Tags Posts tagged with "Battle of Setauket"

Battle of Setauket

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Daniel Elliott searches for artifacts near Patriots Rock. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Archaeologists, historians and volunteers were hoping to dig up a piece of Revolutionary War history last week in Setauket.

A brass piece found near Patriots Rock that the Lamar Institute is hoping someone can identify. Photo from The Lamar Institute

Researchers with the Lamar Institute, a Georgia-based nonprofit that conducts archaeological research to advance public awareness, used ground-penetrating radar, systematic controlled metal detection survey, small excavations of key targets, laser transit mapping and laboratory analysis.

The team studied the Patriots Rock tract across from Frank Melville Memorial Park, Setauket Presbyterian Church property, the Village Green and areas of Caroline Church of Brookhaven in the hopes of finding evidence of the Battle of Setauket and the fort that once existed in the area.

The researchers hoped to discover artifacts, such as iron musket balls and jacket buttons that could tell a lot more about who was shooting at whom and in what direction, and parts of the fort that once stood there, according to Long Island historian David Griffin.

After the research in Setauket, Daniel Elliott, president of the Lamar Institute, said in an email a puzzling find located near Patriots Rock in Setauket is an early brass piece that he believes may be military in nature.

“We have not yet identified it,” Elliott said. “It may be a decoration on a cartridge box, but the jury is still out on that.”

Elliott said he is hoping readers of The Village Times Herald will have an opinion on its identification. He added that the team has not found any bullets, grapeshot or cannonballs from the battle.

The researchers had been at Fort Slongo in Fort Salonga the week before where they found a musket ball, and this week they are working at the location of Fort Hamilton in Huntington. During their visit to Setauket, Elliott approached Ted Gutmann, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library director, about the Lamar Institute conducting a study on library grounds. According to Lisa DeVerna of the library’s public relations and community engagement department, the search for information on the Battle of Setauket will commence on the library property in May.

“We have such a rich history right here in Three Village, and the library is thrilled to help delve deeper into it so that the community may continue to learn more about our past,” DeVerna said. “It will be exciting to learn what the Lamar Institute uncovers.”

By Rita J. Egan

A local activist group is asking a Long Island billionaire and his daughter to stop funding the alt-right.

According to a press release from the North Country Peace Group, Robert Mercer, billionaire co-CEO of the Setauket-based hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, and his daughter Rebekah have allegedly contributed millions of dollars to alt-right causes due to his alliance with the online media company Breitbart News.

The group held a rally in front of the company’s entrance on Route 25A Aug. 23 because members feel Breitbart News has provided a forum for white supremacist, sexist and other racist voices.

Approximately two dozen protesters were in attendance with signs in tow. During the rally, Charles Perretti of Setauket grabbed a megaphone and addressed the crowd.

“What does [the Mercer family] want?” he asked. “They want to control the public dialogue. They want to advance their attitudes and values at the expense of true representative government and the spirit of one man and one vote.”

Perretti said Mercer supports the current Republican presidential administration, referring to that of President Donald Trump (R).

“What do we want, the people on the corner?” he said. “We want concern for the common good.”

The statement inspired protesters to respond repeatedly: “Concern for the common good.”

In recent months, the local peace group has organized or participated in several rallies covering various topics including Trump’s proposed transgender military ban, climate change, alleged use of force by police and a sister event to the Women’s March on Washington.

Peace group member Rosemary Maffei, of Setauket, has been in attendance for much of the group’s protests. She said attending political demonstrations is something she feels she needs to do for herself personally and for the country, and she appreciates being around like-minded residents.

“I feel it’s important to let people see that there is resistance to Trump and the Republican Party, especially here on ‘red’ Long Island,” she said. “Sitting home and doing nothing while the country is being torn apart is something I don’t understand.”

Mercer did not respond to a request sent through an executive assistant at his company for comments about the rally.

This post was updated Aug. 30.


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In 1985 members of a crane company removed the Caroline Church’s steeple bell to protect it from Hurricane Gloria. Photo from Caroline Church archives

By Beverly Tyler

In the archives of Setauket’s Caroline Church of Brookhaven is a beautifully written receipt dated September 17, 1729, written with a quill pen in elegantly flowing script. Addressed to Colonel Benjamin Floyd, senior warden at the church, the receipt details the purchase of the 132½-pound bell that still rings the call to Sunday church services at the historic white colonial building at the Setauket Village Green.

In 1936, the church began a restoration including a return to a colonial appearance. The restoration was financed by local philanthropist and businessman Ward Melville and was carried out by his architect Richard Haviland Smythe. During the restoration, a musket ball was discovered embedded in one of the white oak beams in the tower that holds the bell. During the Battle of Setauket on August 22, 1777, it seems likely that one of the Patriots, firing from about the location of Patriot’s Rock, was trying to ring the bell and missed. At the time the bell was visible in the tower as there were no louvers around the bell as there are today.

In September 1985, with the path of Hurricane Gloria expected to take it directly across the middle of Long Island, it was decided to remove the 30-foot steeple and bell. According to a 1985 article in Newsday, “The Rev. Paul Wancura, church rector, said, ‘We were concerned that with the storm coming, it might blow away and cause some real damage.’” Near the end of the hurricane season the bell and steeple were returned to their exalted positions atop the church tower.

Beverly Tyler is Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.