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The USGenWeb Project Fairfield County, Connecticut

Greenwich, Fairfield, Connecticut

I received this from Deacon Jeffrey Bingham Mead, president of the Mead Family Burial Grounds Association, concerning the threat of demolition to an important Mead family and Greenwich historical site. I'm posting this in an effort to help get the word out.

Maureen Mead
USGenWeb Project CC, Fairfield County, CT

Good Morning Mead Descendants and Friends:

On Sunday, June 10, an article appeared in the online version of the Greenwich Time newspaper of Greenwich, Connecticut, our ancestral home. The link below will bring you the article. In it there is news of the imminent demolition of one of the most historic homes built by our Mead ancestors in North Greenwich. Even if you are not a family member think about the precedent any demolition of an historic building brings with it.

Here is the link:


As the president of The Historic Mead family Burying Grounds Association and a fellow Mead descendant from Greenwich, I ask your help in a letter-writing campaign to save this home from destruction. One of our ancestral burying grounds is nearby, and while it is not in danger of destruction we are very concerned about access to this hallowed ground.

Below is the draft-text of a letter I am having proofread. It will be sent to the editors of Greenwich Time, the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich, and others on the list below. I encourage you to use this draft as the basis for your own letters and emails. You are free to copy and use my draft below, though I'd encourage you to restate the content of the draft in your own words and change the pronouns.

I hope we shall prevail. Together, we have a good chance of showing that as Mead descendants
and friends we can voice our opinions and make positive change to preserve and protect our sacred heritage.

Thanks you all for your time and attention. Blessings and good luck to all.


Deacon Jeffrey Bingham Mead

President, The Historic Mead Family Burying Grounds Association, Inc.


This was the suggested draft. (Contact names were removed, as the key names may no longer be in the same office.)

To Whom it May Concern:

The Greenwich Time should be commended for publishing the article in the June 10, 2000 edition on the imminent demolition of the Benjamin Mead House at the corner of Riversville Road and Cliffdale Road. This local landmark is steeped in history and should be preserved. There is no justification for its demolition.

The cemetery your piece mentions is very significant to us, as are the historic homes. Ten years ago its initial restoration led to the founding of The Historic Mead Family Burying Grounds Association, a non-profit organization that preserves, protects, and maintains three such family plots in Greenwich. The association has gone online with its own web site at www.meadburyinggrounds.org. It is a serious and successful effort to permanently preserve these sites that has brought family descendants from all over the country together. The association is independent of the Historical Society and other agencies mentioned in your piece.

Members of our association have attempted repeatedly to meet with the representative of the surrounding property owner who wishes to demolish this historic home. Our sole purpose was to discuss the topic of ingress and egress to the cemetery. Under current Connecticut law such ingress and egress is allowed, and the owners of the surrounding property cannot block descendants and the public from visiting this hallowed ground or from engaging in its continuing preservation.

I personally flew from my home in Hawaii to meet with the owner's representative a month ago after notifying her, and requesting the privilege of a meeting. I called her office daily for ten days. Our attempts at contact went ignored, and I returned to Honolulu without even the courtesy of an acknowledgment. Such uncivil treatment is uncalled for in our view.

Eleven years ago, when I wrote a piece for the Greenwich Time entitled "Long History of Town Given Short Shrift," I provided an obituary of demolished historical homes. "The irreplaceable destruction of our heritage is a horrible and immoral loss to the town." I wrote those words then, and I see that little has changed. I knew the former owner of that farm, MissStephanie Edgell. Russell Reynolds, Jr., is correct to point out that the house is not in a neglected state. Miss Edgell was fond of it, and made sure it was maintained.

In 1779, during the years of the American Revolution, the farm was the scene of a raid by British soldiers and Loyalist sympathizers. A younger Obadiah Mead was killed here and is interred among the fieldstone markers in the cemetery. The shirt he wore is kept by the Historical Society. Whitman Mead lived here, too; he was one of the first in America to make Chippendale furniture.

Besides its architectural significance, this house was owned by Deacon Obadiah Mead. He was a founder of the North Greenwich Congregational Church, and was among a local group of Greenwich Abolitionists. It is believed that the house may have been a stopping-point for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad. Prayer meetings during the Second Great Awakening were held here as well. The farm was also a place in the latter nineteenth century where famous entrepreneurs boarded their horses. This was when Obadiah1s son, Solomon Stoddard Mead, owned the farm.

I bear no grudge to those who have succeeded, prospered, and decided to make Greenwich their home. The "McMansion" phenomenon is one that I'm not totally opposed to. But it is a shame that our town's heritage is being lost in the process. My hope, as is that by my family members nationwide, is that wisdom, civility, consideration, and preservation will prevail.

Sincerely yours,

Deacon Jeffrey Bingham Mead


The Historic Mead Family Burying Grounds Association


Contact information:

Email: jmead@aloha.net

NOTE: Sadly, the attempt to save this valuable historial estate failed. Maureen Mead, ctfairfi webmaster.

If you have questions, comments or contributions to this volunteer collective project,
please E-mail Maureen Mead
© 2002 to 2008. Created 26 June 2001. Updated 1/9/08.

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