Monday, February 21, 2011

143 Years Ago, Part IV

Continuing along with this historic series, here are excerpts from the fourth of a series of articles published by The Southampton Press titled “Southampton Sixty Years Ago,” beginning in December of 1927 and written by Benjamin C. Palmer. [In other words, the series, written in 1927, was referring to conditions in this village circa 1867.]

“The adjoining property north of Capt. Charles Howell’s was owned by Col. Benjamin Foster, whose fine country residence stood, as was common in those days, close to the street, and being quite a farmer the background was filled with neatly kept farm buildings, all of which some years ago were moved to make room for Southampton’s progress. This house in later years was bought by Mr. Samuel L. Parrish and moved down to First Neck Lane, fitted up as a summer cottage, where it has since remained as such (above).......

These two residences, Howell’s and Foster’s, with the Sayre house near Bridgehampton road, and Capt. Albert Rogers’ at Meetinghouse Lane corner, were all the residence s on that block of Main Street unless, perhaps, the old Pelletreau house, which was soon to disappear when Mr. Josiah Foster acquired the property on which to build his home until recently owned by Mrs. Hummell. The shoe shop and the Methodist Church (above) being the only other buildings.

People lived to a good old age, the larger proportion over-reaching the three score years and ten allotment, yet people would die just as they always have and always will, therefore the services of an undertaker were just as necessary then as now, and they had one here and a good one, Mr. Albert Foster, who owned and lived where the Episcopal Church now stands (above). (Rev. Mr. Fish lives in the same house, somewhat made over.) …….Mr. Foster left a son, James H., who succeeded the father in business and also became a highly respected Justice of the Peace…………….

Scattered along on either side of the street were other residences, homes of substantial citizens, descendants of the original settlers, and we recall the standard old family names like Post, Herrick, Pierson, White, Reeves and others, ‘till we stop for a moment to think over how the block where the Post Office now stands looked.

The Academy (above), on the corner, was the masterpiece of architecture at that period, as a school house. Then came the old Larry house, and further on where Guldi’s Electric Store now is, stood the Penny homestead, built so close to the street that one could lean up against it and still keep one’s fee on the sidewalk….. These houses like all the older type, had long sloping roofs, the slope extending from the front peak back and down to a little above the back door. We have always wondered why these old settlers built their houses that way as it gave them sloping low rooms and it would seem that a valuable lot of room space was lost that otherwise could have been made available, they did.

We frequently met an elderly, mildly-spoken gentleman of medium size, with flowing pure white locks. His pleasing “good morning” and his genial personality made an impression of the kind that lasts. This was William Huntting, father of our present Mr. E. P. Huntting, who lives in that old colonial residence just north of the new town building (detail above). Over the door we read the figures 1707. This was the residence of Col. Benjamin Huntting, father of William.[Now 1708 House Hotel.]

The front part represents the old part of a house built long before the time of Benjamin, but after a visit to England, Benjamin, on his return had the back part of the house remodeled and rebuilt, and various improvements since have been made by the successive occupants. The large old time fireplace has been removed and the house warmed by modern methods. General Washington was a guest at this house on several occasions.
After 1840 a new type of building commenced to be erected after a pattern brought from England; quite a number are now standing in different parts of the village, of which the Sayre house, corner of Bridgehampton road, and Capt. George White’s (above), opposite the Methodist Church, are fair types and certainly were more adapted for family purposes than the old time sloping roofs…….”

I love these accounts. Hope you do too. Part V will follow.

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