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, Head Librarian

Map Showing Location of St. David AME Church, Eastville. (Map from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives; other images courtesy of Eastville Community Historical Society.) 

The Eastville community of Sag Harbor is an early multiethnic area where free African Americans arrived in the early decades of the nineteenth century seeking jobs in the booming Sag Harbor whaling business. They joined Native Americans and some Europeans to settle along the streets of the community.

Lewis Cuffee, Charles Plato, and William Prime organized the St. David AME Zion Church in 1840, which served to unite the residents of Eastville. Together with David Hempstead and other members of Sag Harbor's black and native communities, they constructed the first St. David AME Zion Church on Eastville Avenue. The founding pastor of the church, the Rev. J. P. Thompson, was a noted Abolitionist and a friend of Frederick Douglass.

The church remains in its original location (highlighted on the accompanying map section of Sag Harbor). Widely believed to have been a stop along the Underground Railroad, the church and the adjacent cemetery are maintained by the Eastville Community Historical Society, whose beginnings grew from a desire to preserve the structure. The society was instrumental in restoring the exterior of the building, the tin ceiling, and the stained glass windows of the church. Past members of the church and many whalers of color are buried in St. David's cemetery. Today Eastville retains its ethnic mix, while preserving its modest character amidst the wealth of the Hamptons.

Join us on Saturday, March 3, 1:00 pm, for an opening reception.

Collective Identity will showcase Photographs & Tintype Images of African and Native American Diversity in 19th-Century Eastville.  Free opening day admission. Light refreshments will be served. On exhibit in our Gish Gallery: March 3 - May 23, 2018.



The Suffolk County Historical Society’s PHOTO OF THE WEEK Series is created by head research 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 librarian@schs-museum.org 

Interested in seeing more historical documents from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society? Spend an afternoon at our Local History Research Library perusing our extensive 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.



Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Suffolk County Historical Society whenever you shop on AmazonSmile. Click here to get started!

If you've been enjoying our Photo of the Week, please consider becoming a member of SCHS.
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 © 2018 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.