Which is Wilton’s oldest tombstone?
Perhaps the question should be rephrased to: What is the oldest inscribed tombstone in Wilton. Settlers arrived in Wilton as early as 1706 and many died and were buried in the decades preceding the creation of Wilton’s oldest standing cemetery. Erosion combined with limited documentation of those buried in our cemeteries so long ago means it is impossible to say with certainty which of the near-ruined grave markers is the oldest.
However, it is possible to say definitively that the oldest inscribed tombstone in Wilton is located in Sharp Hill Cemetery and belongs to Mabel Elmer, who died in childbirth January 25, 1744. Unfortunately her baby, also named Mabel died just eight months later and is buried next to her mother. The appropriately somber inscription on Mabel’s headstone reads:
“She gives life, but
O pitiable consideration,
Gives it at ye expense of her own,
And at once becomes
A mother and a corpse.”
Sharp Hill Cemetery was used regularly throughout the 19th century, and sparingly, into the early 20th century. Eighteen veterans of the Revolutionary War, and six soldiers who lost their lives in the French and Indian War, are also buried at Sharp Hill. It is fitting, then, that Wilton’s oldest inscribed tombstone resides in its oldest and most historic cemetery.