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Brewster Burial Grounds

Every Halloween near the old Tudor Oaks development, there seemed to be more than just trick or treaters. Some said they heard footsteps,heavy breathing and whispered voices asking "Where did they take them?"Others claimed to hear a distant farm tractor. Drivers along Rocky Point Road often saw shadowy figures running from the woods. The previous owner of the now boarded up gas station complained of sounds of rocks being thrown and the gas pumps turning on and off.

Atone time, the corner of Middle Country Road and Rocky Point Road was a general store surrounded by farmland. One of the farms was located directly behind what is now the small shopping center where the Village Barbershop is located. The farm and homestead, built in 1739 was originally owned by Daniel Brewster. Daniel was one of three brothers who were among the very first settlers in Middle Island. The hamlet,which had not yet been named, was previously called Middletown and Swezeytown. Brewster worked the farm and raised his family there. He used a portion of his farm as a burial ground for his family, where it's believed 30 members of the Brewster clan were buried.

The general store and tavern were owned and operated by John Bailey during the American Revolution. Subsequent owners were Bryant Davis and Orlando Randall. Randall farmed the property aggressively – so much so that he felt the need to remove all the headstones from the Brewster cemetery! He tossed them in a pile to be used as a hedge, where they remained for decades.

In 1937, town historian Osborn Shaw located the stones. Using inscriptions and family papers, Shaw was able to ascertain that the first burial was of Daniel Brewster in 1748,making it the oldest burial ground in Middle Island. In 1940, historian Thomas Bayles collected some of the headstones and placed them in the Union Cemetery, a few miles to the west. Other headstones are still missing -- as is, of course, the exact location of the Brewster Cemetery.

Using maps and the documents provided here, we were able to locate where we think the cemetery is. In an area of woods behind two private properties we found one area that had more than 20depressions in the ground in a similar pattern.

We have attached documentation, pictures, and maps to this post. We invite our members to try and follow our journey of finding where this long lost cemetery is located. Read the description and measurements given by Shaw, then try to pinpoint it on the map with us. All of this is private property.

We will be working with the town to name the entrance road Brewster Drive, or create a memorial of some kind in the area. Until then, we wonder: will the lost souls be silent this Halloween?


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The original Brewster home. The addition to the right, with the black roof was added later. The cemetery was located 50 feet east of the end of the original building and several hundred yards north.
map
1917 Belcher Hyde map.
stones
These stones, which were lying on the ground were taken by Thomas R. Bayles and placed in the Union Cemetery.
graves
Measuring the distance given in the records took us to a place in the woods where we found a large number of depressions in the ground. It is believed that this is where the cemetery is located.

Researched by,
Jeff Davis
Oct. 2015

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