Here's How Whiskey Road Got Its Name

Footnotes to Long Island History

Here’s How Whiskey Road Got Its Name


Thomas R. Bayles


            The story about how Whiskey Road received its name has been handed down that a young man by the name of Jeffrey Randall, a son of one of the first settlers in Ridge, who lived on the farm owned by the late John G. Randall, had a girl friend at Swezeytown, by the name of Swezey.  This little settlement was located north of Middle Island on what is now called Church Lane, about a mile north of the Middle Country Road, and was about three miles west in a direct line from the home of the Randall family in Ridge.

            Most of the farmers had slaves in those days, (the late 1700’s) so Jeffrey decided it was  long way round to go and see his Swezey girl sweetheart, (who he later married) by way of Middle Country Road, which was a distance of over six miles.  So a line was struck through the woods almost straight west to Swezeytown and the slaves were ordered to clear a trail which was not very wide, as people rode on horseback in those days.

            A jug of whiskey was placed a short distance a head of the men, who were told that they could stop and have a drink when they had cleared a trail to where the jug was placed, and then the jug was taken ahead again and the same process repeated.  Tradition has it they each time the jug was changed a different course was made so the trail was very crooked, and in later years when the road was opened on this trail it became one of the most crooked roads in Brookhaven Town.

            The little settlement called Swezeytown has a small overgrown cemetery in which are located several graves of the Swezey families who lived there in the 1700’s.  There are none left by this name now, and the oldest farm is that of Edwin Edwards, across from the pond, which has been in the Edwards family for about 150 years.

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