Old North Burying Ground, Middlefield, Connecticut

Rear view of the graves of my ancestors (l to r) Hope Stowe Hawley (wife of Jehial Hawley and mother to Samuel Stowe Hawley), Samuel Stowe Hawley and his wife, Ruth Miller Hawley. Jehial Hawley, Samuel Stowe's father, should be buried here as well, but there was no stone, or it is now overgrown.

Old Burying Ground

I visited the Old North Burying Ground in Middlefield, Connecticut in October 2013. My search was for the graves of Hope Stowe Hawley, Jehial Hawley, Samuel Stowe Hawley and Ruth Miller Hawley and I found three of the graves were together. However, I could not find Jehial's grave, it is possibly overgrown.

My relationship with these Hawley's is as follows (also visit family tree):

-Jehial Hawley and Hope Stowe Hawley were my 8th great-grandparents
-Samuel Stowe Hawley (Jehial's and Hope's son) and Ruth Miller Hawley are my 7th great-grandparents

Also in the burying ground are other relatives. Samuel Stowe Hawley's wife, Ruth Miller, has many members of her family, the Millers, in this cemetery. Some of the more prominent members are Governor Benjamin Miller and Ens Benjamin Miller. The Millers (including Ruth) are descendants of Thomas Miller, who came from England in 1643, first to Rowley, Massachusetts, then Middletown, Connecticut. More on the Miller family.

Photos of Old North Burying Ground

Old North Stonework

Old North Burying Ground is also a repository of period artwork. Tombstone carving became a form of folk art in the eighteenth century. The earliest Connecticut tombstones were simple slabs provided by area stone carvers. That changed in the 1720s. Stone carvers started working only on tombstones and began decorating their work. The first carvers used skulls to symbolize death. By the 1740s, carvers – including Middlefield’s David Miller – took the art a step further and made it their own. Old North Burying Ground is home to many examples of their work.

David Miller’s art stands out because of its location and its unique design. David Miller, who lived from 1718 to 1789, was a Middlefield native. Miller owned a stone quarry in Middlefield and turned to tombstone carving sometime in the 1740s. He often collaborated with other stone carvers, including William Holland of Middletown. Yet, Miller still managed to develop his own style. He used the angel motif popular with carvers of the time but altered it slightly. Instead of creating cherubim with typical faces, Miller gave his angels distorted faces. One author described their expression as “somewhere between anger and disbelief.” Miller’s art can be found on gravestones throughout the Connecticut River Valley, including Old North Burying Ground. Old North is also his final resting place. 1

Middletown, Connecticut, Old Burying Ground Video

Family graves shown in this video: Coe, Birdseye, Miller, Parsons, Stowe, and Hawley.

Samuel Stowe Hawley, Ruth Miller Hawley and Samuel Stowe Hawley's mom, Hope Stowe Hawley, and baby Ruth Hawley, daughter of Samuel and Ruth (she is buried with the Millers) can be viewed at 3:07. When first visiting the cemetery I was not sure who the gravesite next to Samuel Stowe belonged to, but later confirmed that it was his wife, Ruth.

Old North Burying Ground Sources
  • 1Old North Stonework Middlefield's History Buried in the Old North Burying Grounds Website
  • Old North Burying Ground Photos
  • Old North Burying Ground Video