Tag Archive | "Rogers Mansion"

Southampton Ready To Celebrate Its 375th Birthday

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Edmonds for web1127

Tom Edmonds, director of the Southampton Historical Society, at a tour of the Thomas Halsey House in Southampton Village.


By Stephen J. Kotz

Every 25 years, dating back to 1865, the Town of Southampton has held special celebrations to mark the arrival of the first European settlers  in 1640, and 2015 will be no different.

From a special New Year’s Eve party at the Southampton Inn, to a convocation on March 7 at the First Presbyterian Church, which was also established in 1640, a rededication on June 13 at Conscience Point in North Sea, where Puritans first landed on June 12, 1640, and a community picnic that same day at the North Sea Community Center, a number of activities and exhibits are being planned.

To lift the curtain on the town’s 375th birthday celebration, the committee that was formed to organize the anniversary observance hosted a group of journalists on November 22 and 23, offering tours of historic sites in the village, including the Thomas Halsey House—the oldest in Southampton; and a reception at the Rogers Mansion, the home of the Southampton Historical Society.

Dede Gotthelf, the owner of the Southampton Inn, also provided free meals and lodging for the visiting journalists.

Ms Gotthelf led a tour that took the group through the village estate section, where she pointed out some of the homes of the village’s rich and famous summer colony residents. “We’re just a little early,” Ms. Gotthelf said. “In a couple of weeks the hedges will start to lose their foliage so you can see some of the magnificent homes.”

The tour also passed some of the village’s most well-known landmarks as well, including the Meadow Club, Coopers Beach and St. Andrew’s Dune Church and the Southampton Bathing Corporation.

Later the group met Tom Edmonds, executive director of the historical society, who offered a tour of the Thomas Halsey House. Although a historical marker identifies the house as having been built in 1648, Mr. Edmonds said the original section, which consisted of two rooms, probably dated to 1683, although Mr. Halsey established a farm on the South Main Street site as early as 1648. A second section of the house was erected in 1730 before additional rooms were added to the rear.

Mr. Edmonds showed off some of the collection, including a two-piece helmet, so designed for easy packing, which settlers would have brought with them “because they didn’t know whether they were going to encounter hostile Indians.” There was a rug, displayed like a table cloth, because it was too valuable to be left on the floor and would have been displayed on a table or wall as “a way to show off that you could afford a rug like that;” there was the peel, an oversized spatula, decorated with a heart. That meant, Mr. Edmonds pointed out, that it was probably a wedding gift from a husband to his wife and recognized the fact that a woman spent the lion’s share of her day tending the hearth while her husband farmed or hunted.

While the 375th anniversary will celebrate the arrival of a band of Puritans from Massachusetts, anniversary organizers said they did not want to forget the Shinnecock Indians, who had been calling Southampton home for thousands of years prior to the arrival of white settlers. There is an extensive portion of the Halsey House dedicated to Shinnecock history, and the tribe has its own cultural museum on the reservation west of the village.

The Shinnecock tribe will also take part in the Conscience Point rededication when they will hold a special pageant.

The historical society will obviously take a central role in the celebration. It plans an exhibit at the Rogers Mansion opening March 7 that will detail the families who lived in the famous house, who included Samuel Parrish, who founded the Parrish Art Museum in his former home on Jobs Lane before moving to the Rogers Mansion for the remainder of his life. Other events include a celebration of the Halsey family on July 23, a Polish festival on August 1, a Harvest Day Fair on September 27, and a reunion of the Howell family, another founding family, on October 16.

The Southampton Cultural Center will present “Artists and Southampton: A Living Legacy,” opening on June 2. The Southampton Trails Preservation Society will recreate a historic walk from Conscience Point to the village on June 14, and on June 20, the village will hold celebrate the grand occasion with a concert, servings of cake and a community sing-along.

Hunting and Fishing Through the Ages

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web 10K hunting fishing

by Emily J. Weitz

When you look out across the water and see a bayman scraping the sandy floor with a long rake, there is something about it that feels timeless, even primal. Maybe that’s because some of these methods of fishing and hunting have been around for thousands of years, and are still used in roughly the same ways, for the same purpose: to feed and clothe our families. It may not always be so direct – the diet of a bayman might not be all what he catches, and a hunter may not be walking around clothed only in fur. But still, the bounty of this place continues to serve those who hunt and fish, just as it did thousands of years ago. That’s the subject of the current exhibit at The Southampton Historical Museum at Rogers Mansion, which will be on display from this Friday through October 29.

Obviously, a great deal has changed since the earliest humans were hunting and fishing in the area. But David Bunn Martine, curator of this exhibit and director/curator of the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum, argues that much has also remained the same.

“Through the lifestyle of baymen and their families, especially in East Hampton,” he said in a recent interview, “it’s stayed the same a great deal. They use a lot of Native American techniques.”

Some of the techniques that remain common practices for local fishermen today were learned from Native Americans.

“Fishing with pound nets, fishing from the shoreline, and fishing with traps are ancient techniques indigenous to this area,” explains Bunn Martine.

Through looking at the development of the artifacts, you can also see how these practices changed over time, and how Native American practices influenced the hunting and fishing practiced across the East End today.

“Five thousand years ago, eel spears and eel rakes were used that were very similar to the ones the English settlers used,” says Bunn Martine. “Modern ones are made out of metal or iron, but they look similar.”

Replicas of many of the tools that were (and in some form still are) used for fishing and hunting will be on display at the exhibit.

“We have a dug-out canoe we made out of pine at the Shinnecock Museum,” says Bunn Martine. “Also we have reconstructed objects, like simulated fishing tools and hunting tools like spear throwers.”

There will also be stone arrowheads used for hunting deer and small game as well as other period artifacts like basket nets, basket traps used for fish and old fashioned netting featured in the exhibit. Paintings, like large pieces depicting the Paleolithic period on Long Island and others showing whaling ceremonies from the relatively recent 1700s, will also be on display.

Evidence of hunting on Long Island dates back at least 10,000 years, and there have been fifteen finds of Paleo points (arrowheads or spear points), to prove it. However, archaeologist Jo-Ann McLean of Jo-Ann McLean Archaeological Consultants, points out that “These Paleo points were found all over Long Island. They were never associated with a site where there was an encampment. This leads us to believe these were travelers passing through hunting.”

So the most ancient of hunting practices were likely nomadic peoples roaming through the rich natural world of Long Island and hunting for deer and other game.

One significant aspect of preparing this show, said Bunn Martine, was in the recreating of some of these objects. Even though nets, lures and traps can be purchased in stores, there was a time when everything needed to be constructed at home. At the Shinnecock Museum, people are now learning to make these things again.

“We want to learn to make these things again by hand using traditional materials like plant fibers,” says Bunn Martine. “We are learning how they made nets and fishing tools by hand, how they made lures and hooks and cordage. It’s part of our tradition… We are getting back in touch with traditional material culture: basket making, net making, object making. These are things we’ve been researching for years but [this exhibit] is another manifestation.”

Hunting and fishing, and all the processes that go with them, are deeply embedded in the life and culture of the East End. Still integral to the survival of many local families, these practices are as ancient as human existence in this area. This exhibit is an opportunity to see just how far back Long Island people, and their traditions, can be traced.