For three months, the city's second oldest cemetery, the 235-year-old Mortimer burying grounds, where Revolutionary War generals among many other historical figures lie, has been open to the elements and at risk for vandalism.
It's located on Liberty Street, which runs one way from east to west in Middletown, near the intersection of Main Street.
In November, Middletown Patch spoke to August L. DeFrance, president of the city's who said he had already had the fencing appraised and expected the city will bear the brunt of the cost. Another possiblity he said, was it could fall under hurricane damage from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Famous Middletowners buried there include Revolutionary War General Samuel Holden Parsons and Titus Hosmer, a Continental Congressman and signer of the Articles of Confederation. Also interred there are families like the Bacons, Hubbards, Mathes, Southmayds, Wetmores and Russells — among the city's earliest residents.
And perhaps Middletown's most famous historical figure — Joseph Fenno King Mansfield — was originally buried in Mortimer Cemetery in 1862. He was reburied in Indian Hill Cemetery near Wesleyan University by his wife on May 30, 1867.
Twenty-two six-foot-tall, rusty fence sections that had lain on the sidewalk along Liberty Street in the city’s north end were removed in November — and that's where the project seems to have ceased.
DeFrance told Middletown Patch he had little worry that vandalism would take place, as it's never been much of a problem. Still, a walk around the grounds found trash blown in by the wind and discarded liquor bottles large and small, both of which are not an uncommon site in February when winter's snows have melted, revealing detritus once hidden from sight.
The cemetery was built in 1778, a gift from Phillip Mortimer to the city, according to a plaque near the entrance. The fence itself dates to 1911, when it was erected by the Middletown Old Burying Ground Association.
The Hale Collection of Connecticut has chronicled every person's name in the cemetery.
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