Old Town Roads: Scudder Avenue

Old Town Roads is our series bringing you the history behind the names of local roads.

A Foundational Family 
Perhaps no name is more synonymous with Northport than the name Scudder. Thomas Scudder and his descendants populated Northport, Crab Meadow, and Vernon Valley for centuries. The Scudders have served the country in war, acted as public servants, business owners, doctors, poets, and conservationists...  helping shape not only Northport, but American history as well.

Scudder Avenue looking down hill to the harbor
Naming Scudder Avenue

Originally called New Street and then Pleasant Avenue, Scudder Avenue was laid out around 1869 and connected South Bayview Avenue (now Woodbine Avenue) with Reservoir Avenue. The road ran through land owned by Captain Henry Joel Scudder and upon his death in 1887, fell to his son, Edward M. Scudder. Edward would later parcel out the land, and sell it in lots.


Early Scudder Family Residents

The first record of a Scudder living in Cow Harbor was that of Thomas Scudder, who was born in Kent, England in 1624. He first emigrated to Salem, Massachusetts, but later settled on the North Fork in Southhold, Long Island. He then moved west on the island and helped found the Town of Huntington. There he married Mary Ludlam and they had seven children.

One of their sons, Timothy Scudder, born in 1668, owned extensive lands in Crab Meadow and when he died in 1740, he bequeathed them to his son Timothy Scudder II.

Timothy Scudder II married Mary Whitehead and they had eight children, including Henry Scudder, born in 1743 and Joel Scudder, born in 1746. Both sons would distinguish themselves in battle during the struggle for freedom from British rule. 

Fighting for Independence

Henry Scudder, a resident of Crab Meadow, became a Lieutenant serving in the Revolutionary War. He was captured by the British after the Battle of Long Island, paroled in a prisoner exchange, and then became an elusive spy for the Continental Army. His drawing of a map of British Fort Slongo (Salonga) helped launch the surprise attack and secure a victory for the American forces. After the war, he was chosen as a delegate from Suffolk County to aid in the adoption of the Constitution.

Henry’s brother Joel was also a Lieutenant and fought at the disastrous Battle of Long Island. He too was captured by the British, and was thrown into the bowels of the infamous prison ship The Jersey where he died of fever.

Other Notable Scudders:

Captain Henry Joel Scudder
  • Grandson of Henry Scudder 
  • Studied law and founded the firm of Scudder and Carter in New York City
  • Commissioned Captain in the 37th Regiment in the NY National Guard in 1862 and served in the Civil War where he became good friends with poet Walt Whitman
  • Served as Congressman from 1873-1875
  • Served as principal counsel for Standard Oil Corporation until his death in 1886
Justice Townsend Scudder
  • Born in Northport in 1865, and nephew to Henry Joel Scudder
  • Graduated from Columbia Law School and practiced law in New York City
  • Elected to the U.S. Congress for two terms
  • Became a justice of the New York Supreme Court (2nd District) from 1907 to 1920
  • Served as State Park Commissioner and Vice President of the Long Island State Park Commission from 1924 to 1927 where he was instrumental in the formation of Jones Beach
  • Appointed to the New York Supreme Court again in 1927 and served the full term of fourteen years. He died in 1960.
Dr. Sara Alicia Scudder
  •  Daughter of Captain Joseph Henry Scudder
  •  Graduate of Northport High School
  •  Earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Hunter College in 1913
  •  Earned a PhD. from M.I.T.
  •  Became the Senior Medical Bacteriologist at City Hospital

Clara Scudder Stillwell
Poet Clara Scudder Stillwell went up against Steers Sand and Gravel to save the Scudder burying ground on Ocean Avenue and Eaton's Neck Road.

The original Scudder property, painting by Edward Lange

The Photo Collection

Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan