Self Guided Cemetery Tours

Grove Street Cemetery MapScript for Grove Street Cemetery Tour Tape 1
Script for Grove Street Cemetery Tour Tape 2
Script for Grove Street Cemetery Tour Tape 3

W. Jack CunninghamScientists and Engineers
W. Jack Cunningham
April 2003

The accompanying material relates to scientists and engineers buried in the Grove Street Cemetery. It was prepared to be recorded on tape and, with the aid of a portable player, to serve for three self-guided tours, each requiring about thirty minutes time. Actual recording never occurred.

The scripts contain only a partial listing of all scientists and engineers in the cemetery. There is, for example, no one who died recently. The date of most recent death is 1976.

Individuals are listed accompanied by a brief summary of information about each one. So as to help a stranger find a particular grave, preceding this individual information is a description of where the gave is located, in terms of street and number, and of the type of gravestone.

The material was assembled initially following a question from Elona Vaisnys, Editor, Faculty of Engineering. She had found a newspaper story about a civil engineering professor at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. He had his class meet in a local cemetery at the grave of Hardy Cross. Cross was a native of the area who, in the 1930s, devised a numerical procedure for calculating stresses in complicated structures with many interconnected parts. The resulting "Hardy Cross Method" was widely used for structural design in the era before computers. Ms. Vaisnys wondered whether there was anyone in the Grove Street Cemetery at whose gave it might be appropriate for a Yale engineering class to meet. When it turned out that there are a number of possibilities, it was she who proposed tape recording the material.



April 2003
Script for Grove Street Cemetery Tour Tape 1

This is a picture of me in the late 1980's while I was a Professor of electrical engineering at Yale.

Hi! I'am Jack Cunningham. I am a retired professor of electrical engineering at Yale. I am now a Docent with the Friends of the Grove Street Cemetery. This is the first of several tapes that will guide you to grave sites of some of the scientists and engineers buried in the cemetery. This tape deals with grave sites along Cedar Avenue. The streets in the cemetery are all named for trees and are identified by signs.

We begin, standing on Hawthorn Path just inside the gate opening off Grove Street.

During the first one hundred fifty years of its existence, New Haven buried its dead on what is now the New Haven Green. Shortly before 1800 this area was becoming cluttered and a new burying ground was created in what is now known as the Grove Street Cemetery. The cemetery is over 200 years old. Soon after it was opened, many of the gravestones, originally on the Green, were moved to the new location. The cemetery was first enclosed with a wooden fence. When this deteriorated the present brownstone wall was erected in 1845. A section of iron fence along Grove Street was intended to create a less confining atmosphere. The Grove Street Cemetery, as it is commonly known, is officially The New Haven City Burial Ground. It is a private corporation under the control of self-perpetuating Proprietors, the first cemetery in this country having such a structure. It is also the first to be laid out in family plots.

The entrance gate was erected at the same time as the stone wall. It was designed by Henry Austin, a well known New Haven architect. The gate is in the Egyptian Revival style that was popular at the time. The words-The Dead Shall Be Raised-are inscribed over the gate. They come from St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 52: "The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised." These words are also the basis for an aria in Handel's Messiah, "The Trumpet Shall Sound."

George Vaill, a great raconteur of Yale stories, had a story about this inscription. According to him when the Yale president at the time, Jeremiah Day, first saw the inscription, his comment was, "The dead shall be raised? They certainly shall if Yale ever needs the property." According to Vaill, every Yale president through Whitney Griswold, found an occasion to repeat that remark. Vaill persuaded Kingman Brewster to sign a document certifying that he would never make such a declaration. Nonetheless, at the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the cemetery, Yale President Richard Levin again made the remark about raising the dead, but ascribed it to Arthur Twining Hadley instead of Jeremiah Day.

Incidentally, the Yale Library has an original watercolor drawing of the gate on which the words about raising the dead do not appear. Evidently Austin chose to add them at some later time.

In keeping with the Egyptian motif of the gate, there are many grave monuments in the form of obelisks, some large, some small.

The small brick structure, just inside the gate and built later, was a chapel for funeral services. It has near its peak a gilded moth, an Egyptian symbol of the soul of a departed person fluttering up to heaven. Plaques are fastened to the wall of the structure identifying the cemetery as a National Historic Landmark, recorded in the National Register of Historic Places. The structure is now used as the office for the superintendent, who oversees operation of the cemetery. He has a file of all those buried in the cemetery, with their gave locations.

We are now going to walk westward along Hawthorn Path, until we reach the fourth street branching northward, to the right, which is Cedar Avenue. At frequent intervals along the edges of the streets small metal markers are placed in the ground carrying numbers to identify the locations. These markers are often obscured by dirt or leaves, and may be hard to find.

We are going to Number 2 Cedar Avenue, at the intersection with Hawthorn Path, which is the family plot for Benjamin Silliman. It is enclosed in an iron fence. It contains a large gay stone column for Silliman, a pink upright stone slab for James Dwight Dana, a similar upright slab for Maria Dana, as well as stones for other family members.

Number 2 Cedar Avenue is the family plot for Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864). This is the Silliman for whom Silliman College is named.

He entered Yale at the age of 13. Upon graduation he planned to study law, but the Yale Corporation saw fit to appoint him professor of chemistry at a time when he knew nothing of the subject. The Corporation sent him to Philadelphia, where he learned chemistry, botany, anatomy and surgery, and to Europe, where he studied and purchased books and scientific apparatus. Later he added geology to the sciences in which he was proficient. He was described as being "in the front rank of American chemists of his day," and "the most important scientific figure in the country." He brought serious science to Yale. He was a good public lecturer with interesting presentations and skillful demonstrations. He was largely responsible for starting the Yale School of Medicine.

He was a seriously religious man and, at a time when the public tended to have strong religious convictions, this was helpful to him in influencing the introduction of science. He founded the American Journal of Science, known familiarly as Silliman's Journal, which is still being published. He was one of the original members of the National Academy of Sciences.

This elder Benjamin Silliman had a son, Benjamin Silliman, Jr., also a well known scientist. He is buried in another part of the cemetery. Silliman also had a daughter, Henrietta, who has married to James Dwight Dana, both of whom are in the father's plot.

James Dwight Dana (1813-1895) was primarily a geologist. He was a voluminous author, producing a total of 214 books and papers. He was someone who could work with large projects involving many fine details. He became the editor of Silliman's Journal. During the years 1838-1842 he took part in a U.S. sponsored expedition to the South Seas and subsequently spent thirteen years writing reports about it. When the elder Silliman retired in 1849, Dana succeeded him as professor of natural history, later called geology and mineralogy.

The Danas lived in the house at the corner of Trumbull Street and Hillhouse Avenue, now occupied by the department of statistics. The house was designed for Dana by Henry Austin of the Egyptian gate. Dana's daughter, Maria Trumbull Dana, lived there until her death in 1961. Just after World War II, she often had a small electric-powered automobile parked in the front driveway. It was steered with a tiller and had a vase for cut flowers. When Miss Dana was in her nineties, she still baked a cake on the birthday of her father and shared it with graduate students in the geology department.

We are now going to Number 4 Cedar Avenue, the site for Jedediah Morse. It is just north of the Sillimans and is also enclosed in an iron fence. The Morse grave is marked by a tall cylindrical stone column topped by a sphere.

Number 4 Cedar Avenue, is the site for Jedediah Morse (1761-1826). Morse was a minister in Charlestown, Massachusetts for thirty years. He was a popular preacher who found time to help found the Andover Theological Seminary and the Park Street Church. He was a strong Congregationalist and was deeply involved in arguments that led to the separation of the Unitarians.

Jedediah Morse became interested in geography and published the first book on the subject in the U.S., entitled, Geography Made Easy, in 1784. It turned out to be very popular, and went through twenty-five editions during the author’s lifetime. He produced other books on geography, and essentially monopolized the field. He became known as the "Father of American Geography," although he was largely a collector and compiler of material from other sources.

He and his wife had eleven children, only three of whom survived infancy. The eldest was Samuel F. B. Morse, who achieved fame as a portrait painter, and whom most people recognize as the inventor of the electric telegraph and the Morse code.

We are now going to Number 5 Cedar Avenue, the site for David Humphreys. It is located directly across Cedar Avenue from the Morse plot. A stone obelisk marks the grave of Humphreys.

Number 5 Cedar Avenue is the site for David Humphreys (1752-1818). He was a brilliant soldier and the Aide de Camp for General George Washington. After the Revolution he became the first ambassador to both Spain and Portugal He introduced into Connecticut merino sheep, grown for their wool. He built a mill in Derby for weaving woolen cloth. Both Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison ordered suits made from Humphreys's cloth. Amid his other activities, Humphreys found time to write history and poetry.

We are now going to Number 14 Cedar Avenue, the family plot for Eli Whitney. It is north of Humphreys's plot, on the opposite side of the street, and is enclosed in an iron fence. The site for the elder Whitney is marked by a brownstone sarcophagus, while that of his son is marked by a rectangular column of granite.

Number 14 Cedar Avenue is the site for Eli Whitney (1765-1825). Whitney entered Yale from a farm in Massachusetts at the age of 23. After graduation he went to Georgia as tutor on a cotton plantation. There he saw the slow and difficult process by which cotton fibers were separated from the seeds by hand. The story goes that he watched a cat, trying to get at a chicken by clawing at it between the bars of a cage, and succeeding only in scratching out a few feathers. He used this idea to make a machine that would claw the cotton fibers away from the seeds. The resulting cotton gin is said to have made economically possible the creation of large southern cotton plantations, with all their good and bad features.

After others had essentially stolen his idea for the cotton gin, Whitney returned to New Haven and managed to get a contract with the U.S. government to make a large number of muskets. At that time the various parts of a musket were each made and fitted together by hand, with the result that parts were not interchangeable. Whitney proposed making all parts to carefully controlled standard dimensions, so that any combination of parts could be assembled to make a musket. It turned out that available technology did not allow him actually to do this, but his ideas did lead to industrial mass production based on standardized interchangeable parts. While Whitney lived in New Haven, his arms factory was located at falls on the Mill River at the base of East Rock, just north of the New Haven town line in Hamden. A dam there provided water power for his machinery. At the present time the Eli Whitney Museum is located at the site of the Whitney arms factory.

Eli Whitney married relatively late in life and had one son, born five years before the father died. The son, Eli Whitney, 2nd or Jr., (1820-1895) is buried in the same plot on Cedar Avenue as is his father. It was intended that the younger Whitney run the arms factory, but until he was old enough to do so it was run by nephews of the elder Whitney, named Eli Whitney Blake and Philos Blake. The younger Whitney turned out to be a very capable person and under his leadership the arms factory was finally able to produce successfully arms with interchangeable parts.

About this time, a group of New Haven citizens decided that the city should have a central supply of water, replacing the individual wells that had been used as sources of water up to that time. The younger Whitney was persuaded to lead the formation of the New Haven Water Company. He raised the height of the dam on the Mill River, where the arms factory was located. This created Lake Whitney, which became the source of water.

Yet another, later Eli Whitney (the 3rd), is buried at the north end of Cedar Avenue. He was with the water company.

We are now going to Number 30 Cedar Avenue, the site for Denison Olmsted. It is some distance north of the Whitneys, on the same side of the street. His gravestone is an upright slab of white marble.

Number 30 Cedar Avenue is the site for Denison Olmsted (1791-1859). He was professor of medicine and natural philosophy, interested in mathematics and astronomy. He was a good teacher and wrote textbooks. He published about meteors, hailstones, and the aurora. He also calculated the orbit of Halley's Comet, and was able to observe it when it returned in 1835.

We are now going to Number 37 Cedar Avenue, the site for Ithiel Town. It is located on the west side of the street, some distance from the street and just outside an iron fence surrounding an obelisk. The stone is an upright slab of gray granite.

Number 37 Cedar Avenue is the site for Ithiel Town (1784-1844). Town was a well known architect in New Haven. He designed both Trinity Church and Center Church on the New Haven Green, among other structures. He devised a way of building the upper tapered part of the steeple of Center Church at ground level within the lower square brick tower, and hoisting the completed steeple into place through the tower. He also designed a State House on the Green, at the time when New Haven and Hartford alternated as the seat of government in Connecticut.

Town invented and patented a way of building bridges making use of what became known as the Town lattice truss. This truss required only standard pieces of lumber, and could be assembled by a carpenter using simple hand tools. Many Town truss bridges were built, with the inventor collecting a royalty of one dollar per foot. Only a few years ago, students at the Eli Whitney Technical School erected a Town truss bridge across the Mill River at the site of the Eli Whitney Museum. You may go there and see it for yourself. There is also an earlier Town truss foot bridge, made of iron, crossing the Mill River less than half a mile below the Whitney Museum.

We are now going to Number 50F Cedar Avenue, the site for John Kirkwood, Lars Onsager, and others. It is at the northeast corner of Cedar Avenue and Myrtle Path. Graves of both Kirkwood and Onsager are marked by upright slabs of gray stone, set back from the street.

Number 50F Cedar Avenue is the site for several individuals once on the faculty of Yale.

John Gamble Kirkwood (1907-1959) was a physical chemist who was on the faculty at Yale a relatively short time before he died. His gravestone, roughly 6 feet high and 2 112 feet wide, includes some twenty lines describing his many accomplishments and achievements.

Lars Onsager (1903-1976) was in the chemistry department at Yale at the same time as Kirkwood. Onsager was J. Willard Gibbs professor of chemistry. His gravestone is just to the right of that of Kirkwood, and is a little wider but not quite so tall. The Onsager stone has minimal information:
Gibbs Professor
Nobel Laureate*
An asterisk following the Nobel listing refers to a footnote at the bottom of the stone with the mere notation: Etc. Evidently Onsager thought the Nobel award was sufficient to substantiate his stature.

Both Kirkwood and Onsager were members of the National Academy of Sciences.

We are now going to Number 51 Cedar Avenue, the site for James Brewster. It is opposite the Onsager site. The grave is marked by a rectangular column of brownstone.

Number 51 Cedar Avenue is the site for James Brewster (1788-1866). Brewster opened a shop in New Haven in 1810 to build horse-drawn carriages at a time when only heavier vehicles were being built in this country. He produced a varied line that was widely sold and became well known as "Brewster wagons." Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren purchased Brewster carriages. Carriage building flourished in New Haven for the entire nineteenth century, and disappeared abruptly with the coming of the automobile.

Brewster was one of a group that started the first railroad for the area, running between New Haven and Hartford. The present railroad follows the same route. The cost was estimated at $830,000. Construction took place during a national financial panic, and completion was possible only because of the resources provided by Brewster.

Brewster was civic minded, extending and widening city streets. He tried to create better working conditions for those who worked in his factory and in other similar establishments, and he established an orphanage. At his death he was described as "one of the best citizens New Haven or any other city ever had."

James Brewster, the carriage builder, was not related to Kingman Brewster, Yale president, nor to Frederick Brewster, banker, who lived in the estate on Whitney Avenue known as Edgerton. Both are well known persons buried in the Grove Street Cemetery.

This completes the first tour through a part of the cemetery.



April 2003
Script for Grove Street Cemetery Tour Tape 2

Hi! I am Jack Cunningham. I am a retired professor of electrical engineering at Yale. I am now a Docent with the Friends of the Grove Street Cemetery. This is the second of several tapes that will guide you to grave sites of some of the scientists and engineers buried in the cemetery. This tape deals primarily with grave sites along Locust Avenue, but includes other nearby sites as well. The streets in the cemetery are all named for trees and are identified by signs.

We begin, standing on Hawthorn Path just inside the gate opening off Grove Street.

We are now going to walk westward along Hawthorn Path, until we reach the second street branching northward, to the right, which is Laurel Avenue. At frequent intervals along the edges of the streets small metal markers are placed in the ground carrying numbers to identify the locations. These markers are often obscured by dirt or leaves, and may be hard to find. We are going to Number 21 Laurel Avenue, the site for the Ritter family. It is surrounded by a fence elaborately carved of brownstone, and the John Ritter grave is marked by a tall rectangular brownstone column.

Number 21 Laurel Avenue is the site for John Ritter (1750-1802). Ritter was the first of a family of stone cutters who worked with brownstone, a sandstone that came from a quarry in Fair Haven. Brownstone is relatively easy to work with, but tends to disintegrate over time. This grave site is an example of the elaborate stone cutting they were able to do.

We are now going to walk northward along Laurel Avenue until we reach its intersection with Myrtle Path. Here we turn westward, to the left, and go to the next cross street, which is Locust Avenue. Here we turn northward, to the right, and stop at the corner, Number 50C, which is the site for Elias Loomis. It is marked by a tall rectangular column of pink granite.

Number 50C Locust Avenue is the site for Elias Loomis (1811-1889), who was admitted to Yale College at the age of 14. After starting in the ministry, he returned to Yale to study Latin, mathematics, and natural philosophy. He was interested in the magnetism of the earth and at one time carried out observations with Alexander Twining on the altitudes of shooting stars. He computed the orbit of Halley's Comet.

He was away from Yale at Western Reserve College, University of the City of New York, and Princeton, for twenty-four years, returning to New Haven in 1860. He published papers in Silliman's American Journal of Science on the aurora and on meteorology. During the years, 1859-61, he published a series of papers on "Contributions to Meteorology," twenty-three in all. He was one of a number of people trying to put weather forecasting on a scientific basis.

He wrote a variety of textbooks on scientific topics, and earned a comfortable living thereby. His books were translated into Chinese and Arabic, making him widely known in the Orient. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In his will he left $300,000 to Yale, the largest single gift received up to that time.

We now move slightly north to the site for Othniel Marsh, still at Number 50C. His grave is marked by a large rectangular block of pink granite.

Number 50C Locust Avenue is the site for Othniel Charles Marsh (1831-1899). Marsh was a graduate of Yale College and of the Yale Scientific School, which preceded the Sheffield Scientific School. He had become interested in looking for fossils on field trips he took during vacations. In 1866 he was appointed professor in paleontology at Yale, the first such appointment in this country. He made many expeditions to the West, including Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and California, where he collected a wide variety of vertebrate fossils. He put the collection and preparation of specimens on a truly scientific basis. This led to museum displays of entire skeletons rather than isolated bones, as had often been the case previously. He accumulated so much material that he could not find time to study all of it and publish about it. It is said that there are still unopened boxes of material Marsh collected. An uncle, George Peabody whose name is attached to the Yale museum, provided much of the necessary funds for his work. Marsh was vertebrate paleontologist for the U. S. Geological Survey and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Marsh never married but lived the life of a wealthy bachelor in a fine house on Prospect Street in New Haven. The house is now used by the forestry school and is known as Marsh Hall. The grounds associated with it form the Marsh Botanical Garden.

We again move slightly north to the site for Alexander Twining, still at Number 50C. His grave is marked by a large rectangular block of gray granite.

Number 50C Locust Avenue is the site for Alexander Catlin Twining (1801-1884). Twining was a graduate of Yale and later attended the U. S. Military Academy where he learned astronomy and surveying. He was briefly a member of the Yale faculty, but was better known for his work as a surveyor. He made the initial surveys laying out the routes to be followed by four of the railroads that diverged from New Haven. These included the lines to Hartford, to New York, and to New London, as well as the one which replaced the Farmington Canal leading to central Massachusetts. A short distance to the west he surveyed the railroad from Norwalk to Danbury.

Twining also helped lay out a central water supply system for New Haven at a time when households depended solely upon wells. He invented one of the first machines for making ice artificially.

We again move slightly north to the site for Arthur Twining Hadley, still at Number 50C. His gravestone is a tall slender granite column, topped with a Celtic cross, all partially hidden by tree branches.

Number 50C Locust Avenue is the site for Arthur Twining Hadley (1856-1930). Hadley was the first president of Yale who was not a minister. His first Yale appointment was in political economy and his undergraduate course in that subject was the most popular in the college. Students found his lecturing style that of a typical absent minded professor. A story was told of his once stepping into a wastebasket during class, and continuing to lecture as he tried unsuccessfully to extricate himself. He became president of Yale at the time of the observance of its bicentennial. He was recognized as an expert in both economics and railroads. He wrote a book on railroad transportation that became a classic.

Some years after his retirement, he and his wife went on a world cruise, visiting Europe, India, and China. As the ship was approaching Japan, Hadley contracted pneumonia and died on shipboard. According to the story, the Japanese were asked to prepare the body for return and burial in New Haven. Just before burial, the Yale Secretary thought it advisable to be sure the body was actually Hadley's. When the coffin was opened, there was Hadley clothed in a yellow Japanese kimono with a samurai sword placed alongside.

We again move north to Number 51 Locust Avenue, which is the plot for the Gibbs family. Both father and son were named Josiah Willard Gibbs. The father is marked by a rectangular granite column, while his son is marked by a large rectangular block of gray granite.

Number 51 Locust Avenue is the site for Josiah Willard Gibbs, Sr. (1790-1861). He was a professor in the Divinity School and a language expert. He become involved in the 1839 episode of the Amistad affair, which is a part of New Haven lore. It is the subject of a movie released in 1997, as well as several books.

The Amistad was a ship carrying some fifty-three members of the Mendi tribe from Sierra Leone in Africa, ultimately to be sold into slavery. After the ship left Havana, the Mendi were able to escape their bonds and take over the ship. Most of the Spanish crew then left the ship, leaving only a remnant to keep it sailing. After wandering about the North Atlantic, the ship finally arrived in Connecticut and the Mendi were brought to New Haven. No one could communicate with them. Gibbs was brought in because of his language expertise. He was able to make out a few words and, using these as a basis, went to the New York City waterfront and located an African sailor who could understand the language. The outcome was that the Mendi were ultimately released and allowed to return home. The episode was important in the abolition movement.

Number 51 Locust Avenue is also the site for Josiah Willard Gibbs, Jr. (1839-1903). The younger Gibbs in 1863 received from Yale the Ph.D. degree, which was the fifth such degree given in this country, and the first in engineering. His dissertation dealt with the very practical topic of the design of teeth for spur gears. Soon afterward, he was granted a patent on a kind of mechanical brake for cars of a railroad train, and wrote a paper on the design of an unusually sensitive governor to control the speed of steam engines. He then went to Europe for further study, ultimately returning to spend his career as a Yale faculty member in mathematical physics. He never married but lived quietly with his sisters in a house near the present home of the master of Berkeley College, where a plaque in the wall indicates the site. Gibbs is often described as the preeminent American scientist of the 1800s. He did important work in the fields of thermodynamics, vector analysis, and statistical mechanics, and was a member of National Academy of Sciences.

Gibbs was modest to the extreme. Lynde Wheeler recalls that in 1896 when he was taking a course in dynamics and thermodynamics under Gibbs, the students met one morning as usual for the lecture. Gibbs did not appear, and the janitor had to explain that he was away at Princeton University receiving an honorary L.L.D. degree. The next day Gibbs was back in class, but made no reference to where he had been the day before. Wheeler goes on to say: "To the best of my knowledge Gibbs never gave out a notice of any of the honors he received. In fact I believe that most of them became known to the majority of his colleagues only when they were listed in his obituary notices."

We again move slightly north to Number 55 Locust Avenue, which is the family plot for Joseph Sheffield. It is surrounded by an iron fence and has a small mausoleum for the St. John family. The graves of Sheffield and his wife, who was a St. John, are marked by a large rectangular stone sarcophagus.

Number 55 Locust Avenue is the site for Joseph Earl Sheffield (1793-1882). Sheffield was born in Fairfield County, but moved south as a young man and entered the cotton trade. After making a small fortune there, he returned to New Haven and lived on Hillhouse Avenue in a house located almost directly across from St. Mary's Church, where the addition to Dunham Laboratory now stands. This house was designed and first occupied by Ithiel Town and was later modified by Henry Austin. Among other undertakings, Sheffield become involved with the Farmington Canal running from New Haven into Massachusetts. The canal passed just north of the Grove Street Cemetery, and adjacent streets are still called Canal Street and Lock Street. The canal was later replaced with a railroad, following essentially the same route. Sheffield was connected with this railroad, and for a time the railroad terminated where St. Mary's Church now stands, just across from Sheffield's house. Later, Sheffield was associated with development of railroads in the Middle West.

After a school for science was started at Yale in 1846, and engineering was added in 1852, Sheffield became interested. In due time, he gave to Yale a considerable sum of money and several buildings, and Yale responded by naming the school for him as the Sheffield Scientific School. While the school effectively disappeared following World War II, the name Sheffield continues at Yale today as the name of a building and with the periodic awarding of the Sheffield Medal to worthy individuals in science and engineering.

Incidentally, while the Farmington Canal, and its succeeding railroad, are long gone, a part of its right-of-way in Cheshire and Hamden has been converted into a hiking and biking path, and there is serious talk of continuing this pathway to the New Haven harbor.

We are now going to walk northward along Locust Avenue, until it ends at Ivy Path. We turn westward, to the left, and walk to the third street intersecting from the left, which is Sycamore Avenue. We turn southward, to the left, and walk to Number 46 Sycamore Avenue, which is the site for Charles Goodyear. It is surrounded by a low stone wall. The grave is marked by a large rectangular block of gray stone.

Number 46 Sycamore Avenue is the site for Charles Goodyear (1800-1860). Goodyear is a story of constant frustration. His father, who had invented Goodyear's Patented Spring Steel Hay and Manure Fork, ran a hardware business. The son joined the business, but before long the business failed because too much credit had been extended to the customers. For the next thirty years, Charles was in and out of prison for his inability to pay his debts.

In 1834 he saw an inflated rubber life preserver in a shop window in New York, and was fascinated by it. At that time, the available form of rubber would become sticky, melting and decomposing in hot weather. Goodyear determined to find a way to overcome these bad properties. He tried mixing many sorts of chemicals with the rubber. At one time he made himself a suit of clothes and a pair of shoes with one of his products.

After five years, he was trying combining sulfur with raw rubber, and accidentally dropped a lump of the mixture on a hot stove. To his amazement, the resulting heated mixture was no longer sticky. He worked five more years to learn how to make the best product, one that would not melt in summer nor freeze in winter. His first patent on the process, which he called "vulcanization," was issued in 1844. He had spent about $50,000, all borrowed and never repaid. Somewhat later, Daniel Webster defended Goodyear in a patent case, and it was said that Webster's legal fee was a larger sum than anything Goodyear himself ever made from his work.

In 1853, Goodyear wrote a book about his experiences. He had the book bound in rubber, with a few copies of the book having pages printed on rubber. He died with debts of $200,000, though this might not be inferred from the nature of his grave site.

We move slightly south to Number 48 Sycamore Avenue, which is the site for Chauncey Jerome. Note that here Number 48 is south of Number 46, contrary to what might be expected. The grave of Jerome is marked by a gray stone obelisk.

Number 48 Sycamore Avenue is the site for Chauncey Jerome (1793-1868). Jerome was the son of a blacksmith in very poor circumstances. He was taught how to make nails at age 9. After his father died when he was 11, he had to work for neighbors as a carpenter. During the winter months he made dials for grandfather clocks. After serving in the War of 1812, he returned to work for clock maker Eli Terry. Soon he was able to start his own company, first assembling clocks from parts made by others, and later making his own parts. His "bronze looking-glass clock" became a popular item. By 1837, his company was making more clocks than any other in Connecticut.

Jerome invented a brass clock movement that would run for one day, and could be made more cheaply than clocks with wood movements. This was a major achievement. He moved to New Haven and started what became a very successful Jerome Clock Company. He had one line of clocks that sold wholesale for seventy-five cents each. His factory was so mechanized that in one day three men could make all the wheels needed for 500 clock movements. In 1855 his company attempted to buy a Bridgeport clock company controlled by P. T. Barnum. This led to litigation, with the result that the Jerome company was forced into bankruptcy. All this occurred at the time he was mayor of New Haven. The final outcome was that he spent the last decade of his life in relative obscurity. He admitted that he was a much better inventor than business man.

The New Haven Clock Company, an outgrowth of the Jerome company, shortly after World War I became the largest clock company in Connecticut and one of the largest in the world. It, too, was forced to close soon after World War II.

We now reverse our steps and return to the north end of Sycamore Avenue, where it meets Ivy Path. We turn westward, to the left, and go to the end, where we turn southward, to the left, on Willow Avenue. We go to Number4, which is the site for Hubert Newton. His grave is marked by an upright slab of gray stone, partially hidden by a fir tree, near the west wall of the cemetery.

Number 4 Willow Avenue is the site for Hubert Anson Newton (1830-1896). Only shortly after graduating from Yale, at the age of 23, Newton was put in charge of the mathematics department. After a year in Paris, he returned to Yale with a strong interest in astronomy. He was especially interested in meteors, and published an elaborate paper, "On Shooting Stars," in Silliman's American Journal of Science. He also wrote about comets, the gyroscope, and transcendental functions. Despite his scholarly nature, he served briefly as an alderman in New Haven.

His influence was more the result of his publications and personal efforts, and less his own individual research. One of his interests was the metric system of measurement. He prepared a paper advocating its adoption that was published by the National Bureau of Standards. He wrote articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica and for Webster's International Dictionary. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

As you return to the main gate, you could detour slightly to locate the grave of A. Bartlett Giamatti, president of Yale and baseball commissioner. It is located well west of Number 9 Sycamore Avenue, south of Myrtle Path. It is a polished black granite upright slab not far from the west wall of the cemetery.

This completes the second tour through a part of the cemetery.



April 2003
Script for Grove Street Cemetery Tour Tape 3

Hi! I am Jack Cunningham. I am a retired professor of electrical engineering at Yale. I am now a Docent with the Friends of the Grove Street Cemetery. This is the third of several tapes that will guide you to grave sites of some of the scientists and engineers buried in the cemetery. This tape deals primarily with grave sites in the eastern part of the cemetery. The streets in the cemetery are all named for trees and are identified by signs. We begin, standing on Hawthorn Path just inside the gate opening off Grove Street.

We are now going to walk westward along Hawthorn Path, until we reach the first street branching northward, to the right, which is Magnolia Avenue. At frequent intervals along the edges of the streets small metal markers are placed in the ground carrying numbers to identify the locations. These markers are often obscured by dirt or leaves, and may be hard to find. We are going to walk northward to Number 64 Magnolia Avenue, which is the site for Henry Austin.

As we walk along, before reaching Henry Austin, you might notice the grave site for Kingman Brewster. It is not far from Hawthorn Path, and is located on the east side with the identification Magnolia, Letter H. It has a stone curb around the plot with a large gray gravestone. Kingman Brewster (1919-1988) was president of Yale (1963-1977), during the times of the Black Panther trial and the admission of women as undergraduates.

The Austin grave at Number 64 Magnolia Avenue is marked by a large, somewhat ornate, rectangular column of brownstone, with an urn on top. It was erected originally for Austin's wife, and did not carry his name. The name of Henry Austin was added much later at the very bottom of the column and in a different style of lettering.

Number 64 Magnolia Avenue is the site for Henry Austin (1804-1891). Austin, of the Egyptian gate, was a well known architect in New Haven, a protégé of Ithiel Town. He designed many houses throughout the area, including ones on Hillhouse Avenue and Wooster Square. He designed what was originally the Yale Library on the Old Campus, now known as Dwight Hall,. One of his larger churches was in Danbury. Here he attempted the Ithiel Town feat of building the steeple inside the lower tower, and hoisting it into place. Unfortunately, a rope failed at a crucial time, and the steeple toppled, piercing the roof of the church.

In addition to the Dana House on Hillhouse Avenue, Austin designed the particularly attractive house on the west side of that avenue, second down from Sachem Street. It is an Italianate villa built for John Pitkin Norton who, along with Benjamin Silliman, Jr., started what became the Sheffield Scientific School. Austin designed the Davies Mansion on Prospect Street, now being completely renovated and renamed Betts House. John M. Davies was associated with the Winchester Arms Company.

Austin was also responsible for an ornate railroad station located where a deep cut carrying the railroad tracks passes beneath Chapel Street. The station had a tall tower with illuminated clock faces on four sides. The waiting room floor was hung by rods from the trussed roof, an unusual arrangement that served as an occasional design problem for Yale engineering students. Trains hauled by steam locomotives passed through a narrow tunnel beneath the station. The tunnel tended to fill with smoke and steam, and was very noisy from both the trains and the shouting baggage men. A story goes that a father and his young son got off a train in the tunnel for the first time. In that overly religious era the terrified boy looked up and asked, "Father, is this hell?" to which the father replied, "No, son, this is New Haven."

We are now going to the intersection of Linden Avenue and Myrtle Path. This requires retracing Magnolia Avenue a short distance to Myrtle Path, turning eastward, to the left, and going to the second cross street, which is Linden Avenue. We turn northward, to the left, until we reach Number 60 Linden Avenue, the site for Philos Blake, and Number 62 Linden Avenue, the site for Eli Whitney Blake. Both these sites are surrounded by an iron fence. Philos Blake is marked by a tall gray stone obelisk, and Eli Whitney Blake by rectangular granite block.

Number 60 Linden Avenue is the site for Philos Blake (1791-1871), and Number 62 Linden Avenue is the site for Eli Whitney Blake (1795-1886). The two Blake brothers were nephews of Eli Whitney. After the death of the elder Eli Whitney, and before Eli Whitney, Jr. became of age, the two Blake brothers managed the Whitney Armory.

After Eli Whitney Blake had set up his own factory in Westville, he received a contract to pave Whalley Avenue in New Haven. In connection with this project, he invented a special engine-driven machine to crush stone into small pieces for use in paving. This crusher, known as the Blake Stone Breaker, made possible bituminous paving and reinforced concrete with its many uses in building construction and highway paving. The trap rock of central Connecticut-a very hard igneous rock-is widely used for this purpose, and one of the largest trap rock quarries anywhere is located in North Branford.

Eli Whitney Blake was always interested in mathematics and physics, and wrote several scientific papers. One of these entitled, "A Theoretic Determination of the Law of the Flow of Elastic Fluids Through Orifices, suggested that the openings for the flow of steam into and out of the cylinder of a steam engine should be doubled in size. Some of his papers were published in a short book entitled, Original Solutions of Several Problems in Aerodynamics. Yale gave him an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, in 1879.

The brother, Philos Blake, is said to have invented the corkscrew.

We are now going to the intersection of Maple Avenue and Myrtle Path. This requires retracing Linden Avenue a short distance to Myrtle Path, turning eastward, to the left, and going to the first cross street, which is Maple Avenue. We turn northward, to the left, until we reach Number 62 Maple Avenue, the site for Benjamin Silliman, Jr. His grave is marked by a pink granite rectangular block.

Number 62 Maple Avenue is the site for Benjamin Silliman, Jr. (1818-1885). The younger Silliman was a Yale chemist and geologist. He was one of two faculty members, John Pitkin Norton being the other, first appointed in 1846to start what ultimately became the Sheffield Scientific School. He was one of several chemists to study petroleum collected as seepage from hills in Pennsylvania. His twenty-page "Silliman Report" of 1855 was influential in starting the petroleum industry in this country. He showed that the material was different in composition from animal and vegetable oils, that its components could be separated by distillation, that some components were useful as lubricants, and that some could be burned for illumination. The one thing he missed was showing a use for the low-boiling point component which later became known as gasoline. Its usefulness depended upon the invention of the internal combustion engine.

Silliman introduced gas lighting to New Haven. He helped form a company that produced carbureted hydrogen gas from bituminous coal, and distributed it through pipes laid in the streets. By 1850 gas lighting was being used in streets, homes, and business establishments. This continued until the coming of electric lighting about the turn of the century. He was an original member of the National Academy of Sciences and, like his father, was a popular public lecturer.

Although family plots are a feature of the Grove Street Cemetery, the younger Silliman is buried a considerable distance from his father and other members of his family.

We now go southward, crossing Myrtle Path, to Number 34 Maple Avenue, the site for Jeremiah Day. It is marked by a large rectangular block of pink granite.

Number 34 Maple Avenue is the site for Jeremiah Day (1773-1867). Day was the Yale president who is said to have first made the remark about raising the dead if Yale needed the property. In spite of suffering from fragile health all his life, he served longer in the presidency than any other person-29 years from 1817 to 1846. After his resignation, he was persuaded to continue as a member of the Yale Corporation for another 21 years. He had begun as professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. He wrote several textbooks on mathematics, including a well known one on algebra that went through several editions.

Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, described a classroom demonstration done by Day. With the members of the class holding hands, Day administered an electric shock to all of them, probably using a Leyden jar. Morse later remarked on the fact that all had received the shock simultaneously. Incidentally, Benjamin Silliman, Jr., in his 1871 textbook, Principles of Physics, describes a French cleric, one Abbé Nollét, who had six hundred of his flock hold hands. He gave them all an electric shock, presumably using an array of Leyden jars. Again, all were said to have been affected alike and at the same instant, an assertion that may not survive close examination.

After Day's death at the age of 94, a post-mortem examination showed his internal organs were in a dreadful state, with various stony deposits and signs of several heart attacks and severe tuberculosis. He left the presidency just as appointments were being made that ultimately led to the Sheffield Scientific School. His long career at Yale coincided remarkably with the almost equally long career of the elder Benjamin Silliman.

We now go to Number 33 Maple Avenue, which is the Hillhouse plot, on the opposite side of the street from Jeremiah Day. James Hillhouse, one of those responsible for founding the Grove Street Cemetery, is marked by a gray granite column. To the south and east of this column are small brownstone slabs for Henry Caner and his wife.

Number 33 Maple Avenue, the Hillhouse plot, is also the site for Henry Caner (1680-1731). Caner spelled his name with one "n", though it is spelled with two "n"s on his gravestone and on the New Haven street named for him. It is spelled with one "n" on the adjacent gravestone of his wife.

Caner was one of those buried behind Center Church on the New Haven Green. Much later his small brownstone grave marker, and that of his wife, were moved to the Grove Street Cemetery where it is now placed at the rear of the Hillhouse family plot. The Caner and Hillhouse families were distantly related. Henry Caner was born in England, and came to New Haven by way of Boston, where he had made a reputation as a carpenter in enlarging King's Chapel. He was brought to New Haven when the Collegiate School, soon to become Yale College, was being moved to that new location. He was engaged to erect its first building which was completed in 1718. This "Collegiate house" was located on the northwest corner of Chapel and College Street, facing the Green. It was a long, narrow wooden structure with three floors, and contained living, dining, and studying facilities for about fifty students. It survived until 1782, by which time Connecticut Hall had been built.

In 1722 Caner built a house for the rector (later, president) of the college. It was located on the southwest corner, fronting on College Street and facing the site of the former Hotel Taft. Funds for the house were supplied in part by the State Legislature using a "Duty of Import upon Rhum." For nearly a century this house was the chief social center of New Haven.

Caner died in 1731 leaving, according to George Dudley Seymour, a substantial estate including a monetary 1300 pounds, a musket, a sword, a cane, two "wiggs," one Bible and four other books, both leather and cloth breeches, a "bever hat," and an ample supply of table and bed linen.

We are now going to retrace our steps on Maple Avenue until we again reach Myrtle Path. We turn eastward, to the right, and go to the next cross street, which is Cypress Avenue. We then turn southward, to the right, and go to Number 44 Cypress Avenue, the site for Jared Mansfield. His grave is marked by a short ornate marble column, topped by an urn. The lettering has completely eroded so that it is unreadable. The grave of Jared's wife, Elizabeth, adjoins that of Jared. It is marked by an upright marble slab with the lettering sufficiently preserved that it can be read.

Number 44 Cypress Avenue is the site for Jared Mansfield (1759-1830). Mansfield was the son of a New Haven sea captain engaged in the West Indies trade. He entered Yale during the Revolution with the Class of 1777, but in his senior year some escapade caused his diploma to be withheld. Somewhat later Yale relented and granted him both the undergraduate degree with his class, plus the higher Master of Arts degree.

He became rector of Hopkins Grammar School, and while there, in 1801, he published Essays, Mathematical and Physical. This book is often cited as being the first original mathematical research done by a native of the U.S. It dealt with algebra, geometry, calculus, and among other topics, considered the calculation of the path of a projectile, taking into effect air resistance and the rotation of the earth.

The book of Essays led President Jefferson to appoint him captain of engineers and a faculty member of the U.S. Military Academy, then newly opened. Shortly afterward, Jefferson made him Surveyor General to create an accurate survey of Ohio, Indiana, and the Middle West. Afterward, he returned to the Military Academy as professor of natural and experimental philosophy.

Among his later mathematical papers was one entitled, "Observations on the Duplication of the Cube and the Trisection of an Angle." He retired in 1828 and returned to his birthplace, New Haven. Yale awarded him its highest honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, in 1825.

We now go southward on Cypress Avenue to Number 25, the site for Henry Farnam. The site is surrounded by a low stone wall, and Farnam's grave is marked by a large rectangular block of pink granite.

Number 25 Cypress Avenue is the site for Henry Farnam (1803-1883). Farnam was born on a farm in central New York state. While he had a modest education, he did study Jeremiah Day's algebra textbook by himself, and taught school several years as a teenager. At eighteen he worked on the construction of the Erie Canal, rising to become assistant engineer. In 1825 he received an offer to work on the Farmington Canal, then just beginning, and this brought him to Connecticut. Soon he became the chief engineer and superintendent, a position he held as long as the canal was in operation.

The canal turned out to be less than successful, in part because of continuing water leakage but largely because railroads were proving to give better transportation than canals. In 1847, Farnam, together with Joseph Sheffield who owned much of the canal stock, and Alexander Twining, the surveyor of railroads, converted the Farmington Canal into a rail line generally following the route of the canal.

The association between Farnam and Sheffield continued, first in attempting a rail line between New Haven and New York City. The two went on to take over and complete a struggling railroad making its way across southern Michigan toward Chicago. They then built the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad, envisioned as the first link in a line to the West Coast. A key part of this link was a bridge across the Mississippi River, strongly opposed by steamboat operators. Abraham Lincoln was brought in as a lawyer to combat this opposition. For many years this bridge was the only one across the Mississippi south of St. Paul.

After retirement from the railroads, Farnam returned to New Haven. His home on Hillhouse Avenue, somewhat modified, is now the house for the Yale President.

We now go a short distance farther south to Number 21 Cypress Avenue, the site for Hezekiah Auger. His gravestone is set back from the street, and is a gray granite slab.

Number 21 Cypress Avenue is the site for Hezekiah Auger (1791-1858). Augur was the son of a poor carpenter. He was apprenticed to a grocer at age 9, and afterward worked in an apothecary's shop and in a mercantile store. At age 19 he became a partner in a dry goods business, acting as its manager. Shortly afterward the partnership dissolved, he became bankrupt, lost his capital and was in debt.

He had carved the wood frame for a harp, and this attracted enough attention that he set up a wood-carving shop. He had some success carving frames for mirrors and other furniture, and by 1828 had paid off all his debts. About this time he produced an improved artificial leg.

Samuel F. B. Morse suggested that he carve a head of Apollo Belvedere in marble. Its successful outcome brought more recognition to him. He was commissioned to do a bust of Oliver Ellsworth for display in the Capitol at Washington. He sculptured a group in marble for the Trumbull Gallery at Yale. In 1833 Yale gave him an honorary degree, Master of Arts. While his marble works were said to show the techniques of a wood carver, they also showed unusual imagination. He was commissioned to design bronze medals for the bicentennial of New Haven. He was on the committee planning the wall that surrounds the Grove Street Cemetery.

He invented a wood-carving machine that was used by the New England Wood Carving Company to replicate existing carvings. A model exists in the New Haven Colony Historical Society. He invented a hand saw, known as a bracket saw, that would make curved cuts. He invented a machine to make worsted lace. Financial problems in his later years served to emphasize his unassuming manner.

As you return to the main gate, walking south on Cypress Avenue to its intersection with Hawthorn Path, you might notice at the corner the small gray slab with the name, Phyllis Brown Sandine (1936-1990), and the words, "What a Woman!"

This completes the third tour through a part of the cemetery.

Grove Street Cemetery Map

 


Friends of the Grove Street Cemetery, Inc.
P. O. Box #9238
New Haven, CT 06533-0238

office@grovestreetcemetery.org