Welcome to our news and history blog!

Welcome to our news and history blog!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Visitation Etiquette: Some Things You Need to Know

We are occasionally asked about visiting the three cemeteries under the care of the Association. Here are some items you need to know.

-We ask that you contact the Association by email at meadburyinggrounds@gmail.com. Please provide us with your full name, phone and/or email address and which site you wish to visit. 

-If you are looking for historical information send your inquiry to us in advance since it helps expedite the process. We encourage you to use the Search box on this blog site. You may find what you are looking for here. 

-If you are visiting from out-of-town or from out-of-state let us know when you wish to visit -the sooner the better.

-Be respectful. Yes, this makes common sense, we hope. 

-Do not leave any trash whatsoever.

-Stone-rubbing is not permitted. Photography is permitted.

-We ask that you not leave memorials such as coins, flowers, photos and so on. 

-We remind all that the three isolated family plots under our direct care and stewardship are not public cemeteries. Family descendants are certainly permitted to visit the graves of their ancestors.

-There are designated rights-of-ways that connect the cemeteries to the roads and streets for purposes on ingress and egress. Please do not stray on to the properties of our neighbors. 

-There are many Mead ancestors interred in other cemeteries and burying grounds around Greenwich. Rules vary with each. 

If you have any further questions kindly contact the Association by email at meadburyinggrounds@gmail.com. Thank you. 

Fourth of July: Grave Sites of Soldiers of the American Revolution, Greenwich, Connecticut

"Dearfields," at 8 Grove Lane. 

Resting eternally in Greenwich, Connecticut's cemeteries and burying grounds are those who fought and served in the American Revolution. 

Below is a compiled listing of their names. 

You'll notice that some names are not Mead descendants, at least by surname. We remind our readers that as our ancestors were prolific we surmise that many of those listed here are related to the Mead's of Greenwich through descent, marriage and so forth. 

*We expect this list to be updated.

Happy July 4, American Independence Day. 

Adams Family Cemetery, Old Greenwich
John Adams 1746-1834

Cherry Hill Cemetery, Stanwich
Ezekiel Reynolds 1747-1833

Christ Church Greenwich
Ebenezer Mead 1748-1818
Abraham Close 1762- March 9, 1841
Joseph Close 1758- August 23, 1840 aged 80 years & 2 months
Drake Seymour (?)

Close Family Cemetery, Clapboard Ridge
Capt. Odle Close 1738-1812

First Congregational Church, Old Greenwich
Drake Lockwood 1763-1801
Enos Lockwood 1763-1818
Messenger Lockwood 1764-1849

Green-Willson Family Cemetery, Glenville
Capt. James Green 1716-1838 (?)
Reuben Coe d. March 21, 1822
Jonathan Coe d. Nov. 28, 1809

Hitchcock Family Cemetery, Cos Cob
Thomas Hitchcock  d. December 29, 1813 aged 56 years & 4 months.

Howe Family Cemetery, Peckland
Capt. Isaac Howe died 1711-1779
Ensign Isaac Howe 1749-1823

Knapp Family Cemetery, Round Hill
Joshua Knapp 1761-1823

Lewis Family Cemetery, Greenwich
Rev. Isaac Lewis

Mead Family Cemetery, Stanwich
Capt. Caleb Mead 1716-1798

Mead Family Burying Ground, North Greenwich
Obadiah Mead
Benjamin Mead III

Mead Family Burying Ground, Lot & Drake's Corner Stanwich
Caleb Mead

Mills Family Cemetery, Clapboard Ridge
Samuel Mills d. January 22, 1841 aged 89 years.

New Burial Ground Association Cemetery 
(next to Second Congregational Church)
Dr. Elisha Belcher d. Dec. 23, 1823
Dr. Amos Mead d. Feb. 24, 1807
Andrew Mead d. April 21, 1821
Jared Mead d. May 8, 1832
Joshua Mead d. May 30, 1812
Richard Mead d. April 21, 1826
Justus Sackett d. Jan. 15, 1827
Deacon Abraham Mead  d. Nov. 24, 1827
Zaccheus Mead d. October 27, 1846
Benjamin Brush d. March 8, 1847
Peter Mead, Jr. 1755-1832
John Addington  d. Dec. 14, 1830 aged 87 years, 3 months, 6 days.

Old Burying Ground at Byram
Daniel Lyon d. Aug. 29, 1817
Daniel Sherwood d. June 1, 1826

Old Burying Ground at Cos Cob
Capt. Sylvanus Mead

Old Burying Ground at North Greenwich 
Jehiel Mead d. July 16, 1826 aged 84 years
Silas Mead, Jr. d. June 8, 1813
Levi Mead
Calvin Mead

Peck Family Cemetery, Pecksland
Theophilus Peck, d. June 8, 1812,
aged 83 years, 2 months and 24 days.

Round Hill Cemetery
Nathaniel Husted d. January 20, 1826
Nehemiah Brown, Jr., d. August 8, 1840 aged 85 years.

Stanwich Congregational Church Cemetery
James Ferris (1740-1780)

Tomac Cemetery, Old Greenwich
James Ferris (1729-1812
Jeduthan Ferris (1737-1807)
Nathaniel Ferris 1733-1823
Samuel Ferris 1733-1798
Stephen Ferris 1742-1824
Jonathan Jessup 1731-1804
Enos Knapp 1757-1825
Titus Knapp 1748-1838
Philip Lockwood 1740-1831
Capt. Samuel Lockwood 1738-1807
Jeremiah Palmer 1751- 1825
Sgt. John Wood Palmer 1753-1795
Moses Peck 1750-1828
Ensign Robert Peck 1739-1827
Deacon Samuel Peck 1720-1793
Capt. Henry Waring 1744-1830
Alexander "Sandy" Hendrie 1749-1832
Edward Lockwood (?)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Judge's Corner: The S. Merwin Mead Homestead, Now Owned by Dr. William Burke (Excerpted, 1931)

Source: The Greenwich Press. July 16, 1931

Our attention has been called to a misshapen old pine tree that rears its head on the avenue west of the Greenwich Trust Company's land [240 Greenwich Avenue]. Without form or beauty, its limbs blackened by age, it has the appearance of a wraith from a primeval forest. While it has its own story it cannot be classed among native trees. Our forests never produced white pine trees and this is one of that variety.

Going back more than 60 years, the spot occupied by the old tree was on the farm of S. Merwin Mead. All the territory from Greenwich Avenue west to the high school lot and beyond and south to the railroad was given over to cultivation of grain and hay. It was the nesting place of the merry bob-o-link in the month of June and in winter down the slope and across what is now the athletic field was a safe and popular coasting place when snow was abundant and lasting.

Joseph E. Russell lived on Grigg Street in a house of his own design and it is still standing, although recently it has been absorbed by an apartment house with a brick front. Its peculiar roof construction was a sure identification. In the spring of 1868 Mr. Russell had an ambition to move up town. With that end in view he bought for $1,000 an acre of that portion of the Mead farm fronting on the west side of the avenue. And by way of a house he stated that as his own architect he would build a house unlike any other in town. And he quite well succeeded. The house still stands on its original foundation, but a row of commercial buildings in what was his front yard conceals somewhat the architecture of the old house.

There was no attempt at jigsaw embellishment so common in those days but it was likened to a flour mill or a factory community house. However, it suited its owner and made a comfortable family home for many years. In Mr. Russell's endeavor to beautify the grounds he set out two Norway spruce trees in front of the house and a couple of white pines in the rear. The survivor is one of the pair and it exemplifies the futility of planting foreign trees in Greenwich soil. In a few years those trees had a somewhat disconsolate look as their needles shrank and their limbs took on an unhealthy tinge so different from the appearance of white pine in Maine or New Hampshire. Had a single elm tree been planted there in ground that is never dry, for many years back in the future it would have been a joy to those who appreciate such great trees as the one that stands in front of the town hall.

But such a mistake is being made every day. Foreign evergreens in the brilliance of their youth as decorations near and around a house look well but should be renewed every four or five years. As a hand-down to future generations and as a delight within 20 years, the elm or the sugar maple should have been chosen.

This rather unexpected reference to the Mead farm recalls its owner and his homestead, still standing but so well concealed by what may be termed dooryard stores that few know of its existence. Standing on the sidewalk in front of the Mead Stationery Store or the Electric Light Company's office the peak of the roof is seen. Br. William Burke now owns the house as well as the abutting stores. The house was built 122 years ago and excepting dormer windows looking south is in its original form. It was built to last for generations and for the period was quite a mansion.

When it was erected the avenue was only a country road 18 feet wide terminating in what later became Steamboat Road. From its front porch it had a grand view of the Soung extending well to the east while the view down the road to Piping Point, unobstructed by the present railroad embankment, was a nearer view of the harbor and Capt. Daniel Merritt's landing. After the railroad was built (1845 to 1848) and several years later those who had settled in that part of town abolished the old name of the road and gave it the present name of Arch Street. To the young reader that name may seem inapplicable, but the original railroad embankment was pierced by an arched tunnel of stone which gave way to the present iron bridge when the four tracks were laid in 1892.

The Merwin Mead Farm, consisting of about 150 acres, extended east to Davis Avenue. Most of Locust Street and a portion of Milbank Avenue were opened on that farm. It also was bounded by Greenwich Avenue, and Mr. Mead opened the road on the farm connecting Greenwich Avenue with First Avenue, now called Milbank Avenue. He was one of the most public spirited men of his generation. The roads that were laid out through the farm represented his contribution to the public improvement and he never asked asked for land damages. The road just mentioned he called Elm Street, a name that no one has attempted to change. Mr. Mead also set out the elms along the easterly side of the avenue from the town hall to Em Street. But those trees have disappeared with the change of grade 30 years ago. 

The Judge's Corner: Mary Gertrude Mead and Her Gift to Vassar (Excerpt, 1931)

Source: The Greenwich Press. Thursday, January 29, 1931.

Sixty years ago a beautiful young lady lived in the Frederick Mead homestead, then standing on the corner of Putnam Avenue and Milbank Avenue. The streets then had other names. They were Main Street and the "road to Davis Landing," sometimes called "Love Lane." The house built in 1856 has been moved farther down Milbank Avenue and is unchanged except that by the change of location it has surrendered its former Sound view.

Merry Gertrude Mead was the only daughter of Frederick Mead, a wholesale tea merchant and of the son of Dr. Darius Mead of Putnam Hill, who so long and so faithfully served the people of Greenwich as their much beloved family physician. Fred Mead, Jr., whom so many other readers remember, was her eldest brother graduated from Yale in 1869. His sister's graduation at Vassar took place the following year. She was much devoted to astronomy as taught by Maria Mitchell of Vassar. And she installed an expensive telescope in the upper story of the homestead.

After her graduation we saw less of her. She wrote a story published by Charles Scribner in which were depicted many of the local rural scenes of the period. She traveled abroad and made lengthy stops in London, England, which, by the way, happened to be her native country. And finally she married the famous artist, Edward A. Abbey, who created with his brush in the Boston public library, the much admired "Search for the Holy Grail."

Now she comes into notice again as the giver of a memorial fund to Vassar College. The interest on this fund which is not new has been devoted to the botany department of the college and has made possible the establishment of the Dutchess County Botanical Laboratory, in which plants are arranged according to societies rather than families and where more than 600 plants and trees, out of a possible 2,000 varieties in this country, have already been procured. These facts appeared at a dinner last month at the Alumnae House, which was the scene of a gay assembly.

Thus it is that the money and the generosity of the original Greenwich stock have their share in the establishment and maintenance of many worthy public objects.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Some of the "Inferior Decorations" (1931)

Source: The Greenwich Press. Thursday, February 12, 1931, Page 1.

In the center of the above group of exhibits, part of the "inferior decoration" collection shown by the Second Congregational Church Guild at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus I. Mead, Field Point Road, on Tuesday, is the baby carriage for twins that took the prize for being the most unique exhibit. In it Mr. Mead and his twin brother rode in their infancy. To the right is an ancient wooden mortar and pestle. To the left is an old wooden trunk with lace-making outfit. Hanging to the draperies are an old riding habit and lady's wrap. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Stone Wall Repaired: Mead Burying Ground at Cos Cob

We can announce that the section of the south-facing stone wall of the family plot off Relay Place in Cos Cob has been repaired. Descendants and visitors are asked and warn not to step on or near this section of the upper tier of the cemetery. More work needs to be completed -but it is nice to report progress on this important matter. 

Stone Steps Revealed: Mead Burying Ground at Cos Cob

As the images above reveal stone steps were built at the family burying ground near Cos Cob's Mill Pond. 

Some of us had heard that many years ago that Herbert William Mead, who lived at 7 Relay Place near the family cemetery, covered the stone steps with dirt and sod. 

The reason? It made the task of bringing a lawn mower to the upper tier of the cemetery easier. That was over 75 years ago. 

Since we only use a weed-eater to cut the lawn the time seemed right to see if the stone steps were real or not. The cemetery dates from circa 1791 -though the earliest graves were transferred to a lot in Putnam Cemetery. 

The stone steps will remain exposed as pictured above. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Update from North Greenwich: New Designated Path Created

We're very pleased to announce that a new, more direct path to and from the family cemetery in North Greenwich has been created. 

Work on this path is still on-going. The images below were captured today, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. 

Entry and exit is gained from the picket gate at the stone wall, with access up the hill via the path as indicated. Another gate at the cemetery enclosure opens for direct access. 

Improvements continue to be accomplished -a far cry from the neglected status of this plot from one year ago next month (click here). 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Judge's Corner: Recollections Incident to the 90th Birthday of Oliver D. Mead-The Story of Field Point-"Cousin Oliver" Mead, A Remote Cousin of Oliver D. Mead

Source: The Greenwich Press. January 5, 1933.

The recent publication in The Press of the 90th birthday of Oliver D. Mead has brought inquiries as to the lineage of Mr. Mead and as to his real estate inheritance. The news article spoke of a cousin and gave a hint of a defective title, healed by a law suit. There was just enough revealed to whet the curiosity of people who had no knowledge of Greenwich 40 or 50 years ago.

The history a Field Point Park presents an intriguing story, unlike any applying to New England farm, for that is exactly what it was up to a half a century ago. In those days the public was told of Ocher Point at Newport and how much it had cost for development. But it was no circumstance to Field Point the deed for which carried a stamp of $500 – a dollar a thousand.

But the story cannot be repeated here. In the volume "Other Days in Greenwich," it is told with illustrations. Of that book only a few copies are left and as the type has been distributed there will be no other edition and it will soon be added to the list of those "out of print."

The story of Field Point is tinged with romance. The 27 proprietors of the town in the 17th century do not appear to have highly regarded it. They apportioned what seemed to them the most desirable portions of town to those who did not bear the name of Mead. It is frequently assumed because of the number of families of the name of the town was settled by John Mead. But he did not appear here until 1660. All of the rest of the proprietors except himself and Joseph Mead bore other names.

And it was not be forgotten that Greenwich was Old Town and that our present center was not acquired until 1686 the name of Horseneck Plantation. Angell Husted, the Palmers, Lockwoods and Ferrises had for some years been attracted by this eminence nearly 100 feet above sea level and much higher at points farther north. A committee was appointed to look into the matter and after a favorable report this territory was acquired.

But before that, the famous Field Point, then common land, had been used as a horse pasture and later the proprietors gave it the formal name of Horseneck Field Point. From that the name Horseneck was applied to the village as it grew rapidly after the acquisition by Old Town.

A century later Abraham Mead was conducting a pottery on the point where Held House afterwards stood. He went by the name of the Deacon Potter, because of his occupation. A recent pageant at the Second Congregational Church presented him as one of the characters. He had two sons, Isaac and Zophar. The latter settled in the southerly end of Field Point and was the father of Oliver. Isaac settled in the northerly portion, and was the father of a Augustus, our first judge of probate.

It is often suggested that Oliver D. Mead was the son of Oliver. But Oliver died a bachelor at the age of 87, leaving as his nearest heirs the two sons of Judge Mead, the late Nelson B. Mead and Augustus I. Mead. Oliver D. Mead is a remote cousin. And indeed during the long life of Oliver Mead he was blessed with a little army of cousins. Apparently every one bearing the Mead names or whose mother did, addressed him and spoke of him as "Cousin Oliver."

This disposition to prevail upon Oliver has often been attributed to his wealth. But it was less sordid than that. It was inspired by respect and pity for a sweet-tempered old man who from his early youth had been an invalid. It is true that he was able to go about with the aid of a cane, but when he tied his horse to a stone hitching post in front of Avery & Wilson's store he supported his trembling form by the wagon shaft until he reached the horse's head. He was not only a kindly, sweet-tempered old man but he was charitable. The wants of other people and the necessities of public charities and institutions were never out of mind. Especially in those matters he was aided by Miss Sally Mead, another cousin who occupied the position of housekeeper for many years until her death.

Quite as remarkable as any exhibition of his generosity was the fact that he turned Round Island and its beach over to public use for a long period of years. No church between Bedford and the Sound contemplated any other place for its Sunday School picnic than Round Island. And there were daily throngs often treading on his growing crops for free bath on the beach. And this invasion of private property often extended to Bank's Rock and the extremity of Field Point.

Of course the read will remember that conditions were different from those of the present time. The local population was small and means of transportation from outside communities was limited. But nevertheless it was a remarkable exhibition of generosity to those he never had met and had never addressed them as "Cousin Oliver."

For the period in which he lived Oliver Mead was a man of large wealth. His farm was always a source of profit. Such men as William Ellenton and Jerome Reeves led his force of employees. He enjoyed the sight of this growing crops; those fields of waving corn and grain. He admired the great loads of potatoes that found their way to the New York market through the storage vault or potato cellar on Round Island, still existing and bearing the date 1829. The New York produce merchants never had to look twice at the importations from Field Point. It was enough to see "O.M." stenciled on the containers.

But feeble as he was, the administration of this great farm, as long as he lived, it was within his own control. Money accumulated but there was no disposition to be miserly and his estate inventoried, besides his real estate, more than $100,000 of choice securities. His inclination to improve the farm was seen in the stone basins he built for the outflow of springs and for the massive stone walls, portions of which are still visible. The approach to the homestead was over a private way beginning at what is now the head of the Shore Road. Along the private road he set out a line of standard pear trees which gave it the name of Peartree Lane. For many years he cared for these trees yielding abundant crops that were mostly consumed by the public as they passed to and fro to the bathing beach.

People have usually assumed that the acquisition by Oliver D. Mead of Field Point was because of relationship. But it was far too remote to exercise any influence in the matter. It is not generally realized that Daniel Smith Mead, the father of Oliver D., and his family were always closely associated with "Cousin Oliver." Their lands adjoined at Indian Harbour and on the north side Field Point. They have many interests in common. Judge Mead, another son of D. Smith Mead, now deceased, had much to do with the handling of the investments.

Some of those who extended their congratulations to Oliver D. Mead on his attaining the age of 90 were not unmindful of the fact that as a man in the prime of his life he and his family gave up their village home to live on a farm to devote themselves to the comfort of "Cousin Oliver" it his declining years. His arrival at 90 was not as so much a cause for congratulations as that he is enjoying excellent health and that in memory he can live over again those years when until the end of the old man's life they became like father and son.

The same house, built by Deacon Abraham Mead for his son, Oliver, and 1792, shelters the family. It is covered by the original handrove shingle. Its form is unchanged. It has all the features of a house built just after the Revolution. Within are panel work about the rooms, artistic mantles and open fire places in front of which the original owner found so much comfort in the closing years of this life. 

The Judge's Corner: Memories Recalled by the Death of Edgar T. Mead-The Ancestral Home on North Street-Lot and Drake's Corner

Source: The Greenwich Press. August 18, 1932


The sudden death on Aug. 14 of Edgar T. Mead of North Street came as a distinct shock to his many friends and acquaintances. Hardly to be considered an old man, his departure seems premature, for he had been active up to a few weeks before his death. His winning smile will be missed and that subdued and musical voice will never be forgotten. Such attributes come from a background of New England thrift and culture.

He lived in a famous old house and he was the sixth generation in ownership. How he loved the old place. Who does not love the place of their birth and childhood? Quite as interesting inside as outside are all those choice pieces of antique furniture that were installed generations ago, some of them the product of the clippership era when New England ship captains brought the choicest specimens of Oriental art.

Memory recalls the place two generations past when the house and its numerous of building since removed, meant that it was the home of real farmers. It was Lot and Drake's corner. There was no need to add the family names for the Meads were in the majority. Drake, Edward's grandfather was a grand old man. At least he seemed old to the writer, then in his youth. But when in Civil war days he was prominent it was doubtless just in the autumn of his life. He must have been quite young when in 1833 he and six others organized the Episcopal Society, and gave it the name of that Christ Church still bears. For many years previous to 1833 the church was a mission. At that time Drake was colonel of the Ninth Regiment, State Militia. While he always was addressed by his military title, he wore the standing collar and broad stock of Daniel Webster days.

The Lot and Drake corner was always an interesting spot. Before 1877 the house stood within 20 feet of the road on the south side. Lot was the brother of Colonel Drake. But the latter was the leader. They were said to have had a common pocketbook to be dipped into whenever the spirit moved. Lot was a bachelor. Drake had sons, Cornelius and William J., besides other children not so prominent in public affairs. "Cornell," as everybody called him, the father of Edgar, was a state senator and William J. was the trial justice and first selectmen over a long period of years.

Lot and Drake's farm was one of the largest and best in town. Like all the farmers they went in for potatoes, and the storage cellar still stands just north of the homestead. And still further north is the division boundary stone set by Colonel Drake when the farm was divided between Cornelius and William J.

Perhaps Lot's name came first in common parlance because he was more familiar to the village people. He drove the ox cart laden with products to the market boat every week. But Colonel Drake was never thus so engaged. His picture in the old house hangs over the ancient desk where and he kept his books of account, made out bills and wrote his checks. It was a little out of his line to drive oxen but it was easy to believe that if necessity required it he would have been quite capable of directing the sluggish team.

Until 1877 the Stanwich Road made a sharp turn across what is now the front lawn and made a junction with North Street. But Cornelius never enjoyed the cloud of dust that floated into his front windows with every passing vehicle. And so in that summer, under proper authority, he made the junction as it is today and built the massive stone wall that encloses the enlarged dooryard.