A Preservation Month Walk Through Windsor’s Historic Palisado Cemetery 

Saturday, May 2        2pm – 3:30pm

(rain date May 3)

 

 

Join Windsor Historical Society’s Executive Director Christine Ermenc for a walk through Windsor’s oldest cemetery.  She will show participants how gravestones evolved over the years and introduce them to some of the gravestone carvers and people commemorated on surviving stones.  The tour will start and end at the Windsor Historical Society complex at 96 Palisado Avenue. 

           

“New England’s burying grounds are one of its greatest historical resources,” notes Ermenc.  “Epitaphs can tell you about peoples’ hopes, beliefs and personal characteristics as well as how they died.  Gravestones are also works of art.  Visit most New England graveyards and you’ll see striking carvings of death’s heads, angels, weeping willows, hands pointing toward the heavens.  Here in Windsor’s Palisado Cemetery, we find four centuries of history all around us surrounded by the beauties of nature.” 

 

Palisado Cemetery is home to Connecticut’s oldest gravestone erected to honor the Reverend Ephraim Huit who died in 1644. Other stones commemorate the lives of young women like Mary Denslow, Kezia Ellsworth, and Mary Rowland, who died as a result of childbearing.  The grave marker of Nancy Toney, born into slavery in the 18th century and unable to live independently after 1848 when slavery was abolished in Connecticut, is found here as well as the grave of three Palmer brothers who died within weeks of one another in 1756, a year when New England was ravaged by smallpox.  

 

The Connecticut River Valley area was home to several dynasties of stone carvers including the Griswolds of Windsor, the Johnsons of Middletown, the Drakes of South Windsor, the Lathrops of East Windsor, Ezra Stebbins of Longmeadow Massachusetts, and John Ely of West Springfield.  Bloomfield was a part of Windsor when James. G. Batterson was born there.  He became nationally renowned for Civil War memorials before founding the Traveler’s Insurance Company. The work of all of these carvers and more is found in Palisado Cemetery.   Open your eyes and mind and spend spend an enjoyable afternoon learning more about the art and evolution of Connecticut Valley gravestones.  Cost for the program is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and $4 for WHS members.  Parking is available in the Windsor Discovery Center Parking Lot and around Palisado Green.

 

 

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