Hammond, John

From: Yaphank As It Is and Was
Beecher Homan



Sketches of prominent Yaphankers, minus the history of John Hammond, would not be complete. His burly figure towers prominently everywhere. Strangers don't appreciate the beauty of Yaphank until they gaze upon his elephantine form. He is acquainted with the history of nearly every citizen-old and young. Their lives good and bad lie buried in his astounding memory. He can rake over the bones of the past at will, and excite his hearers with a recital of the events connected with the career of "So-and-so."

To insure the success of any undertaking in Yaphank, he must first be interviewed, his advice obtained, and ideas consulted; then rush impetuously onward-success is yours !
If a sensation throws the village into excitement, the details of the case can earliest be obtained of him. If one be in doubt regarding " the scandal about So-and-so," he directs his steps toward Mr. Hammond's shop. That shop is famous! It is as well known in this vicinity as the Mammoth Cave is in Kentucky, or the City Hall in New York City.


Mr. Hammond was born in Yaphank, Nov. 26,1814. He is, accordingly, 60 years of age. He has a large, heavy frame, fully six feet in height-ponderous and powerful. Mr. Hammond is a pleasant companion, abounding with anecdotes and humor; and he did not dive too often into personalities, and unlock his knowledge of men and things a more agreeable neighbor and citizen could not embellish the record of' any village.

He is an old whaleman, and made a number of voyages to "Greenland's Icy Mountains," during the whaling fever. During James Weeks' administration, he was conductor on the Long Island Railroad, and during his three years of office he lost not one day. Mr. Hammond has traveled much, and has a knowledge of the great events of his day. He can recall, with remarkable exactness, what transpired a half century ago. It is interesting to listen to stories of his school days, and. the incidents familiar with the names of our most prominent men.


If John Hammond's pleasantry was not fitful and variable and his spirits governed by the clouds, and changing events, a kinder father and husband could not exist. In the language of an old villager: " He can be the most agreeable, or the most disagreeable cuss on earth." But, I would inform my readers that there are more despicable characters than John Hammond, and they exist in a land of civilization, too, and under the ring of the Gospel. His disagreeableness is an exception, and not the rule of his life. He is very blunt in the use, of language, and what slumbers in his heart he pours, out on friend and foe alike.

Mr. Hammond is a pleasant man at home, and the wants of his family are few. The attractions of home are dear to him, and he never wearies in extolling his children.

Abroad, Mr. Hammond would be taken for an old school Merchant, or a railroad king; in fact, one of the solid men of the times. At home, he, would be taken for what he is.

In the church he figures conspicuously. He is called a man of rare musical attainments, but has superiors.

Mr. Hammond is considered a partisan of the "Iron Government" -a denouncer of improvement as circumvention. Gyneocracy, Woman's Rights, and Ben. Butler would be buried in one tomb if his will was supreme.

He is termed J. P. Mills' vindicator. confidant, and champion. What Mr. Mills don't like, Mr. Hammond will not endorse. What he does like, will be attained, if combined efforts possess power. It is astonishing what vast influence Mr. Mills sways over the minds of some of our most, solid citizens! He is indirectly responsible for the present state of affairs in this place. In obeyance with his will, one hundred thousand dollars would be invested in embellishing the place, introducing new improvements and business, and trebling the census of Yaphank in one year. A dozen prospering factories would raise their smoky peaks heavenward, and send the cheering din of trade to the languid homes, in accordance with his wish.

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