Here’s Where Daniel Webster Caught Big Trout

Footnotes to Long Island History

Here’s Where Daniel Webster Caught Big Trout


Thomas R. Bayles

Carmen's River Mill.
LANDMARK - Here's the grist and saw mill that was in operation in 1745 on Carmen's River, South Haven, where Daniel Webster caught a 14 1/2-pound trout. Farmers came to this mill from miles around to bring their grain to be grounded and logs from their forests to be sawed into timber.


    The old grist and saw mill at South Haven was in operation in 1745, and was located on the Connecticut (Carman's) river just north of the bridge over the river on the Montauk highway. 

It was in one of the pools below this mill that Daniel Webster caught the famous 14 1/2 pound trout about 1835, whose pattern was traced on a slab of cherry wood and cut out for a weather vane for the South Haven Presbyterian Church.

    While Mr. Webster was attending the Sunday morning church service, word was brought to him that the long looked for trout was in the pool below the mill. Quietly, Mr. Webster slipped out, followed by most of the other worshippers who had guessed the reason why, and finally the minister dismissed those who remained and joined the group at the river in time to see Mr.. Webster land the famous fish.

     Just to the west of the mill was the famous old tavern which Samuel Carman purchased in 1789.This was a regular stopping place for the weekly stage that ran between Brooklyn and East Hampton.

      Besides serving travelers food and lodging and "spirituous liquors," its also enjoyed a certain prestige as a place to hold political meetings and "elections." It was here the some of the prominent men of the day lodged and the towns people gathered to discuss the latest news brought in by the visitors from the out side world.

Sam Carman also conducted a general store in connection with his tavern, and this with the mill, and the meeting house across the road was the center of life in this part of Brookhaven Town. It was here that roads came together from the villages to the north, south, west and east. Boats sailed for supplies of all kinds .

Molasses was a popular item, as it was used in making rum. Rum was by far the item of largest sale. The old mill was torn down in 1958 to make way for the extension of the Sunrise Highway.

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