When I first started in on this project, Susan Silvestri, a very old friend, suggested that I check into The Register Of Deeds. This proved to be more than sage advice. At that time I was still guessing about so much as to when the Knapp Mansion was built, 1870's 1880's, 1890's, 1903 etc. (as kids we always thought it was 100's of Years Old ) who owned the land first, and the BIG ?? ...Who gave it to St. Judes RC Church? (answer NOBODY....but they got it for a song) Even St. Jude's did not know the correct answer, and coupled with that, they were extremely reluctant to discuss anything concerning the Knapp Mansion with me. All through those frustrating months Susan kept saying "Check The Register Of Deeds You Don't Need The Church To Tell You...."
I agreed and said it was on my list of things to do, but that it would also have to wait till I could get up to the Island. She knows so much about that kind of stuff because she performs it as part of her job as a CPA and Para Legal. On one of her family visits home to Long Island a few months ago , she checked into the Suffolk County office to scope it out for me and I can't thank her enough. She figured out their system, pulled a few Knapp Deeds for me and gave me a list of a bunch more that were in there. But most importantly she gave me detailed instructions on how to do the research that is very time consuming and would of been a TOTAL DISASTER if I tried to figure it out. It is nothing like going into a library and looking for a book, though there a thousands of HUGE BOOKS in there. In the three days I spent there I pulled and copied 156 legal documents of property in Suffolk County belonging to Joseph Palmer, Joseph Fairchild and Claire Antoinette Knapp. A lot of land, and a lot of quarters ($39.00) into three of the crummiest, sorry Xerox copy machines I have used since I can remember. There are probably 75 more Knapp Deeds that I didn't get time to copy....but it didn't matter cause I found what I was looking for. Thanks To Sue....."crackerjack investigator"