Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tercentenary Pageant of Southampton Town

Alma E. Bishop, knocking on door; Abbie Halsey, seated on left
The Book of the Tercentenary Pageant of Southampton Town
“Founded For Freedom”
August 14-15, 1940
By Abigail Fithian Halsey

Episode One
The XVIIth Century
Scene 1
The Founding

The Commentator:
Behold an Indian village at the head of North Sea Harbor. The wigwam of Nowedanah, chief of the Shinnecocks, is in the foreground. In front of it the young women of the tribe are engaged in a corn planting ceremony while the elder ones go about their daily tasks. Soon the warriors return from the hunt. They lay their spoils before the fires and commence a dance of Happy Hunting.

During the dance we perceive a sloop coming up the harbor. A brave runs in bringing the news and hard on his arrival we see a band of English Puritans land Conscience Point. The first woman on shore exclaims, “For conscience sake we’re on dry and once more.”

The Puritans approach the Indians. They signify their desire for land. Some men of the party come forward with a chest containing sixteen coats. At the sight of the splendor the Indians agree to sell.

They draw up an agreement. “We do absolutely and forever grant to the parties above the mentioned, to them and their heirs and successors forever, all lands, woods and waters from the place where the Indians hayle their canoes out of the north Bay to the south side of the Island, from thence to possess all lands lying eastwood, to have an to hold forever.”

But the Indians also demand corn to be paid after the second harvest and the Puritans promise to give the Indians protection from their enemies.

They then smoke the pipe of peace and guide the colonists to Old Towne where the settlement is made.

Original Undertakers:
Edward Howell
Edmund Needham
George Welbe
John Cooper
William Harker
Thomas Newell
Thomas Terry
Josiah Stanborough (who came later)
Daniel Howe, Captain of the vessel
Edmond and John Farrington
Thomas and Job Sayre
Hentry Walton
Allen Bread
Thomas Halsey
Richard Odel
Philip and Nathaniel Kyrtland
Thomas Farrington

Episode One
Scene III
Early Days and Early Ways

The Narrator:
The new Towne Street in 1649.

The Colony has grow ad prospered. Each freeholder owns his three acres of land on the street but farms and woodland are still common. Incomers must buy on the Great Plains. We see two fence-viewers “perambulating the bounds” nd with them a small boy who will be spanked at the bound, the better to impress his memory. The chimney viewers and cow keepers are busy. A group of young women are quilting a bride quilt for Margaret Howell whose banns are up. Next month she will marry Rev. John Moore of Southold. The unhappy Edmund Shaw sits despondent in the stocks ffor his excessive indulgence at John Cooper’s Tavern. Young Peregrine Stanborough takes his stripes for stealing green apples from Thomas Sayre’s orchard. Sarah Veale, attended by her faithful husband, Thomas, sits with a cleft stick on her tongue, while the Constable recites publicly “exhorbitant words of imprecation” she ahs used to the village reprobate, George Wood.

The Commentator:
Into this peaceful scene break two Pequot Indians. Phoebe Halsey (wife of Thomas) is coming from her home with her little daughter, Elizabeth. The Indians drag phoebe into the house and scalp her. The child escapes. Thomas Halsey, his three sons, and the nearby men puruse the murderers. They are met by Wyandanch, Chief of the Montauks, friend of the white man, who has caught the murderers. He delivers them to the Magistrates, who put them into the pillory until they can be sent to Hartford.

First Interlude
Children Play In The Olden Way

Their Games:
Farmer in the Dell
Looby Lou
London Bridge
Bull in the Ring
Once there was a Lassie

Episode Two
The XVIIth Century
Scene I
Town Meeting Day During the American Revolution

The Narrator:
Our great day of the year has come again. The street is filled with men, women and children from the length and breadth of the town of Southampton. Peddlers crying their wares and visiting Indians scurry about. The Town crier calls the meeting. The election is interrupted by a rider brining news of Lexington. Jesse and Elias Halsey and a friend set off by row boat to Connecticut. Scarcely are they out of sight when the post rider gallops in with news that Fort Ticonderoga has fallen to the Americans.

At once Captain John Hulburt assembles his Company of Minute Men. The first Stars and Stripes made by the women of Southampton Town is presented to the departing company.

Col. William Erskine of his Britannic Majesty’s Army rides in with his Aides coming to demand provender, to be refused at the Town’s peril.

When he has ridden away the dejected people return to their homes while Captain Elias Pelletreau, the old silversmith, organizes a home defense.

An Anthem to Liberty Sung by the United Choirs of Southampton, Hampton Bays, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor

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