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In 1791, the property on the corner of Waverly Avenue and West Main Street was purchased by a group of Patchogue area residents to be used for a church building.  The resulting structure was shared by the Baptists, Congregationalists, Episcopal Methodist (later referred to as Methodist) and Presbyterians.  A burying ground was created behind that structure and was often referred to as Union Cemetery, then Patchogue Cemetery and after the 1850’s as The Old Patchogue Cemetery.  There are an unknown number of burials and church records have not survived time.  The oldest headstones date to 1798 but there were certainly burials done before that date.


It is not known exactly when the Methodist Episcopal (Methodist) section was opened or where exactly the boundaries are as there a no known maps of the area.  Burials in this area date from the mid 1800’s to the early to mid 1900’s.


The Gerard Cemetery dates to 1900, established by Wilmot Gerard, and was a privately-run cemetery with burials as recently as the 1980’s.  There is map of this portion of the Waverly Avenue property, but the plots do not necessarily have corresponding names or other information on persons buried in designated locations.


Rice Family Cemetery and Lakeview Cemeter lie to the east of the Waverly Avenue burials and are the property of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese.  Rice Cemetery was created in 1871 by Rachel Rice as a private cemetery. The Rice Family Plot is nearest to Main Street and the rest of the cemetery meets The Union Cemetery’s far south eastern edge.  This section contains the burial of an early founder of St. Paul’s, as well as the only crypt on the property containing the Edwards Family. The Rice Cemetery was willed to St. Paul’s and the Episcopal Diocese in 1902.  Burials in this area date from 1871 to 1972.


Lakeview Cemetery was created in 1878 by sisters Augusta Smith Weeks and Ruth Newey Smith. 

This was a private cemetery until the property was willed to St. Paul’s and the Episcopal Diocese in 1909.  There were exceptions to the will which excluded the Smith Family plot, the Smith Genealogical Monument and the Monument to Remembrance.  This is considered to be an active cemetery with the most recent burial in 2018.  


The Waverly Avenue cemeteries consisting of Union, Methodist, and Gerard were deemed abandoned and care of this area is legally with the Town of Brookhaven.  Over time, there have been several concerted efforts to document, map and record the stones and burials.  This would include several attempts at identifying Veterans buried within all sections of these properties.

Many headstones on these properties have been lost to neglect over the years; some to subsidence and gravity, some to natural aging of stone, some to vandalism.  The Friends of The Lakeview Cemeteries endeavors repair, replace and preserve as many of these historic headstones as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why are there so many cemeteries in this area?
    The first church in Patchogue, The Union Church, stood at the northeast corner of Waverly Avenue and West Main Street from 1791 to 1840. As was the custom, a burying ground was established behind it. The Old Episcopal (Methodist), Rice, Lakeview and Gerard Cemeteries were established later, in the mid to late 1800’s.
  • How many people are buried here?
    Though early records are scarce, it is estimated that upwards of 1,000 people are buried in these cemeteries.
  • Why are there so few headstones now?
    There are many reasons so many headstones have been lost. Early graves may not have had markers or they may have been made of wood that rotted away. Some stones may have eroded and broken. Some are victims of gravity and have fallen over due to subsidence of the ground over the coffin. Some have become victims of vandalism and theft. Friends of Lakeview Cemeteries is working to preserve and restore what we can so that no others are lost to history.
  • How do I find a headstone I am interested in?
    There are few accurate maps of any of the cemeteries here and while Find a Grave is a valuable resource, it is not always up to date. Our Headstone and History Chairperson can assist you with more accurate, up to date information. You can contact them at
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