They were here, nearly from the founding of Southold Town in the mid-17th century. Their presence has not been widely discussed or been part of the conversation in either Southold or Riverhead towns, where the stories of the founding English families have dominated the narrative for generations as if theirs were the only stories worth telling. (more…)
This is an imaginary conversation with a member of a “first” family whose roots in Southold Town — which originally included present-day Riverhead — date back to the town’s founding in 1640. The history reflected in the answers comes from Southold and Shelter Island town archives, records and other sources.(more…)
Old enough to be sold by her owner in Southold Town to a man named John Parker, who owned a mill on the Peconic River near what today is downtown Riverhead.
On Oct. 7, 1689, for the “just sum of sixteen pounds current money of this province,” James Parshall sold Sarah, whom he had owned since her birth, to Parker. The bill of sale describes Sarah as an “Indian girle.” (more…)
They are a mystery in so many ways. Who were they? Where did they come from? What was the nature of their spoken language? Who were their ancestors?
The people who came to what would become Long Island some 10,000 to 13,000 years ago, as the 300-foot-high wall of ice retreated north, have names given them by archeologists and anthropologists who have plumbed their secrets. They are the Paleo Indians. Or the Clovis people. (more…)
Eighteen thousand years ago, a massive wall of ice 300 feet thick extended south from the Arctic to what is now New Jersey. There was no Long Island then. There was no island at all, because the land was a solid mass covered by this enormous ice cap.
Slowly — glaciers do not move quickly — this ice cap began to pull back, retreating north, inch by inch, and scraping the land at its base to such an extent that it ground up entire boulders and reduced them to sand. This would become the topsoil that today makes the North Fork and Shelter Island the remarkable farmland that it is. (more…)