|Wilton Road East|
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Located about 200 yards West of the intersection of Wilton Road East and Creamery Lane.
Best approach is from Wilton Road East.
"Ye Burying Yard" is Ridgefield's Oldest Cemetery, Restored 1988, and maintained by The Caudatowa Garden Club & Parks & Recreation Dept. The Burying Yard contains a monument listing 40 people who were buried in this cemetery between 1708 and about 1760. No original stones still stand. Inscribed on the stone monument in the Burying Yard: "Ye burying Yard. Lay'd out ye Nov. 25. 1708 by the first Settlers of the Town of Ridgefield. - Samuel Keeler • Sarah Keeler • Annie Benedict • Uzziell Hyatt • John Sturdevant • Ruth Keeler • Rebecka Sherwood • Thankfull Burt • Richard Osburn • Sarah Osburn • Abigail Saintjohn • Sarah Smith • Abigail Wood • Daniel Whittamore • Hannah Keeler • Daniel Olmstead • Elisabeth Northrup • Nathan Smith • James Bennett • Henry Whitne • John Osburn • Abraham Whitlock • William Ventrum • Jonathan Rockwell • Abigail Rockwell • Sarah Saintjohn • Mary Smith • John Nichols • Mary Cates • William Northrup • Abigail Lowder • Mary Rockwell • Rebeckah Rockwell • James Osburn • Mary Rockwell • Jeremiah Benedict • Capt. Matthew Benedict • John Benedict & An Unknown British Soldier Killed At The Battle Of Ridgefield. - Erected by the Village Improvement Committee In the Year 1931. Location. 41° 16.089′ N, 73° 29.607′ W. Marker is in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in Fairfield County. Marker is at the intersection of East Wilton Road and Creamery Road, on the right when traveling east on East Wilton Road.
SOURCE: granite-stone memorial itself, and historical notes provided by the Caudatowa Garden Club & Parks & Recreation Dept.
Ridgefield's forefathers lie entombed in about two dozen cemeteries scattered about the community. Travel was quite difficult back in those days. The pioneers had a great feeling of kinship and closeness. Many burials were added within the bounds of small, family cemeteries (often, only a dozen or so graves, located near their homes, or clustered around the old farm-houses). But the ravages of time, weather, vandals, and even developers - have reduced the number of visible or marked graveyards to fewer than 12. The oldest being this burying ground... It was laid-out by those first settlers, in 1708. The cemtery is located on Wilton Road East, just south of the Main Street intersection, the graveyard is marked with a monument which reads: "Ye burying yard lay'd out ye Nov. 25, 1708 by the first settlers of the town of Ridgefield." A granite marker lists the names of 40 pioneers who are buried there, as well as "an unknown British soldier" (killed at the Battle of Ridgefield). The "Village Improvement Society" erected the present granite monument in 1931 - after vandals, thieves, and the elements had destroyed most of the original, old stones. When writing his "History of Ridgefield" in the 1920s, George L. Rockwell found only two tombstones yet standing in the old "Burying Ground". By 1973, nothing remained except a small portion of a slate-like stone, unpon which was inscribed, "54th year of his age". That remnant belonged to the grave of Captain Matthew Benedict, "who departed this life July 7, 1757" and who was born five years before the town was settled. By 2001, that stone was no longer visible - only the group-memorial (granite monument) remains. The old burying ground has not been well-maintained, a fact that would have made the former "Village Improvement Society" cringe... In 1973, several trees had fallen across the unkempt lawn, left to rot in situe. In 1988, the local garden clubs cleaned-up the property, but by April 2001, the cemetery was again partially overgrown (unraked, with trash dumped along its perimeter). A sign out-front and dated 1988, stated that the local garden clubs had restored the cemetery and were maintaining it. The sign itself was falling apart (but that too has since been replaced).
Above notations added: 2011-06-22 -RK