10. Finishing the Job

    Pressure was on to complete the consolidation of the entire tract of land that had been owned by Frederick Chase north of the City Road and land of others to the West to the shore of Peconic Bay. Building plans for the hotel, the focal point of the colony, were in process. Eben Horsford was also working with developers, led by Erastus P. Carpenter from Boston, to create a Summer family hotel and colony on his land across Dering Harbor from the rising Prospect House, the focus to be the Manhansett House. Landscape architect Robert Morris Copeland had come to Shelter Island to survey the Shelter Island Park project, at Carpenter’s request, and ended up working with the Grove and Camp Meeting group first. He had recently completed the project for Carpenter at Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, an extension of Wesleyan Grove. By the mid-year 1872, Copeland and Charles H. Bateman, his surveyor, had completed their design for the development and lots were numbered. (Press the map to see the Copeland design.)
    On January 1, 1872 John E. Searles of New Haven purchased from Joshua Payne for $50 the lot designated as number 30 on the map of the village of Prospect.
    On January 5, 1872 Searles purchased from Nancy A. Chase and Albert S. Chase land north of the Homestead for $500, about 30 acres, acquired on October 9, 1869 from Rebecca Beebe and Rebecca Chase excluding the properties already sold by Frederick Chase, as the Prospect lots. Searles assumed a mortgage of $1,200,
    On March 28, 1872 Searles purchased from Daniel and Eveline Wells, Henry and Susan Wells, and William and Ada Wells, all of Southold for $3,772.50 29 acres and 35 perches [square rods] running from a stake at the beach at White Hills, bounded South by lands late of Esther Sarah Dering and North by lands late of Brinson B. Wiggins, conveyed March 24, 1853 by Alfred H. Sanford and others to Daniel and Henry Wells. (This deed was also accompanied by an indenture protecting the interests of the three infant sons of the late of David O. Wells, deceased, to a sum of $537.50.) (This was a piece of the peninsula never owned by Chase.)
    On March 30, 1872, Searles purchased from Robert Ryerson and his wife Harmony for $200 the Benjamin Young lot, containing 48 square rods, bounded by Carbon Street on the West, and on the East by Dering’s Harbor.
    On April 1, 1872, John E. Searles of Brooklyn purchased from Margaret Chase Walters the land known as the King Farm, about 65 acres. The terms included “a convenient way to and from the Ferry and to and from the City road...” On the same day, Searles also bought from Nancy A. and Albert Chase for $500 the block described as lots 9, 10, 11 and 12 bounded by Madison, Fair, Monroe, and Cedar streets.
    Also on April 1, 1872, John E. Searles of New Haven purchased from Thomas S. Pratt and his wife Mehitable of Southold, for $2,050 the block bounded by Jefferson, Carbon, Madison, and Eagle streets which had been conveyed by Frederick Chase in an unrecorded deed dated July 7, 1836.
    On the same day John E. Searles of Brooklyn purchased from John Jacques also of Brooklyn, for $900, the two lots which had been owned by Hallock and Case: the first was the block bounded by Washington, Eagle, Adams, and Carbon street, lots 37, 38, 39, and 40; the second was the lot bounded North by the high water mark 4 1/2 rods, East by land of Joseph Congdon 10 rods, South by Washington Street 4 1/2 rods, and West by land of Israel Fanning, which had been conveyed from Joseph H. Parish to John Jacques by deed on January 16, 1871.
    On May 18, 1872, John E. Searles of Brooklyn purchased from David Conklin for $225 a 1/2 acre lot bounded by Eagle, Adams, Carbon, and Jefferson streets. These were lots 25, 26, 27, an 28.
    The job was done. The Reverend John E. Searles, with much of the leg work done by his son, had sole control of the land once owned by Squire Chase and others north of the City Road. This obviously had been no easy take, and it is said that when an owner was hesitant in the matter of price or terms, the Reverend would ask him to unite with him in prayer.
    Incorporation of the Shelter Island Grove and Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church had taken place on May 11, 1872.

Prospect House Opens