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March Slice of Life No. 14.

Thinking about writing, I open Country Life in American (1913) to the last article I had been reading.

I turn a few digital pages to “Inside the House that Jack Built.”
“Chapter IV. The Owner’s Bedroom,” part of a series, is featuring details about furnishing a master bedroom. It is written as a story, complete with dialogue, about Mary and Jack who are living in an apartment on Central Park South while their house is being built. Not interested.

I turn a few more digital pages to “What the Neighbors Did.” 
It is also part of a series. The caption: “Chapter IV, in which a club house is opened, the junior civic league formed, and a ‘residence improvement’ contest started.” I read no further.

I turn the digital pages to the next article: “Better Stock.”
It is subtitled, “Little Stories of Successful Stock. The Windholme Tamworths.” Having no interest in stock, I am about to turn the digital page when I read,

“Some men raise hogs for the sake of the lard they represent; others for the hams and bacon they furnish; still others see in them mere scavengers to consume the garbage and inevitable waste products of a country home.”

I read the sentence again. Not because I am interested in hogs or why men keep them, but because I notice the structure of the sentence. It is a wonderful pitchfork.

[If you are asking, what is a pitchfork? Check here and here.  In fact, if interested, you can read more of my examples via “power of three” under “Stuff I write about” In fact, you might quit reading this slice about hogs, mansions, and weddings to read about pitchforks. If you do, please comment on the one you read or come back here and comment. Thank you.]

Anyway, as I’m thinking about the pitchfork structure, I notice more text: “400-acre farm at Islip, Long Island, Mr. Samuel T. Peters . . .”

I am intrigued. Making note of the pitchfork for future reference, I begin searching. Windholme. Tamworths. Samuel T. Peters. Islip. 

I learn that Windholme is the farm.  Tamworths are the pigs.

I learn about Samuel Twyford Peters [Read more on Find-a-Grave. Be sure to scroll for the text under the tombstone.]  He had a son, Harry Twyford Peters. He had a daughter, Louisine Peters-Weeks.

I learn that the estate eventually had three family mansions: Windholme, Nearholme, Wereholme, and a guest house called Twyford.  

Windholm Farm — built by John Prince (1850), purchased by Samuel Twyford Peters (1854-1921), redesigned in 1910, demolished in 1950s.
Nearholm — built by Harry Twyford Peters (1888-1948) in 1910. It no longer stands.
Wereholm — built in 1912 by Louisine Peters-Weekes, inherited by her daughter Hathaway, willed (1984) to the National Audubon Society, and sold to Suffolk County.
Twyford —  built in 1880s as a guest cottage, expanded and became the home of Natalie Peters Webster (daughter of Harry T. Peters) and her husband Charles Webster, demolished in 2002.

If you like people history and you like mansions from the Guilded Age, you simply must view the virtual exhibit Windholm Farm – The Grand Estate of Samuel T. Peters by Historical Society of Islip Hamlet.  Also, check out their photos of the mansions — Peters Residence and Louisine Peters Weekes Residence. You might also watch the video “LI’s South Shore Mansions, Part III-Wereholme/Scully Mansion (Extended Version)”  (also featured on longislandonlinenews).  More information and photos can be viewed at Street to the Left.

I learn that the surviving mansion, Wereholme, is known as Scully Estate and is home to Suffolk County Environmental Center.

Some say, It’s the perfect place for a wedding.


Scully Estate Weddings

Redfield Photography


There you have it: pigs, mansions, and weddings in Islip.
And of course, don’t forget it was a pitchfork that began this journey.

Notes from my research about the mansions . . .

In 1950s,
Windholme, the house –originally built in 1850 by John Prince and purchased by Peters and redesigned 1910– and farm, were demolished by the family.

In 1960,
Wereholme, which had became known as “Scully Estate,” was donated to the National Audubon Society.

In 1968,
Charles Drake Webster and his wife, Natalie Peters Webster, donated the farm, nearly 200 acres of woods, swamp forest and grass, to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. They had no surviving heirs. Nearholme which had been redesigned as a smaller home was demolished.

In 1998,
Charles Drake Webster, a “Long Island conservationist, gardener and stalwart of organizations like the Horticultural Society of New York and the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Islip, died on May 15 . . . He was 92 and lived at Twyford, his home and part of the nature preserve.” He was the last family member.

In 2001,
Twyford, a three-story yellow and white 150-year-old manor house with dark green shutters and graceful entryways, stands in a field of tall grasses in a wildlife refuge in Islip. Although it needs a coat of paint and a new roof, the building, once edged by acres of flower gardens and specimen trees, is still reminiscent of its past grandeur as a country manor.”

In 2003,
Five years after the death of Charles Drake Webster, Twyford is demolished.

In 2004,
Wereholme (Scully Estate) was purchased by Suffolk County.

In 2010,
Wereholme was opened to the public.

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