Writings from Ralph
Hausrath, nephew of Charles Austin, to my sister Dawn Marie Austin in June
Charles Austin, the oldest of Abram sons, was the one least know to me,
(Ralph Hausrath). He married a woman named Mary who was know to me as "Aunt
Mame." Past 70 when I first became aware of him, he seemed to me to be
a very quiet man and rather reclusive. He, too, had served in the Life
Saving Service and had been a Bayman. I remember him as having a full beard.
Perhaps he had earned a service pension, I don't know.
Charles had the plot of
land closest to Montauk Highway. His site, like those of the other Austin's
on South Great Neck Road, ran westward all the way to the edge of the creek.
There, tied up to the shore, Charles had a houseboat when I was a boy.
Unlike the boats of his brother, it was a small, square-ended barge upon
which had been erected a room high enough to stand up in. This room was
not quite as long or wide as the barge itself and so allowed a bit of deck
space forward and aft and tiny walkways on each side. Inside he had it
fitted out with a kerosene stove, shelves, and a bunk and, I think he had
a small built-in ice box. When Charles wanted to go "out in the bay" as
he occasionally did in the summer, he would get one of his brothers, all
of whom owned conventional power boats at the time I'm talking of, to hook
on his houseboat and tow him out to some sheltered anchorage near one of
the bay islands. Behind his houseboat he would tow his eel skiff which
he used to get about in the selected area if he wanted to eel or clam.
He might carry stores enough to last a week or two. After he had stayed
his allotted time, a brother or friend would come and tow him home. Occasional,
if Charles had dug enough clams or caught enough eels to want to market
them, he might row ashore with the eel skiff, dispose of his catch, and
row back across the bay with new stores for and extended stay on The water.
I remember the north shore of Cedar Island was on of his favorite spots.
Charles and Mary had three
children: Mabel, Charles, and Edith.
His son, known in the family as "young Charles", died in the 1920's. I've
heard that the cause was spinal meningitis. I do not remember if the son
had married or had any children of his own. I do remember that although
the son was fully grown at the time of his death, he was still living in
the home of his father and mother. Daughter Mabe married a house painter
and decorator, Josh Skidmore, and lived on Great Neck Road, Copiague until
her death in 1979. Skidmore died a year or so later while living with a
sister in Islip. Edith married and Englishman who had come to Long Island.
I believer the name was Orgil. They lived on a side street near Great Neck
Road School in Copiague. I know they had a daughter and possibly more children,
but I lost track of them sometime after World War II.
"Aunt Mame", widow of Charles
Austin, senior, died in 1952. Her house was razed shortly after her death
and the land was taken to be part of the existing shopping center, as I,
(Ralph Hausrath), understand it.
Station Gilgo, New York
Location: West end of Oak
Island; 40-37' 20"N x 73-22' 20"W
Date of Conveyence 1849
Station Built: 1853 (?)
Fate: Discontinued 1917
Station Type: 1850-Type;
rebuilt in 1887
Gilgo (#85) At station was
built at Gilgo ("west end of Oak Island") in 1853, although the date is
uncertain. In 1882, this station was referred to as the "Oak Island, west
end station" and the name change appeared the next year (effective June
1, 1883). It was extensively repaired and improved in 1888.
The first two keepers were
James Zachariah (appointed in 1853) and Ebenezer Chichester (appointed
1856); the terms of office of neither of these is known. Prior Weeks was
appointed at the age of 58 (with experience as a surfman, sailor, etc.)
on July 3, 1869, and served until his resignation effective December 1,
1877 ("or when suitable replacement can be found"). Then came Frank E.
Wicks (November 20, 1877 until October 14, 1885), William E. Austin (November
2, 1885 until his death "from disease contracted in line of duty" on January
30,1909). Israel Van Nostrand (appointed March 6, 1909 until his reassignment
to the Long Beach station on April 4, 1917).
After 1917, the station disappears
completely from the records; it was one of nine discontinued at the outbreak
of World War I.
James Zachariah was appointed
in 1853. When he left service is unknown.
Ebenezer Chichester was
appointed in 1856. Again it is unknown when he left service.
Prior Weeks was appointed
on JUL3, 1869 and left service in 1877.
Frank E. Wicks was appointed
on NOV 20, 1877 and left service on OCT 14, 1885.
William E. Austin was appointed
on NOV 2, 1885 and died in service on JAN 30, 1909.
Israel Van Nostrand was
appointed on MAR 6, 1909 and was still serving in 1915.