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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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