Five Related Cohanzie/Quaker Hill Burial Sites: Ames Family, Cuheca Family, Unger Road, Huntsbrook Road, and Fire Street Cemeteries
Vauxhall Street Extension
Four Related Burial Sites
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. It’s hard to imagine the grief these families endured as they walked along the lonely pathway to bury their small children.
About three hundred years ago the John Ames family, settled about five miles northwest of New London in a wooded area of rolling hills. Several old burial grounds used by their family and friends over the years are evidence they lived here. Members of the Dart family also settled in this area about seven miles from town.
Heading north on Vauxhall Street Extension, about two and a half miles from I-95, just before the power lines, lies a driveway on the right. Proceed down the driveway about 150 feet. On the left there is a small sign for Cuheca Cemetery. Walk along a leafy path into the woods and on the left, surrounded by a low old stone wall is the Ames Burial Ground. On the right lies an active burial ground called the Cuheca Family Burial Ground, used by the Schacht family who founded the nearby Waterford Country School in 1922.
This area of town was first settled well before the old burial grounds in this area were created. John Ames (or Eams), the youngest of three brothers and four sisters, was born in Woburn, Massachusetts. Late in the seventeenth century he and his brother, David, moved to New London, where John married Abigail Rose-Morgan, daughter of Richard Rose-Morgan and Hopestill Merrick, two of the first settlers in town.
In 1703 John Ames (Eams) purchased 80 acres from John Moor who was probably a speculator who had never settled on the property. The land was mostly east of the Connecticut Turnpike and in the vicinity of Huntsbrook Road. A survey of the property was given the vague name: “A survey of a road from Town to the Outer Commons.” John was the settler further from town northwest of the town and would be for another six years. His house was just north of where I-395 crosses (under) Vauxhall Street Ext today. Little more is known about John’s brother David.
Today, the area is heavily wooded, however, in the 1800s when the Ames burial ground was first created, many of the trees may have been cut down for fuel and lumber, and the area may have consisted of wide open fields for hay, corn or other crops. On Vauxhall Street at that time, Peter Baker’s blacksmith shop stood near his small house — a one room wooden structure on the west side of the road. Both Peter, the blacksmith, and his wife Marie were buried in the nearby Ames Burial ground.
Baker’s house came to be used as the East Lake School House for area school children. It was commonly referred to as the Peter Baker School. Around 1812, the small (13x20) structure took on an additional function. It began to be used as a meeting- house for a group of Baptists residents in the area. On June 12, 1816 Reverend Jonathan Ames was ordained in that school house/meeting house.
Although they had no real house of worship, meetings in the school house kept the group united until Elder Ames’ death in 1830. Soon after he died the meetings stopped and “the Church that originated in his labors, died with him.” It was said that he was “buried in the nearby fields.” Actually he was buried in the nearby burial ground. Shortly afterwards the members of his Church dispersed and the worshippers united with other churches. Most went to Elder Darrow’s Society at the Lakes Pond Baptist Church on the Hartford Road.
This is the inscription of Elder Ames’ gravestone:
Elder Jonathan Amos
Who departed this life
May 22, 1830
Aged 62 years
And they shall rest their labors
A majority of the graves are from the Ames family. While the evidence is clear, among historians that the first settler in the area was named John Ames; however, his actual identity is in dispute. All three possibilities are named John Ames, however each came from different families and different cities in Massachusetts. The most likely to have settled in New London is John Ames and his brother, David, from Andover, Mass who arrived in New London around 1696. Little more has been found about John’s brother, David.
The Richard Dart family, one of the very early settlers in New London settled far from town on Oil Mill Road. Some of the Dart sons and daughters moved to the Bolton, CT area, while a good many chose either Faulkner Drive, off Vauxhall Street Ext., or Fog Plain Road area to raise their families. (These families are covered in another chapter) Historian/Surveyor Boucher points out that the early houses in this area where the Dart family settled were closer together than typical in other areas. This irregularity probably occurred because the family members preferred to be closer to each other for security in those early days.
Burials in Ames Cemetery
The first burials at this lovely wooded site were in June 1803 and in April 1804 for David and Marcy Dart’s two infants, Eliza and David. Other graves for very young children like Caroline Chapel, age three, Enoch Ames, age four, and Daniel Ames, age two are nearby. It’s hard to imagine the grief these families endured as they walked along the lonely pathway to the grave sites.
Many graves in this burial ground like others of its time, are of very young children. Life was hard for these settlers, miles from town. Medicine and medical care was lacking, especially for the young. Once a child makes it through those tough years of early childhood, there would be a good chance he or she would live to a good old age.
The Schacht Family Burial Ground
Right next to the Ames Burial Ground is another family cemetery. This one belongs to the Schacht Family, the founding family of the Waterford Country School.
#2. Unger Road Burial Site
Listed among a list of “Lost” Waterford burial grounds was one on Unger Road. The directions were vague: “Located on the south side of Unger Road, west side of the brook.” Volunteer Pat Crotty took it as a challenge to find this burial site. One cold winter afternoon he set off on a hike through the wooded property near the Montville town line. Not far from the road he came upon two gravestones in the snow, covered with tree branches and brambles. One for Ebenezer Dart and the second for his sister, Desiree Dart Stebbins, born October 4, 1783 and died October 1820 . He went back later with tools and brush cutters and cleared the burial area.
Ebenezer and Desiree’s family was one of the first to settle in New London when it was still an outpost. Their grandparents, Richard and Bethia Dart, were early arrivals in New London in the early 1760s. Richard was very active in town affairs and purchased property in the outskirts of New London on which his children settled.Their fourth son, Ebenezer, early on, was considered “something of a character in town. His sons and grandchildren settled on land he purchased in outlying areas. One was in the Vauxhall St Ext area and the other on Fog Plain Road extending to and including the airport property. Ebenezers’ son, Ebenezer, settled and built a home in the Faulkner Drive area next to his other family members. His son, David, and David’s son, Ebeneze, settled in this same area. Ebenezer, was born October 10, 1765 and died in October 1849. He was buried next to his sister, Desire. She died in October 1820.
Nothing has been found about her or her brother’s lives. Ebenezer was named after his grandfather, son of Richard Dart, one of the first settlers of New London. It is unclear why the two siblings were buried at this site. Most likely at one time, the property was a farm owned by the Dart family.
# 3 Huntsbrook Road
A single grave for Linda Ames Baker
On the same day Pat Crotty found the burials on Unger Road, he came across this lonely gravestone for Linda Ames Baker. It is located amidst the laurel and some brush on Hunterbrook Road. Her parents, Peter Baker, the blacksmith who lived on Vauxhall Street (see above) and his wife, Maria Baker are buried in the nearby Ames Burial Ground.
# 4 Fire Street Baker Burial Ground
Two miles north of Huntsbrook Road on Fire Street, on the right, just over the Montville town line can be found three graves. Considered a difficult site to reach, it is
located on a high knoll. There is one stone, but three burials. Mary Chapel Baker and Lebbeus Baker, and their daughter-in-law, Julia, rest here. Other Baker family members are buried near-by in the Ames Burial Ground. Daughter Linda Ames Baker’s grave is found a short ways away on Huntsbrook Road.
died Nov. 7, 1844
Lebbeus Baker, born in Montville in 1773 and operated a sawmill on Roaring Brook, located on Huntsbrook Road. He was the father of Peter Baker who was the blacksmith on Vauxhall St. Ext. and is buried in Ames Burial Ground.
Died 1837 [April 3]
Age 64 years
Mary Polly Chapel Baker was the daughter of Peter Chapel and Esther Douglas Chapel. She married Lebbeus Baker March 25, 1793 and was the mother of fourteen children.
July 23, 1840
For the Lord God
Julia Baker Ames, born September 7, 1817, died very young, age 23, in September 1817 and was buried with her father, Lebbeus Baker. She was Anson’s second wife. Peter Baker, the blacksmith was her brother.