At one time there was a small cemetery in Islip Hamlet known as the Islip Village Cemetery. The earliest date that we can verify for the cemetery is 1873, on our historic map. The cemetery is also marked on our 1902 and 1915 historic maps. According to the library’s historical maps, the cemetery was located on the west side of what we now call Pardee Avenue. Using map measurements, the cemetery started approximately 500-600 feet north of Main Street and stretched about 250 feet north. The measurement north of Main Street conflicts with an undated note by former Islip Town historian Carl Starace. He notes, the Islip cemetery was approximately 100 yards north of Main Street. A few long time Islip residents believe the cemetery would begin just south of Dwight Court, along Pardee Avenue for about 250 feet. This would locate the cemetery closer to Mr. Starace’s measurement from Main Street. However, the cemetery no longer exists and we are left to wonder what happened? When and why was the cemetery moved?
Before being named Pardee Avenue, this road was unlabeled on our 1873, 1902, and 1915 historic maps. According to an article on Thursday July 13, 1967 from Your Islip Bulletin, this road was formerly known as Whitman Lane. The Whitman family owned large parcels of land on the east and west side of Whitman Lane, which is marked on the 1873 through 1915 maps. According to real estate transfers listed in the Suffolk County News, it appears Whitman Lane becomes known as Pardee Lane (now Avenue) around June 1931.
Islip Town Historian, George Munkenbeck, found some previous efforts to determine when this cemetery was moved. A letter addressed to former Town Historian, Robert Finnegan, from Oakwood Cemetery stated “we know that some of the gravestones were moved from Islip to this location, but we do not believe that any remains were moved, and we do not know when this took place.” In a note dated April 26, 1994 from then Islip Town Historian Carl Starace, replying to a person inquiring about what happened to the remains of a family member who was buried at the old cemetery located on the west side of Pardee Avenue. Mr. Starace replied, he was not sure that bodies were removed to Oakwood Cemetery. A letter to the New York State Division of Cemeteries on May 18, 1993 from Richard D. Silverthorn (former president of the Historical Society of Islip Hamlet) noted, “Our Town Hall has no records concerning this move due to a fire which destroyed some records.” In a reminiscence memoir by Edward Milton Van Sicklen covering Islip the approximate years between 1907 – 1930, he states, “it would seem no one died for such a long time in these parts that after a while, this burial ground was abandoned. The location was on Pardee Lane. A few years back, the bodies were taken up and reburied in another cemetery.” Unfortunately, his note was not dated, so his referral to a few years back, is not clear as to a date of the cemetery removal.
Documentation provided by Mr. Munkenbeck lists some names of the people who were buried at the Islip Village Cemetery:
- Brown, Theodore, son of Joseph & Mary Brown, d. 30 Sept. 1848, age 1y 3m 22d.
- Brown, David Linns, son of Joseph & Mary Brown, d. 18 Feb. 1850, age 5y 3m 25d.
- Brown, Lucy Emma, daughter of Joseph & Mary Brown, d. 22 Aug. 1854, age 3y 16d.
- Dougherty, Horace F., b. 25 May 1826, d. 7 Jan. 1875.
- Fielder, Eliza, wife of Chas. L., d. 30 June 1859, age 39y.
- Fielder, Eliza-Bell, daughter of Chas. L. & Eliza, d. 1 May 1859, age 3y 8m 2d.
- Fielder, Mary, daughter of Chas. L. & Eliza, d. 6 May 1859, age 10y 3m 7d.
- Fielder, Ralph Glyndon, son of Chas. L. & Eliza, d. 27 April 1850, age 5y 5m 15d.
- Green, Emily, wife of Caleb N Green, d. 21 Feb. 1812, age 21y.
- Howell, Ardelissa R., daughter of Joseph B. & Mary Howell, d. 4 Oct. 1859, age 8y.
- Howell, Amanda D., daughter of Joseph B. & Mary Howell, d. 24 Oct. 1859, age 5y 28d.
- Jones, Richard, d. 2 Jan 1865, age 77y.
- Jones, Jane, wife of Richard Jones, d. 24 Jan. 1855, age 50y 4m 12d.
- Saunders, Joel, d. 4 Aug. 1857, age 68y 2m 28d.
- Shepard, Joseph H., d. 7 Nov. 1868, age 65y 11m 5d.
- Shepard, Mary M.B., wife of Joseph H. Shepard, d. 22 June 1856, age 56y.
- Smith, Caroline, wife of Eliphalet Smith, d. 5 Feb. 1865, age 40y.
- Smith, Eliphalet, d. 18 Oct. 1878, age 81y 7m 21d.
- Smith, Elsey, d. 23 Sept. 1822, age 21y 3m.
- Smith, Frederick N., 1861 – 1882.
- Smith, Henry, (no date), age 85y.
- Smith, Josiah R. Smith, d. 27, Nov. 1854, age 66y 9m.
- Smith, Maria, wife of Eliphalet Smith, d. 22 May 1819.
- Smith, Mary M., wife of Josiah R. Smith, d. 8 Oct. 1834, age 40y 8m.
- Smith, Medad, d. 14 March 1825, age 27y.
- Smith, Ruth, d. 11 Aug. 1824, age 66y.
- Walter, Annie C., daughter of Thos. J. & Anne C. Walters (sic), d. 15 Oct. 1870, age 3y 8m 17d.
Located within the Smith plot at Oakwood cemetery, these names/initials are located on some of the stones. The markers may have been mostly illegible to complete names:
- Georgie and her babe . . . Little Mary Emma . . .
- G.S., E.S., E.G., R.S., J.H.S., M.M.S., & J.S.
We have a couple of possible answers to our questions. Mr. Van Sicklen’s notes covered Islip from 1907 – 1930 and the cemetery was marked on a 1915 map. It’s possible the cemetery was removed sometime during 1915 – 1930 but, we can’t say for sure since we do not know when Mr. Van Sicklen wrote his memoir. According to Mr. Van Sicklen, the cemetery was abandoned, leading us to a possible reasoning on the removal of the cemetery but, that reason isn’t clearly stated. We still can’t pinpoint when or why the cemetery was removed but, we do have some possibilities.
The unsolved mystery of the Islip Village Cemetery continues. If you have any information that may be useful in solving the mystery, please leave a comment and/or contact reference librarian Greg Klein at (631) 581-5933.
Let’s discover local history together!