Open (free to public), 8:30am-5pm

Telling New Stories

The Ancient Burying Ground - Hartford's Oldest Historic Site

The Ancient Burying Ground’s connections to the West Indies and Women’s Stories

This research project was conducted by Dr. Katherine Hermes to focus on two aspects of people’s lives in the Ancient Burying Ground: connections with the West Indies trade and women’s history. Both research projects include primary source research and genealogy with an emphasis on people of color and their experiences.

Ties to the West Indies 

Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground holds an infinite number of stories. The one its physical design tells is the founding of the city by religious reformers known as Puritans. The stones record lives long and short, tragic accidents, and loving tributes. The stories in the burying ground include the lives of people who have no markers. While as many as 6000 people once lay interred on the ancient grounds, nearly 500 of them indigenous, African, or African American, only a little over 400 have stones that survive. The hidden tales are thrilling, disturbing, and fascinating.

View the Ties to West Indies exhibit

Diverse Stories from Women’s Lives

A large obelisk list the names of the male founders of Hartford buried in the Ancient Burying Ground, but this is not the whole story. Explore the lives of women, ranging from the daughters, wives, and widows of those men to the Native, African, and African-American female servants and enslaved women who managed the households and kept Hartford running. Learn more about Ruth Moore, the first woman of color to leave a will in colonial Hartford, and Sarah Onepenny, a leading elder of the Wangunk.

View the online exhibit
Support by CT Humanities and NEH

Funding has been provided by CT Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.