Walk through History with Farmer & Revolutionary War Spy, Abraham Woodhull

In this program you will meet farmer and Revolutionary War Spy Chief Abraham Woodhull, portrayed by historian Beverly Tyler, who leads students, parents and teachers on a walk around the village green and through the nature sanctuary that was once Woodhull’s farm. With two classes or more the walking tour will be split between Abraham Woodhull and Anna Smith Strong, portraited by Donna Smith, Three Village Historical Society Education Director.

Students are introduced to the woods, fields, ponds and bays that tell the story of Long Island’s colonization and settlement preceding the Revolution and creation of the new nation.

The walking tour part of the field trip includes visiting the Woodhull homestead on Little Bay, Frank Melville Memorial Park & Sanctuary (originally the Woodhull Farm), Little Bay, the high and low marsh at Conscience Bay, Setauket Grist Mill, Patriot’s Rock, Setauket Village Green, and the Setauket Presbyterian Church graveyard where Abraham Woodhull (1750-1826) is buried .

In the Caroline Church of Brookhaven, where the field trip begins, students will learn how Benjamin Tallmadge, head of General Washington’s Secret Service, set up an undercover message system. At the end of the walking tour, if time permits, students will compare, contrast and decode spy letters, learn secret codes and compose their own spy messages.


In case of inclement weather, half of the students will  compare, contrast and decode spy letters, learn secret codes and compose their own spy messages while the other half takes part in a PowerPoint interactive presentation on General Washington, Long Island and the Setauket-based Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War. After 45 to 55 minutes the groups switch.  If time permits and the weather improves, a walk to the grave of spy leader Abraham Woodhull will conclude the field trip. 

The length of this program, designed for fourth grade and up. The length of this program is 2.5 hours, but can be adjusted to fit the needs of your class. 

Field trips for students, parents and teachers are arranges by calling the Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Road, Setauket, NY 11733. Tel: 631-751-3730. E-mail: info@tvhs.org.  You may contact historian Beverly Tyler directly at Tel: 631-928-9534. E-mail: BevTyler@aol.com

Field trips beging at the Caroline Church parking lot at the Carriage Shed along Dyke Road at the Setauket Village Green. The address of the Caroline Church is 1 Dyke Road, Setauket, NY 11733.  The cost of the program is set by the Three Village Historical Society. For the 2017-18 school year the cost of the program is $8.00 per student. Teacher(s) and chaperones are free.  When the field trip is booked and confirmed each class will receive a copy of the book SPIES! How a Group of Long Island Patriots Helped George Washington Win the Revolution. It is required that the 15-page book be read and discussed with the students PRIOR to the field trip. 

NOTES: Long Island was under British control during the Revolutionary War. Patriots, operating under spy chief Abraham Woodhull, spied on British troops and carried vital information to General Washington. Based on the use of the student workbook, Discover Setauket, Brookhaven's Original Settlement, this program includes the spies' own words from letters written during the war. 

Abraham Woodhull (left) and Caleb Brewster (right) at Devil's Rock at the entrance to Conscience Bay, Setauket. Here is pictured one of the possible locations where Brewster hid his whaleboat and crew while waiting for the spy messages from Woodhull.


Photograph of one of the murals by artist Vance locke in the Setauket School Auditorium. Used by permission of the Three Village Central School District. 

Below are some of the locations you will visit on your walk through history. Here you will learn about the various trees that were used to construct everything from houses and barns to ships and tools. You will visit the bays which native American and colonial farmers used to feed themselves and to supply their villages and farms with the necessities of daily life. You will visit the site of Woodhull's home and see how Abraham Woodhull, Benjamin Tallmadge, Austin Roe, Caleb Brewster and Anna Smith Strong communicated in secret.