For veterans: Darien students assist with graveyard restoration
It was like magic when a name appeared before us that no one had seen for 100 years. The name was Thaddeus Waring. Thaddeus was born in Rowayton on April 18, 1746 and died Jan. 5, 1826. He was a Revolutionary War veteran. It was fascinating to discover his father John Waring (according to WikiTree), was one of the founders of the First Congregational Church at Darien, Connecticut in 1744. His mother Katherine Tuttle and several of Thaddeus’s brothers were pioneers of Duchess County, now called Putnam County, New York.
Students from Darien High School honored the Cemetery Association with their presence at the Noroton River Graveyard, and were educated about the veterans from the Colonial Wars, Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.
Pam Zago, science teacher at Darien High School, was kind enough to ask her Support our Soldiers Club to participate in cleaning the tombstones and doing community service consisting of leaf raking and rebuilding stone walls.
The students’ activities included learning where the veterans were laid to rest, and learning how to clean and repair tombstones. Since the temperature was 21 degrees that day, it was impossible to use an adhesive to start the process of putting even one tombstone back together. We did, however assemble the pieces of an extremely large tombstone identified as Jonathan Waterbury, whose tombstone was not legible. It was like a puzzle with pieces scattered all over the cemetery. The students felt a great sense of accomplishment from finding the fragments and piecing them together flat on the ground to recreate the tombstone.
Darien High School students, washed the tombstones with a solvent that washed away hundreds of years of dirt and grime. Andrew Melillo, a local historian and preservationist, walked the students through the tombstones of the soldiers and families pointing out that Revolutionary War soldiers had a special gravestone marked with 1776 placed next to their graves mid-century.
Now, that these juniors at Darien High School have discovered a new part of Darien, we hope that they remember the sacrifices made by veterans who are buried at Noroton River Graveyard.
High School Students who participated include: Betsy Barthold, Erica Blaze (and her father), Sally Boucher, Aidan Keleghan, Elizabeth Keleghan, Madeline Murray, Elizabeth Partner, Emma Seely and Wesley Waylan.
We want to thank all of the fathers, teachers, and volunteers who helped us on this day including Tracy Root, who is the co-chairman of the Cemetery Association, and of course Jayme Stevenson, the first selectman of Darien, the Historical Society of Darien, Karen and David Polett for their continued support of the Monuments and Ceremonies of Darien for their ongoing maintenance.