Homes for Sale in Jericho

Beginnings:
The rolling hills on which Jericho lies served as a sort of gateway between the Hempstead Plains and the forests of the North Shore before European settlers arrived. Although it once had an Indian name (Lusum, which may have meant “the farms”), it was farther from the shore than most Indian settlements. Though it remains unclear if Indians lived there, the area was part of the large land purchase that Welsh settler Robert Williams made in 1648 from the Matinecock sachem Pugnipan. It was attractive to both Indians and Europeans because of a spring pond that supplied fresh water. Williams himself moved from Hempstead to Lusum in the 1670s. The small farming community became a center of Quaker religion and by 1692 the Quakers had named the community Jericho. Jericho and Westbury Quakers were among the first New Yorkers to free their slaves as a matter of conscience in the 1770s.

Claims to Fame:
Jericho was known nation-wide as the home of Quaker preacher Elias Hicks. Although he was not born a Quaker, he became a fervent member of the faith even before he married a Jericho woman, Jemima Seaman, in 1771. He was physically imposing and a powerful speaker, and he traveled thousands of miles across the new country preaching the faith. His son-in-law, Valentine Hicks, was the second president of the Long Island Rail Road and the founder of Hicksville. Jericho is also the namesake of one of Long Island’s oldest main roads. Jericho Turnpike, once an Indian trail and later the main artery for farmers traveling from Jamaica, was named for the community where it ended in the early 1800s.

Turning Point:
Despite its location on the turnpike that bears its name, Jericho avoided suburbanization far longer than most of Nassau County — as late as 1940, it had fewer than 600 people. But in 1952, Phoebe Underhill Seaman — a great-great-granddaughter of Elias Hicks — subdivided her property and Jericho was never the same. No longer did Quaker farmers dominate a pastoral hamlet. Instead, Jericho became a busy suburb with bustling office parks near the expressway.

Where to Find More:
“Old Jericho and its Quakers,” by Marion Jackson; “Jericho Friends Meeting House, 1788-1988,” published in 1988 by Jericho Friends Meeting; “The History of Jericho,” by Ted Kaplan, at the Jericho Public Library. Also, contact LEX for additional information.

Share

Advanced Options