Floyds Like Us

If you were to name the most famous Floyd on Long Island before the outbreak of the Revolution, chances are it would not have been William Floyd. His cousin, Richard Floyd IV, cut a more striking figure: generous, hospitable, refined – with a thriving Mastic estate and powerful connections. Yet today, William has a parkway named after him and his home is part of the National Park system while Richard is erased from history. Wonder why?

Join local historian Matthew Montelione as he relates the history of American Loyalist Richard IV and how the Revolution drove him apart from his family, his neighbors and his nation.

Richard’s story is part of our special series of episodes looking into Revolutionary War-era Long Island in honor of the final season of AMC’s Turn: Washington’s Spies. It turns out that Richard’s fate is woven into that of the Culper Spy Ring. Richard’s brother Benjamin lived in Seatauket and had some dubious ties to Abraham Woodhull. And not only did Brewster Caleb make it a point to raid Floyd’s estate, Benjamin Tallmadge led a party of dragoons right to his doorstep, besieging the neighboring British Fort St. George on the Mastic peninsula.

Hear all this and more, including our predictions on what the last scene in Turn will be.

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Morton Pennypacker: Long Island Spy Hunter

Frank Knox Morton Pennypacker was many things: author, printer, collector, antiquarian, and…godfather of AMC’s hit Long Island historical drama Turn? It was, after all, Pennypacker’s diligent research into (and just as diligent promotion of) the Culper Spy Ring in the 1930s that led to a resurgence and new understanding of George Washington’s spy ring on Long Island and in New York City. To learn the true depth of the story, however, we need to visit the East Hampton Free Library.

East Hampton is where Morton Pennypacker deposited his vast Long Island history collection. He stayed to oversee the use of the collection in the library and to marry head librarian Ettie Hedges. Today that collection is overseen by Gina Piastuck along with archivists Steve Boerner and Andrea Meyer.

On this episode we take a closer look at Pennypacker, his methods, and his discoveries which include not only the unmasking of Robert Townsend as the spy code-named Culper, Jr., but also a potential pre-Betsy Ross American flag designed by Bridgehampton’s John Hulbert.

How does Pennypacker’s research hold up today? What effect has Turn had on interest in Long Island history? What other secrets does the East Hampton Library hold? And how did Andrea get in to see George Washington’s papers at the Library of Congress after being turned away as a child? All this and more on this episode of the Long Island History Project.

 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sep 28, 1930

 

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Patchogue: Queen City of the South Shore

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.

Bailey's Mills, Patchogue
Bailey’s Mills, Patchogue. Image courtesy of Patchogue Medford Library.

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.

Canaan Lake, Patchogue
Canaan Lake, Patchogue. Image courtesy of Patchogue Medford Library.

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The Truth Behind the Spies: Decoding AMC’s Turn

Stream in the player above or download audio.

BevTyler
Historian Bev Tyler of the Three Village Historical Society

Bev Tyler, historian with the Three Village Historical Society, walks us through the true story of the Culper Spy Ring that operated out of Setauket and Manhattan during the Revolutionary War. Made up of a small tight-knit group of friends and relatives, the Ring provided valuable information on British activities that helped George Washington outmaneuver and out-spy a much more powerful enemy. All of this was conducted in occupied territory, a Long Island beset by British troops with no love for the population they were meant to protect and raiders from the Sound who preyed on Loyalist and Patriot alike. We also discuss the AMC series Turn which depicts a fictionalized version of the Ring. Find out where the story strays from the history and which facts and characters stay true to the historical record. From Abraham Woodhull to Robert Townsend, Anna Strong, and Caleb Brewster, find out what they were really like and their fate after the war. Turn starts its second season in the spring of 2015.

North Shore of Long Island, 1780
North Shore of Long Island, 1780. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

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