Open W-F, 12-4pm, Sat 10am-2pm | (860) 364-5688

Open W-F, 12-4pm, Sat 10am-2pm | (860) 364-5688

Sharon Burying Ground / Hillside Cemetery

Overview

Originally known as the Sharon Burying Ground, the Hillside Cemetery has been Sharon’s primary place of burial since December 11, 1739. On that day, the town fathers met at the home of Nathaniel Skinner to decide about the essential elements of a growing, thriving town. They concluded that designing and creating a burial ground was one of those essentials. Nathaniel Skinner and Lew Jabez (Habezz) were asked to locate an appropriate site. They found the first part of what has become the Hillside Cemetery, a good name for the site, as it looks out from a hillside across the west and north of the town. The earliest burials are near the upper entrance gate.

As additional land became necessary, two acres were purchased from the King family in 1812 for $244. The Kings lived in the large brick house, which even today stands nearby at the top of the green. The Sharon land records of 1812 include a deed of purchase for this land. Agents for the acquisition were Samuel Roberts, a hired man to George King, who later did well in real estate; Samuel Rockwell, who represented Sharon in the Connecticut legislature of 1815; and Samuel Gager, who served as assistant surgeon in the navy during the Revolutionary War.
King House on 12 Main Street in Sharon, CT, 2004.24.602

In 1875, the Sharon Burying Ground Association voted to have the Cemetery mowed and cleared annually by July 15. In 1878, a vote was taken that the “grass and weeds be cut the last week in June and cleared by July 1.” The process was to be repeated in the last week of August.

In 1890, the directors of the Association decided they needed a map of the cemetery. The task was completed, but the map was unfortunately lost. A new map appeared in 1927. However, it lacked necessary information such as the names of the older stones. Today a large map with plot numbers and an accompanying catalog of names with numbers are on file at The Sharon Historical Society, and the names are in a searchable database (pdf).

A controversy developed in the early 20th century when the directors of the Association decided to “re-sell” plots in the oldest part from which previously set stones had vanished. The Superintendent of the Cemetery was so upset by this decision that he resigned from his position and from the Board.

To this day, the Burying Ground Association is the group that looks after the cemetery. It is made up of 15 volunteers who constitute the Directors. This group meets four times a year: in March, June, September and December. They review the finances-money to keep up the Cemetery has been left in an endowment-and discuss the repairs and maintenance that need doing. Members of the Board and volunteers, calling themselves the Hillside Stoners, have in the past three years cleaned over 200 stones. An annual appeal raises funds for professionals to raise, straighten and repair gravestones. The “Adopt a Grave” Program invites people to donate $50. to defray the cost of cleaning materials. Donors receive a picture of their adopted grave and a copy of an epitaph if one is carved onto their stone.

Headstone Inscriptions & Maps

Click on one of the links below to download a full list of Sharon Buring Ground headstone inscriptions or maps of the cemetery.

Alphabetical list of headstone inscriptions (pdf)
Hillside Cemetery Map 1 (pdf)
Hillside Cemetery Map 2 (pdf)

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