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Massapequa Online

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Massapequa’s Great Water Deal

On March 17, 1658, the section of Massapequa commonly referred to then as “The Meadows” was purchased from the Marsapequa Indians.

The bargained agreement between colonists, Tackapausha (the sachem of Marsapequa) and his young brother, Chopeyconnaws, is recorded in the Oyster Bay Town Hall.

The east boundary of land is believed to be the banks of the Narrasketuck River, a narrow body of water that ended a few hundred yards south of a trail known today as Merrick Road. Today, the river is located east and parallel to Clocks Boulevard.

The westerly boundary of the meadows is believed to be the Arrasquonque Creek that we now call Seaford Creek. The northern boundary was said to be about where the present community of Bethpage is situated.

The articles bargained for in the sale of the Massapequa Meadows were four kettles, two guns, three coats of trucking cloth, two gallons of strong water, two swords, four pairs of shoes, four pairs of stockings, two close cloth coats, eight pounds of gunpowder and eight pounds of shot. The agreement stated that the articles had to be delivered to the Indians before the first day of July.

The Marsapequa Indians were friendly and helpful. They taught the colonists how to grow crops and make use of natural resources. So even after they agreed to sell their land, the colonists allowed the Indians to fish and hunt the meadows as they had been accustomed to.

The deed was signed and delivered with marks of “X” and “O,” and the area was named after the Indians. “Marsapequa” means “Great Water Land.”

The Oyster Bay Town Board has preserved an area and erecetd a historic marker near Fairfax and Gloucester Roads where the Marsapequa Indians were believed to have lived within a stockaded fort in dome-shaped shelters similar to those of Navajo hogans and Eskimo igloos. The site was later referred to by colonists as Fort Neck.

It wasn’t until about 1890 that the present name, Massapequa, was used. Until that time, the area was known as Fort Neck and later as South Oyster Bay.

Laying south of the historic Indian fort location is the uninhabited Squaw Island. Legend has it that this was a place where the Indians would take their women and children for safekeeping when encounters with the colonists were anticipated.