HISTORICAL CORNER

The History of Islip Town

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Each week, reporter and history-lover Mariana Dominguez visits a historical location on the South Shore. This week she attended a lecture hosted by the Friends of the Connetquot State Park Preserve.

On Nov. 13, I attended a great lecture by Islip Town historian Cmdr. George J. Munkenbeck, U.S.C.G.R. (Ret.) about the beginnings of Islip Town. The lecture was hosted by the Friends of Connetquot and held in the former South Side Sportsmen’s Club.

Munkenbeck’s lecture taught attendees about the beginnings of Islip Town and the families that helped shape it. Munkenbeck noted that the original patentees and families were the Gibb, Nicoll, Mowbray, Van Cortlandt and Willets.  It was especially interesting learning about the very early history of the town before the American Revolution and how influential families on Long Island interacted with aristocracy and royalty in England. I also never knew that Islip got its name from Islip, England, where Wiliam Nicoll emigrated from. Munkenbeck also went into detail about the Town of Islip’s seal that many people see every day but don’t know the meaning of. Munkenbeck explained that the three different branches or slips on the seal represent Smithtown, Brookhaven and Huntington. The grapes in the center of the seal represent the patents and necks of land that make up Islip Town. The date 1683 marks the date of purchase from the Secatogue Nation by William Nicoll. The Latin phrase on the seal, “Fide Sed Cui Vide,” comes from the Nicoll family arms and means, “Have confidence, but be careful in whom you confide.”

It was also interesting to learn about just how difficult it can be to research Islip Town, as many of the original families such as the Nicoll family named their first-born son the same name. This can make it confusing when doing research and trying to figure out exactly what family member is being referred to in documents.

Coming up for the Friends of Connetquot, Jerry Trapani will be speaking in the lecture “Coaching Along the Great South Bay,” on Dec. 11. The lecture will “look back at traveling with a coach and Four in Hand from New York City to the estates along the Great South Bay.” According to the Friends of Connetquot, Jerry and Rita Trapani own Shadbelly Farm in North Great River and are members of the Carriage Association of America, the American Driving Society, the Four in Hand Club and are founding members of the Paumanok Driving Club of Long Island. Lectures are free to attend for members of the Friends of Connetquot and $5 for “non-friends.” Annual membership to join the group is $25 for an individual. More information can be found at friendsofconnetquot.org   

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