One of Smithtown’s Local Legends: the Bull

One of Smithtown's Local Legends - the Bull

Sure enough, Paul Bunyan was a very enormous man. Johnnie Appleseed was also a master gardener. On the other hand, they can’t compare to Richard (Bull) Smith, the man who built Smithtown.

Through years of embellishment, Smith’s story has grown to be the tallest of them all.

It’s a fantastic story in my opinion. “I don’t think there’s another community in the United States that could equal it,” said Louise Hall, head of the Smithtown Historical Society. “We should conserve it.” After more than 300 years, this is how the tale looks today.

Native Americans supposedly struck a bargain with Smith, an English immigrant who could see a good real estate deal when he saw one, allowing him to retain whatever territory he could go around in a day on his trusty bull named Whisper.

Smith, ever careful, waited until the longest day of the year, which occurred around 1665, to set off on his journey. The night before the race, even Whisper’s favorite calf was carried out to the track so it may follow in its famous mother’s footsteps. Whisper’s speed would certainly go up at the hint of her alluring aroma, and Smith would get very close to the 55-mile mark. He would leave the eastern part of present-day Smithtown and go south to Raconcamuck, modern-day Ronkonkoma, west to Hauppauge, and north along the route that is now Veterans Highway, town border Town Line Road, and north to Long Island Sound.

The bull and him had a meal break. Given that Smith had his meal of bread and cheese in a hollow, the road leading to that location is now known as Bread and Cheese Hollow Road. Smith did come, and he quickly claimed Smithtown as his own.

This is what happens. From what I’ve gathered from reading various historical accounts, the following took place. Smith arrived in Southampton before that he be honored with his own town name.

In 1635, Smith made the journey from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony aboard the John of London. He had to leave quickly for Long Island because to the lack of available land and the strict rules enforced by the Puritans.

Smythe was the original spelling of Smith, which appeared in Southampton town records for the first time in 1643. Smith swiftly rose to the top social circles in the new colony after meeting Lion Gardiner, the first lord of the manor on Gardiners Island.

Smith’s trips must have resulted in a lot of bloody noses. For criticizing the wrong people in Southampton, he was expelled from the city in 1656. Smithtown, New York: 1660-1929 by Noel Gish includes the passage in question. It states that:

Due to his arrogant attitude toward the judges and their authority, the general court has decided to exile Richard Smythe from the town. He has one week to pack and leave the town, and if he is still there after that, he will have to pay a fine of twenty shillings.

To yet, no one from Smithtown has shown up. Smith, together with his wife Sarah and their nine children, settled in Setauket in 1657.

There were also other elements involved. In exchange for saving his daughter Heather Flower from an opposing tribe, Lion Gardiner received a land grant from the renowned Indian sachem Wyandanch. The property on which Smithtown now stands was originally owned by Gardiner but was given to him in 1663. Depending on who you ask, Smith either bought it or won it in a card game.

This is not, however, the last chapter. Smith spent another decade fighting in court to prove he was the rightful proprietor of Smithtown. Once the English court turned down his appeal, he took his case to the Dutch. Additionally, he went back to England after the Dutch had already conquered New York. Just kept going and going and going. Eventually, in 1677, he had the remaining parts of Smithtown mapped out and declared as his property, according to the Andros Patent. One gets the impression that Smith was the more aggressive of the two, unlike Whisper.

I think he was a really bright and driven individual since he brought his border problem to two colonial rulers. It was clear to me that he was dead set on owning this place,” Hall said. The word “forceful” doesn’t quite fit him, however; it’s too modern.

Even while Smith’s manner probably played a role in the “Bull” story, historians have offered a number of other explanations. Smith like to go on strolls with his pet bull. Some might also bring up the Smith coat of arms, which has a charging bull over a shield decorated with six fleurs-de-lis.

When applied to papal bulls, the notion of Gish offers a fresh perspective. It seems that papal bulls, or rulings issued by the pope to settle matters of church and state, had widespread popularity in the seventeenth century. In rare cases, papal bulls were used to settle border disputes between dioceses or parishes. According to Gish, Smith may have issued his own “Smith Bull” to settle border conflicts with the Dutch, the English, and the neighboring town of Huntington.

Obviously, many people, particularly in Smithtown, ignore such perspectives in favor of excellent books. There are plenty of bulls there, but they’re all Smithtown’s.

“When I initially heard the story, I thought it was a bit unbelievable, but it was a wonderful narrative,” said Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio. ” This is becoming less fantastical to me as time goes on. When something is repeated frequently enough, you start to accept it as true.

In light of the regular requests for clarification on the folklore, Hall has developed a plan of action to deal with the central problem of trustworthiness. “I present to them the town’s bicentennial map. We talk about whether or not there were Indian trails, and how the bull could have gotten through the thick undergrowth if there weren’t any. That done, I let them to vote on it.

Smithttown Weather

September 26, 2022, 9:38 am

2 mph
real feel: 64°F
humidity: 91%
wind speed: 2 mph SW
sunrise: 6:44 am
sunset: 6:43 pm
Forecast September 26, 2022

Intermittent clouds
wind speed: 11 mph SW

Mostly clear
wind speed: 7 mph SW

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