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Donald Louchheim

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					the
SUMMER 2011
              Bridge
                Donald Louchheim
                Becoming Part of the Story


                               ALSO IN THIS ISSUE...
                               Jack Sidebotham: Pop’s Farm

                               Ann Sandford: Rural Wealth
                               and American Property Law:
                               the Sagaponack and
                               Bridgehampton Connections
                               1802 and 1805
 the
          Bridge
ANNUAL MAGAZINE OF THE
                                                                        CONTENTS
                                                  From the President by Gerrit Vreeland .................................... 2
 BRIDGEHAMPTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
                                                  From the Director by John Eilertsen, Ph.D............................... 4
      SUMMER 2011 EDITION
                                                  From the Program Coordinator by Sally Spanburgh ................ 6

                                                  Donald Louchheim
     EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR   John Eilertsen, Ph.D.   Becoming Part of the Story by John Stacks .............................. 8
               BOARD OF TRUSTEES                  Profile: Genevieve Szczepankowski
            PRESIDENT   Gerrit Vreeland           One Woman’s Life Intermingled with
          VICE PRESIDENT John A. Millard          Numerous Historic Structures by Sally Spanburgh .................. 12
       SECRETARY/TREASURER Andrew Steffan
                  Carrie Crowley                  2010 Vintage Sports Car Poker Rally by Staff .......................... 16
                    J. Kirk Flack
                                                  Rural Wealth and American Property Law:
                Barbara White Ford
                                                  The Sagaponack and Bridgehampton
                    Kevin Hurley
                                                  Connections 1802 and 1805 by Ann Sandford .......................... 18
                  Francine Lynch
                  Andrea Madaio                   A Visual Look at Farming and Farm Families
                 Kevin Miserocchi                 in Greater Bridgehampton by Julie Greene .............................. 22
                 Debbie Romaine
                    John Stacks


                          STAFF
       MUSEUM ADMINISTRATOR    Mary Gardner
          CURATOR / ARCHIVIST Julie Greene
      PROGRAM COORDINATOR Sally Spanburgh
        HISTORIAN Richard G. Hendrickson



                 ADVISORY BOARD
             Barbara Albright, Chair
        Paul Brennan, Julie Burmeister            A Walking Tour of Lumber Lane by Sally Spanburgh ............ 24
         Fred Cammann, Cathie Gandel
     Earl Gandel, Tony Garro, Craig Gibson        Merrall Hildreth: Postmaster, Sagg General Store Owner
       Hon. Nancy Graboski, Gay Lynch             and Master Carver by Julie Greene and John Eilertsen ............ 26
        Wendy Sclight, Dennis Suskind
                                                  The Suffolk Hunt Club in Hayground by Julie Greene............ 30
      Meriwether Schmid, Hollis Topping
         Price Topping, Carol Tutundgy            The Wreck of the John Milton
                Weezie Quimby                     at Montauk, New York by Henry Osmers ................................ 33

                                                  Manoucher Yektai
NATHANIEL ROGERS HOUSE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
                                                  “I Cannot Not Paint” by John Stacks ...................................... 34
          Kevin Miserocchi, Co-Chair
           Francine Lynch, Co-Chair               Memories of Bridgehampton: 1926-1931
                                                  by John Rezelman .................................................................... 36

BRIDGEHAMPTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY                  Pop’s Farm by Jack Sidebotham
   P.O. Box 977 Bridgehampton, NY 11932           intro by Ted Pettus .................................................................... 39
               631-537-1088                       The Nathaniel Rogers House:
 www.bridgehamptonhistoricalsociety.org           A Rebirth in Progress by John Eilertsen .................................. 41
       www.bridgehamptonrally.org
                                                  Cover Photo by PWL Photo
                               from the                               Bridgehampton Historical Society (BHHS) is to afford
                                                                      you the opportunity to learn about the history of
                                                                      Bridgehampton. We have the most complete collection

                            President,                                of historical documents covering the history of our village.
                                                                      We bring to life the history of farming, the history of
                                                                      our participation in the Civil War, and the history of
                            Gerrit Vreeland                           windmills. History is exciting!!!

                                                                      We have had an extraordinary year at the BHHS. We have
    Recently I participated in my 50th high school reunion.           opened our new “Archives” on Montauk Highway next
    As part of the program we could elect to attend a class,          to the Nathaniel Rogers House. It now houses our
    and I chose American History. My recollection of                  collection of documents and thanks to a generous gift
    History, as taught 50 years ago, was that it was all about        from Nora and Fred Camman and Paul Brennan, that
    memorization - dates, names, and events. Your knowledge           collection will be catalogued on a new computer system.
    of history was measured in facts. Not so today. While             Our program of events and exhibits has been expanded so
    knowing the facts is still important, it is viewed as only a      that we fill the calendar year round. Finally, we are
    stepping stone in pursuit of the more important discipline        pleased that the restoration of the Nathaniel Rogers House
    of understanding how the past influences the future. The          is finally under way. By the end of the summer the
    issue covered that day was state’s rights, and the topics         exterior should have a fresh coat of paint and the House
    ranged from slavery to immigration policies. It was very          will begin to look as it did in 1840.
    exciting to see how engaged the students were as the
    teacher walked them through the evolution of state’s              These accomplishments are the result of a very dedicated
    rights. At the end of the fifty minutes, there was little         and capable staff supported by a committed Board of
    agreement on the right answers regarding this subject, but        Trustees. This year, Paul Brennan and Bob Morrow, two
    it was very apparent that without a command of the                of our most valuable trustees, rotated off our Board due to
    History of the subject, it was impossible to advocate either      term limitations. On behalf of everyone involved with the
    side of the issue.                                                BHHS, I want to thank Paul and Bob for their services as
                                                                      trustees over the last six years. Because their contribution
    Only through the study of History can we grasp how
                                                                      of time, talent and treasure, the BHHS now ranks among
    things change. This is just as true at the local level as it is
                                                                      the best Historical Societies on Long Island. F
    at the state and national level. Part of our mission at the




                                                                                 MARY GARDNER
                                                                                                PAINTINGS

                                                                                          ARCHIVAL PRINTS

                                                                                     www.mgardnerartist.com
                                                                                   imagesbygardner@gmail.com
                                                                                          (631) 899-3724



                      “Babinski Cow”          gouache 22x30


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                             from the                            In 2009, an ad-hoc group of neighborhood, history and
                                                                 art organizations in one section of Cambridge,
                                                                 Massachusetts came together to create a project
                          Director,                              that would give voice to community members, and
                                                                 that would create community memories while
                                                                 reminding neighbors that they are a part of the
                          John Eilertsen, PhD.                   continuum of history. 2

    Talking History                                              Called “If This House Could Talk,” it was a marvelous
                                                                 concept that helped to strengthen a sense of
    Over one hundred years ago, Mark Twain wrote about           community and that helped to share community
    the best way to write one’s autobiography: “Start at no      memories among neighbors. That project encouraged
    particular time of your life; wander at your free will all   people to share the past history of their own homes
    over your life; talk only about the thing which interests    and buildings, giving insight not just into the walls of
    you for the moment; drop it the moment its interest          buildings, but of the lives that occurred within those
    threatens to pale, and turn your talk upon the new and       walls as well. You can be sure that BHHS will be
    more interesting thing that has intruded itself into your    developing a similar project here in Bridgehampton
    mind….” 1                                                    in the near future.

    I’m struck with how the best way to be “talking history”     Already, “talking history” in Greater Bridgehampton
    today is similar to Twain’s best method of writing one’s     is not done just with words. Our May/June exhibition
    life story so long ago.                                      of works created by Merrall Hildreth articulates his
                                                                 sense of history and place through his wonderfully
    Most of us from time to time and regardless of age like      crafted replicas of local houses that represent the sights
    to reminisce about our lives and experiences. Often          and memories of the Sagaponack that Merrall has
    with little provocation, memories of childhood,              known for over eighty years. And our summer exhibit
    holidays, vacations, loved ones lost or absent, even         of art work in the Corwith House does the same with
    tragedies and sorrows “intrude,” as Twain would put          beautiful images of the farm scenes and landscapes
    it, into our minds.                                          that framed the lives and livelihoods of generations of
    Of course, our “Sharing Memories” program inten-             East Enders, captured by painters and photographers
    tionally does just that, “provoking” local folks to share    who live and work among us every day. We’ll be
    their stories of life in Bridgehampton, always to the        continuing our local landscape theme with our
    delight and edification of those of us fortunate enough      Summer exhibit at the Archives entitled “A Visual
    to be around to hear spoken these bits of personal and       History of Farming in Bridgehampton,” with photos
    community history.                                           and text.

    Some people, of course, need a bit more provocation          Sometimes our work is not intended to establish the
    than others, but the rewards are always the same. Our        hard and fast “facts” of history, but to use the stories of
    archives of recorded oral histories continue to grow,        people to illustrate the facts and to show change over
    and our ability to share the history of Bridgehampton,       time. And as long as we have generous folks who are
    Sagaponack, Mecox and Hayground grows with it.               willing to allow us to share with them their memories
    These narratives enrich our exhibits, publications,          of Greater Bridgehampton, we will all continue to
    demonstrations and public programs.                          learn about the history of our shared community. F

    More and more organizations around the nation are            Footnotes:
    utilizing the methodologies of oral history to               1. Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume I (University of
    document, celebrate and interpret community                     California Press, 2010)
    histories.                                                   2. (AASHL History News, Summer 2010, Vol. 65, No. 3).




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                               from the                                       And when you get to know Merrall, you get to know his talents.
                                                                              Did you know he is an accomplished wood-carver? And it’s only a
                                                                              pastime? We had heard rumors around town that Merrall had quite
                                                                              a collection of memorabilia on the second floor of his barn and
                               Program                                        finally took the time to check it out last Fall. Holy cow! Right then
                                                                              and there we roped him into loaning a small fraction of his work
                                                                              which we are delighted to exhibit at the Archives through June.

                               Coordinator,                                   Merrall & Mary’s barn will also be on our Barn Tour, Saturday June
                                                                              18th. Barn Tour? Yes, Barn Tour! We have worked really hard on
                                                                              this and have been getting lots of pre-registrants making us even
                               Sally Spanburgh                                more excited to host the event. The Hamptons has loads of house
                                                                              tours, artist studio tours, garden tours, and ghost tours, but even
    So here I am in my second year at the Bridgehampton Historical            with the rich assortment of East End barns, you don’t come across
    Society and I am still equally in love with the job. But one thing’s      a barn tour often. Well this year BHHS is changing that with an
    for sure: anyone who believes working for a Historical Society is a       exciting and diverse array of barns across greater Bridgehampton
    quiet and monotonous job in a slow-paced environment is dead              open to visitors.
    wrong! No matter what time of year it is, we are always up to our
    eyeballs in work, but we love the work, thank goodness!                   The Barn Tour was not only organized because it’s been a long
                                                                              time coming, but also because it coordinated perfectly with our,
    The 2011 Season Line-Up has some wonderful new endeavors                  not one, but two 2011 premier season exhibits: “Farm Scenes” at
    interwoven among our summer staples. Traditional events such as           the Corwith House, opening June 3rd, and “Bridgehampton
    our Spring tour of the Old Cemetery next to the Bridgehampton             Farming Families & Traditions” opening at the Archives July 8th.
    Presbyterian Church on May 28th, the BHHS Antique Show the                Yes, farming is the central theme this season, and it’s a subject near
    weekend of June 25th with nearly 100 vendors and only $5                  and dear to the hearts of many in the Hamptons as we all wish for
    admission, the Beebe Windmill open houses, and our October                what’s left of the farming industry to be remembered, supported,
    1st Vintage Road Rally make up our regular community offerings,           and assisted with in every possible way. “Farm Scenes” will feature
    repeated each year out of tradition and popular demand.                   local artists’ paintings capturing splendid local farming vistas
                                                                              exhibited amongst the period furnishings of the museum, while the
    The tours of the Beebe Windmill were wildly popular last year. It         Archives event will elaborate and expand upon local farming fam-
    is, after all, the only windmill on the East End that is, at least        ily genealogies, practices, and trends.
    presently, able to be toured. This year, while we did not add
    additional tour days, we have ramped up our tours and displays.           Last but not least there are a few other programs in our ambitious
    Each level of the windmill will have information about what               season line-up worth mentioning. The first is a mini-series of craft
    exactly took place on each of the windmill’s four stories, our            exhibits rather than a great Heritage festival like we’ve put on in
    incredible volunteer docent, Tony Garro, is super familiar with           the Fall in years past. Along with our frequent blacksmith
    the history and operation of the windmill, and our pamphlets              demonstrations, these mini-festivals are ways to watch firsthand
    describing the windmill’s history, function and significance have         what goes into the creation of these timeless traditions, and even
    become publish worthy. We are ready for the masses this year              make a purchase or two. The first event will present the Clay Art
    providing the weather is equally accommodating.                           Guild of the Hamptons at our Archives Building on Saturday,
                                                                              July 9th, and the second will present a host of woodcarvers at the
    For the second time we will be offering a “Kids Camp,” this year          Corwith House on Saturday, August 20th.
    collaborating with the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. We
    just love when we join forces with another community organization.        And on September 10th, during a month and along a tree-lined
    This year’s Kids Camp theme revolves around the Colonial era.             street perfectly suited for strolling, we will host a walking tour of
    Kids will get a glimpse of what it was like to grow up during the         Lumber Lane, from the railroad to Montauk Highway. This is near
    1700s in Bridgehampton. We will tour the Corwith House                    and dear to my heart as it’s being hosted by yours truly, and house
    Museum, see how you would have dressed, played, and lived in              histories are a personal passion of mine. The architecture alone of
    Colonial times, learn to decorate a floor cloth, stencil designs, and     many of these historic resources is fascinating enough, but you’d
    how to put on a real farming feast! Two separate weeks are being          be surprised what other interesting (and sometimes scandalous)
    offered, July 11-15 and August 29-Sept. 2, from 9am-2pm. Children         tidbits are also uncovered.
    Grades K-6 are welcome, all for an affordable $140 per child. See
    our website for registration forms and information, or call our office.   So rather than to carry around a copy of The Bridge with you each
                                                                              day, BHHS printed and distributed a really lovely brochure
    But the real substance of our 2011 Season line-up begins with a           highlighting our main events, listing the season calendar, and
    party on Sunday, June 12th, honoring Merrall & Mary Hildreth              including membership details. This would serve as an adequate
    at the Bridgehampton Inn. Merrall and Mary Hildreth are                   reminder of events you wish to participate in on your blotter or
    well-known among their Sagaponack and Bridgehampton                       stuck to your refrigerator. And if you weren’t lucky enough to
    neighbors, and not just for their association with the Sagaponack         receive one in the mail, they are located all over town, and of
    General Store. They are two of the friendliest people you will            course chez nous.
    honestly ever come across.
                                                                              Happy Summer! F

6   theBridge
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    Donald Louchheim
    Becoming Part of the Story
    by John Stacks


    When Donald Louchheim bought the Southampton                named Tom Wolfe. “It was a brutal summer day in
    Press in 1971, the newspaper was 74 years old and he was    Virginia. We came back cooked like lobsters,” Don
    just 34. The paper was tired and small, but Louchheim       recalls. No surprise that Wolfe became a novelist.
    was young and ready to be his own editor and publisher.
                                                                In those days the mighty Washington Post was not so
    Owning one’s own paper was-- and may still be-- a kind
                                                                mighty; it was in fact the smaller of the two major papers
    of romantic dream among big time journalists who
                                                                in town, running second to the Washington Evening
    grapple with legions of editors and publishers who
                                                                Star. And at the Post, most of the paper’s resources were
    determine where they will work, what they will write
                                                                devoted to covering the city of Washington and the politics
    about and under what circumstances their work will
                                                                of Capitol Hill. But ever since a summer vacation in
    appear. But rather than have fantasies about the life of
                                                                Europe during which he had met, courtesy of his mother
    the small-town publisher, Louchheim systematically
                                                                who was an art critic for the New York Times, a series of
    went about making it happen.
                                                                Times foreign correspondents working in Europe, it was
    He had been well on his way in the big leagues of           Don’s goal to become a Paris bureau chief.
    American journalism. Louchheim joined the Washington
                                                                To that end, he volunteered to leave his city desk
    Post in the summer of 1961 where, like most young
                                                                reporting assingment to become a copy editor for the
    reporters, he covered the city police station, phoning in
                                                                world desk. “Everyone thought I was committing career
    the facts of stories to the highly skilled and grizzled
                                                                suicide,” he recalls. “Copy editors were mostly burnt out
    rewrite men who crafted the stories for print. He
                                                                reporters.” Moreover, the Post’s foreign staff consisted
    graduated to more challenging assignments like covering
                                                                of a grand total of three part-timers in Europe.
    Civil War re-enactments with another young reporter
                                                                                     Luckily for Louchheim, the Post
                                                                                     under the leadership of Phil Graham
                                                                                     was growing. Graham himself was a
                                                                                     close chum of President John
                                                                                     Kennedy and was keen to make his
                                                                                     newspaper important. Graham and
                                                                                     the owners of the Los Angeles Times
                                                                                     decided they needed their own
                                                                                     foreign correspondents to compete
                                                                                     with the New York Times and Don,
                                                                                     from his perch on the world desk,
                                                                                     bid for an overseas assignment.
                                                                                     “The editors decided they wanted
                                                                                     someone in Africa and India.” says
                                                                                     Don. “Having been on the foreign
                                                                                     desk, I at least knew the names of
                                                                                     most of the African countries.”
    Don at his desk in 1989


8   theBridge
Five days before Christmas, 1964, Don and Pingree            The Post’s publisher would, of course, pay periodic vis-
Louchheim departed for Dakar, Senegal and the lives of       its to Paris. On one such visit, Katharine Graham
American ex-patriots. It was the dawn of the African         inquired what young Louchheim wanted to do next.
independence movement, but Senegal was still very            The family had begun to tire of the ex-pat life, feeling, as
French, with great food flown in every day from Paris        he now puts it, “comfortable anywhere but belonging
and wonderful restaurants and great beaches. Ten             nowhere.” Once walking in the Bois de Bologna with his
months later, they moved on to Lagos, Nigeria, the           oldest son Joe, they came upon kids playing American
largest country in Africa, and later to Nairobi, Kenya.      baseball. “What is that game,” Joe asked his father.
                                                             Moreover, while he loved being a reporter, he had
In all, they spent three years in Africa. The life of the    begun to feel that he was merely “a professional
foreign correspondent was one of great independence.         observer.” “I was not part of the story, any story,” he says.
“I just assigned myself,” Don remembers. He would            “I was a witness to history but I was also passing judgement
cover military coups (sixteen in all) and civil wars and     on people making decisions but I never had to make a
breaking news, but would from time to time go off to do      decision. I began to wonder what is was like to make
a major piece on any subject that interested him. He is      those decisions and then have to live with them.”
still proud of a major piece he did on a place he
                                                             He told Mrs. Graham that he thought he might want to
determined to be at the absolute center of the African       go to business school. She offered to pay, but he
continent. It was an oasis in Chad called Fayua              declined, feeling that if he later decided to go back to
Largeaux. He arranged to get dropped off by a US AID         reporting, she would feel she had wasted the paper’s
airplane and picked up by the same C-130 pilot a week        money. He managed to get into the Harvard School of
later. “There was no hotel,” Louchheim remembers,” so        Business, after agreeing to take enough remedial math
I stayed with the airport manager. He had a front yard       to be able to handle some algebra and understand the
made of sand, which he had raked in decorative patterns.     course in statistics. But the math turned out to be the
People mostly got there by camel and there were still        least of it. “It was the best liberal arts education I ever
camel trains coming through. Every evening the three         had,” he says, meaning it was better than his undergrad
Frenchmen who more or less ran the place would get           years at Yale. He also did exceedingly well, finishing in
together under the only floodlight in the village and play   the top five percent of his class.
boul and have drinks.” He wrote a
huge, fourteen-column piece that
those in the trade would call a scene-
setter, about, as he puts it, “life in this
sort of navel of Africa.” He was
making a whopping $150 a week, but
most of the family’s expenses were
paid by the Post.

At the end of 1967, he was transferred
to Paris to become the European
economic correspondent. And, again
luckily for Louchheim, the Paris
bureau chief retired six months later
and there he was, at age 31, having
achieved his career goal in journal-
ism. He was living in a small private
house in the 16th Arrondissement,
traveling with French President
Charles DeGaulle, and covering the
1968 student uprisings.                                                                               Don in Chad, 1966

                                                                                                                theBridge    9
     As a topic for his major graduate school thesis,
     Louchheim cleverly chose to explore the economic
     issues involved in purchasing and operating a small
     newspaper. In the summer between terms, he contacted
     the publisher of the Southampton Press and asked to
     spend time examining the economics of the paper.
     When he was about to finish Harvard, he returned to
     Washington to visit Mrs. Graham. But there he found
     the business executives suspicious of his ties to the
     editorial side and the editorial side suspicious of his
     ties to Mrs. Graham. “I decided the Post was not for me,”
     he says.

     And about that time, and yes once again, luckily for
     Louchheim, the owners of the Press decided they wanted
     to sell the paper. Don had been looking at other papers
     in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, but his father
     owned a summer house in Water Mill where they could
     live and so Southampton was their choice. The theory
     was that they would work at the paper for a couple of
     years and then maybe go back to Washington or back to
     Europe. That, of course, never happened, but it was not
                                                                  Don and Pingree Louchheim
     because there were no opportunities. Shortly after
     taking over the Press, Louchheim was offered the job of      “I felt an enormous sense of responsibility,” Louchheim
     editorial page editor for Newsday. Later, he was asked if    says. “If we got anything wrong, it damages the credibility
     he would be interested in running the Paris Herald           of the newspaper. What you publish and what you don’t
     Tribune. If most journalists dream of one day owning         publish impacts a lot of people and often it impacts them
     their own paper, the rest dream of becoming the editor       negatively. It was a terrible responsiblity, but I would go
     of the Paris Herald Tribune.                                 home at night feeling I had done the best I could and
     Meanwhile, Don and Pingree Louchheim toiled away             that I had made a difference. I believed that if you
     at the Press. Pingree was chief photographer and layout      informed people they would make good decisions.”
     designer and darkroom maestro; Don was editor and            Still, Louchheim was an outsider in the insular world of
     publisher. Over the years, as the Hamptons grew and          Southhampton. The town really had two populations:
     thrived, so did the newspaper. One measure of its            the year-rounders and the summer people. The year
     progress is the size of the spaces it occupied. The office   rounders thought of the summer people as a sort of
     when the Louchheims bought the Press was no more             colonial presence, usurping their community. “For
     than 350 square feet where a staff of four worked in very    years,” Louchheim says, I was considered to be a
     intimate quarters. When Don retired in 1998, the Press       year-round summer person, and maybe I still am.”
     occupied some 6,000 square feet of office space and
     employed 35 people full time.                                As a newcomer, Louchheim was treated with suspicion,
                                                                  especially by the prevailing Republican hierarchy of the
     While owning a newspaper may be a journalist’s dream,        town, the village and the county. The Press had been so
     it is not an easy job. For Don Louchheim, it was a major     Republican that it still referred to Kennedy Airport as
     adjustment. He had never lived in a small town before.       Idlewild, because the owners did not want see the name
     More importantly, writing for big newspapers with big        of a Democrat in the paper. Early on Don was invited
     audiences meant rarely having to deal face to face with      to a luncheon with Republican leaders who made it
     those aggrieved by the treatment they got in the paper.      clear that unless he treated them and their candidates


10   theBridge
favorably, they might not continue to use the Press to       newspaper, he joined the board of the Southhampton
publish legal notices. Louchheim soon realized that 40       Hospital. In 1998 he became vice chairman, just as the
percent of the paper’s advertising revenue came from the     board and the hospital management learned that,
legal notices. His strategy was to be fair, to be non-       essentially, the hospital was broke. What looked like a
partisan, and to not permit the Republican leaders to        marginally profitable operation at the hospital had
have their press releases published verbatim, as if the      become a loss-making enterprise. In addition, a reserve
newspaper staff had written them. Eventually, the legal      fund that had been built up over the years had been spent
notices were withheld, but the growth of other               on expansion plans. Over the next six years, Louchheim
advertising offset the loss.                                 became a totally hands-on director, helping to hire and
                                                             fire staff and organizing a $40 million bond issue that, as
The new owners were so suspect that a rumor was              he puts, “kept the wolves from the door.” “By 2005,” he
circulated in Republican circles that Louchheim had          says, “we had achieved our goals. The hospital remained
been sent to Southhampton by the Democrats to subvert        alive. In many ways, that is very satisfying.”
their influence in Suffolk County. Not only had
the Louchheims been sent by the Democrats, the               In 2005 the Village of Sagaponack was incorporated and
Democratic Party had financed the purchase of the            Louchheim was elected a trustee. In 2008, he was elected
paper. Or so the story went. The Press took an               mayor, and has just been re-elected. The journalist
independent course, but in fact, over the years, endorsed    who did not want to be a mere observer has become a
more Republicans than Democrats for local office. The        continuing part of the story of our town. F
Republicans were so dominant that the Democrats
had trouble finding candidates to run. “The Republicans
had the better candidates,” says Louchheim.

Looking back over his years as the publisher of the Press,
Don Louchheim thinks the biggest contribution he


                                                                     DE P ETRIS
made was to help rally public opinion against driving the
four-lane Sunrise Highway all the way through to
Montauk. “We are still blamed for that,” he says. But
the absence of the superhighway and advent of zoning
that considered scarce water supplies saved the East End              LIQUOR STORE
from an environmental disaster. Louchheim wishes the
community preservation fund had been created sooner.
“The amount of land we could have kept in agriculture
and as open space would have been huge,” he says.               WINE                                   SPIRITS
By 1998 the paper had grown to the point where Don’s
job was mostly managerial not journalistic. He and
Pingree decided to sell the paper and retire. But when
their oldest son Joe heard that his parents were ready
to sell, he stepped up and said that he would like to be                  Convienient Location
the buyer. Don says he wrote Joe a five-page, single-
                                                                         and Outstanding Service.
spaced letter warning him of the difficulties of being
a small town newspaper publisher. Joe ignored the
letter and bought the paper. “I think he’s doing a good
job,” Don says.                                                  2489 MAIN STREET         . BRIDGEHAMPTON
But Don’s critical role in the life of the community
                                                                              631-537-O287
continued. Just as he was stepping away from the



                                                                                                              theBridge    11
     Profile: Genevieve Szczepankowski
     One Woman’s Life Intermingled with
     Numerous Historic Structures
     by Sally Spanburgh


     Mention the name Genevieve Szczepankowski
     (pronounced “Sepankowksi) to many Sagaponack
     natives and you’re likely to make their stomachs
     rumble and mouths start watering. A resident of
     Sagg Main Street for 60 years, Gen is commonly
                                                                        Gen and Paul, 1934
     remembered as one of the best cooks in the Hamptons.
                                                                                                           Genevieve, 1936
     Genevieve Sherry (Sieraj, pronounced “Shair-jai”)
     Szczepankowski is one of four children of John and           John and Helen met while working on the same estate
     Helen [Sutkowska] Sherry, Polish immigrants who came         on Shelter Island. After they had saved $200,
     to the United States in the early 1900s. Gen recalled the    they decided to marry. In 1914 they had Genateta
     ominous conditions upon which her mother arrived to          (pronounced “Geng-yah”) which eventually became
     the United States. “[My mother] arrived in the middle        Americanized as Genevieve. She was born and baptized
     of the night, it was cold and dark,” not exactly a           on Shelter Island, and when she was nine months old,
     celebratory entrance. “She was only 21 years old and was     the family moved to Water Mill, settling into 173 Davids
     traveling alone. The Titanic was sailing at the same         Lane (built circa 1760) as tenant farmers for the William
     time so my family was obviously very worried about           Halsey family. Genevieve’s two sisters and one brother
     Helen when they heard about its fate. But she was safe       were all born in the Davids Lane home.
     and went to stay with a cousin in Greenport, New York.”

     John Sherry arrived in the United States earlier. He left
     Poland at the age of 23 and traveled with his brother
     Joseph, arriving via Ellis Island in 1906. John and
     his brothers (a third arrived later) came to the United
                                    States because their old-
                                    est brother inherited the
                                    family farm, as was the
                                    tradition, so they came
                                    here to pursue their fu-
                                    tures. Helen came to es-
                                    cape becoming a farmer’s
                                    wife, hoping to become a
                                    seamstress. It is estimated
                                                                                       173 Davids Lane
                                    that from the early 1800s
                                    to the beginning of World     John, Helen, and their first born Genevieve, naturally
                                    War II, some five million     spoke Polish as their first language. Eventually, but later
                                    polish immigrants came        than usual, the Sherrys sent Genevieve to the Water
                                    to America.                   Mill School. Genevieve hated the school because none
     John and Helen, 1938


12   theBridge
of the teachers would ever attempt to teach her English.   and chandeliers. It was also conveniently near the
“No one would teach me anything. It was so hard,” she      church. John sadly died shortly after moving to
recalls. Needless to say, she was not saddened by the      Southampton, but Helen enjoyed the property for
recent demolition of the circa 1870 schoolhouse.           another 35 years.

Genevieve finally learned to speak English from her        Genevieve went to Southampton High School and
brother Frank. Being the only boy among three sisters,     played for the women’s basketball team. The sport
and because the Halsey’s had lost their only son when      eventually led her to meet her future husband.
he was 9 months old, Frank was doted on to say the         Paul Szczepankowski played for East Hampton High
least. The Halseys even wanted to adopt Frank, but his     School’s basketball team and the two met via an
parents would not give in. After school each day, Frank    intramural basketball program at Polish Hall in
would spend the afternoon with Mrs. Halsey who would       Southampton Village. They were introduced by a friend
have cookies baked upon his arrival, help him with his     and afterwards Paul began to drive Genevieve to
lessons, elaborating on them with Latin and other          practices. “And that was that,” she recalls.
subjects, and cook him dinner. If he was especially good
with his homework, he would be rewarded with               Before marriage, Gen washed dishes and made
episodes of “Amos N’ Andy.” Frank loved school and his     sandwiches for the Tea Shoppe in what is now the Water
lessons with Mrs. Halsey. He was naturally smart and       Mill Museum. That was the beginning of her cooking
eventually became an engineer.                             stardom. She made cucumber sandwiches, egg sand-
                                                           wiches, and cream cheese and olive sandwiches. “They
For 30 years the Sherrys tended the Halsey’s land. They    really loved those cream cheese and olive sandwiches,”
left reluctantly in 1949 at the request of William         she remembers.
Halsey’s heirs. The historic Halsey homestead was sold
in 2008 but remains vacant. The farm acreage was           Paul and Gen dated for two
subdivided off from the homestead property and is now      years and were married in
owned by Corwith descendants.                              1937 at of Our Lady of
                                                           Poland in Southampton
John and Helen moved their family to 393 Hampton           Village where Gen is still a
Road in Southampton Village where two older homes          regular congregant. At first
had been combined sometime around the turn of the          they lived with Paul’s
                                 20th century. This        family in East Hampton.
                                 was a big step up         But in the summer of 1938
                                  for the family           they purchased a 30+ acre
                                  since there was          property in Sagaponack for
                                   electricity, in-        $15,000 (500 Sagg Main
                                   door plumbing,          Street), built circa 1750,
                                                           which they named Sea Gen and Paul, 1938
                                                           Breeze. At first Gen was
                                                           very wary of the old home since it hadn’t been inhabited
                                                           in about 40 years and needed a lot of work. And if the
                                                           condition of the old house wasn’t bad enough, just
                                                           months after moving in, along came the hurricane in
                                                           September. Amazingly, outside of a few broken
                                                           windows and shutters, the house WAS spared. And after
                                                           hearing Paul’s vision for improvements to the home,
                                                           Gen changed her mind about its potential.

                   393 Hampton Road


                                                                                                          theBridge   13
                                                                  Paul and Gen had five children: Janet, Barbara, Paul
                                                                  Jr., John (who passed away in 2003), and Mary, the baby.
                                                                  Gen remained in business for many years but
                                                                  eventually finances became too tight leading her
                                                                  (Paul sadly died after a heart attack in 1962) to sell off
                                                                  bits of the property throughout her 60 year ownership.
                                                                  After three years on the market, the property eventually
                                                                  sold in 1996, but once again the family had 30 days to
                                                                  vacate this big old house they had renovated with their
                                                                  bare hands and filled with antiques, memories, great
                          Sea Breeze, 1936
                                                                  food, and adoring visitors. Afterwards, while officially
     There were 10 rooms to lease to boarders. As soon as         retired, Gen continued to help her daughter Mary with
     they finished fixing up a room, they rented it out for the   other cooking and catering endeavors. Gen returned to
     summer. Gen still remembers Mrs. Ripley, their first         live in her mother’s house for a year before resettling in
     boarder, and a regular afterwards. Each time they            Water Mill where she resides today.
     finished renovating another room, they would take a
                                                                  With the exception of the old Water Mill schoolhouse,
     boarder for it too, and so on until all 10 were finished.
                                                                  all of the historic structures Paul & Genevieve
     After that, Paul farmed potatoes on the property with a
                                                                  resided in still survive. It was a great pleasure for the
     large potato barn located on Sagaponack Road,
                                                                  Bridgehampton Historical Society to hear the memories
     converted into a contemporary style residence
                                                                  and recollections of Genevieve Sherry Szczepankowski
     sometime in the 1980s or 90s. But he left the operation
                                                                  about her life, family, these historic structures, and her
     of the boarding house to Gen who rose to local stardom
                                                                  famous cooking. We are also especially grateful to her
     for her delicious home-style cooking. She served three
                                                                  niece Susan Sherry Clark, for arranging the interview.
     meals a day to the boarders, and dinners were as follows:
     Monday, pot roast; Tuesday, rib eye steaks; Wednesday        For more in-depth histories of each of the structures
     was “pot-luck,” either pork chops or ham or meat loaf;       mentioned, or to listen to this or other oral histories
     Thursday, duck; Friday, fish; Saturday, porterhouse          conducted, please make an appointment with a
     steaks; and Sunday, chicken. “People would call up to        BHHS staff member. We are delighted to share this
     see if all the rooms had been leased,” in other words, to    history with you. F
     see if there were any empty seats at the dinner table.

     At first the rooms were let for $35 each, per week, and
     reservations were only taken by mail. Not surprisingly,
     they had many regulars.




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                                                                                theBridge   15
     2010 Vintage Sports Car
     Poker Rally
     by Staff


     Rallyists, car enthusiasts, and passers-by turned out in
     droves on Saturday, October 2, 2010 to enjoy our 18th
     annual Road Rally on the grounds of the Bridgehampton
     Historical Society. The weather was picture perfect, with
     bright sunshine and cool temperatures, just right for a
     light sweater if you happened to be a driver or navigator in    The Black Beast, an Alco 6 Race Car built in 1909, led the
     a 1958 Allard or 1956 Austin Healey, or any of the other        parade of cars on the original race circuit.
     vintage cars participating in this year’s Rally.

     This was the second running of the Rally as a Poker Rally,      the historic trivia and poker cards began while rallyists
     with no timing element or complicated record keeping            enjoyed sandwiches and hot chile and soups while sharing
     involved. All participants seemed to enjoy the low-keyed        anecdotes about the afternoon’s adventure. Winners and
     event, and several drivers took the opportunity to              runners-up, who won handsome gift baskets and bottles
     introduce their teenage children to the complexities of         of champagne respectively, were:
     navigating over our fifty-plus mile course while following      Poker Winners: Barry Rice and his son Alistair, 1952
     the route book expertly crafted by our Rally Master                            Jaguar XK120 OTD
     Sally Spanburgh.
                                                                     Poker Runner Up: Wayne Nowland and navigator Kevin
     At 10 am there was a celebratory tour by Rallyists and other                     Tierney, 1981 Morgan 4/4
     vintage car drivers that followed the 1949 4-mile race loop
     with a Southampton Town Police escort and with Howard           Historic Trivia Winners: Rick. & Maralin Canter, 1971
     Kroplick in his 1909 Alco 6 Racer, the “Black Beast,” as                                 Jaguar E-type
     the lead car. When the parade returned to BHHS, the             Historic Trivia Runner-Ups: Robert Strada and daughter
     Rallyists lined their cars up at the starting gate and the                                  Annie, 1960 Chevy Corvette
     Bridgehampton High School band played “The Star
     Spangled Banner.” Richard G. Hendrickson then fired off         The prize ceremony was immediately followed by a
     his ten gauge shot-gun salute, and the first car officially     birthday celebration for two invaluable BHHS volunteers,
     headed off at noon sharp, followed by the rest of the pack      Barbara Albright and Pat Perkins.
     at two minute intervals. Drivers and Navigators then
                                                                     The day’s events were enhanced by members of the
     meandered their way through eight of the East End’s
                                                                     Bridgehampton Racing Heritage Group who mounted in
     hamlets over a course sprinkled with both poker card stops
                                                                     our Engine Barn an exhibit celebrating the history of the
     and historical trivia questions, as well as a nostalgic visit
                                                                     Bridgehampton Track, and who arranged for several very
     into the parking lot of the old track.
                                                                     special vintage cars to be on display for the entire day.
     Peter Hopkinson’s 1927 Bentley was first to arrive back on      These vehicles had all competed at the Bridgehampton
     the Corwith House grounds around 3 pm. Over the next            Track during its illustrious years as one of the world’s
     hour the rest of the rallyists returned and the grading of      premier race tracks.



16   theBridge
Barry Rice and his son Alistair   1952 Jaguar XK120 OTD


Last but not least, everyone was invited to a showing of
the 1961 movie The Green Helmet, courtesy of Jeffery
Vogel. HAMPTON DRIVE-IN, which ran the big screen,
projector and sound system, also provided free popcorn to
make this a perfect drive-in experience under the stars in
the field behind the Historical Society.

The enthusiasm of the participants was truly contagious.
We’ll be continuing this wonderful salute to Bridge-
hampton’s racing tradition on Saturday, October 1st, 2011.
Plan to attend!

Special thanks are due to Sally Spanburgh for her
tremendous efforts in putting together a great Rally, and to
chief Rally Volunteers Earl Gandel, Barbara Albright
and Sue Blackman, as well as to all of our other rally
volunteers who helped in set up, clean up, and especially
in manning poker stops: David Savachka, Peter and
Florence Lampasona, and Steve and Kris Becker.                 1909 Alco 6 Leading Parade
Special thanks are due, too, to Rally Sponsors Prudential
Douglas Elliman Real Estate and to The UPS Store East
Hampton. F


                                                                                            theBridge   17
     Rural Wealth and American
     Property Law: The Sagaponack
     and Bridgehampton Connections
     1802 and 1805
     by Ann Sandford


     On the chilly day of December 30, 1802, a curious trial
     took place in a house located on the southwest corner of
     Main Street and Jobs Lane in Southampton, Long Island.
     We don’t know whether owner Hugh Gelston, Jr.
     (1754-1815), a sergeant who had served in the Revolution
     (1776-83), or his two slaves, were at home. We do know
     that the twenty-five year-old plaintiff in the case,
     Lodowick Post (1777-1842) from Bridgehampton, was
     there, along with the defendant from Sagaponack, Jesse
     Pierson (1780-1840), age twenty-two. The presiding
     justice of the peace, John N. Fordham recorded their
     depositions.[i]

     Post began. He stated that on December 10, he and some
     friends had gone foxhunting on horseback near the
     “beach” (some say it was near Peters Pond in Sagaponack)
     “with dogs and hounds” when they were thwarted in their
                                                                   Portrait of Nathan Sanford. An 1880 copy of the c. 1830
     proper pursuit of a fox. Pierson, apparently walking along    original. Courtesy of The Historical Society of the Courts
     the beach, spotted the hunters, snatched and killed the       of the State of New York.
     fox, perhaps with a “broken [fence] rail,” and took the fox
     home. Shortly thereafter, Post, believing the fox in the      His legal strategy was “to allege that multiple errors were
     chase was his, took Pierson to court for knowingly            made by the justice of the peace.” For example, Sanford
     interfering with his pursuit. The jury of six men chosen      objected to the short amount of time allowed Pierson to
     from the twelve called for jury duty decided in favor of      respond to his summons, a matter of hours rather than the
     Post and awarded him 75¢ “for his damages” while the          six to twelve days required by the law. When the appeal
     justice of the peace calculated the costs at $5.00. [ii]      was finally decided in September 1805, Pierson received a
     Pierson always had denied that he acted with malicious        “recovery” against Lodowick Post for $121.3, more than
     intent, and in early 1803 he appealed the judgment to the     $2100 in 2006 dollars.[iii] These two sets of proceedings
     New York Supreme Court, which had the authority to            became known as the Fox Case, famous in the history of
     review records of any lower court. Nathan Sanford             American jurisprudence.
     (1777-1838), twenty-six at the time, born and raised in       Detailed discussions of the legal issues raised by the case
     Bridgehampton, became his lawyer, “driving the appeal.”       rightly belong to others. In this essay, I will concentrate on


18   theBridge
the historical context of the judicial decisions of 1802 and
1805. That context, I suggest, helps to explain why the
case eventually moved far beyond its rural setting. My
interest in Pierson v. Post began in August 2005 when I
received a phone call from Bethany Berger, at the time a
legal historian and professor at Wayne State University
Law School. She wanted to know whether I knew the
name Nathan Sanford, Jesse Pierson’s lawyer in the 1805
review, and whether I was related to him. (Berger had
met me through Google). I answered in the affirmative to
both questions. The researcher had been puzzled by the
different spellings of the two last names. I responded by
recounting to her that Sanford is reputed to have said that
he didn’t have time to write more than one “d” in the
                                                               Captain Nathan Post purchased the 1734 Halsey-Sayre
spelling of his last name. [iv] (Only later did I learn from
                                                               House, Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton around 1770.
my genealogical computer program that I am a second            Lodovick grew up there. Photograph by the author, 2011
cousin of Sanford!—five generations removed). Then, a
few months later, I received a manila envelope in the mail     of civil law had claimed that capture was possession,
from New York attorney Kevin Concagh who wrote in a            the basis for title. His client won the judgment, but
cover letter that he felt Pierson v. Post was relevant to my   interpretations of and commentaries on Pierson v. Post
“search for Bridgehampton history.” The envelope was           have multiplied ever since. Berger states the issue of the
stuffed with papers related to the case. Collecting them       case by asking: “What is the best rule [to use] for
and sending them to me was a helpful gesture on his            converting un-owned resources into individual property.”
part.[v] Finally, in August 2009, Angela Fernandez, a          She maintains that by 1800 or so, New York State courts
professor on the Faculty of Law at the University of           had begun to accept legal “principles designed to serve
Toronto phoned me. The following day she sent me a             the new republic.” A more active economy required a
lengthy single-spaced email. In it were her questions          basis for the certainty of ownership of particular resources
about Sanford’s childhood, Sanford-Pierson family              that would enable commercial activity in an expanding
connections, and Peters Pond. She included references to       market. Pursuit as the basis for property rights could
Berger’s published article (from 2006) as well as her two      include many claimants, whereas possession would be
articles, one called “Pierson v. Post, Capturing New Facts     much clearer. Fernandez agrees: civil law “provided a way
about the Fox.” [vi]                                           of thinking about property in absolute rather than feudal
This topic just wouldn’t go away. Then I began to think        terms…,” with its often conflicting property claims. [viii]
about how issues of property are as much at the center of      The case that added clarity to the legal question—how is
the identities of Sagaponack, Bridgehampton, and the           property not already owned acquired—gradually became
Town of Southampton today as they were more than 200           widely known among lawyers in the nineteenth and early
years ago. In recent decades in the “Hamptons,” the core       twentieth centuries. James Kent, the chief justice of the
issue involving property has been the use of land, the best    New York Supreme Court at the time the appeal was
example there is of immovable, or real property. Ironically,   decided, discussed Pierson v. Post in his section on
in the United States around 1800, critical property law        property law in his widely read Commentaries on
debates dealt with movable, not real property. Examples        American Law published in 1827. After 1915, when
were the assets upon which commerce was based. The             Harvard Law School included the case in its new
Fox Case, which dealt with how to “establish ownership of      casebook, Pierson v. Post became a standard for first year
wild animals on wasteland…,” addressed some of the             students of property law.[ix]
controversial movable property issues.[vii]
                                                               Bridgehampton historians, too, had taken notice. In 1895,
In the 1805 appeal, Post’s lawyer argued that pursuit was      Yale graduate, locally prominent lawyer, and Suffolk
ownership. Sanford, using Roman law and other sources          County judge, Henry Pierson Hedges, wrote an article on


                                                                                                                 theBridge    19
                                                                    land-hungry Massachusetts settlers in 1640, the hamlet
                                                                    of Bridgehampton and the much smaller Sagaponack
                                                                    settlement were engaging with a wider economic world
                                                                    as early as the eighteenth century. Sagaponack settlers
                                                                    began to keep small ships at “the harbor of Sagg” and their
                                                                    merchants, among others, sailed from this port, soon-to-
                                                                    be-called “Sag Harbor,” to New York City and to ports in
                                                                    New England and the West Indies. Traders sold products
                                                                    for cash but more often exchanged agricultural goods,
                                                                    such as beef, corn, and pork, for molasses, rum, and
                                                                    sugar.[xii]

                                                                    Some families benefited from relatively large-scale
                                                                    commercial enterprises. David Hedges, a grandfather of
     The c. 1740 Rogers-Pierson House on the west side of Sagg      historian Henry Pierson Hedges, and the head of a large
     Main Street was owned by many different cousins of Jesse       extended family, lived in Sagaponack, on the road that
     Pierson. Photograph by the author, 2011                        today bears his surname. As a dairyman, Hedges processed
                                                                    large quantities of cheese that he often sold on the New
     the case for the Sag Harbor Express, twenty years before it    York market, most likely transporting it there by packet
     appeared in the Harvard casebook. Hedges also recounted        boat on Long Island Sound from Sag Harbor. He also
     the case in public lectures. His 1910 address was excerpted    became a prominent politician. In the late 1780s and again
     by James Truslow Adams in 1916 in Memorials of Old             in the early 1800s he was elected, and often re-elected
     Bridgehampton but this Pulitzer Prize winner and               Southampton Town Supervisor, during some of the same
     longtime local resident did not expand on the Fox Case;        years when he was representing Suffolk County in the
     neither did farmer and banker William D. Halsey in             State Assembly. In 1800, he owned three slaves, down
     Sketches from Local History, published in 1935.[x] It          from the four listed in the census a decade earlier.[xiii]
     appears probable that the two historians didn’t know about
     the 1895 newspaper article.                                    Like Hedges, Captain Nathan Post, father of plaintiff
                                                                    Lodowick, engaged in multiple activities—as local
     These historians’ factual narratives established the           magistrate, merchant, and farmer. A privateer, Post had
     prominence of the case regionally but they did not             fled Bridgehampton for Connecticut early in the British
     identify the factors that propelled the Fox Case forward.      occupation of Long Island. During the 1790s he assumed
     Without the significant rural wealth, locally prominent        part ownership in a brig that engaged in the West India
     families, and availability in Suffolk County of a classical    trade, an investment that resulted in substantial profits for
     education with its emphasis on Latin and ancient history,      the captain who, no doubt, used them to expand his
     the case may not have taken the path it traveled. Rather,      farming activities.[xiv]
     it would have stopped at the proceedings of a justice of the
     peace in a house located on a Southampton street corner.       Jesse’s father, Captain David Pierson, also possessed rural
                                                                    riches, some inherited no doubt from his grandfather,
     That Suffolk County, and the South Fork of Long Island         Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pierson, a wealthy farmer,
     within it, was well populated and wealthy around 1800 is       whaler, and by 1700, a representative to the Colonial
     indicated by the apportionment of delegates to the New         Assembly of New York from Suffolk County. Grandson
     York State Assembly from the counties on Long Island,          David, a farmer, had served as captain of Bridgehampton’s
     based on the state census. In 1802, three seats each were      Company of Minute Men in 1776 and was elected to
     assigned to Suffolk County and to Queens. In contrast,         numerous town offices. By family background alone, Jesse
     King’s County (Brooklyn) garnered only one seat in the         Pierson, a schoolteacher, would possess substantial social
     state Assembly and Nassau County did not yet exist, being      status, enough for him to treat the loss in the first round
     a part of Queens. Clearly, Long Island’s population,           of Post’s lawsuit as an insult to his honor; one to be
     wealth, and political power were weighted toward the           redressed.[xv]
     eastern towns.[xi] Within Southampton Town, formed by


20   theBridge
In addition to the family and community wealth and
relationships that served as the context for the events of
1802, Clinton Academy (1785-1881) in nearby East
Hampton provided Nathan Sanford the opportunity for
social mobility derived from a classical education. To
many families, the future required more education for
young people in order to prepare them for business
activities, the law, and citizenship in the new republic. In
1784, Reverend Samuel Buell, a Yale graduate and
influential Presbyterian minister, led in establishing the
academy, a co-educational school where he taught Latin,
as well as some Greek and French. Sanford, like Jesse, a
great-grandson of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pierson (on
his mother’s side), completed his preparatory studies there
in 1793. According to the first federal census taken in 1790,
Nathan’s childhood household included one slave.
Shortly after 1791, his mother, Widow Phebe Sandford,
married David Hedges (see above), a widower, slave-
holder, and a deacon of the Presbyterian Church in
Bridgehampton.[xvi] Hedges thus became Nathan’s
stepfather, cementing the particular family and social
relationships that lent support to the young man’s
ambitions.

After two years at Yale, Sanford moved to New York City         Peters Pond aerial view, 2008, showing the pond on the
where he studied law and clerked in a law office. He was        Rennert property, just west of Peters Pond Lane, a trustee road.
admitted as a counselor to the state Supreme Court in           Courtesy of the GIS Department, Town of Southampton.
1801 and began his accomplished career in government
the following year when he was appointed a United States        sources “made important by unique American conditions
commissioner in bankruptcy. In late 1803, President             and the importance of movable commercial property” in
Jefferson appointed the young lawyer to the office of           order to establish “New York’s status as the provider of
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New         learned law for the new nation.”[xix]
York, a few months after he defended Jesse Pierson in the
Fox Case appeal. [xvii]                                         Besides the Sagaponack and Bridgehampton connections
                                                                of the litigants and one of their lawyers, several other
Initially, Sanford probably took the appeal case as a favor     factors unique to this locale helped promote the case.
to his cousin. Professor Fernandez, however, has sought         Among them were the leisure activity of foxhunting
to explain why such an “eminent attorney,” and the other        pursued on Long Island by 1800; a confluence of
lawyers and the judges in the case remained involved with       circumstances that brought together a fox, a sometime
the appeal as it was held over, term after term, for more       beach walker, and an uninhabited Atlantic Ocean
than two and one-half years. She argues that rather than        beach (near Peters Pond); and the particular decisions
to reverse the case “on pedestrian procedural grounds or        made by that village schoolteacher and an aspiring
on trite common law,” they saw a chance to use their            country squire. No wonder that recently historians,
“classical training,” allowing the learned Sanford to quote     perhaps more than lawyers, have been drawn to further
and argue from Justinian’s codes, for example. More             explore the famous Fox Case. F
historically significant, the case would serve to initiate a
“great debate” over different ways of thinking about            For footnotes on this article please see the Bridghemapton
property law, perhaps at the behest of then chief justice       Historical Society website:
James Kent.[xviii] His aim had long been to use civil law       www.bridgehamptonhistoricalsociety.org


                                                                                                                      theBridge    21
     A Visual Look at Farming
     and Farm Families in
     Greater Bridgehampton
     by Julie Greene


     From the 17th century, Bridgehampton, Sagaponack,
     Mecox and Hayground were settled as agricultural
     communities. During the 1700s, most farms were geared
     to “subsistence agriculture,” focusing on growing crops
     to feed and clothe their families with enough left over to
     trade with their neighbors. Typical crops of this period
     included corn, rye, and occasionally wheat, although
     wheat was consider a luxury crop. Flax, a vital
     commodity, supplied the local weaving industry with          Roland, farmer with horse drawn combine, 1930s
     natural fiber material used for making clothing and
     home furnishings. These farming conditions remained          exhibition, which ran from May through June, presented
     unchanged through the early part of the 19th century.
                                                                  the woodworking wonders of Merrall Hildreth (described
     Horsepower still referred to actual horses, and humans
                                                                  elsewhere in this issue) depicting, among other objects,
     worked almost as hard as the horses. Animals on the farm
                                                                  the houses in the pastoral settings of Sagaponack. Our
     were either beasts of burden, such as oxen or horses, or
                                                                  Summer exhibition, which runs from June through
     intended for the table, such as hogs, dairy and beef
                                                                  October 9th at the Corwith House, presents a wondrous
     cattle and fowl.
                                                                  collection of artwork created by local painters and
     In the later part of the 1800s, as the Long Island Rail      photographers that captures the past and present spirit
     Road expanded into the East End giving ready shipping        of local farm views and landscapes. Artists include Ralph
     access to an insatiable market in New York City, and as      Carpentier, Mary Gardner, T       erry Elkins, Gordon
     immigrant laborers arrived in the area from Ireland,         Matheson, Joane Rosko, Beverly Galban, Eileen Dawn
     Germany and later Poland, the potato increasingly            Skretch, Kathryn Szoka, Susan Nash, and Charles
     became the dominant crop, and by 1900, the potato was        Addams, courtesy of the Tee and Charles Addams
     king on eastern Long Island. Today, potatoes still play a    Foundation.
     vital role in local agriculture, but farms themselves
                                                                  The Historical Society’s principal exhibition will open
     are disappearing under the tremendous pressure of
                                                                  in the BHHS Archives on July 8th and will run through
     suburbanization, and what farms remain are increasingly
                                                                  October. It is entitled “Visual Images of 100 Years of
     producing a variety of crops, both food and ornamental,
                                                                  Farming in Greater Bridgehampton, “ and examines
     for local markets and farm stands, and for shipping to
                                                                  visual images of local farms and farm families.
     distant markets.
                                                                  The following historic and contemporary images are a
     This year, all of the Historical Society’s 2011 Spring       sampling of the two concurrent shows at the Corwith
     and Summer Season Exhibitions focus on the history           House and at the BHHS Archives which together present
     of farming in Greater Bridgehampton. Our Spring              a poignant look at a way of life that we have already lost. F


22   theBridge
Anthony Babinski, Sr. with daughter Ann




                                                             Foster Farm Harvesting Corn 1991




Gurden Ludlow House and dairy herd in Mecox, 1930s




Gump Tiska and Tony Tiska, Sr. wth Spunky & Tony Jr., 1944   Theodore Haines and grandson
                                                             John Thompson Jr. 1910


                                                                                                theBridge   23
     A Walking Tour of
     Lumber Lane
     by Sally Spanburgh

     Every once in a while the Bridgehampton Historical
     Society hosts walking tours at various spots around greater
     Bridgehampton. This year, on Saturday September 10th at
     10 am, we will host a tour of Lumber Lane from Montauk
     Highway to the Long Island Rail Road tracks. For about an
     hour or two, guests will walk along the sidewalk and be
     entertained and educated about the rich history and
     architecture that lines this road, while also benefitting from
     the shade of the beautiful and mature trees lining the street.

     As one might assume, Lumber Lane got its name by being
     the place where one obtained lumber, both from nearby
     lumber yards, and from the actual trees growing in the once
     heavily wooded area. The road itself was opened in 1712.

     For about 20 years starting just before the turn of the 20th
     century, Lumber Lane was known as Chestnut Avenue.
     As the street became more and more populated by                                        91 Lumber Lane entry
     distinguished homes and residents, some of them believed
     the name “Lumber Lane” was not reflective of their social        one day be a part of a Main Street Bridgehampton Historic
     standing. As a result, they lined the street with Chestnut       District (My extra-curricular preservation objectives were
     trees and officially changed the name to “Chestnut               bound to pop up in this article somewhere!). Not sure yet
     Avenue,” at least for awhile. Traditionalists and history        whether this tour is for you? Let me peak your curiosity
     buffs prevailed and restored the street’s original name          with the following morsels:
     around 1920.
                                                                      One of the homes along the southernmost portion of
     Among the hundreds of people who have lived on Lumber            Lumber Lane was lived in by a Washington socialite who
     Lane we will naturally find many of greater Bridgehamp-          struck it rich by marrying the heir to a construction fortune,
     ton’s founding family names: Corwith, Halsey, Hedges,            not to mention writing a few books, and became otherwise
     Hildreth, Howell, Sandford, White and so on, but we also         famous for “her affairs and flirtations with the mighty.”
     find many well known names of more contemporary times.
     There is Dan Rattiner (owner of Dan’s Papers) who paid           Another home was lived in by an “Orange” teacher who
     $50,000 for the six bedroom Victorian home at #127 (one of       used to ride horse back down Ocean Road with her family.
     my very favorite Lumber Lane homes); Reverend Arthur
                                                                      Researching houses almost always uncovers interesting
     Newman of the Presbyterian Church who lived in the
                                                                      tidbits of social history. In this case, they will all revolve
     adorable Greek Revival style home (#189) and which is still
                                                                      around Bridgehampton. I hope you’ll tag along. F
     in the family; and Norman Jaffe, a very well-known,
     practically celebrity architect, who went for a swim one         Footnotes:
     August morning in 1993 and never returned.                       1. Sketches from Local History, William Donaldson Halsey, 1935
     All in all there are 32 homes that line this short span          2. In Search of Willie Morris: The Mercurial Life of a Legendary
     between Main Street and the railroad which will hopefully           Writer and Editor, Larry L. King, 2006


24   theBridge
24 Lumber Lane          119 Lumber Lane




       72 Lumber Lane      212 Lumber Lane entry




127 Lumber Lane         189 Lumber Lane

                                                   theBridge   25
     Merrall Hildreth:
     Postmaster, Sagg General Store Owner and Master Carver
     by Julie Greene and John Eilertsen


     Merrall Topping Hildreth spent the better part of his life
     working in the family-owned Sagg General Store in
     Sagaponack. As a young boy he swept the floors and stocked
     shelves, and later he ran the whole operation until 1986.

     A Sagaponack native, Merrall was born in 1924, the son
     of Wallace Leland Hildreth and Elizabeth Miles Vail. He
     attended the Sagaponack Little Red Schoolhouse and
     enlisted in the Navy during World War II in 1942 and saw
     action in the Pacific Theater while serving aboard the USS
     Belleau Wood, an aircraft carrier. He returned home in
     1946 and went to work with his father at the general store.
     In 1950 he married Mary Roberta Lewis of Sag Harbor and         Merrall Hildreth, 1945
     raised his family in Sagaponack, next door to the store. He
     succeeded his father as post master in 1969.                    Back then, the store was a general store. “We sold every-
                                                                     thing. Boots, overalls, shoes, brooms, groceries, but no meat
     Merrall remembers that when he was a youngster, “Dad            deli. And the post office was right in the store, a little
     ran the store and Post Office, and Mother was home taking       corner of the store. And in the summertime, all the
     care of the kids. Dad was with my Uncle Tom, and then           farmers sat around on the front porch of the store at night.
     Uncle Tom retired and I took his place, and Dad and I ran       We had mail come twice a day by train, once in the
     the store until Dad passed away. And then Mary and I ran        morning and then again at 7:30 at night, so they would
     it for a few years after that. I was Post Master at the time,   come there, sit on the front porch, and talk.” Laughing, he
     and when I got enough years in there, I retired. That’s been    added, “In the winter time they’d sit inside around the
     twenty five or thirty years ago now.”                           pot-bellied stove until I’d run ‘em out.”




     W. Leland Hildreth and daughter Ruth Caroline, who was          Under ownership of the Chamberlain Bros, 1890
     the telephone switchboard operator in Bridgehampton, 1940



26   theBridge
                                                                            History of the Sagaponack
                                                                            General Store & Post Office
                                                                 1878    Thaddeus Edwards built the first Sagg
                                                                         General Store.
                                                                 1887    E.C. Loper buys the general store from Edwards.
                                                                 1890    “Sagg” name officially changed to Sagaponack.
                                                                 1893    E.C. Loper sells the store to Joseph
                                                                         Chamberlain. (Loper builds a new store
                                                                         at Bull Head)
                                                                 1898    Thomas Halsey Hildreth, who had been
Mary and Merrall Hildreth, 1972                                          working for the Chamberlain Brothers, as a
                                                                         clerk, buys the store now Hildreth & Co.
Merrall’s wife Mary also laughs when she recalls, “I didn’t      1899    Hildreth & Co. burglarized. Thieves made off
realize this was a little club at night, and when we first got           with $8.00 worth of postage stamps.
married I went over there in the evening to see him, and I       1900    Thomas H. turns the building around 180
was told I was not to go there in the evening any more. It               degrees and moves it back from the road most
was the MEN’s time!”                                                     likely prompted by the burglary.

Merrall is no longer the proprietor of the landmark store,       1915    Charles A. Hildreth, first cousin of Thomas H.,
but he remains close by, tending to his property and to                  becomes a partner.
community affairs. Local residents still talk about how,         1918    Charles A., resigns and Thomas H. resumes
when Merrall retired, everyone who held a post office box                title of Post Master and proprietor of the store.
in Sagaponack at the time was invited to Merrall’s retire-       1922    Thomas’s nephew Wallace Leland Hildreth
ment party.                                                              joins Hildreth & Co. as a clerk.

One way Merrall stays involved is through his woodworking.       1941    W. Leland takes over as Post Master and owner
He always had an interest in wood and building. “My grand-               of the store.
father was a carpenter, he built my house, and                   1946    Merrall Topping Hildreth returns from service
Charlie Foster’s house, and my father’s house. They’re all               in the Navy during World War II and begins
about the same style. He built a bunch of houses.”                       clerking for his father, W. Leland Hildreth.
                                                                 1948    In late September, the store was damaged
Merrall, too, builds houses, only his are models of houses.              by fire.
“My first model was the Bradford House. I just liked the
looks of it, so I bought the plans. I put in oak flooring by     1969    Merrall T. Hildreth takes over proprietorship
                                                                         of store and Post Office.
cutting the oak into strips and planed it. And I made all the
shingles on it by taking regular old cedar shingles and          1970/80s The store changed direction, moving away
splitting them, cut ‘em about an inch wide, took a knife to               from “general” merchandise to a deli-type
make them thin enough to put on, and I made most of the                   operation run by Jean Hildreth. Around this
furniture. I didn’t know I could do all that. I just did it.”             time the Federal Government
                                                                          separated the post office from the store.
When he made one of his models of the Sagg School                1979    General store operated by Mary & Don
House, he wanted it to look like it did when he was a                    Spellman until 1994.
student there. He even took a picture of George Washington
                                                                 1986    Merrall T. Hildreth retires as Post Master.
from a postage stamp and hung it on the front of the school
room, “right where I remembered it being. And I made all         1995- 2005 Store run by the Baugh-Terando Family.
the desks but I didn’t have ink wells in the desks until         2005-present Richard Thayer, Merrall’s nephew, and
someone mentioned that so I took the desks out and put in                     wife Karen new owners, old name!
ink wells.”

                                                                                                                   theBridge   27
     Exterior of Merrall’s model of the Sagg Store as he remembers it   Interior details reflect Merrall’s attention to detail

     One of his most remarkable models is the General Store.            Sagaponack, Merrall’s creations are inspiring and inspired
     “I wanted it to look just the way it used to look, the way         by the community which he loves.
     I remembered it. It was facing the road then, before they
                                                                        When asked about his extraordinary talent, Mr. Hildreth
     turned it around and pushed it back from the road in 1900.
                                                                        most often humbly deflects all questions, letting his
     It has an old pot-bellied stove, a counter, coffee grinder,
                                                                        creations speak for themselves. F
     a big high-wheeler bicycle.”

     From his workshop in the cellar of his Sagg Main Street
     house, which his grandfather Charles W. Hildreth built in              ESTABLISHED 1925
     1950, Merrall has been crafting his model-sized replicas
     that are as impressive as the buildings they duplicate. He
     combines his craftsman’s skills with an artistic bent to make
     models of some of Sagaponack and Bridgehampton’s most
     fabled buildings. “I build the buildings I like and
     sometimes people ask me to build a house.”

     Merrall works during the winter months from either
     original blueprints or his own measurements and
     photographs, and his charming miniatures are built to 1/2
     inch scale. To peek inside one of his creations is to be
     transported back in time; no detail is left undone. He makes
     all the furnishings, as well, with but a few exceptions. His
     woodworking is not limited to buildings, either. He fashions
     birdhouses and whimsical figurines and other items
     produced with more creative license. He’s also built doll
     houses, ice boats, cabin cruisers and his most recent project,
     a 20-foot sailboat, is being built with his grandson.
                                                                                    the Gathering Place
                                                                              MAIN STREET, BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY
     Merrall is a 10th generation Hildreth, a descendant of
     Thomas Hildreth who was born in England around 1611                    Gus Laggis                             631.537.9885
     and first mentioned in the Southampton Town records in                 at your service                        Bridgehampton, NY
     1643. He died in 1657. With his roots firmly planted in


28   theBridge
Dayton Ritz&Osborn
                     1 8 7 5
                     S I N C E
                     I N S U R A N C E
                                          78 Main Street . East Hampton, NY
                                                  fax 631.324. 3326
                                                 Phone 631.324.0420

                                         2414 Main Street . Bridgehampton, NY
                                                   fax 631.537. 0356
                                                 Phone 631.537.oo81

                                                info@droins.com




                                                                     theBridge   29
       The Suffolk Hunt Club
       in Hayground
     by Julie Greene


     As reported in the New York Times on June 25, 1911: Fox
     Hunting to be Revived on the Downs of the Suffolk Club.
     Southampton, L.I., June 24. – This announcement has been
     received with considerable enthusiasm by the members of the
                                                                      The Grey Hunt Team – Suffolk Hounds by Richard Newton
     fashionable Summer colony here, who have not had an
                                                                      Jr. From A Hunting Alphabet by Grace Clarke Newton, 1917
     opportunity to enjoy the sport for years. The Suffolk Hunt
     Club will open its home on July 15. The club house is a
                                                                     collars and facings (The Hunts of the United States and
     century old, but has been remodeled and renovated to meet
                                                                     Canada: Their Masters, Hounds and Histories, Higginson &
     the requirements of an up-to-date country club. Its interior
                                                                     Chamberlain, 1908, p.170).
     decorations harmonize with the English and Colonial
     traditions that tell of Southampton’s past. Surrounding the     This pack of English foxhounds traveled with Newton from
     club house are fifteen acres of land bordering on Mecox Bay,    England across the Atlantic on the ship the Olympic. “He
     which nature has enriched with beautiful scenery. Stretching    exercised these hounds twice daily on the upper deck and
     away to the east as far as Montauk, the extremity of Long       the day after their arrival they ran a drag [chasing a scent
     Island, are wonderful downs, which have been opened             that has been ‘dragged’ over a terrain before the hunt,
     through the courtesy of James A. Stillman of Southampton.       usually one of aniseed oil and animal meat – faux fox] at
     On these downs society will enjoy its fox hunt.                 Southampton as well as if they were still in England” (East
                                                                     Hampton Star, Oct. 24, 1935).
     And so began a part of fox hunting history, the five-year run
     of the Suffolk Hunt Club in Hayground.                          Richard Newton Jr. was born in 1874, the son of the Rev. Dr.
                                                                     Richard Heber Newton, rector of All Angels Protestant
     Fox hunting began as a sport in the Hamptons around 1890,
                                                                     Episcopal Church of New York City (1869-1902), and Mary
     when the Meadow Brook Hounds were first brought to
                                                                     Eliza Lewis, daughter of Charles S. Lewis, president of the
     Southampton, said Richard Newton Jr., the painter laureate
                                                                     Bank of North America, America’s oldest bank. Richard and
     of fox hunting whose historical account was recorded in the
                                                                     his brothers, Francis and Maurice, were raised in privileged
     East Hampton Star on Oct. 24, 1935. He recalled that
                                                                     Victorian society in the city and began summering in East
     Charles Pfizer’s Essex Hounds came from Gladstone, N.J.,
                                                                     Hampton in 1879. The family is credited with pioneering the
     a few years later and were kenneled in East Hampton, guests
                                                                     seaside colony of East Hampton. The Newtons built a
     of the Newtons at the Corwin Farm (later owned by
                                                                     cottage in 1888 in the dunes between the ocean and
     Richard’s brother Francis and called Fulling Mill Farm).
                                                                     Georgica Pond (John J. Head, With Brush and Bridle,
     For seven years, the Essex Hounds were brought in each          Richard Newton Jr. – Artist and Equestrian, Ellerslie Press,
     season to be the official pack hunting in Amagansett,           2006, p.15-18).
     Wainscott, and Sagaponack. At the end of this period, Mr.
                                                                     Richard Newton Jr. not only was a fine equestrian but was
     Pfizer and his hounds retired back home to New Jersey,
                                                                     considered one of the fore-most equestrian painters of his
     opening up the field for the formation of the Suffolk Hounds
                                                                     day. The details of his formal education and art instruction
     in 1902 by Richard Newton, Jr. They wore distinctive mauve-
                                                                     are a mystery, but we do know his brother Francis studied
     colored collars, and the riders wore scarlet coats and mauve

30   theBridge
                                                              After six years of the run-
                                                              ning of the Suffolk Hounds,
                                                              the Southampton society
                                                              crowd became so wedded
                                                              to the high-class sport that
                                                              the Suffolk Hunt Club
                                                              was formed in 1910.
                                                              Newton leased the Rogers
                                                              homestead to the newly
                                                              organized club for seven
                                                              years, and the group
                                                              converted the farmhouse
                                                                                           Benjamin Rogers,
                                                              into a headquarters, styled
                                                                                           (1801 - 1891) owner of house
                                                              with English antiques, art, that became the Suffolk
                                                              and furniture. Newton was Hunt Club
                                                              joined in overseeing the
                                                              club by a board of governors, mostly Southampton
                                                              gentlemen, with Henry E. Coe, a prominent lawyer,
                                                              acting as president.

                                                              The Suffolk Hunt Club attracted wealthy summer
                                                              residents, including the likes of Henry Babcock, Dr.
                                                              George Dixon, Col. Robert Thompson, Frank B. Wiborg of
                                                              East Hampton, John Berwind of Ocean Road, Bridge-
                                                              hampton, and the renowned art collector Thomas B.
                                                              Clarke, who incidentally was Richard Newton Jr.’s father-
Richard H. Newton Jr., 1907
From- The Hunts of the United States and Canada by            in-law. Newton married Grace Clarke Bates on Jan. 9, 1905,
Higginson and Chamberlain, 1908.                              in New York City. She was a poet and writer, and they
                                                              collaborated together on such works as “A Hunting
architecture at Columbia, and both young men were part        Alphabet: The ABC of Drag Hunting,” from 1917.
of the East Hampton artists’ colony, helping found the
Maidstone Club. Richard spent time with Thomas Moran
and Albert Herter and studied with William Merritt Chase.

In 1893, at the age of 21, Newton bought the Cook
Homestead in Hayground, on the east corner of Mecox
Road and Montauk Highway. It was his home until his
death in 1951. (The Cook Homestead is still standing, now
known as the Box Farm Inn.) Across Mecox Road on the
opposite corner was the home of the Civil War veteran and
Hayground merchant Benjamin Franklin Rogers (1801-
1891), built in the early 1800s. The land was granted to
Benjamin’s great-great-great-great-grandfather Obadiah
Rogers in 1674. After Benjamin Rogers’s death, in 1891, the
home was inherited by his eldest daughter, Melanie
                                                              Postcard – Hunting party at Bridgehampton, postmarked
Gardiner Rogers. Melanie died in 1904 and the property        Oct. 15, 1907. Note location – where Founders’ Monument
was subsequently acquired by Newton.                          is today.



                                                                                                               theBridge   31
                                                                                          Auction Advertisement, New York
     Lindenland, Residence of Thomas B. Clarke, 1917
                                                                                          Times, May 6, 1917

     The opening of the premier season was celebrated with a         expand the existing 19th-century house (which remained
     much-anticipated old-fashioned fox hunt on July 15, 1911,       the center portion) and renamed the estate Lindenland.
     and met with great interest. Each year new events were          After Clarke’s death, Lindenland became a restaurant and
     added, with many equestrian events held in the paddock          nightclub, first as Paton’s Wild Duck Inn and later as the
     and the signature hunt across the landscape. The hunt was       popular St. James Hotel, until it was demolished in 2002.
     even a spectator sport, with courses laid out that enabled      In 2009, Southampton Town purchased the vacant property
     the crowd to follow the hunt by carriage. Luncheons,            with preservation funds.
     evening dances and dinners, and feasts for farmers who had
     experienced crop damage because of horse trampling were         As described in Baily’s Hunting Directory of 1908, the
     covered extensively by local and city newspapers. And           Southampton downs were “a fast galloping country over
     when World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, the club          grass -- all post and rails -- some 40 miles long and about 5
     sponsored events that benefited the work of the Red Cross.      miles wide from Shinnecock Inlet in the west to Montauk
                                                                     Point in the east.” And although the Suffolk Hunt Club
     By all accounts the Suffolk Hunt Club was enjoying great        had closed, Richard Newton Jr. and his Suffolk Hounds
     prosperity. The New York Times reported on Sept. 23, 1915,      hunted for another 25 seasons until 1942, when they were
     that the club members had raised the $25,000 needed to          disbanded. F
     buy the property from Newton. However, for reasons that
     remain unclear, the club dissolved in 1916, reverting back
     to the Suffolk Hounds organization. Thomas B. Clarke
     bought the 15-acre estate and clubhouse and turned the
     building into a private residence. (Contributing factors that
     might have led to the end of the club were the death of
     Grace Clarke Newton in 1915 and the greater U.S. role in
     World War I.)

     In 1917 an auction was held to sell off all contents of the
     club, ending the short, well-lived life of the Suffolk Hunt
     Club in Hayground.

     Thomas Benedict Clarke (1848-1931), with the New York           Richard Newton Jr. on horseback with the Suffolk Hounds,
     firm Trowbridge and Livingston, drew up plans to greatly        at Box Farm, Hayground, 1932 (Courtesy of John J. Head)


32   theBridge
The Wreck of the John Milton
at Montauk, New York
by Henry Osmers


Montauk, Long Island, today a Mecca for tourists looking for         Built at Fairhaven, MA in 1854 by Reuben Fish, and considered
beautiful beaches, great fishing, and spectacular scenery, was       “one of the most beautiful ships afloat,” the medium schooner
for about 265 years (1660-1925) a very desolate, lonely place        was launched from New Bedford, MA and was soon headed for
where only cattle and sheep were pastured. The rocky coastline       San Francisco, passing through the Golden Gate in July 1855. In
of the area had claimed numerous vessels from the mid-1600s,         addition to cargo, it carried men eager to make their fortune
and their numbers were increasing by the late 1700s with the         during the waning days of the famous California Gold Rush.
development of overseas trade in the years following the
American Revolution.                                                 In December 1856 the Milton, captained by Ephraim Harding
                                                                     of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, set sail from New York, again
Once the Montauk Point Lighthouse went into operation in             heading for San Francisco. Upon arrival in May 1857 the crew
April 1797, the number of maritime mishaps in the region             scattered, many heading for the hills in search of gold, never to
sharply decreased. Given this improvement to navigation, it is       return. A new crew was assembled and soon the ship departed
surprising to discover that the lighthouse actually contributed to   the city, headed for New Bedford.
a terrible shipwreck in February 1858. The name of the ship was
the John Milton.                                                     As the ship sailed up the east coast of the US and approached
                                                                     Long Island on February 18, 1858, a heavy snowstorm and rough
With the development of numerous communities along the               seas combined to cause concern among the crew. Captain
South Shore of Long Island and the ever increasing growth of         Harding was faced with the challenge of sailing on nothing
New York City in the 1800s came a great surge of shipping that       more than “dead reckoning.”
sailed by Montauk Point. Its steady and reliable flame guided
these vessels safely past the rocks and shores of the East End.      It is generally accepted by historians that, at some point during
However, once passing the Point, the shoreline to the west was       the thick blizzard-like conditions, Captain Harding was able to
basically dark.                                                      make out what he believed to be the steady beam of the
                                                                     Montauk Light, not realizing it was the new lighthouse at
To help illuminate this region, the Fire Island Light was built in   Shinnecock. He set his course accordingly, planning to round
1826 on the barrier beach opposite Bay Shore, 90 miles west of       Montauk Point toward Block Island Sound. Instead, he fell short
Montauk Light. However, by the mid-1850s, it became                  of his course, heading north into the blinding snow, with all sails
necessary to add an additional lighthouse to illuminate the area     set and heavy winds pushing the ship forward in the turbulent
between the two lighthouses that was still left in the dark.         sea, on a collision course with the rocky Montauk shore.
On January 1, 1858 the Shinnecock Lighthouse went into               The following morning, February 20, 1858, the John Milton
operation at Good Ground (now Hampton Bays). By then, there          crashed on the rocks at Montauk about five miles west of the
were many lighthouses in the region around Long Island and           lighthouse. The ship hit with such force that it went to pieces
Long Island Sound. To help differentiate between these lights,       instantly, throwing the crew of 33 into the icy, angry sea. There
plans were made to alter the signals at certain lights to appear     were no survivors.
as flashing signals rather than as a steady beam.
                                                                     About two thirds of the bodies were recovered and buried in a
On the same day that Shinnecock Light went into operation,           mass grave in the Old South End Burying Ground in East
the Montauk Lighthouse was changed to a flashing signal, its         Hampton, following a poignant sermon by the Presbyterian
beam visible every two minutes. Mariners frequently navigating       minister Stephen Mershon. Though they were all strangers to
to and from ports in the region such as Sag Harbor knew of the       Long Island, these men were buried with dignity.
impending changes and adjusted to them without difficulty.
However, ships away on long ocean voyages such as whaling            (Ed note. More details on the story of the John Milton and of the adventures
expeditions, foreign trade, etc. that kept them away for months      of Captain Harding and his crew on both coasts of the US, the frantic efforts
or years, had no knowledge of these changes to navigational          of the people of Montauk following the disaster, and the anguish felt by the
aids. One such ship was the John Milton.                              caring townspeople of East Hampton is related in the book They Were All
                                                                     Strangers, by Henry Osmers. It is available in local bookshops.) F

                                                                                                                                      theBridge      33
     Manoucher Yektai
     “I cannot not paint.”
     by John Stacks


     Manoucher Yektai, the distinguished painter, began the
     journey that brought him to Bridgehampton in 1944 when
     he managed to get an exit visa from Tehran. His plan was
     to go to Paris to study art, but the German occupation
     prevented that. Instead, he set out for America, but that
     trip was less than easy.

     The boat he was supposed to catch left without him, but
     the kindness of a stranger got him on a launch that caught
     up with the passenger ship and Manouch (as everyone
     calls him) clambered up a rope ladder. Their first port of
     call was Bombay. He went on to Sydney and Melbourne.
     From Australia, he caught a troop ship that had just
     landed thousands of American soldiers destined for the
     war in Pacific. That ship took him to Los Angeles. Five
     days and four nights of train travel and he was in New
     York. By then it was 1945 and the war was about to end.
                                                                    He returned to New York and continued painting. “I am
     Post-war France was not an easy place to live and the          always involved in a painting,” he says. I cannot not
     French consulate in New York warned him that there was         paint.” One evening at a party, he met his future wife
     hardly enough food to feed the French, let alone a             Niki. He didn’t know quite how to approach her at first so
     Persian artist who still wanted to be in Paris. Nonetheless,   he used what must be the oldest line in the history of
     the consulate wrote to Paris and back came permission to       artists courting lovers. “I’m a painter,” he said, “and I’d
     come to France, signed by none other than Charles              like to paint your portrait.” It worked. She gave him her
     DeGaulle.                                                      phone number. They had dinner one night and then
                                                                    repaired to his studio to begin the portrait.
     In Paris, he found that he had to enter a juried competition
     to gain admittance to the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Two            He has been coming to the Hamptons since the 1950s and
      hundred and sixty artists were applying for 40 positions.     knew all the great painters who worked here: Milton
     He retreated to his hotel room and by the light of a 25 watt   Resnick, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and the
     bulb which was soldered into the socket to prevent theft,      rest. They often played penny ante poker together. One
     he painted into the night. At the Ecole, all the entries       night driving home after a game, the driver announced
     were hung, and as the jury deliberated artists were            he was about out of gas and was also out of money.
     eliminated and their paintings taken from the wall.            Manouch had been the big winner that evening and had
     Finally, there were 40 and Manouch’s was among them.           seven dollars in pennies. They stopped at a filling station
     He spent a year at the Ecole, so poor that “ I couldn’t pay    and under the lights counted out two hundred pennies for
     for coffee.”                                                   two dollars worth of gas. “I gave the attendant a handful
                                                                    of pennies for his trouble,” Manouch recalls.


34   theBridge
In the 1950s, Manouch was being shown at the Modern              Manouch is now 91 years old, but looks at least twenty
and was selling his work steadily. A critic in the New           years younger. He paints almost every day. Some paintings
Yorker commented that he showed “hints of Van Gogh.”             take an afternoon and some take years and years, he says,
But the politics of the art world finally turned him off and     “but I do not give up.” “The painting has to talk to me, tell
he retreated from the world of commercial painting.              me thin texture, thick texture, how realistic. I have one
                                                                 painting I worked on from 2003 to 2009, but it is still not
“I do not paint for fame or for money.” He says. “I paint
                                                                 finished.”
because I know, because I feel it. It is my territory. I’m not
painting for any dealer or any organization or any country.      “I am eager to start a new painting,” he says. “I learned so
I am a Persian, but my painting is American. I am a              much from my last one.” F
student of my feeling and my feeling is guided by my
knowledge.”

Over the years, Manouch’s painting style has, of course
evolved. Early work still in his studio off Widow Gavitz
Road is almost entirely done with brush. Now, he works
with massive quanties of oil paint, applied with trowel and
spatula onto the canvas to produce stunning pieces of
portraiture and still life work characterized by the deep
textures and reliefs from the heavy application of paints.
His palette, he believes, is informed by the rich colors of
traditional Persian art.




                                                                                                                    theBridge    35
     Memories of Bridgehampton:
     1926-1931
     by John Rezelman


     I was born February 22, 1919 in Plandome, New York
     where my father worked as a caretaker and gardener.
     When I was 5 years old I got polio and pleural pneumonia
     at the same time, and afterwards I was quite weak and
     could not walk normally. My mother thought the mile           l to r. Uncle Sam Fennema, Author, John Rezelman, mother
     walk to public school was out of the question and             Kate Fennema Rezelman, grandmother Swanje Fennema,
                                                                   father Reyer Rezelman, old Corwith dog
     determined we would have to move to some place closer
     to a school for me. My father placed an employment            A Model T Ford station wagon was provided for him as
     wanted ad in the Rural New Yorker magazine and Henry          the caretaker, and it was maintained by the chauffeur,
     Corwith in Bridgehampton responded.                           Arthur Hallock, who came to work daily and maintained
     We moved to Bridgehampton and lived there from Spring         all of the Corwith vehicles. He mostly drove a Dodge
     of 1926 to Spring of 1931 in a wood shingle-covered Dutch     station wagon. Most of the cars were kept in the
     Colonial with 6 rooms (3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room       garage. There were cars in the carriage house which were
     and parlor) and Arcola steam heat. It sat north of the main   rarely used by Mrs. Corwith but were always maintained
     house on the Corwith estate. (The main house is now           and polished and had vases for flowers. Also in the
     known as the Bullshead Inn). The kitchen had both coal        carriage house were glass display cases containing an
     and kerosene stoves for cooking but was rather dark           impressive harness with silver mountings and the
     because of a sun porch added on the South side.               Carwythan crest. There were no longer any horses kept
     My father had no days off. His duties included milking        there. Upstairs over the garage was a room with billard
     and caring for 2 registered Guernsey cows, caring for a       tables and Henry Corwith’s gun collection which
     chicken flock, mowing acres of lawns and trimming miles       included an 8 gauge goose gun, which was very impressive
     of privet hedges, caring of flower beds and vegetable         to me as a boy.
     garden, raking leaves on the highway side of the property,    My father worked where he lived. He did not go to an
     cutting and splitting wood for the cook stove and             office or a factory or any such. He had many duties and
     fireplaces, killing and dressing chickens for the kitchen,    many of them involved going somewhere in the Model T.
     taking trash to the dump, digging out the beach house         He did not mind my tagging after him on any of his duties
     each year and shutting it up at the end of the season, and    that interested me. He had a helper, Albert Marshall, an
     shoveling snow from driveway and walks. He operated the       African-American, who worked when required and did
     first power lawn mower known in Bridgehampton, on the         not live on the premises. I knew him always as Mr.
     lawns of the Corwith estate.                                  Marshall. On one critical juncture my father and
     I remember that when my father hauled trash from the          Mr. Marshall were digging a ditch near the house for a
     big house to the town dump, there often were items            water line. I was with them, down in the ditch with a
     otherwise unknown to me, such as tin boxes for Benson         shovel digging a little dirt. My father and Albert did not
     & Hedges cigarettes, empty matzos containers, and             mind, I actually did move a little dirt, which they knew
     Gordon’s Gin and Vermouth bottles.                            was good for me. As soon as this was noticed by Mrs.
                                                                   Henry Corwith, who was an invalid confined to the house,


36   theBridge
she sent word to “Get that child out of the ditch and keep       slip scraper to start the
him out.” She didn’t explain why, but I suspect there            job. When Sayre had
were new laws about the employment of child labor that           moved enough sand to
motivated her.                                                   uncover the eaves and
                                                                 as much of the side-
Another duty of my father’s was cutting wood from the            walls as he could on
Corwith’s woodlot opposite a brickyard, now defunct, on          the first day, then my
the Sag Harbor Turnpike. My father had given me a                father and Albert Mar-
genuine steel hatchet on my 7th birthday, because I              shall and some other
shared a birthday with George Washington, and with               men hired by the day
which I was allowed to trim small limbs from the trees he        began work with hand
cut. We came home, sometimes by dark, with the station           shovels until all the
wagon sagging on its springs from its load of firewood.          approaches and the
                                                                                             Top: John Rezelman, Uncle Sam
These loads were unloaded on a spot near our house                                           Fennema Bottom: Kate Rezelman,
                                                                 perimeter around the
on the turnpike until a sufficient amount had been                                           Reyer Rezelman
                                                                 beach house were
accumulated in one big pile. Then Mr. Ruppel brought
                                                                 cleared. This took at least three days, and was in preparation
his gasoline engine and buzz saw and cut the entire pile
                                                                 for housemaids who came and cleaned the interior,
into stove and fireplace lengths. This was an exciting time
                                                                 removing the sand that had accumulated inside. The
with the buzz saw screeching and wood transferred from
                                                                 windows, of course, could not be washed. They were
one pile to another. Then the cut pile was moved into a
                                                                 opaque from the scouring of the sand. One could not see
building between our house and the big house, but not
                                                                 through the glass. I shoveled some but I was allowed to
visible to Mrs. Corwith, where my father and Mr.
                                                                 walk along the beach hearing and watching the breakers,
Marshall split it into chunks and stacked them up for
                                                                 seeing distant ships on the horizon, gathering sea shells
seasoning. They allowed me to split some, too. I learned
                                                                 and attempting occasionally to dig a clam, without much
how to judge where a chunk would split according to the
                                                                 success. When the housemaids were through, the beach
grain and where it wouldn’t. Here I was actually of some
                                                                 house was then ready for a few weeks occupancy by the
use, which pleased me.
                                                                 Corwith family. In the Fall my father then closed it up for
Another of my father’s seasonal jobs was digging the             the winter, nailing down shutters and making it ready for
Corwith’s beach house at the end of Ocean Rd. near               another year of blowing sand dunes.
Mecox Bay, out of the sand, the sand that had
                                                                 A daily duty of my father’s was milking and caring for the
accumulated since the previous year. I think this was done
                                                                 two cows, ending up by delivering a pail of strained milk
in late June or July. As with all other jobs requiring horses,
                                                                 to the big house twice a day. A smaller pail went to our
Frank Sayre was employed with one of his teams and his
                                                                 house for us. I did not actually learn to milk very well in
                                                                 the Corwith’s cow stable, but I learned a lot about cows by
                                                                 talking with my father while he milked and always got a
                                                                 laugh out of the antics of a barn-dwelling cat who would
                                                                 open its mouth to receive a stream of milk squeezed with
                                                                 unerring aim into it. The cows were kept in horse stalls,
                                                                 which were not designed for keeping cows clean (having
                                                                 no gutter behind), so I would often brush the cows with a
                                                                 brush and curry comb to clean off dried manure.

                                                                 My father did not help train me in baseball and basketball
                                                                 as many other fathers in Bridgehampton did, and as I did
                                                                 with my own son when he was growing up. These sports
                                                                 were not played in Holland, from where he emigrated. His
Corwith Estate, Caretaker’s Cottage                              only strong point in sports that I knew of was when there

                                                                                                                     theBridge    37
     was ice. He would strap on his Dutch skates and travel with       Mumbly peg, marbles, baseball were all standard among
     the long sweeping strokes of an expert skater. But with my        my age mates. Girls seemed to jump rope incessantly,
     one polio-stricken leg I could not emulate him.                   their chanting rhymes resounded on School St. during
                                                                       recess. One such went “Minnie, and a Minnie and a
     One time he built a sneak boat for duck hunting. It was           ha-ha-ha, kissed her fella in a Broadway car – one, two,
     flat-bottomed and had a rail around it for cattails. It was for   three, oops” as they missed the skip.
     Corwith Davis, grandson of Henry, who at the time was a
     teenager and a student at the Choate School. The                  There was a playhouse on the Corwith lawns which had
     carpentry required some tools that my father did not              a fireplace in it and a bearskin rug, which had been for
     possess, so Corwith would borrow them from Henry’s tool           the Corwith daughter who married a Davis. I was not
     chest. The whole sneak boat project was supposed to be            allowed in it, but found it very fascinating.
     secret from Henry, but I don’t know why. Maybe because
     Corwith was not allowed access to Henry’s tools, which            I was a good student. I walked home for lunch every day,
     were necessary to build the boat. Henry probably knew             and I remember that teachers of any age were always
     what was going on all along.                                      referred to as “Old Lady.” My first teacher was Mrs.
                                                                       Hartridge, who rode her bicycle to work; her husband was
     My mother was a homemaker and was not employed. She               a disabled WWI veteran, I believe. My 2nd grade teacher
     cooked, sewed and kept house for my father and me. She            was Miss Maley, -- the next year she was Mrs. Marron,
     was very skilled in all kinds of sewing and needlework.           having married a potato farmer. Third grade was Miss
     Prior to her marriage she had attended night school to            Wiswell. Fourth grade not sure. Fifth grade was “Old Lady
     learn English. She was a very intelligent woman and I             Straley”. Sixth grade, can’t remember. Seventh grade was
     believe that she was always somewhat frustrated and               Old Lady Loper. I liked her quite well. She had a sense of
     chafed a bit at the restrictive roles available to most           humor, as evidenced by the underwear that she sewed
     women of that era. My mother’s mother, Swanje                     from feed bags for her husband who I think was also a
     Fennema, lived with us in Bridgehampton for more than             disabled WWI vet. We would see them hanging on her
     a year. She died of pneumonia there. She occupied the             clothesline. Our favorite sported the motto “Full O’ Pep,”
     North bedroom upstairs and had the parlor downstairs.             which we recognized from a popular chicken feed.
     My grandmother had an old phonograph and many 78
     records of operas and Dutch language singers that she             We finally left Bridgehampton when Mr. Corwith told my
     liked to listen to.                                               father that he could no longer afford to pay him, although
                                                                       he was welcome to continue to live in the house as long
     We had no church connection in Bridgehampton. When                as he needed to. My father had saved some money and
     a classmate invited me to attend Sunday School at the             was able to buy a small farm on South Hill in Ithaca, NY.
     Presbyterian church, with the inducement that they had            I eventually graduated from Cornell in 1941 with a
     lots of fun because “we drive the teacher crazy,” my              bachelor’s degree and helped to build a cooperative farm
     parents were appalled and forbade me to attend. They              loan system whose capital structure is owned entirely by
     would not let me go to church for any such reason as that!        the farmers who use it.

     My parents didn’t socialize much. They occasionally had           I could go on but I believe I have written enough to
     the high school principal, Mr. LaFrance, his wife and             indicate why I consider myself fortunate to have had these
     their small son, Marston, come for 4 o’clock tea on a             experiences with my father in Bridgehampton. F
     Sunday. My mother would serve them fruitcake. Often,
     at the end of the day after supper, in nice weather, my           (ed. note: John Rezelman is the author of Bushels,
     parents took folding canvas lounge chairs outside and read        Barrels, Boxes and Bags: A history of potato growing in
     the newspaper while I bounced a ball on the garage doors,         Steuben County, New York. Middlebury Center: H & H
     practicing throwing and catching. We had an Atwater               Press: Anderie Poetry Press, 2010.)
     Kent radio on which we heard Amos and Andy and H.V.
     Kaltenborn with the National and International News
     every evening.


38   theBridge
Pop’s Farm
by Jack Sidebotham


When Jack Sidebotham and his wife Bernadette moved to
Bridgehampton in 1979 he brought with him a particularly
intense passion for our community born out of his
childhood memories. He would call his friends at rude
hours of the early morning demanding they drive to the
beach just to see the light. He would appear unannounced
in our back yards to proclaim that blowfish were on the                         wooden beams and handsome wide-board floors was restored to a
menu in town. He became indignant when a beautiful old                          comfortable state. The front door opened to a small hall way with steep
home would suddenly be scraped away. How is this                                stairs to two small low-ceiled rooms. To the left of the entrance, a large
possible he would ask? Jack died rather suddenly in 2010 at                     bedroom with fireplace. To the right, a smaller bedroom that lead to a
the age of 83. Among his papers and inimitable cartoons,                        parlor with a fireplace. Behind that, another entrance hall that was a side
many of which appeared in this journal, was a hand written                      entry. Through the hall was a dining room. A door lead off to a sun room
account of a visit to his childhood home in Connecticut                         situated on the south side of the house. That was the best place to sit and
shortly before he moved to Bridgehampton. – Ted Pettus                          read National Geographics and Farm Journals and peruse the ladies’
                                                                                underwear section of Sears & Roebuck’s catalog. Roebuck’s name was
In the late 18th century a fine house was built by colonial craftsmen on
                                                                                still in use. Behind the dining room were the kitchen and pantry, and
a knoll in the southwest quadrant of Connecticut. In the mid-20th
                                                                                outside the back door, the well with the funny tasting water.
century it was purchased by an ad-man, whose early childhood had been
spent on farms in Texas and Missouri, fulfilling a dream to have a farm         Two or three acres immediately surrounding the house were transformed
of his own. The old house, in considerable disrepair, empty, because of the     into remarkable gardens. There were pear and peach and apple and
difficult times, was purchased for $5,000.                                      cherry trees. Even quince. Currant bushes, blackberries, raspberries, all
                                                                                manner of vegetables and flowers. A few chickens were kept in a restored
It was in the northeast corner of 35 neglected acres. An old railroad right
                                                                                shed providing eggs. And when they stopped producing they became a
of way ran for 1/2 mile on the northern property line. The first third of the
                                                                                wonderful stew with dumplings. A single Jersey cow gave freash milk to
property behind the house was a hill top pasture that descended into a
                                                                                the larder. Buttermilk and butter resulted from elbow grease applied to
swampy lowland, bisected by a stream. The swamp land was full of large
                                                                                an old churn. A local farmer used the upper meadow for hay.
maple trees and other indigenous plants. Continuing west to higher
ground was another pasture, long neglected, covered with brambles and           Back in the uncultivated portion of the farm the men would hunt
scrawny cedars that seem to pop up when farmers cease cultivation. A            squirrels and rabbits, pheasants, even woodcock. They would eat
giant oak stood there, too. The southern property line was on lower             everything they shot. Squirrel brains were considered a delicacy. Not by
ground, for the most part, and headed back east to the road that fronted        the squeamish or the young.
the farm. it was somewhat lower than the house, that road, and a steep
slope of lawn climbed to a classic New England stone wall built against         Anna, the round and cheerful grandmother preserved the bountiful
the slope to provide a level home site. Four magnificent maple trees,           harvest in Ball jars. They were consigned the cool earth-floored cellar,
standing 40 or 50 feet apart, shaded the front of the house. They were no       available year-round for the table. Even chicken and veal, from an
doubt as old as the home they sheltered.                                        occasional slaughter, were preserved in the jars. Here’s a partial inventory
                                                                                of that cellar: Pickled beets, pickeled watermelon, currant jelly,
The ad-man brought his mother and father from Missouri to live on the           strawberry jam, rhubarb, beans, peas, corn, pickles, potatoes in a bin,
farm as a means of caring for them, pre-Medicare and Medicaid. And,             peach preserves, apple sauce, cherries in jars, blueberry jelly, tomato
as the father was in excellent health, and strong, once a farmer, and adept     sauces, from garden to pressure-cooker to cellar to table. None of it was
in all the manual arts that farmers master, it was a way to put the old         appreciated then as it would be now. “We grow too soon old and too late
place back in shape. And it was done. The house with its hand-hewn              smart” German-bred Anna might be saying.


                                                                                                                                                theBridge      39
     Sadly, it was not a place that kids loved. Chores were demanded by a           from which Mr. Davis would deliver the week’s groceries is still at the
     stern, old-school grandfather. Pulling weeds, cleaning out Connecticut’s       turn-off in Southford by 8-mile Creek, though I doubt there’s a Mr. Davis
     ubiquitous stones from the gardens, picking blueberries in the July sun        delivering groceries. Maybe pizza. The two miles of winding road that
     amid hordes of mosquitos, yuck. Not much fun for boys who wanted to            begins at the cemetery where Arthur and Anna lie and passes Prokop’s
     be back in the little pond in the marsh.                                       farm and the site of the long gone one-room schoolhouse is straighter
                                                                                    and wider and cluttered with undistinguished latter-day houses of
     The farm was home to Arthur and Anna for years, from 1935 to the early         architectural shame. Whay can’t contemporary builders simply steal the
     60’s and a weekend outlet fort he ad-man all those years. Then the             plans of the 18th century artisans?
     “caretakers” bean to fail. Old age took its toll and they were obliged to
     move into a nursing home – at the expense of the ad-man – before the           My pal and I approached the crossing of the railroad right of way and the
     provision of money from LBJ. The farm had to be sold to cover the cost         road – Christian Street’s its name – and passed Pop’s farm, drove a half
     of care for Arthur and Anna. I expect that was one of the saddest              mile to Rowland’s the biggest farm around, now decrepit – one hundred
     moments in pop’s life. He loved that farm.                                     and sixty acres waiting for a housing developer or IBM to build a
                                                                                    warehouse. We turned back and drove up the slope where once there’d
     A couple of times I’ve driven past the old place, just to check it out. Some   been the stone driveway, made from the stones we collected out of the
     time ago it was sad to see all but one of the imposing maple trees gone.       gardens. There was no trace of the four foot high wall that had been in
     The beautiful yard and garden were littered with the junk that gets            front of the property. Not even a stump remained of the giant maples.
     discarded by careless folk. The once thriving neighborhood dairy farms         There was not a stone from the foundation on the level ground that gave
      in disrepair or displaced by trailer homes on concrete blocks. Ugly           no clue of the bountiful cellar that was once there. Not a remnant of a
     urban blight was undoing what generations of industrious people had            sturdy neam. Not a sin of the well. No evidence of the garden, only weeds
     accomplished.                                                                  and a few gnarly trees, no chicken shed. Pop’s farm is gone. I’m glad he’s
     It was some years before I returned, on a whim, with my dear pal. The          gone, too, and will never see this empty place. F
     familiar road from Southbury is wider and straighter. The country store




40   theBridge
The Nathaniel Rogers House:
A Rebirth in Progress
by John Eilertsen

Phase One has begun! Apple Restoration has been
awarded the contract for this phase of work, and they have
been making huge progress ever since January of this year.
They have also been finding some interesting artifacts
behind walls and under floors including a ginger ale
bottle with a note rolled up in it, an empty whiskey bottle,
various plates and dishes, an empty cigarette pack, wooden
doorknobs from the 1820s and 1840s, and a large wooden
beam with cut marks indicating it was sawn by a pre-Civil
War pit saw. A curious layer of clay has also been found in      time and labor on several occasions to prune some beautiful
the basement, probably intended as a ground moisture             old trees on the site, and have removed several trees that
barrier. This was a somewhat common occurrence in                had sprouted up too close to the house.
England and Scotland dating back to the 1500s, and in
Canada from the 1840s well into the 1930s, according to          Additional work slated to be done this year by Apple
our architects. There are not a lot of references for it being   Restoration, subject to our continued fundraising success,
used in the US, however. It seems that these clay floors         includes restoring and re-installing the front columns,
were always in areas of high ground water.                       restoring the west porch, repairing all windows, replicating
                                                                 and installing new balustrades on all roofs, installing new
Still, if you peered into the house through a window, you        sub-flooring throughout the house, and reconstruction of
might forget about these small discoveries and instead be        the south wing.
concerned that the house looks so much worse now than
it did before restoration work began. But some very              Full restoration of the exterior will involve installing the
necessary demolition has taken place so that access to           front porch framing and flooring, replicating the small
floor joists, beams and other structural elements could be       south porch, restoring all exterior doors, replicating
exposed for evaluation, repair, and when needed,                 historic fencing and the circular driveway, and rebuilding
replacement. Floor boards were diligently photographed           the fabulous cupola.
and numbered before removal so that they can be properly
                                                                 Following completion of the exterior restoration, the
replaced, mold, asbestos and lead has been carefully
                                                                 design and installation of all mechanical systems will be
encapsulated and removed from the site, and repairs to
                                                                 accomplished, and then we will be ready for full
the foundation are underway. The south wing is slated for
                                                                 restoration of the interior for use by the Historical Society
demolition and reconstruction, new roofs, soffits and
                                                                 as exhibition and administration space.
gutters will soon grace the house, and repairs to the
exterior siding and wood trim will be followed by priming        And as for that note in the C&C ginger ale bottle? It
and painting of the entire exterior. All of this will be done    simply reads:
by this fall.
                                                                 March 14 (year illegible)
The Benjamin Moore Paint Company has very generously             “Mr. & Mrs. James B. Hopping, Bridge Hampton, L.I.”
donated all primer and paint needed for the exterior and
has promised to donate the same for the interior restoration.    Alas, no mention of buried treasure. Well, not every
In addition, Bartlett Tree Service has generously donated        message from the past can be extraordinary!

                                                                                                                    theBridge    41
42   theBridge
theBridge   43
     Nathaniel Rogers House Restoration Supporters
                                             (as of June 23, 2011)

                                     Up to $10,000                     Up to $500
                                     Warren & Lillian anderson         barbara albright
                                     bridgehampton national bank       george & anne baird
                                     Cliff Foster                      William bourne
                                     Fredric garonzik                  bruce & Martha brougham
                                     albert E. & bernadette McCoy      Kenneth h. buchanan
     Over $1,000,000                 Margaret F. McCoy                 Julie P. burmeister
     Town of Southampton             Moore Foundation                  Carrie Crowley
                                     Frank Mori                        aaron M. & Judy F. Daniels
     Up to $1,000,000                John & Judith Musnicki            Robert & Eileen Essay
     new york State                  David Silfen                      garry Fredrickson
                                     garry & Margaret Southern
                                                                       Fred Doss & John gicking
     Up to $125,000                  John & Carol Stacks
                                                                       Kevin & Cheryl hurley
     The Morrow Family                                                 Stephen g. Jones
                                     Up to $5,000
                                                                       ian & Phyllis MacPherson
     Up to $50,000                   alan and arlene alda
                                                                       Matthew Mallow
     Stephen & nancy green           bruce & anne babcock
                                                                       brooke & Daniel neidich
     Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg   bridgehampton Lions Club
                                                                       John Rockwell
     h. Kevin Miserocchi             Fred & nora Cammann
                                     Leonard Davenport                 harry E. & Carolyn Schmidt
     Leonard Riggio                                                    Frank Schroeder
     Dan Shedrick                    anthony Deering
                                     Frederick & Diana Elghanayan      Eric Woodward for
     Jonathan & Lizzie Tisch                                                 Michael Davis Construction
                                     John horvitz
     gerrit Vreeland
                                     hurst Foundation
                                     Jane iselin                       Up to $100
     Up to $25,000
                                     Michael Kochanasz                 Jenice Delano
     atlantic golf Club
                                     Francine E. Lynch                 Raemary & John Duryea
     harvey auerbach
                                     andrea & Doug Madaio              Mary & William groff
     Chuck & norma baird
                                     J. Steven Manolis
     Paul brennan                                                      in Memory of Mrs. Raymond hatch
                                     Joan & John McLaughlin
     Frank K. bynum, Jr.                                               Thomas C. hills
                                     naomi Paley
     Marvin & Dianna Chudnoff        Otis & nancy Pearsall             Ms. barney L. Jones
     Martha and Frederick Fritz      Warren h. & barbara a. Phillips   Long island Studies Council
     beverley & Leandro galban       harvey L. Radler                  John Michell & David Kaplan
     Richard & Zena gilbert          Kathryn Reis                      Jeffrey D. Mansfield
     Richard goldberg                arthur & Deborah Romaine          Patrick Rulon Miller
     Charles Lloyd                   Saner Family Foundation           natalie naylor
     Marjorie R. Ludlow              F.J. b. Schmeltzer                girard F. & Martha Worth Oberrender
     William Mack                    Lowell Schulman
                                                                       Dr. Stanley & Susan Sackner
     John & Carey Millard            Jim & Julia Shelly
                                                                       Samuel’s Foundation
     arthur nagle                    barbara Slifka
     Fred & Cissy Ritz               Frederick Stelle                  Robert Scheinberg
     andrew Steffan                  Dennis Suskind                    Charlotte Rogers Smith
     Thomas Tuft                     James W. & Julia b. Sykes         bridget a. Stavropoulos
     nicholas Verbitsky              Lorenzo & Danielle Weisman        Diane Johnson Wade
     Raymond Wesnofske               Winston-Salem Foundation          Lauren & andrew Weisenfeld



44   theBridge

				
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