Tuesday, September 17, 2013

49 No. Main | 1891

The Old Halsey House
April 23, 1891
"Grandfather, with his two brothers, had been apprenticed to a mason in New York City, where they built many of the buildings in Greenwich Village and on Canal Street. Some of these are still standing; one on Grove Street has the identical trim and fireplace and mantle as that in our Southampton house which grandfather acquired when business reverses in 1832 drove him back to the country. He bought a farm, with the help of an unpopular brother-in-law, and rebuilt an old house Cape Cod style. I am told (or was told) that my mother used to say that if she ever built a house, even though it was no bigger than a pepper box, it would have two stories. The ceilings were (and are) low, the doorways more so, and upstairs in only half of a room can one stand upright. Dormer windows have corrected this to some extent but added little to the exterior appearance of the house. Forty years ago I raised up the old lean-to kitchen and superimposed another storey with a gambrel roof so that the house is now half Dutch and half English—like historical-geographic Long Island itself." --Jesse Halsey

In 1891, the residents of 49 N. would have been: Charles, son Harry, daughter Abigail, and son Jesse Halsey--as Charles's wife, Melvina, had died about five years earlier. His eldest daughter, Lizbeth Halsey Post, was already married. In addition, Melvina's sister, Augusta Terry Halsey, and her daughter, Edna, became a de facto part of the household in 1889 after Wilman Halsey (Charles's brother and 'Aunt Gussie's' husband) died, although they continued to live across the street in the Halsey/Ruland/Honnet home. In addition, Harry married Ida Pettet at some point during these years. My best guess on this photos is that the child on the fence post is Jesse (age 10), the two men leaning on the fence on either side of him are his father Charles and his brother Harry, the woman in the center is likely Aunt Augusta, and the two younger women in the back, Lizbeth and Abigail (though one or the other might also be Edna or Ida).

Photo courtesy collection of Con Crowley.

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