The history of the Hamptons is told through its people, from the Native Americans here from time immemorial, to the colonists scratching out a living on the land, to the Revolutionary patriots, to the whalers and fishermen, to the artists arriving in the 19th century and beyond, to the wealthy summer residents. Many of them are still here, memorialized in some of our fascinating cemeteries—which seem especially appropriate to visit in October. Here now is a map of the oldest and most interesting graveyards in the area.Read More
Fifteen Fascinating Cemeteries of the Hamptons, Mapped
Indian Burying Ground
This is a small burial ground now within Theodore Roosevelt County Park. The only engraved stone is that of Stephen “Talkhouse” Pharoah, a Montaukett (c. 1821-1879) famous for his 25-50 mile daily round trip walks from Montauk to East Hampton and Sag Harbor. He was exhibited in New York City as “the Last King of the Montauketts,” by PT Barnum, which he wasn’t.
Fort Hill Cemetery
Located on a bluff just west of Montauk Manor, the 30-acre cemetery overlooks Fort Pond and the Atlantic Ocean. Hundreds of Montauketts have been buried here. This was the site of the Montauketts’ crushing defeat by the Narragansetts in 1654. The boulder in the center of the driveway is known as Council Rock, where the Montauketts met.
Green River Cemetery
Green River started as a modest burial ground in 1902 for Bonackers. But after Jackson Pollock drove into a tree in 1956, his grave made Green River famous. Since then about 30 writers and painters have been buried near Pollock, some with no connection to the area. When John O'Hara was buried in the cemetery in 1966, Pollock's widow Lee Krasner protested, ''He's not even a summer rental.” Yup, Krasner is there now too, as are Stuart Davis, Elaine de Kooning, Charles Gwathmey, Frank O'Hara and Alan Pakula.
North End Cemetery
North End Cemetery is home to the graves of East Hampton residents who served in the wars of Independence, 1812, Civil War and both World Wars.
Cedar Lawn Cemetery
In operation since 1893, this cemetery is nondenominational. Famous interments here include Impressionist painter Childe Hassam, writer Joseph Heller, and Alger Hiss, who was accused of being a Soviet spy.
Most Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery
A number of members of the Bouvier family, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ family, are buried here, including her father, some of her grandparents and great-grandparents, as well as her aunt Edith “Big Edie” Ewing Bouvier Beale, immortalized in Grey Gardens. Philip Barry Sr, playwright, who wrote "The Philadelphia Story" and "Holiday" is also buried here.
South End Cemetery
South End is the oldest graveyard in East Hampton. The oldest original headstone is that of Thomas James, who died in 1696. (Lion Gardiner, who is also buried here, died in 1663 but his marker dates from 1886.) There are plenty of Gardiners to be found here as well as many of the first families of East Hampton. Possibly the most famous inhabitants are Sara and Gerald Murphy, 1920s social scenesters, artist and model, and inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald characters Nicole and Dick Driver in Tender is the Night.
Opened for burials in 1840, this 10-acre cemetery is filled with stone obelisks, a reflection of the wealth of the villagers.. Nearby is the Broken Mast Monument, dedicated to whalers who lost their lives “in actual encounter with monsters of the deep.” Famous people interred here include Spalding Grey, Nelson Algren, William Gaddis, and George Balanchine.
The Old Burying Ground
The Old Burying Ground’s first interment was in 1767, and it’s the resting place for at least 19 Revolutionary War soldiers, as well as whaling captains, seamen, and their families. The last burial was in 1870.
Sag Harbor Jewish Cemetery
This cemetery was organized in 1890 by a Jewish Cemetery Society, with an initiation fee of 25¢ and weekly dues of 5¢. Betty Freidan is buried here.
Presbyterian Church Cemetery
Names on the graves here read like the history of Shelter Island from colonial times to the present: Manwaring, Congdon, Dering, Chase, Bowditch, Dickerson, Gardiner, Cartwright, Tuthill and more.
North Sea Burying Ground
Headstones here date from the mid-18th century and some plots feature elaborate Victorian ironwork. Emma Rose Elliston, who died in 1933 and spent her childhood aboard the whale ship of her father, Capt. Jetur R. Rose, is buried here.
North End Graveyard and Burial Ground
The North End Graveyard was opened by Southampton Town in the early 1700s. The earliest surviving interment is that of John Heldreth, whose headstone reads: “Here lyes the body of John Heldreth Deseseed October the first 1722 eaged about 20 year.” Many Revolutionary War soldiers are buried here.
Old Southampton Burial Ground
Dating from around 1655 to 1897, the Old Southampton Burial Ground contains some of Southampton’s earliest inhabitants. There aren’t many headstones left—some were wooden and some graves were unmarked. The oldest grave is that of Edward Howell (1655); others from the 17th century period include Thurston Raynor (1667), John Woodruffe (1670) and Abigail Halsey (1696).
Opened in 1885, this nondenominational cemetery is the final resting place of boxer Jack Dempsey, ABC sports and news honcho Roone Arledge, and Patricia Kennedy Lawford, sister of John F. Kennedy.