Creepy campus corner? New Storrs Cemetery is historic treasure trove

Entrance to New Storrs Cemetery

The entrance to the New Storrs Cemetery, located in the north part of the UConn campus. Photo credit: Mike Northup

Mike Northup

By Mike Northup

The Mansfield Burial Ground, now commonly known as New Storrs Cemetery, was originally deeded over on Aug. 25, 1862. Since then, the seven-acre burial ground at the north end of campus has served as a time capsule for the Storrs-Mansfield community, preserving the town’s rich history.

From University of Connecticut founders Charles Storrs – who deeded the land for the cemetery – and his brother Augustus, from local Civil War veterans to modern-day UConn professors, New Storrs Cemetery has been the final resting place for many of the most prominent figures in the community.

“It’s an open-air museum where you can go and mingle with the stories of those people that settled the area and brought you your present day world,” said Ruth Shapleigh-Brown, executive director of the Connecticut Gravestones Network, an organization that works to preserve and promote awareness of historic cemeteries in the state. “It’s the best way to close the gap of years and reunite oneself with the old days.”

RIP Chuck and Augie

The Storrs brothers and their immediate family are buried in a three-acre plot located in the Northwest corner of the cemetery at the top of the hill that ascends along the mile-long path. The obelisk monument for Charles and Augustus at the back of the cemetery overlooks campus and is tall enough to be seen from the black iron gate at the graveyard entrance.

“That was the family’s request when they donated it, that they be buried on top of the hill and separated from everybody,” said cemetery sexton Anthony D’Ambrasio, a member of the Storrs Cemetery Association, a non-profit organization independent from the town of Mansfield that cares for the cemetery. “All the descendants, if they wanted to, still can be buried there. Some are.”

Located a quarter of the way up the hill on the right, is a red stone obelisk monument for Edwin Whitney, a Civil War veteran whose local orphanage became one of the first buildings at UConn. Buried alongside the monument is his daughter, Edwina, who was the school’s librarian from 1900 to 1934.

Other notable people buried at New Storrs Cemetery include Benjamin F. Koons, who was the school’s principal from 1883 to 1898, and Xianshong “Jerry” Yang, a former UConn professor who in 1999 became the first stem-cell scientist to successfully clone a farm animal.

Not every grave is historic

D’Ambrasio, who is in charge of burials and plot sales, said that locals still choose to be buried at New Storrs Cemetery, which is one of seven cemeteries still active in the town of Mansfield. How many people get buried there depends on the season.

“This year, the spring was slow and last fall was a lot,” he said. So it’s really spring and fall that you get the most burials.”

Those who do choose to be buried at New Storrs Cemetery, however, will have their final resting place in one of the most historic locations that the UConn campus and town of Mansfield has to offer.

Click here for a list of all the cemeteries, both active and inactive, in the town of Mansfield.

Click here to see a list of graves in the New Storrs Cemetery, complete with photos and more information of each one.

To see a gallery of the New Storrs Cemetery, click the jump.


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