This week in North Fork history: Greenport man lost with Titanic

The ill-fated Titanic ship.

The following stories were excerpted from Suffolk Times issues published between 20 and 100 years ago this week:

100 years ago

Greenport man lost with Titanic

Many hearts were saddened, and many eyes were filled with tears in this good old seaport town this week, owing to the terrible catastrophe that befell the giant steamship Titanic, which went to the bottom of the ocean and carried with her about 1,565 souls, one of whom was from Greenport. That was the lead on a front page story in the April 20, 1912 issue of The Suffolk Times.

Mr. and Mrs. James Drew of Greenport and their nephew Marshall Drew, the latter being the young son of William J. Drew, left last fall to spend the winter with Mr. Drew’s mother in England, we wrote. All went well until the return trip. Of course they wanted to come back on the biggest ship in the world, so they secured passage on the giant Titanic. So they were on the vessel when she struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland and sank in water two miles in depth, we wrote.

William J. Drew — brother of James V. Drew, who is supposed to have gone down with the ship, and father of the boy, Marshall, who is today recorded among the saved — went to New York Tuesday afternoon to see what he can learn about his missing family. Mrs. Drew is listed among those who are saved, we reported.

James Drew was one of Greenport’s best known businessmen. He was associated in the monumental works with his brother, William. The firm was known as Drew Bros. He was a member of First Baptist Church and its choir, we wrote.

Postscript: After three days of waiting in New York City, William Drew was reunited with his son and sister-in-law. Like all those aboard the Titanic, there is plenty available to read online about the Drews. Here’s some information and a photo of James Drew, who was 42 when he died. His body was never recovered. Marshall Drew would become a school teacher in New York City. He died in 1986. Lulu Drew, James’ wife, remarried two years later and settled down in Rhode Island. She died in 1970 at 92 years old, surviving her first husband 56 years.

75 years ago

Ground broken for chip factory

Work has already been started in clearing ground for a new potato chip factory on vacant land just east of C.H. Wickham’s plant on the south side of the railroad in Mattituck, we wrote in the April 15, 1937 issue of The Suffolk Times.

The kind of potato chip that will be made is on the order of the shoe-string potato, we wrote.

This product has been displayed in Macy’s, McCreery’s, Abraham & Strauss and the Pennsylvania Drug Store for some time. The plant, which will be called “Potato Industries Inc.,” will also manufacture potato salad, cream potatoes and potatoes au gratin, we wrote.

Postscript: I have an idea for a new potato chip from North Fork Potato Chips — the shoestring chip.

50 years ago

Expanded restaurant to open

The modernized Port of Egypt restaurant in Southold will official open on Saturday, April 28, we wrote in the April 13, 1962 issue of The Suffolk Times.

The enlarged and updated restaurant with a seating capacity of over 80 has an unobstructed view of Peconic Bay. Its homelike atmosphere is enhanced by old-fashioned mantle gas lighting fixtures, we wrote.

Postscript: Here’s the Port of Egypt today.

Group formed to organize scouting

A new neighborhood team has been formed in Greenport, East Marion and Orient to bring Girl Scouting to the area, we wrote in the April 13, 1962 issue of The Suffolk Times.

The neighborhood chairman is Mrs. William Schriever of Orient, we wrote. Her experience in scouting ranges from 1956, when she was a scout leader in Boston.

30 years ago

Mattituck arson cases perplex police

“It’s amazing what one match can do.”

That was a quote attributed to Richard Keogh of North Fork Community Theatre in the page one story of the April 15, 1982, issue of The Suffolk Times after the theater was damaged in a fire that week. It was the third suspected Mattituck arson of 1982, we reported.

“We have numerous suspects,” Detective Joseph Reiter told The Suffolk Times. “But to bring charges you almost have to see the match being struck.”

Postscript: Then 15 years later …

15 years ago

Arson is suspected in North Fork Housing Alliance blaze

Arson is suspected in a two-hour blaze that severely damaged a new training facility at the North Fork Housing Alliance’s South Street headquarters Friday afternoon, we wrote in the April 17, 1997, issue of The Suffolk Times. As a result, programs servicing 300 East End poor will be plunged into months of uncertainty, we wrote.

More than 75 firemen and 10 trucks battled the blaze.

“I saw the back of the building engulfed in flames,” North Fork Housing Alliance administrator Bessie Swanson told The Suffolk Times. “That building was burning.”

Because the fire was burning only on the outside of the building, arson was suspected.

Postscript: That’s not the only fire NFHA has had to deal with in Greenport.