I Have Some Grave News
Ephraim Huit Grave
Palisado Cemetery, Windsor
I had trouble coming up with the title description for this page. I guess it’s not the oldest gravestone in the state. But it is reputed to be the oldest original monument still standing in Connecticut. And one of the oldest legible monuments of any kind in the country. At any rate, it’s old – and remarkably well preserved. In fact, it looks far newer than a million other gravestones I’ve seen in my day.
The Palisado Cemetery is a stop along the Connecticut Freedom Trail and the First Church next to it is said to be the oldest parish in the new world. My head spins at all this stuff. Here’s my write up about the Church, which is more interesting than you may think. Then again, you’re reading this, so maybe you DO find this stuff as cool as I do. (While we’re at it, the reason this cemetery is part of the Freedom Trail is completely separate from the reason for this post. Seriously.)
The Rev. Ephraim Huit was settled in Windsor, in 1639, as the colleague of the Rev. Mr. Warham, and died in 1644. Cotton Mather mentions him among the ministers that left the mother country after having entered the sacred office. His will is recorded in the office of the Secretary of State, Connecticut, by which it appears that he left four daughters –Susanna, Mercy, Lydia, and Mary, to whom, with his widow, he left a handsome estate, real and personal. He had one son, who died before his father.
Huit was responsible for building a solid and safe (from marauding Indians) meetinghouse back in the mid 17th century. A quick reading of the inscription on any early New England gravestone, and you know exactly how the deceased was regarded by his family and friends. Mr. Huit’s tabled tombstone, erected in 1644 in the Old Burying Ground of Windsor (Palisado Cemetery) reads:
Who when hee lived wee drew our vitall breath,
Who when hee dyed his dying was our death,
Who was ye stay of State, Ye Churches Staff,
Alas the times forbid an Epitaph