People have lived and died in this area for almost three hundred years. Five of Vernon's seven burial grounds can be found here where generations of farmers and mill workers have become part of the soil. You will find here both the oldest and newest town cemeteries and see monuments and markers for some of the area's most interesting people. All but the Old Burial Ground on Bamforth Road and the Dobsonville cemeteries are still active. Cemetery locations are shown on This Map.
Our cemeteries are very well maintained. The crew that looks after them does an exceptional job of keeping even the old ones neat and clipped.
Each has its own unique character and personality. They are listed below roughly by their age. Click on the photos for full size views.
Old Burial Ground Of North Bolton
Also known as the East Cemetery or just the Vernon Cemetery, this is the pioneer cemetery in the area. CAPTAIN MOSES THRALL was the first to settle and farm this tract of land in 1703. The story goes that this site was chosen for the cemetery because during the move from Bolton to Vernon one of Thrall's sons fell off a load of household belongs and was killed. He was buried where he died and this became the cemetery. Also buried here are Moses Thrall and some of Vernon's earliest settlers, including 12 patriots who answered the Lexington alarm. The cemetery started in 1751 and was closed a hundred years later in 1851. At one time there were over 800 stones in this cemetery, but only 450 survived time and vandalism. LEBBIUS BISSELL, who owned the surrounding land, left $5,000 in his will to have the stones straightened and the gate added. This was done in 1974.
This is a beautiful spot to visit and just sit on the stone wall on a cool evening and enjoy the tranquility. It's a favorite for doing rubbings of the old inscriptions. See "Vernon Vignettes, Volume II" for information on the early stonecutters and gravestone art.
An alphabetical transcription of the stones can be found online, many from the Hale Collection. Revolutionary War veterans can be found here as well as familiar names, at least from our street names. Included are Grant, Kellogg, King, Ladd, Nye, Olcutt, Pearl, Skinner, Talcott, Thrall, and West. Many other families that were prominent at the time are no longer familiar names.
The following passages are from "A Century Of Vernon, CT 1808-1908". See Resources.
"Of the early cemeteries, the one designated on the town records as the East Cemetery, is the oldest. It is situated about half a mile east of the spot, where Vernon's first meeting house stood, on the road from Rockville to Bolton. It was laid out a great many years before the first church was built, which was in 1762. Probably the site of the church was selected partly because of its proximity to the cemetery. There are many old gravestones there and several graves without any stones. Tradition says the first body buried there was that of a child, who was killed by a fall from a load of goods near the very spot. The goods were being moved by ox-team from Bolton. The child was buried in the northeast corner of the cemetery. There is no place of burial where, with more peculiar fitness, one may quote the pathetic lines:
'Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.'
"Once the center of the parish, time has played strange pranks. It is today "far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife," removed from the haunts of men. Few go there, except the curious, and those drawn by a desire to muse and be alone. As we wander through this old graveyard and pause to read the uncouth rhyme, under the rudely carved death's head on the frail memorial of one of the early pioneers, we are bidden:
'Behold and see as you pass by,
As you are now so once was I,
As I am now so must you be,
Prepare for death and follow me.'
"Many of the fathers of the town, who helped make history in the early days, and who have lived Godly and useful lives, are buried in the ancient burying ground, among them being the honored and saintly EBENEZER KELLOGG, Vernon's first pastor, who died September 3, 1817. The inscription on his stone reads:
'Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg died September 3, 1817 in the 81st year
Of his age, and 55th year
Of his ministry in this place.'
'In yonder sacred meeting house he spent his breath,
Now silent; senseless, here he sleeps in death.
Those lips again shall wake and then declare,
A long amen to truths they published there.'
"CAPTAIN MOSES THRALL, who was the first to settle on the tract of land in the vicinity of this ancient burying ground in 1703, was one of the pioneers in what is now Vernon Center. He died August 21, 1770, and is buried in Vernon's ancient burying ground. DANIEL THRALL was one of the first sextons of the historic old burying ground. His son, Ira Thrall, succeeded him, and he was in turn succeeded by his son, Alfred 0. Thrall, who is the present sexton. Their combined period of service extends over one hundred years."
Old Dobsonville Cemetery
This cemetery lies just outside the Tankerhoosen Watershed, but is included here because it was the cemetery for the village and depot of Dobsonville. No sign gives its name, but on current maps it is shown as the Southwest Cemetery. It's a small cemetery on Route 83 at the corner of Dobson Drive.
Cars whiz by now, but picture it as it might have looked a hundred years ago, probably more like the Bamforth Cemetery looks today. Many of the older stones are worn and difficult to read today, but buried here is JOHN WARBURTON and his family.
Located at Bolton Road and Cemetery Road very near Vernon Center this old cemetery includes many of Vernon's influential citizens from its formation and early growth. Well laid out and attractive its a combination of old and new. It's a triangular plot, terraced and shaded with pines, hemlocks and cedars. Here you'll find monuments to EBENEZER KELLOGG, the pastor of the Vernon Church for 55 years. Here, too, is the odd shaped granite obelisk of LEMUEL KING, of the famous King Tavern at Vernon Center.
Mount Hope Cemetery
The land was given by the TALCOTT FAMILY in 1867. This gem of a cemetery is hidden in Talcottville. There are three entrances - two drives, one from Main Street and one from Elm Street, and one entrance from the Rail-To-Trail - but no signs. You'll have to look closely, but its worth the visit. On a hill is a Civil War monument, the second oldest in the nation. You'll find many Talcott's buried here as well as other familiar names such as Skinner, Risley and Bushnell.
Valley Falls Road Cemetery
This is the town's newest cemetery with its first burial in about 2005. With the town's rapid expansion the Rockville cemetery and other sites were rapidly filling. It wasn't that many years ago that this land was part of the Risley family and NORMAN STONG was planting corn here. Since it is new few well-known citizens will be found here, although it is the resting place of Vernon's beloved mayor and pharmacist STEVEN MARCHAM.
As cremation is common now the cemetery was laid out with appropriate sections for smaller plots.
One unique feature is a memorial summer flower garden created by a brother in memory of his sister. Follow this link for more information.