The Thompson House stands nestled among trees on one of Setauket’s country roads, reflecting the heritage of the community and its people. Built in 1709, this charming saltbox was the foundation of Thompson family life for generations.
A very interesting account of the life in this house is available in the shape of Doctor Samuel Thompson’s (1738-1811) Journal or diary where we learn of his work as a farmer and doctor to his neighbors as he prescribed herbs, antimonial purges, and whiskey to treat his patients.
Doctor Thompson’s activities were not confined to the farm or medicine, though, as he was also a member of the Long Island Militia during the War for Independence and served on the Committee of Safety of the Town of Brookhaven, a shadow government at the start of the American Revolution. It was during this time that he made surveys of the Setauket and Stony Brook Harbors to determine safe routes that could be used by arriving support troops should the necks of the harbors fall to the British.
After the Battle of Long Island in 1776, the militia disbanded with of its members, including Thompson, relocating across Long Island Sound to Connecticut. According to historians, it is probable that he saw service there, but there is no definite proof of this (Historical Miscellanies Relating to Long Island). Later, Thompson would again return to Long Island during the war where “his standing as a physician probably absolved him from molestation on the part of the enemy.” Doctor Thompson would later be given 1000 acres by the newly-formed government following the American victory in the war.
*Covid-19 update: The Thompson House is temporarily closed but students can participate in online field trip/distance learning experiences. Programs include: ‘Patriots and Poultices: A Doctor During the Revolutionary War – The Video Series’ and ‘Medicine: Past, Present and Future – A Virtual Experience.’ Students enter the world of Samuel Thompson – doctor, farmer, patriot. They’ll learn about medicinal herbs from Doctor Thompson’s medicinal garden, partake in interactive activities such as diagnosing diseases, making pills using mortars and pestles, and learning about the members of the Thompson household, all while avoiding being captured by the British! Programs support NY State and Common Core Standards.
In addition, you can make a reservation to tour the exterior of the home by appointment. Call 631 751-2244.