BBP Heritage Association

~ November 2021 Newsletter ~

Thank you!

Welcome November! It's the season of Thanks and we want to Thank you! Thank you to the hundreds of new friends and neighbors who came out from June through October to tour Meadow Croft, the summer home of John Ellis Roosevelt. The BBPHA has worked tirelessly to provide new exhibits, and opportunities to bring in more people and expose the wonderful history of life on the South Shore of Long Island in early 1900's. It's our wonderful friends and guests who help move our mission forward of preserving the history and future of Bayport and Blue Point. Thank you!

Christmas at Meadow Croft

It's almost time for our Annual Christmas at Meadow Croft! This year's event will be held on December 4th & 5th, 2021. There will be special exhibits, electric trains, dolls, wood carvings, and of course St. Nicholas will be there. The Roosevelt piano will be filling the air with holiday music and the festive decorations and baskets will be raffled off. The theme this year will be;

Dashing Through The Snow!

Special preview night on Saturday December 4th from 7:00-9:00 PM. A special guided tour of the full estate in all it's Christmas glory as well as refreshments served. This preview is for adults only and is $25.00 per person. Tickets are limited to 50 people and can be purchased on our website here.

Save the dates! December 4th and 5th from 12:00-4:00.

Help wanted: If you can lend a hand with parking for this event (directing traffic), on either day, please contact John Amato by email.

Christmas preparations are underway! But we need your help! We are looking for pianists who would be interested in volunteering an hour of their time to fill Meadow Croft with Christmas music played on the Roosevelt Grand Piano. Could this be you??

We are also looking for community groups, businesses or decorators who would like to participate in decorating a room for this event! Please call event chairperson Leanne Berg at 631-235-1702 if interested. Thank you!

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The Bayport Blue Point Book Ends

Do you like to read?? The Bayport Blue Point Book Ends sure do! Their group started 20 years ago meeting once a month to discuss a book selection for that month. Usually meetings are held in one of the members homes and there are about 14 -16 members.

This group recently read The Bayman's Daughter by local author Theresa Dodaro. Parts of the book's setting is right at Meadow Croft, so the group took a tour of John Ellis Roosevelt's summer home. At times, food is centered around the book's theme (but not always). For The Bayman's Daughter, a member brought oysters as her table contribution. The group usually start with appetizers then during the main course begin the discussion questions and this usually becomes very animated and lively. Before ending the evening the book choice is decided for the next gathering.

Sometimes field trips, even one time an overnight trip, centered on a book's setting or a character are taken. The group recently visited the Jackson Pollock house and Long House as part of their 20th anniversary year. Members often research characters and historical events related to the read for that month. The Bayman's Daughter was the October selection so hence the evening tour of Meadow Croft.

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Book Reading at Meadow Croft

On Saturday, October 30th at 2:00 in the carriage house at Meadow Croft, the Bayport Blue Point Heritage Association in conjunction with the Sayville Historical Society hosted a book reading. Excerpts from The Bayman's Daughter written by Sayville author Theresa Dodaro were shared.

The Bayman's Daughter is a time-slip novel that takes place in the quaint seaside hamlet of Sayville, Long Island which was once the playground of rich and famous families like the Roosevelts and Vanderbilts. Parts of the novel are set at Meadow Croft, home of John Ellis Roosevelt.

James Bertsch hosted the event and it was open to the public. A nice crowd turned out! The author was there as well. Although a rainy, gloomy day, everyone had a good time!

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Thank you Docents!

A very special Thank You to all of the men and women who gave of their time to volunteer to become docents for Meadow Croft this season. We know you have busy lives and family obligations but you found time to share the incredible history of the John Ellis Roosevelt summer estate, Meadow Croft. On behalf of the hundreds of visitors who walked through the doors to enjoy local history, and the officers of the BBPHA, we say THANK YOU:

Jerry McCluskey

Jim Connell

Joe Novak

Frank Giebfried

John Amato

Bay Browning- Atkinson

Beth LaMarca

Jennifer Economos

Mary Lou Cohalan

Lenore Ringer-Prezioso

Denise Coscia

Erich Haesche

Artifacts of Life at Meadow Croft

Written by John Amato

Aside from the obvious physical beauty of the Meadow Croft estate, we who spend much time there volunteering are always fascinated by any evidence of the Roosevelt's life there. When Suffolk County agreed to save the estate house and do the renovations and upgrades in 1986, items found in the house in walls, under floorboards and behind deteriorating furniture was saved and preserved. Below is a look at several authentic pieces of life at Meadow Croft in the Roosevelt years- 1896-1940.

Artifact #1: "No Shooting" sign

J. E. Roosevelt posted signs on his heavily wooded property to ensure the safety of his family, farm hands, and livestock in his buildings. Hunting was most prevalent in the wooded areas of Long Island during this time as undeveloped acres dominated the landscape. Roosevelt was a devout naturalist like his Uncle, President Teddy Roosevelt. The posted sign includes protection of migratory birds and insect-eating birds and nests. HIs signature can clearly be seen at the bottom.

Artifact #2: Laundry tickets

The Roosevelts had a dedicated laundry room off of the working kitchen in the part of the house known as the original Woodward farmhouse. This room had many laundry devices considered modern at the time. They also had several house staff tending to the laundry at the house during the summer months. There is evidence, however that some laundry services were provided by the State Laundry Company of Brooklyn and Hempstead. These laundry tickets with the Roosevelt name clearly visible is evidence that some laundry was sent out for cleaning and delivered back to the estate.

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Fitness at Meadow Croft

On a beautiful October day, Fluid Power Barre Fitness of Sayville celebrated 13 years in business by holding an outdoor class at Meadow Croft! So many wonderful activities happen at Meadow Croft each day and we are excited to see this class enjoying some outdoor exercise in this beautiful setting! Thanks for stopping by and so glad you enjoyed your time here. :)

In memoriam...

It’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our wonderful docent and Heritage member, Ginnie Novak. Ginnie with her husband Joe had been involved with the Heritage for more than 15 years. Ginnie was always willing to help out at Meadow Croft and the Heritage during Christmas and house tours. She always had a friendly smile for everyone. Ginnie will be missed. Remember her with much love and fondness. We will.

Services for Ginnie will be at Raynor and D’Andrea of Bayport, Wednesday November 3, 3pm-7pm.

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Ezra Clemence, Blue Point Veteran

The following was written by Gene Horton and is reprinted from the Bayport Blue Point Gazette with permission.

Every November, America honors its veterans. About a dozen veterans of the American Civil War (1861-1865) are buried in the Blue Point Cemetery.

One of the Civil War veterans is Ezra G. Clemence. A Blue Pointer, he was born in 1840 and died in 1921. He was twenty-one years old when the "Rebellion" broke out. Ezra Clemence was the last Civil War veteran to die.

Ezra Clemence was among the first to answer President Lincoln's call and he enlisted in the Union Army in April, 1861, the month the war broke out. He served in the NY Scott's Life Guards for two years. Then he re-enlisted in the 61st Pennsylvania and served until the end of the war in 1865. He then went to sea for about 15 years and visited nearly every port in Europe and along our Pacific coast. One voyage, he was wrecked off the Spanish coast but survived. On another voyage he experienced another close call off the coast of Ireland. Eventually Ezra Clemence returned home to his native land and to the home of his parents in Blue Point.

In 1883, he married Henrietta H. Smith, who was Postmaster of Blue Point from 1881 until 1886. In Blue Point, Ezra Clemence served as a Deputy Sheriff for many years and was also the attendance officer of Blue Point School. He was active in the Blue Point Mutual Benefit Association and in 1901 was named its Chaplain. Henrietta Clemence died in 1910 at the age of seventy-seven and is buried in Blue Point Cemetery.

When Ezra Clemence died in 1921, aged eighty-one, he was one of the last surviving members of the Richard J. Clark G.A.R. Post of Patchogue. He, too, is buried in Blue Point Cemetery, an honored veteran and an honored Blue Pointer.

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