headstone of Lt. Caleb Mead

Hannah Rundle, wife of Caleb Mead, born April 21, 1716, and died circa 1770; Lieutenant Caleb Mead, born December 28, 1716, and died January, 1798; and Zadock Mead, born October 6, 1754, and died circa 1776. Information on lines of descent can be obtained in S.P. Mead’s family genealogy on pages 273-278.

The first to be interred here was Hannah Rundle, wife of Lieutenant Caleb Mead. She was born April 21, 1716, and died about 1770. Her present marker was erected in May 1868.

Hannah Rundle’s husband, Caleb Mead, was born December 28, 1716 and died in January 1798. His marker was also erected in May 1868.

The first to settle this area was Caleb Mead, Sr., born in 1693. He built his first home here when he was 41. He had three sons: Caleb, Jr., Jeremiah, and Titus. Caleb Mead, Sr., is believed to be buried in the East Stanwich Cemetery a half-mile north of the Mead plot. His grave is probably marked by one of many plain fieldstones that dot this large cemetery.

Jonah Mead built the present farmhouse circa 1796 that still stands near the cemetery. Jonah was just over 78 years old when he died on February 21, 1837. His first wife, Mary Mead, died June 11, 1791 when she was 30 years old. His second wife, also named Mary, died a week after her husband on February 28, 1837, aged 74 years and 8 months.

Jonah Mead’s will was probated in Stamford. In it, he gave his wife, Mary Mead, $1000, all the household furniture she brought with her at the time of marriage, one horse saddle, bridle, his riding chair, two cows, and "the use and improvement of one room in my dwelling house." In addition, Mary received chamber and cellar privileges and firewood "so long as she remains my widow." If she were to remarry the $1000 would revert to Drake Mead. Lot Mead received $1000, and Jonah’s daughters each received $100. His spinster daughter Hannah received $800 with the privilege of living in the house if she remained unmarried. The remainder of the estate went to Lot and Drake Mead in equal value. (Stamford Probate Records. Vol. 13, page 247-248)

Who were Lot and Drake Mead? These half-brothers lived at this farm in mid-nineteenth century Greenwich. According to Historian Davidde Strackbein, "The household of 69-year-old Lot Mead, another of the wealthiest farmers in Greenwich, represents the traditional frugal, rural, native-born boarding pattern that included boarders that were kin and non-kin." In 1850 Lot boarded his half-brother Drake Mead, whose wife died in 1843, his two sons, and 49-year-old spinster sister Hannah. Drake Mead’s diary contains accounts of the daily work of running and managing the family farm. Daily work included digging potatoes, planting corn, mowing, raking, binding hay, threshing wheat, sawing wood, making cider, repairing fences, and much more. (Greenwich History, 1999, 30)

Ruins of the old sawmill at Stoneybrooke are located just north of the old homestead off Taconic Road. A stone dam was built circa1830, possibly replacing an earlier one. Whitman Bailey wrote, "it is known on good authority that many of the earliest houses in Greenwich were supplied with timber sawed at this mill." The mill building itself was abandoned and eventually collapsed, being held up by a tree, and thus preventing it from sliding into the ravine below.

The late Edgar Thorn Mead, whose ancestors are buried here, wrote that, "In May of 1745 young Caleb was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Stanwich or East Train Band of Militia, and ever afterward in letters and documents he is referred to as "Lieutenant Caleb." He was brevetted a Captain during the Revolution when he and all his sons except lame Stephen hustled off to the Battle of White Plains, but "Lt. Caleb" he remained. It was a golden time for the militia, hard on the heels of the first victory over Louisbourg in Canada by amateur forces under William Pepperell. He writes to a cousin in 1769, telling about "my new house." Vouchers for building materials such as nails give further testimony that construction was in the wind. There is a theory that a Captain Caleb Mead built a house about this time over on the Stanwich Road, east by half hour's horseback ride, and this may indeed have been one of the houses he occupied. More likely, 1769 was the date of supplanting the little saltbox with a larger house built on the same foundations and using the same fireplaces. With six children and various hired help, no doubt Lt. Caleb needed all the room he could get."

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