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Old Burial Hill

Old Burial Hill

A Brief History: Old burial hill cemetery is located in Huntington Village on Route 25a. This old burial ground dates back to at least 1712 when the first burial took place. It was also occupied and desecrated by the British during the occupation of Huntington in the American Revolution and used as a fort Named Fort Golgotha headed and commanded by a British officer named Benjamin Thompson, also known as Count Rumphord.

The Old Presbyterian Church down the road was the original church that was built on burial hill. This church was torn down to use as firewood and to build Fort Golgotha. Some of the Tombstones are not in the same place where the people are buried. During the British occupation the British soldiers removed the tombstones to make way for their fort. Local merchants and workers made to work against their will reported the British removing these tombstones to use as flooring for tents and make shift bread ovens. The bread was known as Tombstone bread (the name tombstone bread was given by the locals due to the fact that when the British baked this bread on the torn down tombstones the inscription on the stone would burn itself into the bread crust).

Some of the cemetery residents were very important in the shaping of the American Revolution. General Gilbert Potter was an officer and patriot in the revolution and a member of the Long Island Spy Ring between Brooklyn and Setauket. The home of Gilbert Potter was on the corner where a Walbaums supermarket now stands on Wall Street in Huntington Village. Gilbert Potter was known for the patriotic saying “I am determined to live and die free”. Two other noted residents of the cemetery are the Rev. Ebenezer Prime who was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church and Count Rumford known as the man Huntington loved to hate. Rev. Prime was an enthusiastic supporter of the revolution had been the 3rd minister from 1763 to 1779 and buried in old burial hill. It is reported that when building the fort Col. Thompson made sure that Rev. Primes headstone was placed in front of his tent. This so when he departed or entered his tent so that he might have the pleasure on “Treading on the old Rebel”.

The cemetery residents also include local militia, enlisted soldiers and decorated officers from the Revolution. In March 1783, just 4 months after disassembly of the Old first church and construction of Fort Golgotha the British troops evacuated Huntington. As Count Rumphord’s last act to aggravate the Huntington towns people, Thompson burned all the wood in the area so that the inhabitants would have less wood in the area to heat their homes during the remaining months of winter. The hated fort was subsequently torn down and the Old Presbyterian Church was reconstructed in 1784 on the site where it stands today.

Haunted History: It is said that the Rev. Ebenezer Prime and Colonel Thompson’s ghosts still roam the cemetery today. There have also been reports of seeing children in the cemetery and then just disappear.

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