Bartlett Road, Middle Island

Bartlett’s Road Is Interesting As Well As Picturesque

Helen M. Ewing


Bartlett’s Road is familiar to many people, not only in the middle of the island, but in neighboring villages as well. Its winding course beneath trees that sift the sunshine into patches of light and shade attracts those who enjoy a quiet drive through natural country. Although the road has recently been widened, it is still unspoiled.


But few people know anything of its history or the different phases of its existence. The first mention of it in the records of Brookhaven Town is under the date 1762, which was, of course, before the Revolution and this was still British territory, and the road was already in existence at that time. The reference is as follows.


“April ye 15th 1762. We ye commisinors for ruglating and laying out highways Turning out of ye Country road on ye east side of ye swamp near John Howells, Runing as ye path now goes four rods wide: until it comes out to the southeast part of ye pond; from thence Turning Southerly up ye side of in ys most convenient place; then taking ye usual path, So extending to ye river; so passing over ye river by Joseph Seward’s house until it comes into ye Main Road Leading to Midel Town.’


“Ye Country road” was the present Middle Country Road, though its course has been slightly changed. John Howell, whose house still stands was from Southold, and there is another account in the Town records telling of his having the road changed to run in the back of his house instead of the front and the story is that he turned the house around. It is vacant at the present time, but was at last known as the homestead. The land was part of the new lots on the Southside of the Country road laid out in 1731. “Ye Swamp is now known as Bartlett’s Pond and is a popular place for bathers and picnic parties. This was known as Howell’s Pond as early as 1739.

“Ye River” was the Connecticut River, now called Carmen’s river, although there are some who prefer the old name.

“Midel Town was the old name for Middle Island, and was changed according to Osborn Shaw, because there was already another Middle Town in New York State.


In 1802, John Howell’s son, Reeve Howell died and left the property to his daughter, Abigail, who married John Buckingham. There is evidence that the place was in his name in 1844, and in April 1861 there’s a record of a quitclaim made out by Daniel Buckingham to William O. Bartlett. This Mr. Bartlett was from New England – probably Rhode Island – and was a brilliant lawyer. He owned 1000 acres of land, much of which he farmed, having many men in his employ. Many stories are told of Judge William Bartlett who evidently liked to experiment, and try out new methods of doing things. He is said to be the first man to set locust fence posts in concrete, a method which is frequently in use now. He also had several stone walls built on his property, some of which are still standing. A spur from which the railroad was extended into his estate and there was a Bartlett Station. The original house was burned down and the family moved into the head farmer’s house.  The misses Bartlett, granddaughters of William O. Bartlett, whose home is on Brooklyn Heights, occupy the house occasionally during the summer, and for weekends. The property came to them through their father, Willard Bartlett, who was a well-known judge of the Court of Appeals. The old house, which now stands back from the road, came to the Bartlett family with some property and is known as the Overton house.

Middle Island Road

The reference to John Howell having had the Middle Country Road changed was as follows.

“Feb ye 5th 1755. John Howell having a mind to exchange ye Country Road from going on ye North side of his house to go on ye South side of his said house; And having called us for that purpose; we together we ye approbation of ye Trustees of ye Town being present have ascertained it as folloeth:


We begin at a read oak tree near ye head of the Swamp and measure c4 rods. Northerly across ye above said road to a Stake; from thence a Direct Line to ye Northeast corner of his house a westerly line to a stake near ye little Slow and then measuring across ye road four rods Southerly to a stake and then running a Line Easterly to two small black oake trees marked with three chops upon each tree; and then an Easterly course to a small maple bush marked with three chops standing in ye Edge of ye above said Swamp to ye above said Read oak tree where we begune.;”

Daniel Smith


Signed    Samuel Davis Joseph Brewster John Brewster



Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.