Today, the Long Island Tercentenary and Connecticut Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coins remember when the leaders of the two areas formed their agreement for their boundary on November 28, 1683.
From the Connecticut Magazine, Volume X, Number 3, published in 1906, an excerpt from The Conquest for Land — Connecticut’s Changes and Exchanges of Territory by Joel N. Eno, A.M.:
On the south side of Connecticut, Long Island, from the center eastward, had been settled by English, under patent of the Earl of Stirling, which passed to the Duke of York in 1640; Southampton, in 1644; Easthampton, 1657; Brookhaven, 1659; Huntington, 1660; Oyster Bay, 1662.
Being troubled by the Dutch and Indians, the English settlers sought the jurisdiction of Connecticut.
By the Dutch treaty of 1650 the old Connecticut line on Long Island was the present boundary between Queens and Suffolk counties.
When the charter was granted, most of this tract renewed allegiance to Connecticut and sent deputies to Hartford.
In 1664 all Long Island was claimed by Connecticut and officers were appointed at Hempstead, Jamaica, Newtown, Oyster Bay, Flushing and the other towns at the western extremity of the island.
But in that year the Duke of York was accepted governor of New York, and laid claim to the entire island.
Though Connecticut had the undoubted right to Long Island, and should have held it till this day, she was forced to forego all claims to it that she might hold her other possessions which the royal Duke was likewise threatening.
Ten years later Long Island asked to become part of Connecticut, but, in 1675, York’s forces recaptured New York and took possession of Long Island, including both permanently under one government, after two years’ resumption of Dutch rule, 1673-75.
On the west side of Connecticut: Rye was settled by the English in 1652 under Dutch rule.
In 1662 it was claimed by Connecticut, and from 1665 to 1683 was a Connecticut plantation.
The original general boundary of New York was, at the first settlement of Connecticut, unsettled, but a little later understood as limited by a line twenty miles east of the Hudson.
November 28, 1683, an agreement was made between New York and Connecticut that Byram river between Rye and Greenwich be the southern starting point of the west boundary of Connecticut, bearing eight miles north, northwest from the wading place; thence twelve miles eastward parallel to the Sound; thence in a line parallel to the Hudson and twenty miles east of it.
Connecticut lost Rye, and New York yielded all claim to Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk and Wilton, in return for a strip one and three-quarter miles wide by twenty miles long, northward along the side of Connecticut, called the Oblong or Equivalent Tract, estimated at 61,440 acres.
1697 to 1702, Rye was under the protection of Connecticut.
In 1719, New York, and in 1720, Connecticut appointed commissioners to survey the boundary line.
In 1725 the survey was begun, but dropped, and resumed 1731.
In 1855, the old boundary marks being obliterated, a straight line was run forty-two rods wide at its westernmost deviation from the old line, adding 2,600 acres to Connecticut.
New York was dissatisfied and made a resurvey in 1859, alone.
In 1878-79, Connecticut accepted the old line of 1731 and exchanged the disputed 2,600 acres for a strip on the Sound, beginning 600 feet south of Byram Point, thence southeast three and one quarter miles, thence northeast straight to a point four miles south of New London lighthouse, thence through Fisher’s Island Sound to the end of the New York line.
The two legislatures ratified this agreement in the session of 1880-81.
Fisher’s Island, 1644 and after, was in Massachusetts, but in New York since 1664.
Lastly, as the charter of Connecticut, as of Massachusetts, Virginia and the Carolinas, granted westward to the South sea (Pacific ocean), Connecticut claimed westward, but, balked by the conflicting grant and possessions of New York from jurisdiction there, formed a settlement under the auspices of the Susquehanna Company, in Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania.
This settlement was incorporated as Westmoreland and annexed to Litchfield county.
After the formation of the United States, the colonies, which held these charter claims transferred them to the nation, Connecticut retaining in Ohio the “Western Reserve,” which she sold in 1795 for $1,200,000 which she made a school fund.
So it is that Connecticut, instead of being a New World empire, came to be geographically the third smallest state in the United States.
The Long Island Tercentenary and Connecticut Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coins show with a map, circa 1755, with their boundaries of that time.