In a far north section (19) of Cedar Hill Cemetery is a collection of single grave sites. Here lie, by chance or circumstance, the remains of men, women and children who do not rest surrounded by those of their family and loved ones.

Civil War veteran Nathan Leonard Cooper resided in Hartford only a few months before he died in 1909 at his stepson’s Sisson Avenue house. Corporal Cooper served with the 112th New York Volunteers and was wounded in the leg in 1864 in the battle of New Market Heights, VA. He spent most of his life after the war as a carriage trimmer in Minnesota before coming with his 2nd wife to live with her son, then the pastor of St. Paul’s Methodist Church. Census records show that the family, including his wife, returned to Minneapolis by 1920. [1] Resting near Cooper are the remains of George P. Langdon, a casualty of war even though his death occurred more 40 years after the end of the rebellion. Langdon served with Company C of the 20th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, one of the last Union regiments to retreat from the carnage of the Chancellorsville battlefield on May 3, 1863. Two months later the 20th found itself at Gettysburg enduring a grueling seven hours of combat on Culp’s Hill. [2, 3]

Retreat for the Insane circa 1886

Retreat for the Insane circa 1886

Langdon was discharged for disability on November 24, 1863 and within 6 months made application for a military pension.[2, 3] By 1866 his mother was appointed his conservator and he entered the Retreat for the Insane on Washington Street (now known as the Institute for Living) where he remained until his death on January 30, 1909.

By the accounts on file with Langdon’s probate records, his material needs were met. After his mother’s death in 1886 his sister Sarah Banks was appointed his conservator and under her direction his estate grew to almost $26,000 by the time of his death. And yet, he was buried in a solitary grave marked by a state-issued veteran’s stone while his father and many siblings are buried in a family plot at Zion Hill Cemetery and his mother was buried next to his sister Janett Burns in her husband’s family plot in Section 2 at Cedar Hill. One could conjecture that the stigma of mental illness, even when caused by the ravages of war, resulted in his burial apart from his family.

Though missing the lush trees and flowering shrubs found in other sections of Cedar Hill, a visit on the first Saturday of May found the ground surrounding these solitary graves strewn with a fresh growth of wild Forget-Me-Nots. It is the purpose of this blog and its writer to remember and document the lives and service records of all the veterans buried in Hartford’s cemetery – including those who remains lie far from family and loved ones. They shall not be forgotten.

[1] Hartford Courant February 24, 1909
[2] Record of service of Connecticut men in the army and navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion. Hartford, Conn.: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., 1889.
[4] The pension records of George Langdon have been ordered from the National Archives and will be the subject of a future blog post.