Voices from our past
Sagtikos Manor cemetery, West Bay Shore.

Courtesy photo

Voices from our past

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
10/4/2018


SUFFOLK COUNTY—The Halloween season is upon us, and so what better way to get into the holiday spirit than to stir up a few ghosts? The Sagtikos Manor Historical Society and the Oakdale Historical Society have the same idea. On Sunday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 20, respectively, these groups will conduct living history cemetery tours, resurrecting the stories connected to the souls buried there who once walked through our past.

Oakdale resident and OHS member, Michelle Burke, said her group’s tour would be held at St. John’s Church cemetery, which is located on Montauk Highway in the hamlet. It is one of the oldest Episcopal churches on Long Island and was visited by President George Washington. Reenactors, representing some of the interred, will retell stories that date back to the Civil War and Spanish-American War.

“Oakdale has such a wealth of history and there’s a lot of information on the people buried there,” said Burke. “We thought this would be a great way to bring these people back to life and [highlight] Oakdale history.”

The tour, which is free, will run from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sagtikos Manor, located on Montauk Highway in West Bay Shore, is considered one of the most historic locations on Long Island, and hosted President Washington for a night during his tour of Long Island in 1790. The reenacted stories will be told within the gated cemetery from those who lived through the Revolutionary War, when British troops occupied the manor and grounds. The multifaceted event, entitled “Fall Festival” and “Mourning at the Manor,” will include a ghostly tour of the house and an emphasis on Victorian funerary customs. The manor will be set up for the wake of an earlier inhabitant and include a procession to the family cemetery where the “spirits” will take center stage. The Revolutionary War reenactment group, 3rd NY Regiment, will perform maneuvers and demonstrate daily life routines throughout the day. 

Craft demonstrations will include: spinning, weavers, cooking, broom making, beekeeping, pottery making, sheep shearing, quilting, leather working and metal smiths. Children’s activities include: arts and crafts, old-fashioned games and colonial music. Craft booths, the manor gift shop, and food vendors will be open for purchases. 

Society member and event chair, Phyllis Chan, said the day would be a fun way to connect to history. “We especially want to highlight the people who once lived here,” she added.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: Adults $10, seniors and children (5-12) $5. For more information,
call 631.321.6809 or email info@sagtikosmanor.org.