Union Cemetery


Middle Island Union Cemetery, Queensborough Public Library

The Union Cemetery is located on the southerly side of the Middle Country Road (Jericho Turnpike) about two miles east of the Village of Coram in the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York. Included within its bounds is the Old Burying Ground of the Middletown (now Middle Island) Presbyterian Parish. There is a map of the Cemetery filed in the Suffolk County Clerks Office at Riverhead., Long Island. An amended map, made from a survey by N. H. Jones was filed by Lester H. Davis 4 Oct. 1876 as Map No. 294. This amended map bears a statement, dated 25 Aprils 1873., signed by Lester H. Davis, Chairman, as follows:

  • "According to the first map of the Cemetery 94 lots were laid out of which not half that number were surveyed and there were more roads than necessary and no lots had been sold. above 28 except one in the northwest corner adjoining the Country Road and it was therefore resolved by all the lot owners present at the annual election held April 25, 1873 that said first map be revoked in all its roads and lots above No. 28 and that, the Trustees out and clear and survey the' same into lots containing about 500 feet each and file a map of the same and that the price of lots in future be $10."
  • The area of the Cemetery, its boundary lines, and the site of the Old Burying Ground are not altered on the amended map and the oldest stones are to be found there.

    The Cemetery originally was a part of a large farm belonging to Stephen Swezey, of Brookhaven, who, on 14 July 1747 sold the same to his son James. James died prior to 23 Feb. 1786 devising all his property on the southerly side of the Country Road, together with ten acres on the northerly side of said Road (on part of which the Parsonage now stands) to his son Isaac. Isaac died prior to 21 May 1807 devising all his lands to his son Isaac, Jr. On 16 May 1809 the tract was conveyed by John Van Brunt to Abel Wooster for $1650. reserving a piece of ground 7 rods square for a public burying ground. On 15 May 1810 said Wooster and his wife Huldah sold the same to Joshua Swezey, who, on 16 Oct. 1839 sold to William Phillips, Mordecai Homan and Apollos A. Mills the ten foot strip along the west bounds of the Old Burying Ground, the same to be used for burial purposes, Joshua Swezey died 10 Feb. 1843 devising all his lands to his two sons Joshua and Daniel who thereupon divided the lands, the tract comprising the Cemetery falling to said son Joshua. On 14 Oct. 1843 he sold IHorace G. Randall the second ten foot strip along the Old Burying Ground, it likewise to be used for burial purposes. On 3 Aug. 1847 said Joshua sold the entire tract to his son Edward A. Swezey reserving to himself for burial purposes, a forty foot strip along the Old Burying Ground. On April 18, 1868 said Edward A, Swezey and Mary C., his wife, sold that part of the present Cemetery tract west of the 32 foot strip shown on the map to the Trustees of the Union Cemetery Association of Middletown (Middle Island) in the Town of Brookhaven. excepted from this deed were the plots occupied by the Parish Shed, the Old Burying Ground, the two ten foot strips and the forty foot strip. The consideration for this sale was $177.28. On the same day the Trustees of the Presbyterian Church of the Parish of Middletown bought the shed ground. On the death of Edward A, Swezey 0n May 30, 1890 his daughters Eliza A. Randall and Alda J. C. Woodruff inherited his estate. On 6 Dec. 1894 they sold the 32 foot strip to the Trustees of the Cemetery Association, thus completing its title to the present tract.

    The Middletown Presbyterian Church was organized in November 1767. The present building was built in 1837; the tower was added in 1863 and the bell hung in 1670. The land on which the Church stands was purchased on 19 Feb. 1766 from Selah Brown, of Brookhaven, for 16 shillings and the "goodwill which he has to th6 freeholders of the Middle of the 1sland, and their successors." This deed contained a recital that the land was to be used for "building a Presbyterian Meeting House and for no other purpose." The people began to gather 'he timber on 10 Feb. 1766 and "on the 19th. of the same month they Raised the House." The deed is witnessed by William Brewster, Caleb Mapes Hulse, David Mulford and John Leek. It is recorded in Book "C", pages 328-329, Brookhaven Town Records. The Old Burying Ground on the opposite side of the road was probably opened in 1767. There are decided evidences of many old graves although the stones marking them have long since disappeared.

    The early Pastors of the Church were:

    David Rose from 1766 to his death 1 Jan. 1799
    H. Chapman 1800 - 1801
    Herman Daggett 1801 - 1807
    Ezra King 1610 - 1844
    James S. Evans 1844 - 1850
    Winthrop Bailey 1850 - 1852
    Francis T. Drake 1854 - l862
    Charles Sturges 1863 - 1872
    John Woodruff 1872 - 1877
    Frederick E. Allen 1878 - 1882

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