August Hawkins and his sister Prudence around 1900


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Fire Place (Brookhaven) Congregational Church Minutes 1848

The following copy of the Fire Place (now Brookhaven), New York, Congregational Church minutes of  March 27, 1848 recorded the purchase of the "Lecture Hall" from Richard Corwin, Jr.  His father, Richard Corwin Sr., died on October 27, 1848

Congregational Church Lecture Hall
Presbyterian Church lecture hall or chapel house, formerly the Congregational Church meeting house, as it appeared in the 1940s. Now a private residence.
While this building, now a private dwelling known as Chapel House, was said by some sources to have been originally built by the Congregationalists,  the evidence of the minutes strongly suggests that it was built by either Richard Corwin, Sr. or his son, Richard Corwin Jr. before 1840 for the use of the Congregationalists society, and only later purchased by them.  The building was built on the southwest corner of the Corwin farm, close to and on the east side of South Country road. The building was small.  The lot was only 20' x 30'.

It was deeded to the Presbyterians in the late 19th century when the Congregational society became defunct,  Some suggest it was moved by them to its present site at the intersection of South Country Road and Chapel Avenue; this statement is misleading.  While the Presbyterians did eventually move it, it was only moved perhaps twenty feet or so back from the road after purchasing a small amount of additional land, making the siting more convenient.

Richard Corwin had a large farm in Fire Place which may have extended as far north as Old Town Road.  He appears to have stayed a member of the Presbyterian Church throughout his life. However, his son, William H. Corwin, seems to have been among the original organizers of the Congregationalists. 

It wasn't until 1848 that the small congregation may have had sufficient resources to purchase the building. 

Not all of the subscribers recorded in the minutes were Congregationalists.  Some were known to have been affiliated with the Presbyterians or another denomination, or were unaffiliated community members.

Brookhaven Congregational Church 1848 Minutes