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Landmarks of North Shore

Footnotes to Long Island History

Landmarks of North Shore

by

Thomas R. Bayles


         Miller place, about five miles east of Port Jefferson, is a very old settlement and the first man to locate there was Andrew Miller about 1678.

         He came from Maidstone, England and located his home in the village now bearing his name and died in 1717. There have been 11 generations of the Miller family, most of whom have lived in Miller Place. It is a beautiful village situated on high ground above Long Island sound.

          The old academy was built in 1834 and for 34 years was active as an educational institution with students coming from various parts of Suffolk county. The building now is used as a library.

         The home of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Stevens built before the Revolution lies nearly across the road from the academy. Mr. Stevens brother W. O. Stevens is the author of the well known book "Discovering Long Island."

          The country stores of Hewlett Davis maintain its charming simplicity of days gone by in spite of the march of self-service stores, and is one of the oldest stores in this part of Long Island.

        A short distance of the west is the old Miller-Millard house. Built in three parts, the west end was built in 1710 the middle in 1756 and the east end in 1790.

        Of interest in the oldest part of this house is the doorway of the front room leading into the hall which has three loop holes cut into it. The outer door was secured by a wooden lock and two heavy iron bars which slipped into wooden sockets fastened on each door post. During the revolution this was protection against any Tory raiders, and the three loop holes in the inner door were provided so that the besieged could still command the hall with their guns in case of a raid. Part of the front room is paneled to the ceiling and this is all hand carved as is the frame around the fireplace.

          Driving towards the Cedar Beach, we follow one of the old landing roads through the hills towards the sound. This was the scene of great activity during the past century, when great quantities of cord wood were carted over it to the sound shore and loaded on sloops at low tide. Cedar beach lies across the harbor from Mount Sinai and s a very popular bathing beach maintained by Brookhaven town for the use of its residents.

        Around the shore we follow the old Pipe Stave Hollow road, which was the road used by major Benjamin Tallmadge during the Revolution after he landed on the shore of this harbor with 80 men in open boats from Fairfield, Conn., on November 21, 1780. They marched across the Island to Mastic and captured the British fort St. George located just west of the Tangier Smith homestead at the manor of St. George, Mastic.

          Returning by the way of Coram they burned a large stack of hay there that had been collected by the British. They then returned to their boats at Mount Sinai the same day and sailed across the sound to Fairfield that same night without the loss of a single man. A letter of commendation was sent to Major Tallmadge by General Washington for the skillful and daring way this job was handled.

          Around the shore of the harbor, thousands of bushels of soft and hard clams were dug and shipped to Bridgeport in years past although there are not many left now. From the quantities of shells found on the banks of this harbor it is supposed the locality was once thickly populated with Indians.

           Driving west we come to the Mount Sinai Congregational church which is located in a beautiful spot on a hill overlooking the harbor and Long Island sound. The first church was erected near this spot in 1720, and was a branch of the "Old Town Church" in Setauket. In 1789 the "First Congregational Church of Brookhaven" was organized and the present church was built in 1805. It has been added to and improved at various times through the years.

        The burying ground adjoining the church contains many old graves, among which is that of Andrew Miller the first settler of Miller Place.

 

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