Unless indicated below, this is a transcript of the original Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities/Town of Brookhaven survey form. Since most of the surveys were conducted in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, much of the information reflects that time period.
Corrections to obvious typographical and spelling errors have been made. Corrections to factual errors in the original surveys, and updates or comments on the information are either enclosed in [square brackets], or are clearly indicated as updated material from the context of the comments.
Sites which have a suffix of “S” are supplemental sites not included in the original surveys.
Building-Structure Inventory Form
Ketcham-Nelson house "Middlebrook"
If checked, this is a Supplemental Form, not in the original surveys.
Mrs. Paul W. Bigelow
7 Thornhedge Road
Bellport, NY 11713
Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society
Ketcham-Nelson house "Middlebrook"
Hamlet of Brookhaven
If checked, this site is within the Fire Place (Brookhaven Hamlet) Historic District
388 South Country Rd.
7a-Visible From Road
8d-Board & Batten
9a-Wood Frame Interlocking Joints
9b-Wood Frame Light Members
[The original house was probably located close to the highway, as suggested by an 1888 photograph by Jake Valentine and indicated by Edna Valentine Bruce in a Long Island Forum article, December 1956. It was later moved and joined with another house further back on the property.] Many alterations when bought by Fred Allardt from Mrs. Desmond Nelson estate.
Photo & Map
Related Outbuildings and Property
Surroundings of the Building
Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings
Other Notable Features of Building and Site
[The original house was probable built about 1793 by Isaac and Scudder Ketcham. Records of the Town of Brookhaven Book A 1690 - 1798 page 253  states that 'At a meeting of the Trustees of the freeholders and Commonality of the Town of Brookhaven held this 5th Day of August 1793 ...Trustees did grant and Sell to Isaac Ketcham a Certain Piece of upland and swamp...etc'. "The Miller Collection" (the Post-Morrow Foundation in Box RG7 Series 4) is a deed dated 1793. ''Trustees Deed for Beaverdam Stream at Swamp - 1793 to Isaac Ketcham" Signed: Joseph Strong, Isaac White and Selah Strong, President. Fee: 3£ 18 shillings. There appear to be no Ketcham's living in Fire Place in 1790 (from the census). The only Ketcham family living in Fire Place in 1800 was Elizabeth (Rose) Ketcham. Elizabeth was Scudder Ketcham's wife (m. 1789). Scudder was Isaac Ketcham's son. There was a Scudder Ketcham living in Huntington in 1790; there were no children in the household, suggesting that they were newly married. The 1797 "Hulse" map of the Town of Brookhaven shows the Ketcham property. Elizabeth's family in 1800 consisted of 3 males and 2 females all under the age of 10. There were also 3 slaves. One of the children was likely Isaac Ketcham, who in the 1840 census was listed as the head of the household. In the 1850 census, Timothy Ketcham has become the head of the household, and is still head of the household through the 1880 census. JD]
Historic and Architectural Importance
[The Ketchams and their farm were residents of Fire Place from about 1792/3 to near the end of the 19th century. Timothy Ketcham died in 1888. The 1888 Wendelken map indicates "Mrs. S. Andrews" as the resident; she was likely Sarah Miller Andrews, wife of George H. Andrews. In 1906 the property was purchased by Alfred Nelson from Louisa Goodall.. He named it "Middlebrook Farm." In 1933, the occupant was reported as Desmond Nelson. The Nelson's lived there until Ethel Nelson died in 1966.]
Designated on Fireplace map, 1858 as property of T. Ketcham (Timothy) (Chace).
Brookhaven map of 1873, property of T. Ketcham (Beers-Comstock).
Brookhaven map of 1888 (Wendelken), indicates Mrs. S. Andrews.
[Emails: Lucia Nelson. 10-11 Mar 2004. Ethel Nelson was Lucia Nelson's grand aunt.]
LI Advance 2 Oct 2008, "From the Archives of the Long Island Advance. 75 Years Ago." Residence name and occupant reported.
Edna Valentine Bruce. "Long Island Forum." December 1956
L. 589, p. 476, 31 May 1906: Indentured between Louisa Goodall and Alfred Nelson. "All that tract or parcel of land, situated in the Village of Brookhaven, County of Suffolk and State of New York, vounded and described as follows:- Geginning at a stone on the easterly side of the South Country Road two hundred seventy-two (272) feet northerly of northwest corner of land late of Nathaniel Miller, deceased, thence running easterly, thence northerly and thence again easterly by and with said land late of Nathaniel Miller, deceased to the centre of Little Neck Run; thence running by and with the centre to the land of Sylvester Corwin; thence by and with said land to a point two rods westerly of the grave yard; thence northerly and parallel with said grave yard one hundred twelve (112) feet to land of said Sylvester Corwin; thence westerly by and with said land to the South Country Road; thence Southerly along the easterly side of said road four hundred and twenty-two (422) feet to a stake placed for a bound; thence running easterly forty-two (42 feet to a stake placed for a bound; thence running southerly fifty-six (56) feet to land late of Timothy Ketcham, deceased to the South Country Road [the preceding bounds would seem to be taking the property around the Presbyterian Chapel excepted out later]; thence running southerly along the easterly side of the South Country Road to the point or place of beginning, estimated to contain about forty-three (43) acres of land, excepting nevertheless a quarter of an acred of land sold to the Presbyterian Church Society [Chapel] and the land taken for a three rod road running through said property." [The three rod road was probably meaning Old Stump Road.] [While this Indenture at first appears to be both for the Ketcham Farm property and the southern portion of what is believed to have been the Corwin farm, when plotted, ambiguities are apparent, especially as they relate to the starting point, which requires further research and analysis. (March 2010) ]
Edna Valentine Bruce, "Long Island Forum" December 1956. p. 234.
"… In 1900 the Ketcham house stood almost in Fireplace Neck Road, directly opposite the later War Memorial. Old houses were built close to the road so the ears of their inmates might more readily gather town news (there were no party lines in those days).
"In 1905* when Jacob Valentine, the postmaster [and Edna Valentine's father], bought the Ketcham place, the Goodalls bought the rest of the farm and moved the Ketcham house to where it now stands, the residence of the Desmond Nelsons. In 1916 the Valentines sold their land [the original location of the Brook Store and Valentine residence], separating house and store, moved the store across Beaver Dam Brook to become the present Brook Store and the house across the street back of where the Ketcham house had stood. …."
* This transaction may have occurred earlier, for in 1903 Louisa Goodall sold property to James H. Post which was used to expand the site of the adjacent Presbyterian Chapel or Lecture Room (Br05C)