Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Deteriorating Sandstone Tombstones in Wethersfield, Connecticut

These tombstones were photographed at the Ancient Burial Ground in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Captain Gideon Welles

Alvin Roberts
(this stone is in danger of "delaminating" like the stone above,
or completely splitting into two pieces)

Jonathan Belding

Sandstone (sometimes called brownstone) is a very soft, crumbly stone used very commonly in colonial times for tombstones in areas where the stone occurs naturally.  Connecticut is one of these areas with a lot of sandstone, and in colonial times people used what was handy for memorial stones.  It is evident that at some point the townspeople realized that this soft stone deteriorated, and so they switched to granite and slate tombstones. 

The following stones show how restoration efforts have been made on some of the tombstones at Wethersfield.  It appears that they were patched with concrete, and the details and epitaphs were copied.  On some of these tombstones, it looks authentic except for the color which gives away the fact that it was patched.  Sometimes the patch mortar is dyed to match the stone, but conservators usually prefer that the patch is obvious to show the difference between the original artwork, and the restoration. 

Quash Gomer

see this Facebook link for photos of the restoration of this stone

Charles Bulkeley

Sargent Jonathan Smith

The following link has photos of sandstone gravestones being patched with mortar in Connecticut.  http://fineartstone.com/restorationportfol/   


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~  Deteriorating Sandstone Tombstones in Wethersfield, Connecticut", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 5, 2016,  (  http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2016/07/tombstone-tuesday-deteriorating.html:  accessed [access date]).

1 comment:

  1. In 1952, my father took some photos at Old Rock Landing Cemetery in Haddam; not for genealogy, it looks like he was out taking photos of fall foliage. One was a photo of a sandstone headstone which I found recently on Find A Grave. It is amazing the difference that 57 years made. In his photo the stone appears almost pristine, in 2009 it had a repaired crack and lichen was starting to grow along the top edge.