By Robert A. Saal

Commackís Historical Tour Pleases Many

May 1953

     About a hundred people from various sections of Huntington gathered near the Commack Dinner last Saturday to begin a tour of Commack. The planes were drawn and supervised by Miss Marion Carll and Joseph Watterson to view 53 old sites and houses which had been distinctly marked. A bulletin containing a map to scale and descriptions and histories had been prepared for each tourist. Among the sites of interest was the old Toll Gate House on the Smithtown Huntington turnpike. The site of a store on Whitmanís Hollow conducted by fore bares of Walt Whitman. The drill grounds for the western regiment of Suffolk County during revolutionary times. The site of the first annual Fair and Cattle show of western Suffolk. The site of the home of David Bryant owner and trainer of Lady Suffolk, a famous old time racing horse. Site of the Smith Burr home and Hotel, and the Burr Stables and race track. And the home of Edward Lang who was one of Long Islands famous Landscape painters.
     This Marion Carll, whoís family were among the early settlers of the region, and who at one time owned most of the Winnecomac land south of the turnpike, drew on her extensive knowledge of Commack history and entertained her audience with facts and reminiscences as she stood on the stomp of an old tree on land of her ancestral estate.
     Mrs. E. C. Hoyt who lives in the John Wicks house most gracefully admitted the party to see some of things of interest, as well as the gorgeous double flowering pink cherry trees. Paintings of old ships and race horses, Currier and Ivies prints.
     R.L. Simpson town historian, who was present pronounced it one of the most enjoyable events yet promoted by a village in the township of Huntington

Oldest Methodist Church in the state.

      The reverend Randy Robertís pasture of the Commack Methodist Church invited the group to view the interior of the church, claiming there was very little change since its erection in 1789. In a brief talk Mr. Robertís said the church will soon have to have a parish house for the church school if its growth continues. There are seventy children enrolled now, and attendance is close to fifty five every Sunday with classes meeting in groups about the body of the church an in the balconies.
     In 1783 a hundred and seventy years ago at the close of the revolutionary war a group of British soldiers in Huntington had a John Philips as a tailor. Philips was a Methodist Preacher and once when he was Preaching in Cow Harbor Northport James Hubbs invited him to preach to Commack, and a group formed a society and this went along for six years with meetings probably held in the homes. Then this building was put up. The Fist change was made forty seven years later when the center door was replaces by two and two stairways were erected up to the gallery which was lowered to feet at that time. The pulpit was high so those in the gallery could see the preacher. The pulpit was lowered again in 1869 and then in 1889 it was brought to its present level do to those down stairs complaining of the strain on there neck. The pews were put in 1886, but thirty of forty years ago someone pulled out the pews from the center, replacing them with chair benches. There was no stove or heating in the early days. Someone remarked that the gallery was built for the slaves to occupy. Mrs. John Shea of the Sunday School told Mr. Roberts that she remembers in 1897 that the men and women were separated in the church. He said the custom goes back to the Jews, Jesus sat in the synagogue with his mother until he was twelve and then he joined the men.
     The three pulpit chairs were given by a group of Stillwellite when they discontinued there church. They were a group under John Stillwellite who broke away from the Methodist church and started a new group at Centerport and then brought there church to Commack from Centerport. Later they adopted the congregation form, but when they couldnít get a congregational Minister they got a Presbyterian one and worshipped in there own church a short distance down the road.
     Commack contains one of the land marks Methodism, the oldest Methodist church building in its original condition in New York state..

Antiques show and refreshments.

     The tour ended at the Commack Fire House were the Ladies Auxiliary of the church had sandwiches, cakes, pies and coffee to refresh the group. Arranged around the hall were exhibits of heirlooms from the old families of Commack. Every one found these very fascinating . There were cradles, a baby carriage, a youths sleigh, chairs, exquisite needle work, wedding dresses, albums, glass, brass, silver, pewter, a desk from the first school, maps, newspapers, books, and house hold utensils.

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