Shelter Island church to host launch of history book

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You don't often find a book launch party in a church.

But Saturday on Shelter Island, St. Mary's Episcopal Church will play host to local historian Patricia Shillingburg, who will spend an hour talking about the church's seven stained-glass windows, and another hour about a book on the family that shaped the town's history.

"Each window has a story," she said.

She and her husband, Edward, have written a book on the Nicoll Family -- which played an important role in Shelter Island history -- and she picked the church to hold a reception because Benjamin Nicoll and his brother Matthias had a key role in building the church, then in rebuilding it after it burned down in 1892.

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Shelter Island was purchased from the Manhasset Indians in 1652 by four wealthy merchants from Barbados. Among them was Nathaniel Sylvester, who established a plantation. In 1695, William Nicoll purchased a quarter of the island that is now known as the Mashomack Preserve. William Nicoll II was the first town supervisor.

Shillingburg and her husband, will also give a talk about the Nicoll family at the Shelter Island public library on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

Saturday's church reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m.

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