A Conversation with Bethany Deyermond

Bethany Deyermond

A member of the Sag Harbor Historical Society Board of Directors and that nonprofits treasurer talks about its newest Halloween happening, “Annie’s Field of Jack-O’-Lanterns,” which will be held on Wednesday, October 30, from 5 to 6 p.m., at the Historical Society’s Annie Cooper Boyd House at 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

“Annie’s Field of Field of Jack-O’-Lanterns” will be held for the first time this year, inviting members of the community to the Annie Cooper Boyd House to show off their own carved jack-o’-lanterns and enjoy music, treats and a ghostly parade through the historic residence. Where did this idea come from?

 Of course, the Lion’s Club in Bridgehampton has always had a wonderful event every year the Monday before Halloween and it is a really neat event. Sag Harbor has a lot of Halloween events, but we have never had anything like that and the Annie Cooper Boyd House is the perfect place for a lit pumpkin display — it is set back from Main Street and has a beautiful front porch. For us, this is another way we can get community members to notice the house and hopefully come in and enjoy what it has to offer. Our greatest mission right now is the preservation of that building — it is really what we need to focus on right now — and this is another way to introduce members of our community to this important building.

The Annie Cooper Boyd House, an 18th century home owned by artist and diarist Annie Cooper Body, was left to the Historical Society and serves as both its headquarters and museum. Fundraising through events like this will help aid the society as it moves forward with repairs to the building?

Yes. Right now we are very much focused on fundraising to replace the roof, which of course has to be done historically, in the correct way — we cannot just slap an asphalt roof up there — with wooden shingles. We are not even really sure the last time the roof was replaced but it is very much needed now — there is already a leak onto the front porch and it is our responsibility to ensure that house is maintained properly. Our gala, unfortunately, did not cover the full expense of the roof replacement or the other things we try and accomplish as a historical society, so we are hoping by drawing in more community members through events like this we can get more support for the society and for the building.  

What are other ways the Historical Society supports Sag Harbor history?

Obviously, at this point, we are not in a position of preserving historic buildings ourselves — they are privately owned — but we did work with the Village of Sag Harbor on the restoration and preservation of the Old Jail House. And we do get the word out about the importance of preservation. Homeowners and even realtors will come to the Historical Society when a house is bought or goes up for sale to learn about the history of these places, and the society keeps files detailing that history.

Will “Annie’s Field of Jack-O’-Lanterns” include a contest?

We decided against a content and what to make this a community event — not just a children’s event but one where we can have families come down and join us. And we will have a pumpkin out where we are asking guests to support us with a $5 suggested donation.

We are looking into the future for the Historical Society — we want to get younger families into  the building with their children so they can see what we are all about and maybe join us in what we are trying to do. It will be a nice event, we will serve cider, Nancy Remkus is singing and Jean Held’s exhibit cataloging items she has found on Havens Beach will still be up. When kids come in and see it they think it is really neat and here they are learning a lot about Sag Harbor history.

Are you carving a pumpkin?

Of yes. I will do a good, old-fashioned, jack-o’-lantern. And everyone on our board of trustees is going to carve a pumpkin as well and we will display them about a week before the event. The Friday before, October 25, Nancy Remkus and Deanna Lattanzio are attending Morning Program [at Sag Harbor Elementary School] to talk about the history of Sag Harbor with the kids, which is something they will be doing every month. We are going to talk to them this month about Annie and the House and ask them all to come down with their pumpkins and help fill up our yard.

For more information, visit sagharborhistorical.org.