Oysters and. Girls of L.I.

Footnotes to Long Island History

Oysters and. Girls of L.I.

Thomas R. Bayles



The Patchogue Advance for November 28, 1878 carries the following:

 "As is well known, the oyster business forms the principal industrial feature of the south side of this county. In this village Capt. William Ackerly, Capt. Alfred Mott and the Dayton Bros. are the principal shippers, and most of the oysters shipped by them go direct to England.

 "Capt. Ackerly and the Daytons have thus far shipped through Dorlan & Shefferd of New York, to the English market up to this date, this season, no less than 1,214 bushels of oysters, besides a large number to Providence and other places. Our baymen are getting higher prices for oysters this year than they have received in years past.

 "Oysters that last year sold for 30 to 40 cents a bushel, this Fall bring 75 to 80 cents, and even at these figures bring a ready sale. Capt. Mott is shipping oysters in large quantities each week of about 195 barrels so far, and some 800 gallons opened, and Mr. C.E. Rose and others ship large quantities to various localitites."

 Another item in the same issue of The Advance reads as follows:

  "The oyster supper held at the house of Mrs. James Baker on Saturday evening was quite a success. The receipts amounted to $23 cash, and several dollars worth of provisions, which went to the relief of a worthy object.

 "There were about 100 persons present. Albert Ketcham was there, which was as good as 100 more as far as kissing the girls went. In this, he took 100 shares, and agreed to kiss every woman in the house, so he was really obliged to kiss his wife, although there were many who would have been glad to relieve him at that instant. The last oyster was nicely taken care of by 15 minutes to Sunday morning."

 The book describing Long Island titled, "Long Island of Today," published in 1884, pays tribute to the girls of Long Island as follows:

 "Pretty girls abound on Long Island, and we would render homage to the fair Island maidens who rival the flowers in their beauty. Many of the boys come to New York, but the girls remain at home amid the most wholesome surroundings. Pure air, clear water and the best food are their birthrights, and these put roses in their cheeks, gracefulness in their movements, and vigor in their muscles.

 "They are not adle-pates or gawks, as girls in some distant villages are sometimes said to be. They quickly acquire taste in dress from seeing the city fashions in their native places all summer.

 "The Long Island girls are apt to be of English or Holland stock, and therefore make prudent and skillful wives, and are not afraid to work. You see them bare armed in the kitchens of their fathers' hotels and boarding houses; they wait upon you at dinner, and in the evening you will find them at the pianos or their sewing, or more practical still,  walking through the village streets with some handome young cavalier.

 "The Long Island girl can swim like a frog, sail a boat, and figure the cost of a passenger's dress at the same time. You can tell her by her pink and white face and brown hands. She shades her face but hates to wear gloves.

 "They are good natured, healthy independent and a trifle saucy; cold and distant to slight acquaintances, but are said to be very loving with those who win them.

 "There is music in their speech, poetry in their motion, and virtue in their company. And every one of them is bent upon one object--- to get a city husband."

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