the Agricultural Society of Hicksville and was its vice-president for many years. It was he who donated land for a public school in 1852. A little later he gave the land for a union chapel. The present Methodist Church is situated on the plot today. In 1881 he died.

* Taken from:
The Story of Hicksville Yesteday and Today
Hicksville Public Library
Hicksville's Story 300 Years of History 1648-1948 Ploughmen, Goldbeaters and Craftsmen: Hicksville's Earlier Economy 1648-1960


Next List of Merchants

Next List of Churches

Next---> Fire Department


LINKS
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Stephen

Trinity Luthern Church ---> Trinity saw its inception on May 3, 1850, as a German Lutheran Church, served by "circuit riders" and pastors from Brooklyn. Worship was held in the Frederick Heyne homestead - located on the west side of Newbridge Road midway between Old Country Road and Hempstead Turnpike - and then later in the Union Chapel on Broadway.

Hicksville Fire Dept.

Hicksville Library

BACK NASSAU COUNTY HISTORY