Revolutionary Staten Island

During the active movements of the British and Colonial

armies in the East, all was excitement on Staten Island.

The arrival of the mail-coach at Richmond Town was each

day greeted by hundreds of people, and the news from the

seat of war created animated controversies that resulted in hand-to-

hand combats.

The population of the Island consisted of about three thousand

people, including men, women, children and slaves. The men were

about evenly divided in their support of the English government,

and families soon became disunited and at enmity over the vital

issues of the day. The first movement, however, that resulted in open

disloyalty to the King; was the partial organization of two military

companies which offered their services to General Washington.

Before the General’s answer could be received, the British army arrived,

With all its pomp and glitter, and the inexperienced natives were so

terrified that they thought it wiser to be on the stronger side, and so

consented to be mustered into the King’s service.

This was a stinging blow to the patriots who were anxious that

Staten Island should be in possession of the Colonial army, and they

called a secret meeting at Smoking Point (Rossville) for the purpose

of recruiting citizen soldiers who were opposed to the oppression of

the parent government. But the leaders were betrayed and the meeting