The Old Schoolhouse, Jericho, N.Y. by Linda E. Braner
A History of Jericho
(Adapted from "The History of Jericho", by Larry Leicht, 1978.)
Be it known to all men at these pressants that I pugnipan Sacham of Toninnacik do for my selfre and in beehalfe of Nanamorous and Neponhew and pocipupon bargin and Sell and make over unto Robert Williames, of Himstead parte of the grete pleains lying northeast from Hemsted, or there abouts beegining At A Pointe of t res called by the Indians Ciscascate or Cantiag at A whit oake marked by me puginipan and from thence uppon a South line to the Middel of the plaine and from thence uppone A eat line to the end of the plaine, bounded with wodes one of the Este and Northeste and North or there aboutes all which tract of Lande I the sayed Pugnipan do for miselfe and in beehalfe of Nanamorrouas and Neponhew and Pocipupon bargin and sell and macke over unto the sayed Robert Williames his ares executores administrators and Asines for teme (them) pesaubly to ingay forever from us our ares and sucksessors for ever allso wee the boue sayed do acknolyeg in Trading Clothe for the fore menchaned tract of Plains lan in witness unto wee have set ouerbandes this twentieth day of May in the Yere of one Thousand Sixhundred forty eight
Pugnipan X his marke
Nanamorrouas X his marke
Neponhew X his marke
Pocipupon X his marke
rasaocume Sachem X his marke
Ponanegan X his marke
Maschacur X his marke
Perawes X his marke
Nannuttung X his marke
Entered in the office of records at New York the I2thday of ffebry I666
Mathias Nicolls, Sec'y
"A true coppy taken from the original (both in substance and ortography) and entered by order of the proprieters. Revised and compaired by me Samuel Willis Recorder."
Williams did not actually live in Lusum until about twenty years later, when he settled there to live until his death eleven years later.
In 1672, seven years before the death of Mr. Williams, Mary Washburn Willets began her house. It was a small house, with only two rooms and a fire place, and with the Spring Pond only a few yards in front of it, it supplied farmers and travelers from all around with natural spring water. Since there was no meeting house in Jericho, Mary Washburn Willets opened her home in 1783 for Quaker Worship. The Milleridge Inn now embraces this building. Prior to this, it was known as the Maine Maid Inn, where delicious New England style food was served. However, the Valentine Hicks house is now known as the Maine Maid Inn.
In 1681, while in Maryland, Robert Williams, the person who signed the land deed with the Indians, died. Not much is known of the circumstances of his death. His wife continued to lead a healthful life in the old homestead until 1692, when she too passed away. That same year, the name of the town was officially changed from Lusum, meaning the farms in Indian, to Jericho and remains that way to this day.
In 1771, a name started to stand out among other names, and that was the name of Elias Hicks, famed Quaker minister of a group of Quakers who broke away from the main Quakers in Westbury, who now know them as "Hicksites". Though Elias designed and helped to construct the meeting house in Jericho, he preached all over the mid-western United States and Canada. He was also very active in the freeing of slaves in New York State. Elias lived all but a few months of his married life with his wife, Jemima, in the Jonothan Seaman House, formerly owned by Jemima's parents. They had eleven children: Martha, 1771-1862; David, 1773-1787; Elias, 1774-1789; Elizabeth, 1777-1779; Phebe, 1779-1800; Abigail, 1782-1800; Jonothan, 1784-1802; John, 1787-1805; Elizabeth, 1791-1871; Sarah, 1793-1835; and one child who died at birth. Only four of Elias' children were married, three of whom had children. Martha married Royal Aldrich in 1792 and had no children. Phebe married Joshua Willets in 1799 and had one child, Elias. Abigail married Valentine Hicks (cousin of Elias) and had five children - Caroline, Mary, Phebe, Elizabeth, Elias, Mary and Willet. The Hicks family stretches out even further, but we will not even begin to mention the names of Elias' great grandchildren. At this time, there are no descendants of Elias Hicks living in Jericho with the name of the Hicks family.
In 1787, the meeting house which Elias Hicks designed and partially built was completed. Six years later, in 1793, the first school in Jericho was built. It was the Friends School, located next to the meeting house.
1648 - Robert Williams land grant - he purchased nine square miles north of the Hempstead Plains from the Matinecock Indians.
1653 - Robert Williams settled at Lusum.
1681 - Robert Williams died in Maryland.
1692 - The name was changed from Lusum to Jericho.
1748 - Birth of Elias Hicks.
1788 - The Friends Meeting House was built.
1793 - A school was built next to the Quaker Meeting House.
1794 - The Charity Society of Jericho and Westbury Monthly Meetings was formed "for the use and benefit of the poor among the Black people and more especially for the education of their children."
1802 - A post office was established in Jericho.
1817 - Establishment of a "School for Negroes" in Jericho by the Quakers.
1817 - Slavery no longer existed in Jericho.
1830 - Death of Elias Hicks.
1931 - Volunteer Fire Department established.
1938 - Northern State Parkway cut through the South end of the village.
1939 - Cedar Swamp School was built. This is now part of the high school.
1952 - End of "old time" Jericho. Phebe Seaman, great, great granddaughter of Elias Hicks sold a large tract of land to a real estate development company.
1952 - The water tower was erected.
1953 - Robert Seaman school was built.
1957 - Jackson School was built.
1958 - Dedication of a new Fire Department building; the 25th anniversary of the Jericho Fire Department.
1959 - High School complex was built attached to the Cedar Swamp School. This complex housed the Junior and Senior High School.
1961 - Robert Williams school was built.
1963 - Cantiague School was built.
1966 - Opening of the Jericho Public Library in building donated by Franklin National Bank.
1972 - Opening of Jericho Library in new building.
Naturally, there have been many important events since this brief history was written. The Jericho Public Library maintains a special collection devoted to the history of Jericho.