Vauxhall Street Extension

Today the driveway is wide and paved with just a narrow shoulder for parking. After parking on the narrow shoulder, the burial stones are a short walk down a leafy path. Probably then, sunshine shone down on the tall grass in the open field.

The first burials at this lonely site were in June 1803 and 1804 for David and Marcy Dart’s two infants, Eliza and David. Other graves for very young children like Daniel Ames, age four; Enoch Ames, age two; and Caroline Chapel, age three are nearby. …

A small burial ground tucked in next to a rambling old farmhouse is the only sign that this farm was once the home to the Richard Dart family over three hundred years ago. A low stonewall surrounds the small square burial site with three gravestones next to the house. A wrought-iron gate guards its entrance to the burial site of three members of the Dart Family who were residents of the property over three hundred years ago. The identity of those buried is unclear.

Three graves in the Dart Family Cemetery

In the early days of New London, living as they were on the edge of a…

Since ancient times, smallpox had been a devastating disease that raced through whole communities, leaving most victims to an excruciating death. The colonists first encounter with the disease was in 1677, followed by another siege in 1689–1690. From time to time, other significant outbreaks occurred, and the population was never completely free from the fear of an outbreak of smallpox until the mid-twentieth century when the World Health Organization conducted a world-wide campaign to contain the disease.¹

Dread of Smallpox in Colonial Days

“Of all the diseases to which the Colonists were subject, the most distressing as is well known…

In Memory of Mr. James Douglas who died April 21, 1803 Aged 93 Years

Two lonely gravestones stand in the corner of a large grassy field on the corner of Douglass Lane and Route 85. At one time there were at least 20 graves on the grassy site, according to the late Waterford town historian, Margaret Stacy. Most likely during the centuries farming and construction work on the Hartford Road damaged the area resulting in lost stones and graves. The areas to the south and west of that pasture are quite swampy. The constant and gradual settling of the road into “Boggy Swamp” made periodic repairs to the road necessary.¹ …

Wheeler Cemetery, Quaker Hill, Waterford, CT (Photo taken in August 2020)

A few years ago, the Waterford town historian, Bob Nye, secured a state grant to remove several large trees that were endangering standing headstones in the Wheeler Cemetery, an abandoned burial ground located on a residential property, just off Route 32 in Quaker Hill (just a little down the road from Hardwick Cemetery). Nye was able to secure a state grant to have the trees removed, and, in the spring of 2017, along with Waterford resident Patrick Crotty, was given permission to clear the site of brush and briars.¹ …

The remains of the Brown Family burial ground can be found in a wooded area off Gardiner Wood Road. There are two ways to reach the small abandoned site. One is by foot, a short walk from Jordan Cove Rd, through heavy brush and woods. The other access is by boat from the Jordan River.¹ The burial ground rests along the water, just south of some railroad tracks, across Jordan Cove what from what is now Pleasure Beach in Waterford.

Head of River Cemetery, September 20, 2020

[This is Part 2 of an article on the Golden Spur Burial Grounds, the latest in my ongoing series on Forgotten Waterford Burial Sites. You can read Part 1 here.]

Google Street View of Boston Post Road Bridge (US Rt. 1) in area known as “Golden Spur”

Golden Spur, also sometimes called “Head of the River,” is a small community located at the source of the Niantic River, straddling the border between Waterford and East Lyme. In the eighteenth century, the Beckwith Shipyard was located there on the river banks. A number of Beckwith Family members are buried in the nearby Riverhead Cemetery.¹ Years later, at the turn of the twentieth century, it was the site of a popular amusement park.

Eileen Olynciw

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