meta name = "keywords" content = " Ancient Burying Ground, Main Street, Main St., Gold Street, Gold St., Hertford, Tebbutt, Hartford/Hertford, Sister City, Sister Cities, Hooker, Hartford Visitor's Center, Pratt Street, Pratt St., Kahn, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Will " />
April 26, 2005
By MELISSA PIONZIO; Courant Staff Writer
A slightly larger-than-life
bronze statue of the Rev. Samuel Stone, the Englishman responsible
for co-founding and naming Hartford, has been given a permanent
home in front of the city's Ancient Burying Ground.
With its left arm stretched toward the sky, the 1,000-pound
statue is a commanding new presence outside the graveyard on
the corner of Main and Gold streets. About 20 feet behind the
statue, Stone's remains are believed to be buried beneath a
table stone dedicated to his memory. Stone is among more than
6,000 people interred at the historic downtown site.
The statue, which will be officially dedicated at 5 p.m. Thursday,
is a duplicate of one in Hertford, England, Stone's birthplace.
Both statues are the work of English sculptor Henry Tebbutt.
"The statue is a wonderful location,'' said Hartford resident
Karen Will, who helped form a sister-city relationship with
Hertford. "They are going to be putting a brick walkway into
the burying ground that will surround the statue and will be
selling the bricks people can put their names on and be a part
of the Hartford heritage.''
The existence of the statue is the result of a five-year saga
that began with a curiosity visit Will and her husband, Phil,
paid to Hertford in 1998.
"We met a man who owned a furniture store which is a couple
of doors away from the house where Samuel Stone was born,''
said Karen Will, who was living in England at the time. "There
is a plaque on the door that mentions that Stone is the founder
of Hartford, Conn. ... It's interesting, they know about him
in England but we don't know much about him here.''
According to the town's website (www.hertford.net), Stone
was born in Hertford in 1602. He was an ordained minister and
a Puritan whose religious beliefs differed from those of the
Church of England. In 1633, he boarded a ship called the "Griffin''
with his friend Thomas Hooker and arrived in Boston in September
of that year. In 1636, Hooker and Stone led their congregation
from New Towne, now Cambridge, Mass., and formed a colony at
House of Hope, a Dutch fort and trading post on the Connecticut
Although Hooker is well-known in Connecticut as the founder
of Hartford, it was Stone who negotiated the purchase of the
land from its Native American owners, the Sukiaug Tribe, and
named the city after his birthplace.
"Hooker died in 1647 and Stone took over [as minister of
First Church] until his own death in 1663, so he was around
for a long time,'' Will said.
Keith and Sue Marshall, the furniture shop owners whom Karen
Will met in England, later visited Hartford and expressed an
interest in forming a partnership. Through Will and others,
the Hartford/Hertford Sister City committee was formed, and
its members were able to raise $30,000 for the second Stone
"I'm over the moon,'' said Keith Marshall of the partnership.
"It's the link between our Hertford and your Hartford. I love
your Hartford. I love the scale of it. It's a lovely city.
The statue was shipped from England to Hartford in 2003, but
spent about a year in the window of the Hartford Visitor's
Center on Pratt Street awaiting its new home. The parcel of
land where it now stands faces Main Street and was donated
to the city by Talcott Realty Investors. The land abuts the
Ancient Burying Ground.
"We miss him a little bit ... he held up balloons or drew
attention in one way or another,'' said Ken Kahn, executive
director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, where the welcome
center is located.
Thursday's dedication ceremony will be attended by the Marshalls
and 10 other Hertford residents and friends along with representatives
from Sister Cities International, the Ancient Burying Ground
Association, The City of Hartford and the Greater Hartford
Arts Council. A Sister Cities reception, which will include
delegates from Hartford's dozen other sister cities, will follow
at the City Hall Function Room.
The English visitors will stay with host families in Hartford
and spend about a week here, touring the city and such landmarks
as the Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe houses and the
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.
They also will participate in a walking tour of Farmington
and spend time in New York City and Boston.
"We want our city to come off well,'' Will said. "There
are so many things to do that it was hard to limit what to
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at