Hawkins-Downs Cemetery Moriches, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York 1782-1877
Name Index (includes maiden and married names):
Hawkins Eliza B. (Sowden) Hawkins Georgiette Hawkins Hannah Hawkins Jemima (Moore) Hawkins Jonathan Hawkins William Moore Jemima Sowden Eliza B.
Note: The rest of the gravestones will be added.
A small private cemetery is located on James Hawkins Road in Moriches, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. It has members of the James Downs family, who owned the property at the time of the Revolutionary War, and the William Hawkins family, who bought the property in January 1793—a total of 16 graves. The burials range from 1782 to 1877.
Daniel Downs was the first known owner of the property, which extended from the tip of the neck on the Forge River to Dongan’s Line (which is now about where the Sunrise Highway runs). Daniel Downs is listed in a 1776 census as being from the Manor of St. George and the Patentship of “Meritches” [Moriches]. The Cape Cod style house that stood on the property purportedly was built about the time of the American Revolution. The story that the house was an inn/tavern when Thomas Jefferson passed through Moriches has not been substantiated. The house fell to ruin from neglect in the 1940s.
After Daniel Downs’s death in 1782, the property may have been bought from Daniel’s sons by Daniel’s brother James Downs of Southold or Daniel’s nephew James Downs Jr. The younger James Downs may have been the one who sold the property to William Hawkins in 1793. (None of Daniel’s sons were named James and his nephew James was the only James Downs from this family living at the time James Downs sold the property to William Hawkins.) Both Daniel and James Sr. are buried in the cemetery.
William Hawkins bought the property from James Downs on 9 January 1793 for 1000 pounds. A rent of one-and-a-half bushels of “good winter wheat” was also to be paid to William Smith, lord of the Manor of St. George. William Hawkins married Jemima Moore of Southold in 1778. When William died in 1837, William’s second son Jonathan Hawkins inherited the farm. Jonathan married Eliza B. Sowden of Virginia in 1818. While Jonathan had the property, it supposedly consisted of 500 acres. When Jonathan died in 1844, the farm then passed on to Jonathan’s three sons: William S., John, and James—each receiving about 1/3 of the land. John received the land containing the house. John married first Hannah Bishop of Westhampton and second Sarah Chichester. (John and his two wives are buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Center Moriches.)
Sources for the information about the property and the people buried in the cemetery:
A Hawkins Genealogy by Ralph Clymer Hawkins, 1939.*
The Downs Family of Long Island by Arthur Channing Downs, Jr., 1959.*
Notes, by Adelaide (Mershon) Cook and Elva (Hawkins) Wilcox, 1930s (granddaughters of John and Hannah (Bishop) Hawkins), in possession of Jane E. Wilcox.
Notes, by Chester H. Wilcox, Jr., 1960s, (son of Elva (Hawkins) Wilcox), in possession of Jane E. Wilcox.
Deeds, wills, letters, notes in the possession of Jane E. Wilcox (granddaughter of Elva (Hawkins) Wilcox), 2014.
Photos of the gravestones taken by Jane E. Wilcox in October 2002.
*Most data from these genealogies has not been verified with original sources.Click on an image to enlarge it.