Welcome to our news and history blog!

Welcome to our news and history blog!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Preservation Update: Mead Burying Ground at North Greenwich

The Association announces that Mr. Bobby Keeler is no longer maintaining or providing care for the three family farm plots in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

As a result of an on-site inspection dated July 4, 2015 of the family plot located on the Solomon Mead Farm at the corner of Cliffdale and Riversville Road in North Greenwich lawn and brush clearing was initiated on July 8.

At the request of the Association professional photographer Christopher Semmes  recorded the conditions. 

The following are "before-work" images of the poor condition of the cemetery was taken during the July 4 on-site inspection. Association President Jeffrey Bingham Mead was present:

On July 6, 2015 and after these images were captured the cutting and removal of high grass and vines was initiated. These images illustrate initial results:

The bayberry bushes that surround the perimeter of the cemetery have also been trimmed and invasive vines removed.

"The Association looks forward to bringing this site back to a high standard, one that was established many years ago," reported Association Jeffrey Bingham Mead. 

Preservation Update: Mead Burying Ground at Cos Cob Mill Pond

The Association announces that Mr. Bobby Keeler is no longer maintaining or providing care for the three family farm plots in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

As a result of an on-site inspection dated July 2, 2015 of the family plot located adjacent to the Cos Cob Mill Pond major tree work and pruning of bushes was initiated. Work started on July 7. 

The following are "before-work" images of the poor condition of the cemetery taken during the July 2 on-site inspection:

Since the first week of July, 2015 the lawn has been cut and trimmed. Selected trees have been removed entirely with more as of today's date -July 30- slated for cutting. 

Likewise, tree limbs have been pruned, especially along the land that connects the cemetery to Relay Place, a dead-end public residential street in Cos Cob.

At the request of neighbors trees and bushes have been removed to allow for improved view of the Cos Cob Mill Pond. 

In less than five days after major cleanup and tree pruning was initiated there are signs of improvement. 
The embankment along the Cos Cob Mill Pond has also been substantially cleaned up. Some rocks from the wall fell into the Mill Pond, probably due to storm conditioned ushered in by Hurricane Sandy several years ago. Efforts to restore and improve the wall along the shore are in process. 

We expect to have additional trees and and around the cemetery site removed, topped and pruned into the month of August. Two cedar trees have died and will need to be removed. An apple tree near the embankment has been pruned back. Various sumac trees and poison ivy vines have been removed, too.


Our neighbors at the end of Relay Place have removed the chain link fence and replaced it with a much more attractive wood-treated one. Remnants of the old fence are near the entrance to the cemetery property. We expect that the old chain link fence will be removed shortly. 

Buried Gravestones of Dr. Shadrach Mead and his Wife Tammy Mead Uncovered

As stated in the previous blog post, the gravestone of Zetta Mead, wife of Colonel Ebenezer Mead, was returned at long last to the cemetery next to the Second Congregational Church known as New Burial Grounds. 

In the process of repatriating the Zetta Mead gravestone we uncovered two gravestones lying flat under several inches of sod. 

Yes, we were surprised.

The first to be uncovered was the marble marker for Dr. Shadrach Mead, who died September 16, 1844 aged 87 years. 

The listing pictured above in Spencer P. Mead's survey of burials incorrectly states that he died in his 66th year. 

Next to Dr. Mead's gravestone we found the burial marker of his wife, Tammy Mead, who died April 21, 1814 aged 50 years.

Both are adjacent to each other. We suspect that these stones were also damaged a century ago when scaffolding collapsed into the cemetery during a windstorm. 

Are there other hidden gravestones here? We would not be surprised. Be assured that when or if they are found we'll report the news here. 

In the foreground are the rediscovered gravestones of Dr. Shadrach Mead and his wife Tammy Mead. Just beyond the five upright gravestones is the one for Zetta Mead, who died in 1807. 

Zetta Mead (died 1807) Returned to New Burial Grounds Cemetery, Greenwich, Connecticut

Zetta Mead's gravestone (left, laying flat) has been returned to New Burial Grounds Association Cemetery next to the Second Congregational Church in Greenwich. 

In the mid-1980s we accidentally discovered the marble gravestone of Zetta Mead -who died in 1807- in the rear of the house where Caroline Mills Smith Mead died in 1910. It was used as a path stone behind that house on Relay Place, Cos Cob. 

How did it get there? We suspect that her marker was a casualty of the collapse of scaffolding around the then-dismantled Second Congregational Church steeple circa 1915. The steeple had been dissembled for the first time. A church committee found it to be in hazardous condition, hence the removal and eventual reassembly of the steeple. 

The scaffolding, however, was in a free-standing state. So, when a windstorm came Easter weekend the scaffolds collapsed into the adjacent cemetery. When he was among the living then-Town Historian William E. Finch, Jr., said that some local residents ran off with some of the broken gravestones. 

See the bottom of this page from Spencer P. Mead's survey of burials in the New Burial Grounds Cemetery. Zetta Mead, wife of Colonel Ebenezer Mead, born January 17, 1777 and died May 7, 1807, is listed here. 

On Monday, July 27, 2015 the Zetta Mead gravestone was removed from the plot in Cos Cob. It has been transferred to a family plot in the New Burial Grounds Cemetery. It has not been ascertained that its new location is precisely where Zetta Mead was buried. 

In the process of relocating Zetta Mead's stone we made another surprising discovery. For more on that go to this link. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Happy 375th Founders' Day, Greenwich, Connecticut!

Fire at Quaker Ridge: Valuable Horses and Barn Burned Down (1910)

Greenwich News
Friday, August 5, 1910. Page 6, column 2.

At about three o'clock Friday afternoon Driver Chard of the Automobile Chemical received notice of a fire at the old Solomon Mead farm at Quaker Ridge, and taking out the chemical was soon on his way. The chemical arrived in time to help take care of the other buildings, but not until the fire had destroyed five valuable horses, the large hay barn and practically all of its contents.

The fire was set by small children in a colored family living on the farm. The children had been warned not to play with matches as only a few days before they had set fires on the place. Matches were being kept from them carefully, but they had climbed on a peddler’s wagon and taken some that were there, just before starting the conflagration.

It was discovered in the barn and burning the new hay put in only a few days before, at about 2:45. The men on the place got busy at once, but were unable to save much of the contents as the hay made a quick and hot blaze. By using water from the well pumped by a windmill they were able to partly keep down the flames until the Port Chester chemical with a number of firemen arrived and began the work of saving the other buildings, some of which were closely adjacent.

Superintendent George B. Mortensen and his men were haying in a field some distance away but got to the farm in time to save three horses. Many other animals were lead out of other barns and turned loose.

The Port Chester fireman and the Volunteer’s chemical were stationed at separate points along the many farm buildings and Superintendent George B. Montensen who saw the work done and has since examined the buildings which caught several times from burning shingles falling on the roofs and the sparks, gives great credit to both departments. He says without them the loss would have been much greater, and the owners of the farm as well as himself are very thankful for the efforts of the firemen. He further token of appreciation is probably not far off.

The farm is owned by Dr. F. E. Hyde and the Misses Sarah C. and Agnes V. Mead, daughters of Solomon S. Mead. It has been operated for years as a stock farm and many valuable horses are kept there for people in and about Greenwich. All seven horses burned were owned by Greenwich people and all were very valuable. The management of the farm felt deeply the loss of them more than the loss of the buildings and other contents. No exact estimate can be made of the loss from the horses but amounts to several thousands of dollars, while the barn and the hay was valued at about $4000.

Obituaries: Caroline Mills Mead (1910)

The grave of Caroline Mills Smith Mead is marked by the granite obelisk at left. 

Greenwich News
June 10, 1910. Page 7, column 5.

Mrs. Caroline Mills Mead, widow of the late William H. Mead, died at the home of her niece, Mrs. Henry V. Peck at Relay Place, Cos Cob, last Friday after an illness whose duration was nearly a year, aged eighty-four years and six months.

The funeral was held at the home of Mrs. Peck on Tuesday, the Rev. M. George Thompson officiating. The service was an impressive one. Hymns were sung by a quartet consisting of Dr. and Mrs. Carl E. Martin, Arthur H. Dorland and Miss Lillian Reese.

Mrs. Mead was a prominent woman in Greenwich, a woman of strong character in mind and one highly respected in town. She was born in 1826 in Stamford, the daughter of Ebenezer and Rhoda Smith. On her marriage to Mr. Mead she came to Greenwich to live in the old homestead which is now occupied by Mr. Young.

Thirty-seven years ago her husband died and upon her then devolved the task of looking out after his large land holdings. In recent years she has done much to improve the property. She had four streets laid out, Mead Circle, Suburban avenue, Glendale street, and Randolph place, all of which are well built up. She showed remarkable business ability in all of her dealings, and much to build up Cos Cob. 

Mrs. Mead was one of the oldest members of Christ Church and was active in church work. She was a member of the New Canaan chapter of the D.A.R.

She leaves two nieces, Mrs. Peck and Miss Caroline Smith, and nephew Benjamin Smith, besides grandnephews and grandnieces.