Bring Life Back to an 18th Century Suffolk County Farmhouse, Birthplace of a New York City Mayor

    by

    If you like your historic properties with layers of atmospherically decaying history, this circa 1740 farmhouse offers it in abundance along with a connection to a New York City political figure.

    The house on the market at 187 N Country Road in Miller Place, N.Y. was the family home of Caleb Smith Woodhull. Perhaps not a politician that plays a prominent role in the history books, he served a single two-year term, from 1848 to 1851, as mayor of the not-yet consolidated city.

    woodhull family home miller's place long island

    The Woodhull family home in the 1840s. Image from “The American Biographical Sketchbook” by William Hunt via Internet Archive

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    The house pre-dates the former mayor, having been built by his grandfather John Woodhull. A hand-painted sign mounted on the clapboard exterior provides an initial construction date of 1740, the year of John’s marriage to Elizabeth Smith. Miller Place, known up until the late 19th century as Miller’s Place after a founding resident, was largely an agricultural community throughout the 19th century.

    While the small community has a beachfront facing the Long Island Sound, the Woodhull house faces a smaller body of water, a pond now known as the Miller Place Duck Pond. A lithograph from the 1840s shows the house and its outbuildings surrounded by a picket fence and across from a duck-filled pond. By this time the house had passed down in the family. Mayor Woodhull was born in the house in 1792 — there’s another vintage historic marker inside the house noting the fact — and he spent his final years there before his death in 1866.

    There are surely other important stories to uncover of those that lived in the house and worked on the farm over its roughly 280-year history. A quick look at census records from 1790 to 1820 shows households in the community, including those headed by Woodhulls, with both free and enslaved people of color in residence.

    portrait of caleb s smith

    A portrait of Caleb Smith Woodhull taken by Matthew Brady between 1844 and 1860. Photo via Library of Congress

    The house seems to have left the Woodhull family’s hands at least by the early 20th century when it appears on a map of the area as the property of S.H. Hallock. Brooklynites in the 1930s might have seen advertisements for the property as White House Rest, a vacation guesthouse for city dwellers run by Alfred Beyer.

    As expected for an 18th century property, the house was added to and altered by generations of owners. It is currently set up as a two-family. While the kitchens and bathrooms have 20th century style, there appears to be an amazing amount of earlier features as well. There are wide planked floors in the hall, a parlor with built-in cupboards on either side of a Federal-style mantel and a Dutch, or split, door in the dining room.

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    The images also show condition issues, making it an ideal project for a true old house lover. There are a total of five bedrooms, several with mantels and one pictured with some interesting ephemera tacked on the walls, and three full baths.

    It is no longer part of a large farm, but there is about half an acre of property surrounding the house. The Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society is located nearby and would doubtless be a source for some more history on the property and its inhabitants. The Woodhull house, and most of the historic center of the town, is included in the Miller Place National Register Historic District.

    This bit of history is listed for $425,000 with Natalie Milano and Kevin Milano of Coldwell Banker Realty.

    plaque at the woodhull house

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    interior of woodhull house in millers place long island

    plaque on the exterior of the woodhull house

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