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Spirits of Stepney Graveside Lantern Cemetery tour
October 25, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Save Our Stepney Task Force (SOS), is sponsoring Spirits of Stepney Graveside Lantern Cemetery tour in the Birdsey’s Plain/Stepney Cemetery, Monroe, CT, Friday, October 23 and Sunday, October 25, 2020. Rain dates are Friday, October 30 and Sunday, November 1. Tours begin at 7:00 and 8:30 pm on Friday and 6:00 and 7:30pm on Sunday.
The tours are being dedicated to George Marr, long time Stepney resident and will be lead once again by spirit master Kevin Daly, historian for the Monroe Historical Society and member of the Save Our Stepney Task Force. Kevin will take participants on an illuminated lantern journey to notable and perhaps not so notable gravesites of those interred in the Stepney Cemetery. Some of the sites to be presented include a patriot of the American Revolution who at the age of 16 enlisted in the Continental Army, fought in numerous campaigns and was honorably discharged from his service by General George Washington himself, a woman from Jockey Hollow who took her own life in desperation, a former Monroe first selectman, constable and pillar of our community celebrated for his spirited telling of local lore, and a WWII veteran who served our town as the first ever chief of the Monroe Police Department. Local history, sprinkled with folklore will give everyone something to think about.
Each person, over the age of 16, will be given a lantern to navigate the tour. Graves will be marked with jack-o-lanterns and an artifact that is significant to the person’s life story. In addition, luminaria will also light the way to the gravesites. Due to social distancing audio enhancement will be provided and attendees are asked to wear a mask. Reservations are strongly recommended.
In the Birdsey’s Plain/Stepney Cemetery lie nearly over 1,400 men, women, and children. Each life constitutes a footnote, a page, or a chapter in the story of Stepney’s development as a community. The cemetery was established with a gift of land by Noah and James Burr, Jr. in 1794, and subsequently enlarged in 1813 and 1844. The earliest death date on a surviving tombstone is that for Betsey Sherman who died in 1794 at the age of 5 years, 10 months and 16 days.
Many individuals of interest interred here include, industrialists William Penfield, Ira Penfield, Barnum Curtiss (with three of his four wives!) and Andrew Barnum Curtiss; merchant Burr Hawley; postmasters Harriet Platt and Stephen French; and pioneer settler Thomas Hawley.
Physically the Birdsey’s Plain/Stepney Cemetery is a 3.1-acre burial ground. Most of the memorial stones are carved of granite. There is a great variety in the designs utilized for the monuments including obelisks and tall columns with urns at their tops. The cemetery has a single lane “U” shaped road for vehicular access to the rear. There are two entrances and one exit located along Pepper Street. The cemetery boundaries are marked by stonewalls and original black ironwork fences and gates, typical of the nineteenth century and earlier.
The cost of the tour is $20 per person, children twelve and under admitted free, and space is limited to twenty persons per tour. Parking is provided behind the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church. To reserve your spot and a lantern, please visit saveourstepney.org, select the events button or contact Lee Hossler at 203.261.5702 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Save Our Stepney Task Force, Inc., is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, more specifically to preserve and enhance the character of the village of Stepney, Connecticut, incorporated within the Town of Monroe. The organization’s scope of concern includes identifying, documenting, improving and/or preserving historic, cultural and natural properties and features of Stepney. Activities include public events, education, beautification and cultural enrichment. For more information about the Save Our Stepney Task Force, call Joel Leneker at 203.268.0247, follow us on Facebook at Save Our Stepney Task Force or visit www.saveourstepney.org