Letter: Plans to pave over historic graves should raise outrage

To the Editor:

Outraged! I cannot believe that the people of Milford are not outraged. The destruction of your town history is happening before your very eyes. Nothing is sacred anymore. Reverend Peter Prudden, one of the founders of Milford, built his home on a small parcel of land at what later would become 67 Prospect Street.

On this property near the eastern end he used a portion of his garden as Milford’s first burial ground. The first burial was the one-year-old son of William East who died June 18, 1644. The next burial was Sarah Camp who died in 1645 of childbirth complications. Sarah had given birth to twin daughters. Rev. Prudden was also buried there in 1656.

This small yard received burials up until 1675 when the main cemetery was opened. More than likely these early burials had no gravestones, only wooden boards to mark the burial spot.

In her paper, Funeral Practices of the Pilgrims and the Puritans 1993, Wendy Sue Earle states that Puritans believed in Exodus 20: “You shall not make yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

Today, a modern day developer has plans to construct 44 one-bedroom apartments on this sacred ground to completely destroy this marker of Milford history. There are those that say that after over 300 years there are no human remains left to indicate this historic spot. One can feel a gentle breeze on one’s cheek, yet that breeze cannot be seen, but we know it is there. It is part of what we must believe. It is part of who we are.

As Americans are we so lacking feeling by the events now taking place in our country that we no longer care: When the leaders of our country give away public lands to open that land to mining and drilling. When our elected officials turn a blind eye to the very destruction of our collective history? It is unconscionable to destroy a cemetery where the very people who founded our towns and cities lie in peace.

The people of Milford and the descendants of those buried there have the most standing in this fight. It is these people who should pack every meeting in regards to this burial ground and proclaim, “Enough is enough.”

Stop the systematic destruction of our history. In the end what will you tell your children about how this was allowed to happen? What will you tell your children about William East’s son? Did his life not matter? What do we owe to Sarah Camp? Our voices can make a difference.

Anthony Griego