“We Keep a Fire For the Dead”

We keep a fire for the dead whose spirits walked before us
Who, shoes exchanged for eagle’s wings, now sing angelic chorus
Though we no longer walk the land in Brothertown today
Our hearts remain forevermore where there our brethren lay
~Megan

According to his 2010 dissertation, Craig Cipolla identified 6 Brothertown burial sites in our former tribal lands in New York. These sites are known as the Niles/Occom, Dick, Skeesuck, Deansboro, Shelley, and Fowler cemeteries. Most of these are now on private property and one needs permission to access them. In his dissertation, Cipolla includes plot maps, photos, and where applicable, inscriptions for all of them except Fowler as he was not allowed to access that area.

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Photo sent in by Mr Gilley of Deansboro, NY.  This sign is off of Hwy 315.

Fowler Cemetery is one of the larger ones and, according to William DeLoss Love’s book, it is also the resting place of Samson Occom. Love’s book (originally published in 1899) also cites two other Brothertown cemeteries, Tuhie and Dugaway. Unfortunately, the exact whereabouts of these two is currently unknown.

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If you would like to view or download Cipolla’s dissertion (the photos and explanations of the cemeteries begin around p 131) please go to http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1130&context=edissertations.

To download Love’s book please visit https://archive.org/details/samsonoccomchris00love

Here is reprinted a Brothertown plat map which Cipolla marked with the locations of these Brothertown cemeteries.

brothertown ny cemeteries by cipolla

Above: Map of cemetery locations in Brothertown, New York: A) Tuhie Cemetery (precise location unknown); B) Deansboro Cemetery; C) Fowler Cemetery; D) Dugaway Cemetery; E) Skeesuck Cemetery; F) Shelley Cemetery; G) Dick Cemetery; H) Niles/Occom Cemetery (Map modified from Love 1899).