Back to School, a History Lesson

In the Southampton Town records, it is evident that a school system had been in place since the time of settlement in 1640. However, It wasn’t until 1813 that New York State proposed a legislative act to encourage the establishment of schools. Following this initiative, Abraham Rose, Rufus Foster, and William Herrick, school commissioners, met to lay out several school districts in the town. Districts 1 through 15 were designated starting from Speonk and proceeding east along the south shore to Hayground (#8), Bridgehampton (#9), Sagaponack (#10), and then to the north through Sag Harbor and along the bay to North Sea.

The first schoolhouses were little more than simple one-room buildings with a wood-burning stove in the center and usually doubled as meeting houses. Students were required to bring cord wood for heat during the colder months. The schoolmaster taught all ages and kept a tally of how many days a child was present and the parents were required to pay based on attendance. The school year usually ran from October until April, allowing children to work on the farm from spring planting until harvest.

It didn’t take long before the districts were divided to accommodate the growing population throughout the town in the mid 19th century. District #18, the North End School, was created at the intersection of Butter Lane and Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton for that purpose. Many districts quickly outgrew their buildings. In Bridgehampton proper, the district has gone through six buildings since the 1750s.

Summer Reading, old and new, from the Long Island Collection

Note: The older books can be read in their entirety on Google Books. The newer volumes are available in the Library’s collection.


Bridgehampton’s Notorious Librarian!

Burroughs, Stephen. Memoirs of the Notorious Stephen Burroughs: Containing many incidents in the life of this wonderful man, never before published. 1832
“By the age of 19, Stephen Burroughs had been expelled from Dartmouth, jailed for allegedly stealing wine from a ship’s captain, discovered as a fraudulent preacher in Massachusetts, arrested for passing counterfeit money, and finally his escapades came to a stop in the Northampton Town Jail.” Upon his release, Burroughs found his way to Long Island and took up teaching in Bridgehampton. Find out what happened when he tried to open a library and who his opposition was!


The Whale and His Captors

Thar She Blows!

Cheever, Henry T. The Whale and His Captors. 1853
In 1850, Reverend Henry T. Cheever, a missionary who roamed the Pacific, was a passenger abroad the good ship Commodore Preble on its homeward cruise from the Sandwich Islands to Boston. This is his story of 236 days of adventure, of whale hunts. “To the author the comforts of this long voyage far exceeded its discomforts . . . by the constant blessing of the Providence, and through the personal kindness of a skillful captain and esteemed friend, Lafayette Ludlow.”*

*Capt. Lafayette Ludlow (1815-18XX ) along with his brother, Jesse H. Ludlow (1805-1878), and cousin, E. Jones Ludlow (1822-1883), first mates, all native Bridgehampton farmers on board.


Colonizing Southampton: The Transformation of a Long Island Community, 1870-1900

Oysters! Long Islanders First Fast Food!

Goddard, David. Colonizing Southampton: The Transformation of a Long Island Community, 1870-1900. 2011
“A study of the emergence and impact of the summer colony in the village of Southampton between the years 1870 and 1900, the book revolves around a number of key issues that preoccupied inhabitants and summer residents alike and were the subject of great controversy at the time” – particularly the issue of oyster farming in Mecox. The drama was played out by Bridgehampton’s own summer colonists Richard Esterbrook Jr., pen magnate from New Jersey, and W.H.H. Rogers, a Brooklyn paper manufacturer, powerful men with local ties, versus the town trustees.


Uncorked:My Journey Through the Crazy World of Wine

Turning Whale Oil to Wine

Pasanella, Marco. Uncorked: My Journey Through the Crazy World of Wine. 2012
“Pasanella's behind-the-scenes memoir through the world of wine will captivate wine lovers with its story of one man who decided, at age 43, to change his life by opening a wine shop.” It is steeped with rich details of his historic waterfront building, 115 South Street, first home to Slate, Gardiner & Howell, whaling ship outfitters. The Gardiner of S., G., & H. is our very own William Gardiner, co-founder of the Hampton Library and third owner of the Topping Rose House (aka Bull’s Head Inn), now under renovation. And keeping in the “spirits,” Charles H. Rogers, Gardiner’s brother-in-law and library co-founder, was also a competitive grape grower in Ravenswood, Queens, and won many agricultural awards in the 1870s.

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