Old Roads of Brookhaven Town

Footnotes to Long Island History


JUNE 30 1949


Thomas R. Bayles

       The early trustees and the people of the Brookhaven town were active in protecting the rights of the public in the highways. In 1701 the trustees called upon the people to notify the town clerk of any encroachments. As a stimulus to the surveyors of highways to exercise vigilance in the discharge of their duties, the town meeting in 1705 voted that they should be allowed three shillings an acre for all the land they could find encroached upon by the inhabitants adjoining the highways.

       At a meeting of the trustees in 1704 it was decided that the residents should engage in the work of clearing the highways, according to the orders given by Thomas Helme, one of the commissioners of the county. for laying out highways. The people of the town were to work according to their assessments in the county rate, a day's work for every 50 pounds in the county rate. The following year the town ordered that men should be sent four days a year to clear the commons and repair the highways. In August of that year men went out to clear the country road. One gang went east to "Horn Tavern" and the other west on the Smithtown line. In 1707 it was ordered that every freeholder should work two days in clearing the commons and highways of brush and under growth.

       The oldest road of any great length opened in this town is that running from Setauket in a south easterly direction through Coram to Fireplace (Old Town Road). It was opened soon after the town was settled and was the main thoroughfare  of travel from the town capitol at Setauket to the settlement at Mastic and the meadows. For many years it was used more than any long road in the town.

       Roads were also opened at an early date from Setauket and East  to Wading River and west to Smithtown. The Old Country Road (now the Middle Country road) was probably broken through shortly before 1700 and the roads parallel to it on the north and south side were opened shortly after.

       A road from Old Man's (Mt. Sinai) to South was laid out in 1728 and another from Old Man's to Wading River at the same time. Some of the roads laid out in the late 1700's include: the Horseblock, running from South Haven to Stony Brook on a northwesterly course. The "Sill's" road from Bellport to Swezey's Mill in Yaphank; a road southerly from Coram to Patchogue; another from Halsey's manor and Brookfield southwest to Fireplace Mills; the Wading River Hollow road from Woodville to Middle Island; a road from Yaphank to Moriches, another running on a southeasterly course from Miller's Place to Middle Island; then following the left bank of the Connecticut river to Mastic; the Granny Road running from a point south of Middle Island westerly to a junction with the Horseblock; one from Stony Brook southerly to Ronkonkoma Pond; and the Crystal Brook Hollow road from the west part of Old Mans to Coram in a southerly direction. The road from Coram to Drown Meadow  (Port Jefferson ) was laid out in August 1790.

      "The commissioners of highways in 1830 divided the town into 40 road districts.

       At a meeting of the trustees in march 1712, the following highways were ordered laid out. "Laide oute at ye old man's between Mr. Helmes Land & Richard Miller a highway four Rod wide to ye plains.

       Between John Roberson's land and Samuel Dayton's lande to ye old mans beach a highway laid oute tu rod wide, a swinging gate alowed." 

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