08 November, 2009

Forgotten Connecticut - A Strange Coincidence in Ellington

This is only peripherally related to food - we did it today on our way to the local Aldi - but it's kind of cool so I'm sharing it with you.

My wife and I decided to head a few towns over to Vernon this morning and go to Aldi. There's no "good" way to get to Vernon from my hometown, so we took a scenic route through Broad Brook and Ellington, winding up on Pinney Road in Ellington just before arriving in Vernon.

As we were driving, I mentioned to my daughter that there was an unusual marker on the southbound side of the road, commemorating where a boy had been killed in the early 1800's in a roadside accident. (I had stumbled upon it one afternoon years before when I had to pull over to tie down a loosened load in the back of my pickup and wound up right next to the spot.) We found the marker easily:

The marker is a piece of grey stone - granite maybe? - a little bit smaller than the typical headstones of the period, set in the center of a circle of fieldstones. Gravel keeps down the weeds around the stone, but that's a modern improvement. For many years the marker had been forgotten, overgrown with brush, and was "rediscovered" several years ago and cleaned up.

It commemorates the date and site of the death of Samuel Knight, a ten-year-old boy who tumbled from the oxcart in which he was riding, and was killed when the wheel rolled over his head. Here's a closer look at the stone:

It reads:

Kild in this place
Samuel ?Field Knight
by a cartwheal roling
over his head in the
10th year of his age.
Nov 8th 1812
But O the shaft of death
was flung And cut the
tender flower down.

Kind of an eery coincidence that we would stop to check out the marker on the anniversary of his death.

This is perhaps the oldest roadside memorial in the United States. If you'd like to check it out for yourself, it's on Pinney Road in Ellington, CT, 1.4 miles south of Pinney Road's intersection with CT Route 286.


Eating The Road said...

That is VERY eerie that you visited on the anniversary. Very cool find though.

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting. I live in Ellington and have never seen this but I rarely drive down that part of Pinney. I'll have to take the long way through town some time.

Battle Park said...

It's like you wrote this for me!