the granite obelisk



The cemetery itself has existed since circa 1791 with the death of Nehemiah Mead, Sr., on August 19 of that year. He was born in 1721. (S.P. Mead, 414)

Greenwich Town Hall records indicate that the following individuals were also interred here previously: Mrs. Sarah Knapp Mead, wife of Nehemiah Mead, Sr., died August 20, 1808; Nehemiah Mead, Jr., died March 21, 1826; his wife, Ruth Richards, who died February 13, 1854; Samuel H. Mead, died October 15, 1854; Sarah Mead, died May 12, 1871, and Henry Richards, died September 28, 1800. (S.P. Mead, 414-416)

Though no one is sure why, their remains were unearthed and re-interred in Putnam Cemetery in 1891.

William H. Mead, the son of Nehemiah Mead, Jr., and Ruth Richards, is interred here. His granite obelisk dominates the cemetery. He was born December 20, 1799, and died February 29, 1872. Greenwich Illustrator Whitman Bailey wrote in the May 6, 1930 edition of the Greenwich News & Graphic: "The Bill Mead Oak, which once stood at the southeast of the present Cos Cob School, was for many years the pride of all Greenwich. It was on the extensive property owned at the time by William H. Mead, and naturally, though more unusually, he took the name of the fine tree and was proud of being known as 'White Oak Bill,' a title they gave him until his death in 1872."

In the second clause of his will, William H. Mead made the following provision: "I give, devise, and bequeath my family burying ground and the right of way to and from the same to the children and grandchildren of my deceased father and their heirs for the purposes of burial and no other; reserving to myself, my family, and heirs an equal right of burial therein; and I direct that my real estate, into whatsoever hands it shall fall, the same and the owner or owners thereof, shall be charged with the duty and incumbrance of keeping said burying ground in perfect order and free from bushes and weeds." (Greenwich Probate Records, Vol. 5, 62-63)

Nearby is the grave of his first wife, Abigail J. Reynolds. She was the daughter of Horton and Abigail Reynolds. Abigail Mead died May 15, 1860, aged 54 years, 5 months, and 7 days. They did not have children.

Caroline Mills Smith was the second wife of William H. Mead. She passed away on June 3, 1910, making her the last to be buried here. She was the daughter of Ebenezer and Rhoda Page Smith, and was born in the Roxbury section of Stamford on November 28, 1825. Her father is interred in this family cemetery; he was born April 25, 1791 and died August 27, 1873.

When William H. Mead died in 1872, Caroline inherited vast amounts of acreage in Cos Cob. She quickly distinguished her reputation in business and enterprise by undertaking the task of developing her holdings into residential neighborhoods."Mrs. Mead owned a large acreage of Cos Cob property," stated her Greenwich News obituary, "and although advanced in years was deeply interested in building in that part of town, opening up her land into desirable lots, handsome cottages having been built on many, Mrs. Mead's wish being that only a good class of houses be constructed." Many of the houses off Suburban Avenue, Randolph Place, and Glendale Street are a result of her enterprise. Cos Cob School occupies the site of the original homestead. It was demolished in 1915 to make way for the school building.

Zetta Mead, who died in 1807, is not buried here, but her gravestone was placed at this plot temporarily. The marble marker is in several pieces; it was used as a garden path stone behind 7 Relay Place. It may have been one which was damaged when a scaffold surrounding the spire of the Second Congregational Church collapsed during a windstorm on Easter Sunday, 1918, into the adjacent cemetery where she is interred.

Greenwich is an historic town with numerous isolated family plots dotting its rolling landscape. These and other sites like them serve as a bridge to the past, enabling visitors to trace their personal, family, and community history.



Additional Sources:

Bailey, Whitman. "The Bill Mead Oak". Greenwich News & Graphic, May 6, 1930.

Greenwich News. "Obituary for Caroline Smith Mead". June 10, 1910, page 7,
col. 5

Greenwich Probate Records, Vol. 5, 62-63.

Mead, Jeffrey Bingham. "Burying Grounds A Gateway Into Local History".
Greenwich Time, June 12, 1987.

Mead, Spencer. History and Genealogy of the Mead Family. New York:
Knickerbocker Press, 1901.

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