Sag Harbor Historical Society Uses Video To Help Tell The Village’s Story

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Nancy Remkus films Nancy Cory at the Old Whalers' Church as part of her series for the Sag Harbor Historical Society. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

What started as a series of PowerPoint presentations to introduce students at the Sag Harbor Elementary School to the village’s rich history has morphed into a series of short videos that its creator hopes will help draw attention to the Sag Harbor Historical Society.

Nancy Remkus, a retired teacher and member of the society’s board, has been making the videos with the aid of other society members.

“We want to share more Sag Harbor stories with people and hopefully encourage more people to become members of the society,” Ms. Remkus said.

The initial video featured Deanna Lattanzio, another retired educator, giving a tour of the society’s headquarters, the Annie Cooper Boyd House, which is set back from Main Street just a few paces south of the village’s business district.

Ms. Lattanzio was also enlisted to tell the story of the Cilli Farm, the only farm in the village, which had been owned by her grandfather. Bethany Deyermond, another retired teacher and society board member, took on the role of Sag Harbor’s major benefactress, Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, who gave the village the John Jermain Memorial Library, Pierson High School, and Mashashimuet Park and Otter Pond, among other major gifts.

Another video traced the history of the Long Island Rail Road’s service to the village, which was discontinued in the 1930s. Trains followed a spur from Bridgehampton through the Long Pond Green Belt before crossing a trestle along Sag Harbor Cove and arriving at a depot at what is now the site of the village post office.

Ms. Remkus also filmed two videos of historical society board member James Marquardt reading from his book, “True Stories of Old Sag Harbor.”

So far, though, the most involved production enlisted five narrators from the historical society telling stories of some of the more colorful “permanent residents” of Oakland Cemetery.

WLNG radio host Bonnie Grice tells the story of Captain David Hand and his five wives, four of whom died before the age of 30, while Bethany Deyermond tells the story of Joseph Fahys, who brought his watchcase factory to the village in the 1800s.

Jack Youngs tackles the story of Ephraim Byram, a village clockmaker, inventor, and philosopher, while Ms. Remkus narrates a segment on the philosopher and adventurer Prentice Mulford.

And Ms. Lattanzio describes the life of Fannie Tunison, who was born paralyzed, but who was able to learn how to use her mouth and tongue to thread a needle and sew. She later became her family’s major breadwinner by reading fortune cards and doing other tasks.
Last week, Ms. Remkus started her latest video, one that will tell the story of Dorothy

Ingersoll Zaykowski, whose book, “Sag Harbor: The story of an American Beauty,” is a highly regarded history of the village. For that video, she taped Nancy Cory, a member of the Old Whalers’ Church, Catherine Creedon, the director of the John Jermain Memorial Library; Tony Garro, who leads historic walking tours of the village; and Bryan Boyhan, the former publisher of The Sag Harbor Express.

The videos are available on the historical society’s Facebook page and website, sagharborhistorical.org, under the Blog heading.

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