EPHRAIM J. TOTTEN was born March 30th, 1806, at the homestead near Bethel Church, Tottenville. During his early
life, from 1823 to 1845, he followed the sea, being captain and owner or part owner of various vessels engaged
in the coasting trade. In 1850, he took a load of merchandise to the Pacific coast and engaged for some time in
mercantile pursuits. Although he met with some reverses in sending his goods on a long an4 perilous voyage, he
did, on the whole, a prosperous business during his short stay in California.
On his return to Staten Island he carried on a mercantile business in Tottenville until 1874, when he retired from
business and began the cultivation of his farm, the old homestead property.
Mr. Totten was always known as an energetic, enterprising, public spirited citizen, and held a number of public
offices. He was supervisor in 1846-7 and was a member of the legislature in 1848. He was one of the projectors
of the Staten Island railroad and one of the directors.
When he was 40 years of age he became a church member and from that time his life was devoted to church work, and
all its interests were his. He filled every office and was recording steward and president of the board of trustees
of Bethel M. E. Church for nearly 40 years, holding these offices up to the time of his death in April 1891.
He raised a family of eight children, six of whom are still diving. He was born on the place where his father,
grandfather and great gran4father lived since the Revolutionary. The old homestead stood in front of the present
house. In 1855, he pulled down the old one and erected that which now stands just back of the old site. The old
faint occupied nearly the whole village of Tottenville which took its name after him and his brothers.
Prominent Men of Staten Island 1893
A. Y. Hubbell, Publishers
New York, 1893.
Richmond County, NY
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