Wegwagonock

Table of Contents
Introduction
History
Land Loss

Introduction

Wegwagonock was once a large settlement in what is now the northern shore of Sag Harbor town. In around 1846, the ground containing burials and evidence of an Indian village were destroyed and used as stability material for the ship and oil yards.

History

1896, 1911

In Tooker‘s Indian Place-Names on Long Island (1911), he describes finding the location of Wegwagonock.

For a long time the writer was unable to discover it,” he says, but his examination of the land purchases during the 1700’s as recorded in the East Hampton Town Records finally convined him that Wegwagonock was located in Sag Harbor. An examination of those same records today confirms Tooker’s conclusions.

By the time Tooker was writing, he could still see “the remains of an ancient shell heap. A large part of its area has been carted away to a meadow adjoining and to lay out East Water Street.

The Indian Village of WegwagonockBy William Wallace Tooker, 1896

In a former time, under primitive conditions on the rolling grounds and plain, to the northward of the rage of hills that extend west and east across the eastern portion of the village of Sag Harbor, were located the picturesque wigwams, corn fields and other accessories of the village of Wegwagonock. A large portion of the elevation, on the southern slopes of which the most compact part of the village had been situated, was leveled about 50 years ago [ca 1846, today’s Bay Street waterfront.] and its contents distributed over the adjoining meadow in order to increase the area and stability of the ship and oil yards of Mulford and Sleight. The writer was informed by William R. Sleight that human bones, supposed to have been bones of Indians, very frail and decayed, were unearthed during the excavating; but if any object aboriginal were deposited with them at the time of burial, they were overlooked in the haste of carelessness of the digging.

The situation of this summer dwelling place of the red men, which it must undoubtedly have been, for in the winter they lived back in the forsts where it was less exposed and more sheltered, was highly favored naturally for their purposes and their primitive mode of living. From evidences, surface or otherwise, that have been discovered from time to time, this village extended, with wigwams in scattered order, along the edge of the meadows where the late E. M. Cooper December 5, 2021 houses stand, skirting the base of the hills as far as the Watch CAse Factory December 5, 2021. At the present day a large portion of this area has been obliderated of its aboriginal marks by the march of improvements until but a small part of the site indicates what it must have been at the period of which I write, that portion in close proximity to the depression which has been known from my childhood as the “Frog Pond.”

 

Disruption and Vandalism

William Wallace Tooker describes the destruction of Wegwagonock in 1896;

A large portion of the elevation, on the southern slopes of which the most compact part of the village had been situated, was leveled about 50 years ago [ca 1846, today’s Bay Street waterfront.] and its contents distributed over the adjoining meadow in order to increase the area and stability of the ship and oil yards of Mulford and Sleight. The writer was informed by William R. Sleight that human bones, supposed to have been bones of Indians, very frail and decayed, were unearthed during the excavating; but if any object aboriginal were deposited with them at the time of burial, they were overlooked in the haste of carelessness of the digging.