Old Ti and the Old Center Cemetery

Print More

The Suffield Historical Society will meet on Tuesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in the Second Baptist Church’s Common Room. My American Studies students from Suffield Academy will present a brief history of the Old Center Cemetery and illuminate the three centuries of gravestone art exhibited in our town’s outdoor museum. Students will also share documents explaining the narrative history of Old Ti, who was the sexton at the Old Center Cemetery. Old Ti was enslaved by Reverend Ebenezer Gay, Sr.

Compared to other towns in Connecticut, we know a good deal about an enslaved person, such as Old Ti, because Suffield’s past historians investigated and incorporated documents about slavery in their works. Learn how Hezekiah Spencer Sheldon meticulously noted trends of slavery in town records and kept meticulous notes about enslaved individuals throughout his composition of A Documentary History of Suffield, 1879. Likewise, 20th century writer and Suffield historian, Robert Alcorn, noted well the instances of slavery. In particular, The Biography of a Town explains how John Pynchon sent two enslaved men in 1672 (Harry and Roco) to the mouth of Stony Brook to build colonial Suffield’s first saw mill. Contextualizing these historians in their presentation, students will explain how Reverend Ebenezer Gay, Jr. and his brother, William Gay, manumitted Old Ti in 1812, yet Joseph Pease paid $5 for Old Ti’s coffin in 1836.

Students will share a new digital map that connects the three current Witness Stone memorials in Suffield. There will also be an opportunity for interested residents to contribute to the installation ceremony in early May for Old Ti’s Witness Stone memorial.

Attend in person or access the following link that will connect you to the Zoom platform on Tuesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. https://tinyurl.com/556h7879

The Suffield Historical Society’s meetings are always open to the public, and newcomers are most welcome. Please email Bill Sullivan with any information you have to share about Old Ti or other questions regarding this program. bsullivan@suffieldacademy.org

Comments are closed.