Specifically situated on the Southeast side of America, the Long Island is one of the ancient Islands in America. This Island stretches to the Northeast side of the Atlantic Ocean and has a number of towns and counties. This discussion looks at one of the Long Island towns, how it has developed over the years and the impact that events in America have had on the development of this town. The town of choice is the Town of Huntington.
The history of Huntington Town dates back to the year 1653 when some men namely Robert, Richard and Daniel, who came from Oyster Bay bought a piece of land which would later come to be referred to as the First Purchase. The three men would later sell this piece of land to other people who had settled nearby.
A great majority of the people who settled in this town in the early days were English men, whom came to this town either via Connecticut or Massachusetts. Due to the constant settlement of English people in this town, it did not take long for the town to become well established.
The very first settlers of this town mainly settled in one area which was known as town spot (Wilson 45). This is what is known presently as the Village Green. As time went by, this town continued to prosper and so did the increase in the population. Social institutions such as schools, saw mills, forts, tanneries and places of worship began to emerge as well.
With the growth in population of this town, there were equally many economic activities that the settlers in this town engaged themselves in. The harbor was one of the busiest places in this town and formed an integral part of its economy. Ships from within the town and even beyond as far as West Indies became common.
Other businesses that contributed immensely to the growth and expansion of the economy of this town were, ship making and other activities related to the sea (Boroff 66). The inhabitants of this town used the water as a means of transport as it was the only most efficient means of transport both for cargo as well as people considering that this was a town within an island.
In the year 1744, an adaptation was made by the authorities of the Town of Huntington which was known as the Declaration of Rights. This declaration affirmed that the property of every free man was his own and that any kind of taxation which was done without some form of representation amounted to a violation of the rights of all subjects of British origin (Bessel 47).
Further, the declaration required that all colonies would unite and refuse to transact any kind of commercial transaction with the government of the Great Britain. This was a move that was received with great enthusiasm by all inhabitants of this town.
However, this would be short lived because the rebel forces would lose the Battle of Long Island and this saw the British army enter and occupy the entire Long Island (Huntington 56). People in this island including those that were in the Town of Huntington were forced to comply with the requirements of the British and they were even forced to take an oath of allegiance and loyalty to the British government.
For the people who continued to rebel against the British government, they suffered a major blow as they lost all their property. There are those who would however not back down and continued engaging the government in guerilla wars until the year 1783 when the war ended and the British left the town.
In the year 1776, a man named Nathan Hale was sent by George Washington to spy regarding the British forces that were in this town and the entire Long Island as well as the city of New York. This man was however captured and what followed was an execution in the same year.
Just as was the case in many other parts of the world during this time, slavery was very rampant in the Town of Huntington. The white settlers who engaged in farming would use slaves to provide affordable labour in their fields. Most of the slaves were black and the higher the number of slaves one had, the better their status in the society. The economy of this town did not however depend greatly on slavery for labour and by the nineteenth century, slavery had been totally abolished in this town and the entire island.
The American Revolution which took place between the years 1775-1783 is one of the wars that hit the Town of Huntington really hard. This war threatened to cause the collapse of this town and especially economically. This is because during this war, the town was not getting a lot of business from the outside owing to a lot of tension. By the end of the revolution, the town had lost a lot in terms of business and was on its knees. The rebuilding process was not a downhill task but nonetheless, they managed.
In the year 1867, a railroad was established in this town and this marked the beginning of the decline of maritime activities and economy. Although the use of water still remained important until the twentieth century, its use declined significantly when the railroad was established.
The people of Huntington were not ready to give up on shipping just yet because it is the one that ensured that this town remained connected to the rest of the world for all this while. Therefore, this town was not isolated as other towns in the Long Island were. Those living in New York would find it easy to come to Huntington using either ships or the newly established railroad (Ross and Pelletreau 33).
When the Second World War came to an end, it is as though people had discovered as safe haven in the Town of Huntington and the entire Long Island. This is because, the population size of this island and the Town of Huntington in particular began to swell. It was amazing to note that 200 years after its establishment, the town had only experienced gradual growth and especially in terms of population increase. This however took a drastic change after World War II as the number of people increased significantly.
The Town of Huntington has continued to grow with the population going up and the economy of the town expanding even further. There are now no vacant lands anymore as they have been replaced with social institutions, industries and factories.
Bessel, Matthew. A brief history of the town of Huntington. New York: Town of Huntington, 1983. Print
Boroff, David. The State of the Nation. London: Prentice Hall, 1966. Print
Huntington, Elijah. History of Stamford, Connecticut: From its Settlement in 1641. Virginia: Huntington Publishers, 1868. Print
Ross, Peter and Pelletreau, William. A history of Long Island: from its earliest settlement to the present time, Volume 2. Lodnon: Lewis Pub Co, 1905. Print
Wilson, Rufus. Historic Long Island. New York: Berkeley Press, 1902. Print