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The Murals of Vance Locke

The murals by Vance Locke on the walls of the Woodhull Auditorium of Setauket School represent the history of Setauket and Brookhaven. A gift of Mr. & Mrs. Ward Melville to the community, the murals were completed by Mr. Locke in 1952. In 1974, local historian William B. Minuse [WBM] (1908-2002) wrote:

“The west wall of the auditorium was used by artist Vance Locke to show the things which were essential to the settlers around Setauket down through the years, brining it up to the twentieth century in a sort of follow-through, without a definite break between each scene. The effort has been to weave them together period by period. These scenes being in the late 1600s or early 1700s and continue to the period just before the first world war. It was noted that only space limited the selction of his subjects. In this project, where historical background was so important, a great amount of research had to be done by Locke, so much that the actual painting took up only one-fifth of the time spent on the murals.” (WBM)

In the murals are many clues to how people lived in the past and what they used in their daily lives.

Setalcott Native American Village.

VLMSetalcottVillageSetalcott Native American Village- Vance Locke mural- Setauket School Woodhull Auditorium (Click to enlarge)

 

We don’t know all the details about life on Long Island before the Europeans came because the people living here did not leave us a written or photographic record of their lives.

Vance Locke did research at the Museum of the American Indian, the American Museum of Natural History, The New-York Historical Society, and the Brooklyn Museum. He read the diary of Henry Hudson and other early explorers and studied the clothing, daily life, hunting and other industries of the local Algonquian Indians.

The first mural pictures a small Setalcott Native American village along the shoreline of Setauket in the 1600s, prior to European contact. There is a hunter, a woman making wampum, and women grinding corn. Men are smoking fish and spearing fish from a trap. There are many other historic details in this scene that can be observed and discussed. The Setalcotts relied on the use of local trees and plants in their daily lives. Many of the native trees and plants can be found along the nature trails in the Frank Melville Memorial Park and Sanctuary. Many are listed in the book Native And Near Native by Albert Hostek.

Archaeological excavations have given us most of the details of how people in this area lived, as early as 5,000 years ago. From archaeological digs in 1955 by State Archaeologist William Richie and others, we know that between 5,000 to 3,000 years ago the native people were hunters and gatherers. For  thousands of years, they had used natural resources, plant, wood, stone, clay and animals – for food, shelter, tools, clothes and medicine. About 3,000 years ago, their way of life changed with the introduction of three things: pottery, the bow and arrow, and horticulture (farming). Like the earlier Indians, the Woodland Indians continued to rely on natural resources.

The Fischetti Site, a prehistoric Indian site in Setauket along West Meadow Creek, was discovered during a cultural resource investigation of a proposed residential development in November of 1980. Excavations continued through October of 1981, at which time a house was built on the site. Artifacts from the Fischetti Site in Setauket are from what appears to have been a  place for manufacturing tools and spear points.

The site was occupied by Algonquin Indians about 3000 to 1000 years ago. We know the Algonquin used this location then because of the type of arrow and spear points and blades recovered. The major activity here, on the edge of West Meadow Creek, was making stone tools. Although native Long Island white quartz was the most common stone found, some flints (darker, almost black in color) from upper New York State and Connecticut were recovered indicating some trading with other native groups. This stone tool manufacturing site was separated from the village, since the making of stone implements involved the hazardous work of chipping stone, resulting in flakes of sharp stone pieces flying all over the area.  The almost total absence of food remains at the site indicates that this was not the location of a village.

However, one of the most famous sites in New York State was a nearby shell midden named “The Stony Brook Site,” excavated by Richie in 1955. It existed about one-half mile to the south of the Fischetti Site, along what is now known as Aunt Amy’s Creek, during the same time period. Probably, it had been selected for the availability of drinking water, food, shelter and protection from the elements.

The artifacts taken from the Fischetti Site are part of the collection of the Three Village Historical Society. Artifacts from the Stony Brook Site are a part of the collection of the New York State Museum in Albany.

 

Farming

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A colonial farmer plowing a field to plant grains, probably wheat or corn. Vance Locke mural- Setauket School (Click to enlarge)

Vance Locke’s second scene, represents the earliest settlers beginning their agricultural pursuits. This picture pays tribute to the most importantoccupation in early settlement life – farming. The artist felt that a dramatic scene of this general nature would portray more to children of the future than would a succession of small individual activities.

During the first half of the 18th century, the settlers in Brookhaven struggled to make life easier. Many families had moved away from the original settlement areas to divisions of land where there was more room for farming. As a result, new roads were laid out throughout Brookhaven. Coastal vessels transported goods and passengers to and from Long Island with increasing regularity. Schools were established in many local communities. There was already a mill in Setauket; the first grist mill had been built in Stony Brook in 1699 by Adam Smith, son of Richard “Bull” Smith. Farm produce such as corn, wheat, meat, wool, butter and cider soon exceeded the family needs of the colonial farmer, who found a ready market for the surplus in a rapidly growing New York City.

Farming in the Three Villages during the 1700s changed very little from methods used during the previous century. Meat became a larger part of the diet as livestock herds grew.

The Sherwood-Jayne house, circa 1730, on Old Post Road in East Setauket is the oldest operating farm in the area.Matthias Jayne (1686-1758) built this home and farm which is now operated by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA). School field trips and tours are by appointment. www.SPLIA.org or Call: 631-692-4664.

The first homes built by the settlers were gradually replaced by more substantial homes built by housewrights. By 1700 – 1710, Samuel Thompson. son of the town blacksmith, had established his home and farm a mile south of the Setauket Village Green along what is now North Country Road. By the mid-1700s farmhouses had been built further south in Nassakaeg, along what is now Pond Path.

A farmer and a Justice of the Peace for forty years, Jonathan Thompson (1710-1786), son of Samuel, lived his entire life on the family farm. In 1734 he married Mary Woodhull, who was also from Setauket. They raised three sons and two daughters, including the eldest son Samuel, born in 1738, who inherited the farm.

Another early settlers of this area was Samuel Hawkins, son of Captain Eleazer Hawkins of Stony Brook and grandson of Zachariah Hawkins. Samuel was born in 1721.  In 1746, he married Mary Green. It was about that same year that he built a two-story, timber-framed saltbox house near what is now the intersection of Pond Path and Lower Sheep Pasture Road (across from today’s St. George’s Golf and Country Club). The house was constructed of local oak, chestnut and pine, built to withstand the ravages of time and the enthusiasm of generations of farmers.

The land in this area was good for farming and Samuel prospered.  In 1749, Samuel paid a town assessment [tax] of three shillings and three pence. There were that year 148 property owners out of 283 paying a higher assessment, an indication that three years after having married, Samuel Hawkins was already a successful farmer.

In 1747, Samuel also registered his ear mark for his livestock with the Town.  The record states,  “samuel Hawkings Ear marke which he had of his Father is a Crop of ye Right Ear and a halfpenny Each side ye left Ear.”  This same mark had been purchased by his father, Captain Eleazer Hawkins, from William Jayne in 1745.

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Thompson House, circa 1700 – North Country Road, Setauket. Click to enlarge.

 

The Mill

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The Setauket Grist Mill- Vance Locke mural- Setauket School. Click to enlarge.

Vance Locke’s third scene is the mill. Old records show that one of the first of the cooperative community efforts of the people around Setauket was the building of the mill dam, with an agreement that the miller do the milling and the people maintain the dam. The last working mill existed in Setauket up until 1935. In 1937 a simulated mill, part of the Frank Melville Memorial Park, replaced it.

“Vance Locke undertook a great deal of research about the mill wheel. The artist talked to many older people who might remember the place, either first-hand or through stories of their elders. He also went through numerous books. Many people were helpful in volunteering information and bringing old photographs from their albums. Locke painted it one way after much study, then had to change it upon finding mistakes, changing the size and type of wheel in the picture several times, after going through mill-wheel material in New York City. Finally a local man came forward after seeing what he had painted, and told him it was all wrong, and he knew because he had worked there as a boy, greasing the wheel! He made engineering drawings, explained about the sluice box, etc, etc, so there is firsthand authority for the final depiction.” [WBM]

The first mill in Brookhaven was built in Setauket along the creek (now the Setauket Mill Pond) between 1659 and 1664. This first mill probably stood opposite where the Setauket Neighborhood House is today. In 1671, Henry Perring gave the mill to his two sons-in law Jacob and Joseph Longbottom with the stipulation that it was to be available for his use as long as he lived and that his daughter Hannah and her heirs were to be “toll free” forever. In 1684 a third mill was built by John Wade who became the miller for a number of years.

The mill in Setauket and the mill in Stony Brook were essential to the well-being and to the economy of these two small communities. Before the mills were built, the residents were forced to transport grains to Connecticut to be ground. On one of these trips three men were lost at sea while crossing Long Island Sound; this tragedy only helped to point out the necessity of a local mill.

The miller had to be an honest, hard working member of the community; in most cases he became one of the leading citizens of the area. There were exceptions to this of course, the most well known being Arthur Futhy. For one reason or another, in 1701, the town asked Thomas Jenner and Samuel Munsy to inspect the Setauket mill, after which Futhy was ordered “to put the mill in good sufficient repair within six months and in case it be not done that the (mill and) stream be put to public outcry and the highest bidder have it.”

In Stony Brook, two years earlier, the town permitted Adam Smith to build a mill and to grind the grain of all those who assisted him in its construction. It is stated later that Smith built both the mill and the dam himself during 1699, for he was given the right to a toll of a tenth part of every bushel of wheat and an eighth of Indian (corn) and rye. At various times millers came under suspicion for taking more of a “toll” then they deserved, but the greater number of millers were honest and took only their fair share of grain.

A number of other mills were authorized to be built in the Three Villages at various times. According to Setauket: The First Three Hundred Years, a mill for sawing wood stood on the hill overlooking the upper Setauket pond. Long Island historian Benjamin Thompson wrote in his  History of Long Island that a mill was erected in 1690 in East Setauket on a stream flowing into the harbor. Town records of Dec. 9, 1718 indicate that Selah Strong requested permission to build a “grist tide mill on the creek from his meadow to Daniel Brewsters.” On the same day John Hallat (may be Hallock) Jr. petitioned to build a grist mill on the creek from his old barn to the point of Dyer’s Neck.

Millers before him included Richard Woodhull and Isaac Satterly. Woodhull was miller at Setauket before 1760. In 1784, he petitioned to move the mill downstream. The town agreed but stipulated that he, “keep a good road across the old mill dam 16 feet wide sufficient to cross with an ox team and also up the street alongside of the old mill pond the same width.”

By May of 1796, Isaac Satterly was Setauket’s miller. At that time the town trustees, who felt that the “toll” was not being equitably applied, directed the miller to, “take a tenth part out of each and every bushel of any sort of grain that is ground at said mill and no more.” Isaac Satterly was a direct descendent of William Satterly, one of Setauket’s original settlers. Strangely, William was one of three men drowned when returning from Milford, Connecticut with a boatload of grain before Setauket had its own mill.

The last miller in Setauket was Everett Augustus Hawkins. In 1936, Ward Melville bought the mill from him, exchanging the land for a farm on Main Street. After Hawkins’ death in 1945, his wife Celia continued to farm the land until the 1950s. Everett and Celia are buried in the Caroline Churchyard next to their son Francis Sylvester who was shot down over France in 1944 during World War II.

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Setauket Mill 1937- Frank Melville Memorial Park. Click to enlarge.

The miller in the Three Villages was both a merchant dealing in grain and, especially in the earlier days, a custom miller who ground each farmer’s grain, taking part of it as a toll. Industrialization took its toll on the mill and the miller, but for more than two hundred and fifty years the miller was a necessary part of the community and the mill was the center of village commerce.

The Blacksmith

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Blacksmith- Vance Locke mural- Setauket School. Click to enlarge.

Vance Locke’s fourth scene is the blacksmith. ” This scene is shown in large proportions because the blacksmith was the earliest craftsman. It represents the link between the farming community and the industrial era, which has since expanded so that this country is known as the great industrial nation.” [WBM]

The blacksmith, from the beginnings of European settlement in America to the early 20th century, was vital to the early farm family. He was an artisan who performed a trade in which few men had the ability to do the work themselves. In addition, the blacksmith was necessary to other craftsmen and tradespeople, providing them with parts and tools essential to their work.

One of the earliest blacksmiths in Setauket (Brookhaven) was John Thompson, born about 1618 in England. He was a gunsmith and blacksmith in Stamford, Connecticut before moving to Oyster Bay, Long Island in 1668. He setted in Setauket in 1672 and died in Setauket between 1694 and 1699. His wife, Mary died between 1685 and 1691. The location of their graves has never been found. Their youngest son Samuel and his wife Hannah are buried in the Setauket Presbyterian Church cemetery.

According to Benjamin Franklin Thompson’s 1839 History of Long Island, John Thompson lived in Setauket just south of and adjoining the Setauket Village Green. Thompson said that John Thompson was married to Hannah Brewster, a sister of the Reverend Nathaniel Brewster, the first Presbyterian minister in Setauket. However, this has been found to be incorrect; it was John Thompson’s youngest son, Samuel, born March 4, 1668, who married Reverend Brewster’s daughter Hannah. Samuel Thompson is believed to have built the Thompson House about 1700.

In many families, the son learned a trade from his father and followed in his footsteps. However, Samuel Thompson took no interest in the work of a blacksmith and instead became a very successful farmer.

The colonial blacksmith worked mostly with iron –  both pig iron and wrought iron. Pig iron was purchased from iron works and produced cast items such as stove plates and fire backs. Wrought iron was made from pig iron in an open forge and was malleable, able to be forged into farm tools, such as axes and hoes; cooking utensils, such as pothooks, toasters, and dippers; and necessary hardware, such as hinges and door bolts.

In addition, the colonial blacksmith made hand cut nails and was often a farrier, shoeing horses and oxen for the villagers. The blacksmith took a great deal of pride in his work as evidenced by fine ornamental iron pieces such as candle holders, gates and other decorative accents. Many blacksmiths also provided services for the community, such as pulling teeth for local residents and treating horses for minor ailments. These services were quickly abandoned when a doctor or a veterinarian was available.

As Brookhaven changed from strictly farming communities to a town with an equal emphasis on shipbuilding and transportation of farm goods, the blacksmith was called on to fashion the hundreds of fittings needed for each ship.

When the shipbuilding era was drawing to a close in East Setauket and throughout most of Long Island in 1875, a local blacksmith, Samuel West, was just starting his business in a shop on what is now Gnarled Hollow Road in East Setauket. In April of 1881, West had a new shop built on the same site and eventually added a two-story building next door where carriages were repaired.

West used the 1881 shop until the 1930’s, practicing as one of two East Setauket blacksmiths (Henry Rakov, the other smith, operated a shop on Shore Road). West’s shop was moved in 1951 to become a part of what is now the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages in Stony Brook. Here the shop still can be seen with most of the equipment used by West to make and repair the metal parts of wagon wheels, shoe horses, and fashion various items that were essential to the community less than a century ago.

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Vance Locke murals on the west wall of Setuaket School Woodhull Auditorium. Click to enlarge.

 

Shipbuilding

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Shipbuilding- Vance Locke mural- Setauket School Woodhull Auditorium. Click to enlarge.

Vance Locke’s fifth scene is shipbuilding-a waterfront scene. Shipbuilding reached its height in Setauket during the period 1830-1880, when there were seven shipyards operating in Setauket and Old Field. One of the biggest wooden ships ever built in the Setauket yards, the Wilkesbarre,  was eventually shortened for use as a barge hauling stone and other materials for building the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River from 1927-1931.

“Some of the characters represented in this or the next scene are evidently very old people, because it has apparently been a characteristic of Setauket and its neighbors that the inhabitants live to a very hale old age without its curtailing their activity and enterprise – true today as then.” [WBM]

Shipbuilding in the Three Villages was a natural outgrowth of the dependence of Long Island residents on the water for their transportation and commerce. Until the railroad came to Long Island in 1844 and then as far as Port Jefferson in 1873, Long Island Sound was the principal avenue for bringing materials and people to the Three Villages and for transporting cordwood, farm products, and seafood to other areas.

Here, as in many other parts of Suffolk County, shipbuilding developed rapidly after the War of 1812. In 1816, two sloops, the Mechanic and Brilliant, each of about sixty tons, were constructed along the stream below the Setauket mill. The major shipyards, however, were built along Shore Road in East Setauket.

By far the most successful shipbuilder in the Three Villages was Nehemiah Hand. Between 1844 and 1855 he built and repaired a large number of ships at his yard on the east side of Bayview Avenue (then known as High Street) at Shore Road. In 1855 Hand sold his shipyard and home to Joseph Rowland. Rowland operated a ship repair yard and built at least four ships including the schooner-yacht Wanderer. The Wanderer, launched June 19, 1857, was a very fast yacht which became infamous as a slave ship.

According to research by William B. Minuse, (1908-2002), a historian and expert on Suffolk County maritime history whose research has provided much of the information we have on the shipbuilding era, “the 114 foot-long yacht (Wanderer), after being fitted out in Port Jefferson with numerous large water tanks, went to the African slave coast and took aboard some 600 Negroes and sailed for the states. On the evening of November 28, 1858, she landed 465 Negroes on Jekyll Island, Georgia. She was soon seized by the authorities and sold at auction. In 1861, after three years in other illegal trades, she was seized by the Federal Government and used as a gunboat in the ‘War Between the States.’ She was credited with capturing four prizes: two schooner and two sloops. After the war she was sold to private owners who ran her as a coaster transporting commerce along the U.S. east coast. She went aground on Cape Maisi, east out of Cuba, on January 21, 1871 and was a total loss.”

Further east along Shore Road, past the shipyard of Joseph Rowland, was the shipyard of William Bacon. In 1855, he built and launched the 298 ton schooner Coast Pilot. In 1857, Bacon built the bark Mary and Louisa. The Mary and Louisa was a handsome, 130 foot medium clipper which more than paid for her construction with profits from her two voyages. In September 1858, Captain Benjamin Jones and his wife Mary, age twenty-four, left New York’s South Street Seaport aboard the bark Mary and Louisa for a voyage to China and Japan that would take three years to complete. On the voyages to the Orient and back they faced a number of storms, were becalmed, encountered pirates and unfriendly natives, suffered through onboard sickness and death, ran out of fresh food more than once, and on the return trip had to run the southern blockade to get home safely.

The third shipyard in a line along the south side of Shore Road was the ship repair yard of David Brewster Bayles. Bayles built vessels in a larger yard further east on Shore Road just before the road curves to the south. Here, in 1855, he constructed the 518 ton schooner Fleet Wing. In 1860, she was converted to a  barkentine and used for transporting cotton across the Atlantic.

On the west shore of Conscience Bay the shipyard of Vincent J. and Miner Dickerson built two schooners in 1855. The 260 ton Orb and the 207 ton Mary Stedman were launched and  probably taken to Port Jefferson, to be fitted out including ballast and sails.

The Hand shipyard continued to operate through 1881, moving to the north side of Shore Road in 1877, with George E. Hand succeeding his father Nehemiah as shipyard “Boss” in 1873. In 1871-72 Nehemiah and son George built the 439-ton brig Daisy. The Daisy, with naturalist Robert Cushman Murphy aboard, sailed on a whaling expedition to the Antarctic in 1912-13. The story of his experiences was recorded by Murphy in his book Logbook for Grace. In 1916, while carrying a cargo of beans, the Daisy sprung a leak. The sea water swelled the beans which burst her hull and sank her.

The largest sailing vessel built in East Setauket, and possibly in Suffolk County up to that time, was the 1460-ton, full-rigged ship Adorna. Built in 1870 by David Brewster Bayles, she was used in the cotton trade between New Orleans and Liverpool and was commanded by Setauket resident Captain Isaac Hawkins. A poly-chromed representation of the Adorna graces the front of the Ward Melville High School building above the entrance.

“The essentials for shipbuilding were wood, water, and workmen – wood for materials, water for launching and workmen with the skills to put the vessels together.” (WBM)

The Three Villages was rich in all three areas. Oak for framing as well as chestnut, cedar, pine, and other local woods were readily available; the inlets, harbors, and bays were perfect sheltered areas for shipyards; and the long history of association with the sea provided a basic workforce of men who were skilled in the necessary crafts and trades required by the shipyards.

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Cutting Ice on Setauket Mill Pond – Vance Locke mural- Setauket School Woodhull Auditorium. Click to enlarge.

Cutting Ice on the Millpond

Vance Locke’s sixth scene is cutting Ice on the millpond. “The artist felt this struck a nostalgic note; many remember the days when this used to be done. The Setauket Neighborhood House is shown in the background. The barn near the mill appeared in three different pictures studied by the artist, but faced differently in each. Locke made sketches of costume details, of such things as ox yokes, etc, etc, in his notebooks, as he did his research.” [WBM]

Cutting ice was a community project. Once the ice froze thick enough, a large hole was cut in the ice for a wooden chute to pull the blocks up onto the sled. The ice on the pond was scored into blocks and cut by hand with crosscut handsaws. Everyone in the community participated. It was often a time for the community to get together and socialize, even share an evening meal after the work was done. Blocks of ice were often stored in a community ice house, near the mill, but each farmer also had an ice house as well. The ice was stored below the surface of the ground, with each layer of blocks of ice separated by straw or sawdust. If enough ice was cut and gathered in below-zero weather, quickly stored and well-insulated on all sides, it would stay frozen through the summer and into the fall.

“Horses provided the power for the early days of ice cutting, pulling scrapers, ice marking and cutting devices. Horses usually wore special shoes that had caulks in them. These were like an  enlarged spike in an ice-creeper to make for better footing on the ice.” (Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, St. Johnsbury, VT)

Every home had an icebox used to keep dairy products and meat fresh for short periods of time. Cold drinks in the summer were a treat when ice was available and making ice cream was also a special event using crushed ice and salt in a hand-cranked ice cream maker.

The Doctor and the General Store

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The Doctor and the General Store- detail- Vance Locke mural- Setauket Woodhull Auditorium. Click to enlarge.

If you look back along the murals above the mill, there is a white building pictured with a porch across the front, a much simpler porch than is on the Setauket Neighborhood House. Vance Locke did not identify this building but it could be the Miller’s cottage or, I like to think, the  general store that was another vital link in every community. This scene shows a typical carriage and horse team of the late 19th century. Locke may have pictured the local doctor talking to the store owner about one of his patients. Thus,  information the doctor provided would soon be all over the community, as he  intended.

Setauket and Stony Brook, as well as many communities throughout Brookhaven and Long Island, often had more than one general store. Here, the local population would share news and buy items that could not otherwise be purchased locally. Since the general store was also the post office, people would also pick up their mail and read the latest newspaper that the general store owner had received from New York City or Connecticut. Often there was also a ship captain who had just arrived with fresh news from one of the major ports.

The general store was an American invention. It’s porch, like the porch on the Setauket Neighborhood House was a standard features on many buildings. Sitting on the porch in the evening and greeting neighbors and friends was a common practice. It was a place to trade, to purchase, to socialize, to learn about the outside world, to exchange gossip, and, most importantly, a place to listen to stories and folklore passed down from generation to generation. The country general store was a natural gathering place for residents of the community, especially in the cold winter months when many farmers, farmhands and seamen had nothing better to do. There was often a bench, placed outside in the warmer months, called the liar’s bench. In the colder weather the men who came to the store would find places close by the stove, which often sat in the open near the middle of the room. It was here that the latest information on the state of the nation and the world was discussed.

The farmers and seamen who were regulars at the store were supplemented by the store “loungers” who not only spent a great deal of time trying to impress each other with their knowledge of politics, religion and “the way the school board ought to be run” but were careful to help themselves to “samples” from the open cracker barrel next to the counter and the pickle barrel in the corner. The regulars at the store were also quick to tell a story while enjoying the merchant’s hospitality. Many of the stories passed down through the generations exhibited the Yankee quality of resourcefulness and quick thinking.

Purchase of Land

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Purchase of land – Vance Locke mural- Setauket School Woodhull Auditorium. Click to enlarge.

Vance Locke’s seventh scene shows the purchase of the land from the Setalcott Indians.

In 1655, five men from New England and one from Southold arrived in what is now Setauket and met with the Setalcotts to purchase land, acting as agents (representatives) for other people. On April 14, 1655, the Setalcotts, under the direction of Warawakmy, their Sachem (leader) and 14 other native Americans, sold the agents about 30 square miles of land bordering Long Island Sound, from the lands of the Nessaquogues on the west to the Mount Misery cliffs (from Belle Terre to Mt. Sinai ) to the east. Since money was not used by the Setalcotts, the Englishmen had to pay for the land another way. They bartered with the Setalcotts, and in exchange for their land the Setalcotts received “10 Coats, 12 Hoes, 12 Hatchets, 50 Muxes (metal drills), 100 Needles, 6 Ketles, 10 Fadom of Wampom, 7 Chest of Powder, 1 Pare of Child Stokins, 10 Pound of Lead, 1 Dosen of Knives.” (Town of Brookhaven records)

The Setalcott Native Americans had no understanding of the concept of ownership of land. They did not understand that they were giving up all rights to the land between Stony Brook and Wading River.

“The agents for the settlers were mostly Puritans, but according to the provisions of the deed, one man came along as a ‘Protector.’ (Mr. Shaw, then town historian of Brookhaven, after trying to decipher this word more clearly with a magnifying glass, decided that ‘Protector’ was probably right.) This man is depicted as the soldier in a red coat, with a gun in his hand.” [WBM]

During the following decade, early settlers came to Setauket from Southold on Long Island and from Connecticut and Massachusetts.  The first homes were built here along the stream (or run), now the mill pond, which originates from a series of springs extending as far south as the Samuel Thompson House and forms a stream behind the homes on the west side of Main Street.

The area around the mill pond was probably already cleared by the Setalcotts. The first homes of the English settlers were crude wood, bark, and mud (sod) structures. Foundation poles were set into the ground.

In July, 1657, Richard Woodhull, Setauket and Brookhaven Town leader, purchased land on the south shore of Long Island which connected with the 1655 purchase. This gave Brookhaven two shorelines –  Long Island Sound on the north and the Atlantic Ocean on the south. It also gave Brookhaven a connection to the vast off-shore whaling industry. Thus, the small Brookhaven Settlement expanded from the area of the Original Settlement around the run that empties into Conscience Bay to Stony Brook on the west, Mt. Sinai (known then as Ould Mans) on the east and Mastic on the south.

In 1662, an outbreak of smallpox among Long Island’s Native Americans was disastrous for the small population. Setauket’s Setalcotts, living mainly on Little Neck (now Strong’s Neck), were decimated by the epidemic. The following year, Daniel Lane bought for the settlement the southern half of Little Neck from the surviving Setalcotts, and the other settlers voted to share in the purchase. The next year, Mayhew, Sachem of Setauket, surrendered the “Feede and timber of all the lands from the ould manes to the wadeing river,” and at the same time, Massetewse and the Sunke squaw sold Ould Manes to the settlement at Setauket. Many other deeds were signed over in the next few years.

The homes now in the Original Settlement area date from the 1680s to the present. As the community grew and spread, more substantial homes were built in Setauket such as the Smith, Biggs and Satterly homes, all of which are still standing. Most of the homes contribute to the overall appearance of rural charm which makes this such a pleasing place to live or visit. Most of the houses built before the Civil War were farmhouses, usually including not less than six to 12 acres of land. Many of the farms were much larger and included pasture, orchard, and farmland in other sections of the Three Village area.

Governor William Tryon Visiting Setauket, December 10, 1776.

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Governor William Tryon visiting Setauket- Vance Locke mural- Setauket School Woodhull Auditorium. Click to enlarge.

In 1776, the Suffolk County Militia formed its first regiment of Minute Men, commanded by Colonel Josiah Smith and Captains Samuel L’Hommedieu and Selah Strong. Brookhaven furnished more Patriot commissioned officers than any other town on Long Island. Long Island came under the control of British troops after the Battle of Long Island in August. Residents were required to swear allegiance to the crown. Many fled to Connecticut to escape the harsh British rule. Many Long Islanders did not return until the British left in 1783, seven years later. Following the Battle of Long Island in August, American troops withdrew from Long Island to Manhattan. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hewlett and units of the 3rd Battalion, composed almost entirely of Loyalist men from Queens County, were then stationed at Setauket. They took over the Setauket Presbyterian Church and fortified it, using the church sanctuary as a stable. They maintained this fort for the entire war.

The Setauket Village Green was the setting for the British Royal Governor to let the people of Brookhaven know that those who stayed on Long Island during the Revolutionary War were subject to British laws and British justice.

Vance Locke’s eighth scene depicts British Royal Governor William Tryon visiting Setauket, December 10,1776. Following the Battle of Long Island, the British were successful in driving Washington’s armies across the East River and up into Westchester. British Royal Governor Tryon was ordered to go out and receive the pledge of allegiance to the British Crown from the Patriot Committees of Safety. This pledge was taken by Tryon on the Setauket Village Green from 801 men.

Governor Tryon is the man pictured on a white horse. He wears a blue cape. This is not an authentic likeness, since there are no pictures known to exist of him, although he was a prominent man- Governor of Carolina and the last Governor of New York State under British rule.

No other specific individuals are represented, except Benjamin Floyd, well-known Tory, who suffered a great deal at the hands of both sides. Benjamin Floyd, brother of William Floyd, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a leader of the Town of Brookhaven, elected a trustee of the town of Brookhaven in 1772, and served as Town Supervisor in 1774, ‘75, ‘77 and ‘78.

The elder Floyd brother, Richard, was president and supervisor of the Town of Brookhaven from 1750 through 1762.  LikeBenjamin, Richard was also a Tory (Loyalist). Richard was forced to leave America following the British defeat, but Benjamin Floyd was still in Setauket in 1788 (Caroline Church Records).

A few years after this scene, Governor Tryon came again to Setauket with Colonel James DeLancey and his dragoons, to drive the cattle from the eastern end of the island to Jamaica, where they were fattened up for the British forces in New York. On the way back from Montauk they were guests of Benjamin Floyd in Setauket. During the banquet Tryon’s men proceeded to tear down Floyd’s fences, steal his apples, kill his cattle and drive off his horses. Tryon tried twice to get the Crown to reimburse Floyd for this. (Letters in the National Archives)

During the Revolutionary War, Governor Tryon continued to receive loyalty pledges to the Crown from residents of Brookhaven and other towns. One original pledge, in the collection of the Three Village Historical Society, is dated September first, 1778.

“I Do hereby certify, that Benjamin Hawkins [A]ged 23, of Brookhaven Township, has voluntarily swore before m[e] to bear Faith and true Allegiance to his Majesty King George the Third; and that he will not, directly or indirectly, openly or secretly, aid, abet, counsel, shelter, or conceal, any of his Majesty’s Enemies, and those of his Government, or molest or betray the friends of Government; but that he will behave himself peaceably and quietly, as a faithful Subject of his Majesty and his Government. Given under my Hand on Long-Island, this 1st of September, 1778. Wm Tryon GOVERNOR”

Benjamin Hawkins was a Patriot who also signed the pledge to the Patriot cause in 1775. However, after his father and elder brother died in 1776, he became responsible for his mother, brothers and sisters and remained on the family farm throughout the war.

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Setauket Village Green with Caroline Church in the background. Click to enlarge.

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Abraham Woodhull and Caleb Brewster- two members of the Culper Spy Ring- Vance Locke Mural, Setauket School. Click to enlarge

The Spy Ring – Night Scene.

“In this picture are shown Abraham Woodhull and Caleb Brewster. Woodhull seemed to be somewhat timid, although he actually was not, as he was right under the British noses for five years while carrying on an information service against them. His letters show that he certainly had qualms at times, however. Once he was stopped on a trip from Manhattan to Setauket, where he had picked up a message from Townsend. Woodhull gave messages to Caleb Brewster, who carried them across the Sound by whaleboat to Connecticut. From there it was taken by Benjamin Tallmadge’s dragoons to General Washington.” [WBM]

From the beginning of the spy ring in 1778, Abraham Woodhull (code name Samuel Culper) was in charge of day-to-day operations, so it came to be known as the Culper Ring. Not only did Woodhull direct field activities, but he also risked his life countless times by personally collecting information in New York and on western Long Island. Woodhull was responsible for evaluating the reports received from all sources, determining what was to go forward to Washington’s headquarters and seeing that the dispatches were carried across the Sound by Caleb Brewster. Woodhull’s health was not good and he lived in constant fear of discovery.

Woodhull was referred to as Samuel Cupler Senior after he recruited Robert Townsend, who became know as Culper Junior. Townsend came from Oyster Bay, where his parents were well known in shipping and trade. Townsend had a small dry goods store in Manhattan that was frequented by Loyalists, and from 1779-1783 he was able to supply information to Woodhull on British activity in New York that aided General Washington’s Revolutionary War effort. We will probably never know all the spies who contributed information on British movements, but we do know that Townsend was the principle contact in New York for most of the period between 1779 and 1783. During portions of that time Woodhull served in New York in place of Townsend, as he had done before recruiting him.

It is amazing with what rapidity such messages reached Washington at times. Westchester was then a hotbed of Tories and the Hudson River was difficult, if not impossible to use, but Long Island and Setauket were relatively safe, and the Sound was crossed frequently. The organizer and leader of the Revolutionary War Setauket Spies, Benjamin Tallmadge, code name John Bolton, was born in Setauket in 1754. The home where Tallmadge was born is still standing in Setauket at the end of Runs Road. Tallmadge grew up in Setauket and attened school here with his close friends Abraham Woodhull, Caleb Brewster and Austin Roe. Tallmadge, a classmate of executed spy Nathan Hale, graduated from Yale in 1773 and, like Hale, taught school for a time in Connecticut.

When the Revolutionary War began, Tallmadge enlisted in the Continental Army and was soon awarded the rank of Major. Shortly thereafter General Washington appointed him head of his secret service and tasked Tallmadge with establishing a trustworthy espionage network against the British in New York City. To conduct this vital undercover operation on Long Island, Tallmadge choose his boyhood friend Abraham Woodhull. They also choose other friends and neighbors from Setauket; men and women who could be trusted, and who would prove to be so discreet in all their contacts that their identity would not be discovered until the 20th century.

Long Island historian Morton Pennypacker went through Washington’s personal papers (which were not released until 1929) and brought these names tothe attention of the public. Although these men were not as highly noted as they should be in our history books, they certainly contributed greatly to the Revolutionary effort.

Caleb Brewster was perhaps the most bold and daring of the spies.  He was the only one of thegroup that the British had definitely identified as a spy. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Brewster immediately enlisted in the local militia. After the Battle of Long Island Brewster joined the Continental Army with the rank of a Lieutenant of Artillery. He returned to Setauket in August of 1777 as part of the attacking force from Connecticut that fought in the raid known as the Battle of Setauket.  In November 1780 he was one of the officers under Major Benjamin Tallmadge who captured Fort St. George at Mastic. They returned to Connecticut with the entire complement of the fort captured.

In spite of his service designation, Brewster’s task throughout the war was to command a fleet of whale boats operating from the Connecticut shore against British and Tory shipping on Long Island Sound, (known as the Devil’s Belt). This, together with his knowledge of the Long Island shoreline, and his boyhood association with Benjamin Tallmadge, Woodhull and Roe made him an ideal choice to carry intelligence back and forth across the Sound.

Brewster made numerous trips with his Whaleboat Navy; into Long Island Sound to attack British shipping, and across to Setauket to bring messages back for Major Benjamin Tallmadge to deliver to General Washington. He ranged up and down the Sound and in and out of all the ports along it. He got around incredibly well and was in every raiding party that took place on Long Island. Henry Onderdonk (1804-1886) in his Revolutionary Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Counties, described Brewster as above ordinary size – a “Superman” of his period – possessing a keen wit and unrivaled sense of humor, who wrote good letters to Washington.

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Click to enlarge.

Abraham Woodhull, a direct descendant of Richard Woodhull, one of the most outstanding of Setauket’s original settlers, was born on his family’s farm in Setauket, overlooking Little Bay, in 1750.  He was a farmer by occupation. Because of his elder brother Richard’s death at the early age of 32, Abraham inherited the family home [circa 1690] and farm. The land had been in the family since Richard Woodhull, immigrant, came to Setauket, sometime between 1655 and 1657.

After the Revolution, Woodhull became the first Judge of Suffolk County.  He died January 23, 1826; and his grave in the Setauket Presbyterian Church graveyard was marked by the Mayflower Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution in 1936. Bricks from the foundation of the Woodhull homestead, which was destroyed by fire in 1931, were used in the memorial.

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A 1777 British map of Setauket includes the letter “A”, the site of the Setauket Presbyterian Church. The road shown at the top of the map leads to the Woodhull farm. Click to enlarge.

The known spies also included a local woman who was a strong and ardent patriot. Anna Smith Strong, the great grand-daughter of Colonel William (Tangier) Smith, who owned about one-third of the land in the Town of Brookhaven including what is now Strong’s Neck. Anna Smith Strong, known as Nancy, was living across Little Bay from Abraham Woodhull during the Revolutionary War. According to folklore passed down to historian Kate Strong (1879-1977) Nancy Strong devised a wash line signal system to identify for Abraham Woodhull the whereabouts of Caleb Brewster’s whaleboat, so that Woodhull could find him and pass along the messages meant for General Washington. Whether or not this legend is true, Strong, living across Little Bay from Woodhull, was an important part of the spies communication network and would have used a number of ways to contact her closest neighbor Abraham Woodhull.

By the time of the Revolutionary War, most of the trees around Setauket had been cleared for farming. By the end of the Revolutionary War most of the remaining trees on Long Island had been cut down for use by the British as cordwood (fuel) in New York City.

Abraham Woodhull’s farm ran along the west side of Conscience Bay and the east side of Little Bay.

VLMBTylerasWoodhullBev Tyler (TVHS Historian) as Abraham Woodhull explaining to a Walk Through History tour group the importance of the salt marsh to colonial farmers and to the ecology of Long Island. Click to enlarge.

VLMRaidonFtStGeorgeBenjamin Tallmadge, pictured with a sword, at Fort St. George in Mastic. Vance Lock Mural- Setauket School. Click to enlarge.

Raid on Fort St. George in Mastic.

Undertaken by Benjamin Tallmadge and his Patriot forces this was one of the most successful raids on Long Island during the Revolutionary War.

During the summer and fall of 1780 Tallmadge was again with his regiment covering the “neutral ground” in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. It was a very active time for Tallmadge and his regiment and Tallmadge captured a number of spies and Tories who fired on his troops.

Benjamin Tallmadge, always looking toward the next chance to harass the enemy, set his sites on the newly constructed British Fort St. George in Mastic. “As soon as I had settled again in the course of our duties, my former scheme of annoying the enemy on Long Island came fresh upon my mind,” Tallmadge wrote in his autobiography, “I therefore directed my agents there to obtain for me the most accurate returns of the fortifications in Suffolk County, Long Island, at a point which projects into South Bay, on Smith’s Manor, being their most easterly point of defense.”

Tallmadge proposed to General Washington to attack Fort St. George, but Washington felt the danger was too great. In early November, 1780, Tallmadge crossed to Long Island to obtain intelligence. He learned that the fort was completed–that it was the depository of stores, dry goods, groceries, and arms, “from whence Suffolk County could be supplied; and the works presented, on the whole, a most formidable appearance.”

On 11 November, Washington finally authorized Tallmadge to go to Long Island to capture the fort and destroy the magazine of forage at Coram. Tallmadge, with two companies of dismounted dragoons, about 100 men, left from Fairfield on 21 November and landed at Old Man’s (Mt. Sinai Harbor) at 9 p.m. Due to a storm they spent the next day under the whaleboats that took them across the sound.

“Just as the day began to dawn I put my detachment in motion. The pioneers, who preceded my column, had reached within 40 yards of the stockade before they were discovered by the enemy.”

Tallmadge had divided his forces and came at the fort from three directions. They took the fort within ten minutes and then had to secure one of the houses when some British troops fired on them, resulting only in more British casualties.

“All things were now secured and quiet, and I had never seen the sun rise more pleasantly,” wrote Tallmadge. “The work of capturing and destroying this fortress being effected, at 8 o’clock a.m. I put the troops under march to re-cross the island to our boats.” They reached Coram, attacked the magazine, set the hay on fire and returned in the boats to Connecticut with the prisoners.

“It is hard to realize how important hay was – particularly in November, the time of this raid, when the harvest was in. It was as important as fossil fuel is today. Most of the British supplies and sustenance of this sort had to come from Long Island, as it was the only area outside of Manhattan that the British controlled, and they had several thousand tons of hay stored at Coram.” [WBM]

“This service was executed without the loss of a man from my detachment,” wrote Tallmadge, “and one only was badly wounded, and him we brought off. The enemy’s loss was seven killed and wounded, the most of them mortally. We took one Lieut.-Colonel, the commandant, one lieutenant, one surgeon, and fifty rank and file, with a host of others in the garrison.”

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Re-enactment of the Battle of St. George at the Manor of St. George, Mastic, 2005. Click to enlarge.

For their success, Tallmadge and his troops were honored by both his Commander-in-Chief and the Congress of the United States. Tallmadge wrote, “On this occasion, the most honorable mention was made by both, and conveyed in the most flattering manner.”

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Austin Roe riding from Brooklyn Ferry to Setauket- Vance Locke mural. Click to enlarge.

Austin Roe Riding From Brooklyn Ferry

Austin Roe, as the courier known as Long Island’s Paul Revere, was the member of the Setauket Spies most visible to the British and Tories in Brookhaven. Roe ran a tavern in East Setauket where food and drink were served and where travelers could stay overnight on their way to or from the south or east end of Long Island. Roe used his position as a tavern owner to justify his trips to New York City (Manhattan). Wile in New York, in addition to the supplies he needed for the tavern, Roe gathered the intelligence that had to be relayed to General Washington. The original location of the tavern,  moved in 1936, was along what is now Route 25A, just west of the south end of Bayview Avenue. The site is marked by a State road sign which details a few of the most important facts about Austin Roe and the tavern.

Austin Roe operated in a hotbed of British enemies in New York where he would land after crossing the East River on a tight-running wire called a ferry. Britisth officers and soldiers rubbing elbows with him, and he never knew who might recognize him or realize that he was there for something else besides the purpose he seemed to have, which was getting a few supplies for his tavern and picking up something for Setauket Tory Benjamin Floyd (a ruse).

Austin Roe, born in 1748, was 29 years old when he first agreed to be part of the Setauket Spies. He made the 110-mile round trip at least once a week. The road was heavily traveled by British and Tory troops and by highwaymen (robbers). Roe would receive information, usually directly from Culper Junior, secreted in a bundle of notepaper, written in invisible ink.

Roe would ride back to Setauket and pass the information to Woodhull.  Woodhull would meet Caleb Brewster, who brough it to Tallmadge, who sent it to General Washington’s  headquarters. This spy network supplied General Washington with vital information concerning British troop movements, fortifications, and intentions in New York and the surrounding area during the perilous war years from 1778 – 1783. Austin Roe made numerous trips to New York and was never discovered.

One of the most important messages carried by the Culper Spy Ring was the message principally responsible for saving the French fleet at Newport. The British had received word that the French fleet was sailing into Newport, Rhode Island to support the Continental Army. They decided to send 11 fighting ships against this fleet of 6 French ships.

Austin Roe rode into New York to get information from Robert Townsend (Culper, Jr.) about British actions in relation to the arrival of the French fleet. Roe left New York the following morning and by the next evening the message had reached Washington’s headquarters — from Roe to Woodhull to Brewster and across the Sound. Washington was visiting with the Marquis de Lafayette, who had arrived in America in June 1777 and remained until 1780, so that in this instance Alexander Hamilton, aide to General Washington at that time, received the message, decoded it, and had it taken to Washington. Washington read  that 8000 British dragoons were marching from Whitestone to Newport and that British Admiral Graves was already on the way to Rhode Island with 7 ships to meet the French fleet. Washington was then able to get false information to British Headquarters that an immediate attack on New York was under way. As a result the British forces were recalled to New York before they had an opportunity to accomplish the destruction of the French fleet off the coast of Rhode Island.

Roe carried many important messages in the five or six years he rode back and forth from Setauket to New York. In contrast to Paul Revere who made one much-shorter ride and was captured, Austin Roe made many rides of almost 60 miles along roads thick with Tories, British soldiers, and highwaymen (robbers).

There were three main roads that ran east and west on Long Island: North Country Road, Middle Country Road and South Country Road. These three routes were completed early in the 18th century and are still in use today. Roe could have used any or all of these routes to travel to Setauket. It would have taken Roe eight to twelve hours, with at least one change to a fresh horse, to travel from New York to Setauket, longer on wet or muddy roads. Along South Country Road Roe would have found a welcome at the home of Isaac Thompson, a Patriot and brother of Setauket Patriot Dr. Samuel Thompson. Isaac Thompson’s house is now called Sagtikos Manor. Roe, an inn and tavern keeper, probably found a welcome at many places along all three routes to Setauket.

Austin Roe moved to Patchogue in 1798 where he founded Roe’s Hotel. He died there in 1830 at the age of 81.

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Raid on Setauket- Vance Locke mural- Setauket School. Click to enlarge.

General Samuel Parsons’ Raid on Setauket – August 22, 1777.

Early in the year 1777, 260 Queens County Loyalist troops (Americans loyal to the British Crown) took possession of the Setauket Presbyterian Church on the village green. They turned the church into a barrack, even going so far as to remove the pews and pulpit so they could stable their horses in the church building. They fortified the area around the building with an earthwork topped with sharpened wooden poles and placed bundles of branches along the top of the earthwork as protection from musket fire. More sharpened poles were faced outward along the earthwork to repel a frontal attack and swivel guns were set in the window openings to fire down on attackers.

The resultant fort in the middle of the small settlement of Setauket was then ready to provide protection and safety for the small force of Tory troops under the command of Loyalist Commander Richard Hewlett

The stationing of troops in Setauket was part of a British plan to provide a series of observation points on Long Island, which would keep an eye peeled for any movement of rebel troops from Connecticut that might threaten British positions on Long Island and in New York City.

On August 16, 1777, Brigadier General Samuel Parsons was ordered by his superior, General Israel Putnam, to gather 400 or 500 Continental Army soldiers on the Connecticut coast, procure boats, “and such small armed or other vessels as you find necessary and proper…You are to make a descent on Long Island and deplete and destroy such parties of the enemy as are found at Huntington and Setauket…”

General Samuel Parsons, born in Lyme Connecticut in 1737 and educated at Harvard, was by 1777 a veteran of two major battles. As an effective strategist under General Washington, Parsons was familiar with the conditions on Long Island and with the plight of both the refugees who fled to Connecticut and the Americans who remained on Long Island under the rule of the British military governor.

On August 21, the day before his troops were to attack the Loyalists at Setauket, Parsons issued the following order. “On the present expedition…tis not to distress the helpless women or honest citizen we draw our swords, but from the noble and generous principle of maintaining the right of humanity and vindicating the liberties of freemen. The officers and soldiers are therefore most earnestly exhorted and strictly commanded to forbear all violation of personal property; not the least article is to be taken but by orders; we are to convince our enemies we despise their practices and scorn to follow their example. But should any person be so lost to all virtue and honor as to infringe this order, he or they may depend on the most exemplary punishment…and the greatest silence on the march is to be observed.”

The expedition left Fairfield Harbor that night under cover of darkness. Parsons knew that the success of the mission depended on surprise. Care was taken to avoid detection but it was to no avail. The force was spotted from shore as it crossed the Sound and landed at Crane Neck Bend early in the morning.

The alarm was quickly spread; just as quickly, Loyalist officers and men assembled at the fort. Loyalist Commander Richard Hewlett was staying at the home of Benjamin Floyd. He arrived at the fort just ahead of the American attack. The element of surprise was gone and with it any chance of capturing the fort.

General Parsons set up his cannon behind the large rock on what was then part of the Village Green. He sent a message to Hewlett demanding the surrender of the fort. Hewlett had sent a messenger for help to the British stationed at Huntington, and wished to play for time. He asked for a half hour to consult with his officers. Parsons, aware that time was of the essence, said he would give them ten minutes. The reply came back, “Colonel Hewlett’s compliments to General Parsons, and is determined to defend the fort while he has a man left.”

The Patriot artillery officer was Lieutenant Caleb Brewster, one of many refugees to Connecticut from Setauket, and soon to be a member of the Culper Spy Ring. Parsons knew that a frontal attack would be suicidal, so he attempted to breach the walls of the fort with cannon fire. The two sides fired at each other for about four hours with very little effect. Then Parsons, fearing that his return route to Connecticut would be cut off by British warships on the Sound, broke off the attack and headed back to the vessels at Crane Neck. The Patriot troops took with them a number of horses, blankets and other supplies belonging to the loyalists.

The attack had failed to accomplish its main purpose, but the residents in Setauket now knew that Washington and the Continental Army had not forgotten the plight of the Patriots in enemy territory on Long Island.

Read and explore  Discover Setauket, Brookhaven’s Original Settlement. This 40-page book was developed to assist young people of all ages in learning about the past through the use of primary and secondary sources. Available from the Three Village Historical Society, the book is a good companion to accompany the story of Brookhaven’s local history and relates directly to the Vance Locke murals.

This entire article copyright by Beverly C. Tyler.
Photographs by Beverly C. Tyler

History Close at Hand
PO Box 96, East Setauket, NY 11733-0096
Tel: 631-928-9534
E-mail: BevTyler@aol.com
Http://www.HistoryCloseAtHand.com

Three Village Historical Society
93 north Country Road, Setauket, New York 11733
Tel: 631-751-3730
E-mail: info@tvhs.org
Http://www.ThreeVillageHistoricalSociety.org

Vance Locke Murals courtesy of the Three Village Central School District 

The Three Village Historical Society

Beverly C. Tyler is a writer, author, photographer, interpreter and lecturer on local history. He has written A Teacher’s Guide to Brookhaven’s Original Settlement, 7th ed. published 2009, and Discover Setauket – Brookhaven’s Original Settlement, 3rd ed. published 2003, which has been accepted for use in all Three Village School District 4th grade classes. His most recent book, which includes his color photographs, 4th ed. published in May, 2010 is the Three Village Historical Society’s Walk Through History: A Guided Walking Tour of Brookhaven’s Original Settlement in Setauket.  Mr. Tyler has appeared on the History Channel’s Histories Mysteries production Spies of the Revolutionary War. He writes a local history column History Close at Hand for the Village Times Herald. He has written more than 900 local history articles over the past thirty years and his articles have been published in a number of Long Island and regional newspapers and magazines.  Mr. Tyler serving as Chair of the Educators and Interpreters Committee of the American Association for State and Local History 2008-2010.

Beverly C. Tyler
PO Box 96
East Setauket, Long Island, NY 11733
Tel: 631-928-9534
E-Mail: BevTyler@aol.com