Index to Surnames Pages
part of The Old Burying Ground, set aside by the' first settlers of Southold
on Long Island consists of one acre of level ground (the highest in the
colony) laid out in sixteen neat rows running parallel from North to South
and bordering the Main Road just west of the church.
Here, in this peaceful setting, the echo from the past is to be felt most strongly. Here a small group of sturdy, self-reliant, God-fearing men left their imprint on American Life.
Nine of the stones are raised, horizontal slabs or table stones, the resting place of some of the most prominent men of the first settlers, including that of the Rev. John Youngs, organizer of the settlement in 1640.
The grave stones are for the most part either slate or brownstone covering a period from the second half of the 17th century through the 19th century. In many cases the family name is to be found in the same row side by side. There are many vacant spaces, clearly indicating a grave, but with no marker. in all probability time has destroyed the stone, for none had any footing.
The slate stones are the more interesting, for on them is a certain degree of artistry. Slate and brownstone were commonly used in early New England burying grounds and it is most likely that the stones in Southold came from the same source, and were even cut and finished there. From the varying degree of workmanship and wide range of spell.ina, there is evidence that more than one stonecutter was at work here. It is said that some of these markers came to America as ballast in sailing ships from England.
There are few stones of the first settlers still standing, and according to Dr. Whitaker's History of Southold, all the women of that generation are in unmarked graves. There are, however, some very early marked stones of Mary Youngs, Eliz. Youngs and Mary Pain; also a comparatively new stone is there dated 1658 in memory of Helena Underhill, wife of Capt. John Underhill. The epitaphs are not too numerous, and these are for the most part similar to many found in other old burying grounds in New England, with the exception of the table stones.
"The slate flakes and is easily shattered by power mowers. The brownstone seems to decay internally and lichen adhers to it on the outside, so that to keep them in a state of repair will require much money and time. In 1784 The Old Burying Ground passed into the control of the Trustees of the First Church, Congregation, or Society in Southold and so it still stands."