Shoreham, First School

Footnotes to Long Island History


   Shoreham, First School



Thomas R. Bayles


    When the town of Brookhaven  was divided in to school districts in 1813, Shoreham was bounded on the east by Wading River Creek, and on the south by the “Butt Line.”  This district was known as Number 35, but was changed to Number 10 in 1842.

      In the school census for 1813, the following heads of families were listed:  James Woodhull, Richard Robinson, Nathaniel Tuthill,  Benjamin Woodhull, Zophar Mills, David Worth, Henry Hudson, Peter B. and Abraham (no last names listed).  There were 26 pupils registered in that year.  In 1852 the census showed only 21 children, and 20 years later it was about the same, so for many years there was little growth in the area.

       In those years cord wood cutting was an important industry through this section of the island, and thousands of cords were cut during the winter months and carted with teams to the bluffs on the Sound, where it was loaded on schooners during the summer and shipped to New York and the brick yards up the Hudson at Haverstraw.  Schooners came in to shore at high tide and “layed on” so that at low tide the teams hauled the wood across the beach and loaded the schooners.  “Loading sloop” was vigorous work as it had to be done before the tide came in, when the sloop or schooner floated again.  Many times it was done at night according to the tide.  The landing where wood was loaded at Shoreham was know as Woodville landing.

       In the early 1800’s Daniel Swezey of Middle Island operated a small store near the landing, which was headquarters for the men in the cordwood business, and for many years this landing was know as “Swezey’s Landing.”  He was a son of Daniel Swezey of Middle Island, who was active in the Revolution and had to flee to Connecticut to escape capture by the British during those years Long Island was in the hand of the British soldiers.           

       The road leading to this landing from Middle Island was opened in 1812, and was called “Corwin’s Road”, as it started near the home of the Rev. Jacob Corwin and Middle Island.  He was one of the first ministers of the Wading River Congregational Church shortly before 1800, and was the first minister of the New Village (now Centereach) Congregational church in 1818.

      The property at Swezey’s landing was in the possession of the Swezey family for many years, and then sold to William B. Dickerson and afterward acquired by James A. Warden, who about the year 1895 began the developments which later led up to the organization of the incorporated village of Shoreham.  This village was also known as Wardencliff for several years.

      The first school building in this district stood on thee Woodville Road near the present village of Shoreham, and was used until after the Civil war, when it was sold and another site secured on North Country Road near the railroad station, and a schoolhouse built.  This was used until 1910 when it was destroyed by fire.  In 1911 a new building was erected and school opened in September of that year.  This was a modern building for those days.  In April 1926 this building was destroyed by fire from and “unknown cause.”  At this time there were only about 10 pupils so an emergency classroom was set up in the vestry of the Catholic chapel.

      Shortly after this another site was purchased near the junction of North Country Road and the road leading to Shoreham Village.  Here a picturesque building of Spanish style was erected at a cost of about $12,000.

      The village of Shoreham nestles on a slope overlooking Long Island Sound and for many years wealthy and distinguished persons have made their summer homes here, including Channing Pollock, the famous playwright and author.

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