THE ONCE A WEEK

March 2, 1876

ROCKVILLE CENTRE IN THE OLDEN TIME.

A number of years ago there stood on Long Island Sound, a house built upon a solid rock. By whom it was built is unknown, but was lastly owned and occupied by a family named Smith. At that time there were several different families of Smiths along the sound, and as it was customary where there were many people of the same name to designate the different parties by suitable nicknames, the Smith whose residence stood upon the long lasting foundation, in order to distinguish him from the other families bearing the same cognomen, was called the "Rock" Smith.

Still farther back when the wild red man traversed our valued soil, and the Indian warwhoop sounded through the dense forests of old Long Island where new we hear echoed and re-echoed the shrill shistle of the locomotive engine, a man named Smith came to Long Island, and stopping about where Freeport is now located he held consultation with the Indians with regard to their granting him a certain amount of land which he might settle upon and always consider his own, and remain upon it unmolested by the red man. An agreement was soon made which was that Smith should get upon the back of a bull, and as much land as he could ride around in a day should be his. He got astride of one of these animals, and when the sun had just sunk behind the far west horizon, he had encircled a vast tract of land comprising the whole of the villages of Freeport, formerly called Raynortown, Merrick, formerly Jerusalem, and Baldwins, and a great deal of the country thereabout. He and all his generation were after that spoken of as the "Bull" Smiths, and are even to this day, hence the origin of the "Rock" Smiths and the "Bull" Smiths.

Thirty years ago there stood upon the hill at junction of what is now called Long Lane and the main road, a large, old fashioned house overlooking the pond of water which drove round the wheels of two grist mills situated upon its Southern bank, one under the management of Samuel Smith, the other, Parmenas Smith. Leaving this old house and taking the main road which ran along the bank of the pond where now nothing but a briery footpath remains, and passing the two mills, brought you to another old residence situated close by the water with only the street (the old swamp road to Hempstead) dividing them, built long before the world became enlightened enough to make nails by machinery. And even so late as till the summer of 1875 did it stand with its weatherbeaten shingles unmoved by the tempests which had swept over it, unswayed by the winds as they have come and gone, at times as though signifying their disappointment at their fruitless efforts to be conqueror of the old-time mansion by their suppressed but solemn moaning among the overhanging branches of the firm old willows around about it. In this, at the time of which we write, lived the Rev. Mordecia Smith, who eloquence as a Methodist preacher was fully appreciated even in that day; and in the former building resided Mrs. David DeMott, familiarly known as Dr. Sally Brush. They were father and daughter, and two of the most prominent citizens of the place. The Rev. Mordecia Smith was the principal business man. He kept in the old house the leading store of all that portion of the country, he was an able preacher, and by his good natured, accommodating dispositon he built for his store an extensive trade. That locality was then called Christian Hook, which name comprised all of what is now the village of Rockville Centre, commencing at the mills and the pond and extending East as far as Baldwinsville, and North and South a still greater distance. All to the West of the dam was called Near Rockaway. A local name for the immediate neighborhood of the Methodist Church (then known as the old Methodist Church of Rockaway) was "The Sandhole."

Mrs. DeMott, or as we shall speak of her, Mrs. Brush, was a person of no little importance. She was the practicing physician of the entire territory thereabout, and by her excellent knowledge of medicine, commanded a wide practice, her ability in that direction being so well recognized that she at one period was appointed to the office of physician for the county or town poor, we are unable to state which. Possessing as she did, such fine natural abilities, benevolent qualities, pleasing address and naturally massive mind, we can safely say she lived too soon, for the people about her in her day were so behind the age as to be unable to appreciate her. It was in her house the people met to name the place.

Want of space compels us to make this
TO BE CONTINUED IN OUR NEXT
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EAST ROCKAWAY

We learn from good authority that John Farrington, the man whom Dr. R. W. Hutcheson has been treating for aneurism, is doing well and likely to make a good recovery. The case is interesting, especially to medical men, as affording an instance of the very rapid, safe and comparatively painless method of treating cases of the same nature. Where the old treatment involves days in obtaining a cure, and is frequently attended with much suffering, it is said that the new method only occupies hours, and is so comparatively painless that the patient frequently falls asleep during the operation, as was observed in this instance.

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Roll of Honor for Public School No. 21 (Rockville Centre) for the week ending February 25, 1876:

Intermediate Department
1. Bessie Weeks 2. Iola L. Robinson
3. Geo. M. Wood 4. Johnnie Wood
5. Sarah A. Robinson 6. Irving S. Cozine
7. Freddie Rhoder 8. William C. Carman

Primary Department
1. William Smith 2. Lizzie Smith
3. George G. Smith
JOHN H. REED, Principal.

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The chimney of the house occupied by Mr. Hewlett Abrams caught fire on Wednesday evening of last week, but was extinguished in time to prevent damage.

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When you see a young man trying to clean a paper collar with a piece of rubber, you can make up your mind that he has been struck by the hard times.

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Parties wanting to purchase or lease houses and land, would do well to give Mr. D. K. Elmendorf a call. He has some very desirable places for sale and to let.

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The Lalance and Grosjean Manufacturing Company are already making preparations for rebuilding their manufactory at Woodhaven, a force of men having been put to work to clear away the burned building.

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In another column we publish an original address of Mr. Thomas Shore, which he wrote and delivered over 30 years ago at a temperance division of which he was a member, held in the house now occupied by Mr. Samuel Horton, near Woodsburgh, we print it exactly as it is on the manuscript.

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Mr. Horatio Ellmore our agent, had a very narrow escape from death last Tuesday, while buisy building a chicken house a large apple tree parted in the center, one half falling over upon a corn crib just grazed Mr. E. That is what we call a providential escape, for if the tree had fallen upon him it would no doubt have crushed the life from his body.

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We hope the elder female portion of this community will not lose their equilibrium over the error which occurred in our last issue stating that Mr. Witman Mathews thought about opening a race course next to the burying ground. Instead of making one there he has a faint idea of fixing up the same away back in his wood, far out of the sight of all.

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Mr. B. F. Rushmore, under-Sheriff of this county visited the Hempstead reservoir on Wednesday morning and levied upon certain personal property-cars, railroad iron, &c. - belonging to John C. Wright who was defeated in a suit instituted by him again Messrs. Kingsley & Keeney for an alleged non-fulfillment of a contract. We hear that the object of the levy is to secure the payment of the costs of the suit amounting to about $300.00. Inquirer.

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During the past five years, forty-two women have been murdered by men in New York City. Not one of the murderers has been hanged, and only six were sentenced to imprisonment for life, twelve were given sentence of seven years and under in the State Prison, two were sent to the penitentiary for ten and thirteen years respectively, and two received sentence, one for nine and one for thirteen months, Seven of the wife murderers committed suicide; the rest escaped punishment.

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H. W. Vandervoort, Local Editor.

Mr. Everitt Cornell is about erecting a new house at Brower's Point...Mr. Mott Brower will also soon build a find cottage near Hewletts public school....The editor of the "Observer" says there is a man in Hewletts who is getting rich by minding his own business, of course we are glad to learn this, but it is thought by many in this vicinity that if said editor did a share himself it would benefit him considerably...Our enterprising merchant F. H. Weyant, is as usual head over heels in business....The time of the Lyceum meeting is changed from once to twice a month i.e., on every first and third Wednesday in the month...Read A. V. Johnson's advertisement...On Thursday morning Feb. 24th Mr. John Albro was suddenly attacked by a paralytic fit, to which he has been subject for a long time. He is now under the treatment of a female practitioner of Brooklyn - better known as a clairvoyant...Mr. Edward Murray who is afflicted in a like manner is under the treatment of the same person....The anniversary of G. W. the hero of cherry tree fame, was observed here by the closing of our public school....Two cases of measles in progress here...There will be entertainment at the public school on Friday evening, March 3rd. Parents and the public cordially invited...Plenty slipping and sliding, that's all.



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transcribed and edited© by Linda Pearsall Harvey