NYSUFFOL-L ArchivesArchiver > NYSUFFOL > 2006-02 > 1140545169
Subject: Re: Why Did So Many Suffolk Families Migrate to Orange?
Date: 21 Feb 2006 11:06:09 -0700
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Actually what I have come to believe, just based on casual observation, is that since much of eastern Long Island was wooded, early farmers were primarily tree farmers and cattlemen. The deep trenches you see scattered throughout our wooded areas were "fences," intended to keep out livestock, and thereby protect the trees. Wood was Long Island's most valuable resource. The vast farmlands you see on eastern Long Island, today, with soil obviously enriched through fertilization are something created. If you wander off these farmlands, you find that the soil surrrounding them is poor and sandy. But in their native homeland soil quality was something that had varied widely, and early English settlers were very adept at judging such things. I don't believe fertilization (fish by the wagon load) began on Long Island until the mid 1700s, and due to an obvious lack of farm implements, wagons, or any form of mechanization, I personally don't believe that proir to this they were anyth!
ing more than just subsistence farmers. There were areas that had been cleared by the Indians - they encircled the trees to kill them and then let them decompose over time - but even clearing land by hand was a monumental task. Thirty acres, for example, could take a lifetime to clear. By the mid 1700s there was less land available in Southold; if it had been improved it was expensive, and it was depleted.