3rd Oakwood Cemetery Tour
On Sunday, September 18th, the Historical Society of Islip Hamlet hosted a tour of Oakwood Cemetery, at the Corner of Brentwood Road and Moffitt Blvd.

Patricia Voges, President of the Oakwood Cemetery and Historical Society of Islip Hamlet's President, Jack Weishahn, welcomed tour participants.

Joe Nolan, Superintendent, gave a brief history of the cemetery and its different sections (Persons of Color Section, Welfare Section, Jewish Section) from its inception in 1880 to present day.
Anna Luther (Christine Scibelli) was a Prussian immigrant who lived and worked in Newark, N.J.  She married Otto Mueller in 1908.  After they came back from visiting her family in Prussia, Otto surprised her with a trip to Islip with the intention of purchasing property.  While walking in the woods, he informed Anna he no longer wanted to be married and wished to return to his wife and children in Queens.  When Anna pleaded with him to stay, he shot her twice in the head.  Otto was eventually found and was executed by electrocution at Sing Sing Prison, the 1st murderer in Suffolk County to be punished this way.
Daniel Conover (Gerry Holwell) was raised in New York City and had a strong interest in prominent social and political clubs and transportation and real estate industries.  At the time, city government was led by a corrupt politician names Fernando Wood.  Gov. John King and the State legislature enacted laws that placed several city agencies under state control.  Conover was appointed City Street Commissioner.  Mayor Wood refused to recognize his appointment and when Conover went to arrest Wood,  a one-hour riot ensued between both forces (Police Riot of 1857).  Conover eventually married and built their home on Saxon Avenue.
James H. Doxsee (Kevin Greene) turned Islip into America's Clam Capital.  He worked with his father on their 400 acre farm.  They cut thousands of cords of wood for the NY market.  He leased land along Doxsee Creek to 2 strangers from out east that were harvesting and canning clams, though in a crude way.  Doxsee paid for an expert in the field who perfected the process.  He expanded the factory, employing hundreds, and sold Little Neck Clams and Chowder and "Doxsee's Clam Juice".  When the harvest fell off, his son Henry moved the business to North Carolina (eventually to be purchased by Bumble Bee).  Doxsee was married twice and fathered 12 children, 6 of them dying in infancy.
William Kingsland Macy (Peter Freeman) for the Chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Committee for 27 years (Sultan of Suffolk County Politics).  He was a President of the Union Pacific Tea Co., then a stockbroker and investment banker during the Roaring Twenties.  Macy was also a State Senator and served 2 terms as a Congressman.  He helped with the demise of Tammany Hall and the election of Fiorello LaGuardia.  He helped create the Suffolk County Water Authority and was a realtor and owned a number of properties in Islip.  In 1950, he retired to his home on Ocean Ave.
Herbert John Yates (George Cassella) founded Republic Pictures who did the Gene Autry and Roy Rodgers serial movies.  He was born in Brooklyn and built a newspaper business in his neighborhood.  He studied at Columbia Univ. and became an advertising executive at the American Tobacco Company, where he retired at age 30 a wealthy man.  He then created Republic Pictures and earned the moniker "the B Movie Mogul".  They did have one movie that won 7 academy awards including Best Director and Best Picture - "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne.  Yates didn't realize the impact of TV - it ruined his business and he closed down in 1959.
Martha Clara Entenmann (Julia DeBragga) was a saleswoman in a Bay Shore bakery and married her boss, William Entenmann, Jr., in 1925; his father founded the business in Brooklyn in 1898.  Their 3 sons eventually joined the company.  Entenmann took an active role in the business for more than 50 years from managing the office, keeping books and after her husband's death, sharing management decisions with her sons.  The business relocated from downtown Bay Shore to a new plant on Fifth Ave.  It was Entenmann who had them redesign the box with a transparent plastic top.  Her son, William vineyard on the North Fork is named in her honor, the Martha Clara. 
Anning Moubray (Rob Finnegan) was born in 1751 on the family homestead on Awixa Creek.  In the middle of the Revolution he married Mary Willetts and had 2 children.  In 1776 the Islip Militia Company was formed and Moubray was appointed Ensign under Capt. Benajah Strong, Lt. Jeremiah Terry and Samuel Oakley; they were folded into the Suffolk County Militia.  The militia travelled to Queen's County to rally with Gen. George Washington to defend New York but got there late.  Some fled to Connecticut but those who stayed were subject to British martial law.  In 1778, I took a reluctant oath to the King.  Luckily, we survived the occupation and realize the glory of independence.
Joseph "Little Joe" Atkinson {as told by Cynthia Hawkins} (Dawn Callaway)  Atkinson, a carpenter,  learned the hangman's trade from the previous hangman of the NYC House of Detention, known as "The Tombs".  Suffolk County hired him to hang Nicholas Behan in Riverhead; Behan had brutally murdered James and Francis Wickham, a Southold family and wounded their farmhand.  He was also dispatched to hang the notorious murdered Albert Hicks who murdered Cpt. George Burr and his crew; Burr was co-owner of an oyster sloop with Selah Howell, also of Islip.  As for Cynthia Hawkins, her son, Asbury, shot and beat her when she forbade him to marry a German servant girl.  Asbury confessed and Atkinson hanged him at Riverhead.  In total, "Little Joe" was responsible for over 74 hangings in the NY Metropolitan area.
James Hervey Berry (Matthew Clareen) began his career as a boatman moving cargo to and from Islip into New York and Europe - by the time he was 19 he had made 12 voyages.  Berry's education began on the Great South Bay with others from Islip Hamlet  - the Haffs, Clocks, Jeffreys and others (The Islip Crowd).  Berry was the 1st mate of 2 of Cpt. Haff's defenses of the America's Cup as well as N.O. Clock's.  Monell Ave., home to Berry, Haff and, at one point, Jeffrey, is now call "America's Cup Way".  Berry married Hannah Wright and built their home on Monell as well (where she was born and raised).  Berry held various town positions during his lifetime as well as being active in the Islip Fire Dept.
Phoebe & Frederick Wright (Jean Marie and Chris Reiszl) lived on Monell Ave. and raised their 5 children there; their house still stands to this day.  Fredrick was a wheelwright by trade.  During the Civil War he joined the 2nd NY Cavalry.  His 2 sons eventually joined him.  They were involved in a number of engagements in Virginia and Maryland as well as the battles of Fredericksburg and Petersburg.  All 3 made it home, though their younger son died soon after.  Frederick, Jr. became a Justice of the Peace for the Town of Islip.  Phoebe and Frederick exchanged many letters throughout the war, from 1862-65.  Phoebe's letters were burned or left on the battlefield but almost 100 letters from Frederick were saved by his wife.  They were found by their descendents and donated to the Historical Society of Islip Hamlet in 2019.

The Society gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the Oakwood Cemetery Association for the printing of the tour booklet.

The following are more stories of those interred here...

Enjoy Newsday TV's Shari Einhorn's Coverage of the Tour

Click here to read the associated Newsday article by Brinley Hineman...

Est. 1992 Historical Society of Islip Hamlet