Meet The New Owners
Henry Wysham &
Josephine Stevens LANIER
As I mentioned on an earlier page
Adelma Robert widow of Dr. Charles S. Robert died on the Mastic
estate in December of 1912. The last Robert family I found living
there was in the 1910 Federal Census. Adelma who is 61 and sons
William 21 and George 31 and daughter Caroline 35 although the
previous existing census from 1880 shows Caroline to be 7 years
of age....she would not be the first person to shave some years
off a public record.
Also of interest to me were the
surrounding names enumerated in 1910 on "Mastic Road"
You can almost hear the supervisor telling the census taker "Mastic
is a piece of cake........ go down one road and you get them all"
Besides the usual steadfast subjects
like the Smiths living at the Manor Of St George....you had Emma
Lawrence and Elizabeth Lawrence living there, and a few mainstay
workers like future road builder / house mover Clarence Penney
(Willis' older brother) who was farming at the time and Horace
Johnson (I spoke with his grandson Ken in Center Moriches) who
was the superintendent of the Lawrence Farm aka The Woodhull Farm.
Adelma Robert , Elizabeth (Mrs J.
B.) & Emma Lawrence all died within a few years of each other
between 1912 & the end of First World War and this is when
these Mastic (Beach) family estates and farms started to get sold
outside of the families that owned them since the Revolutionary
I'm not sure if John L. Lawrence,
of Lawrence Long Island was named executor for Adelma or not but
he is listed as the Mortgagee of the Robert Estate when it leaves
the family on Jan 30th 1923 to Henry Wysham Lanier for the sum
of $27,500.00. Taking a $5000 down payment and putting Henry on
the hook for 4 years for the balance. To
pay off a 4 year mortgage of $22,500 back then Henry had to be
doing fairly well for himself and he was.....remember this was
a summer and vacation home...... which consisted of
"ALL THAT TRACT OF LAND (with the buildings and improvements
thereon erected)situated at Mastic, Town of Brookhaven, County
of Suffolk, State of New York bounded on the north by the Road
or Highway known as Neighborhood Road; east by that part of Woodhull
Farm; formerly of the estate of Mrs Sarah Lawrence deceased; south
by the South Bay; and west by the land now or formerly of William
S. Robert.containng 218 acres or thereabouts.
ALSO any and all right, title
and interest of the mortgagor to the land in the beds of Sheeps
Pen Creek and Pattersquash Creek and under water of the Great
South Bay abutting the said premises and in the bed of Neighborhood
Road and all lands under and water rights ........and so on
But I think Henry could afford it
. He was the son of reknowned southern poet Sydney Lanier and
a writer himself. An Editor at Scribners, then Doubleday, and
in the future founder of Golden Book Magazine. However the down
payment may of left him a little short and 3 months later on April
Fools Day 1923 this ad appeared.
It is highly likely that some or
all of this furniture may of come from Henry's new old place in
Mastic. However how much he sold is a good question, because there
would still be enough leftover for the next 5 owners of "Pattersquash"
The Laniers must of went there seperate
ways soon after they aquired this place because by 1925 Josephine
Stevens Lanier was living at one place in NYC and Henry at The
Players Club where he stayed until he died in 1958
In early 1925 Josephine had the
estate up for sale.... At first
Josephine ran a few classified ads like this one, But by May of
1925 she really started marketing the place with large display ads full of photos & maps.
You can see them by clicking here
"No Modern Conveniences" Definitely Not Realtor
A Victorian Age $7000 Carriage House Looked Like This
The estate did not sell until 1927
and the original 219 acres were broken up. The majority of the
land without the Homestead and out buildings went to The Smadbecks
at Home Guardian Co. and Sections 4 & 5 of Mastic Beach were
created. The homestead and 12 acres around it was bought by Sydney
Raphael of Brooklyn who may of worked for Home Guardian. Sydney
soon turned it over in to Ludwig Freudenthal who did a lot of
"horse trading" of property with The Smadbecks. Both
men were primarily speculating here.
The next owner who would actually
use the place for something more than to sell also came from the
literary world , but before we move
on to him, I want to leave you with a bit more about Henry W.
Lanier. Here is a profile done on him in 1947 as another of
his books was about to be released.
I have noticed an inordinate amount
of early landowners in this Mastic
story had strong literary and artistic connections and I am planning
seperate pages devoted to that, W.B. Kitty , Doris , and Leora
Dana, Nell Kay, The Knapps (as publishers) and our next character
from both Broadway & Hollywood
JOHN HOWARD LAWSON