Despite the threat of thunderstorms and a tornado watch, the Southampton Historical Museum Last Summer Party went off without a hitch and scores of Southamptonites turned out to share a delightful evening on the lawn of the historic Rogers Mansion built in 1843. The closing event of the season, the party brings together an interesting mix of the summer colony and the old families for whom many of the streets are named – like Halsey, Herrick, Bishop, Hattrick, Nugent and Corrrigan.
Executive Director Tom Edmonds and Board President Gerri MacWhinnie as well as, a number of Trustees including Nancy McGann, Sandra Walser and Marge Sullivan were on hand to greet the guests who crowded around the overflowing buffet table filled with delectable hors d’oeuvres from Schmidt’s Market. Cocktails were served in the barn, one of the many historic buildings on the property which also features the oldest one-room schoolhouse in Southampton.
Hilary Woodward gave a private tour of the special exhibition she created “Escape to the Bay: Family Camps in Southampton,” which tells the story of how local families enjoyed their leisure time at the bay in their own rustic summer “cottages ” on Peconic Bay. Woodward collected photographs, objects and reminiscences that recall days of swimming, boating, clamming and feasting with family and friends — away from the pressures of daily life in the Village. Ms. Woodward (nee Herrick) remembered with great fondness “Whalebone” the family camp built by her grandfather and “The Tower” constructed by the ancestors of current Congressman Tim Bishop.
Acclaimed Plein Air Peconic painter Eileen Dawn Skretch was also on hand for an exhibition of her paintings that capture the serene beauty of the East End landscape. The end of summer celebration was a perfect opportunity to make new friends, see familiar faces and make plans for fall while supporting the Museum’s education programs.
While it may be the last party of summer, the Southampton Historical Museum is preparing for its annual celebration of life in 19th century Southampton on September 29th with a Harvest Day Fair featuring a variety of activities that hark back to a simpler, hands on era where everyone, children and adults, pitched in to make an income for the family and to make a sustainable home life.
The event will have costumed trade and craft people demonstrating decoy carving, beekeeping, blacksmithing, candle making, basketry and many more traditional skills. In addition A special feature will be a silhouette artist cutting portraits and Civil War re-enactors making camp, rifle shooting and parading.
New for this year’s event will be the reenactment of the 1850 marriage of Captain George White and Elizabeth Fordam. Captain White was a whaling captain who, after success in the gold rush of “49,” came home to marry his sweetheart. The wedding begins with the bride getting dressed (for girls only), a promenade to the ceremony, a reception with dancing, music, and cake, and finally the throwing the bouquet.
Via Edward Callaghan. Photos by John Wegorzewski