Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number KSa021094
Collection Kate Strong Historical Library
Object Name Letter
Dates of Creation 1857/05/14
Scope & Content (Copy)
Stony Brook May 14th 1857
Richard Smith Esqr.
My dear Sir, I believe you have noble ideas, and that was one, when you obtained the charter for a channel to be cut through the beach. You and your friend worked nobly, but the cold in November put a stop to your design, when about two-thirds finished. The time is now at hand (between planting, hoeing, and mowing,) that it was promised to have a sloop sailing through the new inlet. Shall we witness such an exhibition? Yes, if you can say the word, the people are with you either to lead the forces yourself, or get Joel, or Nathaniel or Timothy Smith to direct them. It can be accomplished in four days, with fifteen teams, with the drags & plows - commencing at seven in the morning, at a time when it is low water at nine o'clock A.M. - Will the people of St. James Place and vicinity, suffer that work to go unfinished, to be lost forever? No- the experiment has not been tried until you go below the low water line, and then it would clear itself by the depth & force of the current. It is 15 rods from one high water mark to the other across the beach - (I measured it on the west side.) One team can drag one rod in width and five feet in depth or more in one day, consequently 15 teams could drag out, the whole length of the channel in two days, letting in the low tide up to the beach head on both sides. The third day staking and damming up the inshore channel, so that the ebb tide will go into the sound with a perfect rush,
Page 2:
when the bulkhead is cut away at high tide water. Then if the channel runs bare on the fourth day, throw up a temporary bulk-head of sand in the ditch, to stay back the Sound current for abut an hour and a half (dragging and ditching going on) until the dam breaks away and another splendid exhibition of water running: beside on the fifth day a sloop can sail through. You are certain to make a permanent sloop and steam boat channel if you persevere, by digging at odd spells, without even putting your ands in your pockets. And as farming in this part of the country will not pay but two percent - as a general thing, it would be well to call the attention of land holders to the importance of putting a sloop through the inlet at once. Then selling off building lots at a reasonable rate, reserving every other one for future speculation, it will pay better than farming. It will be a means of bringing three thousand people to settle around the harbor and vicinity.
Smithtown would be a perfect bee-hive in the way of business of all kinds, people now disponding would thank God for the blessing. Consult with your brother & friends on the subject urge upon them the importance of continuing the work until it is finished- Talk to every man who has a team and a drag to spare, top be ready on the day they are notified. Put through the inlet at once and thoroughly, now the Southerly winds prevail -
Page 3:
from the 18th of May to the 13th of June the people will have the most leisure to attend to it. The weather and the water will be warmer and generous friends to assist, if you call upon them.
The people of Smithtown will never give up this enterprise - They have a spirit a native pride that will never let them surrender any work that that have once undertaken.
What gives me such faith in the ultimate success is, the new Inlet has a rapid current of its own ebbing and flowing 15 minutes before the Stony Brook Inlet. I mean before it closed upon the North side by the prevailing north winds, last fall and winter. I wish to impress you with the fact that when the channels deepened below low water mark, the depth of water, and the rapids current will keep it open and prevent the north winds from closing it up, and what is still more encouraging is the depth of the water from 10 to 15 feet at low tide within 40 rods of the new inlet. Being the boldest between the two harbors
There is no man who has just pride towards the growth of his native village, town and country, but what will turn out, when the invitation is given That they will not throw away the Laurels they have already won, but continue in the good cause is the wish of your friend.
Yours truly,
Wm. S. Mount
P.S. Call meeting at the Harbor and The Branch and have them.
Credit line Bequest of Ward Melville, 1977.