Center Cemetery

Center Cemetery
Center Cemetery of East Hartford reflects the complex history and interaction of Native Americans, African-Americans, and white residents on the lands that encompass the town.

The cemetery is the second Colonial-era burying ground for the Hartford colony. It opened in 1709 to accommodate the burial of residents of East Hartford whose relatives found it increasingly difficult to inter their remains at what is now the Ancient Burying Ground in downtown Hartford.

The highest point in the Cemetery was once known as Fort Hill, being the site of a main summer encampment of the native Podunk tribe. There, the Podunks had a site surrounded by a palisade of logs. The fort would have offered a clear view from the hill down to the Connecticut River. Joseph O. Goodwin, in his East Hartford: Its History and Traditions (1879), notes that the remains of this palisade could be seen well into the 18th century, but had vanished by his day.

The graves of two African-Americans close to the Main Street entrance of the cemetery, Pomp Equality and Pitt Judeth, record the presence of slavery in Colonial-era.

The graves themselves record the shifts in wealth, power, and religious practices from the earliest Colonial-era days even up to the early twenty-first century, as the occasional burial, while now rare, occurs from time to time.

To hear audio recordings of significant sites in Center Cemetery, visit in the Internet Archive here:
Or, browse the list of sites below, listed in their numerical order of the tour.
1. Main Street: Introduction
2. Pomp Equality/Pitt Judeth 
3. Steven Buckland
4. William and Sarah Williams
5. Daniel Bidwell
6. Infant Son of Capt. Bidwell
7. Mary Bidwell/William Forbes, Jr.
8. Hannah Goodwin Pitkin
9. 3 infant sons of Capt. Hurlburt
10. Gov. William Pitkin III
11. William Pitkin IV
12. Rev. Samuel Woodbridge
13. Captain Gideon Olmsted
14. Rev. Eliphalet Williams
15. Obadiah Wood
16. Sgt. Daniel Easton
17. Edward Hayden
18. Samuel Congdon
19. Henry Pitkin
20. Independence Washington Rodgers
21. Flint Family
22. Civil War Monument
23. Henry H. Brownell
24. Pitkin Vault
25. Henry Hammond Ahl
26. Rev. Samuel Spring
27. Prince Thomas Williams
28. John Mooney Mead
29. Fort Hill
30. Raymond Vault

To learn more about the history of Center Cemetery, download a full history here

Below is a map of the walking tour: