Thousands of years ago, Staten Island was inhabited by Native Americans. The Raritan Indians settled in the southern part of Staten Island, which resulted in the nearby Raritan Bay being named after them. Evidence of their stay is found at Burial Ridge, the largest pre-European burial ground in New York City. Burial Ridge is located on a bluff which overlooks Raritan Bay.
In 1676, James, Duke of York, granted Christopher Billopp, a captain of the Royal Navy, 932 acres of land on Staten Island. Here, he erected a two-story fieldstone house, which he named Bentley Manor, after a ship he had commanded. Bentley Manor was later inherited by Christopher Billopp's great-grandson, who bears the same name. During the Revolutionary War, great-grandson Christopher Billopp served as Colonel of the Staten Island Militia. Colonel Christopher Billop used his house as a British barracks for his Loyalist soldiers. On September 11, 1776, shortly after the Battle of Long Island saw Washington's defeat, a peace conference was held at Bentley Manor. The conference, however, proved to be futile, as the war lasted for seven more years. Due to the fact that Colonel Christopher Billopp was a Loyalist during the War, his land was confiscated and sold in pieces.
The 286-acre Conference House Park is located at the southernmost point in the State of New York in Tottenville, Staten Island. The Indian burial ground mentioned above is located in the park. Bentley Manor, which has remained intact and been renamed as the Conference House, is also located within the park. There are also a few other historic houses located within the park. In addition to these historic features, Conference House Park also has a playground and a canoe launch site.