By Beth Sullivan
In honor of the holiday, we took the time to visit several of the cemeteries and family burying grounds that are within or near our Avalonia Preserves.
Since the first settlers came to our shores and established homesteads and farms, they created spaces dedicated to their family’s deceased. Many of these small plots have become forgotten and over grown. Others became incorporated into or surrounded by, the land donated to Avalonia for conservation and preservation. It is an interesting walk through history to examine some of the stones and their inscriptions-family groups, youngsters, soldiers and laborers are represented.
In the Perry Natural Area, in the far corner, is a small plot. Most of the stones are unmarked, merely designating head and foot. Two others are larger, with writing legible still.
|The grave of Prentice Brown in the Perry Natural Area.
|Most graves are unmarked, just stones placed at head and foot.
In Hoffman Preserve there is the Bennett Yard. Also within Hoffman are many stone mounds, thought by some to be markers of burial sites from even pre-colonial times.
|Sometimes stone cairns mark old burial sites.
Out on Barn Island, on the way to the Continental Marsh Preserve, is yet another cemetery. This one is surrounded by more imposing stone walls.
|Family groups include graves from all ages.
There is one lovely spot, a plot carved out of the Stony Brook Preserve on Sommers Lane. It is not easy to access as there are no trails. Here members of the Davis and Beebe Families are buried.
|The Davis family was prominent in Stonington.
It is in the cemetery near the Knox preserve where some of the most detailed history is found. Wives of an original founding father, in the Minor family, members of the Hoxsie, Latham and Wilcox families as well are buried here. Included here is a stone dedicated to two “Indians” who lived and presumably worked on the farm here. They were given an impressive stone and a place with the family.
|Native Americans and farm laborers were also included in family burial grounds.
|The Minor family is one of the oldest founding families.
Veterans are included in these old graveyards
What is notable is the number of American Flags that dotted the land on this Memorial Day Weekend. They honor those from several wars and include a number who served in the Connecticut Volunteers.
We live in an area rich with history. It is good to see that preserved and to see there is still honor bestowed on those who served this country, long, long ago.
|The grave of John Hoxsie who fought in the Civil War and survived.
|The grave of Lenard Wilcox in the Miner Cemetery by Knox Preserve.
Photographs by Beth Sullivan and Rick Newton.