Braman Cemetery (NT004) Highlights

The Braman Cemetery was established in 1898 by David Braman, Daniel Braman, and Robert Fell on land that had been part of the family farm.  It was active during most of the twentieth century and includes Jewish sections, sections for U.S. Navy related burials, and reflects the diversity of the city.

Naval burials- Newport has had a connection to the U.S. Navy since colonial times. A “new” navy hospital opened in 1910 and was expanded in 1918 to accommodate 1000 patients. In addition to graves for people who served in the military living or retired in Newport, the cemetery also has two sections purchased by the hospital for those who died there.

Greek burials- By 1896 four Greeks were known to have been in Newport from the island of Skiathos and would be soon joined by others from Skiathos and Lesbos. Opportunities in the local fishing industry and tensions between Greece and Turkey may have encouraged people to move to Newport. The growing Greek community would be employed in a variety of jobs in the city in addition to the fishing industry. Saint Spyridon congregation was chartered in 1915 and worshipped many places before buying their current house of worship on Thames street in 1924.

Jewish sections-Newport’s Congregation Jeshuat Israel (CJI) established a cemetery fund in October of 1895 but didn’t immediately act to purchase land.  In the meantime a group of Newport Jews, not all of whom were affiliated with the congregation, formed the Goel Zedeick Society and purchased six lots in the City-owned North Common Burying Ground.  This is the small fenced area located near the northwest corner of Van Zandt Avenue and Farewell Street.  There were only 3 internments there, the last one taking place in 1944.

The death of Mrs. Florence Engell in November of 1898 moved CJI to use the previously established burial fund to purchase 10 lots in the privately-owned Braman Cemetery, located on Farewell Street south of the North Common Burying Ground; two additional  lots were purchased between 1899 and 1905.  These comprise the present Section III.  The granite and limestone entrance gates were dedicated in 1911.  At least two people, a Dannin daughter and grandson, were reinterred in Section III from unspecified unconsecrated ground. 

Four more lots were purchased by the congregation some time later in what became Section II.   Another portion of Section II consists of 20 lots south of the CJI section purchased and resold between 1906 and 1935 by a number of individuals and organizations, many of whom were not affiliated with Touro Synagogue.  Separate areas were owned by CJI, the Cheva Kadisha (a burial society established circa 1913), B’rith Abraham Lodge No. 294, and B’rith Shalom Lodge No. 255.

Section I consists of 8 lots purchased between 1925 and 1927 with some plots being resold into the 1930s.  Most of the people buried here were members of Newport’s Congregation Ahavas Achim, but the lots were purchased by individuals or families, not by the congregation.

All of these various burials were brought together under the oversight of the newly chartered Jewish Cemetery Unification Association in 1976.

Individuals of note buried in Braman include (listed by sections)
Dr. Sam Adelson 1897-1965 (AJD27); Dr. Adelson served Newporters as well as serving as president of Newport County Medical Society (1961-62).

Rabbi David Baruch, 1847-1899 (AJD31.2) Born in Amsterdam, Rabbi Baruch was living in New York City when he was hired (1894) to serve as spiritual leader at Touro Synagogue.  He was the second Rabbi to serve the congregation that had reformed in the 1880’s.

David Braman, 1845-1921 (B08) was one of the founders of the Braman Cemetery on land he helped his father farm with his brother Daniel.  He was active in Newport and served on the boards of a number of banks.

Daniel Burdick Braman, 1850- 1907 (B22) was one of the founders of the Braman cemetery on land he helped his father farm with his brother David.  Daniel was an 1875 graduate of Brown University and, like his brother, served on a number of boards of Newport banks.

Rev Daniel Chase Easton, 1844-1907 (BC09) Daniel died serving as a Baptists minister in Rockport Mass. but his burial in Newport speaks to his deep roots in the city.  His ancestors include Governor Nicholas Easton one of the founders of Newport and Myles Standish who arrived on the Mayflower.  His son, Dr. Charles Daniel Easton, practiced medicine in Newport beginning in 1907.

Axel Sundquist, 1867-1910 (C08.4) was born in Finland and emigrated to the United States.  He enlisted in the Navy in 1893 and while serving on the USS Marblehead during the Spanish American War, he cleared 27 contact mines from Guantanamo Bay.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

Joseph J. Henry, 1889-1908 (C08.12) Seaman Henry’s clothing got caught in a gun turret gears during training in Newport and his clothing snapped his neck.  He was native of Memphis Tennessee and had joined the Navy the previous October.   This impressive monument was funded by his shipmates on the USS Mississippi.

Dr. Samuel G. Elbert, Sr. 1865? 1868? -1939 (D06) Born in Maryland, Dr. Elbert was one of the first African American doctors in the state of Delaware, earning his medical degree from Howard University and completed post-graduate coursework at the University of Pennsylvania.  While living in Wilmington Delaware, Dr. Elbert devoted much of his time to advance the education of youth in his community.  His leadership extended beyond the local community and his involvement with national movements included the National Negro Business League founded by Booker T. Washington in 1900.  Dr. Elbert hosted Washington on a tour of educational facilities in Delaware in 1910.  Following the tour, Washington’s comments praised what he experienced in Delaware, reflecting on the life of merit conducted by Dr. Elbert.  Ella Smith Elbert 1865-1955, wife of the doctor was born in Newport and was the sister of Dr. Daniel A. Smith (1880c-1971).  Most likely the couple is buried in Newport because they moved here to be closer to her family.

Rabbi Jacob Bernstein, 1885-1937 (FJD54) Rabbi Bernstein was one of the spiritual leaders of Newport’s other orthodox Jewish congregation, Ahavas Achim, which was in existence form 1915-1981.

Rev Carl A.R. Liljewall, 1886-1942 (G10) Served as minister at the Calvary Methodist Church on Annandale Ave.

Armstead Hurley, 1854-1932 (H19) Armstead arrived in Newport in 1886 from Culpeper County Virginia and was a successful house painter in Newport.  He was a deacon and served as treasurer at Shiloh Baptists Church and was active politicly in the local Republican party. Armstead was also a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge and was a Mason.

Rev Henry Clay Owens, 1847-1933 (H32) Rev. Owns was born in Augusta Georgia and arrived in Newport in 1900 to serve the congregation at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church. His funeral was officiated by Rev Jeffries (see N12)

Nicholas G Spiratos, 1894-1967 (H35) was born in Cephalonia Greece and served as president of St. Spyridon’s church 1946-1948 and 1952-1953.

Rev N.A. Marriott, 1861-1924 (J31) was called to Shiloh Baptists Church in 1917 as it’s spiritual leader but resigned in 1924 due to ill health.

Apostolos B. Cascambas, 1879-1950 (M08) Apostolos arrived in New York City from Greece in 1892 and was a candy maker (confectioner).  He became a naturalized citizen in1912 and registered for the WWI and WWII draft.  He served as the first president of the local AHEPAN chapter (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association).  His shop served soda with cream “right off the farm” in an attractive store for 40 years at corner of Long Wharf and Thames.

Rev. Louis Victor Jeffries, 1881-1935 (N12) arrived in Newport to be the spiritual leader of Mt. Olivet Baptists Church 1926-1935.  Under his leadership the church was raised, the Sunday School room enlarged, and other facilities added to the building. 
Martha Rebekah Goode Jeffries Calloway, 1899-1968, (N12) In 1922 Martha married Rev. Jeffries in Virginia and arrived in Newport with him in 1926.  She was in charge of the Vacation Bible School, was a member of the Newport Women’s Christian Temperance Union (served as its president) and presented lectures in the community.  While her name is inscribed on the stone, she is not buried here.  Following the death of her husband she moved to Virginia to attend Virginia Union University where she would earn her diploma.  Martha went on to earn Master Degrees from Columbia and Andover Newton Theological Seminary.  In addition to serving as Dean of women at VUU, she would also be affiliated with Spellman College. In 1945 Martha married Samuel Calloway and is buried with her parents and siblings in Woodland Cemetery in Richmond Virginia.

Major William Jackson Gaines, 1923-2012 (P08) William Gaines graduated Rogers High School in 1940 and worked in hotels, shining shoes to earn money to attend college.  When WWII broke out, he was attending Virginia Union University in Richmond Virginia and he left school to enlist in the army.  During his decades of service to the country he saw active duty at Iowa Jima and Korea and was stationed in Europe during the cold war years.  He pioneered the design, development, and implementation of a standard Army-wide automated munitions management and reporting system for which he was inducted into the US Army Ordinance Corps Hall of Fame (1994).  He was the first African-American to be so honored.

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