WII-1 Burr Cemetery
Posted by: Wayfarer II
N 40° 50.512 W 073° 18.704
18T E 642327 N 4522574
Quick Description: Located in the Home Depot parking lot in Commack.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 10/11/2005 2:49:55 PM
Waymark Code: WM2FF
In 1851 the Burr cemetery was
originally located in-between farm fields, maybe in a small grove of trees, and
seems to have stopped being used by 1878. When the Army came in 1918 they
cleared three farms and built Brindley Field. The cemetery then sat in the
middle of a runway with a small white fence around it. After the war, the
cemetery was again surrounded by cabbage, potato, and wheat fields. By the
1950's, Modell's was built and the old cemetery was then surrounded by a parking
The Burr Family
The Burr family first arrived in America
from England in 1630. They arrived on Long Island in 1656, first in Hempstead
and shortly thereafter in Commack where they purchased 166 acres of land. The
Burrs thrived in Commack becoming quite wealthy. At one time the family farm
encompassed what is now the Home Depot shopping center on the corner of
Larkfield Road and Jericho Turnpike. A mid-nineteenth-century Burr family
cemetery still sits in the parking lot of that shopping center.
In the nineteenth century, Smith Burr (1803-1887) operated a
hotel on the northwest corner of Burr Road and Townline Road. Smith Burr also
bred harness horses – including Lady Suffolk, considered the most famous Long
Island racehorse. Lady Suffolk, who was owned by David Bryant (who was Burr’s
neighbor), competed in 162 races in seventeen states from 1838 to 1853 setting
Smith Burr’s son, Carll S. Burr (1831-1916), continued the
family horse breeding business. Following his marriage in 1857, he purchased a
farm and opened a training school to develop trotting horses. He built a
half-mile track behind his house on Burr Road. The school became quite well
known and kept as many as 100 horses at the same time for training, breeding, or
racing. Carll Burr was active in the Republican Party and was an Elector in the
Electoral College in 1880 and 1888.
Carll Burr enlarged his father’s small house, which had
originally been built in 1832. Although Burr first enlarged the house
shortly after his marriage, his growing wealth and prominence led him in 1881 to
greatly expand the house and remodel it in the then-popular French Second Empire
style. The result is an imposing two and one-half story residence with a mansard
His son, Carll S. Burr, Jr., joined the family business and
was also elected to the State Assembly and Senate. Carll Burr, Sr. and Carll
Burr, Jr. built Suffolk County’s only one-mile race track on the east side of
Commack Road where Commack North High School now stands. The heyday of the
track ended by 1916, but it continued to be used for amateur races through the
Carll S. Burr, III established a successful real estate
business in town, which was continued by his son. The family home remained in
the Burr family until the end of the twentieth century.
Adapted from Commack: A Look Into The Past, by Lucille
Rosen (Commack School District, 1970)
An undated postcard of a Jenny biplane
in front of hangars at “Brindley Flying Field”.
During World War I, June 1918, an aviation
camp, Brindley Field, was set up on the corner of Jericho Turnpike and Larkfield
Road. It became the home of the 211th Aero Squadron for advanced airplane
training. The base was deactivated in May, 1919. The field after Major Brindley,
a famous pilot who had recently died.
Originally the camp was to be named Chapman Field after Lt.
Col. C. G. Chapman who died while fighting in France. The name was then changed
just before it opened to Brindley Field in memory of Major Oscar A. Brindley who
had just died testing a new plane and was considered at the time to be one of
the best pilots.
The field itself consisted of ninety acres of land, with the buildings, and
barns, one large barn, and several other storage barns of a smaller size, and
other out buildings. And a main house which they immediately established as a
headquarters for the field.
In August of 1918 they built five big steel hangers, the nearest one was
about one hundred and fifty feet from Larkfield Ave. They stood in a line behind
the original hay barn that had been used to hold airplane parts at that time.
They were for what we called Jenny planes at the time.
The field was a satellite of Mitchell Field in Mineola, and was the last
training field for flyers before they went to France. Here they trained on
Jennys, equipped with the DH-4, with the most powerful engine at the time.
They had dog fights in their training over the field and
surrounding areas. One of the most serious accidents happened while they were
having dog fights over the Havemeyer property east of Townline Road. Two pilots
were killed when their plane crashed into the ground after loosing control.
First Name: Not listed
Last Name: Not listed
Born: Not listed
Died: Not listed