Courtesy of the Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society
by Norman Wamback
The first mention of the word ‘Mattatuck’ was in a land deed dated March 21, 1648 between the Native Americans at their settlement called Corchaug and the New Haven colony. The deed read, ‘….all that land lying between Corchake and Ucquebaak, commonly called Mattatuck…..
In the Algonquin language, the name Mattituck meant one of two things. Translated it could have meant great creek or land of few trees. Both would have applied as Mattituck Creek is some two miles long. Land of few trees would have also applied, as vast salt marshes lined Deephole Creek, James Creek and Mattituck Creek. Many of these marshes have been filled in over the years.
In 1658 the Southold Colony purchased the land called Mattatock and Akkabawke from the New Haven Colony for 7 pounds of wampum. In 1661 the Southold Colony allotted parcels at Mattituck to fifteen men of the Southold Colony who had given the most services to the Southold Colony. Heading the list was William Purrier who received four hundred acres in Mattituck. Clearing of the land and building began the following year.
For the next 53 years there was no Church in Mattituck. The residents had to walk to Southold every Sunday to attend services at the Church there.
In 1715 Mattituck’s first Church was built on the site of the present Mattituck Presbyterian Church. The population grew slowly. In 1700 the population of Mattituck was 100.
Shortly after 1720 Hubbard’s Tavern and Inn was built on the northwest corner of Love Lane and Sound Avenue. The name was later changed to Mattituck House. It was an important stop on the stagecoach route from Brooklyn to Orient Point. In 1751 George Washington stopped there for refreshment during his trip through Long Island. Later Thomas Jefferson and then James Madison stayed there over night. In 1808 Mattituck’s first Post Office was opened there. Mattituck House operated until being torn down in the late 1930’s.
Until 1844 the population center of Mattituck was along the Main Road between Marratooka Lane, east to Locust Avenue. Three windmills were there, and later two stores. Mattituck’s first schoolhouse was also built there about 1750. When the Long Island Railroad came through in 1844, the business section switched to Love Lane and Pike Street. The present Love Lane was named Railroad Avenue and only ran from the Main Road to the railroad tracts. From there to Mattituck Creek, it was a path where in the 1800’s young lovers would take their horses and carriages in the evenings north to the creek. In the 1920’s the entire stretch was officially named Love Lane.
In the late nineteenth century several large businesses flourished in Mattituck. The Hudson Canning Company was built in 1888 and the Alert & Maguire Pickle Factory was built in 1889. Three large seed companies were also in operation here. All of their products were shipped though out the United States. A large carnation business made shipments of fresh carnations to New York City. A large hothouse complex grew vegetables that were also shipped to New York City. A large dairy farm shipped Marratooka butter to the finest hotels in New York City. Mattituck oysters, grown in Mattituck Creek, had a well-established reputation as having the very best quality and of particularly fine flavor. There was a large demand for them from the best restaurants and most famous hotels in New York City.
By 1880 the population of Mattituck had grown to 843. In the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century three music halls were in operation in Mattituck and were open throughout the year. Four hotels were filled to capacity in the summer time along with several guesthouses. Mattituck had a yacht club, which was on the property of the present Matt-A-Mar Marina. Boat races and summer fun was the order of the day at what was called Mattituck Bay, the present south end of the creek. Peter Harvey Duryea’s sailboat ‘City Of Mattituck’ was a popular sight and won many races there.
For more details of what is written here and much more history in general, contact the Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society.