NORTHPORT — If you drive down Beech Hill Road from Route 52 toward Route 1, after a couple of miles you will come to a former fire road on the right. There is a gate across the road, but you can pull off and park. Walk down the road behind the gate for about half a mile, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you may spot the burial place of a Boston Tea Party participant amid the blueberry bushes.

Gersham Collier and a couple of other long-ago residents are buried in Collier Cemetery, their stones leaning this way and that, in various states of illegibility. But Collier may get some recognition at last, if the Boston Tea Party Museum and Ships has its way.

Evan O’Brien, creative manager for the museum, contacted Town Administrator James Kossuth Oct. 28 to inform him that Collier took part in the Tea Party and the museum, in honor of that historic event’s 25oth anniversary (Dec. 16, 2023), would like to place a commemorative marker at his grave sometime in 2022.

Gersham Collier’s headstone is barely legible in a blueberry field in Northport. Photo by Sarah E. Reynolds

Collier was born in Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1738, O’Brien told The Republican Journal, and married Abigail Nash, also of Massachusetts, Nov. 2, 1783, in Chesterfield, Massachusetts. He was probably also a Freemason, and may have been a descendant of settlers who came to this country on the Mayflower.

A page contributed by a modern-day Collier relative on Genealogy.com says Gersham, whose name is also sometimes spelled Gershom, is listed as a resident of Northport in the census of 1800 and again in 1810, but not in 1820. It notes that vital records for Scituate, Massachusetts, do not list any children for Gersham and Abigail. O’Brien told TRJ Collier died in 1822, which is confirmed by Northport town records.

The stone marking his grave is difficult to read, the limestone having worn away over the last 200 years, but it is possible to make out the name.

Also listed on a page from the town records Kossuth provided about the cemetery are Collier’s wife, Abigail, who apparently also died in 1822; an infant daughter; a John Collier and his wife, Mary, who died within a month of each other in 1871. A few other people, apparently unrelated to the Colliers, are also listed as being buried in the cemetery.

Kossuth notes in his reply to O’Brien, shared with us, that he believes the property on which the cemetery lies is owned by Wyman’s Blueberries. He continues, “To access the cemetery, you would need permission from Wyman’s, and you would also need permission from any of Collier’s descendants to place a marker at the headstone.”