Jericho: the History of a Long Island Hamlet
This informative book was written by our Local History Librarian, Betsey Murphy. It begins with the formation of Long Island in the Ice Age and continues with the Native American inhabitants, Dutch and English colonists and Quaker settlers. It ends with Jericho’s transformation to a suburban community. Copies of the book are available for a $20 donation.
- Local History Librarian: Betsey Murphy
- Hours: Check with the Reference Desk or call for an appointment
- Phone: 516 935 6790 Ext. 28
Jericho's Local History Collection
The collection consists of more than one thousand books related to Jericho and its environs dating from the 1700s to the present. We have a small collection of rare books that range from a first edition of Christopher Morley’s Pleasure; The Life and Labors of Elias Hicks,1832; Nathaniel Prime’s History of Long Island, from its first settlement by Europeans to the year 1845, to A Memoir of Anna Willis, (late of Jericho) by her father Thomas Willis, 1854.
There are more than one thousand paintings, watercolors and sketches and photographs of local structures, maps, people and events in the collection.
Magazine subscriptions include LI Forum, Long Island Historical Journal, Nassau County Historical Society Journal, Journal of Long Island History, Suffolk County Historical Society Register, SPLIA’s Preservation Notes, and The Oyster Bay Historical Society’s The Freeholder. Our newspapers are the Syosset/Jericho Tribune and the Jericho News Journal.
Forty archival boxes house manuscripts, diaries, letters, pamphlets, documents, memorabilia and clippings. We have twenty oral histories of local people on tape, as well as transcribed to paper. There are text and database genealogies of several prominent local families.
I will be happy to assist anyone with research on local history topics. Please call to ascertain that I have the proper information and am available to assist you.
Some of our pictures have been digitized and can be accessed through the New York Heritage Digital Collection website.
The Hamlet of Jericho, New York 11753
Located mainly in the Town of Oyster Bay with a small part in the Town of Hempstead, Jericho was part of the Robert Williams Plantation in 1648. The English families who settled here were, or soon became, Quakers, members of the Society of friends.
Many fled from persecution in England and in the New England Colonies.
They sought a peaceful existence as farmers. The name of the area was changed in 1692 from Lusum to Jericho after the town in the Middle East near the Jordan River mentioned in the Bible as part of the Promised Land.
Elias Hicks married Jemima Seaman in 1771 and moved to her family’s farm in Jericho where he soon became a famous preacher of Quaker doctrine. All the Quakers suffered the British occupation of Long Island including the practice of quartering troops in their homes while they continued to protest the entire concept of war itself. Peace finally came back to Jericho and the prosperity that came from hard work and diligence was seen in the neat farms and successful businesses. A Friends Meeting house was built in 1788 in Jericho that is still used today. It was followed by a Quaker school in 1793, the Charity Society of Jericho and Westbury in 1794, and thanks to the effort of Elias Hicks slavery was abolished in 1817.
A Post Office was established in 1802, a cider mill in the mid 1800s, the first Public Elementary School in 1905, the Jericho Water District in 1923, a new elementary school in 1920s, and a Volunteer Fire Department in 1938.
In the 1950s Phebe Underhill Seaman sold a large piece of her land to developers and the growth of Jericho came fast and made Jericho the suburban community we see today. The water tower was erected in 1952 and in 1958 the NY Department of Transportation demolished “Old Jericho” to widen Broadway, Routes 106/107 and to put in a cloverleaf access to Jericho Turnpike. New grade schools, and a High School were added to the community along with a shopping center, a new Post Office, new Fire Department and a Public Library.
Jericho continues to grow and prosper in the 21st century.
- Population: 13,567 (2010 Census)
- Area: 4 square miles
- Distance from Manhattan: 27 miles
- Jericho Public High School
- Jericho Public Middle School
- Cantiaque Elementary School
- George A. Jackson Elementary School
- Robert Seaman Elementary School