Wednesday, January 27, 2010
January 25, 2010
On January 13, 2010, the Fire Place History Club of Brookhaven hamlet, NY, received a response to their lawsuit against the Town of Brookhaven forcing the Town to maintain the historic cemeteries in Brookhaven and South Haven Hamlets, as required by New York State law. The efforts of the Fire Place History Club are documented elsewhere in this blog, and are further documented at the BrookhavenSouthHaven.org cemetery pages.
Immediately on receiving the Town's response, a subcommittee of the Fire Place History Club was formed to prepare a response. Dr. Richard A. Thomas, a retired physicist, took on the task of researching the specific objections in point of law raised by the Town of Brookhaven. He spent several days on this research and prepared a paper for our attorney, Regina Seltzer. After reviewing his research, she decided that it was appropriate to ask for a summary judgment in favor the Fire Place History "on the grounds that Brookhaven Town violated its lawful Town duties as explicitly set forth in Cemeteries Town Law Section 291 and that respondents have raised no triable issue of fact a summary determination is appropriate based on the pleadings, papers and admissions ...." She further concluded that the Town's answer, denying knowledge or information as to allegations in our original filing and objections in point of law "are shameful, blatantly false fabrications, without any basis in fact, intended to mislead the Court."
The subcommittee—Marty Van Lith, Richard Thomas, and John Deitz then met with Regina Seltzer for over four hours on Sunday afternoon, drafting the reply to the Town's specific contentions. This document was then filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York at Central Islip on Monday, January 25, 2010.
The argument section of this filing is found in the first link. This version, a pdf file, is identical to the court filing except that a few typographical errors have been corrected. Since it is based on the original word processing document, it is considerable smaller than the scanned versions. The second (11 MB), third (12 MB), and fourth (7 MB) links are scanned pdf versions of the actual documents, including affidavits and exhibits, as filed with the court.
Actual scanned documents included in the 25 January 2010 filing:
2- Arguments and Affidavits 3- Exhibits 4-Orginal Town Response
If you are having difficulty downloading these documents from this blog, please go to this page
At a luncheon meeting of the Fire Place History Club on Tuesday, January 26, 2010, Regina Seltzer discussed the suit with club members. It should be noted, Regina is doing this work pro bono. She is also a former Town of Brookhaven councilwoman.
L-R: Jeb Barry (head split), George Koch, Bob Brown, Betty Bundy, Richard Thomas, John Deitz, Diane Martens, Marty Van Lith, Regina Seltzer, Ron Kinsella, Eban Ludlow, Faith McCutcheon, and Anita Cohen
January 13, 2010
In July of 2009, the Fire Place History Club filed a lawsuit with the New York State Supreme Court in an effort to force the Town of Brookhaven to maintain the ancient historic cemeteries in the hamlets of South Haven and Brookhaven, NY. This action followed three years of efforts to get the Town to maintain the cemeteries in accordance with State law, and repeated promises by Town officials that they would do so—but with no substantitive action. The efforts of the Fire Place History Club are documented elsewhere in this blog, and are further documented at the BrookhavenSouthHaven.org cemetery pages.
The Brookhaven Town Attorney, on 13 January filed a response to the July court filing—nearly six months after the original filing with the court—obviously an attempt to delay in the hope of discouraging that the reasonable requests of ordinary citizens.
Their response was essentially that the Town had no obligation maintain the cemeteries, and the that the Fire Place History Club had no standing to sue the Town.
To view the Town of Brookhaven's January 2010 response, click
The Town arguments document included all their Exhibits except Exhibit D. Exhibit D is a copy of an inventory of all cemeteries in New York State prepared by the Association of Municipal Historians of New York State. Ironically, it's preface contains the following:
I suspect that the Association of Municipal Historians would be appalled that their informative inventory would be used by the Town as one of the justifications for not maintaining historic cemeteries.
The Fire Place History Club is proceeding with the suit, and has organized a sub-committee to work with our attorney Regina Seltzer on the document.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Tuesday Morning, January 19, 2010—I did not stay to the bitter end at the fire scene Monday night, but Tuesday morning pretty well reveal the inevitable.
Photo by Marty Van Lith
I believe that is Jen Puleston Clement examining the scene. In the background is the Hawkins Barn, carefully restored by Tom & Ellen Williams.
The following is a digitally enhanced picture taken as I approached the scene from across the farm field from the Rowley's backyard. While it doesn't show much detail, and the fire department is already applying large quantities of water, the extent of fire involvement is obvious.
Photo by Marty Van Lith
Photo by John Deitz
Finally, a pen and ink sketch of "The Red Barn" by nearby neighbor Ann Wiswall:
One correspondent said the fire brought back memories of the Phillips barn fire of several decades ago (the house at 334 Beaver Dam Road.). Does anyone remember when this fire actually occurred?
Monday, January 18, 2010
When I first realized that the fire department was responding to my neighborhood, I looked out the windows to see if I could see anything. Flames were leaping into the air some 60-70 feet at what I thought might be the Burnett barn. By the time I got my shoes on, found the camera, and got out the door (maybe 3-4 minutes), the fire department had already knocked the flames down considerably.
But it was clear that the building was totally involved when they arrived.
Even though they quickly brought the fire under control, it regularly flared up again. It was clear that the building was not safe to enter, and there were several rooms and a partially concealed attic space.
I'll get more pictures tomorrow.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Subject: Please sign our on-line petition
STOP LEVY’S “LUNACY VILLAGE”
URGENT ACTION REQUIRED
Please sign our on-line petition to the Suffolk County Legislature. It is critical that the voice of all Suffolk County citizens is heard by our Legislator’s. They must IMMEDIATELY and PERMANENTLY, with urgency, HALT the sale of the currently designated “Legacy Village” taxpayer-owned County property in Yaphank, as surplus.
Additional information can be found on our web-site at www.yaphankcivic.org
Our mailing address is:
Yaphank Taxpayers & Civic Association Inc.
P.O. Box 41
Yaphank, New York 11980
Add us to your address book
Copyright (C) 2009 Yaphank Taxpayers & Civic Association Inc. All rights reserved.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I finally looked at the following deeds which I copied while at Riverhead on January 5.
Liber 554 of Deeds, page 74The first two deeds convey property to Hugh H. Harrison.
Liber 554 of Deeds, page 230
Liber 557 of Deeds, page 232
Liber 557 of Deeds, page 234
Liber 557 of Deeds, page 238Liber 557 of Deeds, page 241Liber 557 of Deeds, page 244
The next five deeds convey property to Nancy Harrison, but in each of these five deeds the same items are conveyed. They differ only in who is conveying those parcels to her. This is probably the result of five different groups of people having a possible claim to the lands described in the deeds, so a deed is obtained from each group to secure clear titles to the parcels.
Liber 554, p. 74.
In this deed, Hugh H. Harrison obtains land along the south side of Beaver Dam Road. The property being acquired had previously been purchased by Elisha E. King (or an ancestor of Mr. King) and mortgaged by him to Francis S. Woodhull. When the Elisha King family fell into default on their mortgage, a complaint was filed and the property was sold at auction.
Hugh H. Harrison purchased the property at auction in Riverhead for $810 on 28 May 1904.
The property is not square according to the description. The southern border is 150-ft wide, and both the western and eastern borders are 150-ft long, but the width of the property along Beaver Dam Road is only 100-ft.
I think this must have been an error, but it is an error that is repeated in all of the confirming deeds.
In the picture, the pink line is about 100-feet long and the yellow lines are 150-feet long (to scale). It's possible, of course, to construct a four-sided lot with 100 feet along one side and 150 feet along the other three sides, but it wouldn't fit the Harrison property very well.
The deed states that the northwest corner of the tract is at the northeast corner of a right-of-way. The right-of-way may be Phillips Dock Road, but this north-south portion of the shell road is never called that in any of these deeds.
Liber 554, p. 74This Indenture, made this 28th day of May in the year of our Lord 1904,
Liber 557, p. 230This Indenture, made this 7th day of July in the year One thousand nine hundred and fourBetweenPhiletus Phillips and Hannah A. Phillips, his wife, of Yaphank, Suff. Co., N.Y. parties of the first part,andHugh H. Harrison, of the City of N. Y. party of the second part.Witnesseth, that the said parties of the first part, in consideration of One Dollar, ($1.00.), lawful money of the United States, paid by the party of the second part, do hereby grant and release unto the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever.,All that tract or parcel of land, situate in the Village of Brookhaven, County of Suffolk, and State of New York, Bounded and described as follows:–Commencing at the Northwest corner thereof and adjoining the property of Sylvester Gordon, and running thense southerly by and with the said Sylvester Gordon property to the Great South Bay, from which point extending Easterly by and with the Great South Bay, to the property of Philetus Phillips, Urania Buckingham and the heirs of Nancy Swezey, these Northerly by and with said property of the parties above named, to other property of these said parties, and from thense Westerly by and with the said property of the said parties to the point or place of beginning,being a certain piece of parcel of meadow by estimation containing twelve acres, be the same more or less and including all rights of way, easements and other appurtenances which said parties of the first part have in and on the land of adjoining property to reach the premises in question.Together with the appurtenances, and all the estate and rights of the said parties of the first part in and to said premises.To have and to hold the above granted premises unto the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns forever.And the said parties of the first part do covenant with the said party of the second part, as follows:–First – That the parties of the first part are seized of the said premises in fee simple, and have good right to convey the same.Second – That the party of the second part shall quietly enjoy the said premises.Third – That the said premises are free from incumbrances.Fourth – That the parties of the first part will execute or procure any further necessary assurance of the title of said premises.Fifth – That the said parties of the first part will forever warrant the title to said premises. In Witness whereof the said parties of the first part have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.In presence of Philetus Phillips L. S.
Recorded 29th August 1904 @ 8 A. M.
Solomon Ketcham Clerk
1) a parcel of 14.5 acres. This parcel would appear to contain within it the original parcel along Beaver Dam Road purchased by Mr. Harrison for $810. Instead of starting at the northeast corner of the right-of-way, the description starts 20 feet east along Beaver Dam Road from the northeast corner of Joseph H. Carman's property. This implies that Phillips Dock Road was 20-feet wide. In the deed in book 554 at page 74, the description went around the property counterclockwise. In this larger property, they go around the parcel clockwise, first going east along Beaver Dam Road. The description doesn't tell how far to go in feet, just go until one reaches the land of "Charles Newey and wife." Then go south by the land of Newey, Egbert Swezey, and William H. Corwin, continuing to go south until one reaches Phillips Dock Road. The path doesn't follow the north and east sides of the road to the beginning point though. It appears to go to places west of the road, finally reaching the east fence of Joseph Carman's property, then north along that fence, then crossing the right-of-way by going 20-ft east, then up the east side of the right-of-wayAlthough the description names Phillips Dock Road for the right-of-way going east and west along part of the southern border of the parcel, it does not call the 20-foot wide piece going north and south at Beaver Dam Road Phillips Dock Road. In fact, it doesn't even call this "20-foot wide" piece a right-of-way.2) The second parcel is a "share of meadow" that once belonged to Mordecai Homan. (Mordecai's name is spelled oddly here. In this one it is spelled "Mordeci" and in the following confirming deeds it is spelled "Mordecia." This parcel lies to the west of the piece that was purchased by James I. Davis, the building mover of Blue Point. (The parcel that James I. Davis would later own is described here as the meadow land owned by William B. and Charles S. Rose.) This second parcel includes the west bank of the Carmans River where it empties into the Great South Bay. (The western boundary of the William B. and Charles S. Rose parcel starts at Phillips Dock and runs southerly until it hits the west bank of the Carmans River at a point north of where the river empties into the Great South Bay.)3) The third item conveyed in the deed is "all the right and privileges to the dock conveyed by William Phillips, deceased, to James M. Seaman by deed April 11, 1886."
Liber 557 of Deeds at page 232This Indenture, made the 9" day of July in the year One thousand nine hundred and fourBetweenEmma M. Davis of Middle Island, Suffolk County N.Y. party of the first part,andNancy Harrison of New York City, N. Y. party of the second part.Witnesseth, that the said part- of the first part, in consideration of One Dollar, ($1.00.), lawful money of the United States, paid by the part- of the second part, do hereby remise, release and forever Quit Claim unto the said part- of the second part, — heirs and assigns forever.All that tract or parcel of land, situate in the Village of Brookhaven, County of Suffolk and state of New York, bounded as follows:Beginning twenty feet from the Northeast corner of the land of Jos. H. Carman; thence Easterly by the highway that leads to the river at Squawsucks and to the land of Charles Newey & wife, thence Southerly by the several lands of Newey, Egbert Swezey, Wm H. Corwin to the road that leads to Phillips dock; thence Westerly by north side of said road to a row of cherry trees on the east side of Phillips stack yard — thense northerly by line of stack yard to a locust stake, thense westerly to the land or fence of Joseph Carman; thence Northerly by said Carman’s land bought of Wm B. Rose; thense easterly twenty feet; thence Northerly parallel with Jos. H. Carman’s line to the place of beginning.Containing fourteen and one half acres more or less, subject to all rights of way belonging to other persons.Also the following described share of meadow land formerly belonging to Mordeci Homan, dec., beginning at the Northwest corner of the Meadow lands of Wm B. and Chas. S. Rose; thense Southerly by the line ditch to the west bank of the Connecticut River; these southerly by the west bank of said river to the Bay; thense by the South Bay to the half share of Wm Phillips, dec., Meadow; _ thense Northerly by said Wm Phillips Meadow) to the south side of the road that leads to Phillips docks; thence easterly by the road to the place of beginning.Also all the right and privileges to the dock conveyed by Wm Phillips dec. to Jas. M. Seaman by deed April 11, 1886.Excepting nevertheless the piece of property which is included within said boundaries now or formerly owned by Elisha E. King and which property is described as follows:Together with the appurtenances, and all the estate and rights of the said part- of the first part in and to said premises.All that tract or parcel of land situate in the Town of Brookhaven, County of Suffolk and State of New York bounded and described as follows:–Commencing at the Northwest corner of said tract at the North leed of a certain fence and adjoining a highway known as Fireplace Neck Road and at the Northeast corner of a right of way running thense southerly by the fence as it now stands One hundred and fifty feet; thence Easterly one hundred and fifty feet, thense Northerly One hundred and fifty feet to the Main Street or Fireplace Neck Road; thense Westerly by and with said Street or road One hundred feet to the place of beginning.
To have and to hold the above granted, bargained and described premises unto the said part- of the second part, heirs and assigns forever.
In Witness whereof; the said part- of the first part ha- hereunto set h- hand and seal the day and year first above written.
In presence of Emma M. Davis L. S.
Leila M. Danes
State of New York, County of Suffolk, s. s. On the 9" day of July in the year One thousand nine hundred and four before me, the subscriber, personally appeared Emma M. Danes to me personally known to be the same person described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, and she acknowledged to me that she executed the same.
Leila M. Danes, Notary Public.
Recorded 29" August 1904 @ 8 A. M.
Solomon Ketcham Clerk
Liber 557 of Deeds, page 234This Indenture, made the 12 th day of July in the year One thousand nine hundred and four.Liber 557 of Deeds, page 238
Miller P. Davis and Bertha – Davis, his wife, of Glen Cove, Nassau Co., N. Y. and Nellie Woodbury of Patchogue, Suff. Co., N. Y. parties of the first part,
Nancy Harrison of Brookhaven, Suff. Co., N. Y. Party of the second part.
This deed is unusual, since the party of the first part is an infant. The "Emma M. Davis, infant" is assumed to be a different person from the "Emma M. Davis" of the deed on page 232, since the Emma M. Davis of the deed recorded at page 232 signed it.
The meaning of the phrase "the above named infant by Arthur Phillips, her committee, heretofore present to the Supreme Court" is unclear. It probably just means that Arthur Phillips, for the infant's committee, has presented a petition to the court. This is the only deed that gives a price other than $1.00. In this deed Nancy Harrison is to pay $41.66 2/3 (incorrectly written $41.66 2/2 the second time it appears, but a dotted line has been placed under the incorrect digit "2").
I wonder how Nancy Harrison paid the 2/3 of a cent. Nancy Harrison is obviously paying three groups a total of $125. That gives each of the three groups $41.6666666666 . . . In Missouri, we had mills; the red mills were worth 0.1 cent and the green ones 0.5 cents. They were used for paying the fractions-of-a-cent portion of sales tax. But even with mills, it would still not have been possible to pay 2/3rds of a cent.This Indenture, made the 12 th day of July in the year One thousand nine hundred and four.
Emma M. Davis, an infant, by Smith W. Conklin, her Special Guardian of the first part,
Nancy Harrison of Brookhaven, Suff. Co., N. Y. Party of the second part.
Witnesseth, Whereas the above named infant by Arthur Phillips, her committee, heretofore present to the Supreme Court of Suffolk County a petition praying for the sale of the right, title and interest of the said infant in the premises in said petition mentioned and hereinafter described.
Upon which petition an order of the said court was made at a term thereof held at Judge's Chambers in the Village of Patchogue, County of Suffolk, bearing date the 8th day of July 1904; appointing Smith W. Conklin, above named, the special guardian of such infant for the purposes of the said application and directing that it be referred to Andrew Heyman, Esq., a referee, to ascertain the truth of the facts in such petition alleged and
thereupon; after the said special guardian had given the security by law required, and the same had been duly approved and filed, such proceedings were afterward had, that by an order of the said Supreme Court made at a term thereof held at Judge's Chambers in the County of Suffolk, bearing date the 9th day of July, 1904, it was, among other things, in substance ordered that the above named Smith W. Conklin as special guardian of such infant, be authorized to contract for the sale and conveyance of the right, title and interest of the said infant in such real estate, for a sum not less than that specified in the referee's report in such order mentioned, and that such sale, with the name of the purchaser and the terms thereof, be reported to the said court before the conveyance of such premises should be executed, and
whereas the said special guardian upon terms in the manner authorized by the said last mentioned order contracted for the sale of said premises with Nancy Harrison for the sum of $41.66 2/3 that being the highest sum offered for the same; and
thereupon the said guardian made his report on oath of such agreement to the court, pursuant to the requisitions of the last recited order, upon which an order was made at a term of said court, held at the Judge's Chambers in the Village of Patchogue, County of Suffolk, N. Y. bearing the date the 9th day of July, 1904, confirming such report, approving, and confirming such sale and directing the same to be carried into effect and ordering the said guardian to execute, acknowledge and deliver a deed of said premises to the said party of the second part on his complying with the terms on which, by said agreement, the same was to be delivered, and,
whereas, the said party of the second part has complied with the said terms:
Now, therefore, this indenture witnesseth that the party of the first part, by Smith W. Conklin her special guardian, for and inconsideration of $41.66 2/2 to him in hand paid, before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, has bargained, sold, granted, released, and conveyed, and by these presents does bargain, sell, grant, release and convey unto the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever:
All that tract or parcel of land situate in . . .Liber 557 of Deeds, page 241This Indenture, made the 21" day of July in the year One thousand nine hundred and four.
Philetus Phillips and Hannah A. Phillips, his wife, of Yaphank, Suff. Co., N. Y. parties of the first part,
Nancy Harrison of the City of New York, N. Y., party of the second part.Liber 557 of Deeds, page 244This Indenture, made the 19" day of July in the year One thousand nine hundred and four.
Urania - Buckingham, of Suffolk County, New York, party of the first part,
Nancy Harrison of the City of New York, N. Y., party of the second part.