Bristol Mexico Event

October 24th at the Rockville Cemetery the Nassau County Order of Ancient Hibernians and the Historical Society of East Rockaway & Lynbrook will commemorate the 175th anniversary of the installation of the Bristol Mexico monument. It commemorated the two ship wrecks which occurred off the southern coast of Long Island in 1836 and 1837. Over 130 immigrants were lost.


If you so desire to become part of history feel free to send a donation to


Box 351

East Rockaway, New York 11518-0351

Donor Flyer – 02

History Flyer – 02a

Retro 2014

Thursday June 15, 2014

 RE: Centre Avenue 4th Graders visit RETRO ’14 at the Lynbrook Library.

The Historical Society of East Rockaway & Lynbrook hosted fourth grade students from Lynbrook and East Rockaway public and parochial schools in the Great Room of the Lynbrook Library in early June.

The Retrospective features a life size replica of the Bristol Mexico Monument seen in Rockville Cemetery. Pat Hickey is shown telling several students the story of those tragic shipwrecks of 1836 and 1837. Other students look on at the 1” scale model of the Grist Mill Museum in Memorial Park. Stephanie Maddalone and Bob Sympson assist the youngsters and answer their questions.   The students also learned about two artifacts featured in this exhibit – one is a piece of trolley track from the trolley which used to run along Stauderman Avenue and the other item is a loving cup won by Mrs. Harry Schultz in the Ladies Horse Race held in Driving Cross Park.  Did you know there was a race tract in Lynbrook? Did you know there were trolleys in Lynbrook?

Become a volunteer.  Join the Historical Society of East Rockaway & Lynbrook.  Call 887-9094 for more information.


moving Bristol to Library

stephanie and artifacts


The Historical Society of East Rockaway & Lynbrook and the Ancient Order Hibernians had the opportunity to commemorate the 176th anniversary of two horrendous shipwrecks – the December 1836 wreck of the Bristol and the Mexico which crashed off the Rockaway coast in January 1837. This ceremony commemorated the untimely deaths of over 140 persons primarily Irish immigrants who were seeking a better life.

Art Mattson, author of Water and Ice, a book tracing the history of these events, recounted the story of both voyages. Joseph Beyrer, an esteemed bagpiper, capped off the event with a hollowing tribute.

HSERL is proud to participate in this yearly tribute initiated a number of years ago by Eddie O’Reilly of East Rockaway.  The Bristol Mexico obelisk is located in the Rockville Cemetery on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Merrick Road, Lynbrook/Rockville Centre.  The obelisk dates to 1841.  The story is a harrowing tale of bravery, cowardice, community concern and generosity in affording these poor souls a resting place of honor. Art Mattson, Lynbrook Village Historian, quoted Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in which Whitman so profoundly describes the awful tragedy.

We are proud that HSERL can bring to our communities such outstanding events.


Patricia C. Sympson, PhD. President HSERL


This article is copied from a the HELM, Thursday, February 21, 1963.  This is one of the newspapers which HSERL has archived and which will be available to everyone in the very near future.


THIS MONTH we celebrate the birthday of the country’s first president, George Washington.  there is little new that can be said about the man. However, Mr. William E. Shelton of  Washington D.C. sent us an item that throws a revealing light on the character of the President by listing the objects he held most dear.  This is an excerpt from President Washington’s will.

On July 9, 1799, at the age of 67, George Washington, in apparent good health, sat down at Mt. Vernon to make and sign his last will.  It was five months and five days before his death.

Making his will was a long tedious task as it contained many “items” and was written by his own hand.  He began. “In the name of God, Amen, I George Washington, of Mount Vernon, a citizen of the United States and lately, President of same, do make , ordain, and declare this instrument which is written by my own hand and every page subscribed with my name to be my last will and testament, revoking all others.

“All my debts, of which there are but a few, and none of great magnitude, are to be punctually and speedily paid, and the legacies hereinafter bequeathed , are to be discharged as soon as circumstances will permit, and in the manner directed.

To my dearly beloved wife, Martha Washington, I give and bequeath the use, profit , and benefit of my whole real estate and personal property for the term of her natural life”

One of his most interesting bequests was to one of his favorite servants named William.  He had no other name. He was now very old and ill.  Washington directed that he be given his freedom with an income for life.  But William begged Mrs. Washington to allow him to remain at Mt Vernon which she did but he passed away soon after hist master.

The gold beaded cane, left to Washijngton two years before by Benjamin Franklin was willed to Washington’s brother Charles with these additional words”And that is all because he, himself, is well provided for.” Washington left his four famous swords to his favorite nephews with a provision that “they are never to be unsheathed except in defense of their country or for show purposes”

To each of his four women acquaintances and several distant relatives Washington left a gold “mourning ring” set with an ebony stone “not for their intrinsic but rather for their sentimental values.” Each was valued at  about $100.

To Bishop Thomas Wilson,an Episcopalian Minister of Virginia, who several months later was to have a part in Washington’s funeral, was left his large Bible.

Washington was not satsfied with the family burial plot at Mt. Vernon and orderd it to be rebuilt to his specifications “constructed of brick” on the site he chose overlooking the winding Potomac River.  This part of his will was carried out but not completed until thirty years after his death.

Missing Issues of East Rockaway Observer & Lynbrook Helm

The Historical Society of East Rockaway & Lynbrook has been able to have a number of issues of the East Rockaway Observer and the  Lynbrook Helm  newspapers microfilmed and scanned.

Because some of the issues are missing from each year copied, we will print those missing dates for you.

The East Rockaway/Lynbrook Observer 1983/ missing Jan 20; Mar 10; May 19; June 2, 23; Aug 3, 10; Sept 14; Dec 28

1984/ Jan 4, 11; June  27; Nov 7; Dec 26

1985/ Jan 30; May 8, 29; Jul 24; Aug 7; Nov 27; Dec 25

1986/ Jan 8, 22,29; Feb 2; Apr 2, 30; May 7, 14; Sept 17, 24; Oct 15; Nov 12; Dec 3, 17

1987/ Jan 7; Feb 11, 18; Jun 10; July 15, 22, 29; Aug 12; Sept 2,9,16; Oct 28

1988/ Jan 6; Feb 3;  Mar  30; Apr 6, 27; May 4, 11; July 13; Oct 19; Dec 21

1989/ Jan 4; May 3, 24;  July 26;  Aug 2;  Sept 20; Oct 11, 18;  Nov 22


Lynbrook Helm Independent Review

1963/ January (all); Aug 8, 27; Nov 7

1964/ Sept 17, 24; Oct (all); Nov (all); Dec (all)

1965/ Jan through Sept; Oct 21, 28; Nov 18; Dec 9

1966/ Sept 15, 22, 29; Oct through Dec

1967/ Jan (all) June (all)  Jul6, 13, 20; Aug 3; Nov 30; Dec (all)

1968/ Feb 15; Mar 7, 21; Jul 25; Oct 10, 31; Nov 14

1969/ Feb 13

1970/ Feb 19, 26

1971/ Feb 25

1972/ Jun 1, 15; Aug 16, 23; Sept 20; Oct 25; Nov 1

1973/ Jan 17; Mar 28; May 30; Jul 18; Sept 26; Nov 28

1974/ Jan 2; Apr 24; Seep 11; Oct 18

1975/ Entire year

1976/ Entire year except  Sept 8, 22

For access to the copied papers please go to  and/or and follow directions.

Additionally, we have conserved and  preserved records of the Vineyard Church.. Four church books from the Old Sandhole Church which were given to us several years ago, are becoming a part of history as you read.   They date from 1834 to 1872 and contain information about the Town of Hempstead including the traveling preachers, marriages, births, deaths, baptisms and sprinklings of the area. Why are they significant? They are important because this information will be microfilmed and copied so that if someone wishes to taste a bit of history or even enjoy a good mouthful they will be on our plate..

In addition, the Long Island Institute of Studies at Hofstra University has copies of all the aforementioned items.





Historical Society Seeks Hurricane Sandy and Winter Storm Athena Pictures

The Historical Society of East Rockaway  & Lynbrook would like to obtain and preserve photographs of the devastating “superstorm” and blizzard that followed.  It is their intention to create an  archive of pictures that were taken of Sandy and Athena by local residents and to eventually display those photos.

We are asking anyone with photographs to send them via email to the HSERL at or if you can only provide hard -copies, please mail them to HSERL c/o 128 B Hempstead Avenue Lynbrook, NY 11563.  Kindly include your name and the municipality in which the photo was taken.  If you’d like to add any information, please feel free to do so.  All  pictures are welcome.

“This occurence is indeed one which we believe should be historically preserved in pictures so that the experience is saved for the future,”  said Pat Sympson, Secretary of  the Historical Society of East Rockaway & Lynbrook.

The Historical Society of East Rockaway & Lynbrook (HSERL) would like to obtain and preserve photographs of the devastating “superstorm” and the nor’easter blizzard that followed.  It is our intention to create an archive of pictures that were taken by local residents and businesses to eventually display those photos, and also to preserve this part of our history that has affected our communities and residents so much. Please send photographs via email to HSERL at or if you can only provide hard-copies, please mail them to HSERL, c/o 128 B Hempstead Avenue, Lynbrook, NY 11563.  Kindly include your name and the municipality in which the photo was taken.  If you’d like to add any information, please feel free to do so.  All pictures are welcome.

Please forward this email to anyone you feel might want to share their photographs with HSERL.

Historic Houses

History takes time.  That most certainly is not only an oxymoron but also an understatement. HSERL has succeeded in making history yet again. Three Lynbrook houses have been placed on the New York State of  Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic places

You have read previously about the work of these  three stalwart researchers and one indomitable photographer who put together  portfolios of research that was unexcelled.

Rebecca Schimmel, Lynbrook High School Heritage Scholar, Donald Krendel photographer and homeowners Ernest and Matilda Tarmin worked together to prepare and present the documentation necessary to make recognition possible.  You’ll recognize this house because it stand out as a well preserved “old” house on Ocean Avenue.

The number two success was accomplished by Art Mattson, HSERL Director and Lynbrook Village Historian, Donald Krendel and Tina Gonzales and David Byrne, homeowners.  This house is equally old but it is hidden.. While other houses claim similarity, this one made it to the National Register.  It is located on Grove Street.

Bob Sympson, who actually initiated this project several years ago after viewing the Denton House in East Rockaway, wherein Betsy Davison vividly recalled many happy days of her youth visiting Delameter Denton. said “Why not get recognition for the beautiful old homes which are part. of the history the south shore especially East Rockaway and Lynbrook.  He worked with John and &Cassandra Brannick and Donald Krendel to make it work yet a third time.  This home located on Rockaway Avenue probably has as part of its footprint one of the first saltboxes in the area.

Thus these three Lynbrook homes proudly join the Haviland Davison Grist Mill, more familiarly known as the East Rockaway Grist Mill Museum on the New York State Register of Historic Places.

Grove Street, Lynbrook, NY


Ocean Avenue, Lynbrook


Rocklyn Avenue Lynbrook, New York