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At the first settlement of
the white inhabitants there was a very numerous Indian population on this island, as is evident from the large portion which
Daniel Denton, in his description of New York, printed at London in 1670 (the first work on this colony in the English language,
and he an inhabitant of this island), devotes of his work to describing their manners and customs. We have also preserved
the names of fourteen of their tribes who were formerly located upon Long Island.
Every few years some
discoveries are made in various parts of this island of the remains of these aborigines. On digging a few feet below the surface
recently at the Narrows, in Kings County, more than a wagon-load of Indian stone arrow-heads were found lying together, under circumstances calculated to induce the belief that a large manufactory
of those articles once existed at this place; they were of all sizes, from one to six inches long, some perfect, others
partly finished. There were also a number of blocks of the same kind of stone found in the rough state, as when brought from
the quarry; they had the appearance of ordinary flint, and were nearly as hard; not only arrow-heads, but axes and other articles
of domestic use were made from these stones.
in queens county.—In this county the Rockaway, Merrikoke, and Marsapeague tribes of
Indians were settled on the south side; and the Matinecoc tribe on the north side. The middle of the island seems to have
been by common consent the acknowledged boundary between the tribes on the north and south sides. In this county, about the
year 1654, a battle was fought between the English, under Captain John Underhill, and the Marsapeague Indians. This is the
only contest of any importance between the English and Indians on Long Island, of which we have any account. The Indians
were defeated with considerable loss.in suffolk county.—In this county were the Nissaquage, Setauket, Corchaug,
Shinecoc and Montauk tribes of Indians. The Manhanset tribe was on Shelter Island, Ram Island, and Hog Island. Tradition asserts
they could bring 500 warriors into the field. Most of the tribes of Indians have totally disappeared like " The baseless fabric
of a vision."