Our Rural Cemeteries and Their Historic Background
Monday, October 17 at 7:00 pm
Please join us at The New Canaan Historical Society Townhouse this Monday at 7:00 pm for a special meeting on our rural cemeteries. We will present history of the rural cemeteries, their locations throughout our town, and the material available in our files. Much of the research and involvement was done over many years by the Society’s historians Genevieve Salmon, Lois Bayles and Mary Louise King.
The first survey was made in 1897 by James Lockwood. A second survey, in 1939, was undertaken by the New Canaan Cemetery Association for the state. There are reports and letters identifying public burial grounds at this time as Upper Canoe Hill (1774), Parade Hill (c.1801) and God’s Acre where the last burial was 1857. All the gravestones from God’s Acre have been moved, some to Parade Hill. Later many families bought lots in Lakeview (1868) and moved the gravestones of their ancestors there.
Over the years, the cemeteries have been researched by Scouts, the DAR, and Society volunteers. A survey in 2001 by Andrea Bayles, granddaughter of Lois Bayles, a historian of the Society, found that four cemeteries on previous lists had been moved or destroyed and several others on our list are actually within the borders of other Towns at this time.
The following cemeteries have been either moved or destroyed.
Drummond Cemetery Intersection of Carter St. and Buttery Rd. (Graves moved to Lakeview C.)
Rosebrook Cemetery North end of Rosebrook Rd., bottom of hill. (Graves moved to Lakeview C.)
Hanford Cemetery East side of white Oak Shade Rd., south of Old Norwalk Rd. (Stones removed.)
Laurel Cemetery Now flooded by creation of Laurel Reservoir, no record of location of graves.
Note: The Trinity Pass Road Cemetery is located over the New Canaan town line in Bedford, New York, however, it is listed in The New Canaan Historical Society’s reference book.
Previously, an informational meeting on the cemeteries was initiated by Kevin Monahan and attended by other Town Council members and present owners of the Merritt Apartments along with researchers. At that meeting it was felt that the same kind of informational presentation should be held and be open to all residents. As we have much of the information in our files, it was suggested that the meeting be held at the Society.