Long before the European colonists came the Cutchogue, an Indian tribe called the Corchaugs – from which Cutchogue gets its name – occupied the eastern end of Long Island known as the North Fork. Traces of the Corchaugs fort still remain along Down’s Creek in an area now preserved for the enjoyment and education of all North Fork residents and visitors. Cutchogue has flourished as an agricultural and business center for over 340 years and still retains much of its colonial ambiance.old house historic cutchogue
Southold Town’s seat of government was in Cutchogue for a long time before the Revolutionary War. Its Leader was Parker Wickham, who resided in the Old House on what is now the Village Green. He had large land holdings on the North Fork including Robin’s Island and a large part of what is now Riverhead. Horton, Fleet, Goldsmith, Tuthill, Case, and many other local family names have survived to the present day from the community’s founding in the 17th Century.
Cutchogue supports successful agricultural and maricultural enterprises. Cutchogue is known to have some of the most fertile soil in the world, and the famous Long Island potatoes, cauliflower, and other vegetables were grown here for centuries. Although the hundreds of acres of potatoes have shrank, a wide variety of field-fresh produce is sold at many quaint roadside farm stands. Cutchogue was also home to the first vineyard in 1973 and is still the heart of local wine making.
Over four hundred years old, Fort Corchaug is positioned on Downs Creek on the North Fork of Long Island in Southold Town. Men, women and children from England settled Southold in 1640 and the fort was old then. In July of 1997, after decades of effort, state, county and Town of Southold officials along with the Peconic Land Trust, worked out an arrangement, for over one million dollars, which preserves the Fort Corchaug site.
Although there were Indians on the North Fork of Long Island 10,000 years ago, the Corchaugs, one of thirteen tribes spread throughout Long Island, came here about 1000 B.C. They were allied with three other communities on eastern Long Island. Each of the four groups had a fort and the chiefs communicated with each other by smoke signals. Now, there is not a trace of the other forts. Only Fort Corchaug is relatively untouched. Archeologist Ralph Solecki, who first brought the site to public attention, calls it “without peer on the whole Atlantic seaboard”. Cutchogue 1909
Most of the settlers who put down roots in Cutchogue after its founding about 1667 were second-generation immigrants. Newly cleared lands outside the original settlement of Southold were tax-exempt for at least three years, and homesteaders figured it might take the tax man longer than that to catch up on the backlog. So a new generation of farmers settled in to what became Cutchogue, fencing in the lands that in some cases would remain in the same family for generations.