Cemetery tour on June 30

Former first selectman and Wilton historian Bob Russell will lead a walking tour of Hillside Cemetery on Saturday, June 30, at 11 a.m. He will give a brief history of Hillside and discuss some of the notable people buried there.

The present cemetery originated as a combination of two private cemeteries. The first was Joe’s Hill Cemetery, named for landowner Jonathan Middlebrook. The second was Betts Cemetery, owned by a relative of Virginia Middlebrook Wilkinson, and located to the south of Joe’s Hill Cemetery. Both were transferred to the Congregational Society in 1818 and 1918 respectively, thereby forming the present Hillside Cemetery.

Four and a half acres were purchased and added in 1936 and an additional 21 acres were purchased from the Gregory family and added in 1950. The total acreage of Hillside Cemetery stands at 27.  

Because the cemetery has been in existence for so long, it has a rich history. A number of Revolutionary War veterans and Civil War veterans, like John King, who served in the Union Army, are buried in the oldest section. Other established Wilton family names like Olmsted, Middlebrook and Comstock, dating back to the early 1900’s, are easily recognized. And, Hillside Cemetery remains the destination of the annual Memorial Day parade where ceremonies are held each year at a monument dedicated to 10 Wilton men who died in World War II.

Participants should meet at the flag pole for the tour that will last about 40 minutes. Information: Pam Brown at pam@wiltoncongregational.org or 203-762-5591.