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

But Saturday on Shelter Island, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church will host 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.

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.

Four wealthy merchants from Barbados bought Shelter Island from the Manhasset Indians in 1652. 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 town’s first supervisor.

Shillingburg and her husband will also 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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