Indian Hill Cemetery
Middletown Heritage Trail Site 12
Corner of Washington and Vine Streets
Way (WAY) back in the day, the Wangunk Indians called this place home. From the top of the hill here, they could see for miles and they called this place “Mattabeseck.” Hm, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, that’s right, I’ve hiked the entire Mattabesett Trail which sort of circles Middletown in a 50 mile trek, including over the summit of Beseck Mountain. (Follow that adventure here.)
Around 1639, the natives built fortifications up on this hill, perhaps to guard against enemy tribes and/or to keep out the whites who had already killed large numbers of Native Americans with their fancy smallpox and other European diseases. Of course, in time, the Wangunk’s sold much of their land to the colonialists, keeping this small parcel for themselves.
The English and Indians actually lived peacefully for two decades but ultimately, scared for their lives, Wangunks sold almost all of their land to the English to keep them at bay. Apparently it worked as the Wangunks lived on this (now cemetery) land until the late 1700’s before selling off the last parcel.
Several of them remained in Middletown and married into the local black community. Wow, a moderately happy ending to a Native American story in America.
The cemetery is very pretty, built in 1850 here in the most scenic spot in town. (I tend to disagree, having been on the hilltops over in the southern part of town.) All of Middletown’s elite were buried here in the 19th century, including one Frances Russell (whose name has popped up along this Middletown Heritage Trail before) who had an elegant brownstone chapel erected in memory of her husband.
The sign here goes on to say people enjoy walking, jogging, and picnicking here. Really? Picnicking?
Next Site: Freedom Church
Middletown Heritage Trail Intro
Edith B.Holloman (McArthur) saysMay 22, 2009 at 8:09 am
I, Edith B. Holloman,formerly Edith B. McArthur purchased a burial plot at Indian Hill off Wahington Street in Middletowm. My birth certicate stated that I was born Jan. 9, 1942, but my real date is Jan. 9, 1939. Please note that my death certicate will state the I was born Jan. 9, 1942. My grave stone reads Jan.9,1939,
I want it to remain as that.
Edith B. Holloman
Steve saysMay 12, 2010 at 11:15 am
Wouldn’t it be cool if someday the above comment becomes important. Like, if there’s some scandal involving wrong birthdates on gravestones in Middletown?
Linda Arabasz saysJuly 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm
Why was year on the birth certificate in the beginning, three years out of the way –
records such as this should be accurate
Rebecca Drake saysMarch 6, 2014 at 11:49 am
I have the obituary of Matilda Townsend Palmer, wife of Isaac Emerson Palmer of Middletown, Connecticut. The Obituary from the New York Times clearly states, “Funeral services for Mrs. Palmer were held at her home on Wednesday, July 6. Bishop-Coadjutor E. Campion Acheson of this city and the Rev. Charles P. Johnson of Dunellen, N. J. conducted the servicesl Internment was in Indian Hill Cemetery.”
I cannot find their names mentioned as being buried there and I am attempting to get them listed. Her husband, Isaac Emerson Palmer, one of the wealthiest men in Connecticut, preceeded her in death after hanging himself in the local mill he owned. Matilda died on July 3, 1927. Please see if you can find any information on this famous couple’s burials in Middletown.
Margaret saysJune 17, 2020 at 10:27 pm
Human error happens all the time. 1930 census has my mother recorded incorrectly. On my father’s gravestone, his birth date is incorrect. Go figure.