THE HISTORY OF SEAFORD, NY
The Marsapeaques, who were the original settlers of Seaford, called the area "Great Water Land." The leader of the tribe, Tackapausha, was one of the signers of the land purchase and treaty with the white settlers who arrived on Long Island from Connecticut in 1643. The Massapequas (who gave the towns their name, obviously) lived in domed huts thatched in bark and hides. A peaceful tribe, the Massapequas lived on the bounty of the sea and land and carried on an extensive wampum industry, making the medium of exchange from clam, periwinkle and oyster shells.
A wood and earthen structure, given the name Fort Neck, was constructed by the tribe for official meetings, ceremonies and protection from their enemies. The site is in Harbour Green, Massapequa, between Cedar Shore Drive and Gloucester Road The battle of Fort Neck, in 1653, pitted the strength of Dutch and English forces against the Massapequas, who, it was erroneously believed, were planning to slaughter the settlers. One white was killed, and 120 Indians died. It was a foreboding of what was to become of the Massapequas and all the tribes of Long Island. War and disease, coupled with increase clearing of wilderness land by the new settlers, made the Indians almost nonexistent by the end of the 1700s.
Captain John Seaman, who was born in Seaford, England, was one of the settlers arriving from Stamford, Connecticut, in 1643. He participated in the signing of the agreement to purchase Hempstead Plains from the Indians. Next, together with his colleague, Robert Jackson, he made a supplemental agreement for 1500 acres, known as the Jerusalem patent, which became the communities of Wantagh and Seaford. The area, located south of the Hempstead Plains boasted rich soil, well-stocked streams, acres of grasslands, salt hay for livestock and flowing water for mills. Shellfish, fish and game were abundant, as were edible wild berries and fruits. Captain Seaman settled in the area now known as Seaford in 1644 His home, named "Cherrywood," was located about 450 feet north and 150 feet east of the intersection of Jerusalem and Wantagh Avenues. The next settler, Robert Jackson, built his home 800 feet to the north of Seaman. Their farmsteads were separated by wilderness from the nearest civilization, Southampton, 60 miles to the east, and Hempstead, 8 miles to the west. German immigrants began to arrive in the 1845. They tilled the farmland in Seaford, selling their crops on day-long wagon trips to Brooklyn, where the produce was carried by boat to the stores in Manhattan. In addition to the fruits of the soil, the abundance of shellfish made the 1800s the era of the bayman who gathered scallops, clams, mussels, crabs and oysters as well as salt water fish to sell locally and in New York City. Many of the fishermen used the Seaford Skiff, developed to navigate around the marsh grasses dotting the bay. Its low silhouette, somewhat similar to a whaling boat, had a cockpit to shield against bad weather. Elements of its design are incorporated into many boats built today.
Seaford's first street was an Indian trail between Jerusalem (North Wantagh) and the shell banks of Seaford Creek. In 1762, the trail became known as Seamans Neck Road. A planked toll road, the Hempstead-Babylon Turnpike, running east and west, became known as Merrick Road, and was the logical place for merchants to sell goods and services and for the establishment of hotels to take care of the needs of travelers along the road. By 1896, Seaford had three groceries, a butcher shop, shoe shop, carpenter shop, livery stable, blacksmith shop, lumber yard, ice dealer and undertaker. Seaford had its own post office in 1 836, but the name of the community was Jerusalem South until finally, in 1866, it became Seaford.
The toll roads passed into history with the opening of the Long Island Railroad's Seaford station in 1867, and the community, already noted as a summer resort for city dwellers, became accessible on a year-round base to commuters. Sunrise Highway, constructed in the late 1920's became a major thoroughfare. The first schoolhouse, build on Merrick Road west of Seamans Neck Road in 1830, was to be replaced in 1893 by a new three-room school on the southwest corner of Jackson and Waverly Avenues. By 1909, Seaford's population had reached 850. In I 921, the first brick school was completed on Jackson Avenue, and the wooden school was moved to Waverly Avenue to house the fire department, which had been organized in 1 895 to replace bucket brigades.
By 1940, Seaford's population was 2,078 and the postwar housing boom helped to quadruple the population, which reached 11,288 by 1955. Seaford is 342 years old, and its estimated population today is 17,936.
Source: Newsday Directory 1997-1998 Bellmore , Seaford, Wantagh