The Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, CT
The Cedar Hill Cemetery is on the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Maple Street, at the “South End” of Hartford, Connecticut, bordering on the Wethersfield town line. This cemetery contains three family plots, namely: Gallaudet, Turner, and Williams.
Top: Map of Cedar Hill Cemetery showing the family plots for Gallaudet, Turner, and Williams.
|Top: Gallaudet Family Monument in Plot #3
|Top: The Gallaudet Family Plot where the in-ground markers form a circle.
Job Williams was the 6th Principal of the American Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb.
|Rev. William W. Turner was the 3rd Principal of the American Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb.
|The family plot of William Turner in Plot # 2
The Old North Cemetery in Hartford, CT
The Old North Cemetery is on Main Street, at the “North End” of Hartford, Connecticut, and was initially called the Old North Burying Ground. It was established in 1807 as a municipal burying ground, consisting of 11 acres, but grew to 17 acres in time. Throughout this cemetery are many family plots with impressive monuments of brownstone, marble, and granite. They provide a record of changes in funerary art styles and developments of stone carving through the 19th century. It also reflects a cross-section of 19th-century society from all avenues of life.
In this prestigious cemetery are several burials of persons connected with the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb of Hartford. Among such names is the plot for Dr. Mason F. Cogswell, (1761-1830), a prominent physician, and his deaf daughter, Alice Cogswell, (1805-1830). She was the first student of the Asylum when it opened in 1817.
Top: Map showing the Cogswell, Asylum and Crossett plots.
|White marble obelisk for Dr. Mason F. Cogswell and family
In the same plot, later called the “Asylum Plot,” lies Lewis Weld, (1790-1856), the school’s 2nd Principal, and his wife, Mary (Cogswell) Weld, (1801-1887), who was a sister of Alice. Nearby are graves of Antonio Joseph, the school’s kitchen worker, and Salmon Crossett, (died 1883), who served as the school’s officer for 32 years. At his request, he was buried in the “Asylum Plot” among his beloved students.
There is a brownstone monument capped by a square pediment marked “Asylum,” which marks the graves of 25 students of the Asylum, who died while at the school, the oldest being 24 years old and the youngest being ten years old. Their names are inscribed on the four sides of the shaft, including dates of deaths, with their hometowns.
List of students & student # from the American Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb buried in the Asylum Plot in the Old North Cemetery (the year of admitted to the year of deceased)
|Four sides of the “Asylum” monument showing names, dates and places of 25 students who died while at the Asylum.
|An old photograph of the “Asylum Plot”
|“The Asylum Plot” in late autumn.
|Monument of Lewis Weld (1796-1853); Taught for 35 years at the American Asylum
|Weld Family Plot next to Cogswell Family Plot
|Old North Cemetery. The Weld monument can be seen in the middle.
Spring Grove Cemetery in Hartford, CT
The Spring Grove Cemetery is on Main Street, at the “North End” of Hartford, Connecticut, and was originally a family plot for the Page family, established in 1845. It later became a municipal burying ground, consisting of 34 acres. A good number of the city’s high-profile civic and business leaders are buried in this cemetery, namely Frederick E. Church, a famed artist, Lydia Huntley Sigourney, a renowned author and educator, plus others. This cemetery retains its 19th-century features. In 2011, this beautiful cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Map of the Spring Grove Cemetery
Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865) – She was a prolific writer, having written over 50 books.
|Sigourney Family Plot
HARVEY P. PEET, Ph.D., L.L.D.
Principal 1831 to 1867. Emeritus-Principal 1867 to 1873.
Harvey Prindle Peet (1795-1873) –Teacher at the American Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb at the 3rd school. In later years, he became the Principal of the New York School for the Deaf.
|Peet Family Monument
Rev. Collins Stone (1812-1870) – 4th Principal of the Asylum
Edward Collins Stone (1840-1878) – 5th Principal of the Asylum; a son of Collins Stone
|Stone Family Monument
Laurent Marie Clerc was a co-founder of the American Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet in 1817. He became the first Deaf teacher in America and taught at the Asylum for many years. His wife Eliza Boardman was deaf, and she was a graduate of the Asylum.
|Top: Plots for Laurent Clerc (1785-1869) and his wife Eliza (Boardman) Clerc (1792-1880). These granite headstones are replacements of the originals, funded by a foundation gift.
|The restored Laurent Clerc Family Plot
A SHORT TOUR OF IMPORTANT PLACES IN HARTFORD CONNECTED TO ASD
OLD STATE HOUSE
Before 1870 Connecticut had two state capitals: New Haven and Hartford; and the legislature met alternately in each. In 1816 ASD’s public incorporation meeting was held in Hartford’s State House, as were early public demonstrations of achievement by our students. In October of that year the legislature granted ASD the sum of $5,000, the first time a state gave money for special education.
TRAVELERS INSURANCE BUILDING
In 1814 the Gallaudet and Cogswell families lived near this site, then a field or garden. Tradition holds that here Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a young Congregational minister first met Alice Cogswell, the nine-year old deaf daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Mason F. Cogswell. Here he succeeded in teaching Alice the relationship between a word written in the sand (H-A-T) and an object (his hat). Thus, he opened the door of language and formal education to Alice. This suggested to Dr. Cogswell and other Hartford philanthropists the idea of founding a school in American for deaf children.
DR. COGSWELL’S HOME and OFFICE
Alice’s family lived in a house on this Prospect Street site in the early 1800’s. Here, Dr. Cogswell, a prominent Hartford physician and surgeon, also had his office. After the opening of ASD in 1917, the school rented a mansion nearby to serve as a dormitory and classrooms. It is referred to as ASD’s Second School.
During 1821 and 1822, ASD’s cofounder, Laurent Clerc, spent about eight months in Philadelphia, helping to organize the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. While there, his portrait and that of his wife Eliza and their first daughter were painted by noted portrait artist Charles Wilson Peale. Note that Eliza is shown signing “E” for her name and that of their child, Elizabeth. These portraits, owned by ASD, are on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum, an art museum founded by one of ASD’s incorporators, Daniel Wadsworth.
ASD. American’s oldest school for deaf persons, was opened here on 15 April 1817, with seven students, ranging in age from nine (George H. Loring) to fifty-one (John Brewster, Jr.). Having yet no building of its own, the school rented quarters in the City Hotel on Main Street. This site is now occupied by Bushnell Towers; but a plaque marks the sport where ASD began.
ASD occupied this, and a building on Prospect Street until 1821, when it moved to its own building on present day Asylum Avenue. This plaque marks the sit of the First School.
CENTER CHURCH (First Church of Christ, Congregational)
Though trained as a Congregational clergyman, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet never served as a parish minister. Instead he chose to devote himself to the education of the deaf, and to other philanthropic causes. He attended Center Church, where a stained-glass window now commemorates his and Dr. Cogswell’s pioneering work in the field of deaf education.
HARTFORD INSURANCE COMPANY BUILDING
ASD occupied this site for 100 years (1821-1921). Originally called Lord’s Hill, the area is now known as Asylum Hill in honour of the school, whose original name was the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons. Asylum Avenue also takes its name from the school.
Known affectionately as the Old Hartford” school, the building constructed here was a simple three-story structure which included classrooms, workshops, kitchens, and accommodations for students and staff. As the student body grew, the building was altered and expanded. Additional buildings (e.g., a separate elementary school and an industrial arts building) were also erected on the property.
FOUNDERS’ MEMORIAL STATUE
To commemorate ASD’s long presence in Hartford, Frances Memorial Statue, which stands at the junction of Asylum and Farmington Avenues. It shows Alice Cogswell, holding book and quill-pen, the symbols of learning. She stands in a pair of open and uplifted hands which symbolize enlightenment. The statue was dedicated in April 1953.
OLD NORTH CEMETERY
ASD’s first student, Alice Cogswell, her parents, and other members of her family and the early ASD community are interred in this cemetery on Main Street in Hartford’s North End. Thomas H. Gallaudet was originally buried here in 1851; but his remains were later transferred to the more fashionable Cedar Hill Cemetery near the southern boundary of Hartford.
Cogswell Family Monument.
This monument marks the Cogswell Family burial plot. Over the years it fell into despair. As a tribute to ASD’s co-founder its first student, the Deaf community had the monument restored in 1997 . This is the original headstone which marks the resting place of Alice Cogswell and here are the graves of her parents, Mason F. and Mary A. Cogswell.
Weld Family Monument.
Lewis Weld was married to Alice Cogswell’s sister, Mary. He was one of the first teachers at ASD. He also served as Principal of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (1822-1830) and of ASD from 1831 until his death in 1853. He and his family are buried in a lot adjacent to the Cogswells.
Two of Weld’s sons, Charles T. and Lewis L., served as officers in the Union army during the Civil War. Lewis was a Lt. Col. In a regiment made up of African American soldiers. Both were killed in the war and are buried near their parents.
During the 19th Century students sometimes died while attending ASD. Those whose bodies were not returned to their homes for burial were interred in this cemetery plot owned by the school. The Asylum Monument records the names of the 25 students who are buried here.
Salmon Crossett served for thirty-two years as Assistant Steward at ASD. Devoted to the school and to its students, he requested that he be buried in the “Asylum plot” with his students; and when he died in 1883 his request was honored. Nearby is buried another faithful employee of ASD, Antonio Joseph, who served for 36 years as a cook at the school.
SPRING GROVE CEMETERY
Spring Grove Cemetery is located near the Old North Cemetery in Hartford’s north end. Here are buried the remains of Laurent and Eliza Clerc, Lydia Huntley Sigourney, Harvey P. Peet, and Collins and Edward C. Stone.
Laurent and Eliza Clerc Headstones
Laurent and Eliza Clerc are buried here, together with their children who died in infancy. Once a lovely semi-rural setting, the neighborhood deteriorated in the Twentieth Century, and the cemetery was subject to vandalism, and the Clerc plot neglected. Thanks to an initiative by the National Association of the Deaf, a fund was raised to replace the badly worn marble headstones with vandalism and weather-resistant granite replicas, and to fence the plot. The restored site was rededicated in 1998, and the original headstones were placed in the ASD Museum.
The original marble headstones of the three Clerc children who were buried with them are included in the rededicated family plot.
Lydia Huntley Sigourney Monument
Lydia Huntley was Alice Cogswell’s teacher from 1814-1817. An imaginative and innovative educator, Miss Huntley used the two-hand British manual alphabet to instruct her deaf pupil, compiling, as well, a “dictionary” of home-made signs for the entire class, so that Alice might received instruction and enter fully into the life of the school. In 1819 Lydia Huntley married one of the ASD’s incorporators, Charles Sigourney. Throughout her life Mrs. Sigourney exhibited a lively interest in the cause of deaf education. Remembered today chiefly as a popular Nineteenth Century poet, Lydia Sigourney also deserves to be known as the nation’s first successful teacher of the deaf.
Collins & Edward Stone Monument
The Rev. Collins Stone (Yale 1832) is buried in a plot adjacent to that of his colleague and mentor, Laurent Clerc. Trained as an educator of the deaf by Clerc at ASD, Stone served as principal of the Ohio School for the Deaf from 1852-1863. With the retirement of William W. Turner in that year, Stone returned to Hartford to become ASD’s fourth principal. An enthusiastic advocate of practical vocational training for the deaf student not destined for an academic career, Stone is the father of meaningful vocational education in America’s deaf schools. His career came to an untimely end in a tragic railroad accident in 1870.
Edward C. Stone (Yale 1862) succeeded his father as ASD’s fifth principal in 1871. Trained as a teacher of deaf students at the Ohio school when his father was its principal, he taught at ASD from 1864-1868, when he was named principal of the Wisconsin Institution for the Deaf and Dumb at Delavan. He returned to Hartford in 1871 to succeed his father as head of ASD, where he served with distinction until his death at 38 of malignant erysipelas.
CEDAR HILL CEMETERY
This beautiful park-cemetery in Hartford’s south end was designed in Jacob Weidenmann in 1863. Weidenmann, a German-trained landscape architect began his American career as Hartford’s first park commissioner, a which capacity he designed Bushnell Park. He also taught drawing at ASD (1860-1863); and three school’s museum houses his drawing board and views of his Bushnell Park designs. In addition to being the final resting place of its designer, Cedar Hill is also the burial site of the Gallaudet family, and of ASD principals William W. Turner and Job Williams.