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Photo of the Week


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

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Librarian

Aquebogue Congregational Church. (Image from the Postcard Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)

The Old Steeple Church in Upper Aquebogue was organized in 1768 with just 16 members (11 women and 5 men): Nathaniel Wells, Jonathan Reeve, Deborah Corwin, Richard Howell, Timothy Wells, Anna Moore, Prudence Luce, Hannah Herre, Mary Wells, Eleazer Luce, Mary Wells, Anna Youngs, Mary Youngs, Abiah Sweezy, Sarah Howell, and Abiah Luce.

The original church building was located within the cemetery across the street from the current church structure, offering a convenient way for people coming to church by boat from Riverhead, Flanders, Jamesport, and other locations along Peconic Bay. Many others came to church on horseback or in box wagons drawn by oxen. Most people walked.

Timothy Wells, grandson of Justice Joshua Wells of Southold, was the first pastor of the church. The second minister of the church was Rev. Daniel Youngs. His ministry lasted 32 years, from 1782 to 1814. Rev. Youngs was the great grandson of Southold's founder, Rev. John Youngs.

The current church building located on the north side of Main Road, was built in the 1860s. A note in the diary of George Henry Tuthill notes: "July 8, 1862. Began building a new church at Upper Aquebogue." The first couple married in the new church was J. Madison Wells and Catherine Terry in 1863. During the 1938 hurricane, the church steeple was blown down, and funds were raised to construct a new one, which was dedicated in 1939.

Suggested Readings: A History of the Congregational Church in Aquebogue, by Rev. William I. Chalmers, 1910; "A History of Aquebogue Church Buildings," by Roswell Corwin, 1963.


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.

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