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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

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com