Here we have the Halsey House Historic Structure Report from 2014 that was done by Robert Hefner with research by Rosanne Barons. This is an extremely important document that I refer to more than most other things in our museum. With a place as old as the Halsey House and having as much history tied to it as it does, it can be a bit hard to keep memorized. Which is why I am glad we have a copy of this sitting in the Halsey House that I can review before any tour that I give.
Also for anyone out there who is a big architecture nerd, this is a great resource for you. This document does a great job at laying out the history of the families that lived in the home, but it does an event better job at getting into the nitty gritty of how this building was put together. Once you read through this if you want to come see the Halsey House in person, just give us a call at (631) 283-2494 and we can see about setting up a tour!
South Main Street, Southampton, N.Y.
Historic Structure Report
Southampton History Museum
With research by Rosanne Barons
***citations will be marked in brackets after the sentence where the reference takes place and will be marked in red in lieu of proper footnotes not being possible in this digital format***
The Southampton Colonial Society undertook a project to install new three-foot shingles on the Halsey House in 1999. Nathan Tuttle was the contractor and he was assisted by Gary Tuttle. This writer supervised the work. Upon removing shingles, it became apparent that areas of the timber frame were severely deteriorated. The Society expanded the scope of work to include making necessary repairs to the timber frame. All of the existing sheathing was removed to inspect and repair the frame. By the fall of 2000, the frame was repaired and the new shingles installed. Realizing that seeing the entire frame was an opportunity to learn more about the Halsey House, the Society made documenting the timber frame part of the project. This resulted in a trove of data in the form of photographs, measured drawings and field notes. Jeff Heatley took large- format photographs of the exposed frame.
The purpose of this historic structure report is to organize that data and to use it, along with research of historic documents, to better understand the Halsey House. The result is a narrative of the Halsey House that attempts to reconcile the physical evidence of the timber frame with the written evidence of historic documents. Analysis of all the available data suggests that Thomas Halsey Jr. built the original house to face south between 1678 and 1688 and that his son, Captain Isaac Halsey, turned the house to face Main Street and extensively remodeled it between 1720 and 1740. Although this is a reasoned narrative, it is conjectural and questions remain. The timber frame is complicated and the historic record is incomplete, especially for the important 1720-1740 period.
Opportunities remain to learn more about the Halsey House. Fragments observed in 2000, but left in the wall cavities, along with pieces of the early house that undoubtedly are hidden in ceilings and interior walls, if accessed and studied in the future, may yield important information. While an attempt by the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory in 2003 to date timbers of the Halsey House was not successful, this technology may yet identify a certain date of construction. Documents may be discovered that will shed more light on the history of the Halsey House.
Halsey House History
Summary History of the Halsey House
There is sufficient documentation to confirm that the Halsey House stands on what was the home lot of Thomas Halsey Sr. from the 1650s to 1678. The home lot was then owned by Thomas Halsey Jr. from 1678 to 1688 and by Captain Isaac Halsey from 1689 to at least 1746.
The 1677 will of Thomas Halsey Sr. describes his house as having a "porch chamber," which would have been the upper room of a two-story enclosed porch projecting from the chimney bay and containing the front entrance on the first floor. Physical evidence shows that the Halsey House did not have a porch or porch chamber and, therefore, is not the house of Thomas Halsey Sr.
Thomas Halsey Jr. inherited his father's Main Street home lot and house in 1678. In Thomas Halsey Jr.’s will of 1688 he gave "unto my wife Mary Dureing the time of her widowhood the one halfe of my new house that I built at the towne namly The west Leantoo and halfe the north Leantoo and halfe the sellar." A house built by an Englishman on eastern Long Island in the seventeenth century with a west lean-to and a north lean-to would have faced south and had a rear lean-to extending to the north and a lean-to built against the west gable end.
Physical evidence in the frame of the Halsey House indicates that, if the original house faced south, then it did have a rear lean-to on the north wall and lean-to on the west gable wall. Presuming a south orientation, we can conclude that the Halsey House is the "new house" described by Thomas Halsey Jr. in his will. This "new house" was built between 1678 and 1688. There is no known event during this period that would suggest a particular year. Rather than repeat the period of construction as being "between 1678 and 1688," this report refers to the middle of this period for the short-hand attributed date of ca. 1683.
Drawing 4 is a conjectural restoration of the original floor plan of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s house. Today, only the frame of the hall and hall chamber and some framing of the chimney bay remain intact.
If the house were built with its present orientation facing east toward Main Street, the original rear lean-to would have been to the west and the original gable-end lean-to would have been to the south. This supposition presents two serious problems. First, this would not be the house of Thomas Halsey Jr. Second, a lean-to built on the south wall, cutting off sunlight from the upper room, would be illogical in the building tradition that Southampton's settlers were part of. There is no precedent for a south lean-to in seventeenth-century Long Island or New England. If the house were built with its present orientation, the two principal rooms, the hall and hall chamber, would have had windows in the east and north walls and no south light. Southampton's tradition of facing houses to the south was noted by George Rogers Howell in 1866: "The houses were usually two stories in front, always facing south...so invariable was the custom of building their houses with the south, that one of unusual antiquity demolished only a few years since, was so erected on the south side of an east and west street with the kitchen actually fronting on the street" [George Rogers Howell, The Early History of Southampton, L. I., (New York: J. N. Hallock, 1866), p. 98.] [this house faced south while the kitchen in the lean-to faced north toward the street]. In his study of the early houses of Massachusetts Bay, Abbott Lowell Cummings observed that "Where open space permitted, the builder and client preferred a sunny, southern exposure. Among a total of 125 houses where the original orientation has been noted, ninety-eight face more or less due south. Of the remainder, all but two or three are located in compact towns or in urban situations, though even here, the house was often sited on its lot to face south with the gable end turned toward the street." [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), pp. 38, 39.]
This report proceeds from the reasonable conclusions that this is Thomas Halsey Jr.'s house and that he built it facing south. Captain Isaac Halsey inherited his father's Main Street home lot and house in 1689. Evidence in the timber frame suggests that between about 1720 and about 1740, Isaac Halsey undertook an extensive remodeling. First he took off the roof frame, demolished the north lean-to, demolished the west lean-to and removed most of the framing of the chimney bay. Isaac Halsey retained only the two-story, nearly cubic frame (18' wide x 18' deep x 16' high) of the hall and hall chamber (Drawing 15). This report assumes that Captain Isaac Halsey revolved this small box frame to face east toward Main Street. He then rebuilt the chimney- bay, added a two-story south addition, built a larger rear lean-to and covered the whole with a new roof. This report attributes the short- hand date of c. 1730 to this conjectural remodeling by Captain Isaac Halsey.
Thomas Halsey Jr. had a house at Mecox, where his farm was based, and a house "at towne", the Halsey House. Captain Isaac Halsey acquired more and more land at Onuck and Potunk (Westhampton Beach) until that area become the center of his livestock farm. We assume that Onuck became Isaac Halsey's primary residence and that he retained the Main Street house to also have a residence in town.
During the late eighteenth-century, the Halsey House was again remodeled. Casement windows were replaced with plank-frame windows having up-and-down sash and the interior was modernized with plaster ceilings and fielded paneling on the walls. A renovation by Arthur J. Peabody, of about 1900, included raising the house by 18" and removing most of the earlier interior woodwork as well as removing exterior doors and windows. At this time, the house was expanded with large two-story additions to the north and west. The restoration undertaken by the Southampton Colonial Society in 1960 then removed most of the ca. 1900 fabric. The historic significance of the Halsey House is now embodied in its timber frame. As it stands today, with the ca. 1730 saltbox form facing Main Street, this is the house of Captain Isaac Halsey which incorporates an important part of the frame of the house of Thomas Halsey Jr. Drawings 1 and 2 illustrate the evolution of the Halsey House as presented in this report.
Southampton Historians and The Halsey House
George Rogers Howell's 1866 The Early History of Southampton, L.I. was the first publication to connect the Halsey House to an early resident: “We will add some statements communicated to the author, concerning the residences during the better half of the last century, by Mr. Charles Pelletreau, now deceased...South of Mr. Nicholas White lived Hugh Raynor, and James his son lived in the present residence of Mr. White.” [George Rogers Howell, The Early History of Southampton, L. I., (New York: J. N. Hallock, 1866), p. 157.] Thomas Nicholas White lived in the Halsey House from 1839 to 1886. Charles Pelletreau (1791-1863) was 21 years old in 1812 when James Raynor sold the Halsey House to Elias Pelletreau Jr., and then moved to Cazanovia, New York. Charles Pelletreau was a reliable source for this information.
William S. Pelletreau, who began editing and publishing the Southampton Town Records in 1874, was the first historian to link Thomas Halsey Sr. with the Halsey House. Pelletreau placed a footnote to the 1657 mention of "Tho. Halsey Sen his house" stating that this was "The present residence of Nicholas White." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 1, p. 153.] By tracing deeds, wills and references in the Town Records, William S. Pelletreau had determined that the Halsey House stood on what had been Thomas Halsey Sr.'s home lot. Mr. Pelletreau made the assumption that the Halsey House was where Thomas Halsey Sr. was living in 1657. This footnote is the root of the legend that enveloped the Halsey House when it was purchased by the Southampton Colonial Society in 1958.
James Truslow Adams wrote about the Halsey House more than forty years after William S. Pelletreau first connected the Halsey House to Thomas Halsey Sr. Adams wrote in his 1918 History of the Town of Southampton: "Other old houses in Southampton village were the Hollyhocks (the old Isaac Halsey house) toward the south end of Main ., now the oldest house standing,..." [James Truslow Adams, History of the Town of Southampton, (Bridgehampton: Hampton Press, 1918), p. 112.]
Evolution of the Thomas Halsey Sr. Home Lot
The South Main Street home lot of Thomas Halsey Sr. was passed on to Thomas Halsey Jr. and then to his sons Isaac Halsey and Jonathan Halsey. Three documents allow us to fix the location of Thomas Halsey Sr.'s home lot: the 1688 will of Thomas Halsey Jr.; a 1691 exchange of land between Isaac Halsey and Jonathan Halsey; and a 1732 transaction between Nehemiah Howell and Nathaniel Howell for the lot to the north. These records describe: a four-acre Howell home lot between Horse Mill Lane to the north and the Halsey lot to the south; the six-acre home lot of Thomas Halsey Sr. extending south from the Howell lot; and Thomas Halsey Jr. acquiring the adjoining three-acre lot to the south, extending the home lot to nine acres. Beginning with Horse Mill Lane, and calculating the four-acre Howell lot to the south, and then calculating the six-acre Thomas Halsey home lot south of the Howell lot, we can identify the land associated with the Halsey House. Drawing 3 illustrates the Thomas Halsey Sr. home lot.
In his will, which he signed on June 28, 1677, Thomas Halsey Sr. left his home lot and house to his oldest son, Thomas Halsey Jr., "I do give and bequeath unto my sonne Thomas my house & housing and home lott..." [Southampton History Museum collection.] Thomas Halsey Jr., in his will dated August 3, 1688, divided his home lot between his sons Isaac and Jonathan:
I give unto my Son Isaac Halsey four Acres of the Home lott at Towne yt was my father Halseys to begin on the north side of the Lott and also the other halfe of the new House that Standeth upon the Said lott and the other halfe of the Said House after the time is Expired that my wife is to have in (it) …
I give to my son Jonathan Halsey the home lot at towne that I bought of mr wodhull and a third part of the home Lott that was my fathers my w(ife) Enjoying one acre and a halfe of the abovesd Lott dureing her Life as is before menconed
From this we learn that Thomas Halsey Sr.'s home lot contained six acres: four acres given to Isaac plus the one third, which would be two acres, given to Jonathan. Isaac's four acres were to the north and Jonathan's two acres were to the south adjoining the Woodhull lot.
A few years after his father died, Jonathan Halsey deeded his portion of the Main Street home lot to Isaac in exchange for other land:
Jonathan Halsey sells to his brother Isaac Halsey all his part of the home lot at Town that was his grand father Halsey's, being about 5 acres that is in the lot that was Mr. Woodhull's and 1/3 of the other lot adjoining, as given him by his father's will. [Records of the Town of Southampton, v. 5, p. 275. The published text is "1/2 of the other lot", which may be an error of transcription.]
This exchange documents the lot which Thomas Halsey Jr. purchased from Richard Woodhull as containing three acres (five acres less the two acres of Thomas Halsey Sr.'s lot) and verifies that the Woodhull lot adjoined Thomas Halsey Sr.'s lot to the south.
The location of Thomas Halsey Sr.'s lot on Main Street is fixed by a 1732 deed for the Howell lot adjoining the Halsey lot to the north:
Nehemiah Howell of Maidenhead, New Jersey, sells to Nathaniel Howell, a home lot, 4 acres, bounded north by a lane that goes down to ye Town pond, east by Town street, south by Capt. Isaac Halsey, west by the Town Pond... [Records of the Town of Southampton, v. 6, p. 174.]
The lane to Town Pond is Horse Mill Lane, described by William S. Pelletreau in 1915 as being north of the lot "now owned by Mr. J. Lawrence McKeever." Drawing 3 shows the four-acre McKeever lot on the 1916 Hyde Atlas of Suffolk County and the narrow lot of Miss Julia A. Wilson to the north, part of which was Horse Mill Lane. The Wilson and McKeever lots correspond to lots on the current Suffolk County Tax Map as shown on Drawing 3. This provides the basis for laying out the six-acre home lot of Thomas Halsey Sr. and the nine-acre home lot of Thomas Halsey Jr. as an overlay on the current tax map and on the 1916 Atlas. The Halsey House stands on the northerly four-acre portion of the home lot that Thomas Halsey Jr. gave to Isaac Halsey.
As described above, Isaac Halsey reconstituted his father's nine acre home lot when he acquired his brother's five-acre share in 1691. Then in 1695, Isaac sold the southerly 2 1/2 acres of his home lot to Richard Howell:
(Abstract) Richard Howell sells to Isaac Halsey 2 1/2 acres in little plain...in exchange Isaac Halsey gives 2 1/2 acres bounded N by said Isaac's home lot, S. by home lot of Jonathan Raynor, W by Town pond, E by main street. Nov. 8, 1695.
Richard Howell sells to his son Josiah, the 2 1/2 acres mentioned above same date. [Records of the Town of Southampton, v. 2, pp. 326,327.]
This transaction left Isaac Halsey with a 6 1/2 acre home lot of about the same configuration as that of Thomas Halsey Sr.'s lot. There is no known subsequent change to the Halsey home lot through Isaac's ownership. The last record of Isaac Halsey owning the home lot is in a 1746 deed for the Howell lot to the north.
Jeddediah Howell sells to rev. Sylvanus White, a home lot of 5 acres, bounded south by lot of Isaac Halsey, north by Horse Mill Lane, east by Main Street, West by Town Pond. 1746. [Records of theTown of Southampton, v. 6, p. 207. The reference to a five-acreHowell home lot is difficult to explain, unless the transcription is in error. The McKeever lot and the subdivision of the McKeever lot as shown on the Suffolk County Tax Map amount to 4.1acres.]
In 1697 Josiah Howell sold to Jonathan Raynor half of the 2 1/2 acres he had purchased from Isaac Halsey:
Josiah Howell sells to Jonathan Raynor "one half of my Home Lot which I formerly had of Isaac Halsey, and am now possessed of, lying and being at ye south end of said Southampton town, which half is to be taken off the south side joining to the land of said Raynor. The whole lot is bounded, north by Isaac Halsey, south by said Jonathan Raynor, west by ye Town Pond, east by the main street of Southampton." June 12, 1697. [Records of the Town of Southampton, v. 6, p. 138.]
Jonathan Raynor owned all the land on the west side of Main Street from Thomas Halsey Jr.'s nine-acre home lot south to what was called the "Smith Lot," which was a five-acre lot adjoining what is now Gin Lane. A 1742 deed documents the Raynor lot adjoining the "Smith Lot" to the north:
(Abstract) Nathaniel Howell sells to Joseph Foster a messuage of land commonly called Smiths Lot at ye south end of ye town street bounded S by a lane called Smiths lane, E by town street W by town pond N by land of Jonathan Raynor deceased 5 acres. March 28, 1742. [Records of the Town of Southampton, v. 3, p. 36.]
In his will, dated January 31, 1741, Jonathan Raynor left to his son Hugh "all my Buildings in Town and all my home lot on the west side of the Street." [Liber of Wills 14, pp. 29-31, Suffolk County Surrogate's Court.]
By 1800 Hugh Raynor's son, James Raynor, owned the Halsey House. When Hugh Raynor died in 1802, James inherited the Raynor home lot and merged in with the Halsey lot to create a twenty-acre parcel. [At some time a Raynor acquired the 1 1/4 acre parcel between Halsey and Raynor that Josiah Howell owned in 1697.] In 1812 James Raynor sold this twenty-acre parcel with the Halsey House to Elias Pelletreau:
James Raynor and wife Phebe, sold to Elias Pelletreau, A lot with house and two barns, 20 acres, bounded east by Main street of Southampton, north by Doctor Henry White, south by Thomas Jessup, west by Town Pond. August 28, 1812. [Records of the Town of Southampton, v. 6, p. 234.]
Henry White owned the Howell lot to the north of the Halsey lot and Thomas Jessup owned the "Smith Lot" south of the Raynor property.
Maltby Pelletreau, who had inherited the parcel from his father, transferred the twenty acres in 1833 to a group of four men (Daniel Fordham, James Scott, Isaac Sayre, Jr. and Henry Reeves):
All that certain Tract or parcel of Land with all the buildings thereon situated lying and being in the Town of Southampton aforesaid and Bounded East by Southampton Street North by Land of Sylvanus Raynor South by Silvanus Howell and West by the Town Pond Containing twenty acres... [Deed, Maltby Pelletreau and Jane Pelletreau to Daniel Fordham, James Scott, Isaac Sayre, Jr.and Henry Reeves, April 26, 1833. Deed Liber P, Book of deeds Asst Clerk, pp.179-180, Suffolk County Clerk's Office.]
In 1839 this group (now consisting of Henry and Emily Reeve, Isaac and Eliza Sayre, Jesse Reeves and Gilbert and Fanny Carll) sold the twenty-acre parcel to Oliver White:
All that certain tract of land situated in the town of Southampton in the Parish of Southampton and bounded as follows North by Silvanus Raynor, East by the Town Street, South by Silvanus Howell and West by the Town Pond, containing twenty acres. [Deed, Henry and Emily Reeve, Isaac and Eliza Sayre, Jesse Reeves and Gilbert and Fanny Carll to Oliver White, May 7, 1839. Deed Liber 258, pp. 55-57, Suffolk County Clerk's Office.]
Thomas Nicholas White inherited the land when his father, Oliver White, died in 1842.
Thomas N. White and Nancy R. White sold a 2 1/4 acre parcel containing the Halsey House to Arthur J. Peabody on August 3, 1886. [Thomas N. and Nancy White to Arthur J. Peabody, August 3, 1886. Deed Liber 297, pp. 257-258. Suffolk County Clerk's Office.] In 1958, John Tillotson Wainwright III, Arthur Peabody's great- grandson, sold the Halsey House on a .7 acre parcel to the Southampton Colonial Society.
* * * * *
In the above account, the first reference to the South Main Street home lot of Thomas Halsey Sr. occurs in his will of 1677. Earlier references to a Thomas Halsey Sr. home lot and to another lot, previously interpreted as being the South Main Street home lot, are discussed here.
The first mention of a "home lot" for Thomas Halsey is this entry of April 10, 1651:
Upon the 10th day of Aprill 1651 John Kelly had a whome lott of 3 acres of land fronting against the whome lott of Thomas Halsey granted unto him upon conditions that yf the saide John Kelly doe not personally * * the same that the saide land with the housing * * with any other material as fencing, shall fall into the townes hands, they paying him his expence on the same, as men indifferently chosen by the said Kelly and the town shall judge it as his leaving to be worth. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 1, p. 47.]
John Kelly sold this lot to Bartholemew Smith a few months later:
At a towne meeting held upon the 3d of August 1651 by the inhabitants of this towne it was granted that Bartholemew Smith, shall have and enjoy the whome lot lying about the house or seller which he bought of John Kelly. [Records: TownofSouthampton, v. 1, p. 79.]
There is no indication that the Thomas Halsey home lot that bordered that of John Kelly and then Bartholemew Smith is the Main Street lot on which the Halsey House stands.
A 1659 reference to a Thomas Halsey home lot may or may not be the same as that which adjoined Batholemew Smith in 1651:
May 25, 1659. John Ould field acknowledgeth that he hath sould unto Ellis Cook his home lot lieing betwixt Thomas Halseys Sen. and Thomas Cooper... [Records: Town ofSouthampton, v.1, p. 138.]
In his will of 1677, Thomas Halsey gave his son Daniel "the home loot that I booht of Mr: Smith." The 1678 inventory of his estate values "Smiths Lott" at £25. This second home lot of Thomas Halsey Sr. may be the same as the mystery lots referred to above.
An entry in the Town Records of December 12, 1647 has been cited as the grant of Thomas Halsey's Main Street home lot:
It is ordered that Thomas Halsey shall have his afore mentioned three acres of his fourty eight, laid out sixteen poles in breadth, and whereas there is a highway eight poles wide to bee between the said lot and the pond neere adioyneing, the towne doe give way to the said Tho. Halsey to inclose to the pond the said breadth of sixteen poles, but if hereafter the said inclosure of that pt of the highway becomes preiudical to the towne in the eyes of the major pt thereof, that then the said pt of the highway soe inclosed shall return to its former nature. [Records:TownofSouthampton, v.1, p. 44.]
In 1683 this parcel was owned by Thomas Halsey's son Isaac:
At a meeting of the Inhabitants or freeholders of the towne upon a training day, it is put to vote concerning laying open the highway long since upon sufferance enclosed by Thomas Halsey deceased and is now in the possession of his son Isaac Halsey lying by the pond side at the lower end of his 3 acre close, whereupon the general voate passed that the said highway shall be thrown open to the comon for the townes use and more especially for Mr. Whiting to goe to his land. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 2, p.279.]
This parcel is not the Main Street home lot. It is the "three eakers lying at the Toune Ponnd" that Thomas Halsey Sr. left to his son Isaac in his will of 1677. This is Isaac Halsey (1628-1725), Captain Isaac Halsey's uncle.
Thomas Halsey Sr.
owned the home lot on which the Halsey House stands from the 1650s to 1678
Thomas Halsey Sr. (1592-1678) sailed from England for America in 1638 making a brief stay at Lynn, Massachusetts, before joining with others to establish a new plantation at Southampton. Halsey had left Kempston, Bedfordshire, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their five children. Thomas Halsey was 46 years old when he arrived in Massachusetts, Elizabeth was 34, Thomas Jr. was 13, Isaac was 9, Daniel was 8 and their daughter Elizabeth was 4 years old.
The proprietors signed articles of agreement in Lynn in March 1639 and by 1640 had settled at Southampton. The story of the land on which the Halsey House stands begins about 1648 when the home lots at Old Town began to be abandoned and a new settlement along Main Street was established. William S. Pelletreau wrote that town records show proprietors living on Main Street by 1649. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 8, p. 435.]
The first mention of Thomas Halsey living on Main Street occurs in an entry in the records of May 4, 1657 ordering residents at the south end to assemble at the home of Thomas Halsey if an alarm were sounded: "all from (the meetinghouse) to the southend of the towne repaire to about Tho, Halseys Sen his house..." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 1, p. 153.]
A list of inhabitants transcribed by William S. Pelletreau, and attributed by him to the year 1657, names the following living on the west side of Main Street:
38. Mr. ffordham
39. Joseph ffordham
40. Mr. John Howell
41. Tho. Halsey
42. Jon Raynor [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 1, p. 32.]
William S. Pelletreau identifies the home lots of Robert Fordham, Joseph Fordham, John Howell, Thomas Halsey and Jonathan Raynor lying in this order, north to south, on the west side of Main Street. The analysis in the previous section of this report also demonstrates that Thomas Halsey Sr.’s home lot lay between the Howell and Raynor lots.
According to Halsey family genealogies, Elizabeth Halsey, Thomas's wife, died about 1649. His marriage to Ann Johns in 1660 is documented in the town records:
This present writing witnesseth that I Thomas Halsey of Southampton in Conecticut, Husbandman, doe take Ann jones the wife of Edward Jones lately deceased in marriage contract to bee my espoused wife, without consideration of, or in relation to any of the lands goods or chattels that were in the possession of or any way properly belonging to the aforesaid Edward Jones. And doe hereby disclaime renounce and abandon all claime, right, title and Interest in them, and to them. And this my act and deed I publish proclaim and give notice to all ye world especially to those whome it doth or may concerne. Whereof I have set my hand this 25 of July 1660, THOMAS HALSEY [Records:Town of Southampton, v. 2, p.213.]
In his will, which he signed on June 28, 1677, Thomas Halsey Sr. left his house and Main Street home lot to Thomas Halsey Jr.:
I do give and bequeath unto my sonne Thomas my house & housing and home lott and ye Beech loot, & the little plaine Clooase, and the litel Clooase on the Southside of Mr: Rainers Commonly called Troublesome, & the Cloase at ye Millneck Comonly knowne by the name of Peters Clooase; and I Doe give my Sonn Thomas the loot that I had this last Devission at Meecokes: & the table in the parler, & the fife Joynt Stooles: & the bedsted & curtins in the poorch chamber. [Southampton History Museum collection.]
Thomas Halsey Sr. left his wife "one woolen Wheele: & one llinan Wheele, and my little iron poot, and a yelow rugg, and one white Dutch Blanket. and foore bushells of wheat to bee paid yearly as long as Shee liveth: the first to be paid within one Moonth; and foore ewe sheep." He did not stipulate her use of his house and it may be that she retained ownership of Edward John's house further up the street. Thomas Halsey Sr. died on August 27, 1678.
While the will of Thomas Halsey Sr. documents his ownership of the lot on which the Halsey House stands, it also tells us that his house does not survive. Thomas gave to Thomas Jr. "the table in the parler, & the fife Joynt Stooles: & the bedsted & curtins in the poorch chamber." Abbott Lowell Cummings describes the porch as a feature of some seventeenth-century houses in Massachusetts:
The projecting porch was but a spatial extension of the chimney bay beyond the front plane of the house...There was very little deviation from a standard formula for a projecting porch...Characteristic dimensions are laid down in a contract of 1657 by which John Norman, a house carpenter of Manchester, agreed to build a parsonage in Beverly, thirty-eight feet long and seventeen feet wide, "with a porch of eight foote square and Jetted over one foot each way." [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), p.36.]
The term "jetted over" meant that the second story of the porch overhung the first story. Abbott Lowell Cummings illustrated the two- story porch with an engraving of the 1670 Brigham house of Boston which was demolished in 1824 (see below). The porch of the 1690 Spencer-Pierce-Little House of Newbury, Massachusetts, built of brick, may be the only New England example to survive (see below).
[Image of engraving from James Henry Stark, Antique Views of Ye Towne of Boston, (Boston: McIndoe Brooks, 1882) p. 75. GoogleBooks.]
In the "porch chamber" of Thomas Halsey Sr.'s house was the "bedsted & curtins" that he left to Thomas Halsey Jr. New England estate inventories document other porch chambers used as bedrooms. The 1718 inventory of the estate of Col. Nicholas Page of Rumney Marsh, Massachusetts, includes
1 Small Bed and Callico Curtains 1 blanket 1 pair pillows 1 small looking glass 2 old chairs [Abbot Lowell Cummings, ed., Rural Household Inventories, 1675-1775, (Boston: SPNEA, 1964), p. 97.]
The 1686 inventory of the estate of Captain Jethro Furber of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, lists a "Porch Chamber that contained his best bedstead, clothing and books" and in the 1717 inventory of the estate of Joseph Chase of Hampton, New Hampshire, "the appraisers listed a small bedroom in the ‘Porch Chamber’ ”. [Richard Candee, "First Period Architecture in Maine and New Hampshire: The Evidence of Probate Inventories," in Early American Probate Inventories, Peter Benes, ed., (Boston: Boston University, 1987), pp. 109, 114.]
The timber frame of the Halsey House contains no evidence of a two- story porch projecting from the chimney bay on the front wall. There are no mortises in the chimney bay posts or in the plate to accept framing for a porch. The saucers for wattle-and-daub on the south face of post 2 indicate that this was an exterior wall, not an interior wall within a porch (see Drawing 5). The fact that the Halsey House did not have a two-story porch, with a "porch chamber," means that this is not the house of Thomas Halsey Sr.
THOMAS HALSEY Jr.
built the Halsey House ca. 1683
Thomas Halsey Jr. (1626-1688) married Mary Barrett about 1651, when he was 25 years old. Mary was born in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, the same town where Thomas's mother was born. Thomas and Mary Halsey had twelve children: Mary (born 1654); Elizabeth (born 1655); Josiah (born 1657); Sarah (born 1658); Isaac (born 1660); David (born 1663); Hannah (born 1665) Jeremiah (born 1667); Jonathan (born 1669); Phoebe (born 1671); Abigail (born 1673) and Nathaniel (born 1675).
The 1657 list of inhabitants includes Thomas Halsey Jr. among the "Eastern Men," indicating that he was living at Mecox by this time. Thomas Halsey Jr. inherited from his father two Water Mill properties: "the Cloase at ye Millneck Commonly knowne as Peeters Clooase" and "the loot that I had this last Devission at Meecokes." Thomas Halsey Jr. may have moved to Mecox to tend livestock on his father's land and then acquired additional land there for himself. The town meeting held on February 20, 1659 "granted to Thomas Halsey Jun upon his request to the town that he shall have for his propriety, and the towne do give unto him all that quantity of land more or less belonging unto the towne lying within his fence at the place comonly called Cobs pound." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 2, p. 208. The name Cobs pound originated from an early use as an enclosure for horses.] He expanded his Cobs pound property with a transaction dated May 1, 1663: "John Woodruff Sen sells to Thomas Halsey Jr his 100 lb lot in mill neck, over against the piece of land called Cobs pound..." [Records:TownofSouthampton, v. 2, p.221.] and he chose his division of 1665 to be "50 acres adjoyning ye reare of his lot at Cobs pound, 8 acres at his land in mill neck." [Records:TownofSouthampton, v. 1, p.150.] The meadows of Mecox Bay and the adjoining upland became the base of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s farm, undoubtedly focused on raising livestock. The December 28, 1688 inventory of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s estate lists 2 horses, 12 oxen, 57 cattle, 84 sheep, 23 swine, wheat, hay, oats, Indian Corn, 3 barrels of beef and 3 barrels of pork. [Inventory of the estate of Thomas Halsey Jr., December 28, 1688, Southampton Historical Museum collection.] Cobs pound was the west side of Mecox Bay where Cobb Road and Cobb Island are today. Although he had worked on expanding his lands in Water Mill, Thomas Halsey Jr. also owned meadow, pasture and arable land at the Village of Southampton, Shinnecock, Quoque and Westhampton Beach.
Upon the death of his father in 1678, Thomas Halsey Jr. inherited the Main Street house and home lot. At that time, Thomas Halsey Jr. was 52 years old and Mary, his wife, was 51. Their twelve children ranged in age from 3 to 21 with six between the ages of 3 and 15. Having a second residence in town may have been beneficial for schooling and for church. The Main Street house may also have been used when Thomas or his older sons were farming their lands west of Water Mill.
The will of Thomas Halsey Jr., which he signed on August 3, 1688, is the most important document relating to the Halsey House. Because Thomas Halsey wrote "I doe give unto my wife Mary Dureing the time of her widowhood the one halfe of my new house that I built at the towne namly The west Leantoo and halfe the north Leantoo and halfe the sellar", we know that he had recently built the house, that it faced south and that it had a rear lean-to on the north wall and a lean-to on the west gable-end.
For Thomas Halsey Jr. to build this new house, his father's house must have been lost. One would suspect that it burned down. The frame of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s house incorporates a recycled timber that was heavily charred when part of an earlier building. Thomas Halsey Jr. built the Halsey House between 1678, when he inherited the home lot, and 1688, when he wrote his will. This report takes the middle of this range of years for the short-hand attributed date of ca. 1683.
Thomas Halsey Jr. left his South Main Street home lot and the new house he built on it to his second son, Isaac Halsey:
I give unto my Son Isaac Halsey four Acres of the Home lott at Towne yt was my father Halseys to begin on the north side of the Lott and also the other halfe of the new House that Standeth upon the Said lott and the other halfe of the Said House after the time is Expired that my wife is to have in it... [Will of Isaac Halsey, January 10, 1752, Southampton Historical Society Collection.]
The exact date that Thomas Halsey Jr. died is not known, but his will was proved on January 16, 1689. Mary Halsey may have elected to live at Cobs pound, rather than Main Street, as Thomas had given her his house there along with "the neck of land at Cobs pound" and "the Eagles Nest close at Mecox" for her use during her life. The 1696 "Estimate of Town of Southampton" lists "Mrs Mary Halsey and her son Nathaniel" as a family unit. Nathaniel Halsey was her youngest child and was only fourteen years old when his father died. Nathaniel was to inherit the house and home lot at Cobs pound, "the neck called cobs pound and the Close called the Eagles nest.." In her will, Mary Halsey wrote that her fifteen cattle and her money were "in ye hands of my son Nathaniel Halsey." We can surmise that Mary Halsey continued to live in the Water Mill house rather than in the Main Street house and that Isaac Halsey had use of all of the Halsey House from 1689. Mary Halsey died in 1699 and Nathaniel, then aged 24, had possession of the Water Mill house and home lot.
CAPTAIN ISAAC HALSEY
owned the Halsey House from 1689 to ca. 1746 and remodeled it ca. 1730
In his will of August 3, 1688, Thomas Halsey Jr. provided for his wife and divided his two houses and his vast lands between his sons, with Isaac Halsey receiving the Main Street house. He left a substantial cash legacy only to Isaac Halsey:
I do give unto my Son Isaac Halsey fourty Six pounds to be payd in Cattle at ye Rate of Contry paye as they Shall be prized by men this he shall Receive of my Executrix if he Live to Returne from albany if not Shee may keep it in her owne hands and doe with it as Shee Sees Cause...
Isaac Halsey (1660-1757) was a Corporal in Lieutenant Peter Schuyler's troop in the Albany Expedition from October 1687 to August 1688:
Petition. Peter Schuyler for his pay as Lieutenant of horse from October 5, 1687 to August 1, 1688 in Captain George Lockharts troop in the Albany Expedition at 9 shillings per diem
pay of servand at 13d per diem 16.16.1
36 duffel coats for ye troopes att 20s £36.00.00
List of men belonging to the troop which had blue diffels coats Each one att 20 sh P coat £36. Edw'd Graham Quart'r Mast'r
Doct'r John Botler
Isaac Halsey Corp'll
John Hatton Corp'll
Barrent Janse Herek
John Tuder Jun'r
[Second Annual Report of the State Historian of the State of New York, (Albany and New York: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers, 1897), pp. 395-396.Google Books.]
The long conflict between the English, with their allies the Iroquois, and the French for control of the fur trade flared in June 1687 when a French expedition from Montreal under Governor Denonville attacked and destroyed the largest Seneca village at Ganondagan, in western New York. In September 1687 a force of 3,000 marched from Montreal down the Richelieu River destroying Iroquois villages and crops and inciting retaliation from the Iroquois against the French. In August 1687 New York Governor Thomas Dongan left Manhattan for Albany where he "found the inhabitants of that place in considerable alarm owing to the fact that the destruction of that place and Schenectady was threatened by the French..." Dongan assembled a company of soldiers, the Albany Expedition, among whom was Corporal Isaac Halsey of Southampton. Governor Dongan described the defenses in 1687:
At Albany there is a Fort made of pine trees, fifteen foot high, and foot over, with Batterys and conveniences made for men to walk about, where are nine guns, small arms for forty men, four Barrils of powder with great and small shot in proportion. The Timber and Boards being rotten were renewed this year. In my opinion it were better that the fort were built up of Stone and Lime which will not be double the charge of this years repair, which yet will not last above 6 or 7 years before it will require the like again, whereas on the contrary, were it built of Lime and Stone it may bee for more easily maintained. And truly its very necessary to have a Fort there, it being a frontier place both to the Indians and French." [Information in this paragraph from History of the County of Albany, N.Y. from 1609 to 1886, (New York: W.W. Munsell & Co., 1886), p. 384.
The cost of securing the frontier was so great that the New York Council "passed an act to raise £2555 in the several counties at a fixed rate; the same to be paid at the custom-house in New-York before November, 1688." [The Memorial History of the City of New-York, James Grant Wilson, ed., (New York: New-York History Company, 1892), pp.431-434.]
We can assume that Corporal Isaac Halsey's tour in Albany was the same as that of his Lieutenant, Peter Schuyler, that is from October 5, 1687 to August 1, 1688. Isaac must have volunteered for the Albany Expedition. The list of officers and soldiers in Schuyler's troop includes only a few family names found in Suffolk County at that time. This was a troop of men from throughout New York. That Isaac Halsey was an officer of this troop gives us an idea of his personality and abilities.
We assume that Peter Schuyler's troop was stationed at Fort Frederick at Albany to defend the city. Whether they sojourned further into the frontier is not known. Certainly Isaac Halsey met Governor Thomas Dongan who was at Albany through the winter of 1678-1688. His commanding officer, Lieutenant Peter Schuyler, became the first Mayor of Albany following this commission.
Isaac Halsey was at the New York City custom house in November 1688 when he paid Southampton's assessment for the Albany Expedition to Matthew Plowman, Collector and Receiver General of New York:
Received this 21 day of November 1688 of Mr. Isaac Halsey the sum of one hundred twenty nine pounds, 13 shillings and seven pence half penny, for the assessment of the county of Suffolk. I say received for the towne of Southampton New York
This money above said was payed towards the Defraying of the charge of the souldiers keeping at Albany the last year. [George Louis Beer, The Old Colonial System, 1660-1754, (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912), vol.1, p.352. Google Books and Records:Town of Southampton, v. 2, p.34.]
Isaac Halsey remained a member of the Southampton militia. In 1700 he is ensign of a Southampton company in the Regiment of Militia for Suffolk County. [The Documentary History of the State of New York, (Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co., 1849), v. 1, p.358. Google Books.] Captain Isaac Halsey is listed as commanding a Southampton company of forty men in the 1715 muster roll of the Suffolk County Regiment. [James Truslow Adams, History of the Town of Southampton, (Bridgehampton: Hampton Press, 1918), p. 308.]
Isaac Halsey was in Southampton when his father died in December 1688. Isaac inherited the home lot and house on South Main Street, two lots of farmland near Main Street, a lot at Scuttle Hole, meadow at Onuck, meadow at Asops Stalk, a meadow at Short Neck (the last three are in Quoque and Westhampton Beach), a full share of commonage, and meadow at Shinnecock.
Isaac Halsey married Mary Abigail Howell on November 28, 1689. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 2, p. 244.] She was the daughter of John and Susannah Howell who lived next door to the north of the Halsey House. Isaac and Mary lived in the Main Street house that Thomas Halsey Jr. had built less than ten years earlier. Isaac Halsey is described as "Isaac Halsey, south end," in the town records of 1695 and the "Estimate of Town of Southampton" dated September 11, 1696 lists "Isaac Halsey South end." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 5, p. 79 and v. 2, pp. 361-362.] "A list of ye Inhabitants of ye Towne of Southampton" from 1698 names families in geographic order. The family of Isaac and Mary Halsey, with children Ephriam, Mehitabel and Mary, are listed between the families of Jonathan Raynor and Nathaniel Howell, conclusively documenting their home as the Halsey House. [George Rogers Howell, The Early History of Southampton, L. I., (Albany, Weed, Parsons and Company, 1887), pp. 34-37.]
Isaac and Mary Abigail Halsey had children Mehitabel (1690- ), Ephraim (ca. 1691 - 1764) and Isaac (1693-1725). The child named Mary in the 1698 list is not recorded in any genealogies. Isaac Halsey married Hannah Stratton of East Hampton on December 19, 1699.
Isaac and Hannah had one child, Timothy (1703-1723). On July 14, 1736 Isaac married Mary Hudson (1664-1758), widow of Robert Hudson of East Hampton. When Mary Abigail Halsey and Hannah Halsey died is not known.
While Isaac was living in his Main Street house, he began to expand the holdings he had inherited to the west, particularly in Onuck Neck and Potunk Neck (now Westhampton Beach). In 1689 he was granted, for five pounds, "all the remainder of the upland at Onunck neck..." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 2, p. 305] On August 4, 1698 Isaac Halsey granted Richard Howell Sr. two £50 allotments in Ketchabonack neck for two £50 allotments in Potunk neck and on August 9, 1698 he purchased from Matthew Howell one £50 allotment at Potunk neck and one £50 allotment at Ogden's Neck. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 6, pp. 2,3.]
Extending even further west, in 1716 Captain Isaac Halsey purchased from Major William Smith a vast tract of about 10,000 acres, which became known as Halsey's Manor.49 The eastern boundary of Halsey's Manor was the Southampton town line, the northern boundary was the Peconic River, the western boundary was on a line extending from the Forge River at Moriches northerly to the Peconic River, and the southern boundary was the Moriches patentship. Halsey's Manor contained primarily pine barrens (much of which remains undeveloped today) and did not include the valuable necks of land and meadows on Moriches Bay. Isaac Halsey immediately set about trading part of Halsey's Manor for additional land adjoining his farm at Potunk and Onuck as evidenced by this entry in the Town Records later that year:
Whereas Isaac Halsey hath bought of Major Wm Smith a tract of land of about twelve thousand acres, and many of ye towne being desirous to have a part of ye said land, and Isaac Halsey being willing to give one third of said land for about one hundred and twenty acres of land joining to his land at Potunk and Oneck... [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 5, p 172.]
In 1738 Isaac Halsey, John Howell, Stephen Herrick and the surveyor Nathaniel Dominy laid out a highway across the necks of the Quaganantuck Purchase (Westhampton Beach, Quioque and Quoque). The description included:
a passing highway of four pole wide across great wonnonch neck to potunk, northward of Isaac Halsey's House, then an highway across potunk adjoining to the fences as they now stand, of five poles wide and so to continue to the corner of Jonathan Rayners orchard by his house in Ketchaboneck... [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 3, p. 117.]
Wonunk Neck, or Onuck Neck, is between Beaver Dam Creek and Moneybogue Bay. Potunk Neck extends from Moneybogue Bay to Aspatuck Creek. Today this is Westhampton Beach (the earlier names live on in Oneck Lane, Potunk Lane and Potunk Point). William S. Pelletreau wrote of Wonunk Neck, where Isaac Halsey's house stood in 1738:
West of Potunk are the two necks known in our early records as Wonunk and Little Wonunk, the name having been changed to Onuck, as it is now called. A large part of these necks was drawn by Thomas Halsey. Isaac Halsey purchased additional land and had a house here by 1738. By his will he left to his son, Ephraim Halsey, the use of all his lands, meadows and buildings, during his life, with reversion to his grandsons, Cornelius and Sylvanus. The two necks are almost entirely owned by his descendants. Ephraim Halsey died August 20, 1764, aged 71. Cornelius Halsey died April 19, 1782, aged 61. On the site of the house built by the original settler, stands the residence of the late Dennis K. Halsey, who died November 15, 1901, aged 76. The late Isaac C. Halsey and Edwin C. Halsey, both well known and respected citizens, owned large tracts of the ancestral heritage. [William S. Pelletreau, A History of Long Island, (New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1905), v. 2, pp. 339,340.]
The 1873 Beers Atlas shows a number of Halseys living at Onuck and also illustrates the extensive meadows that remained at that time on Moriches Bay and Moneybogue Bay.
Pelletreau further wrote of the necks of meadow on Shinnecock Bay and Moriches Bay:
In the earliest times it was customary for persons who owned lots or meadows in the western part of the town to build small houses on the upland nearby. In these houses they lived during the haying season, when meadow hay was cut and stacked. In the early part of the winter they would drive their cattle to these places and fodder them on the hay, the person attending the stock living in the houses until spring. This explains the mention of houses long before there was any actual settlement. [Pelletreau, p. 341.]
Was Isaac Halsey's house on Wonunk Neck, mentioned in the 1738 highway description, this type of seasonal shelter or a more substantial year-round residence? Considering that this was the center of his farm, certainly devoted to raising livestock, we could expect Isaac Halsey to be living here, just as his father lived at Mecox where his land holdings were concentrated. It appears that Jonathan Raynor, who had an orchard by his house at Ketchabonack in 1738, must have had a year- round residence. The fact that land was set aside for a parsonage at Beaver Dam in 1742 and that a church was built there about 1750 suggests a developing year-round community. [The History of the Westhampton Presbyterian Church, 1742-1976, privately printed, 1976. p.5.]
Joshua Hempstead, of New London, recorded a visit to the area in his diary. Hempstead spent the night of July 21, 1749 at Moriches and set out the next day heading east "thro a barren pine Country, 6 or 7 mile I came to a mill where was one Eph Halsey a grinding, who after a Small Salutation took a horse & Rid with to kitchaboneck a few houses about a mile." [Diary of Joshua Hempstead, 1711-1758, (New London: New London County Historical Society, 1901), p. 532. Google Books.] Ephraim Halsey's grist mill was at Beaver Dam, at the west boundary of the Halsey's Onuck Neck. Certainly Ephraim Halsey was living at Onuck at this time with his wife Martha and some of their seven children.
It is logical to assume that Isaac Halsey's house at Wonunk, mentioned in the 1738 highway description, was a year-round house and his primary residence. With the vast lands he owned at Onuck and Potunk and, in comparison, the little land he had at Southampton Village, it is logical that by a certain time he would be living primarily at Onuck.
Isaac Halsey remained the owner of the Halsey House in 1746 as documented by a transaction for the Howell lot to the north:
Jeddediah Howell sells to Rev. Sylvanus White, a home lot of 5 acres bounded south by lot of Isaac Halsey, north by Horse Mill Lane, east by Main Street, west by Town Pond. 1746. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 6, p. 207.]
The will of Isaac Halsey, which he signed on January 10, 1752, mentions only one house:
I give to my beloved wife Mary Hallsey twenty pounds in money to be paid to her by my executors two years after my decease if she shall be then living but if she die before that time then it is not to be paid and I also give her the use and improvement of the west room in my now dwelling house for the term of six months after my decease and no longer And I also give her one hundred weight of good pork and one hundred weight of good Beef and I also give her one milch Cow and pasture for her for six months after my decease and the cow to be fetched and drove seasonally in pasture and also give her six bushel of good wheat and six bushel of Indian corn and three loads of firewood and all the Butter and Cheese in the house that is of her making. 3rd I give to my son Ephraim all the use and improvement of all my Lands Meadows and Buildings which I have at Onuck and that during his natural life and no longer I also give him twenty shillings in money and if my son Ephraim die before his Wife that now is then she shall have the use and improvement of one half of the lands and meadows and Buildings which I have at Onock so long as she lives my sons widow and bares his name and no longer. 4th I give and bequest to my Grandson Cornelius Hallsey and to his heirs and assigns forever all my lands and meadow in pine neck and also I give him all my Lands Meadows Building Buildings and Commonage which is Eastward tiana and red brick to the East bounds of the Town which is his and his heirs and assigns forever and I also give him all my Lands, Meadows Buildings which I have at Potunk including the land in the upper Division lying against it and my three easternmost fifties in the new Division lying against Onuck and one fifty of land in Quioqe in the upper division and also one half of my manor land and one half of my Commonage westward of tianah which shall all be to him his heirs and assigns forever. 5th I give to my Grand son Silvanus Halsey all my lands Meadow and Buildings which I have at Speonk and also all my lands meadows and Buildings which I have at Onuck including the upper division lying against the neck excepting the three fifties given to his Brother and I also give him one half of my manor land and also one half of my Commonage westward of tianah and two thirds of a lot of land in Quioqe all which lands meadows Buildings and rights to Lands and meadows which I have here given to my Grandson Sylvanus Hallsey I give it to him his heirs and assigns forever... [Will of Isaac Halsey, January 10, 1752, Southampton History Museum collection.]
Isaac Halsey does not say where his "now house" is. He gives Ephraim the use of his buildings at Onuck for his lifetime, with ownership going to his grandson Sylvanus. Isaac Halsey's grandson Cornelius received all buildings at Potunk and all buildings east of Tianna. If Isaac Halsey still owned the Halsey House in 1757, it would have been inherited by Cornelius Halsey. In his will, signed November 2, 1779, Cornelius Halsey left to his son Timothy "my now dwelling house at Potunk" and left to his son William "my dwelling house, barn, and outhouses that standeth on Onouck Neck." [Will of Cornelius Halsey, November 2, 1779, Southampton History Museum collection.]
This report attributes the major eighteenth-century transformation of the Halsey House to Captain Isaac Halsey. After demolishing the north lean-to, the west lean-to and the roof of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s house, the remaining two-story frame of the hall and hall chamber was revolved from facing south to facing east toward Main Street. A new two-story addition was built south of the chimney and a new rear lean-to was constructed. The result was a fashionable saltbox house facing the street, with a center chimney and possibly a kitchen in the new large rear lean-to. Architectural features of this remodeling, presented in the next section of this report, suggest that this work occurred between about 1720 and about 1740. The remodeling is assigned the date c. 1730 in this report. In 1720 Isaac Halsey was 60 years old. We do not know if Hannah Stratton, whom he married in 1699, was living in 1720. Isaac's son Ephraim married in 1714. During this period, the only known event in Captain Isaac Halsey's life that may have prompted him to remodel his father's house was his marriage to Mary Hudson on July 14, 1736. When they married, Isaac Halsey was 76 years old and Mary Hudson was 72. Isaac Halsey was the owner during the period when this transformation of the Halsey House likely occurred, but his age and his apparent life at Onuck make it difficult to imagine a reason for the work. Little is known about Isaac Halsey during the period from 1720 to his death in 1757. It is not certain that he was living in Onuck when he died, and this is important. If the "now house" he refers to in his will was the Halsey House, then he had not revolved it or even necessarily remodeled it. That he gave his wife the "use and improvement of the west room in my now dwelling house" means that his house faced south.
possibly owned the Halsey House from ca. 1750 to ca. 1800
Following the reference to Captain Isaac Halsey owning the Halsey House in 1746, the record is silent until a 1770 survey of Main Street appears in the Southampton Town Records:
...Then from S-E corner of Thomas Jessups Smith lot square across to Hugh Raynors S-W corner the road is 6 1/2 rods wide. Then across from Hugh Raynors gap the road is 5 1/2 rods wide. Then from the S-W corner of Nathan Jaggers lot across to Hallocks house the road is 6 rods wide, wanting 3 feet. Then across the street or highway from the S-W corner of Joseph Howells lot to Silas Howells lot it is 5 1/2 rods wide. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 3, p. 267]
The editor, William S. Pelletreau, wrote in a footnote that "Hallocks house is now house of Tho. Nicoll White," referring to the Halsey House.
The 1776 Southampton census includes a William Hallock living east of Watermill, but no Hallock living west of Watermill. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 3, Appendix.] The 1790 Federal Census places a William Hallock in the South Main Street neighborhood:
Thomas Jessup Jr.
Hallock family genealogies do not agree about a William Hallock living in Southampton. Charles Hallock in his 1906 Hallock-Holyoke Pedigree included:
William Hallock, born in Southampton, L.I., 1730, died Goshen, Mass., Oct, 21, 1815, at the age of 85, was in the army of the Revolution with his sons Moses and Jeremiah. They enlisted in 1779, and served in New Jersey, Moses one term and Jeremiah two terms. At the battle of Ticonderoga their father was a comrade of Capt. T.P. Lyman's grandfather, who captured a Queen Anne musket from a Hessian. The weapon bears the Tower mark, and is now in the possession of -----Packard, son-in-law of Widow Lyman, at Goshen. [Charles Hallock, Hallock-Holyoke Pedigree, (Amherst, MA: Press of Carpenter & Morehouse, 1906), p. 41]
Lucius H. Hallock, in his 1926 A Hallock genealogy, includes a William Hallock (1741-1794) who was born in Southold, had a wife named Miriam and died in Aquebogue:
William and Miriam appear to have lived first in Southampton, L.I. They soon moved to Old Aquebogue and spent the remainder of their lives there. Their graves are in the Jamesport cemetery.......... This William is sometimes spoken of as "William of Southampton." Charles Hallock mistakes him for William, the father of Rev. Moses and Rev. Jeremiah. [62 Lucius H. Hallock in his 1926 A Hallock genealogy : an attempt to tabulate and set in order the numerous descendants of Peter Hallock who landed at Southold, Long Island, N.Y.,(Riverhead: Lee Publishing Co., 1928), longislandsurnames.com.]
There is no certainty about the Hallock who may have been living in the Halsey House in 1770 or the William Hallock who may have been in the Halsey House when the 1790 Federal census was taken.
There is an intriguing connection between Captain Isaac Halsey and the Hallock family. Sybil Hudson, the daughter of Mary Hudson, whom Isaac married in 1736, married Peter Hallock in East Hampton in 1734. [Nathan Grier Park, The Ancestry of Rev. Nathan Grier Parke & his wife Ann Elizabeth Gildersleeve, (Privately printed, 1959), pp.113-115).] A Frederick Hallock appears as a Southampton trustee in the town records in 1818. Frederick Hallock was born in 1760, married Hannah Tuthill, and died in Quoque in 1853. According to the family genealogy cited below, his parents are unknown. Frederick and Hannah had ten children, among whom were Hannah Hudson Hallock (1795- 1886) and Elizabeth Hudson Hallock (1806-1899). [Hallock genealogy of longislandsurnames.com, which cites Lucius H. Hallock A Hallock genealogy as a source.] There may or may not be any connection between the Peter Hallock (who married Sibyl Hudson, Capt. Isaac Halsey's stepdaughter), William Hallock (who appears to be living in the Halsey House in 1790) and Frederick Hallock (who had two daughters with Hudson as their middle names). Captain Isaac Halsey gave 2,500 acres of Halsey's Manor to his stepson Timothy Hudson (1706- ), who in 1741 sold 500 acres to James Smith "in any part except the mill that Hudson built." [William S. Pelletreau, A History of Long Island, (New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1905), v. 2, p. 257.] Captain Isaac Halsey might have given the Halsey House to Sybil and Peter Hallock. This could help explain why Isaac allowed his wife, Sybil's mother, to stay in his house for only six months after his death. By giving the Halsey House to her daughter, Isaac may have already provided another place for Mary to live.
owned the Halsey House from ca. 1800 to 1812
George Rogers Howell wrote in his 1866 The Early History of Southampton, L.I.: “We will add some statements communicated to the author, concerning the residences during the better half of the last century, by Mr. Charles Pelletreau, now deceased...South of Mr. Nicholas White lived Hugh Raynor, and James his son lived in the present residence of Mr. White.” [George Rogers Howell, The Early History of Southampton, L. I., (New York: J. N. Hallock, 1866), p. 157.] As noted earlier in this report, Charles Pelletreau was a reliable source for this information that James Raynor lived in the Halsey House.
James Raynor (1760 - 1849) was the son of Hugh Raynor (ca.1725-1802) and grandson of Jonathan Raynor (1681-1741). James Raynor had a son, James Hewitt Raynor, born about 1786, and a son Lewis Raynor, born in 1796. The identity of his wife is not known. [Stuart Payne Howell, The Raynors of Ketchaponack, (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1994), longislandsurnames.com]
The 1790 Federal census has James Raynor living in Westhampton, while his brother Stephen Raynor and uncle Abonijah Raynor are living on South Main Street. The 1800 Federal census lists James Raynor living in the Halsey House and Hugh Raynor living next door to the south. Hugh Raynor, in his will of March 12, 1799, left his South Main Street properties to James Raynor. [Will of Hugh Raynor, March 12, 1799, Liber B book of wills, page 218, Suffolk County Surrogate's Court.] When Hugh Raynor died in 1802, James Raynor annexed his father's land to the Halsey House lot creating a twenty-acre parcel. The1810 Federal census also lists James Raynor at the Halsey House.
In 1812 James Raynor sold the Halsey House and the twenty-acre lot to Elias Pelletreau Jr.:
James Raynor and wife Phebe, sold to Elias Pelletreau, A lot with house and two barns, 20 acres, bounded east by Main street of Southampton, north by Doctor Henry White, south by Thomas Jessup, west by Town Pond. [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 6, p. 234.]
That there is one house on the twenty-acre lot means that between 1802 and 1812 the house of Hugh Raynor disappeared. James Raynor moved to Cazanovia, New York, where the Federal censuses of 1820, 1830 and 1840 show him living. [All Federal census data in this report is from Ancestry.com.]
ELIAS PELLETREAU Jr.
owned the Halsey House from 1812 to 1831
Elias Pelletreau Jr. (1757-1831), son of the silversmith, grew up in his father's Main Street house. He married Hannah Smith in 1782 and with her had three sons (Francis, Elias Smith and Maltby). At this time, Pelletreau operated a general store in Southampton. [Dean F. Failey, Long Island is my Nation, (Setauket: SPLIA, 1976), p. 301.] Hannah died on November 7, 1804 and on December 21, 1804 Elias married Millicent Post. Elias was 55 years old when he purchased the Raynor lands at the south end of Main Street in August of 1812. His son Francis had married in 1811 and Maltby had just married Jane Joralemon of New York City on June 27, 1812 (Elias Smith was married in 1814).
The 1820 Federal census shows Elias Pelletreau Jr. living in the Halsey House with his wife, a girl under ten years of age and a "free colored person", a woman of 45 years or older. According to the 1820 census Elias Pelletreau's occupation was farming. The 1830 census lists Elias and Millicent living in the Halsey House along with a woman in her twenties.
When Elias Pelletreau Jr. died on October 10, 1831, his son Maltby inherited the Halsey House. In a deed dated April 26, 1833, Maltby and Jane Pelletreau, of Newark, New Jersey, sold the twenty-acre lot on which the Halsey House stood to the partners Daniel Fordham, James Scott, Isaac Sayre Jr. and Henry Reeves. [Deed, Maltby Pelletreau and Jane Pelletreau to Daniel Fordham, James Scott, Isaac Sayre, Jr.and Henry Reeves, April 26, 1833. Deed Liber P, Book of deeds Asst Clerk, pp.179-180, Suffolk County Clerk's Office]
OLIVER WHITE AND THOMAS NICHOLAS WHITE
owned the Halsey House from 1839 to 1886
In a deed dated May 7, 1839, the company that purchased Elias Pelletreau's lands from Maltby Pelletreau in 1833 sold the Halsey House and its twenty-acre lot to Oliver White. [73 Deed, Henry and Emily Reeve, Isaac and Eliza Sayre, Jesse Reeves and Gilbert and Fanny Carll to Oliver White, May 7, 1839. Deed Liber 258, pp. 55-57, Suffolk County Clerk's Office.] Oliver White (1775- 1842) married Bethia Jessup (1787-1871) and had a son, Thomas Nicholas White (1812-1888). The 1840 Federal census shows Oliver, Bethia and Thomas living in the Halsey House along with a woman in her seventies. One person is listed as employed in agriculture, and this must be Thomas N. White who was 28 years old in 1840. Oliver White was 65 years old at that time.
Thomas N. White became the owner at his father's death in 1842. The 1850 census has Thomas N. White living in the Halsey House with his mother and Bridget Holand, a twelve-year-old girl from Ireland. The 1870 census records Thomas N. White (58 years old), Nancy R. White (51 years old) and Bethia White living in the house. Thomas N. White is identified as a farmer. The date of Thomas White's marriage to Nancy White (1819 - ) is not known. According to the 1880 census, only Thomas N. White and Nancy R. White were living in the Halsey House.
In 1886, when Thomas N. White was 74 years old, he and his wife divided their twenty-acre farm into house lots and sold them to members of Southampton's growing summer colony. The Whites moved to Bridgehampton, where Thomas N. White died in 1888. [73 The Sag-Harbor Express, August 30, 1888 and The Sag-Harbor Express, July 18, 1889, notices regarding the estate of Thomas N. White of Bridgehampton.]
On August 3, 1886 Thomas N. White and Nancy R. White sold a 2 1/4 acre parcel containing the Halsey House to Arthur J. Peabody, and the same day sold an adjoining lot to the south to Elizabeth G. Wheelwright and Julia Chambers. [Thomas N. and Nancy White to Arthur J. Peabody, August 3, 1886. Deed Liber 297, pp. 257-258. Suffolk County Clerk's Office.]
[Both photographs, Southampton History Museum collection]
FAMILY OF ARTHUR J. PEABODY
owned the Halsey House from 1886 to 1958 and renovated it ca. 1900
The family of Arthur John Peabody owned the Halsey House for over seventy years. By 1899 they referred to the house as The Hollyhocks, a name by which it continued to be known into the 1960s. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 25, 1899.]
Arthur J. Peabody and his wife, Eleanor E. Peabody, built a new house on their 2 1/4 acre lot, closer to Lake Agawam, which they named The Gables. The 1902 Hyde Atlas shows another new house south of the Halsey House.
The 1894 Beers Atlas and the 1902 Hyde Atlas depict the Halsey House with only a small rear wing. The 1916 Hyde Atlas shows a north addition and a large rear addition. [The Atlas of Suffolk Co., N.Y., (New York: F. W. Beers, 1894); Atlas of Suffolk County, Long Island. Volume I. Ocean Shore., (Brooklyn: E. Belcher Hyde, 1902); Atlas of a part of Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, South Side – Ocean Shore., (Brooklyn: E. Belcher Hyde, 1916).] At the same time that the north and west additions were constructed, the old house was raised by 18 inches to provide first-floor rooms with greater ceiling height. The Hyde maps suggest that the renovation was done between 1902 and 1916, but a carpenter’s inscription indicates an earlier date. Incised with a punch on one of the east rafters near the ridge (rafter 4 on drawing 36) is: “G Brown 1899”. The ridge of the new west addition intersected the main roof at the point where Mr. Brown set his name and the date. The 1900 Federal census lists a “house carpenter” named George H. Brown, age 26, living in Southampton village.
Arthur J. Peabody may have renovated The Hollyhocks for his daughter, Anna Rutherford Peabody, who had married John Tillotson Wainwright on April 19, 1897. [Southampton Press, April 8, 1897, cutting in a scrapbook at the Southampton Historical Museum.] In this report, the attributed date of the renovation that included raising the house and building new wings to the north and west is ca. 1900.
A notice in the American Literary Gazette of 1887 reported that "Mr. Arthur J. Peabody, nephew of George Peabody, the philanthropic banker, has become associated, as a member, of the firm of Charles Scribner & Co., New York." [American Literary Gazette, March 15, 1867. Google Books.] The Peabody family genealogy referred to him as "for many years a member of the book-publishing firm of Charles Scribner & Co." [Selim Hobart Peabody, Peabody Genealogy, (Boston: Charles H. Pope, Publisher, 1909) p. 205. Google Books.] His January 1901 obituary in the New York Times read:
Arthur J. Peabody, a real estate broker, with offices at 70 Cedar Street, died yesterday of pneumonia in his home, 15 West Tenth Street. Mr. Peabody was a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the American Geographical and New England Societies. He was also a member of the Players and Lawyers Club. [New York Times, January 14, 1901]
Following Arthur J. Peabody's death on January 13, 1901, the 2 1/4 acre lot was divided between Eleanor E. Peabody and their son, George R. Peabody, as seen on the 1916 Hyde Atlas. Mrs. Peabody retained the northern half with The Hollyhocks. When Eleanor E. Peabody died in 1912, her daughter Anna inherited the Halsey House lot. [New York Times, June 30, 1912.]
Anna Rutherford Peabody’s first husband, John Tillotson Wainwright, died in February 1900. Three years later she married Dane Appleton Pearson. [New York Times, February 23, 1900 and June 24, 1903.] In December 1925 Anna Rutherford Pearson married Commander Clement Biddle; how her marriage to Mr. Pearson ended is not known. [New York Times, December 10, 1925.] Commander Biddle died in June 1933. When Anna Rutherford Biddle died on January 4, 1956, her grandson, John Tillotson Wainwright III, inherited the Halsey House. [New York Times, January 6, 1956.]
In December 1955 a university student named Rutgers Barclay visited the Halsey House with a Historic American Buildings Survey form in hand. On the form he noted that Anna R. Biddle "insists that the date of this house is 1645." Mr. Barclay observed that "the date set upon by the town historians is 1662." The inventory form states that Thomas Halsey Sr. built the house and that it is "the oldest English frame house in the State of New York." ["The Hollyhocks," Historic American Building Survey inventory form, Southampton History Museum collection.]
[image from Southampton History Museum collection]
SOUTHAMPTON COLONIAL SOCIETY
purchased the Halsey House in 1958 and restored it in 1960
When Anna R. Biddle died in 1956 and her grandson, John Tillotson Wainwright III, put The Hollyhocks up for sale, the Southampton Colonial Society was in the midst of a very active period. In 1952 the Society leased the Rogers Mansion from the Village of Southampton and the same year moved the Red Creek Schoolhouse to the grounds. In 1954 they moved the Sayre Barn to the site. With The Hollyhocks threatened with an uncertain future, the Southampton Colonial Society stepped in.
After a fundraising campaign, the Society purchased The Hollyhocks on a .7 acre lot from John Tillotson Wainwright III in May of 1958. [Closing statement, John Tillotson Wainwright to Southampton Colonial Society, May 21, 1958, Southampton History Museum collection.] A restoration committee was formed that included William K. Dunwell (president of the Society), Henry Francis duPont and R. Van der Woude. The Society hired the architect Robert L. Raley to guide the restoration. Mr. Raley practiced in Newark, Delaware, and had assisted Mr. duPont with projects at his nearby Winterthur Museum. Robert Raley's correspondence regarding the Halsey House indicates that Henry F. duPont made many of the important decisions for the committee.
Robert Raley surveyed the Halsey House in the summer of 1959. His report reveals the Southampton Colonial Society's desire to restore a seventeenth-century appearance to what was believed to be Thomas Halsey Sr.'s house. Robert Raley, however, recommended a cautious approach and wrote "my examination did not reveal any positive 17th century woodwork.... " [Robert L. Raley, "The Halsey House, Architectural Survey Report," August 15, 1959, Southampton History Museum collection.] At that time most of the interior finish of the house dated from the ca. 1900 renovation. The restoration committee decided to remove the ca. 1900 north addition first and Mr. Raley was there to see what might be revealed within the north wall of the old house. In the exposed framing of the north wall Mr. Raley made discoveries that set the course for the Halsey House restoration. [Robert L. Raley, "The Halsey House, Supplementary Survey Report," October 1, 1959, Southampton History Museumcollection.] He saw the seventeenth-century framing of the hall and hall chamber and there found a fragment of a casement window frame; and he recognized the eighteenth century framing of the roof and lean-to. Soon the floor boards of the attic were taken up revealing the original summer beam and joists of the hall chamber. Further investigation showed that the rooms south of the chimney were also part of the eighteenth-century renovation. Mr. Raley deduced that the original Halsey House was "two stories high with but one room on each floor. The chimney and stair occupied the entire south end." [Robert L. Raley, "The Halsey House, Supplementary Survey Report," October 1, 1959, Southampton History Museum collection.]
With confidence that the Halsey House was a seventeenth-century house at its core, a restoration plan was developed. A seventeenth- century appearance was restored to the hall and hall chamber with installation of new leaded-glass casement windows, by exposing the timber frame in the interior and by raising the floor 18" to restore the original ceiling height of the hall. The south addition and lean-to were given an eighteenth- century appearance with windows fitted with up- and-down sash and period interior paneling. Raising the floor of the hall also allowed a stairway of reasonable pitch to ascend from that room to the second floor. Mr. duPont had decided that a stairway leading up from the entry would be too steep for visitors. The ca. 1900 two-story rear wing was cut down to one story to become a caretaker's apartment.
HALSEY HOUSE ARCHITECTURE
THOMAS HALSEY Jr.'s ca. 1683 HOUSE
The floor plan
On the first floor of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s south-facing house was the large hall to the east, an entry and stairway in the chimney bay, a parlor in the west lean-to and service rooms in the north lean-to (Drawing 4, following page 28). The hall remains extant today with the original posts, girts, summer beam and floor joists visible within the room. The hall was the main living and cooking area with a large hearth and a bake oven in the fireplace. The hall had windows in the south and east walls and doorways to the entry and to the rear lean-to. The front doorway was in the south wall of the chimney bay. It opened into a narrow passage that gave entry to the hall and parlor. A stairway to the hall chamber would have been against the chimney stack. As the floor of the parlor chamber in the west lean-to was lower than that of the hall chamber (possibly two feet lower) there would not have been a second-floor passage connecting them, and the frame indicates that there was no second floor within the chimney bay. The exact configuration of the original stairway is unknown. Within the west lean-to was the parlor with a fireplace. Abbott Lowell Cummings noted that a chimney bay measuring 7' - 2" between posts was the norm for a center-chimney house in Massachusetts Bay. [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), p.26.] This allowed a chimney stack, seven feet wide, for back to back fireplaces. At the Halsey House, the width between chimney bay posts is 7' - 4" clearly indicating a fireplace in both the east hall and the west parlor. The parlor had windows in the south and west walls. The north lean-to extended across the hall and the chimney bay and did not have a fireplace. It contained service rooms associated with food preparation in the adjacent hall, such as a buttery or pantry and other space for working or storage.
The hall chamber was the major room on the second floor and is the only extant second-floor room of the original house. Original framing members, particularly the summer beam and floor joists, remain exposed in the room. The hall chamber was the only second-floor room to have a fireplace. Windows were in the south and east walls. The second-floor rooms of the west and north lean-tos were not heated, were not well lit and were probably used for storage.
The timber frame
The timber frame displays the craftsmanship of the late-seventeenth century in the dimensions of the timbers, the method of converting logs to frame members, in the floor frame employing a large summer beam and small joists, and in the decoration of the exposed frame.
Typically, a frame was fashioned in the builder's yard. A section of the frame was laid out on the ground and the joints fashioned and marked for assembly at the site. Each wall had a slightly different marking system to aid in sorting the timbers for assembly; as an example, the carpenter used a chisel for the numeral 1 on the east wall and used a large gouge for the numeral 1 on the north wall.
Most timbers were connected in the frame with mortise-and-tenon joints. Gable tie beams have dovetail lap joints with the plates. The lean-to tie beams are fastened to posts in vertical dovetail mortises. The hall-chamber summer beam runs between the end tie beam and the chimney-bay tie beam. The ends of the summer beam are seated in the tie beams and joined with a tusk tenon. The summer beam has open cog joints for the joists (Drawing 12).
The major members of the wall frame are hewn white oak timbers. The four gunstock posts of the hall and hall chamber are 10" x 10 1/2" in section at the bottom and are 14" deep at the shoulder for the two tenons of the English tying joint: a tenon into the plate and a teazel tenon into the tie beam. The north tie beam is 8 1/2" x 12" in section and the north girt is 8 1/2" x 14" in section. The summer beams are the largest timbers of the house, measuring 10 1/2" x 12" in section.
While the large frame members were hewn, boxed-heart oak timbers, the smaller wall studs (2 1/2" x 4") and floor joists (3" to 4" x 4 3/4") were sawn from squared and halved timbers. The studs are sawn on two or three faces and hewn on other faces indicating the labor- intensive conversion: a log was hewn to a roughly 8" square timber, which was then sawn or split in half, and then each half was sawn into three studs with the use of a pit saw. The floor joists of the hall and hall chamber were fashioned by the same method. Six joists were made from a large log that was first hewn to an approximate 10" x 12" timber, then sawn through the heart and each half sawn into three joists.
On the interior, the major members of the wall frame (posts, girts, tie beams and plate) were exposed. Interior surfaces are hewn smooth and true and the interior corners of the posts are chamfered (see photo top right). The principal decoration is found on the summer beam and joists exposed in the ceiling in the hall and hall chamber. The large summer beams are hewn smooth and have quarter-round chamfers with lamb’s tongue stops. The joists of the hall ceiling have a small chamfer and a creased molding along each edge of the soffit (Drawing 12).
Two aspects of the frame of the house of Thomas Halsey Jr. are exceptional. The front and rear plates projected beyond the gable wall and were exposed on the exterior of the house. We know this because the plates were sawn off flush with the gable wall frame during the ca.1730 remodeling, exposing the post tenon and the tie-beam dovetail (see second photo below). There is no other known example of this on Long Island and only one example known to this writer in New England. The manner in which the original west lean-to was framed appears to be unique, with a massive tie beam crossing the chimney bay rather than a smaller conventional tie beam tenoned to the outer chimney-bay post (Drawing 5).
Joint of west corner post, north gable tie beam and west plate showing where the projecting end of the plate was sawn off ca. 1730 exposing the post tenon and tie beam dovetail.
Frame of the original rear lean-to – the “north Leantoo” described in Thomas Halsey Jr.’s 1688 will
The existence of the rear lean-to of Thomas Halsey Jr.’s ca. 1683 house is confirmed by a dovetail mortise in the west face of post 5 and an identical dovetail mortise in the west face of post 9 (Drawings 6 and 7). These mortises originally faced north and were fashioned for the dovetail tenons of the lean-to tie beams. The outer end of the tie beam was seated in a dovetail lap joint with the plate and in this arrangement, the tie beam resisted the thrust of the lean-to rafters.
Other evidence of the original north lean-to is found in the rear plate (Drawings 6 and 8). Plumb cuts, 4” wide, at the west end of the three tie beams were seats for the tops of the lean-to rafters. Pin holes at a 45º angle into the plate mark where the tops of the lean-to rafters were fastened. The 2” offset of the pin for lean-to rafter l l indicates that the main rafter and the lean-to rafter were separate pieces and that there was no overlapping scarf joint. The chamfer at the edge of the plate and the chamfer stops for lean-to rafter l l l l and for the chimney-bay rafter also appear to indicate a roof plane at the edge of the plate that would prevent any connection between the main rafter and the lean-to rafter.
That this rear lean-to was part of the original construction is most clearly shown by the spacing of studs on what was the north wall (now west) of the hall chamber where the normal spacing of 2' - 1" is interrupted to allow a 2' - 8" doorway from the hall chamber into the lean-to chamber (see Drawing 6). That the lean-to was original is also evident in the lack of clapboard nailing on the exterior face of this same wall and the lack of stave notches, all indicating that this was always an interior wall.
The 45º angle of the pin holes in the plate suggests that the lean-to rafters followed the same 45º pitch of the gable roof rafters. Lean-to rafters of a 45º pitch bearing on a plate connected to the tie beams described above indicate a rear lean-to that was 9' - 6" deep.
A lean-to that is part of the original construction is referred to as an integral lean-to. According to Abbott Lowell Cummings, the earliest known house with an integral lean-to in Massachusetts Bay is the Whipple-Matthews house in Hamilton, built between 1680 and 1683. [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), p. 33.] Seen in this light, the Thomas Halsey Jr. house becomes important as an early example of a house with an integral lean-to. That the integral lean-to was part of the Southampton building tradition at this time is confirmed by a 1686 contract for Gershom Culver to build a barn, 20 feet by 26 feet in plan, with "a lean to of 8 feet wide.." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 5, p. 244.]
Frame of the original gable-end lean-to – the “west Leantoo” described in Thomas Halsey Jr.’s 1688 will
The evidence for an original gable-end lean-to is the most intriguing aspect of the Halsey House. Assuming the house faced south, this lean- to was on the west gable, which is now the south gable. Gable-end lean- tos were not common in seventeenth-century Long Island or New England. Thomas Halsey Jr.'s house is notable as an early example of a house with an integral rear lean-to and it is also one of the few extant examples of a seventeenth-century house with evidence of a gable-end lean-to. Abbott Lowell Cummings cites only two examples in Massachusetts Bay (the ca. 1655 Gedney house and the ca. 1681 Samuel Pickman house, both in Salem) although he gives evidence that there were likely more of this type. [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), p. 34.]
There is convincing evidence of an original gable-end lean-to, yet an unusual method of connecting the lean-to tie beam and the absence of any indication of the lean-to rafters bearing on the outer chimney-bay wall both raise questions about this lean-to and what it may have looked like.
Evidence of an original west gable-end lean-to includes the following observations:
The outer chimney-bay tie beam has stud mortises on its upper surface and only mortises for braces on its soffit (Drawing 31). The studs above the tie beam carried clapboards of an exterior gable wall. Below the tie beam the interior space of the chimney bay flowed into the interior of the lean-to chamber.
Dovetail mortises are found in each of the two posts of the inner chimney bay wall (Drawings 5, 6 and 30). These mortises, which now face south but originally faced west, are of the same dimensions and at the same height. Mortises like these anchored the dovetail tenon of a lean-to tie beam. The mortises indicate a tie beam 6" x 9" in section. The mortise in post 9 retains the dovetail tenon of the tie beam of the original west lean-to (Drawing 9).
On the original north wall of the hall and hall chamber (now west), studs are numbered 8 to 14 (Drawing 6). [As seen on the front wall, a first-floor stud and the second-floor stud above it shared the same number.] This leaves studs 1 to 7 occurring beyond the frame of the hall and hall chamber. The chimney bay would have three studs at the most, leaving four studs for the west gable-end lean-to.
On this same wall, the braces of the chimney bay and hall chamber are numbered 2 to 5 (Drawing 6). This leaves brace number 1 unaccounted for. A single brace would be found connecting the end post of a lean-to with a tie beam.
The relationship of the dovetail mortises in the inner chimney-bay posts to the short top sections of the outer chimney-bay posts is the most intriguing and mysterious feature of the Halsey House. Drawing 11 is a study of these posts: post 3 and post 10 of the outer chimney-bay wall and post 2 and post 9 of the inner chimney-bay wall. Posts 3 and 10 are made up of two pieces, a top section and a bottom section, that are fastened together with a bladed scarf joint. The top sections appear to have been part of the ca. 1683 construction, while the bottom sections were added when the house was remodeled ca. 1730. The top sections of posts 3 and 10 are identical in length, 8' - 10" from the bottom of the post to the soffit of the plate. The tops of the lean-to tie beams, set in the dovetail mortises in posts 2 and 9, were 8' 11" below the soffit of the plate. This correlation suggests that the top sections of these two posts were originally seated on the tie beams of the ca. 1683 west gable-end lean-to. This unusual configuration is shown on the conjectural restoration of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s house (Drawings 5 and 6). This writer has found no other example of a lean-to framed in this way in seventeenth-century Long Island, New England or England.
Along with the unusual framing of the tie beam, there is also a puzzle regarding the rafters of the gable-end lean-to. The rafters of a gable-end lean-to ordinarily bear on the tie beam of the wall against which the lean-to is framed. The outer chimney-bay tie beam at the Halsey House, above which was the west gable of the ca. 1683 house, has no evidence of lean-to rafters bearing on it and is, in any case, above the point where rafters would likely terminate (just below the plate overhang). The top sections of posts 3 and 10 also have no mark of a rafter bearing against them.
Despite ample evidence in the frame of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s "west Leantoo," the unusual method of framing (with tie beams crossing the chimney bay and carrying short, outer-chimney-bay posts) and the lack of evidence of the lean-to rafters present a conundrum. The only clue to a possible explanation is the top section of post 10, which is heavily charred from a fire (Drawings 10 and 11). This charring occurred before this post became part of the Halsey House. Because this post is more heavily charred at the top than at the bottom, this does not appear to be a full-length post that was cut down. One can speculate that this short post, and the top of post 3 also, were recycled from Thomas Halsey Sr.'s house; if the porch chamber had an overhang there would have been short posts like these. Other mysteries of the west gable-end lean-to may be explained if this lean-to incorporated other recycled framing from Thomas Halsey Sr.'s house.
Wattle and daub wall fill
Filling the exterior walls with wattle and daub was the usual practice for timber-frame houses in England during the seventeenth century. As described by Abbott Lowell Cummings:
The wattle in well-built houses was a close network made of sticks or riven staves firmly fixed between the studs, and either wedged into position or bound together.. The daub, artfully prepared and making use of straw or the "carvings" from the threshing floor for binding, was then applied to the webwork, usually from both sides at the same time, and forced into the interstices.
Among the seventeenth-century houses of Massachusetts Bay studied by Mr. Cummings, only two had wattle-and daub wall fill: the ca. 1637 Fairbanks House in Dedham and the ca. 1680 Giddings-Burnham house in Ipswich. At the Giddings-Burnham house "single horizontal lengths of wattle are sprung into notches in the studs." [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), pp. 11, 139.] The photograph (third picture below) of the wattle and daub of the Giddings-Burnham house suggests the possible arrangement at the Halsey House.
At the Halsey House, the original studs on the east and north walls have notches on their sides that appear to have secured horizontal staves of a wattle and daub wall fill (Drawings 5 and 7 and photographs below). Running down the south face of each original front wall stud is a series of shallow notches spaced approximately every four inches. The saucer-like notches are approximately ¾” wide, 1” high, and ¼” deep. They are set toward the inner wall being centered 1” from the inner face of the stud and 1 ½” from the outer face. On the front wall, these notches are only on the south side of a stud. One would expect corresponding notches on the north side of the adjacent stud so that staves could be sprung into a notch at either end, but there are no such corresponding notches.
On the south face of post 1, below the brace, is fastened a board with twelve stave notches. Because of the wane of post 1, stave notches could not be made in the post itself and this board was fashioned and nailed to the post to secure the staves. The fact that this board was applied after the frame was erected is further evidence that the stave notches were utilized in the Halsey House. The clean surface of the studs, however, may mean that this wall fill was intended, but never applied.
Left: stave notches in south side of studs of hall chamber.
Center: Detail view of two stave notches in stud of hall chamber.
Right: Wattle and daub at Giddings-Burhham House, Ipswich, MA. Staves set in notches in the studs. Photo from Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725.
Nailing evidence on the frame members indicates that the Halsey House was originally covered with clapboards having an exposure to the weather of 4” to 5”. On the front wall, all original frame members from post 1 to post 3, including only the top section of post 3, have nailing for clapboards. A number of nails used to fasten the clapboards were clenched over when the clapboards were removed and these remain in the frame members. These wrought-iron nails project 1” from the face of the frame.
The usual early clapboards in New England were of riven cedar or oak, tapering in thickness, and with skivved ends where one clapboard would overlap the next. When clapboards were nailed directly to the wall studs, a clapboard would span two framing bays and the skived end joint would bear on the studs for nailing.
The Southampton town records document this practice at the time the Halsey House was built. On May 14, 1686, Gershom Culver agreed to build a barn for John Laughton that was to be "studded for a four foot and a half clapboard..." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 5, p. 244.] The Halsey House was also "studded for a four foot and a half clapboard." With the consistent 25" spacing of the studs at the Halsey House, a 54" clapboard would exactly span two bays and cover three studs, allowing for the skived joint at each end of the clapboard to be across the face of a 4" stud.
The roof frame and covering
The bevels of the west ends of the three tie beams (approximately 43º, 45º and 48º) suggest that the original roof had a 45º pitch. The east and west plates and the tie beams are marked for the original rafters. Principal rafter l was mortised into the north tie beam; common rafters l l, l l l, and l l l l were between the tie beams; principal rafter Λ was mortised into the north chimney bay tie beam; and principal rafter Λ l was mortised into the south chimney bay tie beam. No numbered rafter was within the chimney bay since there was no joint at the ridge. Rafters l l l and l l l l are marked on the plates and rafters Λ and Λ l are marked on the south faces of the tie beams.
The ten rafters of the existing ca. 1730 front roof slope appear to have been recycled from the roof of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s ca. 1683 house. These rafters were hewn with an adze and have a smoother finish than do the ca. 1730 rafters of the rear slope. They are approximately 4" wide and taper in depth from 7" at the plate to 4 1/2" at the ridge. These east rafters have shingle lath trenches (1 ½” d. x 3” w.) at 12” intervals. Most trenches have a pin hole, some of which retain a fragment of the pin. The ca. 1730 riven oak lath is nailed in the trenches, indicating that the pins secured lath of an earlier roof. The open mortise at the ridge of rafter 2 is marked both l and l l l l and has two pin holes indicating its re-use in this roof (Drawing 36). Rafter 4 has two pin holes in the open mortise at the ridge. Short floor joists cut from the same type of rafter (joists 10, 11 and 15 of the first floor frame), installed as part of the ca. 1730 remodeling, also indicates that these are recycled rafters (Drawing 32).
Some shingle lath appear to be recycled from the ca. 1683 roof. They are sawn oak lath (1 ½” x 3”) and have pin holes that do not line up with the rafters they are on. When recycled, these lath were turned upside down and have nailing for shingles on what was the upper face. Only one spacing of pin holes is visible and is 4’ – 0” (rafters of the chimney bay of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s house were spaced at 4' intervals). These lath, sawn in the same manner as the studs and joists of the c. 1683 house, contrast with the riven oak lath original to the ca. 1730 roof.
Wood-shingle roofs were found in Southampton as early as 1665 as evidenced by an agreement with Lieutenant Post to build a watch house "with rafters fit for lathing for shingle." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 1, p. 154.] The 1686 agreement for Gershom Culver to build a barn for John Laughton provides that the barn is to be "lathed for 2 feet shingles with the laths set into the three principals so that they shall reach three laths." [Records: Town of Southampton, v. 5, p. 244.]
These two entries support the conclusion that the front rafters of the ca. 1730 roof are recycled from the original ca. 1683 roof. The few pieces of sawn oak lath with pin holes that match up with the pin holes of the recycled rafters are also from Thomas Halsey Jr.'s roof. From this evidence, we can conclude that the original roof was covered with three- foot shingles having a 12" exposure, following the practice stated in the 1686 agreement above that the laths be spaced so that a shingle will reach three laths.
With the house facing south and the chimney set to the north, the south part of the chimney bay had an entrance hall with doors to the hall and parlor and a stairway to the hall chamber. Since neither the sill nor the tie beam survive, there is no clue to the position or width of the entrance in the front wall. All we know about this door is that the height of the opening was restricted by the soffit of the tie beam, 5’ – 3” above the floor (Drawing 5). Although a door of this height seems impractically short, Abbott Lowell Cummings cites an entrance door only 5' - 2" high at the ca. 1684 Story House in Essex, Massachusetts. [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), pp. 11, 145.]
The most significant discovery regarding the original windows of the Halsey House is a fragment of a leaded-glass casement sash found recycled as a nailer for plaster lath when the parlor ceiling was taken down in 2001 (Drawing 13). [It is not be surprising to find the casement windows replaced with double-hung windows and the exposed joists of the parlor ceiling covered with a new plaster ceiling during the same late-18th century remodeling program.] The piece, which appears to be cedar, is a bottom rail of a casement sash that was 18 1/4" wide. The exterior surface is heavily weathered. At one end is the ghost of a wrought-iron hinge and on the opposite end is the ghost of a hold-back or corner iron.
The iron protected the wood beneath so that the ghosts of these two pieces of hardware now stand proud of the surrounding eroded wood. The leaded glass was held in a shallow rabbet and two of the three nails that held a thin batten against the glass, remain in place. The bottom surface of the rail is also weathered. The inner face is smooth and has a white finish, while the surface inside of the glass has some deterioration from sunlight.
The 18 1/4" width of this sash suggests that the window fit within the 21" space between two studs. With a 1/2" rabbet for the sash, the jamb could be 1 3/4" in thickness and have a 1 1/4" exterior face.
This bottom rail found at the Halsey House is very similar to the bottom rail of an intact casement window salvaged from the ca. 1686 Pelletreau House when it was torn down in the late-nineteenth century. The Pelletreau House also stood on Southampton’s Main Street. The hardware of the bottom rail of the Pelletreau sash matches the hardware ghosts of the Halsey House fragment and the Pelletreau sash has the same nailing into a thin batten to hold the glass (Drawing 13).
The Halsey House casement sash may have been set in a single window, as the Pelletreau House example, or there may have been two sash in one frame. An arrangement with two sash is shown in the conjectural restoration drawings of the ca. 1683 house (Drawings 5 and 7)
The only other evidence we have of the original windows is Robert Raley's account of his discovery of "part of a leaded glass casement frame" within the north wall of the original house:
During the process of demolishing the North Wing, a number of important architectural details were uncovered….Unquestionably, the most important find of all was a part of a leaded glass casement frame; reversed, but in its proper place. This fragment remaining in the old North wall substantiates in full the 17th century origin of the Halsey House; and will, I hope, be used as a guide in restoring the North end of the building. [Robert L. Raley, "The Halsey House, Supplementary Survey Report," October 1, 1959, Southampton Historical Museum collection.]
A photograph (below) taken by Robert Raley shows the area of the north wall frame exposed when the north wing was demolished. It was in this area that the fragment was discovered.
Robert Raley’s photograph appears to show the “part of a leaded glass casement frame; reversed, but in its proper place." It is the upper half of an original stud with what appear to be notches for the head and sill of a casement window frame (this piece was removed in 1959 and does not survive). The notches appear to be 1 ½” wide and 1 ½” deep and each appears to have two nail holes. By scaling the fragment in the photograph, using the adjacent window as the standard, the distance between the notches is approximately 28 inches, matching the same dimension of the 1960 casement windows. Drawing 26 (North Wall Frame, 2000) shows the exact location where this stud fragment was found by Mr. Raley. The photograph shows that it was being used as a nailer for the water casing of the ca. 1900 window and for the ca. 1900 plaster lath.
As seen on the conjectural restoration drawings of the ca. 1683 house, windows for the hall and hall chamber could only have been at the center of the south and east walls of these rooms (original orientation). Windows could have been in one or both of the two intervals between the center studs (the conjectural drawing shows a window in both bays). Existing studs and stave notches indicate solid walls elsewhere. The presence of windows at the center of the rooms is also evident by the deterioration of the east and north girts at the center of their span.
Photo of north wall taken by Robert Raley after the north addition was removed in 1959. Just right of the window may be the "part of a leaded glass casement frame" that Mr. Raley found in the north wall. [Photo from the Philadelphia Athaneum, Southampton History Museum collection.]
ANNOTATIONS TO DRAWING 11 STUDY OF POST 3 AND POST 10
These two complex frame members are important evidence of the existence of an original lean-to where the two-story south addition is now and to the unusual framing of this lean-to.
Post 3 and post 10 are both made up of an upper and a lower section joined with a halved and bladed scarf joint. The upper sections of these posts are part of the original construction of this house. The lower sections were added when the original lean-to was replaced with the existing two-story south addition.
EVIDENCE THAT THE TOP SECTIONS ARE PART OF THE ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION
The framer's mark I I I I at the brace mortise on the east face of post 3 is consistent with the sequence of numbers of the original construction and not in sequence with construction of the south addition.
The framer's mark I I at the north brace mortise on the west face of post 10 is consistent with the sequence of numbers of the original construction and not in sequence with construction of the south addition. Brace number I was the brace of the end wall of the original lean-to.
The angled pin hole for the original lean-to rafter is drilled through the tenon of post 10 in the west plate.
There is nail evidence for clapboards on the east face of post 3.
EVIDENCE THAT THE TOP SECTIONS WERE ORIGINALLY SEATED ON A TIE BEAM THAT EXTENDED FROM POSTS 2 AND 9 TO THE END WALL OF THE ORIGINAL LEAN-TO
Post 2 and Post 9 both have large dovetail mortises in their south faces. Dovetail mortises like there are associated with lean-to tie beams, as the dovetail resists the thrust of the lean-to rafters on the end plate to a much greater degree than would the 1" pin of a normal mortise-and-tenon joint.
The top sections of posts 3 and 10 are nearly identical in length. Post 3 extends 8'
- 9 3/4" from the plate and post 10 extends 8' - 10". The top of the lean-to tie beam that was seated in the dovetail mortises in posts 2 and 9 was 8' - 11" from the plate soffit.
The relationships between the top sections of posts 3 and 10 and the original lean-to tie beams lead to the conclusion that these were original short posts that were mortised into the original lean-to tie beam.
EVIDENCE THAT THE TOP SECTION OF POST 10 WAS RECYCLED FROM ANOTHER BUILDING WHEN THE HALSEY HOUSE WAS FIRST BUILT
The top section of post 10 is charred on the west face. Some charring wraps around onto the south face. The north face was hacked away for the c. 1900 attic stairs.
There are a few small burn marks on the east face. On the south face the charring extends on the exposed face of the plate tenon. There is no charring on the plate. The confinement of the charring to this member and the abrupt change in the appearance of the wood between the heavily charred post and the clean plate indicates that this member was in another location when it was charred by fire.
THE POSSIBLE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS WHEN THE EXISTING SOUTH ADDITION WAS BUILT.
When the existing south addition was built, the original lean-to in the same location and all roof rafters of the house were removed. The tie beam of the south chimney bay was removed to relieve its weight from the cantilevered plates. For the same reason, the short posts 3 and 9 were removed.
Instead of fashioning new two-story posts, new bottom sections were scarfed onto the original top sections of posts 3 and 9. The halved and bladed scarf joints of posts 3 and 9 both have a precise fit that was fashioned on a bench.
Once the scarf joint was fashioned on the bench, the top section was raised up into the plate mortise. Then the lower section was slid into place along the top of the sill. The slip tenon that remains in the bottom of post 3 indicates this sequence.
A COMPLETE REMODELING BY CAPTAIN ISAAC HALSEY, ca. 1730
The present form and east orientation of the Halsey House appears to be the result of an ambitious remodeling undertaken by Captain Isaac Halsey around 1730 (Drawing 14). An appraisal of the evidence suggests that Isaac Halsey took down the north lean-to, removed the west lean-to, took off the roof and removed some of the framing of the chimney bay. When he was finished with demolition, only the frame of the hall and hall chamber of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s house remained intact (Drawings 14, 15 and 18). Isaac Halsey revolved that 18' x 18' two-story frame from its original south orientation to face east toward Main Street. He then built a new two-story south addition for a parlor and parlor chamber, built a new rear lean-to and installed a new saltbox roof with long rafters reaching from the ridge to the lean-to plate. Isaac Halsey covered the exterior walls with three-foot Atlantic White Cedar shingles. Characteristics of the frame, evidence in interior paneling and fragments of window sash and frames suggest that he installed casement windows which had glass panes held by wood muntins.
All we know of this remodeling comes from the fabric of the Halsey House and the fragments found within it. There is no documentary evidence and no known event to associate with this work. Features that appear to date from the 1720 to 1740 period include: casement windows with 6" x 8" glass held in wood muntins; exposed ceiling joists and corner posts in the parlor; shingled walls; lean-to rafters raised above the plate of the interior wall; the method of converting studs by hewing saplings; and the finish of exposed framing with rougher surfaces and more casual chamfers and stops as compared to earlier practice. The earliest for a timber frame using studs of hewn saplings and a more casual finish would be about 1720. The latest date for casement windows and for exposed framing in a parlor would be about 1740.
The floor plan
On the first floor, only the hall remained intact from Thomas Halsey Jr.'s ca. 1683 house. The kitchen may have remained in this room, but it is likely that the new lean-to was furnished with a cooking hearth and bake oven. The new south parlor was a smaller room than the hall, but this would have been the new "best room" with a more fashionable interior and windows in the south wall. The new lean-to across the rear was a much larger room than was the rear lean-to of the ca. 1683 house. Following traditional practice, this room would have had a buttery and pantry at the north end, a large center room, probably with a cooking hearth, and a small bedroom at the south end. There also would have been a stairway to the lean-to chamber.
With the floors of the hall chamber and the parlor chamber now at the same level, a stairway in the front entry wound its way up to a landing at the second floor with doorways into the hall chamber and the new parlor chamber. This stairway was between the chimney and joist 3 of the second-floor frame (Drawing 33). A gain in this joist appears to have been for a newel post of this stairway
The timber frame
The frame of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s ca. 1683 house displayed the timber framer's craft as a continuation of English practice. Large timbers were hewn to a smooth surface and the exposed interior surfaces were decorated with careful chamfers, moldings and stops. Smaller members, such as wall studs and floor joists, were converted from large logs which were hewn square, halved and then each half sawn into two or three studs or joists. The floor frame of a large summer beam carrying small joists was at the heart of this building tradition.
The framing of Captain Isaac Halsey's ca. 1730 additions demonstrates an evolution in the local building tradition that began to take place around 1720. Rather than the laborious sawing required for the high- quality wall studs of the original house, for the ca. 1730 construction, small saplings were roughly hewn square. This was much faster work and for some studs, only the exterior and interior faces were hewn, with the bark left on the sides. The floor frame of the parlor chamber shows a similar evolution. Instead of a summer beam carrying small joists, boxed-heart joists span the room. In a continuation of early practice, these joists are exposed in the parlor ceiling, but the surface finish is not as refined as is the finish of the summer beams and joists of the ca. 1683 house. The corner posts are also exposed in the room and these also have rougher surfaces and slighter chamfers in comparison to the seventeenth-century posts of the hall and hall chamber.
Roof and wall shingles
Captain Isaac Halsey removed the clapboards from the two exterior walls of the hall and hall chamber and covered the exterior of his remodeled house with shingles having a 14" exposure. Riven oak shingle lath fastened to the frame with wrought-iron nails at 14" intervals remain in place on the north and east walls. On the east wall of the south addition there is no nailing at all in the frame members other than the wrought-iron nails of the riven oak lath for the 14” shingle courses. This indicates that these shingles were the original exterior covering for the ca. 1730 remodeling.
In 1999 some ca. 1730 shingles remained in the east quarter of the north gable (Drawing 18). This writer removed these shingles and marked the nails associated with them on the lath. With no other nailing on these lath, the removed shingles were clearly original shingles nailed to these lath, which in turn were original to the ca. 1730 remodeling. The ca. 1730 shingles are 34” riven Atlantic White Cedar heartwood shingles. The shingles ranged in width from 5” to 9.” A sequence of 27 shingles had the following widths:
A fragment of a ca.1730 shingle found in the south wall frame documents the red paint that protected the Halsey House shingles during the eighteenth century. This shingle fragment was recycled as a shim in the south wall around 1900 when the original shingles were replaced with new shingles having an exposure of 10" to the weather. In the crevices of the weathered surface of this shingle remain traces of red paint.
The same shingles were used to cover the new saltbox roof following the ca. 1730 remodeling. All lath on the east roof slope and most lath on the west slope are riven oak of the same type used on the walls (the exceptions are the recycled ca. 1683 lath described above). These riven oak shingle lath are nailed in trenches spaced at 11" intervals in the new rafters and 12" intervals in the recycled rafters of the front roof slope.
During the ca. 1730 remodeling, the lean-to tie beam that crossed the chimney bay was removed and a new girt was installed (girt 3 on Drawing 16). This allowed an entrance door of normal height. The short piece of this ca.1730 girt that remains in place contains no evidence of the door location.
Evidence in the south wall frame, along with window fragments found in the south wall and in the parlor ceiling, suggest that Captain Isaac Halsey's new rooms were lit with windows having casement sash. The fact that one fragment of a ca. 1683 casement sash with glass set in lead and two fragments of a ca. 1730 casement sash with glass held by wood muntins were found together in the parlor ceiling implies that Isaac Halsey retained the original windows of the hall and hall chamber in his remodeled house. All the casement windows were replaced with new windows having up-and-down sash at the same time the parlor ceiling was first plastered, around 1800.
Casement window in the south wall of theparlorchamber
The top and bottom sections of stud 132 and the later infill west of stud 132 document a casement window opening measuring 64” wide by 31 ½” high in the south wall of the parlor chamber. The window opening was between stud 131 and stud 133 and extended in height from 42 ½” to 74” above girt 6 (Drawings 19 and 20).
The top and bottom sections of stud 132 are the clearest indicators of a casement window at this location. The 31 ½” lower section identifies the bottom of the window opening and the 15” upper section identifies the top of the opening. The ends of these two sections are sawn square in purposeful and exact cuts. Evidence of wrought iron nails in the butt ends also indicate nailing of the window frame.
When the casement window was replaced with a plank-frame window with up-and-down sash ca. 1800, the west part of the opening was filled in. Oak boards were nailed to either side of stud 132 to close up the opening. These boards are fastened with wrought iron nails. At the same time new shingle lath was installed from stud 131 to stud 132 to close in the west part of the casement window opening (Drawing 20).
Casement window in the south wall of the lean-to chamber
Original interior horizontal paneling documents a casement window opening measuring 43" wide by 25 1/2" high in the south wall of the lean-to chamber. The opening extended between stud 128 and post 8 and extended in height from 41 ½” to 67” above tie beam 3 (Drawings 19 and 20).
On Drawing 19, the original pine boards on the interior wall are labeled A, B, C, D and E. The notch in board C is the bottom of the casement window opening; the lower edge of board E is the top of the opening. When the casement window was replaced with a plank-frame window having up-and-down sash, the west part of the opening was filled in with boards nailed to a batten on stud 128.
Casement windows in the east wall of the parlor and parlorchamber
Evidence for casement windows in the east wall frame of the parlor and parlor chamber is not as convincing as that of the south wall. As seen in Drawing 16, the east wall of the parlor and parlor chamber had a framed opening, 36" wide, for a window. There is no evidence of a window frame being fastened to stud 12, although this may have been lost when the north face was hacked off for the existing window and in the complete deterioration of the stud at the height of the window sill. Brace 4 would have limited the height of the window opening of the parlor chamber to 5’ – 9” above the floor. The top of the casement window in the south wall of the parlor chamber was 6’ – 2” above the floor. The apparent large casement window in the south wall of the parlor and parlor chamber and the smaller window in the east wall of these rooms is further evidence that Captain Isaac Halsey revolved the house to face the street at the time of his remodeling.
Fragments found in the south wall and in the parlor ceiling
What appear to be two fragments of casement window frames, three pieces of casement window sash and two pieces of an early beaded clapboard were found in the south wall and in the parlor ceiling. All of these may have been recycled during the ca. 1800 remodeling when casement windows were replaced with plank-frame windows having up- and-down sash.
Found in the parlor ceiling was a rail of a casement sash that held leaded-glass and two fragments from a stile of a casement sash that had glass panes set in wood muntins. These were recycled as nailers for the lath of the plaster ceiling installed in the parlor at the same time the casement windows were replaced with new windows having up-and- down sash. The rail that held leaded glass would be of the period of Thomas Halsey Jr.'s ca. 1683 house (Drawing 13). The stiles that held glass in wood muntins are of the period of Isaac Halsey's ca. 1730 remodeling. The fact that both types were recycled at the same time indicates that Isaac Halsey retained the original windows in the hall and hall chamber.
Two fragments that appear to be from casement window frames were found in the south wall. These to not appear to be from the same casement frame and neither can be conclusively matched to one of the casement sash fragments. These pieces were left in place and were not fully investigated.
Finally, two pieces of an early beaded clapboard were found in the south wall, associated with the ca. 1800 work of replacing the casement windows with new windows. There is no explanation for where these clapboards came from.
Fragments of a casement window sash found in the parlor ceiling
Two fragments of a window sash were found in the parlor ceiling where they had been recycled as nailers for the ca. 1800 plaster lath (Drawing 21). Both appear to be fragments of stiles of the same type of casement window sash. Because the 8" glass would have been set vertically, these are stiles and not rails. The two fragments of cedar or pine have identical characteristics and could be from the same sash. The interior face is planed smooth and not painted. Panes of glass were set in a framework of wood muntins and secured by glazing putty. The exterior surface of each fragment is heavily weathered. The surface is eroded from the glazing across to the outer edge, indicating that these are from a casement sash. (If these were stiles from up-and-down sash, there would be a 1/2" band of smoother wood at the outer edge where the stile was protected by the rabbet in the jamb.) One fragment has what appears to be the ghost of a hinge, where there are nail holes and where the wood is less weathered.
The two fragments appear to indicate a sash height of 26 3/16" with one pane of glass 6" high and two panes of glass 8" high. The incorporation of glass panes of different sizes into one sash is a characteristic of early practice and is another feature that makes these fragments distinctive. Glass panes of 6" x 8" were available in New England as early as 1701. [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), pp. 155.] The conjectural reconstruction of a casement sash based upon the two fragments employs 6” x 6” and 6" x 8" glass (Drawing 21). A casement sash having 6” x 8” glass set in wood muntins would not be from Thomas Halsey Jr.’s house, it would be from Captain Isaac Halsey’s ca. 1730 remodeling.
Early casement sash with wood muntins are rare. Abbott Lowell Cummings pictures one such sash (see below) in his book from the 1697-1698 Clough-Vernon house in Boston. [Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), p. 154.]
Casement window sash with large rectangular panes of glass held by wood muntins, from the Clough-Vernon House. Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, p. 154.
A fragment, possibly of a casement window head, found in the south wall
A fragment that may have been the head of a casement window frame was found nailed to the west face of post 4 from the girt to the brace (Drawing 22). It functions as a plaster-lath nailer. It appears to be fastened with wrought-iron nails. This piece was hacked out at the mortises to allow nailing to the post.
The following description assumes this is a window head fragment. The top face (south) has a 1 ¾” smooth band that could have been protected by a cap or by the shingles. Beyond this band, the surface is extremely eroded. The weathered outside face (west) has a rabbet for a ¾” casement sash. The inner face (east) that was against the studs is smooth. What was the lower face (north) is not visible.
This cedar fragment is 2 ½” x 3 ½” x 3’ – 8”. All unweathered surfaces are planed smooth and are unpainted. Three 3/8” diameter pin holes are at 21 ½” intervals. The mortises (for mullions and jambs) appear to have been 2 ½” wide. A frame for two sash would have been 45 ½” wide and a frame for three sash would have been 67” wide.
A fragment, possibly of a casement window jamb, found in the south wall
This fragment was used as a batten to extend the horizontal paneling of the south lean-to chamber (Drawing 23). The ends of the old boards and the new boards are nailed to this fragment. The fragment is cedar. The west rabbet appears to have accommodated a 1” sash. The surfaces are smooth and painted white. The south face and the east rabbet are eroded and weathered indicating exterior exposure. The rabbet also retains a trace of red paint. A wrought iron nail driven at an angle in the east rabbet could be for fastening to a stud. Two large nail holes with what appear to be corroded wrought-iron nails could be hinge pintles.
Two pieces of early beaded clapboards were found recycled as nailers for shingle lath on the south wall (Drawing 24).One fragment is the lower beaded edge of a clapboard and the second fragment is the upper edge with a bevel where the clapboard above would overlap. The clapboard fragments are of vertical grain pine. The exposed surface is planed smooth and there is some weathering with the grain slightly eroded. The back surface is also finished with a plane or drawknife. The fragment with the bead is seven feet long and has skived ends, indicating that it is a complete board in length. Two wrought-iron nails fastened each skived joint, one wrought-iron nail remains in the board. Both fragments were found where alterations were made associated with replacing the original casement windows of the south wall with new windows having up-and-down sash. With the south wall being shingled when this change was made, there is no ready explanation of where these clapboard fragments came from.
A ca. 1800 RENOVATION
Some evidence remains of a late-eighteenth-century renovation. The work included replacing the ca. 1683 casement windows and the ca. 1730 casement windows with new plank-frame windows having up-and- down sash, covering the exposed ceiling joists with new plaster ceilings and installing new paneling and chair rails. Evidence of this renovation includes: gains in the timber frame for studs for the new windows; a fragment of a plank-frame window found in the wall; fragments of interior paneling and chair rail recycled in 1960; and the plaster ceiling of the parlor (taken down in 2001). Because so little fabric from this period remains, it is not possible to have a full understanding of the scope of the work or to have a good sense of when it occurred. This work could have been undertaken by James Raynor, who owned the Halsey House from about 1800 to 1812, or by an earlier owner. This renovation is given the short-hand attributed date of ca. 1800 in this report.
The timber frame provides evidence of the casement windows being removed and new plank-frame windows with up-and-down sash being installed. Slaunched gains in the girts and tie beams indicate where studs were installed to frame new window openings, about 35" wide. Stud 11 on the east wall is the only one of the ca. 1800 studs associated with these windows to remain in place (Drawing 25). Stud 11 is a recycled seventeenth-century floor joist that is 5” wide. It is fastened to a slaunched gain in plate 2 with two wrought iron nails. Similar slaunched gains on the east and north walls document the locations of other ca. 1800 up-and-down-sash windows at the Halsey House. A fragment of a plank-frame window survives in the east wall cavity. The cedar frame held a fixed upper sash and an operable lower sash.
Because fragments of casement sash were used as plaster-lath nailers in the parlor ceiling, we know that this ceiling was installed to cover over the exposed floor joists at the same time the new windows were installed. A renovation to update the interior with new windows and a plaster ceiling would likely also include new woodwork. Some of the paneling above the fireplace in the parlor, two cabinet doors in the parlor and the chair rail of the parlor and parlor chamber may date from this same renovation. Robert Raley observed of the parlor fireplace in 1960: "Fortunately when a modern mantel was removed in the dining room [parlor], the outlines of the original opening were discovered. The old paneling had been removed, but sufficient pieces of it had been reused to serve as a guide towards the restoration of the woodwork in this room." [Robert L. Raley, “The Halsey House,” May 1960, Southampton History Museum collection.] Robert Raley's drawing of the "Dining Room Fireplace" notes that existing paneling on the chimney breast would be retained and that two cabinet doors from the "north room" would be installed in the paneled wall to the left of the parlor fireplace. Raley also refers to recycling the chair rail in the parlor.
A RENOVATION BY ARTHUR J. PEABODY, ca. 1900
An extensive renovation undertaken by Arthur J. Peabody about 1900 resulted in the removal of many earlier exterior and interior features. The house was raised 18" to provide more headroom in the first-floor rooms. First floor rooms were given new interiors. Some old vertical pine paneling, now 18" too short, was recycled as exterior sheathing. All ca.1900 and later sheathing was removed in 1999 for a new sheathing system essential to restoring structural integrity to the walls. All early paneling and other boards that appeared to have been recycled from inside the Halsey House were saved and stored on the property.
New windows were installed throughout the house at this time. A new front door was installed. It is likely that second-floor rooms were also given new interiors during this renovation. The ca. 1900 work also included a two-story north addition and a large west addition. Robert Raley's 1959 drawings document the front doorway, windows and additions of the ca. 1900 renovation. [Robert L. Raley, “The Halsey House,” Front Elevation, Rear Elevation, South Elevation and West Elevation, October 1959. Originals at the Philadelphia Athenaeum, prints in the Southampton Historic Museum collection]
A RESTORATION BY THE SOUTHAMPTON COLONIAL SOCIETY, 1960
The direction of the 1960 restoration of the Halsey House was taken from some key discoveries made by architect Robert L. Raley. When the north wing was taken down, Mr. Raley discovered that the hall and hall chamber had seventeenth-century framing while the lean-to was an eighteenth-century addition. Following this discovery, Robert Raley found that the parlor and parlor chamber were also eighteenth century. Raley concluded that the original house consisted of one room on each floor with a chimney and a stairway in the chimney bay. His discovery of part of a "leaded glass casement frame" in the north wall of the hall chamber completed the concept for the exterior. Replica leaded-glass casement windows were installed in the hall, hall chamber and chimney bay. A replica of a seventeenth-century door became the new entrance in the chimney bay. Replicas of eighteenth-century windows with up and down sash were placed to light the parlor, parlor chamber and lean-to. Mr. Raley designed seventeenth-century interiors for the hall, hall chamber and chimney bay. The summer beams and joists of the ceilings and major frame members of the walls were exposed within these rooms. Elsewhere he specified eighteenth-century interiors, incorporating some recycled woodwork in the parlor.
THE TIMBER FRAME IN 2000, DRAWINGS AND ANNOTATIONS
The following drawings and annotations document the entire timber frame of the Halsey House as it was found during the work of 1999- 2001. These are the data base from which the conjectural restoration drawings of Thomas Halsey Jr.’s ca. 1683 house and Captain Isaac Halsey’s ca. 1730 house are derived.