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  • Writer's pictureLinda A Cowdrick

Young Love in Northport

On this day, 123 years ago in 1897, the locals of Northport, Long Island discovered that Robert B. Fox and Laura A. Wood, the son and daughter of two prominent families, had snuck off to Bridgeport to get married on December 23. Robert was 18 and Laura only 16. To be conspicuous, Robert left the previous Tuesday and then Laura followed a few days later. After they were married, Laura returned to her home, alone, where she lived with her wealthy uncle Captain James Velsor. Meanwhile, she claimed Robert went to Bridgeport, CT to prepare a home for them.

It is uncertain if the couple ever lived in Bridgeport, but if they did, it was only for a few years because by 1899 they were living with Laura's uncle back in Northport Village on Bayview Avenue. Bayview Avenue is a street that runs along the Northport Harbor. Robert was then working as an agent for the Express Company. The couple had two children by this time, Allyn W. Fox who was born in 1899 and a daughter Doris (the future Mrs. Low) who was born in 1902. Allyn became a veteran of World War I and later lived in Ozone Park, Queens with his family.

Captain and Dr. James M. Velsor was born in 1828 and died in 1912. He was a Mariner and a veteran of Civil War who lived most of his life on the Gold Coast of Long Island. He is buried in the Northport Rural Cemetery with his wife, Ann, Robert and Laura. Captain Velsor was an active member of the Jeptha Lodge of the Freemason Society.

Photo By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 4, 2019

In 1912, not too long after the death of his wife's uncle, Robert purchased the Rockville Centre Hotel on the corner of North Village Avenue and Merrick Road, one of the leading hotels on Long Island at the time. He made the purchase with partner and childhood friend, Captain Carl B. Smith. The hotel became a popular spot for 'automobile parties.' Both Robert and Carl were members of the Traveler's Protective League.

1914 photo and advert of the Rockville Centre Hotel that appeared in the Times Union.

Laura died in 1968. She remained in the home on Bayview Avenue until at least 1938, when she rented the house to the Meyer family. Laura also held a residence in Brooklyn, Hollis Queens, and also a flat on Main St above a butcher and grocery.

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