Looking at the History of Sayville

A closer look at the Greene Family.

The Greene family was the second family in Sayville. The family's roots can be traced back to England to Surgeon John Greene, who arrived in Boston in 1635, but left there in 1638 for Providence, Rhode Island. It was his descendants that would acquire land along the Great South Bay which would eventually become West Sayville.

One of Greene's descendent's, also named John, purchased land that once belonged to William Nicoll, which ran from the bay to a mile north of Main Street (previously known as South Country Road), between Morris Brook and Green's Creek.

Green had three sons: William, Thomas and John, Jr. The year Greene purchased the property, 1786, his son William built a home on the corner of Main Street and what today is Cherry Avenue. This is the home that President George Washington stopped at for tea during his tour of Long Island in the spring of 1790. A member of the Greene family lived in the home until 1931. It still stands in its original location of 93 Main Street.

Another member of the Greene family, Willet Greene, bought the other part of Nicholls land in West Sayville, the land from the Edwards family homestead to Greene's Creek and over to where Tariff Street is today. Willet Greene built a home in 1790 in the area where Maple Street is today, between Candee Avenue and Greene Avenue. Willet did not join in the War of the Revolution as such an act would defy his beliefs as a Quaker.

In 1787 he had a son, Isaac, who married Caleb Newton's daughter, Charity. Their son, Issac Henry Green, was born in 1827. Willet Greene died in 1833. By 1900, his home was moved to Candee Avenue near the bay and became the original Shoreham Restaurant and Bathing Beach.

Willet's son or grandson are not to be confused with the architect, Isaac H. Green. He was born in 1859 to Samuel Willett Green and Henrietta Maria Vail. Some of Green's most notable designs included the 500 acre Anson Hard Estate, Meadow Edge. Part of the land from Hard's estate became home to the Maritime Museum and the West Sayville Country Club when Suffolk County bought most of the estate's land in 1967. Green also designed St. Ann's Rectory and Minister's Library in 1879; St. Ann's Church in 1888; the Congressional Church in 1889; the Methodist Church on Main Street in 1892 and 2 Main Street in 1918, which became the second home of Sewell Thornehill's drug store and soda fountain.

This is the second in a series on the history of Sayville.

Liz Steinmueller May 23, 2011 at 07:11 PM
looking to see any old newspaper articles regarding a home at: 96 Cherry Ave., sayville thank you liz@iarny.com
Raymond Kreuscher August 17, 2012 at 01:26 PM
As a long time resident of Sayville,(50+yrs.) I enjoy your web site very much. I do have a question I hope you can answer. In a recent conversation with a friend (a life long Sayville resident) he was saying he has heard of a Sayville Airport. My question is, was there ever a Sayville Airport, and if so where was it located. Thank you for any help you can offer on this subject Raymond- rekreusch@yahoo.com


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