Over the next few weeks, the Cemetery Restoration Committee will be publishing vignettes of some of the famous and infamous people and places of Lakeview Cemetery.
by Carol Tvelia
The House on Blood Hill
Over the years, many stories have been told about strange noises and ghost sightings in and around Lakeview Cemetery.
Most of the stories center around the “The Haunted House on Blood Hill.”
Once located to the right of the gates in what is now Lakeview Cemetery, all that remains is a large depression, believed to be the location of the basement of an old mansion that for decades was owned by Brewster Woodhull, Esq.
Woodhull later sold the mansion to Seba and Elizabeth Oakes Smith in 1860. Seba and Elizabeth did extensive renovations and renamed the home “The Willows” due to the number of willow trees on the property.
Unfortunately, Seba died in the home not long later, in 1868. Unable to maintain it, Elizabeth was forced to move in 1870.
Some evidence indicates that this house might be the famous Hart’s Tavern, known for an overnight stay of George Washington on his tour of Long Island at the end of the Revolutionary War.
Many of the stories of noises and ghost sightings center around the now renamed “House on Blood Hill,” which was said to contain a “slave pen” in a corner of its basement.
These stories began after Elizabeth moved from the home, and the succeeding owners never stayed more than a few months, driven from the home by its noises and sightings. Slavery was outlawed in New York State in 1827, but before that, the “pen” was used to house slaves that had attempted to run away or who were otherwise disobedient, the legend went.
Longtime residents said they could hear the screams of the imprisoned slaves, and rumors abounded that many never left the house alive and were buried at night in unmarked graves within the confines of the adjacent cemetery.
The house gained its name of “Blood Hill” as the result of the many drunken fights by the sailors who would visit the port of Patchogue and engage in bar fights that left rivers of blood in the street.
In later years, the house was abandoned, and stories of “a dark, headless ghost with a blue lantern” wandering the cemetery during rainstorms persisted.
The house burned to the ground in a fire in 1881.
Top Photo: The Smith sisters memorial at Lakeview Cemetery (Benny Migliorino/Benny Migs Photo)
edited by Karen Ferb
Source: Lakeview Cemetery Task Force Interim Report; Google.com/ sites/ longislandstories.com
Join us on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 as we celebrate the lives of those laid to rest at Lakeview Cemetery with the Latin celebration of Dia de los Muertos. All proceeds benefit the Cemetery Restoration Committee of Patchogue and their devotion to conserving the historic Lakeview Cemetery. Visit the chamber website at patchogue.com for tickets and updates.