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Otto Wells Van Tuyl 1888




Family Crest

List By Year of Birth

Jan Otten van Tuyl 1635

Isaac Van Tuyl 1681

Abraham Van Tuyl

Otto Van Tuyl

Andrew Van Tuyl

Otto William Van Tuyl

Otto William  Van Tuyl Jr.

William Thomas  Van Tuyl (adopted)

Otto Wells Van Tuyl





    Otto Wells Van Tuyl was born in Jamesport, Suffolk County, New York, on December 23, 1888. His mother, Rowena Wells, could trace her roots back to eastern Long Island’s first English settlers in the 17th century. 

On October 18, 1916, Otto married Birdina Mae Chamberlain of Belfast, Allegany County, New York, near her home in Angelica. The couple met in Greenport, New York—at the far eastern end of the North Fork of Long Island—where they remained the rest of their lives.

They had three children;

Donald Wells        November 5, 1917 –  February 7, 1986

 John Weston       December 7, 1918 – September 13, 1986

 Roderick              June 13, 1921 – December 26, 1997

    Otto and Birdina designed a home in Greenport, which was completed in 1924. (They lived in the garage in November of that year until the house was completed.)

    When Otto and Birdina met, Otto was working as a land surveyor and Birdina was a second-grade teacher. Otto began his own land surveying business in 1915 and Birdina left her teaching post when her first child was born in 1917. There were three children—all sons. Everyone had a hand in the surveying business at one time or another, including Birdina. The youngest son, Rod, joined the business fulltime in 1946, and grandson Colin joined the firm in 1975. Otto went to the office nearly every day up through 1985.

   A Family excursion to the beach.

    The couple were very active in the community. Otto was a member of the School Board, the Rotary Club, the Boy Scouts (where he earned a Silver Beaver Award), the Masonic Order, and several engineering societies. He also served as a planning and zoning consultant to the Town and for 70 years belonged to the Star Hose Volunteer Fire Department. Birdina was a long-time member of the Shakespeare Club and Town Choral Society, as well as with Eastern Star, the Methodist Choir, and local historical societies. Together the couple took part in local presentations of various musicals and theatrical plays, and, as son Rod once put it, they “proudly but humbly enjoyed gardening activities, and all and all were a pretty respected pair on the local scene.”

    After a number of years’ affiliation with the Methodist Church, Otto and Birdina were instrumental in forming a Christian Science Church in neighboring Southold, where both served as Readers and on various committees.

    Birdina died in on January 3, 1968 of “hardening of the arteries”—what we now call Alzheimer’s Disease. Otto lived a healthy life until the age of 98, marrying for a second time (Mary Alexander) in August 1970 and outliving two of his sons. He died at home on April 12, 1987.

Information: Patti Van Tuyl

Pictures: Patti Van Tuyl


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