as reported by the

Patchogue Advance

In 1898


Those who have looked at the pages dedicated to the Richard Floyd estate known as "Pattersquas" are familiar with the Robert Family's long ownership of it from just after the American Revolution till the death of Adelma Robert in December of 1918. Within those pages are several featuring the eccentric Christopher R. Robert the II and the castle Pepperidge Hall he built in Oakdale in the 1880's for his wife Julia. His death which was reported in the NY Papers as a suicide and the following coroners inquest into the matter was never reported by the NY papers at the time or later on by historians as it was here by the Patchogue Advance. Laced with the local color, political incorrectness and downright venom it seems shocking considering it was still the Victorian Age.

In her 1901 novel "Ship Of Dreams" Sayville author Louise Forsslund writes a thinly disguised story about The Tangier Smith's who also drew a great deal of antagonism from the local residents. Their lawsuits and fights with the baymen over shell fishing rights filled the courts and front pages of the newspapers in the late 19th century. I found it interesting that she called what was clearly The Manor Of St. George "Pepperidge Hall" but after reading this report I can see why Miss Forsslund felt at ease intermixing the animosity that surrounded these two manors.

In his book Along The Great South Bay, Harry Havemeyer reports that Julia Robert always "HATED" Pepperidge Hall and they had some terrible fights about it. After reading this 'obituary' I'm sure the Roberts fought about a lot more than Pepperidge Hall. But I still maintain that his death was probably not suicide ... but perhaps if it occurred today it might be tried as "justifiable homicide"


So here is a local look at a death that occured some 65 miles away from Patchogue , yet made the front page of a weekly paper 105 years ago this week. Thanks to Marty Van Lith for the legwork and to Patchogue Medford Library for archiving what was left an issue of the Patchogue Advance January 7, 1898