Friday, January 13, 2012

Collinsville's Village Cemetery: A girl named Hattie

The tiny grave of Hattie L. in Village Cemetery. She was 8 months old when she died.
While I climbed the steep, terraced slope of Village Cemetery in Collinsville, Conn., last weekend, the gravestone for a young girl named Hattie caught my eye. Only 8 months old, she died on Nov. 11, 1861, seven months after the Civil War started. But I didn't photograph Hattie's grave because of any connection to the war. Rather, I was struck by the carving of a small lamb, so whitened by the elements that it appeared to be snow, atop her tiny, well-worn gravestone. And because, well, little Hattie's marker looked kind of lonely among all the much larger gravestones, many of them broken, tilted or otherwise neglected in a cemetery that could use some tender loving care.

I doubt whether many people have visited Hattie's final resting place lately. The grass in the cemetery looked as if it had not been cut for weeks. And besides, who would venture to the out-of-the-way spot, halfway up the hill of an old cemetery? The graves of Hattie's parents appear to be just to the right of her marker, but I don't know that for sure.

So who was Hattie L.? And why did she die so young?

Someday I'd  like to find out.

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