History of Coram


by Osborn Shaw, 1947

Coram is the oldest settlement in the middle of the Town of Brookhaven. The early name of the place appears to have been Wincoram and, from the few entries in the early Brookhaven records on the subject, Wincoram was the name of an Indian who lived here as late as May 1703.

The main road running through here, leads from New York to Riverhead where it divides, with one branch leading to the Towns of Southampton and East Hampton and the other or north branch leading to the Towns of Southold and Shelter Island. Southampton and Southold are the oldest settlements in New York State.

This road was known as " the Country Road," the "Kings Highway" and the "Post Road" and in later years, the "Middle Country Road." There is no authority whatever of calling it "Jericho Turnpike", here in Suffolk County. It is now a State-owned road and is the oldest road running through Suffolk, Nassau, and Queen's counties. It was used by the early colonists as the connecting link between New York and the East End settlements. By 1677 there were enough travelers using it to induce William Satterly, the first of his family in Brookhaven at Setauket, to seek a grant from the Town to keep a tavern or ordinary for such travelers. The following entry appears in the second book of the Brookhaven records under the date of Sept. 6, 1677.

"William Sattery doth ingaege to cup the ordnery at wincoram he and his haires for ever and upon condition the towne have granted and given to the said William sattery and his haires a hundred akers of uplands around wincoram and whom the saide william sattery shall sattisfy to his content in Reson."

This is the earliest evidence of anyone having lived here in Coram, except old Wincoram and other Indians.

The first record of a child being born here was Elizabeth Barnes born April 6, 1685 at 9 o'clock in the morning. She was the daughter of "Martha" Barnes who I think is the same as Matthew Barnes, one of the men who introduced offshore whaling industry from East Hampton and Southampton along the Atlantic coastline of Brookhaven.

In 1728,1731, 1735, and 1739 the whole central section of the Town was laid out into four divisions with each division subdivided into 55 lots. These lots were given to the heirs and assignes of the original town proprietors and it was from that period that Coram and Middle Island began to develop into scattered settlements.

By Dec. 10, 1749 Coram had grown enough to be called a "village of the Town" and the large families of Smiths, Hulses and Overtons made up the population, followed later by the Hammonds, Stills, Davises, Nortons, Yaringtons, Wallaces, Bishops and Daytons and probably others.

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