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Sexton’s Records

The Ancient Burying Ground - Hartford's Oldest Historic Site

Burial lists

The sexton was responsible for supervising, as well as making a record of, all the people buried in the Ancient Burying Ground. The sexton’s records provide testimony to the presence in Hartford of a majority of the population who couldn’t afford to have a gravestone, or whose stone was lost before the first list was compiled in 1835. Some were identified only by their name and relationship to another person, or the relationship alone, as in the burial recorded on March 14, 1759, of “Two Children of Caleb Bull in one grave.” Others were essentially anonymous, like the “French Woman Interred at the expense of the Town” on June 24, 1757.

Sexton’s records like the one for “A Negro. Interred at Expense of Samuel Drake” on February 24, 1760, are the only primary source documentation for African, African-American, and Native American graves in the Ancient Burying Ground. The “Uncovering Their History” project researched other sources, including church, vital, and probate records to identify an estimated 500 people of color who were likely or possibly interred in the Ancient Burying Ground.