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CORNWALL CEMETERIES


CROWD OF WITNESSES, by Ann Schillinger

Cornwall can boast of ten burying grounds, four of them active and all of them treasuries of our history.  All are fun to explore and some are easy to find, but the woods have overtaken others. Whether prominent and well tended or unnoticed, these graveyards share a serenity and dignity which draws those who venture onto our back pathways.  The Historical Society has records for the different sites. Local history enthusiasts and relatives often find burials on these sites impossible to identify because rough fieldstones were often used for early grave markers instead of more costly carved headstones - in some cases even wooden slabs were used.  Meanwhile for over a century, the VFW has faithfully decorated the graves of Cornwall people who fought in the nation’s wars - more every Memorial Day.

(1) The Calhoun Cemetery (on Route 7 opposite Route 45) was established in 1773 for the Puffingham settlement of the town. General Heman Swift-commander in the Revolutionary War and Cornwall's foremost man of the time-lies there.

(2) St. Bridget’s Cemetery in Sharon, west of Cornwall Bridge (River Road, north side of Routes 4 and 7). Founded in 1883, it was laid out in a rare and graceful concentric design.

(3) The Cornwall Cemetery (above the village on Route 4) was originally one acre. Its earliest stone (1763) belongs to William Tanner, and several pupils of the Foreign Mission School, as well as other major players in that story(1817-1826), are buried there. (The stone receiving vault was built in 1921.)

(4) The Cornwall Hollow Cemetery (on Hautboy Hill by Route 43, opposite the Sedgwick monument), the fifth to be opened, dates from 1793 and contains the grave of Major General John Sedgwick and other prominent members of the family.

(5) The North Cornwall Cemetery (southern end of Rattlesnake Road), whose first stone is 1808, holds 68 Harts, 49 Rogers, 41 Scovilles, and 18 Golds.

(6) Smallpox Cemetery (fenced, in the open field on Coggswell Road west of the North Cornwall Church) a few graves from 1777 to 1801.

(7) The Allen Cemetery (on Route 125, 200 feet up the old wood road opposite Dibble Hill Road) is the oldest in the town, with an obelisk and plaque to “Cornwall Pioneers.”  Graves (no longer visible) date from 1739 to 1762.  (Ethan’s father, Joseph, is the only Allen buried there.)

(8) The Bradford Cemetery (on the hillsides overlooking Route 43, opposite Lake Road) was the original Cornwall Hollow burying ground, as early as 1757, and sheltered under tall trees, perhaps the most beautiful of them all. Its legible epitaphs show mostly Sedgwicks and Hulburts.

(9) The little Southeast Cemetery (on a driveway running west from Flat Rocks Road north of Hawkins Pond) dates from the mid-19th century, when the area had an economic boom.

Small private burying grounds are the Wilcox Cemetery (on a wooden knoll west of Route 63, a mile north of Hautboy Hill) with family markers from 1828 to 1852; the Wright Cemetery (1846-1910; and on a knoll between Route 128 and Wright Hill Road). Not such a long list for 266 years.

Among our neighbors, Kent has four graveyards; Canaan five; Litchfield has seven, all active; Lakeville-Salisbury has four; Norfolk five; and Goshen tops us all with a dozen.

 

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Research inquiries by appointment:
CornHistSoc@optonline.net

 


© Cornwall Historical Society, 2013