Old Smith Estate at Longwood

Footnotes to Long Island History


SEPT 15, 1949


Thomas R. Bayles

      Another historical spot of great beauty in Brookhaven town in the estate and old manor house of the Smith family at Longwood, north of Yaphank, which was built about 1790.

     In a recent article we have followed the Tangier Smith family to the Manor of St. George, Mastic, and we find the seventh son of Judge William Smith, who was also named William, establishing a homestead on the northern part of the Manor of St. George at Longwood.

       Born April 30 1769 he married Hannah P. Smith of Smithtown. He must have been filled with the pioneer spirit to have left the ancestral home at the Manor of St. George and established a home in such a remote place as Longwood was in those early days.

       A son of this William Smith, William Sidney Smith, who was also a great - great-grandson of Colonel William, the original Tangier Smith, was born at Longwood July 8, 1796. Left an orphan at the age of seven years, he acquired an education and entered business in New York. On May 7, 1823, he married Eleanor Jones, daughter of Major William Jones of Cold Spring. L. I., and a year later they moved to the family estate at Longwood. Here, remote from the conveniences of railroad and village, they reared 10 children to maturity, and for half a century lived in happiness and contentment.

       William Sidney Smith gave his attention to farming and the management of his estate of several thousand acres as well as other enterprises. He was elected supervisor of Brookhaven town in 1829, was country treasurer from 1834 to 1848, and held various other public offices. He was actively interested in the early management of the Long Island Rail Road and the flour mills and woolen factory at Yaphank. During more than 50 years he was an earnest supporter of religious activities and a constant attendant at the service of the Presbyterian churches at Middle Island and South Haven. He died on the 19th of January, 1879, leaving a widow and eight sons and two daughters.

       Robert Russell Smith, first son of William Sidney and Eleanor (Jones) Smith was born December 20, 1829, and following his schooling took up the management of Longwood and other business interests. Associated with the affairs of the community, he was an officer of the Middletown Presbyterian church at Middle Island. On June 2, 1875, he married Cornelia, daughter of Henry and Cornelia Thorne, and to them were born three children, William H. Tangier, who died in infancy, and Helen Tangier, and William Sidney. The two were educated and brought up at Longwood, and William Sidney, having chosen a medical career, served as a captain in the Medical Corps during the first World War. He was also connected with the Brooklyn City hospital for many years until his death in March, 1944.

       His sister Miss Helen, who is last of this historic family to occupy the old manor house at Longwood, resides in Brooklyn but spends her summers at the old home which she maintains in the traditional manner.

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