Haying on Middle Farms Flat, Fishers Island. 1920.

The History of Farming on Fishers Island

More than a century after the establishment of a human-centric summer resort on its shores, we have all but forgotten that for most of its storied history Fishers Island was a working cattle and sheep farm with attached dairy.

The 2105 exhibition put animals back at the center of island life—a spot they steadfastly occupied for centuries following settlement in the 1640s. The rise and fall of farming on Fishers Island was chronicled under successive Winthrop, Fox, and Ferguson family owners. Also included was a special section on Fishers Island’s last major farm, the Fishers Island Oyster Farm.

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Wilderness Dairy, circa 1890s. Museum Collection.