Same Bull, Different Day

Kim posted a question on FaceBook, asking “Where were you born?”.

Today I had to call the town I grew up in so I had a nice “wander” around their web site and came up with this tidbit.  I know I’ve posted about “Whisper” before but on days when the weather is sunny, I get a bit homesick.

A local landmark, the bull is a tribute to the town’s namesake, Richard Smith, and has a rather colorful legend behind it.

The story goes that way back in the 1600’s Smith struck a deal with the local Indians that he would be given all the land he could travel around on his bull in one day. Smith supposedly picked the longest day of the year and set out on a course that now defines the boundaries of the township of Smithtown. While the story isn’t exactly true, the bull has become a famous part of Smithtown’s folklore. In fact, I’ve heard that Bread and Cheese Hollow Rd. is named for the spot where he took a little break for lunch on his legendary journey.

The Statue of Whisper the Bull
In 1903 Lawrence Smith Butler, a descendent of the Town founder Richard Smith, proposed the idea of a bronze statue to his friend sculptor Charles Cary Rumsey. Butler believed that money could be raised to pay for the project and a price of $12,000 was agreed upon for the completed work. In 1923 the casting was complete and ready for shipment. However, the funds were not raised and the statue was not shipped to Smithtown. It sat instead in front of the Brooklyn Museum for a number of years before being placed into storage.In 1941 Butler renewed his quest. He convinced the Town Board to build a concrete pedestal to hold the statue, raised the $1,750 needed to cover the cost of the move, and convinced Rumsey’s heirs to donate the statue to the Town.

First by truck, then via railroad, and then by truck once more, the fourteen-foot, five-ton bronze bull made its journey to Smithtown. On May 10, 1941, Mary Rumsey, daughter of the sculptor and wife of New York Governor W. Averill Harriman, presented the statue to the people of Smithtown.

One thought on “Same Bull, Different Day

  1. Well that’s a very interesting story. We have a bull story here too, about a bull on an island just up the road Our cities have such a lot of bulls!!!

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