Farmer Thomas Pullis, a Dutch immigrant, was among those who purchased land in Middle Village just after the Williamsburgh-Jamaica Turnpike had been established. In 1822, he acquired land stretching roughly between Juniper Blvd North and Juniper Valley Road. In 1846, the first burial happened on the property, with the last being in 1870. In his will, Pullis bequeathed the farm to his heirs with the stipulation that the family cemetery be fenced in and remain undeveloped. Part of the southern end of the farm was sold to St. Margaret's Parish and the northern part containing the cemetery became part of Juniper Valley Park. By the 1990s, the cemetery was unkempt and overgrown with weeds, but found a savior in Ed Shusterich, who founded a non-profit that has been maintaining the grounds to this day. Although several surviving family graveyards in Queens have been officially landmarked by the City of New York, Pullis Farm Cemetery is not among them. The Newtown Historical Society (NHS) in early August applied for landmark status for the cemetery and State Senator Joseph Addabbo followed that up with a letter of support. Later in August, a response from the LPC was received indicating that in their estimation, the site did not deserve landmark status.
Assembly Member Marge Markey, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and Congress Member Grace Meng followed this up with a joint letter requesting reconsideration. The Landmarks Preservation Commission gives the greatest weight to the local council member's opinion, and we are glad to see that our council member has signed on. Middle Village getting its first officially recognized landmark during its 200th anniversary year would be something very special and we hope the LPC does the right thing here.