Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Nestoria," 88 Great Plains Road

Edward Payson Huntting (1844-1931), a Southampton native, built this lovely home on Great Plains Road, after purchasing the property from the vast land-owning Reeves. The Reeves date back to the settling of Long Island’s East End. “The Southold tradition has it that two brothers, Thomas and James Reeves, came to this country about 1660 [from Wales] and took up a residence in Southold. About 1667 Thomas moved to Southampton.”[1]

In 1879 this parcel consisted of sixty-three acres. Yes, sixty-three. It is now less than two acres. Until sometime after 1932 it also included the lot to its east. The name “Nestoria” has been associated with this house since its creation, and is even mentioned in deed and mortgage documents dating back to 1902. It is a two and a half story multi-gabled house with Queen Anne detailing such as variegated shingles, turned posts, and decorative railing patterns. I especially love the entry porch which greets residents and guests with an angled gable.

When Edward P. Huntting was 18 years old he spent a year abroad on a whaling vessel named The Balena and kept a detailed and illustrated journal. Newsday published excerpts from the journal saying it was punctuated throughout by humor, death, and even romance. After the voyage he lived in Iowa and worked as a clerk. In 1870 he returned to Southampton at the age of 26. In 1880 he married Mary Frances Jessup, another Southamptonite; they had three daughters. Mrs. Huntting was an active member of the Methodist church. The Hunttings came from Massachusetts to East Hampton. The first son was born in East Hampton and died in Southampton, where many subsequent Hunttings were born and lived. Edward was Vice-President of the Anti-Saloon League and, according to the Port Jefferson Echo, purchased what was considered to be a bunch of portable buildings (one which was being proposed as a saloon) and had them moved to Eastport in 1901.

Chester H. G. Vail (1887-1949) purchased the property in 1925. The 1920 census lists him as a garage owner who lives on a street leading to Riverhead with other people that had occupations such as “beach house manager, blacksmith, house carpenter,” and “private estate gardener.” The 1930 census lists him as an “auto salesroom proprietor” in the Village of Quogue. Amazing that he could afford the lifestyle and expense of “Nestoria,” and in fact he couldn’t. The Suffolk County Trust Company foreclosed on the property in February of 1934. He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in East Quogue. He married Ruth L. B. King in 1901.

The next owner was John H. Overall Jr. (b. 1888) was a lawyer with his own firm and a judge from Missouri. His family dates back to the early ancestry of that state. “His grandparents in the paternal line were Wilson Lee and Eliza Ann Overall, the former an officer of the American army in the War of 1812, while the latter was the first woman in America to won and edit a newspaper. The ancestral line is traced back to Bishop John Overall, who was dean of St. Paul’s cathedral in London from 1602 until 1632 and was one of the principal translators of the bible under King James I.”[2]

[1] The Early History of Southampton, L.I., New York, with Genealogies, by George Rogers Howell
[2] Centennial History of Missouri, 1921

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