Historical Society Sunday July 4 at Union Chapel


Join us for a catchy July 4th at Union Chapel in the Grove at 10:30 a.m. for Shelter Island Historical Society Sunday, featuring the South Ferry Clark family.

Bill Clark III will talk about the family’s history, stretching back 300 years to Shelter Island. Our chapel organist Linda Betjeman will perform patriotic hymns, accompanied by guest musician baritone Thom Milton.

Family historian Bill Three, as he is known within the family, will relate how Jonathan Havens (Cliff and Bill’s six-time great-grandfather), started a sailing ferry shortly after arriving on the The island in 1700. Descendants of the Havens family ran the ferry until Samuel Gibbs Clark purchased the property and its ferry operations in 1833. The Clark family has operated the ferry ever since.

“I have always been fascinated by the history of South Ferry,” said Bill. “I never tire of sharing how our ancestors built the operation, from rowboats and sailboats in the 1700s to the business it is today. I think it is a great honor to work on the ferry and I always love to talk about our wonderful story.

Cliff Clark, President of South Ferry, described his help in running a longtime family business: “The South Ferry Clarks, including our grandparents, parents, uncles and cousins, were all raised with a deep sense of commitment to serving customers, ”Cliff Clark mentioned. “The bottom line has never been the center of the conversation. We were taught courtesy and service as our raison d’être.

In recent years, Shelter Island Historical Society Sunday has featured speakers on varied and eclectic topics. General Manager Nanette Breiner Lawrenson chose the speakers. “Tradition has enabled our organization to come together to share specific stories of people and places in Shelter Island,” she said, adding, “The Society continues to be grateful for Society Sunday. historic in Union Chapel. “

Past speakers included David Lichtenstein, Ph.D, president of the South Ferry Hills Association, who spoke in 2019 about the Smith-Ransome Bridge. “A Treasure Hidden in Plain Sight” told the story of the graceful arch bridge over a man-made lagoon in South Ferry Hills, as well as the story of Francis Smith, the “Borax King,” on the turn. of the 20th century.

A familiar face around the island, Angelo Piccozzi in 2018 told stories about the “life and times of Jake and Augie Piccozzi”, the history of his family and the evolution of their businesses here.

In 2017, Chris Fokine, president of Fokine Construction, and responsible for most of the recent chapel renovations, as well as the construction of the Shelter Island History Center at the Historical Society, briefed the public on the Quaker Cemetery, “Quakerism and The Declaration of Independence. “

Beth Auman (2016), historian and expert on Walter Cole Brigham’s history, spoke about the local artist who created the chapel’s beautiful marine mosaic windows, made from local seashells, stones and pieces of broken glass. His speech was “Brigham’s Marine Mosaics: The Consecration of Common Things”.

This Sunday’s presentation traces the history of the South Ferry and its impact on the island, about which Cliff said: “The honor and responsibilities of being part of a family business that is over 300 years old and continues to be an essential part of this special community is not lost on us.

As Union Chapel in the Grove looks to 2022 and its own 150th anniversary, we celebrate our unique island history, shared with Shelter Island Heights, which will also turn 150 next year. Please join us for our interfaith service at 10:30 am on Sunday July 4th. Happy independence day.


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