Originally inhabited by the Matinecock Indians, Oyster Bay
was settled and named (primarily due to its abundance of shellfish) by
the Dutch in 1615 . In 1653, English colonists Peter Wright,
Samuel Mayo and the Rev. William Leverich came from Cape Cod
and settled near Oyster Bay Harbor.
the colonial era, Oyster Bay had a reputation as a hotbed
of smuggling and it was Captain Kidd's last port of call before
sailing to Boston, where he was arrested, transported to London
and hanged (perhaps somewhere in Oyster Bay the secret of
Captain Kidd's Lost Treasure can be found).
During the revolution, Oyster Bay (like many parts of New
York) retained a high loyalist sentiment. The British Troops
headquarters were Raynham Hall, home of Patriot Samuel Townsend,
whose son Robert was an effective spy for General George Washington.
Long Island Rail Road began service to Oyster Bay on June
24, 1889. The original Oyster Bay station will become a railroad
museum owned by the town which will display one of the last
Steam Locomotives (#35).
shellfishing began in the late 1880s. One of the original
baymen in 1876 was William Flower. His business was expanded
by his sons and became Frank M. Flower and Sons Inc., an oyster
and clam company that continues as Long Island's only shellfish
cultivation and harvesting company to this day.
Of course no history of Oyster Bay would be complete without
mentioning our most famous resident, and the only President
from Long Island, Theodore Roosevelt, who built Sagamore Hill
in Cove Neck in 1885. During his two-term presidency, which
began in 1901, Sagamore Hill served as the summer White House.
Roosevelt attended Christ Church, and his pew is marked by
For a more detailed history of Oyster Bay and this part of
the North Shore of Long Island (including Centre Island, Bayville,
and Oyster Bay Cove) please visit the Oyster
Bay Historical Society.