We know it’s a question that has sometimes kept you awake at night: Does that water body in Aquebogue, which runs north and south of Peconic Bay Boulevard — the one they call Cases Creek — supposed to be spelled with an apostrophe or not?
You’re pretty sure there’s no apostrophe. Typically, it’s spelled ‘Cases Creek.’ But if the creek once belonged to Case, why would there be no possessive apostrophe?
To find out, we turned to 14-year Riverhead Town historian Georgette Case, who discovered the answer in a booklet called “West from the Canoe Place Mattituck to Wading River, A Study of the First and Second Aquebogue Divisions” put together by former town historian Virginia Wines in 1975.
The booklet says the creek was deeded in 1701 to Southold Town by the family of Henry Case, who died in 1664 — leaving his wife, Martha, and sons, Henry and Theophilius, around 100 acres commonly known as Cases Creek.
One passage reads: “A certain track or percell of land lying at Acquabock containing 100 acres bounded North by y’ highway or Country road-on y’ east by John Swazey – South by bay and so extending until y’ contents thereof of meadow and creek thatch lying the said Acquabock and On y’ eastside of a Creek commonly known by the name Cases Creek and Bounded by meadow of Benjamin Yongs – South by the beach or baye and on the West y’ said Creek. In Witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal this 4th day of June 1701 Witnesses, Joshua Wells, John Goldsmith, Jacob Osman acknowledged before me this 4th June 1701 Thomas Mapes, Justice.”
So we hate to break it to you, dear grammar fans, but there is no apostrophe.
Let it be known: The rules of grammar in the days of yore may not have been the same. Indeed, many rules way back when were not the same. Just look at how “baye” and “Yongs” were spelled.