Southold Town Milestone #21
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Hidden behind the guardrail, milestone #21 marks the eastern edge of what was the estate of Richard Conklin. A horse breeder, Conklin was the owner of the horse, Rarus, one of the fastest trotters of the 19th century. Born in 1867, Rarus raced and broke trotting records from 1874 to 1876. In 1878 he was sold to Robert Bonner for $36,000. Rarus died in 1892 and in 1978 was elected an immortal in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame.
Backstory and Context
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Southold Town has across the length of the town a series of granite milestones. In 1829, New York State mandated that, “It shall be the duty of the commissioners of highways of each town, to cause mile-boards or stones, to be erected, where not already erected, on the post-roads, and such other public roads in their town, so they may think proper, at the distance of one mile from each other, with such fair and legible inscriptions as they may think proper.” (New York State. The Revised Statutes of the State of New York. Albany, New York: Packard and van Benthuysen, 1829. 503)
Since Southold only had one road that ran from west to east, the stones were installed along the length of the town on what was then the King’s Highway. The miles on the stone indicated the distance between the stone and the county offices in what was then Suffolk Courthouse (Suffolk CH), now known as Riverhead.
All of the stones were originally set up on the south side or east bound side of the road. Today the majority of the stones remain where they were originally set. While the stones are interesting in themselves – after saying that the stones are made from granite and weigh about 450 pounds each – there is not a lot to say about them.
Abbott, Katharine M. Old Paths and Legends of the New England Border. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907.
Craven, Charles. A History of Mattituck, Long Island, New York. Mattituck, New York: Jedediah Clauss & Sons, a division of Amereon Ltd. , 1906, reprinted 1988.
Earle, Alice Morse. Home Life in Colonial Days. London, England: Macmillian Company, 1898.
Kasuga Folk, Amy. Milestones of Southold Town. Lecture, Southold, New York: unpublished, 2015.
"Rarus." Harnessmuseum.com. 1994. https://harnessmuseum.com/content/rarus (accessed May 4, 2020).
State, New York. The Revised Statutes of the State of New York. Albany, New York: Packard and van Benthuysen, 1829.
Tuthill, Seth H. "Southold Town Records, Liber E." Southold, New York: Unpublished, n.d.
Amy Kasuga Folk