Old Center Cemetery

36 Mountain Road • Suffield, CT • Hartford County

Historical Significance

Suffield was established around 1670 as a settlement after John Pynchon paid the Indians 30 pounds for a place called Stony Brooke Plantation. The area connected Windsor and Springfield. Families (mostly from Springfield) settled the area and made their homes there. But in 1675 King Philip's War was raging and the people there (as many other smaller settlements in the region had to do,) were forced to move back to Springfield. The settlement was destroyed by fire by the Indians. Around 1679 they returned and rebuilt the settlement. In 1674 the town officially took the name Suffield. In 1749 Suffield, Massachusetts (originally intended to be Southfield) became Suffield, Connecticut. The oldest burial ground in Suffield is Old Center Cemetery, located on the grounds of the First Church of Suffield.

Photo: View northeast showing headstones and monuments. (Tod Bryant)

Being a largely itinerant population, cases are rare in which laborers remained behind once the canals were completed. As such, this immigrant workforce left behind little evidence of their contributions besides the work itself. Several traces, however, can be referenced. Among them are baptism records prepared by the Catholic priests who periodically visited the Irish in their work camps, as well as a number of gravesites in local cemeteries.

Among the former are records found in the archives of the Archdiocese of Boston prepared by a Reverend R. D. Woodley on three visits between 1828 and 1829. These document some fifteen children born to canal workers during their time in Windsor Locks. Other traces include several headstones located in the Old Center Cemetery in Suffield, Connecticut, which bear testament to the lives of several laborers who died working on the canal, including a Michael Costello, and Timothy and John McMahon, all natives of Limerick


Karmazinas, Lucas, The Irish in Connecticut, Historic Resource Inventory, 2014. "Suffield, Connecticut." Early American Ancestors.
[ view source ]


This is a 3.5 acre cemetery to the west of the First Church of Christ, Congregational in the center of Suffield. It includes simple, early grave markers from the 17th century, as well as more elaborate monuments from the 19th century.

Additional Information

Date(s):  ca. 1690

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