Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Local History...

East Hampton, New York is situated on the eastern end of Long Island, surrounded by ocean and bay beaches. It is steeped with American history...since it's beginning in the mid-1600's. The architecture speaks of the Englishmen who settled there, first around what is now known as Town Pond.

In those days, there were animals who were kept nearby, who watered at the pond.  It is an idyllic and serene area...or would have been in that day. (Today the traffic there is busy, as it is the entrances to the Main Street and the commercial area.) 

I have heard and read, though I don't know if it is factual, that punishments in those days might be a good dunking in the pond on the dunking stool.  Such a device was constructed of a long pole with a seat on the end, which was lowered into the water by strong men on the other end of the pole, which was supported in the center-area by a  horizontal cross pole.  I'm sure the whole procedure was embarrassing to those on the water end of the stick. Probably the entire town came out to witness the carrying out of the sentence. 

The use of stocks, too, was a method of punishment. Offenders would be placed in a sort of wooden yoke, attached between two posts. The head would go into a center half circle, and the hands would be stuck into the openings beside the head, and then another board with the other half circle would come down over the neck and wrists, and be locked, so that the criminal would be standing, trapped, for all to see....or perhaps to be pelted with rocks, dirt, vegetables or eggs.  If that wasn't enough, the stocks were built in such a way that when one was in them, the body was bent at the waist. It would not be so comfortable for the back or legs, I would imagine!

There are tales of shipwrecks and Captain Kidd's treasure off the shores of East Hampton. There are stories which took place during the Revolutionary War and of colorful characters who lived in East Hampton since it's settlement.  There are accounts of famous people, artists and actors, and others, who took up residence in the lovely little seaside community. So much history to learn of, to read of, to know that is a part of my own heritage.

But, I know so little. It is a shame, I think, that the school does not teach a local history class for all the students who live in the area.  Some wouldn't be interested, any more than they are interested in learning about things that happened in foreign countries throughout time, and yet they are forced to learn World History.  I think it would be a terrific service to the children of East Hampton, especially those whose families go back to the beginning, as mine did, to offer them the chance to know the area that their ancestors played a part settling. For those students whose families are newer to the area, wouldn't it be nice for them to learn, too, all that has gone before them?

Maybe I'll write a letter to the school board and suggest  the formation of such a class, and then ask if I might sit in on it!


  1. Love you history posting..thanks for sharing..

  2. There is much to be learned from History. Some would not be pleased to learn the truth of it.
    I recall a time when being called a " Bonacker " wasn't necessarily a good thing and living in Freetown wasn't a good thing either !
    But I think you have an excellent idea. I may steal that one and modify it a bit to fit the town of Greensboro. The children here too,should know the local history.

  3. Local history is now part of the 3rd or 4th grade cirriculum and all the local school kids visit the museums that year. they stuy NYS history as well as EH history. So things have improved!

  4. SOOOOOOOOOOO glad to hear that, Barbara! Thanks for letting me know!