Wolcott Historical Society News - December 2019
By Florence Goodman
This month I will conclude my discussion on the history of our early cemeteries with information on the Northeast, Southeast, Woodtick and Allentown Cemeteries. I have included Allentown Cemetery, which is located just over the Wolcott line in Plymouth because many Wolcott residents from the western section of town are buried there. Before I begin, I'd like to give a huge "SHOUT OUT" to Ben Podzunas and members of Boy Scout Troop 230 for the fantastic job they did at Pike's Hill Cemetery for Ben's Eagle Project. Watch the paper for a date and time when we will celebrate the improvements to the cemetery. I will include pictures of the finished product.
By 1776, three graveyards were in existence in Farmingbury so the Society appointed three gravediggers to maintain to them. Mr. John Barrett was in charge at Edgewood, Mr. Zodac Bronson at Northeast (Pike's), and Mr. David Frost at Southeast.
The Society of Farmingbury established the Southeast burying ground in 1772. Today this cemetery is located on property owned by the Southington Reservoir not far from the intersection of County Road and East Street, but the cemetery is still maintained by the Town of Wolcott. The earliest inscription on a tombstone in this graveyard is January 1, 1782 for Archebald Upson who died at age twenty. There were fifty-two settlers buried in this cemetery from 1782 to 1939. Family names such as Lewis, Upson, Tuttle, Barnes, Brown, Byington, Carter and Frost are found here. Over the years this cemetery has been preserved because of the watchful eyes of the Southington Reservoir crew and two Wolcott residents Gary Gemino and Jay Crocco. Gary and Jay repaired broken stones and made sure all was well at this beautiful old burying ground.
The second Northeast Cemetery was created in 1805 on a piece of land on lower Beecher Road off of Woodtick Road. This cemetery was established because Pike's Hill became too small. The earliest date on a tombstone in this cemetery was 1781 for Martin Carter, whose grave was probably moved from Pike's Hill to this one. The last burial date found on a tombstone is January 18, 1927 for Benjamin L. Bronson. This cemetery's remote location has allowed it to be vandalized on numerous occasions; vandals have broken or totally destroyed many of the tombstones. In the fall of 2008 the town crew improved the road leading into the Northeast Cemetery to make way for a major clean up by the Boy Scouts. The Scouts and their leaders spent a full day removing many trees to make room for a new fence that was installed shortly thereafter. Since then the town crew has kept the grass mowed during the spring and summer months. In the fall of 2012 Michael Jacobson completed an Eagle Scout project here. Erosion and abuse from dirt bikers and quad riders had caused the entrance to the cemetery to constantly wash out and Michael wanted to change that. His idea to stop the erosion was to install large barrier blocks at the bottom of the entrance hill then backfilled with gravel and soil. He presented his ideas to Mayor Dunn and Pete Carey and they agreed to help. Michael and his team of workers built large steps leading up into the cemetery and also planted shrubs and grass seed on each side of the steps. A stainless sign with a brief history of the cemetery was ordered and placed on one of the concrete barriers to let visitors know about its historical significance. Michael, his dad and the team of scout workers did an outstanding job in helping to preserve the entrance to this cemetery, which still looks good today. I'm sorry to say that the cemetery itself is in a sad state, but I am hoping in the future we may be able to rectify that.
The Woodtick Cemetery is located on Woodtick Road near the corner of Todd Road and backs up to property on Pleasant Street. It was established on November 20, 1807. The entrance to the cemetery is found just south of the Woodtick Memorial and it's obvious as you first enter the dirt driveway that this is the original historic section. This cemetery has been enlarged to allow more gravesites and is under the supervision of a cemetery association. The earliest date of a burial here is Julia Upson on November 21, 1813; she was 20 years of age. Tombstones of many early settlers can be found here. They are: Browne, Byington, Cole, Harrison, Finch, Frisbie, Garthwait, Hall, Hitchcock, Nichols, Todd, Upson, Wakelee, Weber and Welton.
The Allentown Cemetery is located on Allentown Road just over the Wolcott border. This cemetery has many Wolcott residents buried in it because it was located so close to our northwestern border of our town. This cemetery is well-kept and easy to access. To locate this cemetery, follow Spindle Hill Road to Allentown Road. The cemetery is located about a quarter of a mile past Todd Hollow Road on the left hand side of the road. Some early settlers from our town that are buried are members of the Alcott, Andrews, Lane, Downs, Thomas, Bassett and Allen families.
(Information for this article was taken from Samuel Orcutt's The History of Wolcott, Connecticut from 1781 to 1874, and the 1933 Charles R. Hale Collection of Cemetery Tombstones.)
Boy Scout Troop 230 did a fantastic at Pike's Hill Cemetery for Ben's Eagle Project. Ben is in the middle with his scout shirt on.
Completed 2019 Eagle Project done by Ben Podzunas and Troop 230. This is the second Eagle Project done at this cemetery. Steven Lago completed his Eagle Project here in 2010. That is when the fencing was placed around the cemetery after Steven and his team completely cleaned the area.
David Frost tombstone. He was the gravedigger at Southeast Cemetery.
Stephen Barnes tombstone found at Southeast Cemetery.
The sad state of Northeast Cemetery 2019, but I am hoping in the future we may be able to rectify this.
Tombstone of WWI veteran Charles Browne found at the Woodtick Cemetery.
The tombstone of Luther Andrews found at the Allentown Cemetery.
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