Benjamin Mead's headstone with daffodils


Aside from two carved fieldstones, most of the burials here are marked with plain fieldstones. Burials have occurred here since 1776, with the last in 1832.

Benjamin Mead II (March 18, 1701-October 22, 1783) is interred here with his wife Martha Ferris (November 8, 1708-November 6, 1797). They were married November 18, 1728. Their plots are marked with common fieldstones. (S.P. Mead, 389)

The tall brownstone gravestones of Benjamin Mead III, Esq., died March 5, 1815 and Mary M. (Reynolds) Mead, who died on November 24, 1816, dominate the cemetery. The inscription on Mary's stone is mostly defaced; the stone for her husband is well preserved. (S.P. Mead, 389)

The earliest carved stone marks the grave of Whitman Mead, who died on January 29, 1795, aged 29 years. His epitaph reads: The body must ascend to earth above/ it came by the spirit to God who gave it.

David Mead (October 27, 1747-August 29, 1808) is interred here. He was the second son of Nathaniel Mead and Prudence Wood, a descendant of Jonas Wood, who immigrated to New England with the Plymouth Colonists. David Mead married Anna, eldest daughter of Benjamin Mead III and Mary Reynolds. According to Louise Celestia Mead Feltus in her book 'Our Two Centuries in North Greenwich, Connecticut 1728-1924,' David "was a cabinetmaker who learned his trade with the first people to do Chippendale work in this country." Feltus writes of "eight beautiful claw-foot chairs" that he made in the Benjamin Mead house, which was built in 1728. When he died, his wife willed the chairs to her sister Phebe. They, in turn, were given to descendants of Deacon Silas Hervey Mead and his wife Harriet. (Feltus, 6-7; Supplement, 1-2)

Theodoshe Mead died on October 11, 1827, aged 71 years, 2 months and 9 days. She was the second daughter of Benjamin Mead III and Mary M. Reynolds. On February 15, 1776, she married New York merchant Edmund Mead, a son of Jonas Mead and Sarah Ferris. He was mysteriously lost at sea on a voyage to the West Indies around 1798 on the vessel Sally. Theodoshe Mead returned to the family homestead and lived there for the remainder of her life. Her stone is adorned with a Chinese weeping willow tree and urn. Living specimens were imported from China, and American gravestone carvers quickly appropriated them as a symbol of mourning and lament. (Simerl, 26)

 


On the eastern side of the cemetery are two coarsely inscribed fieldstone markers. John Dunn died August 23, 1786 and Sarah Mitchell died on November 16, 1776. Some of the letters on Sarah's stone are carved backwards. Who were they? Why are they interred here? Their identities continue to be a source of interest and mystery.

Susan Stokum died on October 26, 1832. She was the last to be buried here. Next to her is the gravemarker for Rachel and Alford Stokum, children of Lemuel and Rachel Stokum. Both children died one day apart from each other on June 22 and June 23, 1823. Her epitaph reads: Farewell Dear friends my life is past/My love for you while life did last/ Now after me no sorrow take/But love my Children for my sake.

The most famous one buried at this plot is Obadiah Mead, who died in 1779. The farm was raided by a party of British soldiers and Tory sympathizers. Obadiah was shot and died instantly. The exact spot where Obadiah was killed existed as a sacred place for many years. His burial place is believed to be among the anonymous fieldstones in this plot. The shirt he wore when killed is preserved today by the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich. (S.P. Mead, 60-61)

For over forty years this cemetery was abandoned; the gravestones were laid flat and eventually forgotten. The burying ground was rediscovered in July, 1988 by Jeffrey Bingham Mead as part of a survey of all Greenwich cemeteries sponsored by the Historical Society. The site was overgrown almost beyond recognition. A supervised troop of Boy Scouts cleared the site and re-erected the gravestones. The restoration of this cemetery led to the founding of The Historic Mead Family Burying Grounds Association, Inc., in 1990.

Additional Sources:

Feltus, Louise Celestia Mead. Our Two Centuries in North
Greenwich, Connecticut 1728-1924
. Greenwich: privately published,
1945.

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

Simerl, Linton E., and Martha R., Simerl. Congregationalists on
Quaker Ridge 1827-1977: The History of the North Greenwich
Congregational Church.
Privately published, 1977.

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