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Bonackers: Meaning And Origin

By Judi Desiderio, Friday, November 05, 2010
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Traditionally, Bonackers referred to families in Springs, the north side of East Hampton town, who were among the early settlers of the town in the 17th and 18th century. Of recent past, however, the name has come to signify anyone who is born and raised in East Hampton. Further testament to this is the fact that the East Hampton High School mascot is none other than, you guessed it, a Bonacker. Which of course, prompts the question, what does a Bonacker look like? Well a Bonacker mascot resembles a man (or woman) wearing waders complete with suspenders carrying a clamming rake!

Puzzled about the reason for waders and clam rake? Well the answer goes back to history again (remember, the East End is truly a place of history in addition to natural beauty and charm). For hundreds of years Bonackers made their living off the sea as baymen, fishermen and farmers. Shellfish, in addition to other fruits of the sea and land, were the lifeline for existence and close to the heart and soul of Bonac culture and cuisine.

So, as is true about almost all names here on the South Fork, the origin and meaning of Bonackers are centuries old, and as all true Bonackers will attest, people here are very proud to say they are a Bonacker, right “bub”?