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Three Village Historical Society

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

‘Eel Spearing at Setauket,’ 1845, by William Sidney Mount

The Three Village Historical Society lecture series hosts prominent and emerging historians, authors, genealogists, archeologists and storytellers from around the nation and presents topics related to local history, heritage conservation, social justice, art history, and more. For decades, TVHS public programming has provided a stimulating environment for the exploration of history and ideas that permeate the culture and community of the Three Village area, and beyond.

In early 2020, when the world went on “lock-down”, TVHS shifted gears and began hosting this treasured event virtually via Zoom on a monthly basis and the Society will continue to do so for 2021. Unless otherwise noted, all lectures begin at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and will be held on Zoom and moderated by Mari Irizarry, TVHS Creative Services Director. The Virtual Lecture Series is open to public, with a $5 general admission suggested donation and is free for TVHS members. Registration is required at www.tvhs.org/lecture-series.

February 22nd

Guest Speaker: Louise Cella Caruso

William Sidney Mount: His Life and His Work

March 15th

Guest Speaker: Selene Castrovilla

Founding Mothers

April 19th

Guest Speaker: Kristen Nyitray

History of Stony Brook University

May 17th

Guest Speaker: Bill Bleyer

Culper Spy Ring and Long Island Revolutionary War Sites

Book: “George Washington’s Long Island Spy Ring: A History and Tour Guide.”

June 21st

Guest Speaker: Steve Drielak

The Alice Parsons’ Kidnapping: Long Island’s History Unsolved Mystery

July 19th

Guest Speaker: Rhoda Miller

Exploring Long Island’s Jewish History

August 16th

Guest Speaker: Darren St. George, Preservation Long Island

Jupiter Hammon Project: Confronting Slavery at Preservation Long Island’s Joseph Lloyd Manor

September 20th

Guest Speaker: Chris Matthews

A Struggle For Heritage: Archaeology and Civil Rights in Long Island Community

October 18th

Guest Speaker: Tara Rider

The Devil in New York: The Withcraft Trial of Goody Garlick

November 15th

Guest Speaker: Jeff Richman

Green-Wood Cemetery’s Civil War Project

December 14th

Frank Turano

Chicken Hill: A Community Lost to Time

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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

A scene from a previous TVHS Candlelight House Tour

Like many small not-for-profits, the Three Village Historical Society has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas in the past — from our beginnings — we were fortunate to be able to rely primarily on memberships, private donations and revenue from major events like our Candlelight House Tour — our biggest annual fundraiser. That model is not sustainable during the current pandemic.

The board of trustees has worked hard over the past 10 months in an attempt to reorganize and economize. During this time, we have developed more efficient processes, secured small grants, held fundraising events, lobbied both the town and county for support, met with local sister organizations regarding collaborations and consulted with others about possible strategies. Despite these efforts, like many other local businesses, we have a challenging 12 to 18 months ahead of us.

As of Jan. 22, day-to-day operations have been temporarily restricted. Programs will be suspended, and staff has been trimmed down. We will maintain our phone, email and social media communications and will continue to provide monthly Zoom lectures. Our primary purpose at this point is to ensure the care, protection and integrity of our collections and continue our online programming.

Please check our website (tvhs.org) and social media for announcements. We will continue to share updates throughout this period. While there is limited response by phone, we remain available to answer questions by email and work with you. We can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by phone at 631-751-3730.

We are in this together and understand many local businesses and nonprofits are suffering. We thank you for your support and understanding. Buy local. Support local.

Stephen Healy, President

Three Village Historical Society

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.

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Beatrice Jayne

Beatrice Jayne, 93, died Dec. 12.

She was a member of the Three Village community and a cornerstone of Stony Brook history.

Bea became involved with the Three Village Historical Society with the writing of the Arcadia publication “Images of America: Stony Brook” (2003). While gathering information and stories for the book, one of the committee members said there was a woman at the Three Village Garden Club Exchange that the society needed to get involved, because she knew everything.

Bea was a founding member of the Stony Brook Historical Society which existed at the time she joined the Three Village Historical Society’s local history meetings. She shared a wealth of knowledge and stories about the history of Stony Brook and its residents past and present. Bea was the family historian and had a collection of documents, photographs and stories handed down from relatives over the years. Having served as the clerk for the Stony Brook School District and the Three Village Central School District, after consolidation of the Stony Brook and Setauket School districts, Bea knew generations of students, their families and community members. The Jayne family was also active in the Stony Brook Fire Department, Brookhaven Bathing Association and other community organizations.

Bea was a great salesman at promoting local history. With membership in the Stony Brook Historical Society numbering just a few members, the organization disbanded joining with the Three Village Historical Society and funding the Stony Brook book. When the Stony Brook book was printed, she drove around town with a carton of books promoting and selling them out of the trunk of her car to any and all for the TVHS.

There was always a story or tale to tell. She was the person to call with any Stony Brook history questions no matter how obscure and if she didn’t know the answer she always followed up with phone calls to her other sources. She pushed that Stony Brook history be equally represented and that the complete history of Stony Brook should not be lost.

Born in the Village of the Branch in 1927, Bea’s family came to Stony Brook to live in 1939. Bea graduated from Port Jefferson High School. In 1946 she married Leslie Jayne. She leaves behind children Susan, Patricia, Deborah and Michael, her grandson Philip, and her brother Bruce and their families.

A memorial service is being planned for a future date.

With much regret, Gallery North, the Three Village Historical Society, and the Jazz Loft are canceling the Holiday Markets scheduled for Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12 and 19. “After closely monitoring the news regarding the renewed spread of COVID-19, we feel strongly that avoiding this sizable public event is advisable at this time. Gallery North, the Three Village Historical Society, and the Jazz Loft all remain committed to the health and safety of our community, and do apologize for any inconvenience. We would like to thank all our sponsors for their support and all the artists, makers, and entrepreneurs who expressed interest in this holiday event,” they said in a statement.

By Melissa Arnold

The holiday season is fast approaching, and it’s time to start thinking about that shopping list. But before you visit those online retailers and big box stores, consider supporting local businesses hit hard by this year’s closures and safety restrictions.

In the Three Village area, Gallery North has teamed up with their neighbors at The Jazz Loft and Three Village Historical Society for a festive holiday experience that has a little something for everyone on your list.

Each year, Gallery North celebrates local artists with Deck the Halls, a group exhibit and art sale. Now through Dec. 20, visitors can admire the work of more than 70 artists covering a variety of subjects and media. The sale includes over 100 pieces of art, with a range of prices making it easy to find a unique gift that fits any budget.

This year, Gallery North executive director Ned Puchner was eager to put together a larger, yet safe and festive event that could bring the community together again.

“Frankly, a lot of people are still understandably concerned about going out and shopping,” said Puchner. “We had a lot of success with the Farmers and Makers Markets over the summer, and one of our board members joked that while she didn’t do hot weather, she’d volunteer in a heartbeat for a winter event.”

The idea grew from there. Puchner reached out to Steve Healy, president of the Three Village Historical Society, and Tom Manuel, founder of The Jazz Loft, brainstorming ways they could collaborate.

They were inspired by the beautiful, timeless holiday markets in New York City, and decided to transform the historical society grounds into a marketplace of their own. The outdoor marketplace will open for four Saturdays after Thanksgiving, allowing local artists and vendors to set up shop in a festively decorated atmosphere.

Browse the gallery store for paintings, photography and sculptures, then shop outdoors for handcrafted pottery, jewelry, wood and metal creations, clothing, glassware, spice blends and much more.

Along the way, grab a bite to eat and some dessert or warm up with a hot drink from local food trucks.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve been encouraging people to shop local and support local businesses as much as possible, because everyone is struggling. We can’t help everyone, but we all have ways we can chip in,” said Healy. “[The local organizations] have a great rapport, and we’re always looking for new ways that we can support one another.”

The Jazz Loft’s Equity Brass Band will perform a wide selection of New Orleans jazz standards along with jazzed-up versions of holiday classics. You’ll find them playing in their tent and parading through the grounds on market days as weather permits.

Over the summer, you may have seen the band marching through the streets on one of their Spirit Tours — musical appearances meant to uplift the community and provide cultural enrichment in a time where entertainment has been difficult, if not impossible.

“There’s been a blessing in all this — because we [musicians] are all out of work, people that normally don’t have the time to come and work with us are suddenly free. We’ve had great camaraderie develop from this experience,” Manuel said. “Jazz has always been the soundtrack of America. People have come up to us extremely moved to hear music after being cut off from art for nearly a year.”

At the core of the exhibit and holiday market is the desire to bring a little normalcy and good cheer to the season.

“It’ll give you a little taste of the holiday season while keeping people safe and socially distanced. It also supports local artists, musicians, chefs and entrepreneurs during a time that has been devastating for people who earn their livelihoods performing and creating,” Puchner said. “We want to renew our connection with the community and restore a spirit of togetherness. We’re all still here.”

The Deck the Halls exhibit is on display through Dec. 20 at Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. A virtual reception will be held via Zoom on Nov. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Participating artists for the Deck the Halls exhibit include:

Lucia Alberti, Kelynn Alder, Andrea Baatz, Fred Badalamenti, Steve Behler, John Benevento, Joan Branca, Sheila Breck, Nancy Bueti Randall, Natalie Butkevich, Esther Marie Caponigro, Donna Carey-Zucker, Joseph Cooke, Jody Cukier, Linda Davidson-Mathues, Julie Doczi, Daniel Donato, Michael Drakopoulos, Paul Edelson, Patty Eljaiek, Lily Farah, Meagan Flaherty, Kimberly Gerber, Ray Germann, Helaine Goldberg, Holly Gordon, Larissa Grass, Jan Guarino, Anne Katz, Marceil Kazickas, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Julianna Kirk, Randy Kraft, Barron Krody, Jillian Kron, Charles Lembo, LOVID, Mary Lor, Kathleen Massi, Michael McLaughlin, Meagan Meehan, Eleanor Meier, Olivia Menghini, Jim Molloy, Riley Mulligan, Annette Napolitano, Rhoda Needlman PSA, Gail Neuman, Susan Oliverio, Cynthia Parry, Mel Pekarsky, Alicia R. Peterson, Doug Reina, Brianna Sander, Oscar Santiago, Lori Scarlatos, Kate Schwarting, James Slezak, Judith Stone, Angela Stratton, Schery Markee Sullivan, Paul Thomas, Joanne Touch, Joe Ventimiglia, Mary Waka, Marlene Weinstein, Gil Yang, Patricia Yantz, Nicole Zinerco, and Stanley Zucker.

The Holiday Market will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 28, Dec. 5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Road, Setauket and Gallery North. Please note: Masks and social distancing will be required, and there will be no public restrooms.

For questions about the market or to register as a vendor, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org/holiday-market.