In 1640, a group of investors from Lynn, Mass., purchased 64 square miles of land on the South Fork of Long Island from England’s King Charles I. They complained that Lynn was becoming too crowded. Four years later, Edward Howell, a former mill owner from Lynn, struck a deal to build a water mill on the southeastern shore of Mill Pond – not two miles from the fledgling settlement of Southampton – to provide the residents with an efficient means of grinding their grain into meal. In exchange, the town gave Howell 40 acres on which to build his gristmill, plus labor to lay the millstone and build the dam. It was only a matter of time before the water mill, one of the earliest landmarks on Long Island, became a community of its own.