Robinson-Tuthill-Mills-Mannino House

Photo courtesy of the Yaphank Historical Society

Dating from 1726. This asymetrical Dutch Colonial home has the original hand split cedar shingles, beehive ovens and cooking fireplace.

What may be the one of, if not the oldest house not only in Yaphank but in the entire Longwood community is passed by daily nearly a thousand cars and trucks daily without a second thought.
No, it’s not the Swezey, Avey House, or the Homan and Hawkins Houses, it the Tuthill/Mills house on Middle Island Yaphank Road just north of Main Street and diagonal to the Swezey House.
Captain Robert Robinson is believed to have lived in the house first in 1729, around the same time he was given permission to build the first mill on Upper Lake. If the cornerstone dating 1726 is correct, Yaphank, first called Millville until 1846, could have been founded earlier than most people thought.
Isaac Mills born in 1769 lived there until he committed suicide behind the barn On December 31st, 1833.

His son in law Nathaniel Tuthill occupied the house after his father in law’s death and perhaps lived there prior to that.
Nathaniel Tuthill was born in Wading River in 1797 working on his father’s farm until he was 22 moving to Baiting Hollow, where he and his brother Benjamen worked an inherited Conumgum Mill in 1819 and sold it a year later to his cousin.
In 1828 he married Johanna, a daughter of Mills and moved to Yaphank inheriting a good farm with plenty of property which he ran even while Mills was alive. He also was a successful veterinarian. He died in 1875.
During the residence of the Mills and Tuthill family in the house Yaphank went from a farming community with twenty homes to a thriving mercantile and railroad center, three hundred residents and two working mills.
The house, barns and outer buildings and a 250 acre farm was purchased by Charles E. Walters in 1909 and owned by him for the next fifty years, with property being sold off or eventually donated for a firehouse and elementary school.
The house was lived in by farm laborers and was vacant until the came along Inez and Vito Mannino bought dilapidated house in 1962.
After settling in the Mannino’s felt as they described a sense of uneasiness until a “man in black with long sideburns” in either a dream or visitation and repeated three times “Everything is going to be all right now”. Could that have been the spirit of Isaac?
Mrs. Mannino stated other “visits” have occurred whenever anything was changed in the house.
The house has been described as having six fireplaces, beehive ovens and wide plank wooden floors. Also on the property is a corn crib building
The house currently is occupied and has had a few owners since the Mannino family, all have seemed to keep the house in its historic glory despite modernizing and renovations.
References: NY Times, Images of America Yaphank by Tricia Foley and Karen Mouzakes, Longwood Library research and Yaphank As It Is, and Was and Will Be by L. Beecher Homan. Yaphank Cemetery Facebook page
Jeffrey Davis Nov. 2021

Dutch colonial built by Captain Robinson in 1726.
The Robinson, Mills, Tuthill farm.

Joanna Tuthill, photo from David Randall.
Nathaniel Tuthill, photo from David Randall.

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