In Memoriam – Matthew Morgan – Jan 5, 1927 – May 4, 2020

 

Matt on the Great South Bay

Matt on board the Lauren Kristy, a paddle wheel boat on the Great South Bay, Long Island at one of his friend’s wedding anniversary parties.

 

It is with sadness that I announce the passing of Matthew Morgan on Monday, May 4, 2020. He was 93. He is survived by his wife, Rosalinda Morgan, and their two sons, Matthew R. Morgan and Alexander R. Morgan, and a daughter by his first marriage, Marianna Paolini, and three grandchildren, Nina Paolini, Beth Paolini, and Claire Paolini.

 

Matt was born in New York City to Robert W. Morgan and Carol Kobbé Morgan, daughter of Gustave Kobbé, an opera critic for the New York Herald Tribune and author of Kobbé Opera Book. He was named after his great uncle, Matthew Morgan, first minister to Russia. He grew up on the Long Island South Shore, in East Islip, NY. After he married the second time, he moved to the Long Island North Shore, in Oyster Bay, NY.

 

At age 8, he went to boarding school at Malcolm Gordon School in Garrison, NY, and then to prep school at Storm King School in Cornwall on Hudson, NY. Upon high school graduation, he enlisted with the U.S. Navy and served on U.S.S. Fiske for three years. After the war, he went to Harvard University, Class of 1950, and then to New York University where he obtained his MBA in Finance.

 

He worked on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, and then the New York Stock Exchange as a floor broker. After 25 years on Wall Street, he got tired commuting and went on to become a tax accountant.

 

He loved the water and his family always had a boat when he was growing up. He loved cruising on his boat on the Great South Bay. His last boat was Alice V., a 45-ft clam boat, now on exhibit at the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, NY. He was well-traveled and loved to read. He was the only person Linda knows that read the whole series of The Story of Civilization by Will Durant, all 11 volumes. A book a year project! He usually had three books going on at the same time, one in the living room, one in the dining room, and another one in the bedroom.

 

Matt was not a rich man but possessed great wisdom, rich in character, and integrity. He was a great disciplinarian to his sons, very strict with their upbringing and their school activities, and taught the boys excellent work ethics. Linda remembers the time when in elementary school, he told the boys’ teacher that if they misbehaved in school, they were authorized to punish them. In high school, all their tests had to be countersigned by the parents and so Matt will read them and signed off with comments to take points off if their spelling and grammar were wrong. You could hear the boys said, “Dad!” “They had to follow grammar rules, not just in English class! It’s the only way, they’ll learn how to speak correctly.” At home, table manners were important at family meals. He reminded the boys all the time to sit up straight, no elbows on the table, and chew your food with your mouth shut. Matt was that kind of parent and it paid off in later years.

Alex Graduation Party

Matt with his family at Alex’s Graduation Party in their backyard

 

He was kind and enjoyed helping others, always volunteering, and very supportive of his wife in all her volunteer work, especially with the rose societies, both in New York and in Charleston. Matt took pride in their rose garden of about 200 roses in NY which was the venue of fundraising events at their Annual Ice Cream Social for 20 years in Oyster Bay. He did his part in the garden, digging the holes and Linda took over from there. He enjoyed sitting in the garden and loved the beautiful roses.

 

He was a member of the Sons of the Revolution (descendants of those who were in service during the American Revolution in 1775-1783) and an active officer of the East Norwich-Oyster Bay Kiwanis Club for years. He served at various school boards, from his boarding school and prep school to his children’s school boards. He was involved at their sons’ sports teams, having coached his sons’ winning teams. He was a tough coach but they always won and the team loved him. He was the treasurer of the interreligious group in Oyster Bay, where they had toy drives and food drives during the holidays. When we left for the south, some of their friends said, “What will Oyster Bay do without the Morgans?” of which he replied, “They’ll survive!” At Whitney Lake, after they moved south, he was the chairman of the Finance Committee of Whitney Lake during the early years. He would be more active had it not been for the fact that he was diagnosed with Acute Kidney Disease five years ago.

 

He was easy-going, had a great wit, had loads of hilarious verses which he recited in unexpected moments. He possessed a quick and dry sense of humor. He was at ease in the company of both the poor and the rich and made it easy for them to talk to him. He had that infectious laugh that everyone loved. He’ll be remembered by some people as “Lou Holtz” which he had an uncanny resemblance. He even got a picture from Lou Holtz himself last year after Lou found out about Matt being mistaken for him.

 

Never in his life did Matt thought he’d make it to his 90s, but Matt made it to 93 and had a great run. He died a few days before their 50th wedding anniversary (May 29).

 

Due to coronavirus social distancing, there will be no wake. J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Home is handling his cremation and he will be buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY at a later date.

 

He’ll be greatly missed!

 

 

 

“THIS IS THE ARMY” conclusion

Continuing the great story of “This is the Army” . . .

Pacific Paratrooper

After touring the English provinces, the company went to North Africa for two weeks and then sailed for Italy. This Is the Army was presented at the San Carlo Opera House in Naples in early April 1944. The group arrived in Rome by truck only six days after the Eternal City fell to the Allies. The musical was presented twice a day at the Royal Opera House in June.

Egypt was the next stop in early August, with This Is the Army being performed at the Cairo Opera House until the end of the month. September and October were spent in Iran. The company then traveled to the vast Pacific Theater, with New Guinea the first stop at the end of December 1944.

The company eventually landed at Guam in early August 1945, days before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. A number of island-hopping stops followed, from…

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“THIS IS THE ARMY!” part one (1)

Something for Long Islanders to remember the good old days!

Pacific Paratrooper

“This Is The Army”

The most successful and popular patriotic show of World War II and one of the most unique productions in the history of entertainment was Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army, which originally began as a Broadway musical. General George C. Marshall gave Berlin permission to stage a morale-boosting revue early in 1942 to raise money for the military.

Rehearsals were held at Camp Upton, New York, beginning in the spring of 1942 in an old Civilian Conservation Corps barracks called T-11. At one end was a large recreation room with a stone fireplace, where Berlin placed his special piano.  It was next to a latrine, which had a hot water tank. Berlin liked to lean against the tank to warm his back.

Rehearsal

Berlin completed most of the score by the end of April. The show was then auditioned on Governor’s Island in New York…

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Mort Künstler’s exhibition at The Hecksher Museum of Art

Mort Kunstler is best known for his incomparable paintings of Civil War events. However, he earned his stripes as an illustrator for pulp fiction magazines with his illustrations for men’s pulp adventure magazines published in the 50s, 60s and 70s. For the first time, more than 80 of Mort Künstler’s remarkable original artworks, some shown in magazines and books but many of them never published before, are exhibited together in The Hecksher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington, NY. The exhibition titled “Mort Künstler: The Godfather of Pulp Fiction Illustrators” are now on view until Nov. 17, 2019.

To see and hear more about the exhibition in Mort Künstler’s own words, click here for the YouTube video preview

Mort Kunstler Video.png

 

A press release from his office says:

Long before blockbuster superhero movies, those looking for an adrenaline rush turned to adventure magazines featuring exciting stories and thrilling illustrations. As the go-to-artist and illustrator, Mort Künstler’s work graced hundreds of magazine covers, stories, and books, firmly establishing his prominence in the pulp fiction genre.

Originally featured in magazines such as Stag, Male, and For Men Only in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, the illustrations brought to life headlines that screamed adventure. The images of men in combat, women in distress, and nature threatening man immediately caught the reader’s attention. “You try to pick a moment that will entice the reader and catch their attention and make them want to read the whole text,” explains Künstler. “The whole goal is to make them stop and go, ‘what’s going on here?'”

 

Mort Kunstler 2

Jet-Sled Raid on Russia’s Ice Cap Pleasure Stockade

Kunstler was so good, that there were instances when his carefully detailed illustrations actually inspired a story, rather than the other way around. During his long career, Kunstler illustrated stories for many authors, including Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, who wrote in the same magazines under the pen name of Mario Cleri. Kunstler illustrated Puzo’s The Godfather long before the movie franchise. His vision came amazingly close to how the characters eventually appeared in the movies. 

Mort Kunstler 3

The word Künstler means artist in German. His father kept the original spelling, with the umlaut over the u. His father was an amateur artist himself and at the age of 2 ½, his parents knew Mort was an artist. By age 12, he was painting murals at his grade school PS 215 in Brooklyn. After high school, his main focus was not art. He was a good athlete and sport dominated his life at Brooklyn College. He played basketball, football, a diver on the swimming team and hurdler on the track team. After three years at Brooklyn college, he transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles on basketball scholarship. But came back home after one semester because his father got sick. Mort went on to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He graduated from Pratt after seven years of college with a Certificate in Illustration but never earned a college degree. Between commissioned painting, movie posters, magazine and book covers, Mort has never been out of work. Now at the age of 92 he is still painting.

Mort works in oils, but his favorite medium for illustrating is Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache. Back in the 60s and 70s, Mort was averaging 3 magazine covers a month, along with other illustrations that went inside each magazine. Mort also illustrated for Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, Readers Digest, National Geographic, and Mad magazine. Mort also did movie posters for The Poseidon Adventure and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. His career spans over 70 years with about 5,000 paintings to his credit.

The Heckscher Museum is producing a catalogue to accompany Mort Künstler: “The Godfather” of Pulp Fiction Illustrators, and publication of a companion book on Mort’s men’s adventure art will be released during the exhibit. A traveling exhibition is being organized as well. Artist appearances and signings to be announced.

Since I’m out of town and cannot possibly go see the exhibition, I purchased the companion book which arrived the other day. What a wonderful book with pages of bright photos in vibrant colors!

For more information, visit The Hecksher Museum of Art website or Contact Kunstler Enterprises, Ltd., 800-850-1776, email at info@mortkunstler.com, or visit their website: www.mkunstler.com.

 

 

August 21, 1905 – Plunger to Oyster Bay today

A special adventure of Teddy Roosevelt!

theleansubmariner

I was working on the next 41 for Freedom article which is the USS Theodore Roosevelt SSBN 600 when I stumbled on some interesting items related to the early days of submarining.

I had earlier posted the story about Teddy’s Excellent Adventure on the Plunger in 1905 but had not included any of the newspaper articles from the time period. As I got deeper into the Library of Congress Newspaper archives, I realized that there were many different aspects to the first Presidential submarine ride that have not been covered. At least not that I am aware of.

Things that I found include the fact that the ride may not have been as serendipitous as it first appeared. Reading many more recent articles, it seemed as if the occasion was just a circumstance. The more I have read, the more it appears that there may have been more of a…

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Captain Kidd and his Buried Treasure

Capt. William Kidd

 

William Kidd, also known as Captain Kidd was born c. 1645, at Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland and died on May 23, 1701 in London. He was a 17th century British privateer and semi-legendary pirate who became celebrated in English literature as one of the most colorful outlaws of the time. Fortune seekers have hunted his buried treasure in vain throughout succeeding centuries.

It is believed Kidd went to sea as a youth. After 1689 he was sailing as a legitimate privateer for Great Britain against the French in the West Indies and off the coast of North America. In 1690 he was an established sea captain and shipowner in New York City where he owned property at various times. He was hired by Lord Bellomont, who was then governor of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire to rid the coast of enemy privateers.

In London in 1695, mainly on the recommendation of the prominent New Yorker, Robert Livingston, Captain William Kidd received a royal commission from the British King, William III, to apprehend pirates who molested the ships of the East India Company in the Red Sea and in the Indian Ocean. Kidd’s ship, the “Adventure Galley,” was fitted out at the expense of several notable Englishmen, including Richard Coote, earl of Bellomont.

Kidd sailed from Deptford on Feb. 27, 1696, called at Plymouth, and arrived at New York City on July 4 to take on more men. Avoiding the normal pirate haunts, he arrived by February 1697 at the Comoro Islands of East Africa. It was apparently some time after his arrival here that Kidd, still without having taken a prize ship, decided to turn to piracy. Under the term of a privateer’s contract, no pay for captain or crew was provided unless prizes were taken.

In August 1697 he made an unsuccessful attack on ships sailing with Mocha coffee from Yemen but later took several small ships. His refusal two months later to attack a Dutch ship nearly brought his crew to mutiny, and in an angry exchange Kidd mortally wounded his gunner, William Moore.

Kidd took his most valuable prize, the Armenian ship “Quedagh Merchant,” in January 1698 and scuttled his own unseaworthy “Adventure Galley.” When he reached Anguilla, in the West Indies in April 1699, he learned that he had been denounced as a pirate. He left the “Quedagh Merchant,” at the island of Hispaniola where the ship was possibly scuttled. In any case, it disappeared with its questionable booty and he sailed to New York City in a newly purchased ship, the “Antonio” where he tried to persuade Bellomont of his innocence.

In an attempt to avoid his mutinous crew, who had gathered in New York, Kidd sailed 120 miles around the eastern tip of Long Island, and then doubled back 90 miles along the Sound to Oyster Bay. He felt this was a safer passage than the high-trafficked narrows between Staten Island and Brooklyn.

Kidd arrived in Oyster Bay on June 9, 1699, and anchored offshore. Justice White and Doctor Cooper helped to transmit a message to Kidd’s wife in New York, without exposing Kidd and his location. This secrecy was in vain, however, for his location in Oyster Bay was revealed, and just over a month later he was imprisoned in Boston before Bellomont shipped him back to England for trial.

On May 8 and 9, 1701, he was found guilty of the murder of Moore and on five indictments of piracy. Important evidence concerning two of the piracy cases was suppressed at the trial, and some observers later questioned whether the evidence was sufficient for a guilty verdict.

Although Richard Coote, the Earl of Bellomont, had been instrumental in securing Kidd’s commission as a privateer he later turned against Kidd and other pirates, writing that the inhabitants of Long Island were “a lawless and unruly people” protecting pirates who had “settled among them.”

Kidd was hanged at Execution Dock, in Wapping, London on May 23, 1701 where his body was placed in a cage and left to rot for all to see along the River Thames and to serve as a warning against other pirates. Actually, he was hanged two times. On the first attempt, the hangman’s rope broke and Kidd survived. Although some in the crowd called for Kidd’s release, claiming the breaking of the rope was a sign from God, Kidd was hanged again minutes later, this time successfully.

Some of his treasure of gold and gems which he buried on the island was recovered from Gardiners Island at a spot now marked by a bronze plaque. John Gardiner, Lion Gardiner’s grandson, cooperated with the British in surrendering the booty, which some accounts placed at 20,000 pounds sterling, which would be worth millions of dollars in the late 20th century.

Pirate Captain William Kidd’s ship, the Adventure Galley, was anchored off Treadwells Neck in the 1690s, according to reports at the time. Proceeds from his effects and goods taken from the “Antonio” were donated to charity.

In years that followed, the name of Captain Kidd has become inseparable from the romanticized concept of the swashbuckling pirate of Western fiction. Some old maps indicate a point marked as Kidd’s Money Hole. But rumors that some of Kidd’s treasure remains buried on the beach at Fort Salonga have never been substantiated.

 

Sources:

Britannica

Long Island, People and Places, Past and Present

Hometown Long Island by Newsday

 

 

A Cannon from the Civil War ship USS R.R. Cuyler in Oyster Bay

Cannon from RR Culyer

Photo Credit – ldoysterbay.com

At Derby-Hall Bandstand in Townsend Park in Oyster Bay, there are three cannons. One of them situated at the foot of the stairs of Derby-Hall Bandstand is a circa 1861 Civil War trophy gun from the ship USS R.R. Cuyler.

On June 26, 1903, in front of the Town Clerk’s office on Audrey Avenue, President Theodore Roosevelt unveiled a Civil War parrot gun from the cruiser USS R.R. Culyer. It is a 30-pound Parrott rifle and weighs 3,510 lb.

The gun was originally given by the Navy to the Oyster Bay High School to be placed in front of the school. The school was then on the corner of Weeks Avenue and Anstice Street, but the Board of Education felt that the gun would be more appropriate in front of the Town Clerk’s office. The Town Board and the Navy both agreed with the change. The gun is still in Oyster Bay but now faces to the north in Townsend Park, a few yards away from the Town Clerk’s office.

Roosevelt’s participation in the ceremonies had been very hastily arranged at the last minute to coincide with his planned arrival in Oyster Bay, and the President was reported to have made only the briefest of remarks before he left with Mrs. Roosevelt for Sagamore Hill.

The Cuyler was a 1202-ton screw sail cruiser and had been launched in 1861 in anticipation of the upcoming hostilities. She carried several guns of the type represented here in Oyster Bay, and she was among the fastest ships in the navy.

At the outbreak of the war, the Confederate Army was planning the capture of the Naval Academy at Annapolis and one of the treasured relics of the Navy, the USS Constitution. Admiral Robley Evans, who was the commander of the Atlantic Fleet at the time Roosevelt dedicated the gun, was then a young cadet at the Naval Academy in 1861. Evans recalled in later years how federal troops from the 1st Rhode Island, the 8th Massachusetts and the 7th New York were brought in to defend the Academy from the attacks by the Confederate from Baltimore. The Commandant of Midshipmen, Christopher Raymond Rodgers suggested to the War Department that the academy be moved along with the treasured “Old Ironsides”. Robley Evans and several other midshipmen climbed into small boats and made their way to the Constitution to begin the journey. The Constitution was towed all the way from Annapolis to Newport, Rhode Island by the Cuyler. The Constitution and the Naval Academy remained at Newport for the duration of the conflict.

Source: Oyster Bay Remembered by John E. Hammond