Red Creek Schoolhouse
17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton, NY 11968
Schoolhouse just after its reconstruction in the early summer of 2018
One-room schoolhouses play a large role in early American history, especially here on Long Island. Before there were thousands of people living in every town and there were national education standards set up, there were still children who needed to learn the basics or reading, writing and arithmetic. So, in many towns around Long Island schoolhouses like this one were created so all the local children could come together and learn.
This schoolhouse is from the Red Creek area in Hampton Bays and according to our historic structure report from 2016 this structure is from about 1830. Today Hampton Bays is a hamlet within the Town of Southampton but what we call Hampton Bays today used to be 11 different hamlets With Red Creek being one of them. Red Creek sits along the Peconic Bay and because of this it was settled by many families as they could travel on the water faster than on land and there was a big industry in the fishing of Menhaden, commonly known as bunker fish. As time moved on and the fishing industry went away and today Red Creek is made up almost entirely of woods and private homes.
Detail, “Map Showing the Division of the Town of Southampton Among the Proprietors,” as sketched by William S. Pelletreau (1840-1918), undated. Document 912 from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society
Our schoolhouse is said to have been built by Jesse Terry (1801-1864) a successful businessman who worked mostly in growing strawberries and the fishing and processing of Menhaden. He and his family owned most of the land in what was then known as South Port and now called Red Cedar Point. In this area they had created their own small township with everything you could need form a church to factories to a small shipyard to this one-room schoolhouse.
Jesse Terry (1801-1864) via Ancestry.com
The oldest known location of the schoolhouse is shown on the 1858 Chace Map of Suffolk County with it being near by a property marked for a J. Terry. Terry began buying up land in the South Port area around 1824 and would have needed the schoolhouse sooner than 1858 and due to some of the architectural components of the building, the museum has settled on a c. 1830 build date for the schoolhouse.
Detail from the 1858 Chace Map
Over the years the schoolhouse was moved a few times with the first move showing it go about 1.25 miles southwest as it appears on the 1873 Atlas of Long Island by Beers, Comstock and Cline. It was then moved by 1878 about 0.8 miles northeast and was at the intersection of Red Creek Road and Upper Red Creek Road as shown in maps from 1894, 1902, and 1916. It was then moved to its last location in Red Creek in 1926 about 0.43 miles southwest to the property of William W. Hubbad to be used as storage shed.
View of the schoolhouse while used by William W. Hubbard as a storage cabin c. 1940
William W. Hubbard (11/9/1874-1959) grew up in the area having attended school within the Red Creek Schoolhouse. In his lifetime he was a farmer, highway foreman, real estate broker and at one time, a teacher at the Red Creek Schoolhouse. In 1953 he would sell the schoolhouse to the Southampton History Museum, then known as the Southampton Colonial Society. To move the schoolhouse to the grounds of the museum part of its journey was on a barge shipped out from Red Creek and then into Shinnecock Bay.
William W. Hubbard (11/9/1874-1959)
The schoolhouse sat on the grounds of the Rogers Mansion for over 60 years and was visited by schoolchildren every year as a way to learn what life was like in the past until the schoolhouse fell into disrepair. In 2017 reconstruction efforts began thanks in part to a grant provided by the Robert David Lion Gardiner foundation who matched funds raised by the Southampton History Museum for its saving. During its reconstruction, carpenter Nathan Tuttle discovered original chalkboards from the late 1800s that were preserved under the interior walls. The restoration was completed by 2018 and since then schoolchildren have been able to return to sit in the schoolhouse and experience how life would have been in the mid-1800s.
Chalkboards from c. 1892 that were hidden behind the interior walls