Heading to Jones Beach this summer? Bet you didn’t know it was named after a pirate!
That is but one of the highlights that John Hanc, writer of “Jones Beach: An Illustrated History,” will be talking about Thursday during his lecture at Patchogue-Medford Library at 7 p.m.
Hanc, a longtime contributor to Newsday and associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology, will tell the story of Major Thomas Jones, the namesake of the beach, as well as going over the history of the landmark which dates all the way back to the 1600s.
“It’s amazing they haven’t done a movie about him,” Hanc said, noting that Jones lived a bizarre life during the late 1600s until his death in 1713 under mysterious circumstances.
Ever the opportunist, Jones established a whaling station business which stayed in his family for decades — a big industry during 17th century Long Island.
“Two successive generations, his son and his grandson, kept the beach going as a profitable enterprise for whaling,” Hanc said.
The business ended when his grandson, a prominent loyalist favoring British rule during the Revolutionary War, left the country for England after America won its independence. The beach itself became named after the family’s whaling station, the latter of which had been there for nearly a century.
This very abridged summary is just the start of the history of Jones Beach, which Hanc will be taking a deeper dive into in Meeting Room A&B of the library at the event, which is co-sponsored by the Greater Patchogue Historical Society.
The event is free, does not require registration and Hanc’s book will be available for sale as well as for the author to sign.
Hanc’s book is also available to borrow from Patchogue-Medford Library, available in both the Long Island room and the non-fiction area.