Revolutionary War graves are rescued from disrepair
Seven Wilton husbands and wives, laid to rest in Comstock Cemetery more than two centuries ago, now have a dignified final resting place. The men were all veterans of the Revolutionary War, and their gravesites had fallen into serious disrepair.
The Drum Hill Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has been working on restoring the half-acre cemetery on Ridgefield Road in Wilton for several years. Members have been assisted by a number of groups in Wilton and Ridgefield, including two Eagle Scout projects by members of Ridgefield BSA Troop 76.
They cleaned up the cemetery and this spring hundreds of daffodils, planted by chapter members last fall, bloomed. However, many old gravestones desperately need repair.
According to Ridgefielder Sara Champion, chapter regent, the Drum Hill chapter received a 2017 Special Projects Grant from the national society, one of only two historic preservation grants it made in Connecticut this year. The matching grant was for the express purpose of repairing the gravestones of the seven Revolutionary War veterans and their wives: David Dunning III, Thaddeus Keeler, Matthew Mead, James Morgan, Samuel Olmstead, John Rockwell III and David Whitlock.
Assisting the chapter with repairs that have just been completed were Will and Lisa Cornell of Beyond the Gravestone. Drum Hill’s Historic Preservation Chair Laura Stabell, also of Ridgefield, said the chapter plans to continue fund-raising efforts so gravestones of other family members of these patriots, as well as other individuals buried at the cemetery, can be restored.
Comstock Cemetery was originally the Comstock family cemetery, established in 1782 on Ridgefield Road at Signal Hill North, according to Bob Russell’s book, Wilton, Connecticut. In 1805 the town leased the site as a public cemetery. Some 150 people are buried there — many of the graves are marked only by neat rows of fieldstones — the last burial taking place in 1851.
Drum Hill Chapter has more than 100 members principally from Wilton, Ridgefield, Redding and Weston. Membership in the DAR is open to any woman over age 18 who is directly descended from a patriot who aided the American cause during the Revolution. For more information, visit the chapter’s website www.drumhilldar.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.