Vernon Civil War Monument is a Textbook Etched in Stone

The monument at the Mt. Hope Cemetery is the second-oldest in the nation and depicts several major aspects of the Civil War.

One of the best-kept secrets in Vernon also happens to be one of its most significant contributions to history.

But just finding it is half the battle.

Mt. Hope Cemetery sits in the Talcottville section of town, an area off Route 83 just over the Manchester line whose roots run deep in the town's history of manufacturing.

The Talcott family owned one of those mills and in 1867 set up a cemetery tucked into a corner of the village near what is now 100 Main Street. Trouble is, the tucking was done so well it can take several swoops in a car to figure out where it is, even though a historical marker designates the spot.

The driveway to Mt. Hope runs between two houses, but then opens up to green pastures, rolling hills and monuments — a lot of monuments.

And one monument stands out — the Civil War memorial, erected in 1869. It is the second-oldest in the nation.

The four soldiers whose names appear on the stone structure represent a Civil War textbook from the bloodiest day in American history to the most infamous prison camp of the conflict.

Here is a look at who is on the monument:

Capt. Frank Stoughton, Company D, 14th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. He's the ranking soldier on it and he died on Jan. 1, 1866. As an officer, it is smashing he lived for nine months after Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

The regiment was involved in 34 major battles and skirmishes, and there is a display noting its record of service on a wall at the New England Civil War Museum at the Vernon Town Hall.

The battles the 14th fought include Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor.

Horace Hunn, Company B, 16th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. Hunn died in a hospital in Maryland on Oct. 12, 1862, two days shy of a month after the Battle of Antietam. According to a feature on the monument on, the regiment engaged 779 soldiers and suffered 43 killed and 161 wounded at Antietam.

Philip Foster, Company B, 16th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. Foster died at the Battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862, considered the bloodiest day in American military history. The Civil War Trust places the casualty total at 22,717 as 87,000 Union troops slugged it out with 45,000 Confederates.

Henry Loomis, Company B, 16th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. Loomis drowned in the Potomac on April 24, 1865. It was a day when troops were dispatched up and down the river in search of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Booth was located and killed by Federal troops two days later.

Alonzo Hills, Company B, 16th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. Hills died in a Charleston, SC, prison camp on Oct. 6, 1864. In April 1864, the 16th was defending the garrison at Plymouth, NC, and, vastly outnumbered, was forced to surrender.

James Bushnell, Company B, 16th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. Bushnell died on Nov. 15, 1862, nearly two months after Antietam. The troops had loaded their muskets for the first time the day before the battle.

Orrin Brown, Company A, 106th Regiment, New York Volunteers. Brown died of typhoid fever on April 22, 1963, according to a history of the regiment on Disease ravaged the troops during the war.

Francis Brantley, Company H, 6th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. Brantley died at the notorious prison camp in Andersonville, GA. He was one of about 45,000 who perished there because of disease, starvation and abuse.

Other wars are represented at the cemetery, but the Civil War monument is the largest.

180-year-old Conn. bell factory destroyed by fire

EAST HAMPTON, Conn. (AP) - One of the oldest continuously operating factories in Connecticut that made bells was destroyed in a late Saturday night fire.

Little remains of the factory of Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co., which says it's the only remaining company manufacturing just bells in the United States.

The company, which dates its East Hampton bell manufacturing to 1832, makes sleigh, hand, house, cow, sheep, door and ship's bells. The company says it has made as many as 20 sizes of sleigh bells and made the first bicycle bells.

Its products were featured in Hollywood's Christmas classic, "It's A Wonderful Life," and at football games and ski races.

"This is a tremendous loss for us as well as the country," Councilwoman Susan Weintraub told The Hartford Courant. "This is a tremendous loss for our community now and in the future."

Bevin Brothers was the last of a once-thriving industry that earned East Hampton the nickname, "Belltown, USA."

The Courant reports ( ) that the Connecticut Region 3 Incident Management Team said propane tanks in the six-story factory caught fire and exploded, helping spread the blaze.

Residents in the immediate area were evacuated late Saturday night and power was cut.

By about noon Sunday the fire was still smoldering and firefighters were working to put out hot spots, East Hampton Fire Chief Paul Owen said. No one was injured.

An alert was sent to residents within a two-mile radius on Sunday, warning them to stay inside their homes.

The East Hampton public health office listed several chemicals in the building. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection dispatched a hazardous materials team to the site, taking air samples of chlorine, organic compounds, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.

A spokeswoman for the agency said there is no significant amount of hazardous material in the building to warrant a safety threat.

How Did Connecticut Form? A Geological History

By Erica Campbell

Our little state of Connecticut is rich in history. From its storied past of maritime adventure, to it importance during the American Revolution and even the Underground Railroad, all the way up to today, Connecticut has a story to tell. Of course, some stories of the history of Connecticut are more interesting than others. But, have you ever wondered about how Connecticut itself was formed? Quite possibly, this could be one of the most interesting stories of all.
Connecticut likely began to take shape about one billion years ago, with the collision of huge continental plates deep within the Earth. Between 450 and 500 million years ago, a shallow sea washed up over the land, depositing thick layers of sand, mud and seashells, eventually creating limestone. Amazingly, this would later create the so-called “marble belt.” The marble belt is an area stretching from the northwestern part of Connecticut, into Massachusetts and Vermont, rich in marble rock.
The continual upheaval of the continents would eventually form a super continent known as Pangaea. Near the center of this continent was our state of Connecticut. As time went on, around 200 million years ago, Pangaea began to break apart, as heat from deep within the earth caused the continent to stretch. Deep depressions in the crust, known as “rift basins” began to form. The Connecticut rift basin, known as the Hartford Basin, began to form. Within this basin were periods of volcanic activity, the remnants of which can still be seen today.
Eventually, the upheavals and volcanic activity, responsible for forming our river valleys, mountains and rock formations quieted down. This sense of quiet, however, would be followed by an Ice Age. The first Ice Age began about two million years ago, with the last retreat of ice being about 12,000 years or so ago. When the ice disappeared, it left behind huge moraines…creating what is now known as Long Island. A moraine is “an accumulation of boulders, stones, or other debris carried and deposited by a glacier.” (American Heritage Dictionary, pg. 541) Long Island Sound was created by water filling in the space between Connecticut and the new moraine. Originally, it was fresh water, as the Atlantic Ocean was miles away from Connecticut’s shoreline. However, as the ice continued to melt, the sea levels rose and salt water from the ocean eventually replaced the freshwater in Long Island Sound.
As time went on and the ice retreated all the way up to present day Canada, Connecticut’s landscape began look as it does today. Unique rocks can be found all over Connecticut. One can find rocks up to one billion years old, deep in Connecticut’s bedrock. One can also find metamorphic rocks, sedimentary rocks and igneous rocks from millions of years of continental upheaval and volcanic activity across our state. It was that continental upheaval which raised our mountains and created our rivers. Our beaches are leftovers to when our land was covered by ice. Specific examples of geographic places (and there are so many) around our state are: Kent Falls State Park (formed from metamorphic rock), the Hanging Hills in Meriden (remains of ancient lava flows) and the Connecticut River (a water filled rift basin). There are even places around the state where seemingly simple rock formations are actually the seam of where North America and Africa were once joined together.
Look at Connecticut and you will have witnessed the evidence of an incredible geographical story. The shapes, colors and formations of the land, rivers, mountains and rocks across our Connecticut, are evidence of the millions and millions of years it took to create the state in which we live.