How were the hills of Staten Island named?
Todt Hill Staten Island
In the “Staten Islander” for Aug. 30, 1856, there is an article on the origin of the name Todt Hill. It states that in one of the early encounters between the Indians and the Dutch settlers, several of the Dutch were killed on the hill, which in consequence received the name of Todt of Death Hill. Todt is the Dutch word for death.
Another reference states the following. “The Dutch name for Todt Hill was Yserbert, translated by their English successors into Iron Hill, and both referring to the iron ore found on it. Another derives the name Toad from a trivial social incident. The one that seems most probable relates the name Todt or dead to an early use of the hill as a burying place. Moravian Cemetery is located on the southern most part of Todt Hill near the town of New Dorp and has been in use since the colonial days.
Emerson Hill, Staten Island
Emerson Hill Staten Island is named for Judge William Emerson, in honor of the Judge’s more famous brother, the poet, essayist and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson. They were of the eighth generation, in direct line of descent, of a family of literary men. He is the oldest brother of Ralph Waldo Emerson who lived with his wife Susan, and their three children in a long brown shingle house known as The Snuggery. Willie and Haven, two of their sons were tutored in 1843 by Henry David Thoreau, who lived with the Emersons from May through October. It was the only time in his adult life that Thoreau lived anywhere but Concord, Massachusetts.
Grymes Hill Staten Island
Grymes Hill Staten Island is named after Suzette Bosque Grymes. She is the widow of Louisiana’s first governor, William Charles Cole Claiborne, who settled on Staten Island in 1836. (She had married a prominent New Orleans lawyer, John R. Grymes, after Governor Claiborne died in 1817.
A local developer, Major Charles Howard, built many of the Grymes Hill’s earliest homes, and his name survives in Howard Ave, Grymes Hill’s main street. A portion of this street was known for a time as Serpentine Road of Grymes Hills
Lighthouse Hill Staten Island
Lighthouse Hill Staten Island was formerly know as Richmond Hill. Lighthouse Hill acquired its present name when the Staten Island Range Light , which towers 141 feet above the Lower New York Bay, was built there in 1912. The original light could be seen as far as 21 miles away. The former name of Richmond Hill is carried on in Richmond Hill Road, which is located at the southern edge of the hill.
Ward Hill Staten Island is named for Caleb T. Ward, who purchased the property at the top of the hill in 1826. Ward Hill has long been the home of the island’s political elite.
Todt Hill Staten Island, Lighthouse Hill Staten Island, Grymes Hill Staten Island, Emerson Hill Staten Island, Ward Hill
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