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Mari Irizarry

Connor Klug and his Eagle Scout project at the Three Villlage Historical Society surrounded by family and members of the TVHS. Photo by Rob Pellegrino/TVHS

The Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) has a new Little Free Library thanks to Eagle Scout candidate Connor Klug of Troop 1776, a Mount Sinai resident and senior at Mount Sinai High School.

SEEING DOUBLE: Connor Klug with his Little Free Library Eagle Scout Project, an exact replica of the Bayles-Swezey House in the background. Photo by Rob Pellegrino

Like all Scouts aiming to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America program, 17-year-old Klug needed to complete a service project. When it came time to choose one, he thought immediately of his love of history and knew that TVHS was extremely active within the community. 

Klug got the ball rolling on his project last fall, when he contacted TVHS director Mari Irizarry who suggested the community could use a Little Free Library like the ones at West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook and along Main Street at Three Village Community Trust headquarters in Setauket.

“We welcome hundreds of guests to our property each month for events and exhibit tours. The response I’ve heard on social media about Connor’s library has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Irizarry. “The addition of the Little Free Library adds great value to our community, and a special touch to the Society.”

Connor Klug with the Little Free LIbrary on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society. Photo by Rob Pellegrino

Once Klug got the OK from TVHS, he began the six-month long process of designing the library to look exactly like the headquarters of the Three Village Historical Society, the Bayles-Swezey house (circa 1800), all the while being mindful of durability and weatherproofing. Klug then hit the streets asking for materials to be donated for the project with an approximate cost of $500 and had help to complete the project from family, friends, and Troop 1776. 

The process became a learning experience for Klug. “I learned that being a leader isn’t all about telling people what to do. You need to be confident, moral, and decisive, especially when things don’t go as planned,” he said.

The public is invited to drop off books about history-related topics to be included in the library — and is free to take ones too. 

The Three Village Historical Society is located at 93 N. Country Road in Setauket. For more information, visit www.tvhs.org.

Lindsey Steward-Goldberg. Photo from TVHS

The Three Village Historical Society has announced the appointment of Lindsey Steward-Goldberg as Education Coordinator. Ms. Steward-Goldberg comes to the Historical Society with a Master of Arts degree in Public History from Central Connecticut State University.

Her experience in connecting multiple audiences to an organization’s resources and values comes from her work at a number of institutions that vary in size, audience and resources. Further, her background in history and education will be pivotal in developing more varied public programs that encourage a wider audience to appreciate local history.

Steward-Goldberg is no stranger to museum education. She is the creator and author of Looking Back, Moving Forward in Museum Education!, a blog that researches and discusses future trends in museum education. Before volunteering with the society’s education committee in 2017, Ms. Steward-Goldberg gained experience as an educator and interpreter at museums across Connecticut and Long Island, preparing her well to enhance the docent program at the Three Village Historical Society. Her experience at these small non-profit institutions has given her the basis for a solid understanding of the wide-ranging needs at TVHS.

“I am looking forward to continuing my work with TVHS as we share our educational opportunities with the public. I hope our programs continue to grow and expand to fit the needs of our community” said Ms. Steward-Goldberg.

“With Lindsey’s energy and enthusiasm, I’m confident that she will build upon the Society’s accomplishments by expanding our educational footprint throughout Long Island and beyond and inspiring young children’s inquisitive spirits and the community’s lifelong love and interest of history and learning,” said Mari Irizarry, TVHS Director.

From L to R: Front Row – Mari Irizarry, Director, Dotty Miller, Recording Secretary, Holly Brainard, Judi Wallace, Treasurer, Brian Bennett, David Prestia, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. Back Row – Vinny Menten, Patty Cain, Shamma Murphy, Corresponding Secretary, Ron LaVita, Jeff Schnee, President, David Tracy, Greg Philipps, Vice President. Not pictured: Ed Miller, Vice President, Christina Tortora, Orlando Maione and Michael O’Dwyer. Photo by: Rob Pellegrino

The Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) membership recently elected five new members: Judi Wallace, Shamma Murphy, Brian Bennett, Christina Tortora and David Tracy. The group joined current board of trustee members Holly Brainard, David Prestia,  Vinny Menten, Patty Cain, Ron LaVita, Orlando Maione and Michael O’Dwyer for a swearing in by Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn at the annual meeting of the membership and lecture on Jan. 23 at The Setauket Neighborhood House.

“These new trustees bring a wealth of experience, leadership, and perspective that will greatly enhance the ability of our board to meet the significant challenges and opportunities facing the Three Village Historical Society,” says Mari Irizarry, Director. “We look forward to working with each of them to continue the board’s focused stewardship of TVHS’ financial and community affairs to strengthen the Society’s reputation for excellence in education and community based programming.”

New Trustees

Judi Wallace, CPA, Treasurer, has owned a local accounting firm in the Three Village area for the past 19 years. Her practice includes accounting and bookkeeping services for small businesses, tax preparation and planning for individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations and she is admitted to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.

Judi has been a resident of the Three Village area since 2003 and is involved in a variety of local organizations including Treasurer of Stony Brook Rotary, Treasurer of Small Business Networking Alliance, Trustee of Three Village Community Trust, Treasurer of Three Village Historical Society, and Treasurer of SparkleFaith Inc. She is also very involved in St James RC Church in Setauket serving on the Finance Committee, Parish Council, and various other ministries.

Shamma Murphy, Corresponding Secretary has been a resident of Stony Brook for the past 10 years. She has two sons in the Three Village Central School District where she has volunteered regularly over the past seven years. Currently Shamma is the President of the Gelinas PTSA and the Treasurer of the Ward Melville High School PTSA, both in the second year of each two-year term.

For the past four years she has been recruiting volunteers to help in the Gelinas School store, keeping the store stocked and manned, being the largest fundraiser for this PTSA. Prior, she ran the Scholastic Book Fairs at Setauket Elementary School for four years, implementing a process to fill each teacher’s classrooms with at least $250 worth of new books per fair, as well as a “buy one get one free” funded 100% by the Setauket PTA to keep students reading through the summer. For the past five years Shamma has been the President’s Volunteer Service Award’s Chairperson for Gelinas Jr. High School.  She enjoys volunteering at the Three Village Historical Society very much, introduced to her by her son, Owen Murphy, a regular volunteer.

Shamma works with farmers, community gardeners and homeowners as the education and marketing director for SOS for your Soil, a local compost company, for the past ten years, prior to that, she was a civil engineer on Long Island and in Charlotte, NC for 12 years.

Brian Bennett, Trustee is a life long resident of Long Island. He received his BA in Economics from SUNY Albany and 2 MA’s from SUNY Stony Brook, in Liberal Studies and History.  Having grown up in Ronkonkoma, he had a History of Lake Ronkonkoma published in the old Long Island Forum.

Brian taught, mostly in the Sayville school district for over 30 years. He and his wife Donna have lived in Setauket for 30 years, and their 2 sons attended Three Village schools. Since retirement, he has continued to teach as an adjunct professor at both Suffolk Community College and St. Joseph’s University.  He is a coordinator of Our Daily Bread, a soup kitchen at St. James RC church and enjoys being outdoors, and doing crossword puzzles with his wife.

Christina Tortora, Trustee is a Professor of Linguistics at The City University of New York, where she is currently Deputy Executive Officer in the Linguistics Program at The Graduate Center in Manhattan. She has over 25 years of experience in higher education and management of federally funded projects from agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Chrstina is the author and editor of several academic books, journal articles, and book chapters, and has a life-long passion for teaching advanced scientific findings to students in diverse professions and academic disciplines. She grew up in Setauket and currently lives in Stony Brook, is an alumna of the Three Village School District (Nassakeag; Murphy; Ward Melville), and an alumna of Stony Brook University, where she maintains strong professional and personal ties. She has an interest in vernacular culture and oral histories and wishes to bring her academic expertise in project management and oral history to the Three Village Historical Society.

David Tracy, Trustee has been a resident of the Three Village area since 2012. He has served and continues to serve as a Law Enforcement Officer with the Department of Homeland Security since 2010. Prior to beginning his Law Enforcement career, David served in the United States Marine Corps for 4 years, completing two tours to Iraq. After serving in the military, David attended John Jay of Criminal Justice graduating with honors with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice. David has been married to his wife Becky since 2007 and has a son, Sean, who was born in 2008.

In his spare time, David is the Founder and Chairman of a local charity called the Three Village Dads Foundation. His charity is responsible for donating over $200,000 to local causes such as the Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, High School Scholarships, Veteran causes, Historical restoration projects and many other deserving recipients. David has also served as a Trustee on the Board of the Three Village Community Trust since 2020.


ABOUT TVHS — The Three Village Historical Society (TVHS), a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 1964 by community members, exists to educate the public about our rich cultural heritage as well as foster and preserve local history. TVHS offers museum exhibits, events, programs, archives, and other outreach initiatives to inform and enrich the public’s interest in and understanding of the vibrant past of the Three Village area along the north shore in Suffolk County, Long Island.

Mari Irizarry

During the onset of the pandemic, the Three Village Historical Society had a difficult decision regarding laying off employees when they were unable to hold events which generate revenue.

Part of Three Village Historical Society Director Mari Irizarry’s (left) job is archiving records. Above, she is with Long Island Library Resources Council Project Archivist Robert Anen with an archival box containing the audio tapes from Glenda Dickerson’s Eel Catching in Setauket project that was originally believed to be lost. Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

They could keep only one person on staff, and they chose at the time creative services manager Mari Irizarry, who has worked with TVHS since 2016. Earlier this year, the TVHS board of trustees appointed Irizarry the society’s director, a position that hadn’t been filled for some time.

TVHS president, Jeff Schnee, said the society had reached a point where they needed someone as director once again as the board of trustees looked to work with various organizations, develop relationships with community members and enrich its educational programs. The society is also planning to open the Dominick-Crawford Barn Exhibit and Education Center in the near future. The preservation project will feature expanded archives, an exhibition and education center, and a gift shop.

Schnee said after working nearly a year with Irizarry he knew she would be the perfect director.

“Mari’s superpower is that she’s a bridge builder,” he said.

He added Irizarry has helped TVHS work with other art and cultural organizations in the area, which he said is ideal as whenever people attend an event, they ask what else there is to do locally. Schnee said it’s a win-win situation where the society recommends neighboring museums and galleries, and they do the same by suggesting the historical society to visitors.

Among Irizarry’s accomplishments is forming a youth advisory committee with high school students, which Schnee said is “huge” for the society’s future as they share their ideas and volunteer at events. Irizarry reaches out to the committee members’ parents to ask them to get involved, too.

“It’s broadening the experience, the skills and the potential of our board and membership,” Schnee said.

Irizarry brings some 20 years of experience in nonprofit and government sectors. Schnee said with her past experiences with nonprofits, she’s been able to attract more people to the society and many have joined because of her. This year there have been 125 first-time members.

Currently, TVHS is working on the museum that will be housed in the Dominick-Crawford Barn and will feature a 1,500-square-foot first floor of educational and exhibit space. Schnee said Irizarry is on the design team of the museum, and he is confident in her abilities.

“We’re so lucky to have her,” Schnee said.

Irizarry has also developed the gift shop currently in the historical society’s main building on North Country Road. When talking to the director about the gift shop, Schnee said he had hoped to create an experience for visitors.

“She developed what was a small little area into a marvelous array of books as well as other items locally produced that visitors can take back as a nice memento of visiting our establishment,” he said.

Margo Arceri, Tri-Spy Tours owner, credited Irizarry for bringing interesting Culper Spy Ring-oriented merchandise to the society’s gift store.

According to the society, there have been 1,600 transactions at the gift store this year.

Arceri also praised Irizarry for her work during the pandemic

“She really kept that train moving when the rest of the world stopped,” she said.

Mari Irizarry and Jeff Schnee address attendees at the groundbreaking of the Dominick-Crawford Barn Exhibit and Education Center in March. Photo by Raymond Janis

Arceri said planning virtual events during the pandemic has taken the historical society to the next level, and Irizarry’s forward thinking has helped TVHS immensely. According to a recent Year in Review email from the society, there were 58,000 attendees to TVHS events, either in-person or virtually, who live across the United States and five countries.

“I think she put on all her different hats, and she shines with each one quite well, and I think the key was that she kept us moving forward in terms of creative thinking,” Arceri said.

Over the last couple of years, Irizarry has spearheaded free events on Culper Spy Day and this year introduced the first Three Village Outdoor Winter Market.

“She has a passion for the society,” Arceri said. “She has a passion for the community, and I think that we’re very fortunate to have her.”

Beverly C. Tyler, TVHS historian and education committee member, described Irizarry as a positive multitasker and people person. He said she has been learning as she goes and is organized, a good manager and executive.

“She has a natural talent for working with people and getting things done,” he said.

Tyler added, “She has progressed from being a media person to having all around knowledge of what the society needs and what’s best for the society.”

The historian added she knows how to spot people’s strengths and how they can best contribute. He noted regarding the various planning committees, Irizarry coordinates well with the members. “We know when we’re working with her on a project what’s expected of us, and she knows exactly how to get the most out of what we’re doing to make the society move forward,” he said.

“She has a passion for the society,” Arceri said. “She has a passion for the community, and I think that we’re very fortunate to have her.”

For steering the historical society toward the future, Irizarry is among TBR News Media’s 2022 People of the Year.

The Cinnamon Candle will be selling custom-scented soy candles at the Winter Holiday Market.

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Garland-bedecked main streets and ancient forests blanketed in sparkly snow aren’t the only idyllic qualities of wintertime in the Three Villages; it is the area’s warm and embracing community that invokes the holiday spirit above all else. That said, there’s nothing that says “community” and “holiday spirit” better than a winter market! 

From farmers and chefs to crafters and artisans, vendors from all over are welcome to participate in the very first annual Three Village Winter Market, hosted by the Three Village Historical Society on Dec. 10 and 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

As the TVHS says on their website, “Give big by shopping small”—and locally —this season. Not only does shopping locally at fairs and markets support the community we love, but it can also reduce our carbon footprint. Plus, you’re bound to find one-of-a-kind items that are homegrown, handcrafted, or home cooked. According to Dan Murphy, the TVHS staff member organizing the event, “There is something personal when you visit these small shops and vendors. I love the care that everyone puts into their work; it’s not just an item to sell, it is a passion, an art, and it’s worth sharing and certainly worth supporting that type of art and creativity.”

Located on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society’s headquarters at 93 North Country Road in Setauket, the Winter Market is expected to feature at least 50 vendors selling everything from soaps, candles, beeswax, stained glass, and chainsaw art to wine, cheese, chocolate, and macarons. 

Keep an eye out for adorable and skillfully made felted gifts at Ewes and Coos Felted; delectable, homemade treats at Barry’s Baked Goods; fragrant soaps; and balms at Amadeus Aromatherapy; beautifully crafted stained glass ornaments and hangings by Cashmere Pecan; custom scented soy candles by The Cinnamon Candle, woodworking inspired by our rich maritime history by The Nautical Arts Workshop and so much more. The event will also feature a children’s crafting station and is dog-friendly 

Stop by the Society’s museum, located in the circa 1800 Bayles-Swezey house and decorated in Victorian-era holiday finery to check out their award-winning exhibits and the gift shop’s exclusive holiday offers. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are welcomed. 

If you are interested in participating as a vendor, please reach out to the TVHS through their website at www.tvhs.org/wintermarket to sign up. Artisans and small businesses of all kinds are welcome to bring their wares to sell. Each space is 10×10 feet, and participants are required to bring their own tents and tables. Vendors can purchase a spot for $100 for one day or $150 for the whole weekend. These fees are non-refundable unless the whole event is canceled due to inclement weather. Please reach out to Dan via email for additional information at [email protected].

“It truly is so inspiring to see so many Long Island-based entrepreneurs that bring so much talent to the table,” said Mari Irizarry, TVHS director. “This Winter Market honors their struggles and their craft. Our one and only wish that we’ll be sending off to Santa is that the community comes out and helps each vendor completely sell out! … See you at the Winter Market!” 

For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

Perfect weather and a gorgeous sunset kicked off the Three Village Historical Society’s 28th annual Spirits Tour, Spies of the American Revolution: Known and Unknown, on Oct. 22. 

Volunteer guides introduced almost 300 guests to the ghosts of 16 spies (Benjamin Tallmadge; Benjamin Floyd; Thomas Strong; Keturah Strong; Jonas Hawkins; Ruth Hawkins; Jesse Smith Woodhull; Major John Andre; Nathan Hale; Catherine Roe; Austin Roe; George Washington; Abraham Cooper Woodhull; Caleb Brewster; and Amos and Mary Underhill) waiting for their arrival at the Caroline Church and Setauket Presbyterian Church graveyards during the sold-out event. 

Along the way, visitors had the opportunity to walk in on conversations from whale boat captains, soldiers, tavern owners and children who were involved in the Culper Spy Ring. 

“Participants learned about the struggles of everyday people who risked their lives for what they believed in … and that these brave Three Village residents were just like all of us, with a burden to carry to help our young nation turn the tide of the Revolutionary War,” said TVHS Director Mari Irizarry, who was pleased with the successful turnout with special thanks to Luigi’s Pizzeria, Ann Marie’s Farmstand, Druthers Coffee, Dunkin Donuts of Stony Brook, Stop & Shop of Setauket, Setauket Presbyterian Church, Caroline Church, Daughters of the American Revolution – Anna Smith Strong Chapter and the Long Island Youth Development, Inc. Music Club “and of course all of the countless volunteers.”

Representing the 16 spirits, from left, Art Billadello, Stephanie Carsten, Owen Murphy, Iris Rosenhagen, Mort Rosen, Donna Smith, Ryan Worrell, Chris De Francis, Steve Healy, Bianca Dresch, Stephanie Sakson, George Overin, Rob Pelligrino, Tom Cominskey, Theresa Travers and George Fear.

Next up, the TVHS will host their 43rd annual Candlelight House Tour on Dec. 2 and 3. Check their website, www.tvhs.org, for updates.

All photos by Raina Angelier

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Cayla Rosenhagen

The past teaches us invaluable lessons about unity, courage, and overcoming challenges. By studying our community’s deep history, we not only celebrate and learn from the tales of historic heroes and heroines, but also form stronger bonds with those we share our community with.

The Three Village Historical Society seeks to strengthen those ties through its work in preservation and education. Their museum at the Bayles-Swezey House in Setauket evokes the passion for history of its curators in an environment that emphasizes the important roles the Three Village area has played throughout the years. 

I recently had the honor of interviewing Mari Irizarry, appointed earlier this year as the Director of the TVHS, who has brought a wealth of expertise and passion to the Three Village community. According to Irizarry, the organization was founded by volunteers in 1964 to preserve the stories and artifacts of the community. “Sixty years later, that mission is at the backbone of the Society. We are stronger than ever, and it is because of community members and volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise to preserving and sharing stories with the public,” she said.

Did you know Setauket and its ancestral residents played a pivotal role in the American Revolution? In fact, General George Washington employed the help of several Long Island spies to gather intelligence on the British army’s operations in what is known as the Culper Spy Ring. The TVHS’s exhibit, “SPIES!” features a large, interactive space where you can follow the daring stories of members of the Ring and learn how they conveyed coded and hidden messages without being discovered by the British troops occupying Long Island.

The history center’s other exhibit, “Chicken Hill: A Community Lost to Time” sheds light on a diverse community that used to reside in a small area of Setauket. The bygone village still has lessons to teach us all about neighborliness and unity. Over the course of its existence from the Industrial Revolution to the mid-20th century, the area was a melting pot for several minorities including Eastern European Jews, African Americans, and Indigenous Americans.

Despite the fact that its residents practiced different religions and customs and spoke in many languages, Chicken Hill was a cohesive community. The museum has preserved its legacy by showcasing the stories of former residents in the “I Remember” portion of the exhibit, and what life was like then through its informative displays and artifacts.   

The museum grounds are also home to the Three Village Farmer’s Market on Fridays currently from 3 to 7 p.m. and in October from 2 to 6 p.m. Stop by to pick up some groceries and handmade gifts and enjoy the museum’s pay-what-you-can open house and access to all the exhibits.

In addition, celebrate Revolutionary War heroes by attending the TVHS’s 8th annual Culper Spy Day at the museum grounds on Sept. 10. Throughout the day, guests can enjoy an immersive colonial-era experience and participate in interactive activities such as crafts and games. 

Irizarry was eager to share some more highly-anticipated events:

“Next up, after Culper Spy Day, we’re excited to bring back the Spirits Tour on October 22 where guests will join guides through the Setauket Presbyterian and Caroline Church graveyards to listen to stories from costumed actors who will portray the unknown spies during the American Revolution. We’ll cap off the year with the time-honored tradition of the Candlelight House Tour that will take place in the historic neighborhood of Old Field on Dec. 2 and 3. Five homes will be expertly decorated for the holiday season and guests will tour each home learning about the historical architecture and design.”

Visit the museum located at 93 North Country Road in Setauket on Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m., Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children, and is free for TVHS members. For more information about the TVHS’s events, including tours of the exhibits, visit their website at www.tvhs.org or call 631-751-3730. 

Cayla Rosenhagen is a local high school student who enjoys capturing the unique charm of the community through photography and journalism. She serves on the board of directors for the Four Harbors Audubon Society and Brookhaven’s Youth Board, and is the founder and coordinator of Beach Bucket Brigade, a community outreach program dedicated to environmental awareness, engagement, and education. She is also an avid birder, hiker, and artist who is concurrently enrolled in college.

Meet Big Bill the Tory aka William Jayne II (David Burt) , pictured with, from left, Major Benjamin Tallmadge (Art Billadello) and Abraham Woodhull (Beverly C. Tyler) at the Sherwood-Jayne House during Culper Spy Day. File photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

By Heidi Sutton

Mark your calendars! Culper Spy Day returns on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (rain date is Sept. 11). Presented by the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) and Tri-Spy Tours in collaboration with more than 30 local historical and cultural organizations, the day will feature activities related to the Culper Spy Ring which was founded by Benjamin Tallmadge, George Washington’s chief intelligence officer during the Revolutionary War.

Kyle Parker of the 23rd Regiment of Foot. John Neely Photography

Now in its 8th year, the annual event is the brainchild of Margo Arceri, who first heard about Washington’s Setauket spies (including her favorite spy Anna Smith Strong) from her Strong’s Neck neighbor and local historian, Kate W. Strong, in the early 1970s. 

“My love of history grew from there,” Arceri explained. “Everywhere you turn in the Three Villages you are looking at an artifact, and as the historical society believes, the community is our museum and I would really love to put that on the forefront of people’s minds.”

Participants will have the opportunity to visit 10 locations in Setauket, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson (see list on right) to learn about Long Island’s brave Patriot spy ring through historic church, home and museum tours, spy stories, colonial cooking demonstrations, military encampments, historic letters, musical performances, children activities and more. Admission to all locations, with the exception of the Sherwood-Jayne House tour and the Spies! exhibit tour at the TVHS, is free.

“Culper Spy Day is an educational and fun day of adventure for the whole family, designed to honor and commemorate the ordinary men, women and children that risked their lives day to day to fight for what they believed in and in turn, helped win the American Revolution,” said Mari Irizarry, Director at the TVHS.

“Visitors will learn stories of how Patriots outwitted the British to win the American Revolution. They’ll also learn what life was like on Long Island during the 18th century — what they ate, what they wore, what kind of jobs they had, etc. Prepare yourself to hear the true story of sacrifice that many citizens of Setauket undertook on behalf of their new nation,” said Irizarry.

One of the highlights this year is the Revolutionary War encampment in the field next to the TVHS with the Huntington Militia and the 23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers in America). After a reading of Redcoats and Petticoats by Anna Smith Strong at 12:30 p.m., children will be invited to join the 23rd Regiment in a march around the encampment at 1 p.m. Sample some colonial cooking, an authentic recipe of Mary Floyd Tallmadge, courtesy of Stirring Up History‘s Diane Schwindt, resident historic cook at the Ketcham Inn in Center Moriches, on the grounds as well.


Big Bill the Tory. Photo courtesy of Preservation Long Island

If you don’t have time to visit all the locations, Arceri recommends the Caroline Church of Brookhaven’s cemetery and history center which “is such a treat for visitors to explore and learn about” and Arceri and Irizarry both recommend the tour of the Sherwood-Jayne House with Big Bill the Tory. 

Rarely open to visitors, “it is one of the best examples of colonial living and the house is in pristine condition. It’s also one of the few times guests will get to hear ‘the other side,'” said Irizarry. “Additionally, we’re so excited that the Drowned Meadow Cottage Museum chose Culper Spy Day as their grand reopening day.” 

“I hope that we have new visitors to ‘Culper Country,'” said Arceri. “Setauket has really become a tourist destination and Culper Spy Day is certainly a highlight for these visitors as they are able to see many of the sites and visit with many of the organizations that make up our Revolutionary story.” 

The 8th annual Culper Spy Day is made possible by the generous support of Heritage Spy Ring Golf Club with additional sponsorship provided by the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.culperspyday.com.

23rd Regiment of Foot. Photo by North Island Photography
Participating locations for Culper Spy Day:

THREE VILLAGE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 93 North Country Road, Setauket. Located in the circa 1800 Bayles-Swezey House. Here you can take part in outdoor events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. including “building” a timber frame house with Abraham Woodhull; children’s story hour; colonial crafts with the Daughters of the American Revolution – Anna Smith Strong Chapter; an invisible ink demonstration; printmaking with Gallery North; Culper Spy-themed authors and book signings; Anna Smith Stron’s famed clothesline, a colonial cooking demonstration;  23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers in America) and Huntington Militia encampment; a potato sack race; augmented reality demonstrations; mobile exhibits, and much more. Docent led tours of the Spies! exhibit will be held every 30 mintues at $10 per person. 631-751-3730.

SETAUKET NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE, 95 Main St., Setauket. The original part of the house, where the central chimney is located, was built in the early 1700s. In 1820 it was moved to its present location from its original site on Setauket (Conscience) Bay by Dr. John Elderkin. The building has served as an inn, and has housed a general store, post office, bank and a Franklin Library. Docents will give tours of the historic home from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 631-51-6208.

PATRIOTS ROCK HISTORIC SITE, Main Street, Setauket (across from the Setauket Post Office). This glacial erratic boulder is said to be the location of the Battle of Setauket on Aug. 22, 1777. Stop here between 10 a.m. and  2 p.m. to meet representatives from the Three Village Community Trust who will discuss the importance of Patriots Rock and its local and environmental history. 631-689-0225.

CAROLINE CHURCH AND CEMETERY, 1 Dyke Road, Setauket. Built in 1729, this timber frame building has maintained its Colonial appearance. Now an Episcopal church, during the Revolutionary War the Caroline Church was Anglican and a Colonial extension of the Church of England. The graveyard contains the remains of six Patriot soldiers as well as soldiers from World War I and II. The inside of the church will be open for guided tours from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. from the vestibule and tour the cemetery your leisure with a docent present for questions.  631-941-4245. 

The grave of Abraham Woodhull at the Setauket Presbyterian Churchyard. File photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

SETAUKET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AND CEMETERY, 5 Caroline Ave., Setauket. The previous church (1714–1811) was a part of British fortifications during 1777. The fort was under the command of Loyalist commander Col. Richard Hewlett. The present building dates from 1812. Come tour the interior of the church from 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and then tour the cemetery with the grave of Abraham Woodhull of  Washington’s spy ring at your leisure. 631-941-4271.  

EMMA S. CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY, 120 Main St., Setauket. The library (circa 1892) will present a concert featuring the trio Rose Tree, a traditional folk group which includes musicians Larry Moser, Mary Nagin and Maria Fairchild, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Library lawn. They will be performing 18th century songs and tunes from America, Ireland, England and Scotland. View Revolutionary War soldiers’ equipment in the Library’s lobby. Kids can enjoy a craft from noon to 3 p.m. and check out related materials at the information tent adjacent to the front entrance. 631-941-4080. 

SETAUKET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AUDITORIUM, 134 Main St., Setauket. Completed in 1951, the auditorium contains the murals of artist Vance Locke. A gift of Ward and Dorothy Melville to the community, the murals tell the stories of Setauket/Brookhaven history. The auditorium will be open to the public for self-guided tours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 631-730-4600.

SHERWOOD-JAYNE HOUSE, 55 Old Post Road, East Setauket. Originally built around 1730 as a lean-to saltbox dwelling, the house and farm were maintained as an operational farmstead for over 150 years by members of the Jayne family. Visit with Big Bill the Tory aka William Jayne III, who will explain the noble intentions and virtuosities of King George III and tells you the TRUTH about Washington’s pesky band of renegade spies! Tours run continuously from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. $5 per person, children under 5 free. Pre-registration is recommended at www.preservationlongisland.org. 631-692-4664.

THE LONG ISLAND MUSEUM, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook. The museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate with permanent and changing exhibitions on American history and art, along with the finest collection of horse-drawn carriages in the country, some of which belonged to Revolutionary War heroes. Visit the History Museum between noon and 5 p.m. to view the newly uncovered Culper Spy Ring letter by Benjamin Tallmadge to Robert Townsend. Tour the museum’s galleries and grounds for free. 631-751-0066.

DROWNED MEADOW COTTAGE MUSEUM, corner of West Broadway and Barnum Avenue, Port Jefferson. The Revolutionary War-era Roe House was originally constructed circa 1755 and Phillips Roe, a member of the Culper Spy Ring along with his brother Nathaniel and cousin Austin, was known to have lived there. Visit the cottage between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. for their grand reopening and enjoy a new exhibit, Privateers: Pirates with Permission, tours, privateers re-enacting the plundering of the Roe family and colonial-themed storytelling for children.

* Please note: Public restrooms are located in the Setauket Neighborhood House and Emma S. Clark Memorial Library.


TVHS Director Mari Irizarry

The Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) has  announced that Mari Irizarry has been appointed by the Board of Trustees as its new Director. Her appointment comes at an opportune time in the Society’s history, as it will unveil powerful new augmented reality experiences this spring that complement the Spies! exhibit and, plans for the Dominick-Crawford Barn Education Center groundbreaking.

Irizarry has worked with TVHS since 2016 and has emerged as a dedicated visionary after the forced restructuring, in January 2021, brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Mari brings over 20 years’ experience as a leader in non-profit and government sectors, in NYC and Long Island, focusing on leadership, programming, strategy, marketing, and communications.

“The Board is ecstatic to have Mari lead the Three Village Historical Society as we begin our next endeavor of expanding programming in the Three Village area with the addition of the Dominick Crawford Barn Education Center,” said Jeff Schnee, President of the Board of Trustees. “We are thankful that Mari has devoted so much of her time and expertise to the growth of the Society. She has walked with me every step of the way since the Society had to shift operations with Covid-19. In the end, we were compelled by Mari’s unique combination of energy, thought leadership, and experience, as well as her rare ability to toggle effortlessly between vision and action. We could not be more excited about this appointment!”

“I am very proud and honored to be part of this great organization that has been a staple of our Three Village area for nearly 60 years,” said Irizarry. “I look forward to building strategic partnerships and continuing to build on this incredible legacy which has already contributed so much to our community.”

Judith Kalaora will portray Revolutionary War hero Deborah Sampson on Feb. 21. Photo by Vincent Morreale
Meet the first woman to secretly serve in the military at TVHS living history event

By Melissa Arnold

If you could spend an hour with any historical person, who would it be?

Many people have answered this question as part of an ice breaker or an online survey. It’s a fun dream to consider.

But what if you actually could meet and talk to someone who left a significant mark on American history? On Feb. 21, the Three Village Historical Society will welcome “Deborah Sampson,” a daring woman who bound her chest and hid her identity to serve in the Revolutionary War. Sampson, played by Judith Kalaora, will share her dramatic and captivating story and take questions from the audience about life in the 18th century.

Judith Kalaora as Deborah Sampson during a livestream event.

Kalaora is the founder and artistic director of History At Play, a living history performance group. She has made it her life’s mission to connect people in personal, immersive ways to fascinating historical figures. But for Kalaora, who holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree in Acting from Syracuse University, it’s about so much more than entertainment.

“I’ve always believed that theater is a wonderful teaching tool. I had phenomenal teachers growing up who utilized role playing and activities like Mock Trial, and that’s all acting. It became very clear to me that there was an avenue to explore and that I wanted to teach, but I wasn’t sure what. I was drawn to history because it’s all about stories, and ultimately became a historical interpreter in Boston right out of college.”

A historical interpreter is highly educated in a particular period of history, and teaches by wearing the fashions of the era and playing the role of a historical figure, whether that is a specific person or just a common citizen.

For that first job, Kalaora chose to portray a woman named Deborah Sampson, a self-educated indentured servant who chose to disguise her identity and join the American military. Sampson fought under the alias Robert Shurtlieff and later became the first woman to be honorably discharged.

“She is the official heroine of Massachusetts, but I never learned about her when I was in grade school,” Kalaora explained. “I was always a tomboy, really interested in the military and weaponry from a young age. And as I looked through history books trying to decide who I would portray, I fell in love with Deborah’s life.”

Judith Kalaora will portray Revolutionary War hero Deborah Sampson on Feb. 21.
Photo by Bjorn Bolinder/Find The Light Photography

Tourists of all ages and nationalities were fascinated by Deborah’s story as well, and it inspired Kalaora to write a one-woman play called “A Revolution of Her Own.” Since its debut in 2010, she has taken the show from coast to coast for more than 2,000 performances, including on 42nd Street in New York City.

When the pandemic shut down theater performances around the world, History at Play had to get creative. Thanks to Zoom, audiences can meet Deborah Sampson and learn from her in the comfort of their living rooms. The event is a part of the Three Village Historical Society’s (TVHS) monthly Lecture Series, which hosts prominent and emerging historians, authors, genealogists, archeologists and storytellers from around the nation. 

“The first lecture at TVHS was in 2003, and happened occasionally. It officially became a monthly offering in early 2006,” said TVHS executive director Mari Irizarry. “TVHS has proudly offered an average of nine monthly lectures to the public for nearly 16 years with the intention of furthering the mission of the Society by educating the public about our rich history.”

The historical society was introduced to Kalaora thanks to historian Margo Arceri, who runs Tri-Spy Tours which offers walking, biking and cycling tours around the Three Village area.

“This will be our first living history performance! We’re very excited about introducing this as a new offering from the Society,” Irizarry said. “The event is perfect for the entire family, and we hope that our younger audience attends this online presentation as well. The story of Deborah Sampson is largely unknown and we believe that our audience will be awe-inspired by her legacy.”

“A Revolution of Her Own! Deborah Sampson, Immersive Living History” will be presented online via Zoom at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 21. The evening is free for members of the Three Village Historical Society, and a suggested donation of $5 is requested for all others. For more information or to register, visit www.tvhs.org/lecture-series or call 631-751-3730.


TVHS lecture series line-up for 2022

All lectures begin at 7 p.m. 


“A Revolution of Her Own! Deborah Sampson, Immersive Living History”

Presented by Artistic Director of History at Play Judith Kalaora

Sponsored by Tri-Spy Tours


“History of the LIRR with a North Shore Perspective”

Presented by Railroad Museum of Long Island President Don Fisher


“A New York Experience: A  Constant Affair”

Presented by art historian Louise Cella Caruso


“A School with a Vision: Celebrating 100 Years of  The Stony Brook School”

Presented by Stony Brook School History Faculty David Hickey


“The Drafting of a Radical Idea – The Declaration of Independence”

Presented by Stony Brook University Senior lecturer & Faculty Director Tara Rider


“Winning Votes for Women on Long Island and the Nation”

Presented by author and professor Emerita Natalie Naylor


“Mafia Spies: The Inside Story of the CIA, Gangster, JFK and Castro”

Presented by author, journalist and television producer Thomas Maier


“William Sidney Mount’s Long Island and the People of Color”

Presented by authors Katherine Kirkpatrick and Vivian Nicholson-Mueller

The evenings are free for members of the Three Village Historical Society, and a suggested donation of $5 is requested for all others. For more information or to register, visit www.tvhs.org/lecture-series or call 631-751-3730.