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A scene from the 2020 graveyard tour.

If you like a dose of history with your Halloween fun, there’s a spooky treat in store in Mattituck this weekend.

This Saturday, Oct. 16, the third annual Mattituck Presbyterian Church Historical Graveyard Tour will be held in collaboration with the North Fork Community Theatre (12700 Main Road), Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society and Museums and the church’s Graveyard Restoration Committee. 

The tour will take guests from the steps of the North Fork Community Theatre, through the adjoining graveyard and end at the Mattituck Presbyterian Church. North Fork Community Theatre actors will portray various figures from North Fork history who are buried in the graveyard, including members of the Wickham family that were murdered in 1854.

“The Wickham murders, of course, is a very famous story,” said Mary Motto Kalich of the North Fork Community Theatre. “We play that as the crescendo of the tour.”

All of the stories told along the tour are historically accurate and have been heavily researched by Mark MacNish, Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society and Museums collections manager and curator. 

“We’d done a series of lectures [at the society] and I asked the Graveyard Committee to do one and I saw that they were having trouble fundraising and at the same time I learned about a graveyard tour elsewhere,” MacNish said. 

MacNish found a wealth of information in A History of Mattituck, Long Island, N.Y. by Rev. Charles E. Craven, published in 1906.

Mark MacNish will end the tour with an explanation of some spooky Victorian mourning practices. (Credit: Courtesy Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society and Museums)

“Rev. Craven wrote the consummate history of Mattituck and outlined the history of the people in that graveyard,” said MacNish. He also used Southold Town historian Amy Folk’s book Murder on Long Island to flesh out the details of the Wickham family murders.

New to the tour this year is a segment on Mary Reeve, a woman from the 1700s who lost three children in a short amount of time.

“We told her story and how she’s connected to the Reeve [family],” said MacNish, referring to the Mattituck-based family that dates back hundreds of years. “It’s through her lineage that most of the people [from Mattituck] can trace their way back and are almost all related to her.”

MacNish felt it was important to tell Mary Reeve’s story, especially since very little was recorded about women from that time period unless they were famous or made a massive historical impact.

Kalich emphasized that although the tour takes place in a graveyard and tells some dark stories, it’s not meant to frighten and is family friendly. Proceeds from the event benefit all three organizations. 

For more information and tickets, visit the North Fork Community Theatre’s website.