Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
Village of Orient, Settled in 1661
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Orient Alfalfa Field, 1909, by Hal B. Fullerton. (Image from the Harry T. Tuthill Fullerton Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives [149.7.567]. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved. [To view Fullerton photo, please visit SCHS website.]
The community of Orient occupies the easternmost portion of the North Fork of Long Island. Both the community and the village of Orient were formerly called Oysterponds. Earlier, Poquatuck was the Indian name for the whole area of Oysterponds. At one time, the area included East Marion, known as Oysterponds Upper Neck, while Orient was called Oysterponds Lower Neck. The name was changed to Orient in 1836 to signify the area’s eastern position on Long Island.
Oysterponds (Orient) was within the area claimed by the early settlers of Southold in 1640, which included all the lands from Wading River and Riverhead to Oysterponds Point and Plum Island. The year 1661 is generally accepted as the time when Oysterponds was permanently settled. In that year it was “agreed and confirmed by a major vote that all common lands at Oysterponds, Occabauk, and Mattatuck should be surveyed and layed out to every man his due proportion in each place.”
Oysterponds was thus divided into 40 lots to John Youngs, Thomas Moore, Lieutenant Glover, Richard Brown, Thomas Moore, John Herbert, John Payne, Mrs. Youngs (widow), John Conkling Sr., John Corey, Thomas Osmond, Thomas Conklin, Geoffrey Jones, Abram Whittier, and Thomas Rider. The number of lots each received was determined by the amount of contribution to the initial Southold settlement. A single lot was 50 acres, and the original lots were generally laid out so that they were bounded on the north by the Sound and on the south by the bay. A road was later laid out through the middle of Oysterponds and it was named King’s Highway (today’s Main Road).
Suggested Reading: George Cottral, “History of Orient,” in Historical Review: A Word and Picture Journey into Orient’s Past (Orient: Oysterponds Historical Society, 1959).
North Fork | South Fork | Shelter Island