Thomas Powell was born in Barbados in 1641. He came to New York as a passenger on a trade ship at twelve years old. He boarded with lawyer Thomas Matthew and it is said he was his apprentice. He would become an important citizen in Huntington,Long Island, first becoming a recorder in 1663 and a Trustee in 1688.
He gradually began acquiring land and possessions. On August 18, 1595, he procured a deed from the Massapequa Indians for 140 lbs. sterling and established the area known as Bethpage.
He was appointed the guardian of Thomas Whitson in 1670. The two men became very good friends and when Powell settled here, Whitson followed. Whitson became the second settler of Bethpage and Powell sold land to him in 1700.
In 1688, he and Captain Platt were elected to go to New York to confirm the boundaries of what was then considered Huntington. He also made his first trip to Farmingdale that year. On October 18, 1695, Thomas Powell purchased about fifteen square miles of land from the Massapequa Indians for $600. The deed became known as the Bethpage Purchase.
Thomas left the town of Huntington because of religious difficulties. In 1699, he bought another tract of land which became known as the Rim of the Woods Purchase. In 1700, he erected his home on Merritts Road. The house is still standing and is one of the oldest houses on Long Island. He married twice and raised 15 children. He died on December 28, 1721.
A devout Quaker, he organized the first meetings of the Quakers in Bethpage. The first meetings were held in his home until the meeting house was built in 1741.
Thomas Powell died on December 28, 1721.
Farmingdale’s Story: Farms to Flights – Prepared by the Junior Historical Society of Farmingdale, 1956.
Farmingdale, Long Island, New York: A Guide to Its Past, Present, and Future. Prepared by Stewart Associated for the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce