History of North Haven

There is no area on the South Fork that has survived the years of development and progress better than North Haven.  Since the 1600’s when it was two and a half square miles of forests, creeks and wetlands surrounded by open bays, it has developed quietly over the years into a small, rural, residential village that can best be described as a jewel of the South Fork.

How North Haven progressed from its founding and how it turned out is a fascinating story.  Like all of Long Island, the South Fork was inhabited by Native Americans for many years before the colonists arrived.  North Haven had a small population of Manhansets, one of the thirteen Long Island tribes, whose home was on Shelter Island.  Neighboring Montaukets and Shinnecocks visited to fish and hunt before the first white man arrived. 

By 1640 the colonists of Massachusetts were looking for new areas to which to move, and Long Island, known for its fertile farm land and abundant fish and wildlife, was one of the more desirable areas known.  The South Fork was especially attractive, and unsettled, with the exception of Gardiner’s Island, which had been granted to the Gardiner family in 1639.  A year later a group from Lynn, Massachusetts, set out for their new home, which would be the old town section of Southampton as we know it today.  They organized a town government under a Board of Trustees and were formally recognized by the New York Colonial Government, and the bounds of the town included North Haven as it is today.

In 1665 Hog Neck was purchased from the Native Americans by Southampton Town, and in 1680 the lands of Hog Neck (North Haven), Hogonock (Bay Point), Brushy Neck (Redwood) and the wet meadows of Sag Harbor were allotted to citizens of the Town.  Forty-seven lots and meadows were assigned and seven roads on Hog Neck were laid out.  Among the earliest owners were the Sayres, Howells and others.   Early in the 1700’s John Payne came to Hog Neck from Southampton.  It began a period of 250 years of the Payne family living on North Haven.

The original Payne house was built c. 1720.  In the Payne family were two well-known whaling captains, Charles Watson Payne II, and his son, Benjamin C. Payne, and at one point during this period the Paynes owned a considerable piece of land between the present bridge to Sag Harbor and the Ferry-Tyndall Road intersection.

Toward the end of the colonial and early settlement period, a member of the Payne family was a major player in a particular event that was the most significant occurance in shaping the future of North Haven and Sag Harbor.  That event was the marriage of Maria Payne to Joseph Fahys.  Maria was the daughter of Captain Charles Watson Payne II and Maria Hildreth.  Mr. Fahys was an industrialist from New Jersey who had investments in Sag Harbor factories that had been opened in an effort to replace the dying whaling industry.  In 1881, he re-located his watchcase factory from Carlstadt, New Jersey, to a new building in Sag Harbor.  The business flourished, as did the marriage.  For the next century the factory provided full employment for Sag Harbor, and the Fahys family and their children established a classic summer estate colony on the south neck of North Haven.  The “Summer Cottages” of the Fahys, Cooks and Barclays rivaled those of the more famous neighboring Hamptons.  These families and the Paynes were the driving force behind the incorporation of the village in 1931.  This action was very timely, giving the village the opportunity to get organized for the post World War II expansion that hit all of Long Island, including the South Fork.

Thanks to village planning and zoning ordinances, expansion was orderly.  Homeowners association developments occupied what had been single properties and estates.  The next (and probably the last) housing development took place forty years later when nearly 600 acres in the northwest sector of the village was subdivided into two large developments, “West Banks” and “North Haven Point”.  During this same period, the first official Village Hall was established in a new building on North Ferry Road.  (The original Village Hall was located in Payne’s Garage, after which the schoolhouse, Charlotte Eaton’s home and the North Fork Bank were utilized).  [1]

[1] The Early History of North Haven Long Island, New York by Dorothy Ingersoll Zaykowski, North Haven Historian Joseph Zaykowski, and contributions by Ronald L. Lowe