The Story of Baldwin
FROM SETTLEMENT TO REVOLUTION
We do not know when the first settlers came to Baldwin, but by the
year 1660 the piece of land between today's Parsonage Creek near Oceanside,
and Milburn Creek near Freeport was called Hick's Neck. It was named
after John Hick who moved to Hempstead Town about 1654.
1664, the English captured New Amsterdam and started the Colony of
New York. After this, our area became an English territory. The Hick's
Neck area became a part of Queens County and remained so for many
In 1686, the town gave "mill rights" to John Pine. Mr. Pine chose
five acres near the northeast corner of today's Milburn Avenue and
Merrick Road and began to dam Milburn Creek to create a millpond.
This gristmill encouraged farmers to settle in this area to take advantage
of its valuable service, and a community began.
Pine's Mill grew, so did the number of roads in our community. Hick's
Neck Road ran from Hempstead Village to Pine's Mill and on to the
harbor. Another road branched off this one and went to Oceanside.
These rough roads were the beginning of Milburn Avenue and Grand Avenue.
The South Country Road, later a colonial post road, traveled just
south of Pine's Mill. Today it is called Merrick Road. At first these
were all dirt and sand paths, some were used by the Indians. Frequent
use by the settlers made the roads wider and also put deeper ruts
in them. Rain and snow muddied them and made travel even harder. Later
on, some roads, such as Milburn Avenue, were covered with clam and
oyster shells, which made for good hard road surfaces. For short trips,
the most common way to travel the roads was by foot. If you were fortunate,
you might saddle a farm horse. However, early villagers took wagons,
carts, sleds pulled by oxen, and sleighs in the snow. Later, horse-drawn
stagecoaches ran on the major roads.
families made their living farming the land and the shoreline bays.
As local farms grew, they planted corn, rye, oats, wheat, buckwheat,
flax for linen, vegetables in house gardens, and fruit orchards. Salt
hay cut in the harbor marshes and on the islands in the bay made good
feed for their animals. Farmers raised cattle, oxen, sheep, hogs,
chickens, geese, horses, and other domestic animals. "Baymen" (fishermen
and shore hunters) took fish, clams, oysters, mussels, crabs, ducks,
geese, plover, and many other game birds from the wild to use in kitchens
for meals. The men and women worked together to make a good life for
their families, and the children did their share by milking cows,
gathering eggs, churning butter, and more. During the first years,
Pine's Mill newcomers were settling, and wood lots were cleared to
supply fuel and building materials as well as more planting fields.
In August 1776, the British Army defeated George Washington's Continental
Army in Brooklyn at the Battle of Long Island. Many Hempstead Town
patriots left for the safe haven of Connecticut. For seven long years,
until 1783, the British army occupied this area. During this time,
many buildings were damaged by the troops living in them. The British
army for its needs took a great amount of fencing and firewood, grains
and other crops, and farm animals. When the Continental Army finally
won the war and the British troops left Long Island for Nova Scotia,
England, and the British West Indies, many local loyalists left with
them for fear they might be hurt by returning patriots. Now Hick's
Neck in Hempstead Town, Queens County, was a part of the State of
New York and not a British colony.
To join the Baldwin Historical Society, please call (516) 223-6900.
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& Brooklyn Avenue,
Southwest corner of the LIRR crossing at Grand Avenue. Baldwin had a
population of about 200 at the time.
& Grand Avenue,
& Merrick Road
Fourth of July, Dr. Steele's Drug Store and the Sorrentino Building
to the left, located at Grand Avenue and Merrick Road.
of Grand Avenue,
Railroad Plaza, L-R: R.R. Station, Post Office, Smith Hotel, Pearsall
Livery Stable, and A.W. Pearsall Real Estate office, Grand Ave to the
far with Amos Pearsall's house on Pipe Line Blvd., (later Sunrise Highway).
Milburn Corners. Milburn Avenue looking east into Freeport at Merrick
Road. Milburn Hotel and Fred Rebban's Hotel on the left.
Train Station built
The first train came through in 1868. The last stop was Merrick where
the train turned around and went back to Jamaica.
(Photo taken in 1910)
2420 Grand Avenue,