Colonial Conflicts

The Ancient Burying Ground - Hartford's Oldest Historic Site

Col. Nathan Payson, 1761

Nathan Payson spent nearly half his life fighting in various conflicts to defend Connecticut and to advance British dominance in North America. He is one of more than two dozen veterans of wars fought by the Colony of Connecticut from 1637 to 1763 who are interred in the Ancient Burying Ground. 

conflict ended in 1763 with the defeat of the enemy French and their Native American allies, leaving Great Britain in control of much of North America east of the Mississippi.

When Nathan Payson signed on in 1756 to fight in the French and Indian War, he was appointed a lieutenant colonel. He died in Hartford in 1761, just 40 years old, his epitaph proclaiming his loyalty to the British crown and the Colony of Connecticut.

Seven of these veterans, including Nathan Payson, served as loyal subjects of the British crown in the French and Indian War. That conflict ended in 1763 with the defeat of the enemy French and their Native American allies, leaving Great Britain in control of much of North America east of the Mississippi.

When Nathan Payson signed on in 1756 to fight in the French and Indian War, he was appointed a lieutenant colonel. He died in Hartford in 1761, just 40 years old, his epitaph proclaiming his loyalty to the British crown and the Colony of Connecticut.

Headstone for Colonel Nathan Payson: "Here lies Interr’d COL. NATHAN PAYSON who faithfully serv’d his King and this Government in the late War Adorning his office with many Virtues he died the 17th of April 1761 in the 41st year of his Age.”
Headstone for Colonel Nathan Payson: “Here lies Interr’d COL. NATHAN PAYSON who faithfully serv’d his King and this Government in the late War Adorning his office with many Virtues he died the 17th of April 1761 in the 41st year of his Age.”

Dr. Eliakim Fish, 1804

“To the Memory of Doct Eliakim Fish ob May 7. 1804, AE 63. In life by all respected Death by all lamented An honest man The noblest work of God”

Dr. Eliakim Fish served in one of the French and Indian War’s last campaigns. Great Britain laid siege to Havana, Cuba, which belonged to Spain, France’s ally in the conflict. Dr. Fish, 21 years old and fresh out of Yale, enlisted in 1762 as a surgeon’s mate in the Connecticut regiment that was part of the besieging force.

Connecticut’s recruits had been promised a considerable reward from the wealth of the city of Havana once it was captured. Havana did fall to the British, but the Connecticut troops saw little financial compensation. In fact, hundreds of them never left Cuba, succumbing to tropical diseases. Dr. Eliakim Fish was one of the lucky ones to survive and return to Connecticut.

Image of the tablestone for Doct. Eliakim Fish & Mrs. Sarah Fish: "To the Memory of / Doct. Eliakim Fish Mrs. Sarah Fish / OB May 7, 1804 Wife of Doct. E. Fish / AE 63. OB July 20 AD 1803 / AE 66. / In life by all respected / Death by all lamented / An honest man / The noblest work of God."
Tablestone for Doct. Eliakim Fish & Mrs. Sarah Fish: “To the Memory of / Doct. Eliakim Fish Mrs. Sarah Fish / OB May 7, 1804 Wife of Doct. E. Fish / AE 63. OB July 20 AD 1803 / AE 66. / In life by all respected / Death by all lamented / An honest man / The noblest work of God.”

Learn more about the stories of people buried at the Ancient Burying Ground: