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Ancient Burying Ground

The oldest historic site in Hartford is the Ancient Burying Ground, adjacent to Center Church, founded by Rev. Thomas Hooker and built in 1636. As the city’s first cemetery, all who died at the time were interred here. The earliest surviving gravestone dates from 1648.

As was the custom in those times, burials were randomly placed regardless of family relationship. Gravediggers would use metal rods to locate a vacant spot, when necessary. When available space began to be an issue, bodies were stacked atop one another. In the process, grave markers became misplaced or destroyed. The burying ground became a crowded site of decay, with over 6,000 corpses in the cemetery.

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