Baymen’s Oral History

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  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Arlene Balcewicz
  • This oral history series explores the history and contemporary hardships faced by baymen, and their future on Long Island.

Interviewee Sort descending Collection Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation
Antje Nieuwenhuizen Baymen’s Oral History

Antje Nieuwenhuizen is a Dutch immigrant who settled in West Sayville, United States, in 1980. She came to the United States from Ijmuiden, Holland, in 1926. Antje's husband, Adrian, had already established himself in West Sayville before she made the decision to join him. They had three children before moving to West Sayville and later had a fourth child.

John Kochiss West Sayville, NY Long Island Maritime Museum
Carl Chichester Baymen’s Oral History

Carl Chichester, a seasoned mariner and fisherman, spent his entire life in and around the bay, developing a connection with its waters and its rich maritime heritage. He began his career as a commercial fisherman, casting his nets and traps to secure a variety of catches from the bay's abundant waters. Chichester also worked as a guide for market hunters, guiding them to prime hunting spots and sharing his knowledge of the bay's natural rhythms.

John Kochiss West Sayville, NY Long Island Maritime Museum
Ed Ockers Baymen’s Oral History

Edward (Ed) Ockers, known as 'Melon Belly' among his community, was born and raised in the picturesque town of West Sayville. Throughout his entire life, he remained deeply connected to his hometown. Ed earned his living as a commercial fisherman, embracing the traditions of his Dutch heritage, just like many other residents in the area. The Ockers family had a long history in West Sayville, and he had an appreciation for the local fishing industry, which had been the lifeblood of the community for generations. Ed established the South Bay Fish Company.

John Kochiss West Sayville, NY Long Island Maritime Museum
John Tucker Baymen’s Oral History

The Tucker family, like so many of the West Sayville residents of Dutch heritage, earned their living on the Great South Bay or in the associated industries. John Tucker is a resident of West Table, New York, born on August 5, 1898. He grew up in a household with his six sisters, including his sister Mildred Tucker. With the exception of an older sister, born in 1896, none of the children married. All the boys in the family went on to become baymen. They all lived together in their family home.

John Kochiss , , West Sayville, NY Long Island Maritime Museum
Walter Budd Baymen’s Oral History

Walter Budd was a prominent figure among the men who worked the Great South Bay during the early-to-mid 20th century. Born in 1909, Budd started his career in West Sayville, Long Island, at the age of fifteen. Initially engaged in farming oysters, he, like his counterparts, had to adapt to the declining fertility of the bay's oyster beds by exploring alternative livelihoods or supplemental jobs.

John Kochiss West Sayville, NY Long Island Maritime Museum