Writing About Writing

Footnotes to Long Island History

Writing About Writing


Thomas R. Bayles


            Thomas R. Bayles has written much about Long Island and we are happy that the Forum has chosen to carry some of his articles.  A new booklet by Mr. Bayles: “The Early Years in Brookhaven Town” is appropriately dedicated to Mr. Bayles’ father, Richard M. Bayles, one of the most famous of Long Island Historians.  Indeed much of the material in the booklet, states the author, is based upon his father’s work.

            “The Early Years” makes pleasant and instructive reading.  There is a brief introduction to Eastern L. I. and then an account of the Indians.  Then Brookhaven’s part in the Revolution and an interesting discussion of the famed Setauket Spies.

            The illustrations in the booklet are superb.

            Of course author Bayles deals with famous men such as the Townsends, Tailmadges, Smiths, Woodhulls, etc., with famous events too but he finds space for some very interesting, if less momentous bits of history.

            For example he quotes early records.  In 1663 “William Poole was fined ten shillings for cursing, and William Fancy was found guilty of lying and fined ten schillings.”  Just think of the tremendous revenue our local governments would have today if such laws were enforced.

            “Early Days-“ should be in your collection of Long Islandiana.  To own a copy you just send one dollar to Mr. Thomas R. Bayles, Middle Island, L. I., N. Y.

            The August issue of Holiday magazine carried an article, “The Faces of Fire Island” by one Alfred Bester.  We quote the last two sentences.  “It is a miracle of nature preserved, virtually untainted, in a country that is fighting desperately to save what of its original beauty that remains.  Fire Island is a part of that beauty.”

            Most of the article preceding these two sentences is devoted to describing the horrible behavior of wild weekenders.  Mr. Bester gives expression to his prejudices and weeps inky tears for the plight of the perverts.

            A most attractive booklet marking the Golden Anniversary of the Fireplace Literary Club and the Brookhaven Free Library came out way recently.  The club was so named since “Fireplace” was the original name of the hamlet of Brookhaven.

            The purpose of the Club was to establish a library, which it did in 1912, and some 500 books then kept in the old two-room schoolhouse on the site of the present school building.

            In 1926 Mr. and Mrs. James


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