"Center Cemetery"
by Raymond Bentley

(All text within the quotation marks are written exactly as they appear in the Town Records)

At a town meeting held on December 22, 1740, it was "Voted that the Selectmen and Thomas Bull be a committee to make surch for a place for a burying place that may a Comodat the holl town of Harwington."

At another town meeting held on January 20, 1741, it was "Voted on that the town Excepts the return that the committee hath made concerning the exchange of sum land in order to furnish the town with a Sofisant burying place." At that same meeting it was also "Voted that Mr. Daniel Messenger and Mr. Jacob Hinsdell and Mr. Jonathan Hopkins Be a Commity in order to Give and Receive Deeds in Behalf of the town Respecting Exchanging sum Land in order for a Buring place for the town."

As a result of this action the following deed was drawn. It is recorded in Volume 1, on page 81 of the Harwinton Land Records:

"Know all men by these presents that we Daniel Messenger, Jonathan Hopkins and Jacob Hinsdell being a committee appointed and fully impowered by the Town of Harwinton to mak sum Exchang of land with the Reverent Mr Andrew Bartholomew in order to accomodate ye said Town with a sutable peace of Land for a Buring place for ye Dead do therefor in ye behalf of the said Town on ye one party and Andrew Bartholomew on ye other party agree as followeth: viz: That ye town shal have seventy & two Rods of Land on the Northwest corner of Mr Bartholomews Land which is near the meeting house in said Harwinton it Being part of ye lot East of said meeting house which land is set off from said Bartholomew land in ye form: viz: Twelve rods eight from said Corner and five rods South from said Corner which land is to Continue forever to be said Towns for ye use abov said and for ye Consideration of ye same we do agree and Covenant that ye said Mr Bartholomew shall have an equivalent seventy & two rods out of ye highway Beginning at ye North East Corner of ye Land Which Abijah Catlin Bought of Mr Bartholomew....To him and to his heirs and assigns forever in Confirmation Hereof We place our hands and seasl ye 25th day of january in ye 15th year of his Majesties Reighn George ye Second A D 1741/2. Signed Sealed & Delivered in presents of Andrew Bartholomew, Jonathan Hopkins and Jacob Hinsdell."

Here are buried many of the early settlers of the town. Reverend Andrew Bartholomew, who as first minister served the town for thirty-six year, was buried here in 1776. Hannah Wadsworth Cook, daughter of Captain Joseph Wadsworth, who his the Connecticut charter in the Charter Oak, was buried here in 1786. In 1913, Frank D. andrews, a friend of Newman Hungerford, together with Reverend Charles B. Strong, made a list of all the gravestones inscriptions which could be read at that time. The old stones are crumbling and many of them can no longer be read.

Apparenty the cemetery hadn't been well taken care of over the years because, at a town meeting on October 4, 1886, it was voted to direct the selectmen to make such improvements in the Old Cemetery as they may think best by trimming up the shade trees, removing those which are dead, setting up and placing in proper order all the monuments that are down and also to erect a fence on the line dividing said lot from land of Mrs. Julia Burwell." That was the fence on the south side.

Every year the old stones show more and more wear. It will be only a few years before ther inscrptions will no longer be legible.

The above is written from excerpts from
"THIS AND THAT OF EARLY HARWINTON"
by Raymond G. Bentley
Published in 1999