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Mary Booth Yaphank Native

Footnotes to Long Island History

Mary Booth Yaphank Native

by

Thomas R. Bayles


           A native daughter of Yaphank who became famous for her literary accomplishment was Mary Louise Booth who was born at Yaphank on April 19, 1831

       She was born in a small story and a half house on the north side of the road running east from the post office, a house which is still standing in a well preserved condition. Mary's father, William Booth was the village miller and school teacher, and a direct descendent of the first Booth who came to Southold in 1640. Her mother was a daughter of a refugee of the French Revolution.

         Her father had a small woolen mill and dye house which he operated in Yaphank, and also was school teacher during the winter months when he taught the few children of the village in a small building.

        Mary Booth received her early education in Yaphank and when she was 14 years old her family moved to Williamsburg, where her father opened a school and she assisted him in teaching.

       Later she devoted her time to study and literature and during this time miss Booth started work on her "History of the City of New York", the first edition of which was published in 1859. An enlarged edition was published eight years later, and in1880 a third one was published. By this time the author had become one of the leading writers in the country.

       Miss Booth was strongly opposed to slavery and with the outbreak of the Civil War began a series of translations of French writers of that day who favored the union cause. These appeared in 1861 and her work was praised by President Lincoln.

       In 1867 when Harper's Bazaar was first published, Miss booth was chosen as its first editor, and held the position until her death.

       She grew up during the years when whale fishing was at its height and it is said that she fell deeply in love with a young man who was son of a whaleship captain, He sailed for the Artic and his ship and all on board were lost. It is believed that this tragic incident of her early life prompted her devote her life to literature.

       She died on march 5, 1889 and was buried in the family plot in Cypress Hills Cemetery.

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