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Halsey House & Garden

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Halsey House & Garden c. 2013

Thomas Halsey Sr., one of Southampton’s founders, and his family built the first farmhouse on this property a few years after arriving in 1640. They had stopped first in Lynn, Massachusetts, after leaving their native England. When they became dissatisfied with their situation in Lynn, they obtained a deed for land on Long Island from British authorities and later came to terms with the Shinnecock tribe. The current house was built c. 1683 by Thomas Halsey Jr. who inherited his father’s property and used wood frame timbers from his father’s house to build his own. The house remained in the Halsey family for several generations. Visitors who pass through the weathered front door find the wide-planked floors, hand-hewn beams, furnishings, textiles and objects that were the backdrop for domestic farm life in colonial times. Outside, the culinary and medicinal plants that were once household necessities flourish in a replication of a colonial herb garden.

The grounds are always open to the public from dawn to dusk but tours of the home are by appointment only. Please call (631) 283-2494 x 5 to schedule a tour.

Marge D. Sullivan Herb Garden

The garden behind the Halsey House was dedicated to Marge D. Sullivan on August 4, 2022 to honor her life and legacy of giving towards the Halsey House and her love of gardening. The garden is set up into four distinct areas known as parterres. Each parterre is meant to house plantings of a given category that would have been commonly farmed and use by Southampton's colonial inhabitants.

The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history.  Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.


The Southampton History Museum, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless the Southampton History Museum, its affiliates, and staff.

Housekeeping Herbs

Bee Balm

Genus: monarda

A member of the mint family. Often used in teas and is reputed to help with digestion, bloating nausea and sore throats. Applied topically, it is a natural antiseptic and can be used on bee stings, rashes, and minor wounds.

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Genus: Borago

Bees love Borage. The oil from its seeds can be used to treat eczema. The flower and leaves are used to treat a high fever, cough, and depression.

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Genus: Teucrium

More info soon.

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Genus: Stachys

During colonial times Lamb’s-ears was used as toilet paper.

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Lemon Balm

Genus: Melissa

Used to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, and east pain and discomfort from indigestion.

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Lemon Verbena

Genus: Aloysia

Used for digestive disorders. Makes a most delicious tea. It contains chemicals that might kill mites and bacteria as well as chemicals that may reduce swelling and cause sleepiness.

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Genus: Tagetes

More info soon.

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Genus: Carthamus

More info soon.

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Sage, Pineapple

Genus: Salvia

Pineapple sage has anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties can also benefit digestion and heartburn. The leaves are edible and can be steeped in hot water to make herbal tea.

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Genus: Mentha

Used in flavoring food and herbal teas.

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Genus: Dipsacus

Historically the teasel was used as natural comb for cleaning, aligning, and raising the nap on fabrics, particularly wool.

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(Genus: Vinca)

Extracts from plants in the genus Vinca are used to treat various forms of cancer.

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