Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

Photo of the Week


"How shall we know it is us without our past?"
- John Steinbeck

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Librarian

Granny Road (From the 1909 Belcher Hyde Map Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives.)

Granny Road is a very old road that runs from Farmingville to Yaphank. Have you ever wondered why it's called Granny Road?

According to local lore, the road is named after Esther Dickinson Penny, known as "Granny Penny." She was a midwife or doctress, delivering babies, fixing broken bones, and making her own medicines. It was a common sight to see Granny Penny in a red cloak riding a white horse down the road to help a neighbor, or so the legend goes:

Let's just imagine you were walking along the road that led from Farmingville to the fuller's mill at Yaphank in 1799, and you heard the clatter of hoofs behind you. Then you saw a white horse go thundering by, urged on by a woman in a red camelot coat. You would know, as you do today when the fire siren stops you short, that there had been an accident and Granny was rushing to the scene of it.

Born in circa 1735, Esther first married a Mr. Case, who reportedly just "disappeared"; she then married Jonah Halsey of Southold and had two children, Jonah Jr. and Phoebe. Sometime after her second husband died, Granny married a Penny. Years later, a widow for the third time, Granny went to live at her daughter's home in Wading River (Pheobe had married Jonah Hulse). Granny Penny remained there, at the old Hulse house, until 1837, when she died at the age of 103.

Suggested Reading: "The Granny Road," Long Island Forum, 1971. 


The Suffolk County Historical Society is in search of photographs and other memorabilia of Babe Ruth's historic baseball game at the Riverhead Fairgrounds. Please call 631-727-2881 x100 if you can help!

Read about the game here.



The Suffolk County Historical Society’s PHOTO OF THE WEEK Series is created by librarian Wendy Polhemus-Annibell using historic primary source materials from our local history library’s extensive archives. To subscribe, visit our website or send an email request to Wendy at wannibell@schs-museum.org.

Interested in seeing more historical photos from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society? Spend an afternoon at our Local History Library perusing our extensive archival photography collections. We're open Weds. - Sat., 12:30 - 4:30 PM.

To view our Photo of the Week archives, visit our website at www.SuffolkCountyHistoricalSociety.org.

If you've been enjoying our Photo of the Week, please consider becoming a member of SCHS.

From the Civil War to civil rights, revolutions to restorations, spies to Suffragettes, boatbuilders to bootleggers, and whalers to wineries, Long Island's history comes alive at the Suffolk County Historical Society!

The Suffolk County Historical Society, founded in 1886, collects and preserves the rich history of Suffolk County and beyond. We offer a history museum, art galleries, a research library and archives, and a multitude of exhibits, programs, and educational lectures and workshops year-round. Our unique collections reflect more than three centuries of Long Island history. Click here to learn about Member Benefits!


Copyright © 2017 Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved. No part of this electronic document may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the Suffolk County Historical Society.

The Suffolk County Historical Society is a private non-profit organization and an Authorized Agency of Suffolk County.  Public funding provided by Suffolk County.