Witness Stone Installation and Gravestone Cleaning Workshop

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Everyone is welcome to attend a Witness Stone Installation ceremony for Old Ti, also known as Titus Kent. After a thirty-minute installation program, there will be a brief preservation workshop where individuals can learn the techniques of cleaning historic gravestones. The entire program will convene from 11a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 in the Old Center Cemetery behind the Congregational Church. A Witness Stone memorial is a four-inch square bronze plaque that is installed on sites where enslaved people lived, worked, or worshiped. The mission of the Witness Stone Project is to restore the history and honor the humanity of enslaved individuals who contributed to our community. Come out to learn more about Old Ti’s beloved role as sexton in Suffield’s Meeting House.

Collaborating with members of the Sibbil Dwight Kent Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, Suffield Historical Society, and the Congregational Church, members of Bill Sullivan’s American Studies class from Suffield Academy will facilitate a ceremony for Old Ti’s contributions to Suffield’s community during the Revolutionary War and the early days and decades of our young republic. Through research and civic engagement, Witness Stone Project ceremonies celebrate the stories of formerly enslaved individuals who helped build our colonial communities across the northern states. The project began in 2017, and now there are Witness Stone memorials in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and over 40 communities here in Connecticut.

For those who want to use their hands while learning more about three centuries of cemetery art in our town’s oldest outdoor museum, please wear proper clothing and bring your own jug of water. One of Old Ti’s legacy to our community was his role as sexton, which was someone who looked after the meeting house, rang its bell, and dug graves in Suffield’s Old Center Cemetery.

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