On a trip from New York to Rhode Island, we took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Westport, Connecticut in possibly the oldest graveyard I have ever set foot in. It only took up a small corner of the street, and the ancient wrought iron gates were open...
The Jennings Trail Burial Ground was established in 1725 and is home to only a few rows of perilously leaning, lichen studded, and downtrodden headstones. These are the real pioneers of this country – the settlers, farmers, and Revolutionary heroes, along with their families.
Just across the road and along the Jennings Trail are bronze markers commemorating some major battles and skirmishes in the Revolutionary War, and I can only imagine what this little cemetery has witnessed in the 200+ years it has stood.
Nature has certainly come roaring back in this square of land-gnarled tree roots are pushing over headstones, and one tree trunk actually sought to swallow a headstone whole. The harsh winters have worked hard to rub some headstones almost clean, while some remain strangely untouched.
The surrounding area still appears to be starkly rural, with dirt roads and antique farmhouses, which makes one feel as if you are stepping back in time.
The 18th century stonework on these gravestones is exquisite – poetry, cherubs, filligreed faces, angels, and flowers.
What a lovely little slice of local history, and a fortunate detour for us!