Southold Historical Society Lecture Series Explores Wars on Long Island and More

Learn about the Revolutionary War on Long Island
Learn about the Revolutionary War on Long Island, Photo: Visions Of America LLC/123RF

Southold Historical Society’s 2017 Winter Lecture Series begins on Saturday, January 14. Designed to introduce their membership and the community to historical events that will be featured in the Society’s exhibitions during the year, lectures will be hosted by Peconic Landing at their Community Center (1500 Brecknock Road) in Greenport. In addition, the lectures will be simulcast to the Southold Free Library (53705 Main Road) in Southold.  There is no admission charge for any of the lectures.

On January 14 at 2 p.m., the commander and historian of American Legion Post 803 in Southold, Captain Charles Sanders, will give his talk History of 911: A Soldier’s Experience. The lecture will cover the history of 9-11 from its roots with the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan all the way to the present detention operation at GTMO Cub.  There will be a lecture, a video as well as time for questions and answers with the audience from both Peconic Landing and Southold Library. CPT. Sanders served as an Infantry Officer in the Army National Guard from 2009-2016. During that time, among his other duties, he commanded an operation center in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In addition, he coordinated the movement of over 5,000 troops in a joint environment in support of detainee operations at GTMO.

On  February 11 at 2 p.m., Don Fisher will give a talk on the History of the Long Island Railroad. Fisher is the president of the Railroad Museum of Long Island, which has locations in Riverhead and Greenport. He joined the all-volunteer staff at the museum in 1995 and has served in various capacities since then. As president of the museum, he is leading the restoration process of Locomotive #39. On the weekend of February 25 and 26, Fisher will have a model train exhibition set up in the Reichert Family Center (54127 Main Road, Southold) from 1–4 p.m. Admission is free.

On April 1 at 2 p.m., Dr. Joanne Grasso will give a talk based on her book, The American Revolution on Long Island. The American Revolution sharply divided families and towns on Long Island. Washington’s defeat at the Battle of Long Island in August 1776 started seven years of British occupation. Patriot sympathizers were subject to loyalty oaths, theft of property and the quartering of soldiers in their homes. Those who crossed the British were jailed on prison ships in Wallabout Bay in Brooklyn. Some fought back with acts of sabotage and espionage. In her book, Dr. Grasso explores the story of an island at war. She is an adjunct professor of history and political science, specializing as an Americanist in the American Revolution. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic and the American Revolution Round Table in New York City.

On April 21 at 4 p.m., Bill Bleyer will give a talk based on his book, Long Island and the Civil War. Though no battles were fought on Long Island, the Civil War affected every one of the 101,000 people living in current-day Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. More than 3,000 young men—white and black—answered their country’s call to preserve the Union by serving in the army or navy. There were training camps for regiments on their way to the front, Confederate ships marauding within eight miles of Montauk Point, anti-war protests and a draft riot in Jamaica in 1863. Local women raised thousands of dollars for Union hospitals, and Long Island companies manufactured uniforms, drums and medicine for the army. Long Island and the Civil War explores this story, from the 1860 presidential campaign to the wartime experience of Long Islanders in the field and at home. Bleyer was an prize-winning Newsday staff writer for 33 years before retiring in the summer of 2014 to work on this book and freelance.

During the Summer of 2017, there will be an exhibition for members and the public called The Homefront: World War I and World War II, located in the Mayne Gallery in the Ann Currie-Bell House at 54325 Main Road , Southold.

Learn more about the Southold Historical Society at

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