Memory Lane



Bohemia Union Cemetery

Bohemia Union Cemetery which was established in 1873 is located on the south side of Church Street in Bohemia, between Walnut and Smithtown Avenues.  (1) It continues to reflect the heritage of those who established the town in the middle of the nineteenth century. Visiting the cemetery, you will notice that some of the headstones are written in the Czech language and many others are etched with Bohemian surnames, serving as reminders of the population that gave the area its name.

The cemetery and adjoining school properties were donated by Alexander Wallis, a New Jersey resident who owned large tracts of property in the area during the mid-eighteen hundreds. Each resident was given a burial plot of 16 by 20 feet, and locations were decided by a public drawing of numbers.  Initially residents had to measure their own plots, but this became too complicated. In 1892 a surveyor was hired to properly lay out the cemetery. (2) The first person interred there was Mrs. Joseph Koula, who died in 1855 and was originally buried in Sayville.  Her remains were moved when the Bohemia Union Cemetery opened. (3)

In 1890, the local Czech-Slovak Protective Society, the Farmer’s Club, and other individuals raised funds to erect a statue of Jan Hus in the cemetery.  (4) Hus is noted for starting the Reformation in the Czech Republic (then essentially the kingdom of Bohemia) about a hundred years before Martin Luther did so in Germany.   The 12-foot monument, which was carved in Vermont, was dedicated in September 1893 and is situated on a hill, near the back central portion of the neatly manicured grounds. (5)

Lorraine Mays, whose grandmother lived directly across the street from the cemetery, told us a spooky story of when she and her sister slept one New Year’s Eve at her grandmother’s house.  Did she hear ghosts that evening, or was it something else? Listen to her story to find out.

  1. The 1873 date is stated on and was verified with the Bohemia Historical Society.
  2. Bohemia Memorial,” Suffolk County News, February 29, 1952, digital image, Old Fulton New York Post Cards ( accessed 10 February 2015).
  3. Ibid.
  4.   A History of Bohemia, Long Island. Sayville, N.Y.: Weeks and Reichel, 1955, 17.
  5. Ibid, 18.

Lorriane Mays Interview