The History of Long and Brier Islands

Largest Funeral on Long Island

by | Jul 4, 2021 | Freeport, graveyards, Long Island, people | 1 comment

As the caption says “Largest Funeral on Long Island”. I haven’t read or have seen of a larger funeral here on Long Island as the one mentioned here. I first became interested in researching William Brown when I first seen pictures of people of colour in uniforms marching down Crockers Hill. It was around this time the Long & Brier Island Historical Society wanted to have a fund raiser and they decided to have people masquerade as some of the people who were buried at Hill Top and tell their stories. So in 2016 about ten of us took on the roll of ten different souls. Mine was William Brown and the following is what I would say to the audience.

William Berwell Brown

       I am the spirit of William Berwell Brown.  I was born in 1867 and laid to rest here at Hilltop Cemetery at the age of 33 on July 26, 1900.  I left behind three sisters a brother and a mother. I was never married.  My father was Capt. Jacob Brown, son- in-law to B. R. Haines.

My father was lost at sea in the mid 1870’s along with five other local men on a trip to the West Indies.  The vessel “Little Sarah” was never heard from again.

My mother was Harriet Brown (B. R. Haines daughter) who later married Elias Everett and they lived there in what is now Alfred Cann and Althea Nichols home.  I lived and worked most of my life in the United States but came home every year for a visit.  In my last year of life I was employed on a vessel out of Weymouth and became very sick.  I returned to my home here and succumbed to my illness two weeks later. I had been an active member of the I.O.O.F. (or sometimes called Odd Fellows) at Athol, Mass. and visited the Lodges here in Nova Scotia. The members and wives from Digby, Weymouth, Yarmouth, Kentville and Westport all came to Freeport to pay their respects.  They arrived on the tug “Marina” and marched to the Temperance Hall (now called the Community Hall). 

They then marched to my mother’s house to pay their respects to her.  There was a service at my mother’s house and then I was taken to the Baptist Church here in Freeport where the Westport I.O.O.F. held the service. The Odd Fellows then Marched to where I rest today.  It is said that I had one of the largest funerals on Long Island. I understand there is pictures taken at that time showing my brother Odd Fellows.

Ten weeks later my mother fell down the stairs at her home and shortly after died of her injuries at the age of 60 years.  She too had a large funeral with the Sons of Temperance Division and the Band of Hope following her here to where she is buried beside me.

William Brown’s Mother Dies: Digby Courier Oct 12, 1900

1 Comment

  1. Sandra Guinan

    So interesting!


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