As is well documented, many of the Halletts of Newtown were removed in April of 1905 from the original burial ground in Hallett's Cove and reinterred a few miles away at Mount Olivet Cemetary in Maspeth, Queens. Thanks to the efforts of Christina Wilkinson of the Newtown Historical Society and Council Member Peter Vallone of Astoria, the original bronze plaque that marks the plots in Mount Olivet was recently replaced. I am deeply grateful for their efforts!
The Newtown Historical Society issued this press release regarding the Halletts and the replacement of the plaque:
Photo, left to right: Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr., NHS President Christina Wilkinson and Dr. William C. Hallett display Hallett Family memorial plaque now in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
The Newtown Historical Society is proud to announce the replacement of an historic plaque dedicated to Astoria’s founding family, the Halletts, at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Maspeth.
The Hallett family, led by patriarch William Hallett, emigrated from England and settled in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1648, but moved in 1652 to 160 acres in the Hallett’s Cove area of Astoria. In 1664, William Hallett expanded his holding to 2,200 acres, which included all of modern-day Astoria. Several generations of Halletts lived on the property and as was customary at the time, family members that died were buried near their home. The Hallett cemetery was located between Astoria Blvd and Main Avenue. Over time, the family’s land was divided into parcels and sold.
As explained by Vincent Seyfried in his book, 300 Years of Long Island City: 1630-1930, “All the 50 bodies in the burial plot, 35 of them Halletts dating from 1724 to 1861, were transferred to Mount Olivet Cemetery in April 1905 and the stones were re-cut and re-erected over the new graves.”
The original historical plaque that recorded this event had been weathered to the point where some of the writing on it was no longer readable.
“We don’t want barriers such as illegible writing to prevent Queens residents from understanding their history, so our board decided that replacing the plaque was the right thing to do,” explained Newtown Historical Society President Christina Wilkinson. “We thank Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. for his assistance in making this happen.”
Council Member Peter F. Vallone, Jr. was instrumental in locating and obtaining permission from the descendants of William Hallett.
So where was the original Hallett grave yard? The answer, as hinted at above, is that it was on a piece of land bordered by Astoria Blvd and Main Avenue, but you can more clearly see it and identify the actual location here in this 1840 map of Hallett's Cove, on file at the Queens Public Library:
Much thanks go to the wonderful historian Missy Wolfe for forwarding me a link for this map!
The grave yard is located inside the triangle formed Main Street on the north, Welling St to the south, and Greenoak on the east, and bordered by the "Land of Rapelye & Trafford".
On the original map, the words "Grave Yard" are clearly visible in the northwest section, near the tip of the triangle where it intersects with Second Street. Want to find it today? Second Street is now known as 12th Street, Main St is now Main Ave (which then becomes Astoria Blvd W of 12th Street), and the bend of Greenoak and Welling St is now Welling Court.