Located on Maple Avenue at Benton Street in the Barry Square Neighborhood, Old South is the city's second oldest cemetery, dating to c1770. The land was once an apple orchard and, in the 1700's, was part of the Benton family farm.
In 1801, the city purchased the parcel to create a second burying ground when Center Burying Ground became filled. Old South was listed on the State Register of Historic Places in 2001.
Unfortunately, the old burying ground has suffered from neglect over much of its history. An excerpt from the September 5, 1894 edition of the Hartford Courant states:
The Old South Cemetery on Maple avenue was brought to the attention of the board by Selectman Smith. It was in a horrible condition. Selectman Ulrich agreed that it was a disgrace to Hartford. The weeds were higher than the monuments, and the only clean place in the cemetery was a spot where the boys had laid out a base-ball ground. This was in fairly good order. The "table" monuments were used by picnic parties to spread lunches upon, and afterwards for card tables."
A neighborhood group has undertaken the effort to restore Old South. You may read more about it in an article by Kevin Flood that was published Nov. 26, 2000, in the Connecticut Weekly section of The New York Times.
Several important figures in Hartford history are buried here, including Hannah Bunce Watson Hudson, the first female publisher of The Hartford Courant, Thomas Seymour, the first mayor of Hartford, and his wife, Mary Ledyard Seymour, whose brother Colonel William Ledyard was the "Hero of Fort Griswold" in 1781; Dotha Bushnell Hillyer, the daughter of Rev. Horace Bushnell and Henry Clay Work, a civil War songwriter.
For a list of names (in PDF format) of those buried at Old South, click here. For more information on Old South, visit the Connecticut Gravestone Network.
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