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Carl Family Story Told In Riverhead

Oyster Bay author Denice Evans-Sheppard spoke at the Inter-tribal Showcase at Suffolk Community College in Riverhead on March 11. The Long Island Inter-Tribal Exhibit and Display presentation was hosted in the Montaukett Building at the college. The walls of the exhibit area showcased animal skins, Native American Regalia, a lacrosse stick, and display cases featuring hand made Native American jewelry.

They invited Evans-Sheppard to make a DVD presentation about her book on the Carl family of Oyster Bay, The Constant Struggle Within. The college provided a two-hour discussion that included representatives of the Montaukett, Shinnecock, Unkechaug, Taino and Ojibwe Tribes.

Ganoo (an Ojibwe) and Gordell Wright (who lives on the Shinnecock Reservation) began the program by playing the grandfather drum, known as “The Drum,” and spoke the indigenous dialect of the Tainos, recently revived and now being taught to adults and children. Evans-Sheppard explained that all the languages spoken by the various Long Island Native American tribes are different dialects but are all similar enough for them to communicate.

Evans-Sheppard explained that Thomas Jefferson visited Long Island and while he was here he made notes on the different Native American languages. Unfortunately his stagecoach was hijacked with all the information in it. Amazingly his correspondence was discovered at Dartmouth College. “It is a bizarre story,” said Evans-Sheppard. “It is now enabling the tribes to engage each other and help them to connect.”

Evans-Sheppard traces her lineage to the Montauket tribe. Her great-grandmother Imogene Jackson’s Native-American family moved to Wantagh and started a community there with other Native Americans and African Americans on a 30-acre parcel called The Brush. Imogene’s father came from out east and migrated west to Wantagh.

They are buried in the Harold Avenue cemetery that has recently been named a landmark site with the help of Evans-Sheppard.

Her family helped build the Saint Matthias Church on Jerusalem and Oakville Avenues in Wantagh in 1845. It has had an ongoing congregation for 169 years. “We are trying to landmark that as well,” she said.

The church owned two cemeteries on the 30 acres of land. The acreage was purchased in 1808 by Jeffrey and Kate Jackson, her grandparents several times removed.

Evans-Sheppard said, “They were living on the site when the missionaries came to town. Thomas Jackson, a Quaker abolitionist moved into the area. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Because people of color were not allowed to own property, he had to buy my people in order for us to buy the property back from him. We all had to take his name to get the property back. The purchase wasn’t effective until several years later, in 1921, when they were allowed to have the deed.

“They were master-masons and built the community and bartered between each other for food and services without leaving their property,” she explained.

Members of the Montaukets traveled to Cold Spring Harbor and to Oyster Bay where David Carll bought property, now called Carl Hill, using money he received from the Town of Oyster Bay for enlisting to fight in the Civil War.

Also speaking at the program was Dr. John Strong, anthropologist and retired Professor of LIU South Hampton Campus who discussed the Indigenous life on Long Island and provided a slide presentation, on pre/post Columbus.

Evans-Sheppard’s photos will be on display at the Suffolk Community College until mid-March. The documentation and photos will travel to Suffolk Community College in Brentwood in April.

Denice’s family and Rev. Kenneth Nelson, past pastor of the AME Zion Church of Oyster Bay attended the event. He is also a Chief/Trustee of the Montaukett Tribe of Long Island.

News

“Visitation is up 300 percent,” said Harriet Gerard Clark, Raynham Hall Museum director.

“Two-thirds of them come because of reading the book by Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution, and seeing the series ‘Turn’ on A&E,” added Tom Valentine, docent, who keeps the list of visitors. Soon the series will include the story of Robert Townsend of Oyster Bay who was known as Culper, Jr. when he was a spy for George Washington.

Alex Sutherland, director of education, nailed his definition. “He was the most important spy for George Washington because he had the perfect cover. He was pretending to be a Loyalist and writing for a Loyalist newspaper and befriending British officers at his coffee shop in downtown New York while secretly collecting information.

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Sports

Hard work paid off for local athletes Christine Grippo of Locust Valley, Kelly Pickard of Oyster Bay, Bernadette Winnubst of Locust Valley, Steven Quigley of Bayville, Catherine Soler of Oyster Bay, Maria Elinger of Oyster Bay, and Armand D’Amato of Oyster Bay Cove, each of whom won awards in a field of some of the best triathletes from all of Long Island and beyond in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, held in and around Oyster Bay’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Grippo earned top honors in the women’s 30-34 age group with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Pickard (1:17:39) scored first among the women in the 35-39 age group. Winnubst scored in 1:38:48 to earn third place honors in the Masters Athena Weight Division. Quigley earned the second place award in the Masters Clydesdale Weight Division in 1:23:23. Soler (1:29:12) scored 5th among the women in the 20-24 age group. Ehlinger (1:39:23) was the 4th place award winner in the women’s 55-59 age group. D’Amato (1:42:44) earned top honors in the 70-74 age group.

Ice Dreams, an Olympic Ice Show starring 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Brown and aspiring local skaters, is coming to Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sept. 20.

Isabella Skvarla, 13, Julia Tauter, 12, and Chiara Vlacich, 12, all of Oyster Bay, Julia Forte, 12, of Locust Valley and Riley Stein, 11, of Bayville will be skating in the world class show to celebrate the opening of the best figure skating facility Long Island has ever seen.


Calendar

Art In A Meadow

Saturday, Sept. 13

Bayville Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 13 - Sunday, Sept. 14

Hurricane Preparedness

Tuesday, Sept. 16



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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