This week in North Fork history: Wine Country pioneer’s connection to two presidential assassinations

David Mudd on page 2 of the Feb. 6, 1992 issue of The Suffolk Times.

The following stories were excerpted from Suffolk Times issues published 5, 10, 15 and 20 years ago this week:

20 years ago …

The name Mudd is clean at last

Did you know that David Mudd, patriarch of the Mudd Vineyards family, had a personal connection to two presidential assassinations?

Former Suffolk Times scribe Ruth Jernick explained the connections in the Feb. 6, 1992 issue of The Suffolk Times.

Mr. Mudd was a “cousin way, way down the road” to Dr. Samuel Mudd, who infamously set the leg of John Wilkes Booth after he broke it jumping to the stage at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C., moments after shooting President Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. Mudd was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement with the assassination, but was later pardoned and released from prison by President Andrew Johnson. His conviction, however, has never been overturned.

Mr. Mudd’s other assassination connection stems from his career as a pilot for Eastern Airlines, where he served as first captain to David Ferrie, a man some have long said played a role in the plot to kill President John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Mudd told The Suffolk Times he believed Mr. Ferrie could have conspired to have Mr. Kennedy killed. “There’s a very strong possibility,” he said.

Postscript: Mr. Mudd died last August at age 90. Fans of the Oliver Stone film “JFK” might remember Mr. Ferrie as the character played by Joe Pesci.

5 years ago …

Hubbard, dead at 79

Deputy mayor George W. Hubbard, known around the village as Mr. Greenport, died Feb. 2, 2007, we reported in that week’s issue of The Suffolk Times.

Mr. Hubbard had served as either mayor, trustee or deputy mayor of Greenport for most of the final 40 years of his life, wrote reporters Julie Lane and Ashley Macomb.

Mr. Hubbard was born March 14, 1927 at Eastern Long Island Hospital and he graduated from Greenport High in 1945. He owned and operated the Shell Service Station in Greenport for 30 years, while also working in the County Clerk’s office.

He was first elected Greenport trustee in 1967.

A village resolution dated April 1, 1991 declared, “In the history of the Village of Greenport, no other person has served for as many years on the Village Board.”

15 years ago …

Uranium trace found in well

Suffolk County health officials are trying to determine how traces of uranium, discovered in a private well on Cox Lane north of the town landfill, reached the groundwater and why none has been found in any other well in the county, editor Tim Kelly reported in the Feb. 6 1997 issue of The Suffolk Times.

The discovery of the radioactive element did not pose a public health threat, we reported.

“We’re trying to understand what’s going on there,” a county health official said. “We don’t really know what we’ve got. This is a tough one.”

Testing unearthed no evidence the element was dumped there.

10 years ago …

A ‘legend’ retires

After 32 years teaching first, second and third grade in the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District, Margie Munch retired Feb. 1, 2002, reporter Julie Lane wrote in that week’s issue of The Suffolk Times.

“She’s an inspiration,” said principal Anne Smith of Ms. Munch, who returned to teaching after battling breast cancer.

She was celebrated at a retirement party where she was bestowed many gifts and even walked a red paper carpet set up in her honor.

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