Melanie Cardone-Leathers is the Local History Librarian at the Longwood Public Library. Today she regales us with tales covering three centuries and many locations. There is Benjamin Tallmadge burning the British hay at Coram during the Revolution. And the boot-strapping of Gordon Heights by African Americans from Harlem and beyond. How about Camps Siegfried and Upton, the former a 1930s, Nazi-inflected retreat and the latter a staging ground for troops during World War I and II?
To round it off, we experience the thrills of Fairy Town’s roadside attractions and Connie tells her monkey story.
Today we talk with Sandi Brewster-walker about her life and her family’s history. Not only do the Brewsters have deep ties to North Amityville and the Native American community on Long Island but their story is intertwined with American history on multiple levels.
You’ll hear about early slavery on Long Island, letters from John Brown, spying in West Africa for the OSS during World War II, the peculiar fad for Tom Thumb’s wedding and more.
Sandi is also a practiced genealogist and we go over some of the challenges of researching Native American and African American ancestors. Beyond family research, her current efforts are directed at establishing a North Amityville Historic District and a Long Island Indigenous People & Research Center.
For more details, you can check out her book, The Colored Girl From Long Island, and her columns in the Amityville Record.
If you wanted something back in 19th-Century Long Island, chances are they made it in Patchogue: lace, twine, lumber, crinoline, wrapping paper, blankets, award-winning yachts. A sprawling arrangement of brick factories ran night and day, the mills kept turning by an abundance of rivers and streams. It was the hardest working village on Long Island.
On today’s episode we delve into Patchogue’s past with Mark Rothenberg of the Patchogue Medford Library. Mark oversees the Celia M. Hastings Local History Room, maintaining a collection of physical and virtual records that are a boon to anyone researching this area of Long Island.
We discuss Patchouge’s role throughout history, from a stop-over point on George Washington’s 1790 tour of Long Island to an infamous case of Civil War betrayal to early attempts at generating electricity.
His full name was about as long and storied as his career: Philippe Regis Denis de Keredern de Trobriand. He was a Baron, a novelist, a painter, a gardener, a member of the Garde Lafayette (Fifty-fifth New York), a hero of Gettysburg, and summertime resident of Bayport.
Historian George Munkenbeck (Co. H, 14th Brooklyn) recaps the fascinating life of this “soldier’s soldier”, including his time in the Dakota Territory and his marriage to New York heiress Mary Mason-Jones.