“A native African was drowned while bathing
in the centre basin Aug. 1841. He was one of the Company of Slaves
under Cinque on board the Schooner Amistad who asserted their
rights & took possession of the vessel after having put the Captain,
Mate, and others to death, sparing their Masters Ruez & Montez.”
Those words are inscribed upon a particular grave in the Riverside Cemetery located in Farmington, CT. Farmington is home to many 18th and 19th century graves; however, this may be the most important when it comes to achieving a local Suffield goal, creating a gravestone for the unrecognized slaves buried in the northwest corner of the Suffield Cemetery. In 1841, “Foone” was laid to rest with respect adjacent to a field that his fellow Amistad survivors worked in. This was made possible only in Farmington as it was an abolitionist town. Not only did they provide Foone with a burial site, they sheltered and raised funds for the 38 Amistad African Americans residing in Farmington. This charity shows what an important resource this town is to the abolition of not only members of the Amistad, but all former slaves seeking protection in Farmington. The history within Farmington could help uncover history in the town of Suffield, just north of Farmington. This is information that can be discovered by visiting the town and tapping into its local resources. However, this gravestone gives us reference to what an African American burial site would have resembled, one Suffield’s future stone could be modeled after. The photos of this site are valuable, however by getting a firsthand view of this cemetery we will be able to only see not only this stone, but the burial sites of other abolitionists such as Francis Gillette from Bloomfield, John Treadwell Norton, Noah and Sarah Porter, and Horace Cowles. In addition to the slaves and abolitionists buried here, the cemetery also houses the burial sites of local Tunxis Indians buried in the 1840’s. All of these sites will be great resources to the goal of identifying the Underground Railroad, in particularly the stone planned to be erected in the northwest corner of the Suffield Cemetery.
For more information visit:
Map of Farmington, Riverside Cemetery, adjacent to “Old Cemetery” also a potential site (Left). Abolitionist John Norton’s headstone (Right).