JOHN HAVENS SPELLED SUCCESS IN 1800s
John S. Havens, a successful Brookhaven Town merchant and public office holder, was probably one of the town's most influential men of the mid-and-late 1800s.
John Scudder Havens, one of five John Havens to descend from William Havens who came to Rhode Island from Wales in 1635, was town supervisor, state assemblyman, assessor, overseer of the poor, a founder of the Patchogue Bank and a successful merchant who ran a general store on West Main Street.
Born Oct. 20, 1826, the son of Colonel John Havens and Eliza Ketcham, daughter of Scudder Ketcham of Huntington, young John spend his early years on his father's 600-acre farm in East Moriches*. He was educated in local schools finishing at the Bellport Academy.
In 1845, at 19, he took a teaching post in a Farmingville school. The following year he took a similar position in Middle Island
Two years as headmaster was enough for Havens, however, and in 1847 he embarked on a career that would put him in the midst of the commercial world and lead the way for a successful political life.
Accepting a position as clerk at Walter Howell's general store, West Main St., Patchogue, John S. Havens got his initiation into the business world and it seemed to his liking.
Two years after his arrival, the storefront shingle read Howell & Havens, a partnership that lasted six years. Later Havens bought out Howell and took his brother Charles in as clerk.
J.S. & C.W. Havens, as the sign out front read, operated their shop on "strict integrity and straightforward dealings" a history of Long Island written by William Pelletreau reports, and they prospered together for many years until the store was sold to James C. Shand in the early l9OOs.
But, the general store was not John Havens' only interest.
During his business career he owned a paper mill, a fish factory, and part of the old Patchogue Lace Mill.
On the side, he practiced politics and, as history records it, John S. Havens had a flare for that, too.
He served as Brookhaven Town supervisor from 1859-1862 and again from 1878-1882, succeeding another supervisor in the family line, John Symes Havens who served from lB54 to 1856. (His brother, Charles was supervisor from 1877-1868 and 1874-1877 and John L. Havens, another relative, from 1893-1894.)
Between terms as town leader, Havens served in the New York State Assembly from 1862-1865. While a member of the Assembly he managed to reduce the valuation of Suffolk County over $2 million, a feat which earned him much adoration at home.
With his affairs well in order, John S. Havens married Mary Pelletreau, daughter of Jesse W. Pelletreau of Southampton, on June 15, 1865, when he was 39. Four children were born to the couple -- Eliza, called "Leila", Archibald Sidney, Amy, and Sarah, called "Margaret".
John Scudder Havens died in 1903 in East Moriches* on the property where he spent his early years. In 1857 he had purchased the homestead back for $6,200. His father, somewhat in debt, had sold the parcel in the early 1820s and moved to Patchogue. His children, none of whom ever married, lived and died there, the last, Sarah, at age 90 in 1965.
The old Havens house was donated to the Moriches Bay Historical Society by Robert Pelletreau of Patchogue, the only first cousin, in 1974, and has been restored as a museum.
Long Island Advance
June 3, 1976
*The text from the full-page article published in the Long Island Advance is included as written. However, FG volunteer Patrick McHeffey suggests that the 600-acre family farm was located West of Terrell River, so it was in Center Moriches, not East Moriches.
Mary Amelia Pelletreau Havens
1842–1898 (m. 1865)
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