Actors portray Milford founders in October cemetery tour

There will be new life in the Old Milford Cemetery when reenactors present lively stories of Milford’s earliest settlers.

The Milford Historical Society will present a guided tour of Milford’s first formal burial ground on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. Participants are asked to meet in the DAR parking lot, 55 Prospect Street.

“History will come alive as people ‘meet’ both heroes and common folk, and they will have plenty of secrets from the grave to tell you,” according to a press release about the event.

The cemetery has quite a history.

In writing about the burying grounds the late historian Morris Abbott wrote: “Milford was founded in 1639 by a group of settlers led by the Rev. Peter Prudden, and it was in his garden (on the current Prospect Street) that all burials were made until about 1676 when the Old Milford Cemetery was laid out.”

The Rev. Prudden is among those buried in the garden, but early graves had no makers, because the Puritans considered that a “vanity.”

In Edward Lambert’s “History of the Colony of New Haven (1838)” he noted that in 1825 the town bought a hearse costing $70 and later built a “hearse house” for $37.” The hearse is long gone, but the structure is still in use as a storage house. Lambert, an author, cartographer, surveyor and architect, died in 1867,” and is buried in the Milford cemetery.

There is a new chapter in the cemetery’s story.

A “Friends of the Milford Cemetery” group, sponsored by the Milford Cemetery Association, was established this year to “educate people about the value of Milford Cemetery and to help protect and preserve it.” Members are cleaning and straightening tombstones and planning to raise money to preserve and renovate the hearse house, now being used as a storage shed.

Requested donation for the tour is $5 per person, free for children under 12 accompanied by adult. Tickets may be purchased the day of the tour or anytime at the Canvas Patch on 5 River Street or any weekend from 1 to 4 p.m. at the society on 34 High Street.

For more information contact Ardienne Damicis at 203- 877-1851 or visit

Those on the Historical Society’s tour will “meet” seven reenactors.