Apr 30 2018

Mystery Foto #17 Solved: North Hempstead Town Supervisor Edwin C. Willets Driving a 1904 Buckmobile


Jeff Levy challenged you to become a history detective to figure out this weekend's Mystery Foto.

Andwers to the Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify the automobile, model and year

1904 Buckmobile 15 hp twin cylinder runabout

  • Identify the driver who served as the town supervisor of North Hempstead. When did he serve as town supervisor? Hint: His father has a major Long Island Road named after him.

Edwin Cromwell Willets (1858-1925) was the driver of the Buckmobile. Willets served two terms as North Hempstead's town supervisor from 1900 to 1903 and 1904 to 1907. Willets was the son of farmer I.U. Willets. Sections of the 1905 and 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race courses were held on I.U. Willets Road.

  • The Mystery Foto was taken on the Town Supervisor's property which later bordered on the Long Island Motor Parkway. Where was the photo taken?

The photo was taken on Edwin C. Willets' 216-acre property in Searingtown, which he inherited from his father. The Willets family sold the property in 1912 to a corporation which wanted to build a huge cemetery, When thes plans fell through, the main buildings on the property later became part of the Links Golf Club, north of the Motor Parkway and west of Shelter Rock Road.

  • Bonus: The boy and woman were both from a Long Island family that had a village named after it. Name the family.

The boy and woman were members of the Hicks family. The passenger was "Louise Fluellen, the cousin of Carrie Hicks".  The boy was "Sam Hicks".

The village of Hicksville was named after the family. The Hicks Nursery is one of the oldest family-run business on Long Isand-six generations.

Comments (11)

Congrats to Ariejan Bos (see below Bos' Bonus), Joe Oesterle, Art Kleiner (see Kleiner's Korner), Steve Lucas, Greg O., Al Velocci (my favorite co-author), Brian McCarthy and Dick Gorman for identifying town supervisor Edwin C. Willets as the driver.

Kudos to  Joe Oesterle, Greg O. and Areijan Bos of Netherlands for identifying  the 1904 Buckmobile

Super kudos to Dick Gorman who amazingly identified members of the Hicks family in the Mystery Foto.

Enjoy,

Howard Kroplick



Close-Ups

The passenger was "Louise Fluellen, the cousin of Carrie Hicks". The boy was "Sam Hicks".


The hallway of Town Hall, Town of North Hempstead

Images of the the North Hempstead town supervisors are located on the walls of a hallway at Town Hall, Manhasset, New York. A photo of Edwin C. Willets can be seen on the top row , second from the left.

Edwin C. Willets

Town Supervisor: 1900-1903 and 1904-1907

A 1909 survey of the Motor Parkway showing the southern section of the "Willet" property.


Bos' Bonus (Submitted by Ariejan Bos)

1904 Buckmobile 15 hp twin cylinder runabout.

Motor Ad- August 1904: "For Ease of Riding With a Peer."- Buckmobile Co.

Motor Ad- September 1904: Black Diamond Auotmobile Co.


Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

Edwin C. Willets (1858-1925). Source: History of Long Island by Peter Ross

The New York Times, December 27, 1925.

1873- The I.U. Willets property marked to the left of "Searingtown".


k

The I.U. Willets property-1906

1914 Motor Parkway bordered on the former I.U. Willets property. Plans to construct a cemetery on the property fell through in 1912.

1927 Links Golf Club was part of the original I.U. Willets property. The road to the north of the golf club is now I.U. Willets Road. The "I.U." was added to the road's name because it was often confused with Willis Avenue.

1939



Comments

Apr 27 2018 Joe Oesterle 9:44 PM

My guess is the 1904 Buckmobile Twin Cylinder.  The supervisor being Eugene Willis.  As Williston Park would eventually border the LIMP. 
-joe

Apr 27 2018 frank femenias 11:58 PM

Tough mystery but here goes. The vehicle year is 1900-1905. Don’t know the vehicle but it looks one of the earliest to hit the real road. Gas powered, likely air cooled, leaf spring suspension, no chain drive. I don’t see a gear selector for the driver. The rear axle is most interesting. Calling Ariejan Bos to fill the gaps.

I’ll guess it’s Eugene V. Willis behind the wheel with Mrs. Willis, Town of North Hempstead supervisor 1903-1904. Could be Willis Ave.

Apr 29 2018 Art Kleiner 12:20 PM

Identify the automobile, model and year:  Will let others wiser than I try this.

Identify the driver who served as the town supervisor of North Hempstead. When did he serve as town supervisor? Hint: His father has a mjor Long Island Road named after him.  Driver is Edwin Chromwell Willets who served from 1900-1903 and then again from 1904-1907.  During the intervening year of 1903-1904 the the Town Supervisor was Eugene V. Willis.  Edwin’s dad was Isaac Underhill Willets, of which I.U. Willets is named for.  Both are descendants of Richard Cromwell, brother of Lord Oliver Cromwell. 

The Mystery Foto was taken on the Town Supervisor’s property which later bordered on the Long Island Motor Parkway. Where was the photo taken?  Bordering on Searingtown, near today’s Links condo development which at one time had a golf course at the location accessible from the Motor Parkway.

Bonus: The boy and woman were both from a Long Island family that had a village named after it. Name the family.  First guess was the Willis family, but then found a source indicating Edwin C. Willets married Ida Albertson in 1884.  So might be the Albertson family.  They didn’t have any children, so boy may be another family member.  Then again the woman might be Aunt Bea, the boy Opie, the driver Sheriff Taylor, and the location, Mayberry. 

Apr 29 2018 Steve Lucas 10:59 PM

Not sure about this but here’s my guess: the driver is Edwin C. Willets who served two terms as North Hempstead Supervisor (1900-1903), (1904-1907). The passenger, since she appears to be dressed for mourning, could be the widow of Eugene V. Willis, who was the Supervisor from 1903 to 1904. The boy could be her son. Since Willis died early in 1904, maybe Willets was appointed to finish his term. I. U. Willets Road is named after Edwin’s father. The Willis family is remembered as the namesake of Williston Park, East Williston, and Willis Avenue. The photo may have been taken on the estate of Isaac Underhill Willets which later evolved into today’s Buckley Country Day School in North New Hyde Park. As for the car, no clue. I’ll leave that to the “Brass Era” guys.

Apr 30 2018 Greg O. 9:30 AM

-Identify the automobile, model and year
Unsure about the runabout-may try looking again later

-Identify the driver who served as the town supervisor of North Hempstead. When did he serve as town supervisor? Hint: His father has a mjor Long Island Road named after him.

Edwin C. Willets of Roslyn was supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead from 1900 to 1903 and again from 1904 to 1907.

-The Mystery Foto was taken on the Town Supervisor’s property which later bordered on the Long Island Motor Parkway. Where was the photo taken?

His Mineola farm

-Bonus: The boy and woman were both from a Long Island family that had a village named after it. Name the family.

Ida Albertson of the Albertson family

Apr 30 2018 Al Velocci 10:28 AM

The driver of the automobile is Edward Cromwell Willets. He was the Supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead 1900-1906. The woman along side him is his wife, the former Ida Albertson. The community is named after her family. The road named after his farther is I. U. Willets Rd. The photo was taken on the Willets farm which was located west of Shelter Rock Rd. The Motor Parkway right of way west of Shelter Rock Rd. was part of the Willets farm. Eleven plus acres of the farm was purchased thru the Borough Bank of Brooklyn in July of 1909 for which the Parkway paid$15,775.  Most of the Parkway’s r. o. w. between New Hyde Park Rd. and Shelter Rock Rd. came from the Willets farm.  My imagination tells me the auto is parked on what would become the Motor Parkway.

Apr 30 2018 Greg O. 5:31 PM

Update to my earlier guess:
I think I have identified the car as a very rare 1904 Buckmobile Twin Cylinder 15hp Runabout.
Founded in Utica, New York in 1903 by Albert J. Seaton, the Buckmobile Company produced a two-cylinder runabout making 15 horsepower. The body was spartan but the premiere of the car led to numerous orders. This led Seaton to try quick expansion of the company – which led to its being acquired by the Black Diamond Automobile Company in 1904. Buckmobile ceased production in 1905. Only three of the about 40 Buckmobiles ever built are known to exist

Apr 30 2018 Brian D McCarthy 5:51 PM

Hello to All!

*ID Auto/Model/Year: This should be the easy for most, but not I.

*ID Driver: Edwin C Willets, a son of Isaac U Willets ( prominent owner of farm in an area once known as Plattsdale. Situated between North Hills and Herricks. A road that was built east to west thru his property was known as Westbury Rd. This road eventually was re-named in honor of him, I U Willets Rd. ) Edwin served as North Hempstead Supervisor from 1900 thru 1903, and again 1904 thru 1907.

*ID Foto Location: Isaac U Willets passed away in 1899, but his land was owned by the Willets family until 1912. I believe this foto was captured within I. U. Willets property prior to 1912. The LIMP was pretty much situated at the southern border of this property ( section of LIMP between Shelter Rock Rd and Old Courthouse Rd )

*Bonus:  This is my best guess for the family name of the woman and boy in the foto….Albertson. I came across an ” Mrs. J. A. Albertson ” in a 10/9/1897 newspaper article ( Queens County Review ). And not too far to the northeast of I. U. Willets property, there was adjoining properties of ” Edwin C Willets ” and “Silas Albertson” recorded on a 1906 E. Belcher Hyde Map. Needless to say, Albertson is a hamlet ( a loose term for a village? ). If I’m correct, then the Willets and Albertson families were friends, etc.

Apr 30 2018 Dick Gorman 7:47 PM

Mystery Foto #17….Can’t identify the auto. Research was fruitless. But the driver who also was town supervisor of North Hempstead was, I believe, Edwin C. Willets. He served in that post from 1900 to 1907.  Edwin’s father was I. U. Willets, and his name was given to the road of the same name. Don’t know where photo was taken.The boy and the woman were, I believe, from the Hicks family and Hicksville was named for that family. These were tough questions, for me at least. Will this have any effect on my final grade?

,

Apr 30 2018 Tim Ivers 8:55 PM

Eugene V. Willis was town supervisor in 1903.
His father was Valentine Willis (Valentine Lane)
Photo taken in Williston Park
East Williston derived its name from family

Apr 30 2018 Howard Kroplick 9:48 PM

Ariejan Bos:

Nice photo! Below my solution. Added some documentation.

The rest of the day we’ll have to celebrate our King’s birthday. Tomorrow by the way a 120 years Paris-Amsterdam memorial run will pass the town of Nijmegen, with one participant being an 1899 Amédée Bollée. Amazing, isn’t it? Two links:

https://www.prewarcar.com/the-race-from-paris-to-amsterdam-in-1898-part-1
https://www.prewarcar.com/preparing-the-1899-amedee-bollee-for-the-race-from-paris-to-amsterdam

Have a nice weekend.

Best wishes,
Ariejan

The car is a 1904 Buckmobile 15hp runabout. The car was produced by the Buckmobile Co. of Utica, NY and this specific model dates from after April 1904.
During the summer of the same year the company got into financial problems and merged with the Black Diamond Automobile Co., also from Utica, NY, who had never arrived beyond the experimental phase of their own car. They continued the production of this model until in 1905 the curtain fell for good.

The man at the wheel is Edwin C. Willets (Willetts?) of Roslyn, who was Town Supervisor of North Hempstead from 1900-1903 and 1904-1907. The Willet[t]s family had their property in Searingtown, just north of the LIMP.

About the the female passenger and the boy, that is too local information for me, so I have to pass on that one.

May 01 2018 Brian D McCarthy 12:54 PM

So there was a connection between the Willets and Albertson’s.

Jeff Levy:  If you don’t mind making this known, did you derive this image and information from a book or collection?

May 02 2018 Jeff Levin 8:12 AM

Thank you so much for everyone’s help! The photo has been in my collection for quite some time. I borrowed the original from a descendant of the Hicks family.

May 02 2018 Brian D McCarthy 8:16 PM

Very cool, Jeff Levin.

Just was thinking…Did ALL the original automobiles have the steering column on the right side? Something else to research, lol.

May 03 2018 Dick Gorman 9:30 AM

As an answer to Brian McCarthy’s question which reads “Did ALL the original automobiles have the steering column on the right side?”
Some yes, some no… In the very early days of the automobile the steering wheel was located in the center in most instances. Some manufactures did place the steering wheel on the right so that drivers would not hit curbs, bushes, or other obstacles.

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