History of Merrick and the Merrick Campgrounds: Named after its first inhabitants, the Merokee Indians, the land changed hands in 1643 when Sachem Tackapousha signed a treaty with Merrick's first colonists, English settlers who escaped the oppressive reign of King Charles I. During the colonial period, Merrick became a trading center because vessels could enter Jones Inlet and sail up deep channels to docks beside what is now Merrick Road. During the War of 1812 these channels, canals and coves made Merrick a haven for buccaneers who preyed on merchants. Pirates in whaleboats once robbed prominent landowner George Hewlett and two friends while they were duck hunting, ripping the silver buttons from their coats. At one point, residents armed with muskets captured one bandit leader and shipped him to New York in irons for trial.
Merrick as Mecca: During a surge of religious activity in the 1860s, Methodists from around the state congregated in Merrick annually. In the beginning, horses and buggies were pulled into two circles around an open field for 10 days of services. The camp normally attracted about 300 worshipers, but some meetings were attended by up to 10,000. Circular streets, such as Fletcher and Asbury Avenues, lined with small cottages that developed around the campground, remain today in the North Merrick neighborhood called the Campgrounds by residents.
Turning Points: The construction of the South Shore Rail Road, predecessor of the Long Island Rail Road, through Merrick in the late 1880s began a period of development. The boom in population and growth after World War II gradually led to Merrick and North Merrick developing distinct identities and separate school districts
This material was copied from the Wikipedia.com page concerning Merrick, New York