>> The full article can be found at this link (which contains pictures and is easily printable). Link opens in a new window.
Footnotes are included at the end of the page…
The unincorporated Hamlet of Port Jefferson Station/Terryville is synonymous with the
Comsewogue School District. In contrast with hamlets in Suffolk County that date back more than
three and one-half centuries, settlement here started in 1866. Nevertheless, the Hamlet has a rich and
somewhat unique history.
This section of the Plan sets out the timeline of significant historic houses, people and events that,
in the aggregate, have contributed to present day Comsewogue.
- Richard Floyd (cousin of William Floyd), Master of Masonic Lodge Suffolk No. 60 in
Drowned Meadow, died while riding his horse Echo in a race on May 9
th of that year. Curious to
note the name of the horse predates the original name of Port Jefferson Station.
- In 1836, Drowned Meadow, as it was called in the colonial days, became known as Port
Jefferson, in honor of Thomas Jefferson, our 3
- Cornelius Hulse House is built. Ms. Agnew recalls being told her home, the Cornelius Hulse
House, was built prior to 1850. As referenced in the 1981 “The History of Terryville Road” booklet,
there is a story of an escaped slave who was “hidden” in this house, #339 Terryville Road, by the
Hulses and the slaves used a secret staircase to get into the attic.
The booklet also goes on to claim that Captain Hawkins lived at #339 while building his grand home
next door in the 1880′s. In a July 2007 interview with Audrey Agnew, owner of the home, this
information was verified.
3 Ralph Cornelius, Jr., while renovating the Hawkins home, discovered
a plaque in its basement, which dates the Hawkins House at some time after 1855.
Clark Agnew and his wife Audrey and their family moved into the home about 1950. The bought
it from Ruth Brietung and Douglas Bach (of the Flower Bocks’ Florist, formerly located at the
southeast corner of North Country Road and Main Street, at the ‘hill’ in Port Jefferson). Before the
Bachs, the Dentons lived here. Originally the property was eight acres of land. The greenhouses
were already in place, when the Agnews bought the property, though not in the refinished, solarpowered
condition that they came to be. Clark, Jr., was awarded a grant through the Carter
Administration’s Department of Energy and refurbished the greenhouses. The Agnews successfully
operated as wholesale garden growers.
At the time the Agnews bought their home, “Mrs. Helm was running the postal duties” of the
Terryville Post Office next door to the Agnews. “At about 1951 or ‘52 Ms. Ruth Terry took over
the postal duties of Terryville, at her home at the south-east corner of Whitman and Terryville Roads.
A Mr. Jersey from #450 Terryville Road would transport Terryville’s mail from Port Jefferson Train
Station to Ms. Terry.”
“When the post office was eliminated,” says Ms. Agnew, “we were promised that we could keep
‘Terryville’ as our address.
Ms. Agnew, in her 80′s, claims the oldest family names in Terryville are the Terrys, the DeHarts, and
the Galdyszs. She said somewhere on the west side of Terryville Road “Uncle Arthur Terry” lived
(#460 possibly). Ms. Agnew’s daughter, Robin, operates a tailor shop, ‘Designs on You’ in one of
the greenhouses at the Agnews.
The Hawkins House
- Thomas R. and Josephine Terry purchased 20 acres of land, part cleared, part woodland with
a small building on it for $600 from “Josephine A. Terry and Preston Terry, Infants under the age of
21 by Scudder Terry, special guardian and Rhoda J. Terry, widow of the first part, mother and next
friend of Preston Terry.” February 16, 1866.
Scudder Homan Terry (born: April 29, 1823; died: January 1, 1865) was the father of Josephine A.
and Preston Terry and husband of Rhoda J. Terry. Scudder Terry was the father of Scudder Homan
Terry and the children’s grandfather and their special guardian listed in the deed.
Scudder Homan Terry was a Corporal in the Union Army’s New York Cavalry, 13
Company K, during the Civil War. He died of starvation on January 22, 1865 in Danville Hospital
Virginia, after being incarcerated as a Prisoner of War in Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia.
was 42 years of age. Thomas R. Terry and Scudder Homan Terry were first cousins.
The purchase of this land by Thomas R. Terry was followed later by his three brothers, Salem E.,
Daniel R., and later, Edward F. Terry purchasing land in the area. This was the beginning of the Terry
family influence in the area. The Brookhaven Tax Records through 1887 indicate that the area was
still known as “Cumsewogue.”
- Port Jefferson branch of the Long Island Rail Road launched – original station was located on
west side of Main Street.
- January 13, 1873 – the first train to New York City left Port Jefferson Station at 6:00 a.m. with
Survey conducted on March 23, 1873, for the opening of “Terrytown Road” as a public road.
- April 8, 1874, there was a meeting to form the Terryville-Comsewogue School District, and
to separate from the Port Jefferson School District. The Port Jefferson School District objected to
the separation, but the Brookhaven Town Supervisor and Clerk agreed to the separation. On August
1, 1874, the Terryville-Comsewogue School District formed. Thomas R. Terry was the first
President, and Addison Hulse and R. Woodhull Wheeler were the first Trustees. The District was to
be south of North County Road and Sheep Pasture Road. The School District’s population in 1874
was 350 people.
The School District used an old Baptist church from Yaphank, which was moved to the bend in
Terryville Road, as the first school house. This is where the Post Office stores its trucks today. The
first teacher was Miss Sarah Jones.
Order ascertaining and describing Terrytown Road filed with the Town Clerk on June 11, 1874;
“Whereas road used as a highway for many years leading from Old Town Road northerly through
Terrytown and connecting with Main Street leading from Port Jefferson to Coram on the land of
Leander Smith has never been opened as a public Road and Whereas a Jury of Twenty four men
drawn in accordance with Statute by the Town Clerk on the application of Thomas Terry, met at the
house of Albert Hutchinson this day & Nathaniel Miller & Sixteen others comprising said Jury
unanimously decided such a road to be necessary & proper, and such Certificate having been
presented to us & which accompanies this order.”
August 20, 1874: “Release for Road at Cumsawogue or Terrytown,” Whereas a highway has been laid
out in the Village of Cumsawogue on the 11
th of June last known as Cord Wood or Terrytown Road
by the Commissioner of Highways of the Town of Brookhaven in the County of Suffolk…”
- A nine acre estate in Terryville, owned by Azariah H. Davis of Port Jefferson, is sold to Isaac
B. Hawkins of same for five hundred dollars: “Northerly by land of William Davis, Easterly by the
Cord Wood Road and land of Joshua M. Overton and Southerly and Westerly by the land of Hawkins
Smith. (Liber 253, page 425). Descendants of Hawkins sold the northern 4.5 acres of this parcel to
Jerome H. Hart of Port Jefferson for a suspect two dollars (Liber 1030, page 541), upon which the
historic home of Hart still exists, as #450 Terryville Road c. 1921. South on the parcel the Miller
home was built, at #460 Terryville Road. Azariah H. Davis and wife, Ann E. Woodhull Davis, are
buried in the Setauket Presbyterian Church, Setauket, N.Y.
There was some discussion as to the name to be given to the Post Office. Since the Department
desired to have as short names as possible, it was a question of how to get one short enough to meet
the requirements. At a meeting held by those who had that matter in charge, among who was Captain
Nathaniel Dickerson, who was a race horse breeder, and who had, at that time, a horse named ‘Echo,’
which had gained a certain amount of fame on the race track, he suggested that the Post Office be
named “Echo.” This was done, and the name sent to the Postal Department and accepted. The Post
Office at that time was situated in a small building north of the Long Island Rail Road train tracks on
the west side of Main Street. Mr. Squires used it for a printing shop and Post Office combined.
- Captain Dickerson of Port Jefferson, having sold his horse ‘Echo’ for $1,500, has purchased
the horse’s full sister, who promises well for speed.
- Horse racing brought much pleasure to the residents of the area during this period. The
Gentleman’s Driving Park, later called the Herman Floyd Race Track, was a local half-mile track that
was used in the mid to late 1800′s. Decoration Day (modern day Memorial Day) celebrations were
held on this track in 1884 and 1885. A $50.00 purse was offered, admission was 50 cents, and ladies
were admitted at no charge. It is here where Echo ran and won several races. This track is located
in the woods east of Morgan Avenue and northeast of Canal Road. The oval track is clearly evident
in aerial photos of the area.
- Terryville Union Hall was built. Terryville Union Society trustees: Edward Terry, Preston
Terry, George Kinsey. “In 1932 the Welfare Association arranged to plant an elm tree and two white
pines donated by Mr. Prosser of Middle Island to commemorate Washington’s Birthday.” Prosser
Pines at Middle Island is now a Suffolk County Park. Today there are no White Pines on the
property of the Terryville Union Hall. There is a large 60 foot Spruce and a large White Oak (60
feet). The tree that Mr. Prosser donated in 1932 may have been the Spruce that is still standing
- First Terryville Post Office secured by Thomas R. Terry existed on the west side of Terryville
Road, just south of the True North Church. First Postmaster was Preston E. Terry. This house
subsequently burned down in the early eighties.
Port Jefferson Post Office was originally established as Echo on November 28, 1888. The name was
changed to Port Jefferson Station on June 7, 1910. The first Postmaster was Charles Squires,
appointed on November 28, 1888 by President Cleveland. Dwight C. Squires succeeded him in 1921.
- On July 11, 1892 the Long Island Rail Road Company North Shore Branch was incorporated.
The new company absorbed the Smithtown and Port Jefferson Rail Road on September 23, 1892.
- Existing Port Jefferson Station depot rebuilt and put on the east side of Main Street, after the
railroad was extended to Wading River in May of 1895.
Robert L. Davis (after which Davis Avenue in Port Jefferson Station was named) is highlighted as
a notable horse trainer. “By strict and intelligent attention to business he has retained the confidence
of good will of his patrons, so much that he has today horses owned by a gentleman who was his first
patron fifteen years ago…He is located a short distance from the railroad station where he is always
to be found with his charges. An eighty-acre farm provides him with the ample room for his business.
A first-class half-mile track is near the place, [located east of Morgan Avenue on the north side of
Canal Road, and south of Nesconset Highway] and forty roomy, well ventilated box stalls in the
training barn, afford the best of shelter to stock in his charge.”
- Telephone service established.22
- An addition to the school house was built in 1907 for another classroom so that two teachers
could use the building. The first school house was used until 1921.
- Loper Brothers Factory erected southwest of LIRR station. Maurice Richard began the
manufacture of the “Only” automobile 1909-1915. The Only had one cylinder, could reach a speed
of 60 mph and got 30 miles to a gallon.
The “Only” automobile
- The Deane house is built (#322 Terryville Road). In an interview in July 2007, the surviving
Deane descendant, Ms. Diana Deane, shared a brief history of that house, which was built by her great
aunt, Jennie Deane, in 1909.
“Initially it was considered a summer home. Ms. Jennie, a resident of New York City, had often
visited friends and family, the Kinseys, in the area and thus was familiar with Terryville. I don’t think
there are any Kinseys left today, but I do remember an elderly Mr. Kinsey from my childhood. He
lived on the east side of the Road in what became the Carter house–across from what is now St.
Gerards. The St. Gerard property was an old apple orchard on land owned by the Lewis family. The
Lewis family lived in the house at #316. When their son Charlie married, he built a small house at
the northern end of the Lewis property. Charlie’s wife, Thelma, lived there until her death a few
years back. It was subsequently sold to someone who completely renovated it.
Jennie initially purchased an acre of land from a Mrs. Maria J. Terry and contracted with Buffield &
Robinson of Selden to build what was to be a country home to share with her siblings–Samuel, Elvira
(Ellie), and Daisy–and their children. This original structure is the three-story portion of the house.
The fact that Jennie was able to enter into this transaction at a time when a woman’s right with respect
to property ownership was quite restricted, may be of some interest. Jennie was a graduate of Hunter
College and taught school in New York City. Having never married, she was free to own property
in her own right and chose to use her savings for the benefit of her family. Jenny passed away
prematurely in 1916, as did her brother Samuel (Diana’s grandfather). Ellie and Daisy managed to
keep and maintain the house; they enjoyed spending summers there for the duration of their lives.
Samuel’s son, Everett (Diana’s father), spent all of his childhood summers in Terryville. Indeed,
Everett planted the three Catalpa trees lining the front of the property when he was nine years old;
these trees are now, in 2008, 83 years old and still going strong!
Everett and his older cousin Warren (Ellie’s son), worked extremely hard to keep up the property so
that their mothers and aunts could enjoy the “family retreat” for the duration of their lives. Everett
and Daisy purchased an additional adjoining acre of land in the 1930′s. After Warren passed away
in 1952, Everett devoted most of his free time to improving the family home. Daisy passed away in
1964, leaving Everett as the sole owner of the entire property. He continued to modernize and make
improvements–doing most of the work himself or with his friend and neighbor, Ralph Cornelius, Sr.–
–who had purchased the Hawkins house directly across the street in 1954. The Deane house was
winterized with the installment of a heating system in 1970. In 1976 a large one-story addition was
built onto the southern side of the house. Everett and his wife Betty both retired that same year and
settled permanently in the family home on Terryville Road.”
Diana Dean recalls hearing tales of a slave having lived at the Agnew house.
Another historic home is at the south end of Terryville Road. It is referenced in the 1981 history book
as the Bergen House.
Adie Terry lived in an older home on Terryville Road at the far end of the JFK Middle School field.
This is also referenced in the 1981 Historic Terryville book. It is now a Maryhaven group home.
- The Echo post office and hamlet was to be called Port Jefferson Station. It was called such
because the railroad conductor would yell, “Coming up, Port Jefferson Station” as the train
approached the train station. In that day the mail would also be shipped to the town by way of the
Long Island Rail Road, to Port Jefferson Station. Henceforth, the Railroad and the Post Office named
the area Port Jefferson Station.
- Maurice Richard designed The Metropol, after realizing that four cylinders were better than
one. This car attained a speed of 75 mph and got 25 miles to a gallon.
After the Only-Metropol factory ceased operation later in 1913, Karl Peters bought the Loper
building and produced the Maxim Tricar, a three-wheel delivery van steered by a tiller. The operation
was moved to Philadelphia for production after it was determined that this area did not have the
market for a delivery van.
- Finley Robertson Porter purchased the Only-Metropole factory and began designing the
“FRP.” The FRP was called “the finest car to date.” Its 300 cubic inch engine had a “T” head design
with four cylinders. The design called for double heat-treated chrome vanadium steel. There is
evidence that Porter cast his own blocks in a forge that he built on the property of the factory.
- Finley Robertson Porter begins manufacture of the “Porter” automobile in Loper Bros. factory.
- The automobile factory was bought by The Lace Mill. Originally known as Port Jefferson
Lace Company, owned by Samuel H. Roberts, it later combined with The Thomas Wilson Company,
and finally became The Thomas Wilson Lace Company.
During this year, a third teacher was hired for the school district. This third teacher had to teach class
at the back of Marsh’s Drug Store. The student population was growing. A special meeting was held
to discuss the growing school district, where there was a vote to raise $47,275 for a new school.
Three and one-half acres were bought across the street from the original school on Terryville Road.
On December 5, 1921, the new Comsewogue Elementary School opened. The old original school
house was converted to a residence by Judge Carl F. Ruck.
- As with all Fire Departments, their purpose is to protect life and property. Organized on
September 29, 1922, the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire Department stored its three trucks at
the old Loper Brothers lumber storage shed. This building had also been previously used by the J.G.
Lawrence Trucking Contractor. It was located in the parking lot of what is known today as the Port
Jefferson Business Center between Fun for All and the Laundromat on Wilson Street, just south of
the train tracks. Fire destroyed this firehouse in December 1925. As the Hook and Ladder truck was
being retrieved from the burning building, it jackknifed and could not be undone. As a result, the
other two trucks, a Steam Engine Pumper and a Hose Wagon, were trapped in the fire and destroyed.
The burned trucks were later stored in the building on the northwest corner of the property that had
been used by the Standard Oil Company of N.Y. (Mobil) to unload oil deliveries from the train. The
building still stands today. For the next twenty-five years, until August 1, 1950, the Port Jefferson
Fire Department covered the area.
- Students rode on Wading River branch of the LIRR to Port Jefferson Station to attend
school. Students referred to these as cars as “The Little Dinky” and “Doodlebugs.” Essentially these
light rail cars were trolleys that were converted by cutting a hole in front to install radiators. There
were two of these cars and each held 43 passengers. The Wading River extension was abandoned in
1938 due to lack of ridership.
- The district was growing so fast that a second addition was added to the Comsewogue School.
- There was a special dedication at the school on June 2, 1930. Joe Kessler was President,
Preston E. Terry was Treasurer. A school band from Patchogue performed, and Judge Ruck presented
a Bible at the ceremony.
- “Memorial Trees Planted at Terryville Hall.”
“Terryville Welfare Association Plants Three Trees on Lawn of Community Hall in Honor of George
Washington: Saturday afternoon, several members of the Terryville Welfare Association met at the
Community Hall, Terryville, to plant three trees on the lawn surrounding the hall. H.H. Terry,
accompanied by Everet Herbert, Arthur Harry, and Joseph Terry went to Middle Island, where they
were cordially greeted by Mr. Prosser. He presented them with two pines and one elm tree. The
association is grateful to Mr. Prosser for his generous gift.”
The two pine trees are still in existence. The pine trees referred to are Spruce trees. One tree is in
front of the Union Hall, facing east. The other tree is on the property of the Kinder Care Learning
Center which, at some point, had purchased land that was once part of the lawn on the north side of
the Union Hall. Previous studies of these trees have indicated that they were white pine trees.
- Buttercup Farm and extensive farmland in Terryville was purchased by the Kroll’s, a German
immigrant couple. Their grandson, Richard Smith, currently owns and operates what is now a
dairy/deli/grocery in one of the original barn structures. The grandfather eventually bought up quite
a bit of property, and originally owned the land upon which the Terryville Fire Department Station
#2 stands on Old Town Road. The Kroll family home, an old Victorian, is still on the premises on
- The Ladies Auxilliary started on May 6, 1949. They held cake sales and other fundraising
activities to buy resuscitators, inhalators, Scott-aire pack rescue masks, and walkie-talkie radios.
- The reorganized Fire Department started to cover the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire
District on August 1, 1950.
- The Thomas Wilson Company becomes The Thomas Wilson Lace Company until 1986. This
company employed hundreds of local residents who remained loyal throughout their years of
employment. The company purchased a farm adjacent to the plant and built 30 homes during 1951.
This development was called Westport and was initially used to accommodate workers who came
from NYC and Newburgh. The Thomas Wilson Lace Company manufactured lace, lingerie, evening
dresses and surgical stockings. They also produced the surgical leotards worn by the first astronauts
to land on the moon in order to minimize vascular problems during reentry.
- The Kroll’s sell 98 acres to Pasquale and Victoria Scappaticcio of the Bronx, who establish
Scappy’s Farm Stand in Terryville. It remains as a farm stand across from the Buttercup Farms.
Their granddaughter, Jackie Vino, owns and operates it with her mother. Initially the Scappaticcio’s
brought produce to the farm stand from their existing farm on Bay Chester Avenue, Bronx. They
began farming Terryville land in 1958, and according to Ms. Vino, “had corn growing all the way up
to Janet Street,” and a variety of farm vegetation “through to what is now Heatherwood Golf Course”
to the west, which borders the town of South Setauket on Rte. 347.
- The Terryville Post Office and the Port Jefferson Station Post Office merged in 1957.34
- With more houses and shopping centers built in the fire district, there was a ground breaking
ceremony for a new extension on the south side of the fire house building that would add three more
bays. This was completed in 1962 with a special dedication ceremony held on August 19
th of that
year. The department also had a Drum and Bugle Corps with Color Guard and Drill Team members.
- Terryville Road Elementary school opens.
- Norwood Avenue Elementary School and John F. Kennedy High School (later to become
Junior High School, and later still to become Middle School) open.
A volunteer Ambulance Corps was started in 1965 with the addition of a Cadillac Ambulance.
- Comsewogue Library established. Current library building completed in 1969 on Terryville
Road. The original modular building is on the corner of Edgewood Road and Terryville Road. It is
currently occupied by the United Cerebral Palsy Organization.
- Clinton Avenue Elementary School opens.
- To end confusion with the Port Jefferson Fire Department, the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville
Fire Department officially called itself the “Terryville Fire Department” in 1970. Citizens would call
the operator to report a fire. The operator would ask, “Where do you live?” The citizen would
generically reply, “Port Jefferson.” This added confusion to the emergency situation, when in reality
they lived in Port Jefferson Station. Henceforth, the name was changed to Terryville Fire
- The Millers (originally lobstermen of the nearby harbors) at #460 Terryville Road, a former
Terry house, remediated an oil spill in Port Jefferson Harbor. From this incident they then created
The Marine Pollution Control Company, which later became The Miller Environmental Group. They
are known to have been involved in the cleanup of famous oil spills around the world, such as the one
created by the Exxon Valdez oil tanker.
Boyle Road Elementary School and Comsewogue Senior High School open.
- Station No. 2 on Old Town Road and Terryville Road was built and put into service.37
- Station No. 3 was completed on Canal Road. A complete renovation of Station No. 1 was
completed this same year.
1. “Lodge No. 60 Free and Accepted Masons, An American History.” Roscoe C. Craft, 1946.
2. “The Story of a Village,” Welles & Proios
3. “Reminiscenses of Terryville,” Suffolk Every Sunday, April 10, 1932.
4. Suffolk County Clerk, Liber 135, page 533
5. Terry Family Genealogy, Brookhaven Town Historian
6. NY State Archives, Civil War, Film #M551. Roll
7. Brookhaven Tax Rolls 1872-1887
8. “The Port Jeff Railroad Station Changed with the Town.” Robert Frank Sisler, Patricia Hansell
Sisler. The Port Times Record, August 22, 1996.
9. “The Railroad Then and Now.” Robert Frank Sisler, Patricia Hansell Sisler. The Port Times
10. Brookhaven Town Records, June 11, 1874 (page 91), page 602.
11. Directory and Yearbook of the Public Schools 1929-1930, page 10.
12. Brookhaven Town Records, June 11, 1874, (page 90), page 601.
13. Brookhaven Town Records (page 102), page 613.
14. April 10, 1932, Suffolk Every Sunday.
15. July 1881, Brooklyn Eagle.
16. Robert Frank Sisler, Patricia Hansell Sisler, The Port Times Record, March 23, 1995.
17. “Terryville-Port Jefferson Station, A Historical Perspective.” Dagmar Von Bernewitz.
19. Art’s Archives website, Arthur Huenke
20. January 12
th article in the Port Jefferson Echo newspaper.
21. “Reminiscenses of Terryville,” Suffolk Every Sunday, April 10, 1932.
23. Comsewogue Elementary School Dedication Program, June 2, 1930.
24. “The Story of a Village,” Welles & Proios
25. “Port Jefferson Area’s First Century on Wheels,” Robert Frank Sisler. 2007, p. 8.
26. “Detroit on the Sound: Carmakers in PJ,” Robert Frank Sisler, Patricia Hansell Sisler. The Port
Times Record, September 1, 2005, p. A11.
27. Directory and Yearbook of the Public Schools 1929-1930, p. 12.
28. Dedication Program, Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire House, August 19, 1962.
29. “Port Jefferson’s First School Bus Was a Dinky,” Robert Frank Sisler, Patricia Hansell Sisler, The
Port Times Record, June 8, 2006, p. A7.
30. Comsewogue Elementary School Dedication Program, June 2, 1930.
31. Port Jefferson Times Echo, 11 March 1932.
Note: Mr. Prosser’s estate at Manorville is now te Prosser Pines County Park.
32. Dedication Program, Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire House. August 19, 1962.
33. “Hundreds Once Worked at the Port Jeff Lace Mill.” Robert Frank Sisler, Patricia Hansell Sisler.
The Port Times Record, August 8, 1996.
35. Dedication Program, Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire House, August 19, 1962.
36. Walter Bihajlo, Ex-Chief, 1954-1956, Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire Department
37. Terryville Fire Department 50
th Anniversary. 1950-2000. “Fifty Years of Serving,” p. 6, Herb