Richard Bernham, 1766
“In Memory of Mr. Richard Bernham, Killed by ye Bloing up of ye School house June 1766 Aged 18 Years & 3 Months. Son to Mr. Elisha & Mrs. Sarah Bernham.”
Richard Bernham was killed in an accidental explosion that in an instant turned a festive celebration of political victory into a horrific tragedy.
The British Parliament’s passage in 1765 of the Stamp Act, which taxed paper products, ranging from newspapers to legal documents, used in the colonies, enraged colonists. Because they weren’t represented in Parliament, they considered the tax a violation of their rights.
Vigorous, sometimes violent protests and boycotts of British imports convinced Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act in 1766. The colonists went wild with joy, and 30 young men met in Hartford’s new brick school house to prepare a fireworks display. Gunpowder stored in the building was accidentally ignited, resulting in an explosion that destroyed the schoolhouse and took the lives of Bernham and five other men.
Ebenezer Watson, 1777
“Mr. EBENEZER WATSON, Printer, who Died Sept. 16, 1777, AET 33”
In the pages of his weekly Connecticut Courant newspaper, Hartford printer Ebenezer Watson championed America’s struggle for colonial rights and later independence from Great Britain. In the decade prior to his death, the four-page Courant became one of the most powerful journalistic supporters of the cause of American liberty. The Courant, established in 1764 by Thomas Green, continues today as the Hartford Courant, the oldest continuously published newspaper in America.
Learn more about the stories of people buried at the Ancient Burying Ground:
- Reverend Thomas Hooker and Government by the Consent of the People
- Nathaniel Willet and his role in Connecticut’s Witchcraft Trials
- Governor William Leete – Connecticut and New Haven Became One
- John Allyn, securing the Royal Charter and the Charter Oak
- Elizabeth Willson from Hartford as a successful Colonial Business And Commercial Center
- Col. Nathan Payson and Dr. Eliakim Fish, who served in the military in several Colonial Conflicts
- Richard Bernham and Ebenezer Watson in Connecticut’s Run-Up To Rebellion
- Captain Pownal Deming and Moses Dunbar – opposing roles in the American Revolution
- Jeremiah Wadsworth – Creating A New State And Nation
- Learn more about the People of Diverse Races and Ethnic Heritages found at the Ancient Burying Ground