Some of the most treasured places in a community are its places of worship. In some cases, they have for centuries served as spiritual centers and meeting places to discuss important matters.
Here are two with long histories to get us started.
Old South Haven Church
329 S. Country Road, Brookhaven
While on the outskirts of our coverage area, the Old South Haven Church has deep roots with people from Shirley on east in Brookhaven. The church was organized in about 1717, according to its website, with the first building constructed in 1740.
The church was originally located near the southwest side of the Carmans River in Bellport and attended by Revolutionary War notables Gen. William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Col. Nathaniel Woodhull and Judge William Smith, Lord of the Manor of St. George.
In 1828, it was replaced by the present “meeting house,” with some evidence suggesting that that timbers from a prior building were used in the new one. The structure was moved to its current location in 1960 in Brookhaven hamlet.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and cemetery
244 E. Main St., Yaphank
The church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1853 on land formerly owned by James Huggins Weeks, a Long Island Rail Road president between 1847 and 1850. It was created to resemble The Old Grace Church in Massapequa.
Aside from extension on the east side of the church was added later on, it remains largely unchanged, according to the church’s website.
The cemetery behind it includes many prominent Yaphank residents, including the Weeks and Hawkins families.
Susan Maria Weeks, or Susy, was the first to be buried there. In fact, Susy died in 1850, and her family moved her coffin ”just back of the ground assigned to the church and erected the headstone,” based on a diary by her brother, William Jones Weeks, according to “Little Susy’s Church, A History of St. Andrew’s Church (Episcopal), Yaphank, New York, 1852 to 2003,” by Richard C. Chapin.
“I had the following inscription placed upon the stone,” the diary states:
Susan Maria Weeks
child of W. J. and Mary C. Weeks
Died Nov. 29th 1850 Aged 23 mos.
“Our Treasure is in Heaven”
We’ll be adding more stories about historical houses of faith, so check back.