photo: "The Illustrated History Of The Moriches Bay Area"

by Van & Mary Field



Late last year I had a very nice e mail exchange with a gentleman about the Knapp Aero File pages. His interest in early aviation ran deep for he is none other than the young man in the pic. Jacque Chapman soloed when he was 11 years old!! Flew that plane from "Frog" Chapman's (his father) field in East Moriches to Westhampton and back. Not long after that according to Van Field ,who is a long time friend of Jacque's (he flew with him) and a semi regular e mail correspondent of mine, Congress passed a law making the minimum age for a pilots license 16.

Jacque is now 83 years young and lives in Connecticut. Although he left the Moriches area in 1941, his connections to the many things, I am studying and interested in run deep. Jacque told me he recalls "SPENDING MANY COLD DAYS DUCK HUNTING ON THE KNAPP ESTATE WITH HIS FATHER IN LAW ROBERT SMITH" Jacque's father in law was one half of the contracting firm Barber & Smith in Moriches. They did concrete work for the Knapps and Jacque mentioned he was going to speak to his brother in law who also worked with his father on the estate. Jacque underwent hip replacement in January of 2004 and through Van, I hear he's doing well and hope he will write back soon. BTW Jacque's cousin was outboard racer Nick Chapman who's outboard shop at Captain Andy's in Mastic Beach was my summer days hangout in 1961

Ahhh it is a small world but I wouldn't want to paint it ...not even with Masury Paint ...which as you may or may not know is "GOOD PAINT"... but more on the Masury's and Moriches to come ....



And speaking of Moriches & Fields.... air and otherwise.... Dr. Van Field taught electronics next door to my auto mechanics class at the BOCES vocational school on Station Road in Bellport in the 1960's. We used to work on his big HEMI 1950's Chrysler there. Van has recently reprinted the book "Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area " that he and his wife Mary put out about 20 some years back. The Fields are life long residents of the Moriches area and have been the Historians for it for many years. I initially saw this book on my first trip into the Moriches Library in 2001 when I was just starting this project. As I have learned more and more about the inter relationship of the people and towns of Moriches area to the Mastic area, with many of the estate workers coming from Moriches, this book has become a valuable asset to my studies. Not to mention its plain enjoyable, because Moriches figured strongly into my childhood also. My uncle lived there, my sister graduated from high school and worked there at the phone company switchboard. My mother worked there as a cook for the St John's convent and I worked there after school at the Hill's supermarket in 1962. I saw first run movies like 20000 Leagues Under The Sea in Center Moriches. Through this book I learned that the movie theatre I was sitting in 1954, was none other than Senix Hall built in 1884 and it was moved quite a distance from Main St. over to Railroad Ave! No easy task with logs and horses. The "BIG MO" on the books cover was located at the corner of Main St & Railroad Ave. The movie house wasn't moved there yet, but that house behind "The Mo" became telephone company my sister worked in.




Though not readily available in bookstores, I'm sure if you write to Van, he will be happy to fix you up with one. It has 288 Pages, some valuable first person accounts, and Umpteen Hundred High Voltage Photos! going way back into the 19th century. You can contact Van