Remembering Henry - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1869276

Remembering Henry

Missing from 27east’s obituary for Henry W. Moeller was mention of the importance to our marine archaeological history featuring the Revolutionary War era, so …

In addition to being a fine human being, we must remember and thank Henry Moeller (1937-2021) for his major accomplishments relating to the preservation of our history; in particular, his underwater discoveries when he was an undersea archaeologist and professor at Dowling College.

If it weren’t for Henry (“Skip”), many of us in Sag Harbor, myself included, would have missed knowing about evidence of Revolutionary War shipwrecks and old wharves lying unseen on our bay bottomland.

It was decades ago that he lectured to the Sag Harbor Historical Society following his preliminary findings from his 1999 sidescan-sonar study of waterfront bay bottom in the vicinity of Long Wharf. Unfortunately, Henry’s petitions to various officials to do further studies were rebuffed despite an editorial in the Sag Harbor Express supporting a study.

But, when in 2017, artifacts were found in the dredge spoil from the west side of Long Wharf, Henry helped identify the artifacts and give meaning to the finds dating as far back as the Revolutionary War.

Back in 1971, Henry established his reputation for preserving evidence of our early history when he discovered the keel and large wooden beams from the British warship the Culloden, wrecked in 1781 off what is now named Culloden Point in Montauk. The area is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The scene is recreated, including one of the British cannons on board, in the East Hampton Marine Museum in Amagansett, and the artifacts are collected at Stony Brook University.

More recently, he served as Southampton Town historian. Even more recently, his acclaimed book “Inventing the American Flag: How the Stars and Stripes Was Woven from Symbols” was published, earning five-star reviews.

There is so much to thank Henry for and remember.

Jean Held

Sag Harbor