Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Enstine's!

The gas station on Hill Street turns 98 today! Happy Birthday Enstine’s! It is wonderful to have such a thriving family business survive in our Village after all these years.
The Milton P. Enstein & Son Inc. gas station may have been in business since 1913, but the property, at 635 Hill Street (just west of Captains Neck Lane, on the north side of Hill Street), has been in the family longer than that. The Enstine family goes “way back” in Southampton, at least to John Henry Enstine (1792-1841). John Henry Enstine married Anna Reeve – which is how the Enstine family obtained the property. Anna’s father was Thomas, who inherited the property from his father John, who acquired it from Prudence Foster, the widow of Joseph Foster, who left it to her in 1767. I wonder if any of the existing homes to the east are from the old farmstead.

Back to the Enstines, John and Anna had a son by the same name as well as others. John Henry the 2nd (1840-1924) married a daughter of the Fanning family in 1850 and they had 10 children together, one of them John Henry the 3rd (1886-1958). He did not have children, so his brother, Simon Milton Perigo Enstine (1888-1951), inherited the property and business.

Like most other families, the Enstines had farming roots before the invention of the automobile changed their destiny.

In 1894 it was reported that some children were playing with matches on the property and accidentally set fire to a pile of oats next to a barn. The barn immediately caught fire, and while fireman responded quickly, the barn was not able to be saved. There were many other accessory structures on the property – which you can see by the detail of the 1902 map I’ve included, but none of them were threatened. Phew!

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