Tags Posts tagged with "Beverly C. Tyler"

Beverly C. Tyler

'Down the Ways' cover

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

“The success of Long Island shipbuilding was due in part to its rural location and the three things Long Island had in abundance — water, men and material. Surrounded by water, Long Island was an ideal location for shipbuilding.”

Above, author Beverly C. Tyler at the helm of America’s Cup yacht NZ41 in the Hauraki Gulf, from Auckland, New Zealand in September, 2002. Photo courtesy of NZ 40/41

Last fall, History Close at Hand published Beverly C. Tyler’s informative Setauket and Brookhaven History Through the Murals of Vance Locke. His most recent offering is Down the Ways – The Wooden Ship Era. Subtitled “East Setauket Shipbuilders, Ship Captains, Maritime Trades and Dyer’s Neck Homes,” the book is a celebration of an industry seen through a very local prism. 

As with his earlier work, Tyler leads with the deepest and sincerest respect for the indigenous people of Long Island — and, in particular, the Setalcotts. And while the title suggests a narrow exploration, the introductory pages place the topic in context. Fiscal, political, and agricultural information is presented, including the influence of the Erie Canal and the effects of the War of 1812.

Tyler references a wide range of sources, some dating back to the seventeen century. His research is meticulous, organized, and marvelously well-documented, with facts and figures as well as many dates to give the arc of the shipbuilding experience. Here are shipbuilders and ship workers, captains and crewmen. The rise and fall of the whaling industry and life on the sea give additional scope. Tyler does not shy away from touching on complicated issues, including slavery and the freed descendants whose treatment onboard was little better.

The focus of the book is on one area adjacent to Setauket Harbor. Tyler has cleverly constructed Down the Ways as a tour of the Dyer’s Neck Historic District. There are thirty-two stops, beginning on Bayview Avenue and ending with Scott’s Cove. A history of the place, its relationship to the shipbuilding industry, and the home’s inhabitants are vividly presented with each location. Facts blend with interesting trivia. These include Thomas W. Rowland, who had twelve children — six by each of his two wives; Mary Swift Jones’ voyage to eastern Asia, including Japan and China; Town of Brookhaven historian Barbara M. Russell’s account of Shore Acres boarding house; among other anecdotes. 

In addition, detailed but succinct descriptions of a range of careers and businesses, including blacksmith, ship joiner, carpenter, and ship chandlery, are explained. (A special note of the use of color in the text will make it easier for younger readers to discern the shift in focus and allow for easy location of information. Little doubt that this book will be an excellent resource for both the general reader and the student studying Long Island history.)

A special section focuses on the author’s grandfather, Captain Beverly Swift Tyler, who was a ship captain, boat builder, racing sailor, and boarding house owner. This unique and personal inclusion further brings to life the living history element of the writer’s undertaking.

Visually, this is a striking tome. Down the Ways includes reproductions of maps, paintings, murals, clips of period newspapers, and a wealth of beautiful photos, both historical and current. All of them have been richly integrated into the text. In addition, dozens of pictures juxtaposing the current residence with those from early periods display both the changes and what remains the same. 

Down the Ways is more than just a book. It is an opportunity to explore a Long Island neighborhood in a completely different way. So, pick up a copy of the book, make your way to 41 Bayview Avenue, and let Beverly C. Tyler guide you on a course that will take you on an enlightening journey through time and place

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Beverly C. Tyler is a writer, author, photographer and lecturer on local history. He has conducted walking tours and field trips as Revolutionary War farmer and spy Abraham Woodhull and as a 19th-century ship captain. 

Mr. Tyler writes a local history column “History Close at Hand” for the TBR Newspapers’ Village Times Herald. He has written more than 900 local history articles since 1975. His most recent book, Setauket and Brookhaven History through the Murals of Vance Locke was published in November 2020.

Down the Ways — The Wooden Ship Era is available through the Three Village Historical Society online gift shop at www.tvhs.org.

 

Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

WILDLIFE AT THE TYLERS

Beverly C. Tyler snapped this photo of a groundhog at his home in Setauket on Aug. 1. He writes, ‘A visitor to our backyard who did not see his shadow.’ In addition to this cutie, the Tylers have had many wildlife visitors this year including  quail, fox, turkey, red-tailed hawks, snakes and deer

Send your Photo of the Week to [email protected]

 

Three Village Historical Society’s Director of Education Donna Smith and historian Beverly C. Tyler. Photo from TVHS

Join the Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Road, Setauket for a special event – Spy Stories on the Porch – with TVHS Historian Bev Tyler and TVHS Education Director Donna Smith on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. (rescheduled from Aug. 4 due to weather). Stories include Benjamin Tallmadge and Nathan Hale at Yale at 6 p.m.; Selah Strong and Caleb Brewster on Strong’s Neck cliff at 6:30 p.m.; Benjamin Floyd, Loyalist and friend of Abraham Woodhull at 7 p.m.; and Austin Roe Rides to meet President George Washington at 7:30 p.m. Free. Bring seating. This event will be live streamed on the TVHS Facebook page as well.  For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

*This post was updated Aug. 4.

Little Bay during a quiet moment before motorboats and skiers arrived. The life preserver allows free arm movement in the canoe. Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

In the June 24 edition of the various editions of the TBR News Media newspapers, editor and publisher Leah Dunaief wrote in her weekly column “Between You and Me” about a pleasant Sunday sail in Port Jefferson Harbor in her 16-foot Hobie Cat with her son and daughter-in-law. The sail ended in a capsizing when the wind provided a sudden unexpected gust. Dunaief wrote, “It took us several minutes to sort ourselves out … We worked to untangle ourselves as we clung to the side of one of the overturned pontoons. Then the boat became caught in a mooring into which the wind had blown us. We hoped one of the two boats that came along would stop to help. They passed us by, but one slowed down to take a video of us struggling in the water.”

Fortunately, sailors came by and Dunaief was able, with help, to climb up the boat’s swim ladder to safety. They also assisted in getting the catamaran righted and the two younger Dunaiefs sailed off just as a police boat and fire boat came by “checking to see if all was well. It seems some alert person in a waterfront home in Belle Terre, witnessed the mishap and called 911.” The boaters then took Dunaief home, as she noted, “a drenched dog.”

This incident, which may or may not have been reported and detailed by the police and thus included in the New York State 2021 Recreational Boating Report, ended on a positive note due to the help of these Good Samaritans, rather than the help of other boaters. This incident is a dramatic reminder to everyone who takes to the water that they need to be aware of their responsibility as members of the boating public.

“Rendering Assistance (Good Samaritan Law) — According to Section 41.3 of the Navigation Law: It shall be the duty of every master or pilot of any vessel to render such assistance as he can possibly give to any other vessel coming under his observation and being in distress on account of accident, collision or otherwise.

“If you come across another vessel that is in distress, the law requires you to assist them to the best of your abilities. You are excused from this duty if such assistance: endangers your own vessel — endangers your passengers — interferes with other rescue efforts or law enforcement — will cause further or more extensive damage. Even if you determine that there is a risk to your vessel and passengers you should stay at the scene until a competent rescue team comes on the scene and releases you … If you find that you must put someone in the water to assist another vessel or passenger make sure they are wearing a life jacket.”

In 2020, in the most recent compilation of boating statistics, there were 240 boating accidents reported in New York. Among those accidents there were 127 injuries and 31 fatalities, the highest New York has had since 2003. In Suffolk County in 2020, there were 56 accidents, 40 injuries and five fatalities. The use of a life jacket may have saved many of these victims. A collision between two or more vessels is still the most common type of boating accident and results in the most injuries. The two most common factors in boating collisions are operator inattention and operator inexperience. There is no single answer to reducing either fatalities or collisions, although a little common sense and consideration of other boaters would be a good start. Boating education classes help, but boaters must be willing to apply what they have learned. As detailed in the Recreational Boating Report, “With the continued phasing in of Brianna’s Law continuing in 2022 and ending in 2025 with all ages required to take a Safe Boating Course, we can bring these numbers back down with the hope that New York residents can continue to have a fun but safe experience on the water.”

Yes! The most important part of boating safety is to begin with a boating safety education course. This is especially true for our young people, since they are the future of boating and boating safety.

On an August Monday, my wife and I were canoeing in Little Bay, just west of Setauket Harbor. It was high tide and two high-speed motorboats appeared pulling water skiers. One of these boats, operated by a young man, had no observer on board to watch the skier, a violation of both the boating law and common sense.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Suffolk County Police Marine Division, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons, also known as America’s Boating Club, have been working together in the areas of education and prevention to make recreational boating safe as well as enjoyable.

“One of the rules that boaters may not know,” commented Old Field Point Power Squadron Commander Ron Guzewich, “is that operation of a personal watercraft (PWC) is actually prohibited from sunset to sunrise. And there are other restrictions on the operation of personal watercraft as well. Personal watercraft comprise about 10% of the total registered vessels in New York, yet they are involved in a disproportionate share of accidents.”

Boating courses are available through the United States Power Squadrons — America’s Boating Club at: americasboatingclub.org/learn/online-boating-education/americas-boating-course. In addition, a listing of New York State boating courses may be accessed at nysparks.com/recreation/boating/education.aspx.

The New York State Parks and Recreation Department recommends “The Safe Skipper’s Pledge,” a version of which is recommended by every boating organization. It reads:

• I will assist those in need and report any boating accident in which I’m involved.

• My boat will have USCG approved life jackets, of the proper size, in good condition and readily accessible.

• I will operate in a safe and careful manner, never recklessly, and never while under the influence.

• I will understand and follow the Rules of the Road.

• I will take a boating safety course.

• I will carry the proper equipment while underway, always in good condition and always readily accessible.

• Navigation aids serve as the road signs of the water. I will understand and obey them.

• I will understand and follow the legal requirements for operating a personal watercraft.

• I will remember to follow the rules of safe boating, whether I am pulling skiers or tubers, skin diving, fishing or hunting.

• If my boat has a motor, I will register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles.”

As I wish to end this article on a positive note, I’m including a report contained in the Recreational Boating Report from May 2010. “Long Island Man Recognized for Rescue — A National Association of State Boating Law Administrators Award of Commendation is going to a New York man, Scott Stokkers, of Huntington, for his bravery and selflessness in saving three young lives on Long Island Sound last summer. On the evening of August 14, 2009, Stokkers responded to cries for help from three young boaters whose 10-foot boat took on water and sank in the dark waters of Makamah Beach. Without life jackets, the three young boaters were unable to swim the nearly half mile to shore due to exhaustion. Stokkers carefully approach the panicked boaters, getting them aboard his canoe and safely ashore.”

This commendation also notes the number one cause of boating fatalities in New York State, the lack of a required life preserver, also called PFD, personal flotation device. These boys were lucky for more than one reason.

The Recreational Boating Report notes, “What causes recreational boating accidents fatalities on the water in New York? The obvious answer on the leading type of boating deaths is drowning. During the period 2005 – 2020, 82% of all victims were not wearing a PFD. It is impossible to tell how many people have been saved by wearing a PFD, but the potential consequences of not wearing one are clear.

Improvements in PFDs have made them far more comfortable to wear. Specific PFDs have been developed to maximize safety for specific on water activities such as wake boarding and personal watercraft operation, as well as a new labeling system rolling out on future PFD’s making it easier for users to know the effectiveness of the PFD’s being used.”

It is up to everyone who enjoys boating on the waters surrounding Long Island and, on our lakes, bays and rivers to practice safe boating. We can all have enjoyable experiences on the water if we are knowledgeable, prepared and aware of what is going on around us.     

Past Commander Beverly Tyler is currently chaplain and historian for the Old Field Point Power Squadron with the rank of Senior Navigator, having completed every course of study and practical application of safe boating operation, coastwise and celestial navigation in the United States Power Squadrons — America’s Boating Club.

On May 14 the Three Village Historical Society hosted the grand opening of the Three Village Artisan Farmers Market.

Linda Johnson, who leads the market and owns Chocology Unlimited, said on a scale of 1-10, the opening was an 11.

“It couldn’t have been any better,” she said. “And after spending much of 2020 stuck inside, it was so nice to see folks relaxing at our picnic tables, enjoying seeing each other, shopping the local vendors, all on the beautiful Three Village Historical Society property.”

At the May 14 opening, Three Village historian Beverly C. Tyler, above right, was on hand to sign copies of his book “Setauket and Brookhaven History — Through the Murals of Vance Locke.”

The farmers market is open every Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and features local, grass-fed meats, farm fresh eggs, fish, fresh baked bread and pastries, pickles, honey, handmade products, home goods and more.

The farmers market runs through Oct. 1.

A photograph included in the book of the 350th anniversary reenactment, in 2005, of the meeting between Setalcott indigenous people and agents for the English settlers of Setauket-Brookhaven in 1655. Photo by Beverly Tyler

This Friday, May 14, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. the Three Village Historical Society will hold, as part of the grand opening of the Three Village Artisan Farmers Market, a book signing by author Beverly C. Tyler in front of the Society Headquarters building at 93 N. Country Road in Setauket.

The cover of Bev Tyler’s latest book

Tyler will be signing copies of his latest book, Setauket and Brookhaven History — Through the Murals of Vance Locke which was published on November 1, 2020. A celebration of the people and events of Setauket, Stony Brook and Brookhaven Town history, it tells the stories of the indigenous people called Setalcotts, and the farmers, shipbuilders, blacksmiths and millers whose lives created our communities.

The inspiration for this colorful book is the murals in 1951 in the Setauket Elementary School auditorium. The murals were a gift of philanthropist Ward Melville who wanted this new school, especially the auditorium, to be a place to celebrate community and to encourage residents to explore the area’s history and culture. The book contains the author’s photographs as well as images from the Society’s SPIES! exhibit and historical images from the Society’s archival collection.

Setauket and Brookhaven History was designed to be read by elementary and secondary students, as well as by parents and members of the wider community. The book is a joint effort by members of the Founders Day Committee which conducts local walking tours of the Setauket-Town of Brookhaven original settlement area and is an outgrowth of the writings of local historian William B. Minuse who interviewed artist Vance Locke and wrote the initial stories about the murals.

Due to the pandemic, this marks the Society’s first public book signing and sale. Additional books and items from the Three Village Historical Society gift shop will also be available for purchase.

For more information, visit www.tvhs.org.

By Heidi Sutton

This past Saturday, members of the community gathered at St. George’s Manor Cemetery in Setauket to pay tribute to Judge Selah Strong with the unveiling of a commemorative graveside plaque. Margo Arceri, owner of Tri-Spy Tours, dedicated the bronze marker which honors the judge’s contributions to the local community, 205 years after his death.

“Strong was one of the first patriots in the community. He was best friends with Culper Spy Caleb Brewster … During the  Battle of Long Island, he was arrested by the British for assisting the Continental Army. After the war, he had a long and illustrious career in public service. The Strong family wanted him to be recognized for his efforts during the Revolutionary War and after. It was a great honor to place the marker for them,” said Arceri after the ceremony. “This is an important moment in our community’s history and for the Strong family.”

The event was attended by representatives of the Three Village Historical Society including President Steve Healy, Director of Education Donna Smith and historian Beverly C. Tyler; members of the Anna Smith Strong chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; and several descendants of Selah Strong. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, and Brookhaven Town Historian Barbara M. Russell were also in attendance.

Selah Strong is buried in a family plot next to his first wife, Anna Smith Strong, the only female member of George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring, known for her famed clothesline.

“It’s always been a bit of a shame that not too many people payed attention to Selah because they were so interested in Anna and her story, but actually he did an awful lot,” said John (Jack) Temple Strong Jr., Selah Strong’s great-great-great grandson, who had the honor of unveiling the plaque.

Supervisor Romaine agreed. “Born on Christmas Day, 1737, died on the Fourth of July, 1815, he packed into his life things … we see of a man who was dedicated to his community, someone that at the tender age of 26 was elected Town Trustee and would wind up spending 35 years in office, most of them, certainly from 1780 on, as President of the Trustees, which is the equivalent of Supervisor,” he said.

Selah Strong also served as Suffolk County Treasurer, judge for the Court of Common Pleas, and was a New York State Senator for four years. “This is a man who served his community … I am here to pay my respects to someone that paved the way because as we look around today, a lot of what we have over the last 200 years would not be here if not for men of this caliber,” added Supervisor Romaine.

“When we think about patriotism we think about Selah Strong, Anna Smith Strong and the personal sacrifice, the amount of risks that they took for their country — true patriots,” said Raymond Brewster Strong III, Selah Strong’s 6th generation grandson who made the trip from Houston, Texas, to attend the ceremony. “[George] Washington’s motto was ‘deeds, not words’ and when you think about Selah Strong’s [accomplishments], those are true deeds, not words.”

“The Strong family continues as tradition bearers, and Tri-Spy Tours and the Three Village Historical Society are also important parts of passing to the next generation a sense of place and a sense of continuum,” said Assemblyman Englebright. “I am just honored to be here to bear witness to this wonderful occasion. This is altogether a respectful moment that should be remembered, as Selah Strong should be remembered.”

*Editors note — St. George’s Manor Cemetery is a private cemetery still owned by the Strong family.

All photos by Heidi Sutton

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Valentine’s Day penny postcard circa 1909-1911. Image from Beverly C. Tyler's collection

By Beverly C. Tyler

The celebration of Feb. 14 began as an ancient Roman ceremony called the Feast of the Lupercalia. It was on the eve of the Feast of the Lupercalia in the year 270 that Valentinus, a Roman priest, was executed. According to an article in the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in December of 1493, “Valentinus was said to have performed valiant service in assisting Christian Martyrs during their persecution under Emperor Claudius II. Giving aid and comfort to Christians at that time was considered a crime, and for his actions Valentinus was clubbed, stoned and beheaded.” The Roman pagan festivals were spread over the world as the Romans conquered various lands.

Valentine’s Day penny postcard circa 1909-1911. Image from Beverly C. Tyler’s collection

In Britain during the middle ages, these customs were observed and Alban Butler describes that “to abolish the heathens’ lewd, superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls in honour of their goddess . . . several zealous pastors substituted the names of Saints on billets given on this day.” It is also thought that when the early Christian church reorganized the calendar of festival they substituted the names of Christian Saints for the pagan names and allocated Feb. 14 to St. Valentine.

The tradition of sending messages, gifts and expressions of love on Valentine’s Day goes back to at least the 15th century. In 1477, in Britain, John Paston wrote to his future wife, “Unto my ryght wele belovyd Voluntyn – John Paston Squyer.”

By the 17th century, Valentine’s Day was well established as an occasion for sending cards, notes or drawings to loved ones. An early British valentine dated 1684 was signed by Edward Sangon, Tower Hill, London. “Good morrow Vallentine, God send you ever to keep your promise and bee constant ever.”

In America the earliest valentines that are known date to the middle of the 18th century. These handmade greetings were often very artistically done and included a heart or a lover’s knot. They were folded, sealed and addressed without the use of an envelope. Until the 1840s, the postal rate was determined by the distance to be traveled and the number of sheets included, so an envelope would have doubled the cost.

In 1840 Nichols Smith Hawkins age 25 of Stony Brook sent a valentine to his paternal first cousin Mary Cordelia Bayles, age 18. The original does not exist, but her reply, written two days after Valentine’s Day, says a great deal. “Much Esteemed Friend – I now take this opportunity to write a few lines to you to let you know that I received your letter last evening. I was very happy to hear from you and to hear that you hadent forgot me and thought enough of me to send me a Valentine. I havent got anything now to present to you but I will not forget you as quick, as I can make it conveinant I will get something for you to remember me by.

“You wrote that you wanted me to make you happy by becoming yourn. I should like to comfort you but I must say that I cannot for particular reasons. It isn’t because I don’t respect you nor do I think that I ever shall find anyone that will do any better by me. I sincerely think that you will do as well by me as anyone. I am very sorry to hear that it would make you the most miserable wretch on earth if I refused you for I cannot give you any encouragement. I beg to be excused for keeping you in suspense so long and then deny you. Believe me my friend I wouldn’t if I thought of denying you of my heart and hand. I think just as much of you now as ever I did. I cannot forget a one that I do so highly respect. You will think it very strange then why I do refuse you. I will tell you although I am very sorry to say so it is on the account of the family. They do oppose me very much. They say so much that I half to refuse you. It is all on their account that I do refuse so good an offer. I sincerely hope that it will be for the best.”

We don’t know the members of Mary’s family who opposed her marriage to Nichols. Was it her parents who had died in 1836 and 1838 respectively, or the family members that Mary most likely went to live with when she became an orphan at age 16 or 17? Whatever the circumstances  their love for each other continued to bloom.

Four days after replying to the Valentine letter, Mary again replied to a letter from Nichols.  “Dear Cousin – I received your letter yesterday morning. I was very sorry to hear that you was so troubled in mind. I don’t doubt but what you do feel very bad for I think that I can judge you by my own feelings but we must get reconciled to our fate. . . Keep your mind from it as much as you can and be cheerful for I must tell you as I have told you before that I cannot relieve you by becoming your bride, therefore I beg and entreat on you not to think of me anymore as a companion through life for if you make yourself unhappy by it, you will make me the most miserable creature in the world to think that I made you so unhappy. . . I must now close my letter with my love to you. – This is from your most unhappy cousin M__________________ ”

At least two other letters, written the following year, were sent to Nichols from Mary. The letters continued to express the friendship that existed between them. The story does not end there. Mary’s letters are in the Three Village Historical Society archive collection.

On Feb. 11, 1849 (three days before Valentine’s Day), Nichols Smith Hawkins, age 34, married Mary Cordelia Bayles, age 27. Coincidentally, Nichols parents, William Hawkins and Mary Nichols were married on Valentine’s Day in 1813. Nichols and Mary raised three children who lived beyond childhood (two others died in 1865 within a month of each other). Nichols was a farmer and the family lived in Stony Brook. Mary died January 30, 1888 at the age of 66 and Nichols died February 10, 1903, at the age of 88. They are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Stony Brook.

Valentines became fancier and more elaborate through the second half of the 19th century. After 1850 the valentine slowly became a more general greeting rather than a message sent to just one special person. The advent of the picture postal card in 1907, which allowed messages to be written on one half of the side reserved for the address, started a national craze that saw every holiday become a reason for sending a postcard and Valentine’s Day the occasion for a flood of one cent expressions of love.

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

Beverly C. Tyler and Donna Smith at the grave of Culper Spy Abraham Woodhull. Photo by Heidi Sutton

The Three Village Historical Society presents a virtual lecture via Zoom titled SPIES!  How a Group of Long Island Patriots helped George Washington Win the Revolution on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Join historian Bev Tyler and educator Donna Smith as they guide you through the Society’s SPIES! exhibit and bring to life the dramatic stories of Long Island’s Culper Spy Ring through photographs, maps and original documents. A Q&A will follow. $5 suggested donation. Free for TVHS members. To register, visit www.tvhs.org.

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By Beverly C. Tyler

Today it is the custom to send letters or attractive cards to relatives and friends at Christmas. This was not always the case as cards, especially colored cards, were a 19th-century innovation. Colorful Christmas cards were becoming popular in the United States by the 1870s, and by the 1880s they were being printed in the millions and were no longer being hand-colored. Christmas cards during the late 1800s came in all shapes and sizes and were made with silk, satin, brocade and plush, as well as with lace and embroidery surrounding the printed card. These cards were just as varied as those we have today and included religious themes, landscapes from every season, animals, the traditional Father Christmas, children and humor. The colorful cards usually included some verse in addition to the greeting.

This explosion in the availability of commercial cards, along with a change in postal regulations that permitted the penny postcard, started a quickly growing trend to send brief messages to friends and relatives, especially during the Christmas and holiday season.

Combing through old postcards, especially the large number sent over the Christmas holidays, has opened for my wife, Barbara, and me a window into our families’ histories. Our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles sent and received cards from both local and distant friends and relatives. My wife’s aunt Muriel West was no exception. As a young girl Muriel, born in 1901, received Christmas cards and kept them in a postcard album. Many of the cards are postmarked between 1907 and 1914 when the postcard craze was still at its height. Looking at the cards we could see the postmarks included both the date it was sent and where the card was mailed. In some cases the postcard was postmarked at both the departure and arrival post offices, giving us an appreciation of the rapid speed of early 20th-century mail.

Many of the names of the people who sent the cards were unfamiliar to us, especially the ones that were from cousin Katie, cousin Emmie and cousin Millie postmarked from Brooklyn.

Barbara’s aunt Muriel and her father Forrest were the children of Clinton and Carolyn West. Carolyn was one of six children of John Henry Hudson and Emeline Hicks Raynor. For reasons we can only surmise, Carolyn was raised in Brooklyn by her mother’s cousin Nancy Mills Raynor, known as Millie, and her husband Benjamin Lyman Cowles. Carolyn lived with the Cowles in Brooklyn from the age of four to 17.

We wanted to find out as much as we about the family who raised Barbara’s grandmother and probably sent these cards. Going to search engines such as Ancestry.com and Findagrave, looking at census reports for 1880 and 1900, as well as family photos, Barbara was able to find that Nancy Raynor was the daughter of Edward Raynor and his first wife Eliza. It appears that Katie and Emma were the daughters of Edward’s second wife Hannah Reeves. So Katie and Emma were step-cousins to Muriel, and Millie would be an actual first cousin twice removed to young Muriel West. In 1920 Muriel married Charles Wesley Hawkins and continued to live in East Setauket until her death in 1995. The search goes on.

Beverly C. Tyler is the 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.